At the end of the day Sam stood in the doorway, surveying the chaos that had once been her orderly kitchen. She and Greta had removed as many of the utensils, dishes, pans and small appliances as they could and stacked them in the dining room.
The upheaval around her reminded her of her life since Dan's accident. Scraping by to pay off his debts. Having to accept help from his parents to accomplish that feat. Then moving to Sunrise to be closer to Greta's only grandparents. Dan's parents had insisted that she use some of the insurance money to purchase a home for her and Greta. Their feeling was that their son got his family into debt, so it was their duty to help Sam and Greta out of debt. She'd hated taking their charity, but she wanted a home for Greta. She was resolved to pay them back once she found a job, which thankfully she had an interview for tomorrow.
"Mommy, the mailman just came," Greta shouted as she raced into the house from the front porch where she'd been playing with her dolls. "I got a letter from Ashley."
Her daughter waved the few letters she held in her hand in the air and danced about. Ashley had been her best friend, and Greta hadn't wanted to leave her--until she realized she would be able to see Nana and Papa all the time. Her daughter stuffed the envelopes into Sam's hands, all except the one from her best friend.
"I'm gonna read it." Greta held the treasured letter against her chest, wandered over to the couch and plopped down on the leather cushion.
"I'd say she's excited." Jeff leaned against the counter just inside the kitchen--a counter with it's top removed.
Sam couldn't take her eyes off his well-built body, his handsome face, two dimples that appeared when he grinned. Which had made it difficult doing her own work today. It had been a while since she'd had a male in her house. "Yeah. Ashley and she were inseparable, but she's already making some friends at school."
Jeff's gaze fastened onto her daughter, her head bent over the opened letter, her face scrunched up in concentration. "Can she read it?"
"Probably some of it. She likes to try herself, then later she'll ask me to read it to her."
Jeff shoved away from the counter and moved toward her. "I know this looks a mess, but in a week or so, you won't be able to recognize your new kitchen."
"That's probably why Dan's mom asked Greta and me to dinner this evening," she checked her watch, "in half an hour."
"Great. Then I'll see you there. They invited me, too."
Surprise flitted through Sam while Jeff's smile riveted her full attention. "They did?"
"Didn't they tell you I live next door to them?"
"No. Dan Sr. just told me you were a great carpenter and would give me a good deal on the remodeling." Which he had. Now she wondered if Dan's father was also paying for part of the renovation. If he was, she would have to rethink how much she could repair and fix up because she was determined to at least pay for this.
He plowed his fingers through his hair, a gleam in his blue eyes. "And that I did because I've wanted to do this house for a long time." He scanned the kitchen. "And it needs it. I'm surprised you two are living here with the house in the condition it is in."
She'd made it clear she couldn't stay long with Dan's parents when she'd first moved to Sunrise. If it wasn't for Greta, she wouldn't have accepted any help from them. "It's not so bad." Even if the plumbing was giving her fits and the lights were flickering at odd times. Not to mention the cabinet door that had come off in her hands yesterday morning when she'd gotten a bowl for Greta's cereal.
"Mommy, Ashley's mom wrote you a note, too." Greta hopped off the couch, hurried toward Sam and stuffed the sheet of paper into her hands. "Do ya think they're coming to visit?"
"Not until summer," Sam said, glancing down at the letter. She felt the color drain from her face when she read the words, "And that woman I told you about came back today and asked questions about where you are. She was quite upset when I wouldn't tell her. She started yelling at me. I called the police, but she was gone by the time they came."