Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I don't know who DOES own them although the movie was produced by Kaboom!, but I know *I* make no money from this work of fiction. I just love Robert and Catherine and wish they'd share their 'secret' stories with me more often! (And don't ask why I'm doing the story from Jaclyn's point of view, because my answer would be "I HAVE NO IDEA! I DON'T EVEN PARTICULARLY LIKE HER!" Sigh.)
Jaclyn listened half-heartedly to Michael's chatter as she looked out the window, wondering where her sister and Jeff and, more importantly, her father were. The sun was shining brightly on the copious amounts of snow that had fallen over the last eighteen hours, and she knew the plows had been going since the snow had slowed down a few hours ago. Lori had phoned to say that their father had been found safe and sound and they would be home as soon as they had dropped off his companion in misfortune. Then Lori had disconnected before Jaclyn could question her further.
It had been a horrible Thanksgiving so far. Jaclyn still hadn't fully recovered from the shock of finding her mother so vastly different from the vibrant woman of her childhood and even from the somewhat vague woman of last summer who hadn't seemed to let anyone or anything disturb the outward placidness she wore like a cloak. Then, when Lori and Jeff had rushed out to search for their father in the middle of a raging blizzard and left her alone to feed and reassure her young nephew, Jaclyn had had too much time to think after putting the child to bed. Why had her father left the long-term care facility with a stranger? He had SAID he was going to get a taxi! Lori had assured her younger sister when she and her estranged husband had arrived home late last night, exhausted and discouraged at their failure to locate the missing car and occupants, that the nurse at Shelby Manor had said he had been offered a ride by a Dr. Howard, so at least he was in good hands.
"We'll head out first thing in the morning," Jeff had assured the two sisters before they had gone to bed and he had crashed on the sofa. "Once the sun starts to come up, we'll be able to see the ditches on the side of the road. We were pretty thorough last night on the highway, but there are some back roads we can try next. We'll go back to Shelby House along the highway and check to be sure, then start out from there and see what we can find on the way. Too bad the nurse didn't know what kind of vehicle the doc was driving, but if the man is a doctor, he must have some brains and be driving a four-wheel drive or something. The two men probably just holed up somewhere for the night and spent the time playing poker."
Finally Jaclyn saw Jeff's vehicle turn the corner at the end of the street. "Here they come, Michael!" she cried, and the two hurried to the door.
When her father, Lori and Jeff were in the house and Jaclyn and Michael had both had their hugs, Jaclyn shedding a few tears of thankfulness, Jaclyn eyed her father. "You don't look like you spent the whole night playing poker! You must have got some sleep."
"I did. A few hours on the sofa in front of the fireplace ... and we weren't playing poker, it was Scrabble."
"Oh?" Then Jaclyn grinned. "Most doctors I know are HOPELESS at spelling. So did you beat the good doctor?"
"Nah. She beat me. Damn, she's competitive!" Robert shook his head, smiling at the memory. "So, how's my best bud?" he asked his grandson, and headed for the living room with Michael hanging onto his arm and Jeff at his heels, not seeing the shock on Jaclyn's face.
Dr. Howard was a WOMAN? Her father had spend the night with a WOMAN? Jaclyn looked at Lori who grimaced faintly, knowing exactly what Jaclyn was thinking. She leaned closer and said in an undertone, "Not only is Dr. Howard a woman, but she is a very attractive woman! Remember the Hershey lady who used to give out the great Hallowe'en treats? The one in the stone house by the river?"
"HER? Can't be! The Hershey lady moved away! I saw a for sale sign there years ago, then a sold sign... so it can't be her. This doctor must have bought the place."
Lori looked thoughtful. "Well, she really LOOKED like the Hershey lady... and by the way she talked... she said she liked to spoil the kids, and I believe her."
"I don't," Jaclyn said flatly. "I bet she was just saying that to suck up to you ... I bet she wants Dad. I wonder what all happened last night... and if he told her Mommy is still alive?"
"JACLYN!" Lori was horrified.
