This was nice, Ruby thought. For once her mind wasn’t whirling with doubts.
“So, how is your day going, Dad?” Aidan asked, sounding older than his years.
Liam grinned. “Pretty interesting. A very familiar face popped by.”
“Jasper!” Aidan guessed. “Was it his heart again?” he asked, referencing the heart problems that had sidelined Jasper almost two years ago.
“Nope. It was your cousin, Emma. She had an ear infection.”
“Oh, that’s yucky!” Aidan made a face. “I’m going to say a prayer for her tonight before I go to sleep.”
“Praying for her is a wonderful idea,” Liam said. He reached out and patted Aidan on the shoulder. Father and son. When they were sitting next to each other like this, Ruby could see the resemblance. They had the same dark brown hair and their facial expressions were identical. Aidan had her eyes, though—they were a warm shade of brown.
“Someone slipped this under the door this morning after you left.” Ruby slid a brightly colored card across the table. Liam wiped his hands on his napkin then picked up the card and read it out loud. “‘You are invited to a Get To Know Us tea party. Get dressed up and come spend some time with us. Tea will be served promptly at four o’clock at Hazel’s Lodge.’” There were names scrawled across the bottom. Hazel. Grace. Paige. Sophie. Honor. And Annie.
Ruby had almost burst into tears the moment she’d read the gorgeous invitation. These ladies were being thoughtful and caring. They were trying to be sensitive of the fact that she had amnesia and didn’t have memories to draw on. And they were pulling her into the fold by extending this thoughtful invitation to her. Although she had acquaintances in Colorado, her closest friends had been Ezra and Trudy, who were senior citizens. Ruby loved them dearly, but there hadn’t been any real common ground.
In Love, Alaska, she had blood relations and family ties. A best friend. A hunky husband who made her stomach do flip-flops. Whether she remembered it or not, she had history.
“So...are you going?” Liam asked. He was tapping his fingers on the table as if her answer was important to him.
“Of course. How could I say no?” Ruby asked. “It will give me an opportunity to renew some friendships and step out on that limb. Not to mention it will give me a reason to get a little gussied up. I’m getting tired of wearing nothing but jeans and leggings.” She felt a little self-conscious as Liam’s eyes honed in on her like laser beams.
“I think you look pretty awesome in jeans,” Liam said, flashing her a cheeky grin.
She raised her hands to her heated cheeks. The compliment washed over her like warm rain. As if he needed to do anything else to make her heart go pitter-patter. During lunch she had struggled to tear her eyes away from his jaw-droppingly handsome face. Several times her gaze had lingered way too long. She’d been certain he had noticed her perusal, although he hadn’t let on.
What had it been like, she wondered, to be this man’s wife? To be adored and protected by such a strong, upstanding man must have been amazing. Liam was a hottie. It was undeniable. In his white lab coat and with his stethoscope hanging around his neck, he looked even more impressive.
But allowing her mind to veer toward romance wasn’t smart. Not when she still didn’t have any recollection of him or their life together. How could she allow herself to fall for Liam when she didn’t know who she herself was?
“Well, we should get going and let you get back to work,” Ruby said in a brisk voice. She stood and smoothed her hands against the fabric of her jeans. She began tidying the table and packing up the remnants from lunch.
“Aw. Is it time to leave already?” Aidan pouted.
Liam stood and lifted Aidan into his arms. “No worries, A-man. I’ll be home before you know it. Maybe we can take a walk in the woods behind the house and leave some food for your reindeers.”
“Yes!” Aidan cried as he raised his fist in the air.
Liam always knew what to say to make things better for their son. He did it so effortlessly, she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy. Had she once had that particular talent? A memory tugged at her. She was pushing Aidan in a little swing to stop him from crying. Every time he went up in the air he pumped his little legs. For a moment she simply reveled in the recollection. It was real! She just knew it. And before long she would be remembering other things—perhaps about her friendship with Paige, her parents, Aidan’s first moments...and her romantic journey with Liam.
Please, Lord, let me remember more about my life in Love. I don’t want to walk around not feeling whole anymore. Let me learn more about myself so I can be a better woman. Not just for myself, but for Aidan and Liam, as well.
Ever since Ruby’s return, coming home after work had been the highlight of Liam’s day. As he drove down the private lane leading to the house, his chest always felt as if it might burst with expectation. It was a strange feeling since it reminded him of the early days when he’d first fallen in love with Ruby. Back then he had been full of a mixture of excitement and dread. He had been so afraid of losing her. It had always seemed to Liam that being with Ruby was like catching lightning in a bottle. It still stunned him to this day that all of his prayers had been answered when she’d fallen deeply in love with him.
God had blessed them both. And even though the current situation wasn’t ideal, he had to remind himself to stay focused on the blessings.
Liam drove into the driveway and stared at the log cabin nestled in the woods. A soft, amber-colored light emanated from inside. This was his haven. He had always loved their abode, but now it felt like home again. During Ruby’s absence he had tried to fill the house with as much love as he could, but he’d never been able to replicate all of the things Ruby had infused into their home. A woman’s touch. A mother’s nurturing instincts. A soft place to fall.
And despite her amnesia, she still brought her own ray of light along with her. It had subtly transformed their house into a home.
With each and every day that passed, he was finding it hard to imagine being without Ruby ever again. Although the question still remained. Would Ruby stay on in Love? Or would she return to the life she’d been living in Denver? The very thought of her leaving made his chest tighten with sorrow.
A flash of color caught his eye just as he was about to mount the stairs leading to the porch. A slight figure—bigger than Aidan—stood right on the edge of the area leading toward the forest.
The illumination from the porch shed a little light on the shadowy figure. It was Ruby. Placing his briefcase on the steps, he turned around and began walking in her direction.