The kids came home and doted on Heather. They each signed her cast. Henry looked at it quizzically.
“Mom, who’s Peter, and why is his phone number on your cast?” asked Henry.
“Oh, he’s the guy whose car I fell in front of. He helped me and took me to the doctor. He probably put his number there in case I fell again before you guys got home.”
“Weird,” said Hayes in his twelve-year-old, almost ready to change voice. “You fell into the street? Did anybody else see you?”
“No, I don’t think anyone else saw me, but I’m not 100% sure. Thanks for your concern though.”
Heather’s mom brought dinner - a roast chicken just like she thought - and stayed and got everything cleaned up before she left again. At least the kids were old enough to shower and get ready for bed on their own. They got their stuff ready for school, watched a movie together and helped Heather up to bed.
Heather decided not to go out to the bus stop the next morning. Instead, she kissed all the kids from the comfort of her family room and sat in her favorite chair, foot propped up on the ottoman, laptop on her lap and both phones next to her. Heather heard the loud brakes of the bus and knew Henry and Gracie were off to school.
Less than three minutes later, her phone started buzzing.
9:01 Jenny: OMG! U broke ur ankle! Y didn’t u call me? What can I do to help?
9:02 Nicole: U POOR THING! I’ll leave dinner on your doorstep.
9:02 Victoria: I’ll drive the boys to baseball and I will have Ken leave his meeting with the Lieutenant Governor to pick them up as I have an appt.
9:03 Victoria: I’ve hired a babysitter to pick the boys up. Ken can’t leave his meeting with the Lieutenant Governor. But I will make your kids lunches for tomorrow and I will use all organic sulfate free meat. Do they eat crust?
9:04 Jenny: I’m coming over there if you don’t text me back RIGHT NOW.
Heather put her phone down and took a deep breath. In and out. That’s what the therapist had told her after Hank died. Just remember to breathe.
And she replied to the texts.
9:10 Heather: Thanks, Jenny. I don’t know what I need yet. I think I am ok for today. I should be able to start driving in a few days.
9:11 Heather: Thanks, Nicole, but dinner is not necessary. I will be able to fix something.
9:12 Heather: Thanks, Victoria. I cannot drive to baseball today but maybe we could ask someone else to bring the boys home instead of you having to hire a babysitter.
As if it were a race, all three responses came in at the same
9:13 Jenny: Forget about all your driving worries. I’ve got it covered. I’ll be over in an hour to see how I can help around the house.
9:13 Nicole: I insist. Dinner will be on the doorstep at 4:30. All you have to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
9:13 Victoria: Babysitter is done. Ken will be able to drive when he isn’t meeting with the Lieutenant Governor. We will handle baseball for the near future.
Heather was sure glad Victoria mentioned Ken was meeting with the Lieutenant Governor. What would she have done without that knowledge? she thought. She was sincerely glad Jenny was coming over. Heather couldn’t ignore the fact she did need help now. And Jenny was the one person she was ok with seeing her messy closet and sorting her underwear. Her plan was to waste the next hour on Facebook.
Another acquaintance posted she was Saying a prayer for the widow in the neighborhood who had fallen into more bad luck. Since she was the only widow quite possibly in the whole zip code, Heather knew the post was all about her. The fact that half a dozen people had already liked the status really irked her. Did they like the fact that Heather had fallen or that this ‘friend’ was saying a prayer for her? She closed her laptop. Nothing good ever came of a widow on Facebook.
Jenny arrived and let herself in. She plopped down on the couch next to Heather’s chair.
“What in the hell happened to you?”
Heather started to recount the whole story. When she got to the part about Peter taking her to Ortho On Call, Jenny stopped her.
“Number 1 - you can always call me. I will always be your emergency contact any day, you know that. Number 2 - You let a strange man with a bunch of arm tattoos pick you up off the street and take you to the doctor?? What in the hell were you thinking?”
“That’s funny. I never thought about being scared. I guess I didn’t think much at all. I had a bag of dog crap in my hand, and I cried like twenty times. Well, maybe only twice, but it probably felt like twenty to him.”
“Well, you’re lucky it turned out ok.”
“Not sure if I should tell you that after he brought me home, he went out to buy my lunch and came back here and ate it with me.”
Heather was Jenny’s closest friend, but sometimes things felt strained because Heather felt like a burden. Jenny never thought Heather was a burden, but in the last year and a half Heather had made a habit of shutting down at different times. She was lucky Jenny continued to put up with her and pushed through the walls she continued to put up.
“I know. I must have been such a pathetic basket case that he was compelled to do a year’s worth of good deeds and take care of me.”
Jenny rolled her eyes at the pathetic basket case comment. Heather was beautiful and had a perfect body. The only problem was Heather couldn’t see it. But that was all part of her charm.
“Tell me how this date ended.”
“Holy Cow! It wasn’t a date!” The thought scared Heather. She hadn’t dated since Hank died. The kids kept her busy enough. It wasn’t even until last month that she went out with a bunch of single moms.
“You can’t call it a date when you fall in front of some guy’s car, and he just tries not to run you over. And then it turns out you broke your ankle, and he takes you to the doctor. He feels so bad for you that he gets you some food so he doesn’t have to clean your puke when you take your pain meds on an empty stomach!”
“Ok. It wasn’t a date. Are you going to see him again?”
“I doubt it. He left his number on my cast. Clear sympathy move.”
“If he didn’t want to see you again, why would he leave his number?”
“Doesn’t matter. I’m not calling it. Although, I should probably apologize, and thank him. Wish he would have left his email instead.”
“You’re the most resourceful girl I know. I’m sure you can find it. What can I do for you around here?”
“I hate to ask, but would you throw in a load of the laundry for me? Hayes’ baseball stuff is in there, and he needs it for practice tonight.”
“No prob. What else?”
“Nothing. I can hobble around. Not going to let my ass get any bigger by sitting in the chair all day.”
“K. I am going to the store in a bit, so I’ll pick some stuff up for you.”
“Nicole’s leaving dinner on the doorstep for us.”
“Nothing like a drop and run casserole.” With that, Jenny did the laundry, hugged Heather and went home.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG13