With a house the size of Blue Hydrangeas, their 12-room bed-and-breakfast in Falmouthport, Massachusetts, a picturesque village perched on the edge of Nantucket Sound, she always had something to do. They'd opened their doors for the first time this past summer and business was brisk. Their six guest rooms were fully occupied most weeks with honeymooners, golfers, and antique shoppers. The fall's lull in tourism had given them a chance to catch up on heavy housework and maintenance, but now Christmas was upon them - tomorrow! - and she had a to-do list to finish.
Fortunately, the weather service had forecasted the storm earlier in the week - just a few inches, they'd predicted, no need to worry - and with her husband's help most of her list was checked off. But two days ago, Jack had to make an unexpected trip to New York City for a legal matter, a deposition of some sort for the drug company he used to work for, and she was alone at the house, awaiting his return. She'd have to finish the rest of her list on her own.
She didn't mind. She loved to bake and cook. It's why she became an innkeeper. Her chores and preparations for the holiday helped distract her from thoughts of Jack, traveling hundreds of miles in this wretched weather. She worried about him making his way along I-95 at a snail's pace, driving into the storm as it traveled south from New England into New York. He'd called just before bed the night before and promised to be home by noon.
She'd thought her worrying-about-Jack-on-the-road-days were over when he retired from his job as a district sales manager. He'd traveled the east coast from New England to Maryland for years and knew the interstates well. She trusted his handling of his Cadillac in any conditions and knew if the roads became too dangerous he'd use his common sense and wait out the storm in some diner or truck stop.
She was also concerned about her son, David, a graduate assistant at a large university in Boston. He'd called a week ago to say he was bringing a friend home for Christmas, no details, but they couldn't leave the city until he completed work on a research project for one of the professors. Bogged down with grading his first set of finals and papers for the entry level English courses he taught, he fell behind at the semester's end and had to catch up. He'd called earlier that morning and said they'd hit the road around nine and would arrive before lunch.
The holiday prep was also a sort of therapy, keeping her mind off the troubling fact that this would be the fifth Christmas without their precious daughter Lisa, who had drowned in a tragic accident on their summer vacation. Time heals all wounds, they said, but Sara had concluded long ago that some wounds never heal, and the loss of a child topped that list. She'd set aside her sorrow and do whatever she could to ensure they'd have a happy holiday despite their painful loss.
She glanced out the window once more and uttered a quick prayer that both of her men would come home safe and soon.
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