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Liam’s grin threatened to take over his entire face. “No, I’m teasing, but we did want more.”

She looked over at Aidan and smiled. “He’d be a great big brother.”

“It’s obvious to me that you’re feeling more settled now in Love,” Liam said as he gulped down his coffee.

“I am,” Ruby said. “There were a few bumps on the road. It was hard for me to know what the future held for me without my memories. But that’s changed quite a bit. A lot of my memories have trickled back. I feel more grounded now.”

“I admire you,” Liam said. “When you first arrived in Love, your head must have been spinning. You really held on to your faith.”

“I have no doubt that God sent me here. Imagine if I hadn’t come seeking answers.” She shuddered. “You and Aidan might never have known that I survived the accident.” The thought of it was terrifying. Her whole life would have been different. It was painful to even think about not reuniting with Liam and Aidan.

Liam reached for her hand and raised it to his lips. “I will always be grateful for God pointing you in the direction of home.”

“Me, too,” Ruby murmured, overwhelmed by the magnitude of how much her life had changed in the past few weeks. Before coming to Love she had been pretty much a loner, one who wasn’t tied to anything or anyone. Now, she had a family, one she loved with all her heart. And her future was ripe with promise.

After lunch ended, Ruby took Aidan to the library to pick up a few books. He was at the age when he needed to get started on the road to reading. Next fall he would be headed to kindergarten.

Annie greeted them as soon as they walked inside. With her sweet nature and extensive knowledge of the library’s catalog, Annie made their visit engaging and wonderful. They ended up with both of their arms full of books by the time they departed.

When they finally arrived home, it was Aidan’s nap time.

Ruby stuffed her library books into a shopping bag she had tucked away in the trunk. She placed the strap of the bag over her shoulder and prepared to help Aidan lug their finds inside.

“Hi, Ruby. Aidan.” Gareth was on the porch, sitting in one of the Adirondack chairs. He stood as they came closer.

Aidan reached for her hand and warily studied his grandfather.

“Do you remember me?” Gareth asked, bending over until he was at Aidan’s eye level.

Aidan shrugged and looked up at Ruby. He turned to Gareth and said, “Not really, but I've seen pictures of you from when my daddy was little.”

Gareth winced. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around more often, A-man. It’s great to see you, buddy.”

Ruby frowned at her father-in-law. “What are you doing here, Gareth? Liam thought you left Love.”

His smile twisted. “I was visiting some friends in Homer. But I didn’t get very far before I realized that I needed to come back and talk to my children.”

“Liam is at the clinic.” She frowned at him. “But I’m sure you know that already.”

He had a sheepish expression on his face. “I’d like to have a few minutes to talk to you, Ruby. To apologize. To explain myself.”

“Come on in, Gareth.” Once they crossed the threshold, she turned to him and whispered, “I’m only extending this courtesy to you since you’re Liam’s father. A bit ironic, I’d say, considering you haven’t given any of your kids much of that.”

Turning toward her son, Ruby said, “Aidan, you need to go take your nap. You’re about to crash.”

“But I don’t want to go to sleep,” he complained. The way his lids had been slowly creeping closed had showed he was fighting sleep.

“Listen to your mother, kiddo. I promise we’ll do something fun together really soon.” He stuck out his hand. Aidan grinned and shook it, then retreated to his room.

“Come on into the kitchen,” Ruby said, leading the way. She took down two glasses and filled them with lemonade. Gareth sat across from her at the table.

For a moment he looked down, avoiding her gaze. “I was your mentor, so I feel a little bit of responsibility to keep tabs on you. I know that might sound strange to you, considering how I’ve dropped the ball with my own kids.”

Anger on Liam’s behalf rose inside her. “You did more than drop the ball. Your vanishing acts have really hurt your children. That’s unacceptable.”

Gareth looked up at her. His eyes were full of shame. “I know. I’m determined to change all that moving forward. I really want to try.” He reached for his glass and took a sip of lemonade.

Ruby nodded. “I respect that.”

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