At 4 PM sharp, Dad pulled up by the middle school bike racks in his truck. “Ready to go?”
I nodded yes then jestered to Melody, the reason I would have to stay after again tomorrow, who was leaning up against the rack with me.
“Yes, of course we'll give Mel a ride home.” Dad always called her Mel, never Melody. He shortened everyone's name, Molls, Mel, Jeff, Marg, All but mine. I was always Sarah.
My bike stowed in the back, us girls seated and belted, we were well on our way down the long school driveway before he started asking the usual parental questions. So how was your day? Melody was silent. I mumbled fine.
“How was getting to school this morning?”
A long sigh escaped before I could stop it. “I was late. Missed my first period exam...”
And not letting me finish, Dad interjected, “But you took it this afternoon correct?”
I shot a glance at Melody. “No I didn't get the chance.”
His brow furrowed, “Well then tomorrow?”
“Probably... pick me up again?”
“Your mom is due in tomorrow around noon. So either Mom or I, or both”, he smiled, “will come and get you. No worries.”
I had heard the promise of Mom's return before. The plane ticket bought. Her bags packed and then something else would come up. First it was some legal stuff regarding selling the Marché house. No first it was where would Carolyn live and who was her legal guardian? Her legal guardian was easy, it was Mom. And where would she live? Well that was a sticking point.
Finishing the year at Bainbridge High seemed a no brainer. At first, everyone assumed Carolyn would continue to stay on with Bobbie and her family. But something happen, and no one was talking. All I know is one week after her mom's passing, Carolyn wasn't welcome there anymore. So another couple of weeks passed while Mom found and made her living arrangements. Last I heard she was living with old Mrs. O'Brien. The neighbor who babysat for Molly and I. Some days, even now three years since our move, I can almost taste her fresh baked warm chocolate chip cookies. Made with dark bitter sweet morsels, not the semi sweet. And I would just about kill for one of her cookies. Lucky Carolyn.
“Do you think she's really coming home?”
Not taking his eye off the winding dusky road, Dad nodded yes.
“And will she be alone?” This question caught even Melody's attention. She had heard all about Carolyn and if I had to guess, she wasn't any more pleased than I was that Carolyn, in all likelihood, would be moving in with us.
“Last I heard, Carolyn has moved in with Mrs. O'Brien until the end of the school year.”