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Saturday, December 26, 2015

TRUCK STOP ANGEL: Excerpt #12

As much fun as it was to spend her days setting up the diner, able to relax and enjoy the feeling of being part of something good -- and freedom from having to deal with the public for a while -- Hope needed a break, a change from the routine her life had already fallen into. She felt guilty over all the help that came from the Randolphs, the abundance of groceries and furniture and the replaced, sturdier doors and locks that surprised her when she came home from the diner last week. Max and Tony assured her repeatedly that the furniture was a loan until she could get better, but that only did a little to ease what she knew was a ridiculous sense of guilt and unworthiness. The apologies heaped on her by the Randolphs and various friends from church for letting her fall through the cracks didn't help. Hope felt just guilty enough over the sudden abundance of attention and help to readily acquiesce when Max and Tony asked her to come with them to the BWU community festival. Joel and Emily insisted on babysitting the children at the theater so she could have a night out. Hope hesitated to accept, until she learned that it would be a children's party with BJ Lewis, Sammy Hunter, and Izzy Evans. As Emily laughingly said, BJ needed Billy and Joey so he wouldn't be outnumbered by the girls.

Hope felt somewhat unbalanced, spending time away from her home, in the evening, without her children. For so long, her life had revolved between work and home, and her children were always with her when they weren't in school or at the Mission. At first, she wasn't sure what to say to Max and Tony. Then she realized they felt just as awkward as her over the long silence between them. Tony asked about the diner and Iris's plans, what progress they had made in the last week, and it wasn't long before they were talking and laughing and reminiscing, and not paying much attention to the various activities on the BWU campus. Hope was interested in the plans to start a dinner theater at Homespun and threatened to have Iris steal Audrey for the diner if she ever wanted to leave Stay-a-While.

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