"Never mind that now," Jaclyn waved that topic away, not wanting to talk about it, and feeling slightly ashamed of herself for letting her sister see her worries. "Are we going to have our Thanksgiving supper today now that Dad is home?" She didn't want to think of her father being with a woman last night... especially when that woman wasn't her mother. "He looks pretty good for being out all night." Inwardly she winced. She hadn't wanted to think about that again! He was OLD! Would he look so good if he had been, well, making out all night, or at least until he was exhausted? She hoped not, but had to suppress a shudder. Eww. Her father wouldn't do THAT... would he? Not at his age! Surely he was past all that! It wasn't as though he was a teenager, with all those hormones running amok.
"You know Mom won't be able to come home, don't you?" Lori asked, her voice full of compassion.
Jaclyn didn't want to think about that either, but it was a fact she was going to have to face. "I guess I do, now. I didn't want to admit it before, but after seeing her... Oh, Lori, I'm sorry I didn't come home earlier..."
Lori hugged her sister and shushed her. "It's okay, Jaclyn, really. Dad didn't want to tell you the whole truth. He wanted you to have your chance in New York. He and Mom BOTH did."
"Really?" Jaclyn's throat was tight. She adored her parents and her sister...
"Really," Lori said firmly. Then she smiled faintly. "But be prepared for the third degree about Brick."
Jaclyn giggled, somewhat hysterically. "It's BROCK! I TOLD you!"
"Come on, baby sis, let's go find out what Dad wants to do about our Thanksgiving supper."
O o O o O o
Lying in bed trying to get an early night after being delivered to her home by Robert's son-in-law at noon, Catherine found herself re-living the previous night. She had felt a warm glow all over once she and Robert had established that they were stuck together and might as well learn to get along. He really was a paradox of a man, all bluster outside and yet tender and personable inside. Sternly she told herself that it had just been one special night, a little adventure in the 'snowy wilderness' and that nothing had happened and nothing would come of it. Still, she remembered the glow...
Thumping her pillow, she tried to clear her mind, then jumped when the phone rang. It was Marina. After establishing that she was indeed all right, and after eating a few spoonfuls of her comfort food from the peanut butter jar by her bed while trying to forget the quiet happiness of sharing that 'Troux Normand' with Robert the previous evening, Catherine hung up the phone and tried once more to settle down. Then she found herself thinking about Tom and how HE had made her glow, and she remembered how they would occasionally slow dance in the kitchen... They had settled into a cozy routine, their marriage running like a well-oiled machine with Tom taking care of the domestic details, enabling Catherine to concentrate on her career. Catherine had missed that machine dreadfully in the last year... had missed Tom almost unbearably. Why was she realizing this now, when it was much too late? Why had she never said to Tom, anytime in the last twenty-five years, just how much she had loved him for being so good to her? Yet she had told Robert...
Would she go on Sunday to Murray's to meet Robert? Not that she expected him to actually come there just for breakfast with her, of course, in spite of what they had agreed. So many pacts were made in times of emergency that were completely forgotten once people were back living their normal lives. Still, he MIGHT just happen to be there with his grandson. Perhaps just in case, on the very slim offchance that she DID happen to meet him there, she could do something about the styling of her hair to make it softer... Maybe it WAS time to change her routine somewhat, the routine established at Tom's death, that is.
She wondered if, after MaryBeth's death, Robert, too, would feel the need to run away from his routine life. Although she hadn't physically run, Catherine HAD withdrawn from many of her routines after Tom's death, only to find that the pain and emptiness kept following her whatever she did. As a cardiologist, although her specialization was in paediatrics, Catherine knew from Robert's few words, even without ever having met MaryBeth herself, that the woman did not have long to live. She wasn't sure just how that made her feel, except that she was already aching for Robert. She KNEW how he would feel. Perhaps if he DID happen to come on Sunday to Murray's, she would be able to establish a relationship with him so that she might be of some comfort and support to him when the day came...
Then Catherine shook her head, disgusted with herself. What made her think he needed HER help and support? He had children and grandchildren, which was more than she herself had had, and he, too, would have the support of many good friends. Unlike her situation, Robert's life would not seem empty and meaningless. He would still have close family, family who even lived in his house now. He would not be alone... No. Catherine had to just forget all about Robert Woodward... if it took the rest of her life.
O o O o O o
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Jaclyn found herself walking back into Shelby Manor with the others. She lagged behind, worrying about what she was going to find today, wondering if she would ever find her mother again and terrified that it was too late. For a moment she almost turned back, but Michael grabbed her hand and tugged her into the room with him, and she realized he was as nervous as she was.
