A sentence the bishop’s wife hadn’t heard in church before: “She didn’t have a thing on under it!”
She slowed her stride. She didn’t stop and turn, having learned long ago that paying close attention to what a teenager was saying was the worse way to find out what he was saying.
“Get out!” That was Brian Shore.
“I’m telling you, I was sitting five feet away from her!” That was Gary Reed.
“What were you doing five feet away from her?”
Yes, Gary, what were you doing?
“Hey, she invited us in. And she gave us a contribution. She’s gotta be a movie star or something. Like that Touched by an Angel chick. She had a funny accent and this unbelievable hair. I mean, it was so white it was almost silver.”
Were platinum blondes so rare these days? In the church foyer, the boys walked past her and pushed through the doors into the bright sunlight. Ah! Rachel said to herself. LaDawn’s new tenant. Glen hadn’t sorted any of the fast offering envelopes. So they must have stopped at the Lindstroms’ place too.
Rachel walked home with Laura. At times like this, without Jennifer by her side, she ached to hold her daughter’s hand, but Laura was long past the hand-holding stage. Instead Rachel whispered to her, “You look very pretty in that dress.”
“Mom!” Laura protested. But her mother saw how her daughter beamed when she turned away.
The house smelled of roast beef. Rachel turned the swamp cooler on low. She changed into a blue paisley housedress and set to work on dinner. Her husband walked in the door at a quarter to three. Small miracles did happen. She called out, “We’ll be ready to eat in ten minutes. Laura, come down and set the table!”
David hung his suit coat on the banister post. He got the plates out of the cupboard and handed them to his daughter. “So, Laura, what did you learn in Sunday school today?”
“Some babe moved into the Lindstroms’ place.” She said it in such a way to indicate that the source of the information was a jerk. “Gary said they were collecting fast offerings and this half-naked lady answered the door.” She added quickly, “That’s what Gary said.”
“That’s right.” The bishop went to the banister and got his cell phone from the pocket of his suit coat. “Glen mentioned a contribution from a new member. Ah, yes. From Milada Daranyi, 1204 Larkspur Lane. Must be LaDawn’s new tenant.”
“Milada Daranyi,” Rachel echoed. “What an interesting name.”
Laura said, “Like I’m sure she’s a member.”
“Still, we should say hello,” Rachel said. “No one’s been assigned to the welcoming committee yet.”
“I assigned you, as I recall.” David glanced at his watch. “We’re going to the hospital after dinner to see Jennifer. Do you want to come with, Laura?”
Laura gave him a pained look. “She’s always the same, Dad. She just lies there.”
“Okay, Laura. You don’t have to.”
Laura sat down at the table and announced, “I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”
Her mother returned to the stove. She said over her shoulder, “Why don’t we stop and see Sister—Miss—Daranyi on the way back from the hospital?”
David thought that was a good idea.