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“Right! Now we’re building a small dock and gazebo on Bonnet Island. Luke has been instrumental with the project.”

“It’s pretty fabulous,” Katrina said. “You’ll see it Sunday.”

They finished up lunch and parted ways in the parking lot, promising to continue their visit later.

With only a few miles until they were home, Bridget didn’t think she should start a big conversation about Sundays at Maggie Angel’s, but Luke had never mentioned going there. Out of curiosity, she would get the basics answered.

“Do you take the baby when you go?”

“I do. The women who aren’t working on the project take turns staying at the cottage to oversee the babysitters Maggie hires. There are always like three or four teenagers there. Dave and Katrina have a regular weekend nanny and she comes just for their son because you have to be a sprinter to keep up with him.”

“That’s pretty funny. I guess I’m surprised because you never mentioned going. I think there’s a lot I don’t know about you, Luke Esprit,” she said, looking at him sidelong. It was kind of exciting. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“It wasn’t important to me. I was helping because I could. When I talked to you, I wanted to talk about you and Emily. About us. Not a bunch of other people. I never socialized when I went.”

“They’re my cousins,” she said, laughing. But she patted his hand. “I understand. You have nothing to say for yourself. You are about the humblest man I have ever met.”

“I’m the most boring,” he said, squeezing her hand. “Anyway, they are all coming to the house on Saturday for your welcome home party. Your three cousins and their significant others.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “Then I won’t feel like we can’t go to Bayou Cottage on Sunday.”

“I’ve never gotten the feeling that they expect reciprocation. Maggie has even said that she likes people to come to them so she doesn’t have to leave Bayou Cottage.

“Anyway, like Dave said, we do projects that would cost them big-time if they paid. Volunteer labor is doing the work. I’m happy to do it, just so you know I’m not complaining.”

“Interesting,” Bridget replied. “I’ll do what I can to make the family feel welcome here. Does Maggie feed you when you’re there to work?”

“Coffee and donuts,” Luke said, laughing. “I never brought food because I never ate, but the others bring potluck.”

“What you’re saying is that she is having all of this work done on her property, but isn’t feeding the workers?”

“Well, sort of. But the trade-off is getting to be at Bayou Cottage. You felt it when you were there, didn’t you?”

“I guess so. It’s a special place.”

“And remember, Justin is helping me reconfigure this place back into a single family with one apartment.”

He pulled into the driveway of their house, but rather than pulling around the circle under the portico, he drove down the side of the yard to the new ramp.

“Oh man, look at that! Did you build that? What am I saying, of course you built that!”

“Ha! Not alone. Your cousins got wind of it and stopped by over the weekend to help me. It was a complete surprise.”

“I guess since you built their barn…”

“Well, not exactly.” He laughed, grabbing her hand. “Are you ready?”

“I am so ready.”

Chapter 8

The first night home, in bed with Luke, she had a nightmare where she woke up screaming, crying, begging for something unintelligible. It shocked Luke, who grabbed her, petting her, trying to get her to calm down.

“What happened?” he asked when she was awake, drained, emotionally exhausted.

With tears streaming down her face, she admitted for the first time the guilt she felt for losing her patient and the little girl.

“I can’t stop thinking about the injured woman and her child that I had just put in the transport vehicle, only to have it hit by the bomb. Metal from the truck hit me in the back of the leg. I wonder if that’s my punishment.”

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