Her mother was sitting in a chair by the window apparently listening to a Sarah Vaughn CD that was playing in the portable machine beside her, and she smiled vaguely when they all walked in. After Robert had greeted his wife with a tender kiss, Jaclyn bent over too and kissed her cheek, saying, "Mom, your soul will live forever because of music, just like that quote you loved. Remember? 'Feed the body food and drink, it will survive today. Feed the soul art and music, it will live forever.' I've got your poster up in my office in New York."
Not even looking at her, MaryBeth mused, "Momma says we have dogs to teach us about love and loyalty. When they die, we learn about loss. We might get a new dog, but it doesn't replace the old one, it just expands the heart."
"Hi, Mom," Lori said, sliding a confused Jaclyn aside gently. "I remember you telling me to read that. Erica Jong wrote it, I think. I was thinking about getting Michael a dog for that very reason."
"Hi, Grandma!" Michael said brightly, never quite looking at his grandmother. "I really DO want a dog! I think my heart needs ex... ex... what you said."
Robert, Lori and Jaclyn chuckled, but MaryBeth was already turning away from them, struggling to get up from her chair, and beginning to breathe hard. "I'm tired. Tell Momma I want to go back to bed."
"But, Mom, we just got here!" Jaclyn said, surprised.
"Too many people! Too noisy! Go away! Let me sleep!" Growing agitated again, MaryBeth pushed at them, wheezing and beginning to shout.
In a moment Sarah was there, soothing MaryBeth and helping her into the bed. Jaclyn, Lori and Michael stepped back to the door, but Robert stayed close although he said nothing. Seeing the anguish on her father's face as he gazed at her mother, a lump formed in Jaclyn's throat. They had loved each other so much, and their love had been quite obvious to everyone around them. Now that her mother had forgotten them, it was hard on them all, but it had to be hardest of all on her father.
"I hurt..." MaryBeth was whimpering. "Here..." and she clutched her chest.
"I'll call the doctor," Sarah said, and glanced at the family members standing helplessly by. "Do you want to stay?"
Jaclyn wanted to cry out that no, she wanted to leave right away and flee back to New York, but she held her tongue. Lori hesitated, looking at her frightened son, then said, "I think I should take Michael home again, Dad. What do you want to do, Jac?"
"I'll ..." The word 'stay' stuck in Jaclyn's throat. She couldn't quite get it out.
Rather heavily, Robert said, "We'll all go. We can always come back tomorrow. She might have a better day tomorrow."
Relieved and ashamed of herself for feeling that way, Jaclyn followed the others out. That night, however, she tentatively approached her father in his room and asked if it would be all right if she stayed longer, perhaps until Christmas. She needed to get re-acquainted with her mother if at all possible. Having already spoken to her boss in New York, as well as Brock, she had been cleared to spend the next month at home. Her father's obvious delight in her decision comforted her somewhat, and she forced down the niggling questions she still had about Thanksgiving night. After all, it really was not her business. Her father was a grown man. Still... he was her father, and another woman should NOT be entering the picture!
Lori came in at that point, and Jaclyn told her that there would be one more in the house for a month, so no longer would Lori have to do all the work.
"That'll be good," Lori said ruefully, rubbing her back. "This pregnancy is harder to bear than with Michael. You can start with breakfast tomorrow so I can sleep in."
"Oh, that reminds me," Robert spoke up, not looking directly at either one. "I'm planning to go to Murray's tomorrow for breakfast, so no need to make any for me."
"Great!" Jaclyn grinned.
"Are you going to take Michael, too?" Lori asked. "He was asking the other day for some chocolate chip pancakes."
"Maybe we can ALL go?" suggested Jaclyn. "I haven't had Murray's pancakes forever!"
"Tomorrow I'm going alone," Robert said quickly. "We'll all go another time." Then, before either of his surprised daughters could say a word, he cleared his throat and pushed them out the door. "It's getting late, and we all need our beauty sleep!" The minute they were clear of the door, it was shut in their faces.
Jaclyn stared at Lori who looked as bewildered as she felt. Then she rolled her eyes and chuckled. "Fathers!"
Companionably the two walked down the hallway. Jaclyn wanted to ask more about what Lori had seen or sensed on the Friday morning when Robert and the doctor had been discovered, but wasn't sure how to approach it, and was quite certain she didn't want to hear about anything... unfitting for a man who was married.
