Forgiveness Rewards Chapter 3

Rachel Discovers Heaven on Earth

Neither of the parents knew their daughter had been listening having emerged from her room and come downstairs using crutches to get a soda from the refrigerator. It was hard manipulating those stairs with crutches so she had to be very careful not to fall as that would be catastrophic for her leg. She’d been urged to take one of the downstairs guestrooms after release from hospital but loved her room with the plate glass wall overlooking the street at the end of a spacious driveway and had promised to use extreme care moving up and down those stairs. The house was carpeted so footsteps were not heard. She joined her parents on the lounge and they stared at her. Father spoke.

“Have you been listening to our conversation Glenny. I’m so sorry you had to hear that. You should probably avoid contact with her in future as it would be painful to know it was her brother who put you in this situation.”

Glennis smiled sadly. “Dad she’s not responsible for what her brother did to me, and she obviously needs to have someone to give her a help up in life. I still want to help her. and I’d like to have you meet her tomorrow afternoon mom just as you’d planned to do before you discovered her brother probably put me in hospital. Would you do that for me?”

Malcolm hesitated and looked at his wife. His daughter was being magnanimous, but he’d find it hard to forgive the one who put his precious daughter at risk. His wife Carole reached across and took his hand.

“Let me meet with Rachel Malcolm and I’ll judge whether we should give her a chance. I greatly appreciate our daughter’s forgiving spirit because if I were in her position, I may not have been that generous regardless of the need. I’m proud of you Glenny. You’ve taught me a lesson in forgiveness.” She hugged her daughter and Glennis struggled upstairs with her soda to finish assignments.

Next afternoon after a lengthy argument with Rachel the teenager finally agreed to a visit home on the pretext of selecting from clothes Glennis had grown out of. She almost panicked when they turned into the spacious driveway leading up to the Abbot mansion in Bernard’s jeep. This was way out of her league, and she was frightened as she distrusted adults and was not looking forward to this encounter.

Rachel grasped Bernard’s hand. “Does your father drink or do drugs?”

“Our parents are not like what you’ve experienced Shell. Don’t be afraid. Our mom is at home, but dad is in his surgery office this afternoon as he is a medical specialist. You’d like them both.”

Carole Abbot welcomed the three of them. Glennis used her crutches to make her way slowly into the house while Bernard retrieved her wheelchair and bought it inside while Rachel watched. Carole led them to the kitchen deck where she distributed cookies and soda. The sight of these delectables temporarily broke through Shell’s fears and she joined in their enthusiastic consumption. Carole chatted with Rachel in this unthreatening environment expertly drawing out of the teen attitudes and perspectives. Her first impressions were good. but she needed more time to size the girl up. She turned to her daughter.

“You can give Rachel anything you want Glenny. I wonder if she’d like to stay over this evening, that is if her parents wouldn’t have any objections.”

Glennis smiled. She knew her mother was pretending she didn’t know anything about Rachel’s homelife so the girl wouldn’t be embarrassed. She turned to her guest.

“Can you stay over this evening Shell? It will give us time to adjust any clothes you like to the size you need if they don’t quite fit as I have a sewing machine in my craft room attached.”

Shell’s eyes grew wide in fear, this suggestion was way outside her comfort zone. She didn’t know if it were safe here. Everything was so big, and she thought of the relative safety of her hiding place on the beach at night.

“I can’t stay!” She stammered.

“Let’s go upstairs and select some clothes for you.” Glennis decided this was the best way to diffuse the situation.

Rachel watched as Glennis carefully made her way upstairs on crutches and gasped when they entered her room. It was the most beautiful thing Rachel had ever seen. Glennis gratefully slipped into the home wheelchair as she could easily negotiate around the room without putting pressure on her leg. She’d become adept at slipping between crutches and wheelchair depending on the circumstances. The afternoon went quickly, and Glennis looked at her cell phone to read the message just arrived.

“It’s supper time Shell. Let’s get downstairs and eat.”

“I need to go home to the beach Glennis it’s getting late.”

“We need to do more work here so let’s eat and come back upstairs to finish selecting your clothes.”

Rachel followed Glennis downstairs slowly and was led to the table which was filled with all kinds of food that made Rachel’s mouth water. They were seated at the table when Malcolm burst through the front door apologizing for being late from the office and took his place at the head of the table. He glanced at their guest and forced himself to smile.

“Welcome to our home Rachel.” He turned his attention to carving up the roast and Carole facilitated as dishes were handed around for people to select their food. Rachel watched it all with amazement and Glennis whispered prompts as each dish was passed around. Shell took small samples of each as she was unfamiliar with this kind of cooked food. Glennis whispered instructions on how to use cutlery while parents pretended not to look so the teen wouldn’t be embarrassed.

