Dear Lord. Sustain me with Your wisdom and guidance. Help me put my family back together. Please allow Aidan to get the Christmas gift he wants most—a mother.
* * *
Ruby sat in the brightly lit, all-white kitchen with Boone, his wife, Grace and Honor while Liam was having his private talk with Aidan. Grace had just showed up at the house a few minutes ago. With her jet-black hair and blue eyes, she was stunning. Her petite frame couldn’t hide the fact that she was heavily pregnant. Ruby imagined she was set to deliver any day now.
The moment she introduced herself to Ruby, Grace had put her at ease by saying, “This is the first time we’ve met, so no worries about not remembering me.”
Ruby had heaved a giant sigh of relief. It was one less person she had to worry about feeling awkward around.
Everything in the room was pleasing to the eye, from the granite countertops to the copper pans hanging from the rack. She couldn’t help herself from gazing around with a deep appreciation for the setup. Ruby nearly fell off her chair when Honor told her she had been the one to lay out the plans for the kitchen design. Everything had been done to her specifications. Dream house. Dream kitchen. From everything she had seen, her life had been fairly wonderful. She hoped the old Ruby had been thankful for her blessings.
At the moment she was about as nervous as she’d ever been, even counting earlier this afternoon when she had walked into the sheriff’s office. This was all starting to feel surreal. A husband. A kid. A town full of people who knew her.
What did she know about being somebody’s wife or mother? What could she possibly achieve in this situation? Having no memories of the past was a severe limitation. It didn’t allow her to have any sort of frame of reference with them. The harsh reality was that they were all strangers to her. And she was sitting here among them not knowing what to say to fill the silence.
“Would you like some more tea?” Honor asked. They were sitting at the kitchen table, sipping tea, eating chocolate-chip cookies and making polite conversation. Both Boone and Honor seemed to be avoiding any topics that might get sticky. Neither one mentioned her amnesia.
“No, thanks. This green tea is delicious, though,” she said, raising the cup to her lips for another sip.
“It was always your favorite,” Honor said. She placed her hand over her mouth. “Oops. I hope it was okay to say that.”
Ruby reached out and squeezed Honor’s hand. Her wanting to touch her sister-in-law surprised her. She wasn’t really comfortable having physical contact with strangers. There was something so sweet and genuine about Liam’s sister. She radiated goodness, which put her at ease.
“You don’t have to walk on eggshells with me, Honor. This is a very unusual set of circumstances we find ourselves in. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I’ll try to be as forthright as I can.”
Boone let out a groan. He shook his head. “You have no idea what you just got yourself into.”
Honor playfully swatted him with her hand. She turned back toward Ruby. “Do you remember anything? Smells? Sights? Liam’s voice?”
She thought for a moment before answering. “Yes. I do. Fragments, I call them. I remember cradling a baby. And that feeling of loving him with all my heart. But I suppose I never connected that baby to myself because I had no memory of giving birth. And I’m very eager to go to the Moose Café, because the smell of coffee always reminds me of snow.” She let out a giggle. “I have no idea why, but the brain is a funny thing.”
Ruby heard the voice before she laid eyes on Aidan himself. He was standing in the doorway of the kitchen, all sweet brown eyes and chubby cheeks. His dark curls framed a handsome little face that closely resembled his father. Something twisted inside her chest.
Ruby stood from her chair and walked toward her son. Her palms were slick with moisture. Her tongue was all twisted up and useless. For the life of her she couldn’t think of what to say at this monumental moment.
By this time Liam was standing in the doorway, quietly observing the reunion.
“Hi, Aidan. How are you doing?” She pushed the words out of her mouth.
Aidan seemed to be studying her. His face was scrunched up. He was deep in thought. “You’re pretty. Daddy always said you were the prettiest girl he’d ever seen,” he said. “And you look just like the pictures we have.”
“Why, thank you. You’re just about the cutest boy I’ve ever seen.” Ruby wasn’t exaggerating due to the fact that he was her child. With his jet-black lashes and striking features, Aidan was sure to stand out in any crowd.
“That’s what Auntie Honor says,” Aidan cried, seeming thrilled at the compliment.
“Do you have anything you’d like to ask me?” Ruby asked, wanting to make sure he was comfortable.
Aidan nodded slowly. “Yes. I do.”
“Go for it,” Ruby said.
“When the snow swallowed you up on the mountain, did it hurt?” Aidan looked at her with an awed expression.
Ruby could feel the corners of her mouth twitching with merriment. Aidan’s expression was so earnest. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings by laughing at his question.
“Just a teensy bit,” she said, holding up her thumb and forefinger to demonstrate. “But I tried to be very brave.”