Then Lori said suddenly, "Do you think he... no, never mind."
"Would he have arranged to meet that wo...?" Jaclyn broke off. Then she tightened her lips. "I guess we're both wondering the same thing."
"And we're probably both just jumping to conclusions," Lori said flatly. "I don't want to think about it. I have enough problems of my own."
"Fine." Jaclyn agreed, knowing her sister wouldn't say anything more. "Good night, Lori."
O o O o O o
The next morning, having been very aware of her father fussing over his preparations for breakfast at Murray's, Jaclyn watched his vehicle back out the driveway after he had assured Michael that he would be welcome the next time, but that today was just for 'old' people. She wasn't aware that she was frowning until Michael asked her why she was so cross at Grandpa and whether SHE really, really wanted chocolate chip pancakes too.
"Superheros deserve special pancakes sometimes, too," Jaclyn said, after assuring the little boy that she wasn't cross at anyone. "So let's make our own, okay?"
"COOL!" Michael cried happily.
In the midst of the preparations, however, the telephone rang, and Jaclyn's world was turned upside down once more. Soon the two young women and the little boy were on their way to the hospital, Jaclyn phoning her father to meet them there as soon as he could get there. All the hurry was of no use. None of them made it before MaryBeth Woodward passed away.
The next four days passed in a blur as funeral preparations occupied Jaclyn's thoughts. Late at night after the funeral, Jaclyn held a sobbing Lori in her arms and listened to her sister's broken words about the truth of her estrangement from her husband, and the younger woman's distaste for 'cheating' in marriage grew. Over the next couple of weeks, although she tried to suppress her pondering, Jaclyn couldn't help but wonder again about her father's involvement with the doctor. HAD they just met that night? The nurse at the hospice had seemed to know the doctor well, so what would have stopped her father from getting to know the other woman as well? And she DID live close, since Lori had pointed out the stone house by the river where the doctor had been dropped off that morning after Thanksgiving. There was every chance that her father and the doctor had met long ago, and had kept their meetings secret!
Always having been a family ready to talk openly about all aspects of their lives, Jaclyn found she had missed having intimate conversations with her father. Ever since her mother had gotten sick, it seemed that lines of communication shut down and they all tended to keep their thoughts and worries to themselves. Now Jaclyn was determined to go back to the way they used to be. So one night when Lori was upstairs putting Michael to bed, Jaclyn curled up next to Robert on the couch where he was reading. "Daddy? Do you miss Mom?"
"Very much," Robert said, his voice sounding as though he was forcing the words through a tight throat. He put his book down and cuddled Jaclyn the way he had since she had been tiny. "I've been missing her for a very long time now, because the MaryBeth I knew and first loved has not been around for a few years."
"But you wouldn't think about marrying again, would you?" Jaclyn asked daringly.
The sudden jerk she felt as Robert absorbed her comment gave her the answer she had hoped not to receive, and she didn't really need his slow, "I don't know, Jaclyn. I loved your mother and always will, but there might come a time when I miss being married to the woman I love, and I might... fall in love again. It won't mean I love your mother any less... I'll always love her. I'll just have someone new to love. After all, when you were born, we didn't stop loving Lori. Love grows forever, and can always expand to include more and more people. Damn it, you KNOW that, if you think about it logically, Jaclyn!"
"But, Dad, you're... well, you're a little old to fall in love again, don't you think?"
He raised his eyebrows. "Hardly. I'm not ready to sit drooling into my bib in a wheelchair quite yet. In fact..." he picked up his book again and opened it to a marked page. "I was just reading what your mother said the last time we saw her. Remember? Something Erica Jong wrote. I looked it up this evening. Here it is. 'Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty. They depart to teach us about loss. We try to replace them but never quite succeed. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart.' Your mother's death is the same..."
Mock-indignantly, Jaclyn asked, "Are you calling Mom a dog?"
Robert chuckled. "You have the same sense of humour your mother did. NO, I'm merely trying to explain about love, and how it keeps growing to include more people in an expanding heart."
"Have you talked to Lori? Somehow I don't think she'd buy that expanding heart thing when it comes to her and Jeff."
"They're just going through a rough patch. They'll get through it, and their marriage will be stronger than ever."
Jaclyn twisted around and looked him straight in the eye while asking incredulously, "You think so? I wouldn't have thought you'd be on Jeff's side in this."
