It was a toss-up between running the obstacle course of Gretchen to see Stacy right away and make arrangements to catch up on old times -- or avoiding Gretchen and risking missing out on seeing Stacy, maybe not catching up with her until the reception. That was on Friday, and he had to head back to South Dakota on Monday.
Drake laughed aloud when the slam-bang of the overhead door of the delivery truck closing interrupted his weary musing. He really had been up too long and his brain moved at half-speed. The delivery was done without him even noticing. He waved to the driver as the man got in the truck, and waited until it pulled away. Then he shifted the Jeep back into gear and pulled into the long driveway that curved around the back of the house. How did all those girls manage to get such expensive, late-model sports cars, such a short time after graduation? Sure, most of their "crowd" when they grew up were the founding families, as close to "old money" as Tabor Heights could get, but didn't anybody have to work for what they had anymore? Or did only his parents believe that things that were earned were more valuable?
Late January, but he noticed the Christmas lights were still wrapped around the topiaries in the formal garden on the right, and the nativity scene still sat on the plywood cover over the goldfish pond. When Mrs. Belmont had been their housekeeper and majordomo of the household, everything would have been put away precisely one week after New Year's Day.He missed Mrs. Belmont, who had counseled him over boyhood mishaps and disappointments when he was ashamed to go to his parents. Who helped him with Christmas shopping and cleaned up the worst of his scraped knees and other assorted injuries -- and arranged for the replacement of many broken windows. His parents had never been absent or too busy for him and Dinah, but their lives were so full that Mrs. Belmont was a necessity. The grandmother that neither of their parents had been able to give him and Dinah. Stacy had been like a little sister in many ways. She had arrived with her grandmother the day she was hired, a quiet toddler who preferred books and helping with the baking than playing with dolls or dress up with Dinah. Her imagination had fired many of the adventures the threesome went on, when the girls were in middle school and Drake discovered maybe his younger sister wasn't so icky after all.