Eminent Domain, 12: The Penn Dot Engineers, 2

February 11, 1988
Part 2, Oh, She Died…

Alex woke to the smell of coffee and bacon. He leaped out of bed, thinking he had overslept and would miss another 8:00 call from Ross. The clock by the bed read 6:00, and Angie was already up. He walked downstairs into the kitchen for some coffee, and she was standing at the stove frying bacon. A measuring cup filled with beaten eggs was next to her on the counter. She turned around and smiled. “If you have a gigantic, pressurized day today, the least I can do is cook you a good breakfast.”

“Wow. Have I died and gone to heaven? Do I have time for a quick shower?”

“You do.”

He glanced over at the newspaper folded on the table. “What’s on the front page? Did you read it?”

“Yes.” She paused. “There’s an obituary of the woman who was in the accident.”

“Oh. She died…” He sat down heavily and read the article. “She was a teacher in Hattiesville. They were celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary by going out to dinner… Shit.” He looked up. “Did you read it?”

She nodded. Her back was to him, so he couldn’t see her tears. She stirred the eggs and put bread in the toaster. The baby kicked. She blinked several times to get rid of her watery eyes and then she said. “Here now. Your breakfast is almost ready, so postpone your shower.”

Angie turned to get plates and saw Alex, his chin in his hands staring at the newspaper. She walked over to him and touched his shoulder.  Bending down she took his chin and lifted it up. His eyes were shiny, and she kissed his damp eyelids.

He leaned into her waist and put his hand on her belly. “Angie, this is going to work for us. We’ve started out with strikes against us, and we are still finding our way with each other, but we’re going to love each other, and we’re going to love this little baby and be the best parents we can be.”

Her eyes filled with tears in earnest now, and they spilled down onto his hand. “Yes, we will,” she whispered.

“It’s just going to be really hard for these next few weeks, maybe months. Really hard. Do you think we can handle it?”

“I can keep busy here. I’ve got lots to do in the baby’s room — making curtains, painting a dresser — you know, nesting.” She smiled. “But you have to promise me that even if this project goes longer than you expect, you won’t miss this little one’s birth.”

“I sure hope it doesn’t go that long! But yes, I absolutely promise. Except, I don’t know how much help I’ll be. I don’t like hospitals much…” He pulled her on to his lap. “Angie, I…” She put her fingers on his lips.

“Shh, Alex. We’re starting our new married life, here today, right now. Nothing else matters.” She leaned her head into his and Alex stroked her hair. At the touch of his hand, Angela McCall Goddard suddenly felt the axis of her world shift and realign.

They ate their breakfast in a peacefulness that had been absent in their lives up until this moment. When Alex got up to take his shower, he bent down and brushed his lips on her ear. “I do love you, Angela. Thank you.”

He went upstairs, and she continued to sit at the table. This. This was what she had yearned for, longed for — it would be their chance. Up to this very morning, even a few minutes ago, she had been unsure if their marriage would be solid. Built on nothing but a night of passion and his assurance that it was the right thing to do, she had hoped with all her being it would be more.

And now… in one small minute, she was assured. Everything would be right — her husband would love her. Alex, the gourmet chef, had even liked her cooking this morning. She would start today making and freezing casseroles and lasagna that they could use later on when they were both too tired to cook. She bowed her head right there at the table and thanked God for the words of love her new husband had spoken. Haltingly she asked him to forgive her for being too long away and asked for strength and unselfishness for herself and strength and wisdom for Alex.

The first chapters of this novel, Eminent Domain, can be found by clicking here, or by clicking on Fiction Projects in the menu bar.

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