A Dangerous Love (Chapter 2, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 2

The next few days ran together. Occasionally Howard would ask her questions, but mostly he and Connie handled the plans by themselves. Try as they might, they were unable to find relatives closer than third cousins who lived in Colorado. They were a family who knew all they had was each other. It was something they had learned to accept. They all leaned on each other in hard times.

Lisa came home from the hospital the day before the funeral and Connie insisted on staying with her for a while. Other than the fact that she and Howard had already disrupted their lives enough for her, it was comforting to have her there. As she stared at the caskets she knew she should feel something - should cry. And yet the numbness hung over her like a thick fog. Through it she heard the mumbling of the reverend, but not the words. Len and Howard took turns at her side throughout the funeral and at graveside. Together they led her away. They watched her with matching troubled expressions, asking the same questions and getting the same answer. It was so surreal that it was almost mundane.

Connie and Howard talked to the school, making arrangements for graduation. Their efforts relieved her of concern about the ceremony. The diploma was given to her in the privacy of the principle's office.

Connie had moved into the house for a while. Her presence was reassuring but she was driving extra miles to work every day. Lisa got up every morning and fixed breakfast. After the dishes were done and the beds made, she usually wandered around the house or sat in the yard, soaking up sun. Twice Len came to visit and Howard was there every night. Once someone from church came by to see if she needed help. They hadn't seen her in church for a while and they were worried about her.

Gradually the numbness gave way to pain. The antidepressants didn't help that much, but maybe they were responsible for the fact that she had not lost control yet.

Lisa was making the beds one morning and Connie was in the bathroom brushing her teeth.

"You know," Lisa said, "you don't need to stay here and take care of me any longer. I can take care of myself."

Connie looked at her in the mirror. "You're not ready yet," she said around a mouth full of white foam. "You haven't even cried yet."

"I'm as ready as I'm ever going to get," Lisa responded without emotion. "And what does crying help? It won't bring them back."

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