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Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21: THE FAMILY WAY

      Kevin and Karla came to the hospital to visit, just after the doctor decided to keep Lisa another day, to make sure she was a little stronger before sending her home -- with strict orders to do nothing but rest and eat and avoid stress for the next week, before resuming her normal activities. By this time, Lisa felt embarrassed by the balloons and bouquets and planters that filled all the horizontal surfaces in her room. At the same time, something quietly gloated and gloried in the proof that people cared about her. Bekka, Kat and Amy came by the night before with flowers and her favorite trail mix, and offers to loan her DVDs and videos and books when she got home from the hospital. Jeannette Marshall had visited that morning before the doctor had stopped with his orders, and nearly burst into tears when Lisa asked her for advice on raising a baby on her own.      "You won't be alone," Jeannette had insisted. "You'll have the entire church behind you, just like I did. But I'm sure Todd will straighten up and do what's right."      Lisa hadn't been able to argue with her, but she had given up hope of Todd ever proving his love, so she didn't agree with Jeanette, either.      She was too tired to pay much attention when Kevin and Karla got the same report and orders from the doctor. If only she could get warm. The air felt and tasted thick and smelled like a greenhouse, thanks to all the flowers and planters. Lisa tugged the blankets a little higher and wished Terri had brought her winter robe instead of her summer one. Why couldn't her room be as warm as a greenhouse, instead of just smelling like one? Would she ever feel warm again?      "I know the doctor said to avoid stress," Kevin said, once the doctor had gone down the hall, finally leaving them alone.      "What?" She blinked several times before realizing Karla held out some folded sheets of paper to her.      "The restraining order against our father," her sister-in-law said quietly. "And one for Todd. I think in the interest of future reconciliation, you should just keep it on hand, don't sign it right away. I do want you to sign the first one. Kevin and I, and the other girls, have signed it already. It takes your signature, since you're the one in danger."      "Does Xander--"      "I agree with him. Filing the restraining order will have some bearing if Arthur Montgomery tries to file for custody of your baby before it's born," Kevin said. "Sports figures can get away with stunts like that -- especially when the mothers of their babies are drug addicts and thieves and a danger to everyone around them. If you've registered a complaint against him first, it will go a long way towards defeating his claims against you."      Lisa wondered why she hesitated before she signed all three copies of the request for a restraining order. Kevin was doing this in her best interests. She was grateful that someone was looking out for her, ready to take whatever measures necessary to protect her.      Maybe, she decided later, after she was alone in her room, the problem was that if her husband had been doing his duty, she wouldn't need anyone to protect her but him. And if something didn't change soon, she might end up signing those papers with Todd's name on them.

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