A Courageous Battle (Chapter 4, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 4

THE NEXT MORNING, Lacey resumed the sorting of her parents'

things. Why did they keep all these bills? Every driver's license Dad ever had is here! My goodness, he kept all my old report cards. A new pang of sorrow gripped her as she leafed through these, reliving the taunts and rejection that still hurt after all these years..

Her thoughts turned to the huge shock it had been to lose her parents. She'd denied it at first. It cannot be real. I just saw them. They never went anywhere before, so how could they die just like that on their very first vacation? She had gone to work as usual each day and she'd kept thinking things like I will stop and get groceries on the way home so Daddy will not have to do it, then suddenly realizing that her father was gone.

There had been no funeral. There were no bodies to bury.

There was a will; everything had been left to her. But when she went to the bank, she'd discovered that her parents' account was almost empty. A bank representative told her there were car payments, and the house had been re-mortgaged just months before. Why? To pay for a trip to Europe? "And there are taxes to pay every quarter," he'd added solemnly.

In a panic, and with no one to talk to, Lacey hadn't known what to do. If I do not pay the mortgage will they take the house away and give me nothing? If I sell the house, will I get enough to go to school and pay rent? I have never lived alone. How can I live alone? How do you sell a house, anyway? She sighed and opened another garbage bag. In her heart, she knew she would have to move, but she was incapable of working out the details. Will Roger help? All day long she kept looking out the front window hoping to see him. She wondered about cooking for him, but didn't want to impose if he didn't plan on staying. By six o'clock she was frantic. She phoned. "Hi, Mrs. Brock, is Roger there?"

"Sorry, Lacey, he went out. He didn't say when he'd be back. Is there something I can do for you?"

"No, thanks. Just tell him I called, will you?" She hung up and dissolved into tears.

AFTER WORK on Monday Lacey was wondering if it would annoy Mrs. Brock if she phoned again, when she saw Roger coming up his driveway on his bike. She rushed to open the door.

He saw her, hesitated, and then walked slowly toward her.

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