"What? He made a mistake!"
"Sleeping with another woman was a MISTAKE? DAD!"
"He WHAT?" Robert almost roared. "He never told me THAT!"
"I think you'd better talk to Lori, Dad. According to what she told me, Jeff told Lori that as a man, he has needs and desires and when she wouldn't or couldn't fulfill them, because of her pregnancy, he looked elsewhere! YOU didn't do that to Mom, did you?"
"No, and I never would," Robert looked grim, then with an effort pulled his mind away from his son-in-law and looked at his daughter again. "But my case is different... now that your mother is gone."
Jaclyn looked blank. "You're saying... what are you saying? That you might fall in love? Really?"
"Anything's possible, even for this old man. You know, they say sex is important to keep prostate cancer at bay. And really, even at my age, I DO still have needs and desires... and with all the erotic movies and magazines around, not to mention pretty women, well, let's just say it's not good for a man my age to keep being aroused and then disappointed."
"Eww, DAD! That's too much information!" Jaclyn pulled a face and sat up, then bit her lip as she wondered how to word her next question. 'Umm, Dad?" she asked tentatively, "have you seen the doctor lately?"
"The doctor? Yeah, I had an appointment last week with him. Why? I keep telling you all I'm fine!"
"No, not HIM... not seeing medically... I meant... HER. You know, the one you... you s-spent Thanksgiving with." Jaclyn was vexed to find herself stammering.
"Oh." Unaccountably, the colour in his face deepened. "Catherine. No, I haven't seen her since that night. We were going to meet at Murray's the next Sunday morning..."
"You had a date while Mom was DYING?" Jaclyn was horrified.
"I didn't know she was dying... and it wasn't really a date! We had just agreed to meet if we both survived the night. To be honest, I was afraid I was going to kill her at one point early on because she made me so angry."
Laughter bubbled up in Jaclyn's chest, and the lump of doubt and annoyance began to ease. Only her dad would be marooned with a supposedly attractive woman and actually think about killing her rather than kissing her! Daringly she asked, "Did you ever phone her after Mom died?"
"Nope. Why?" Now Robert was peering at her suspiciously. "Why the third degree all of a sudden? Something going on with you and that Brick? He's not cheating on my baby girl, is he?"
Jaclyn shook her head, smiling. "No, and his name is BROCK, Dad... and we're just friends."
"Mmmmhmmm," Robert didn't sound convinced.
"Anyway, if, well, if you WERE ever to, well, fall in love again," Jaclyn had to force the words out, "would you get married or just..." Her voice trailed off. She didn't really want an answer, she realized. She just wanted reassurance that her father was NOT seriously considering loving another woman!
"Hell no, why get married? We'd just fool around, maybe live in sin like you youngsters..." Robert grumbled, then glared at his daughter. "Of course I'd get married! IF I were to fall in love again."
"And if the woman loved YOU enough to marry you," Jaclyn teased him, suddenly feeling that she really was barking up the wrong tree. Obviously he hadn't thought that far ahead... and she fervently hoped he never WOULD!
Robert, however, thought back to that Thanksgiving night in the cabin. That night had been the first time in the three long, lonely years since MaryBeth had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease that Robert had felt a connection down to his toes and an urge to get close to a woman who was not his wife, and a woman completely different from his wife. Still, it was probably too soon to contact Catherine, much too soon. Damn.
O o O o O o
It wasn't until after the excitement of baby MaryBeth's birth on Christmas Eve that Jaclyn's inner fears saw the light of day again. Her father had actually CALLED Dr. Howard! He had remembered her name and had specifically ASKED for her! Not that Jaclyn wasn't grateful, of course. Being that the baby was early, she needed all the extra help she could get, but still... Jaclyn smothered her thoughts. Christmas morning, her father had suggested taking a small tree and some presents in to the hospital for Lori, to take Christmas to her. Jaclyn wished she could ask Lori's opinion, but Jeff and Michael, not to mention Dad himself, stayed close as they waited for the baby to be brought.