After it was all over and the usual after dinner conversation on day’s activities finished Rachel followed Glennis back to her room. It hadn’t been as threatening as she’d imagined, and she began to yearn for this lifestyle.

“I need to go back home Glennis will Bernard take me?” This time the question was tentative, and she hoped against hope Glennis would insist on her staying.

“Let’s finish this clothes selection and then we can watch TV for a while.” Glennis was reeling her in gently. A feeling of peace came over this homeless girl and she said no more but just followed Glennis’ lead. During TV she nodded peacefully into sleep and Glennis woke her.

“Shell let’s have our showers and go to bed. I see you’re feeling sleepy and perhaps you could help me in and out of the shower. I’ll give you some pajamas to wear after you’ve showered. Tomorrow morning, I want to do your hair before we begin the day and see these new clothes on you. You’re a pretty girl and need to feel good to face a new day.”

Rachel followed Glennis’ instructions mechanically dressed in the pajamas produced and lay down on the side of the bed indicated. It was so soft. She missed the gentle stirring of the ocean at night but was at peace in this place and thought this had to be heaven. Before falling asleep she mumbled.

“Why are you being nice to me Glennis. What do you expect in return?”

Glennis laughed. “I don’t expect anything. Just go to sleep.”

Rachel Jones fell into a deep sleep and was startled to be shaken awake at 6am next morning. It was Glennis.

“Wake up sleepy head, we need to wash and get dressed quickly. Breakfast will be at 7am but my father will already be at the hospital, so he won’t be with us as he has surgeries early in the morning and appointments in his office in the afternoons unless there’s an emergency.

Rachel handed the pajamas to Glennis and Glennis laughed. “Fold them and put them under the pillow. I need you to stay and help me today, so you’ll need them again in the evening. Now into the shower first and you can help me in and out when I take my shower afterward. I’m going to use my special hair shampoo and conditioner on you to counteract the saltwater effect on your hair. Then I want to style your hair, but we need to act quickly so we are not late for breakfast.”

It all sounded strange to this homeless girl, but she was enjoying herself and relaxed in the atmosphere of this home. She was beginning to feel sad she’d have to go back to her secret hideaway on the beach with alertness throughout each night in case some drunken man found her and tried his luck with her. Glennis worked silently on her hair then smiled with satisfaction at her handiwork in the mirror.

“Shell you look beautiful!”

Rachel looked at the mirror in wonderment as a stranger looked back at her. Then Glennis led her to the pile of clothes at the hobby space and selected an outfit.

“Put it on quickly, we are a bit late for breakfast and it takes me a while to get down those stairs on crutches.”

Bernard was already at the table sampling hot pancakes his mother was stacking on a plate at the table as they came off the hotplate. On the table was an assortment of strawberries, blackberries, apple sauce, butter, and maple syrup. Glennis paused on her crutches to give her brother a playful slap. “You didn’t wait for us so slow down so we can have some too.”

After breakfast Rachel asked if she could help stack dishes in the dishwasher. She’d watched Carole putting some dishes in and wanted to know why she was putting them unwashed in this machine. Everything in the house was clean so why was this woman putting dirty dishes away.

Carole smiled at the offer to help. It was too difficult for her daughter to do this now getting around on crutches in the kitchen and she missed that. At least the girl was helpful, that was a good sign. Carole had no idea that Rachel was wondering why they were filing away dirty dishes.

“Thank you, Rachel. I’d like some help cleaning up in the kitchen and Glennis can’t help now. Come and I’ll show you how it’s done.”

The girl rinsed off pots pans and dishes and stacked them as instructed taking care to treat all these items which were treasures in her mind. Not much use on the beach but treasures indeed.

Carole watched her closely and liked what she saw but she needed to have more time to decide about what was going through her mind. Glennis had done a good job in making the girl presentable and she could see possibilities.

“Rachel would you be able to help me in the garden for a while. Glennis can’t help now, and Bernard is off to college soon.”

“I don’t mind helping but you must show me what to do because I haven’t done this before. When is Bernard taking me back to the beach?”

“Come, let’s go outside and we’ll give Glennis the morning by herself to do her college work on the internet. I’d like it if you could help me today and when Bernard comes home from school you can all go to the beach. Is that OK with you?”

The girl nodded and followed Carole outside. Carole handed her garden gloves and the two of them spent the morning trimming, weeding, and planting. This was a new experience for Rachel, and she loved it. The two women chatted away and Carole skillfully drew the girl’s life experience out of her. Rachel answered all Carole’s questions truthfully and the more they talked the more Carole determined to convince her husband to give the girl a chance. She would try and persuade her husband to take her into the home and provide a future for her.

To be continued

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© Copyright 2023 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved.

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