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Expectant Bride To Be.pdf

Expectant Bride To Be.pdf

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Published by Gayle Almeida
Nikki Benjamin
Nikki Benjamin

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Published by: Gayle Almeida on Feb 09, 2013
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Contents:12345678910111213141516171819202122232425EpilogueChapter1AchillbreezesweptacrossthetownsquareofPromise,Nevada,addingtothedank,drearyfeelingofthegray,late-Decemberday.Withtheonsetofearlyevening,onlyafewpeoplestillbustleddownthesidewalks,mostmorethanlikelyheadingforhomesincethestoreswouldbeclosingsoon.Sheshouldgohome,too,AbbySummersthought.Orrather,sheshouldgobacktohermother'shouse.Butshecontinuedtositonthenarrowwoodenbenchfacingthesmallparkinthesquare'scenter,hehandsstuffeddeepinthepocketsofherblackwoolcoat,herchintippeddowntotakeadvantageoftheupturnedcollar,andherstocking-cladlegstuckedtogetherunderthefullskirtofhercalf-length,blacwooldress.ThereweretoomanymemorieswaitingforheratLarissa'shouse—memoriestingedwithsadness.
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HowAbbywishedshehadmadeanefforttoknowhermotherbetter.Withtheoptimismofyouth,shehadalwaysassumedthatonedaytheywouldfindthetimetositdownandtalklikefriends.Notsomuchaboutthepast.Thatwouldhavebeennice.Butnicerstill,toAbby'swayofthinking,maybetheycouldhavesharedtheirhopesanddreamsforthefuture.Nowitwastoolate.Abbyhadreturnedtotheslow,steadyfarmingcommunitytwohundredmilesnortheastofLasVegasfor theChristmasholiday,hopingthatsheandLarissamightfinallyembarkonacloserrelationship.ShehadeventakenafewcarefullyhoardeddaysofvacationfromherjobasacertifiedpublicaccountantwithafirminSanFranciscosothisparticularvisitwouldn'tbequiteasrushedasthevisitsshehadmadeinthe past.Hergrandparents,HankandJudith,hadbeendelighted,andLarissaherselfhadseemedpleased.Abbyhadarrivedathermother'shouseonChristmasEvetofindallthreewaitingforher.ListeningtoChristmascarolsplayingontheradio,theytrimmedthetreeHankhadboughtthatmorning,thentuckedintothesandwichesandchocolatechipcookiesJudithhadprovidedbeforemakinganearlynightofit.Larissa'sjoyinspendingtheholidaywithherfamilyseemedtocarryoverintoChristmasDay.SheandAbbywenttoHankandJudith'stinyapartmentintheseniorcitizens'complexwherethey'dmovedthe previousyear.Theyhadopenedgifts,thenfeastedonroastturkeywithallthetrimmings.Bylateafternoon,however,Abbyhadbeguntosensehermother'sgrowingdiscontent—thesamediscontentthathadsentherlookingforgreenerpasturessinceAbbyhadbeenachild.LeavingherdaughterwithHankandJudith,justasshe'ddonesomanytimesinthepast,Larissahadtakenoffyetagain.TherewasafriendwaitingforherinVegas;afriendwhohadafriendwhojustmight beabletogiveheralittleworkinhiscasinoafterthefirstoftheyear.Notasadancer—atleastnotrightaway.Butonceshegotonthepayroll,waitingtables,surelyshe'dhaveachancetomoveuptheladder.ThatwasthelastAbbyandhergrandparentshadseenofLarissauntilthecallthatwokeAbbyjust beforemidnightonDecember26.Akindlypoliceofficerhadadvisedherthathermotherhadbeenkilledinacaraccident.Themanwhohadbeendriving,astrangertoAbby,hadbeendrunk.He'drunofftheroadandhitatree,andthoughhehadwalkedawayvirtuallyunharmed,Larissahaddiedatthescene.Abbyhadwaiteduntilmorningtotellhergrandparentsthedevastatingnews.Then,she'dsetaboutmakingarrangementsforhermother'sfuneral,refusingtoacknowledgeherowngriefinordertobestrongforHankandJudith.ConsideringLarissa'sreputationaroundtownasane'er-do-well,thenumberofpeopleattheservicethatafternoonhadbeenatributetohergrandparents.Fortheirsake,Abbyhadbeengrateful.HankandJudithhadwantedtolingeratthecemeteryfollowingthecommittal,butAbbyhadinsistedontakingthemhome.Bothhadbeentooexhaustedtoremainoutdoorslongerthanabsolutelynecessary,especiallyonsuchableakday,whenthechillbreezeheldinitathreatofrain.Abbyhadn'twantedeither