Mom Over Miami Part 31

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"Yeah. No matter what, I always know you have my back, Hannah. You are the one person I always know will be there for me. I can't count on anyone-not my folks or brother or sisters-no one, like I can count on you."

"Always," she whispered, glad he couldn't see the tears puddling along her lashes. "Thank you for saying all that, Payt. You don't know how much it makes up for-the trip, the frustrations, the office. Oh, listen, speaking of the office-they sent me flowers."

"Lucky you, they sent me to the moon. Pow."

"Yeah, I can just see chubby gray-haired Dottie landing a wicked uppercut across your jaw." She trapped the phone against her shoulder and slapped her fist into her open palm for effect.

"She could have knocked me over with a feather when she called this morning to tell me Kaye agreed to fill in until we find a replacement for her."



She sat up so straight that the phone almost slid into her lap. She caught it in time to say into the mouthpiece without missing a beat, "Wow."

"Wow, and a few other choice words. Oh, they wanted me to make sure to tell you that none of them knew you were doing the cleaning, much less doing it for free."

"They didn't?"

"No. Wives working at the office is a very touchy subject ever since Mrs. Briggs died."

"I thought Dr. Briggs was divorced."

"The first Mrs. Briggs. She ran the office for nearly twenty years."

"Wow."

"When she died, Dr. Briggs had no idea what to do, and the first woman he hired took advantage of that-and him."

"Let me guess-the second Mrs. Briggs?"

"Yep. Anyway, that's what lay beneath so much of the turmoil in the office the past five years, and now that everything had gotten smoothed out..."

"You didn't want to risk more stress over wastebaskets and unwashed cups."

"Only, it didn't work. Kaye still quit and you got mad at me."

"And what have we learned from all this?" She laughed even as she asked it.

"Knock off trying to please everyone. Please God and He'll take care of the rest."

She wound around her finger a strand of hair that had come loose from her ponytail. "Was I too heavy-handed in the column with that?"

"I didn't think so. Have you heard from your editor?"

"Along with everyone else." She closed the e-mail from that very man and hugged one knee close to her chest. "He had a few suggestions and one very specific complaint."

"Yeah?"

"He wanted to know why his name didn't pop up in the men-I-adore-who-have-taught-me-so-much section."

"Figures." Payt chuckled, but just a little. "So what now, Hannah?"

"Well, I have to get on the rewrite and get it back to him. And there are a dozen e-mails here that need responses, and my bacon and eggs are getting cold."

"And after all that?"

"Do you need me to come home?" she asked softly.

"Absolutely."

"Okay."

"But not one minute before you need yourself to come home."

"Really?"

"Really. And what about when you get home?"

"I...I think I might go back to college and finish my degree. I have a lot to learn about writing."

"Great. And?"

"And I'd like for us start working toward getting your cousin to allow us to adopt Sam." She rested her elbows on the table.

"Long-range but, yes, I'm with you there. And?"

"And...I...uh...have decided I will direct the Christmas pageant."

"Should be great. And?"

"I don't know what you want to hear, Payt. That I'm going to quit writing? Because I really hope not to."

"I was thinking more in terms of starting something, not quitting."

"Oh, Payt. I'm just..." She pulled her legs up to her chest again and hunched her shoulders. "I'm not ready to have another baby."

"Are you ready to talk about it?"

"Yes." She unwound her body and set her feet on the floor again. "I can't promise that I'll have much to say. But I will listen."

"So will I."

"That's all I ever wanted."

"Me, too."

His tone conjured up an image of him as he must be this morning, rumpled and relaxed and a bit rough around the edges.

She sighed. "Wow, now I wish you were here with me."

"So do I."

"Then why aren't you?"

"A lot of reasons. One of them is that you took my plane ticket."

"No, I didn't. I worked it all out at the airport. You have a credit and can use the money toward a new ticket anytime you want."

"What about what you you want? I thought you needed time alone." want? I thought you needed time alone."

"Give me twenty-four hours to unwind and catch up on my sleep."

"Are you asking me to fly away to you, Hannah?"

"I am, Bartlett."

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

"Twenty-four hours," he warned her.

"I'll be ready."

They hung up, and as she tackled the column rewrites and her first uninterrupted breakfast in a very long time, Hannah smiled to herself and thanked God for all the blessings in her life-even the ones that sometimes made her want to fly away.

Mom Over Miami Part 31

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Mom Over Miami Part 31 summary

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