When the woman finally wheeled the infant bed into the room, Jaclyn almost missed the joyful look that lit her father's face. She knew he had been pleased that the tiny girl had been born safely, but... then, when Dr. Howard was introduced, Jaclyn realized the look had been for the doctor and not for little MaryBeth. Something roiled inside her, but she tried to smile and act as if all was well. She admitted with a grin that Lori had been right, the doctor WAS the Hershey lady! When her father and the doctor left the room 'for a moment', Jaclyn even found the strength to giggle with her sister and brother-in-law.
Michael wanted to know why they were laughing, and the adults all quickly sobered up and said, "Nothing." Then Michael said he needed to go to the bathroom, and Jaclyn said she'd take him down the hall.
On their way, she overheard the nurses at the nursing station saying, "Did you see Dr. Howard? She hasn't looked so gorgeous since her husband died last year!"
"Bet she's got a new guy – maybe that one that just went out with her. Did you see how his eyes glowed when he was looking at her?" One nurse whistled softly and they all laughed.
Jaclyn's heart twisted again. Mom, she thought despairingly, it should be YOU who causes his eyes to light up the way they used to! She pointed Michael in the right direction and went to the window to wait for him. Looking out over the parking lot, her breath caught when she saw her father and the doctor standing outside by the Suburban. Her father handed the woman a box... then pulled a white scarf from inside his coat. Jaclyn frowned. What on earth? They were standing so close together... if her father kissed the woman or grabbed her butt, Jaclyn would faint! Then she stared as the two got in the vehicle and it pulled away. Where were they going? What was going on?
When Michael was finished, they hurried back to Lori's room, and Jaclyn announced what she had seen. "Did Dad tell you he was going somewhere?"
"No." Lori answered, as perplexed as her younger sister.
"Grandpa was hoping to take the doctor to see the cabin he bought," Michael said casually, playing gently with his baby sister's bare toes. "Before the fire died down that he built there on his way here."
"What?" both women exclaimed.
"Yeah, he told me that, too," Jeff agreed. "That's why he wanted to get to the hospital early, before she came in and left again for the day."
"And why didn't you inform us?" Jaclyn asked, almost sharply.
Jeff shrugged. "I didn't think it mattered." He stifled a yawn. "God, that was a long night."
The women ignored him. Jaclyn said intensely to Lori, "Mom has only been gone for a MONTH! How COULD he?"
Lori looked sympathetic and as if she agreed, but said softly, "Really, Mom hasn't been a wife for a couple of years now. You just haven't been home long enough to know that."
"Oh fine, blame ME for everything going wrong! Just because I have a job and managed to get away from this town..." Jaclyn flared up.
The baby began to fuss, and Michael looked at his aunt and his mother curiously. "Why are you two so mad? What's wrong?"
"Oh... nothing..." muttered Jaclyn. "Sorry, Lori."
Patting the baby's back and soothing her, Lori smiled. "I'm sorry, too, Jaclyn. I... well, I sort of feel the way you do about Dad, but..."
"What ARE you both talking about?" Jeff stared at them both.
"Nothing." they replied in unison, and grinned.
After about twenty minutes, when Michael had claimed it was HIS turn to hold his baby sister, Jaclyn said in an undertone, "I wonder where Dad is? He said he'd be back soon..."
"With a gorgeous broad like the doc at his side, he's not likely to be back in the near future, in MY humble opinion," Jeff grinned.
"I didn't ask you!" Jaclyn returned sharply. She didn't want to think of the implications of what Jeff was saying, even though she was convinced he was right.
Just then, a nurse came in with a big smile. "Sorry," she said to Lori, "but your hopes of getting out of cooking Christmas dinner have just been dashed. You're being kicked out. Your little girl is just at the required five pounds to leave the hospital and we need her incubator for another baby."
"Is Dr. Howard coming back?" Jaclyn asked as Lori pretended to grumble about having to go home and cook a turkey after all.
"Oh no," the nurse said. "I believe she's off duty until the day after tomorrow. Why?"
"No reason..." Jaclyn said. "Umm, Lori, I'll just give Dad a call and ask him to come and pick us up -- we won't all fit in your vehicle with the tree and these presents." Without waiting for an answer, she pulled out her cell phone and punched in the number. When there was no answer, she sighed. "He's not home. What's his cell number?"
Lori looked blank. Then Michael grinned. "I know what it is! Grandpa made me mem'rize it! I know the house number, too."
"Smart boy! Good thing we kept you in the family instead of giving you away!" Jaclyn grinned. "What is it?"
O o O o O o To be continued