oneofthemtoriskgettingsick.Theyweretheonlyfamilyshe'deverreallyhad,andshelovedthemmorethananything.PromisingtostopbythenextmorningbeforesheheadedbacktoSanFrancisco,Abbyhadleftthemintheirsnuglittleapartment,sippingmugsoffreshlybrewedtea.Shehadgonebacktohermother'shousetofinishpacking,butafterparkingherrentalcarinthedriveway,shehaddecidedtogoforawalk instead.Justtogatherherthoughts,she'dtoldherselfasshesetout.She'dendedupinthetownsquarealmostanhourlater,andthereshe'dstayed,alonewithherregrets.
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Larissahadlovedherinherownway.Ofthat,Abbyhadalwaysbeensure.Andshemusthavewantedher.Otherwise,whywouldshehavebroughtherintotheworld?Surelyitwouldhavebeeneasierforhetohaveanabortionthantotakeontheroleofunwedmother,evenaserraticallyasshe'dplayedthepart, betweenthejobsandthemenwhohadkepther,oftenliterally,inLasVegas.AshortgustofwindcaughtawispofAbby'sshoulder-length,auburnhair,tuggingitfreeofthesensible braidshe'dwoventhatmorning.Thescentofrainfilledtheairandtheskyseemedmuchdarkerthanithadonlyafewminutesago.Timetogo,shedecided.Thewalkbacktohermother'shousewouldtakeatleastthirtyminutes,andshedidn'twanttogetcaughtinadownpour.Shecouldn'taffordtogetsick either.NotwithApril15onlyafewmonthsaway,andherfirm'sbusiesttimeofyearjustahead.Slidingthestrapofherpurseoverhershoulder,Abbystoodslowly.Anothergustofwindwhippedaroundherlegs,teasingatthehemofhercoatandmakinghershiver.Shewishedshehadn'tdalliedquitesolong.Nowabriskpacealonewouldn'tbeenoughtochasethechillfromherbones.Whatshewanted,
needed 
,wasacupofcoffee,andsheknewjustwhereshecouldgetone.Fromacrossthesquare,abrightlylitcabeckoned.Newtotownsinceherlastvisit,itlookedinviting,anditwasn'ttoofaroutofherway.Awarethatshewaspostponingtheinevitablereturntohermother'shouseyetagain,Abbysetoffacrossthelittlepark.Shehadgoneonlyafewstepswhenshecaughtsightofamansittingononeofthe benchesalongthegravelpath.Hewasdressedallinblack—tailoredslacks,turtlenecksweaterandleatherbomberjacket—andhisblondheadwasbent,hisfaceturnedslightly,hisexpressionunusuallygrim.Thoughheseemedasoblivioustoherpresenceasshe'dbeentohis,Abbyhesitated,afrowncreasingherforehead.Whilehisposturedidn'tappeartheleastbitmenacing,therewassomethingabouthimthatgaveherpause.Then,withashockofrecognition,shedrewasharpbreath.JackRandall,shethought,herheartflutteringinatrulymaddeningway.ThestarquarterbackofthehighschoolfootballteamandsonofthewealthyRandallfamily,JackhadgrownupthegoldenboyofPromise,Nevada.HehadalsobeenAbby'schampionwhenshewasalowlyfreshmanandhealordlysenior.Hehadtakenherunderhiswingwhenhe'dseenherbeingteasedbyagroupofmean-spiritedgirls,andhehadmadeapointoflookingoutforherinabrotherlywayfortheremainderoftheschoolyear.Andquitefoolishly,Abbyhadfalleninlovewithhimeventhoughhe'dalreadyhadaveryspecialgirlfriendtowhomhe'dbeendevoted.JackhadmarriedCindyWillisasAbbyhadknownhewould.TheymovedtoBostonwheretheybothattendedcollege.Afewyearslater,AbbyhadleftPromiseaswell,goingtoStanfordonanacademicscholarship.Buteachtimeshe'dreturnedtoPromise,she'dthoughtaboutJackandhopedhewashappy.Then,ononeofhervisitshome,she'dheardthatCindyhadbeenkilledinacaraccidentjustafterJack'sgraduationfrommedicalschool.HemusthavereturnedtoPromisefortheholidaysjustasshehad,andhemuststillbeonhisown.Otherwise,hewouldn'tbesittinginthepark,lookingaslonelyasshe'dbeenfeeling.Foroneverylong,veryindecisivemoment,Abbywastemptedtogouptohimandsayhello.Hehad beenherfriend,afterall,andsheowedhimmorethanshecouldeverrepayforallthekindnesshe'dshownher.
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