We left Melody in the empty parking lot of the animal shelter contemplating her early life in foster homes.
Levi found his sealed time capsule and was headed pack to land to meet his lawyer. There had to be some way to get the gold digger out of his uncle's home. He needed that house to recoup and reinvent his life.
Melody's Story Excerpt.
The best she could remember of her mother was coming for a few short visits when she was with her first foster family.
The memories arrived with tears as the drama silently replayed itself. Her mother arrived with a doll, sweets, and promises. Her mother was beautiful in her sparkly top and fake eyelashes. She smiled, talking about how much she loved her, and how’d they’d be together soon. The visit was short due to her mother’s latest boyfriend waiting in the car. As they drove off in a cloud of oil-rich smoke, her foster mother, Barbara, commented to her husband.
“That whore’s promises are as false as her eyelashes. All show, no substance. She doesn’t even love the child.”
A red rage came over her. The woman’s words stripped away the warmth and happiness she had felt over her mother’s visit. She didn’t really remember what happen after that. Barbara claimed she’d attacked her like a wild animal when they brought her back.
How much harm could a four-year-old do? Barbara’s words did a lot more harm to a hurting child. Cruel or not, the words proved to be true. That was the last time she saw her mother. She worked her way through different families landing with the Collins when she was twelve.
They kept her until she was eighteen, which might have been the requirements. Saw her through high school and helped her to find her first apartment. In most ways, they were her only family. Her invitation she sent them to her nursing school graduation earned her a small note. In it was no check or congratulations, but a terse message that they’d done their Christian duty. It was time for her to move on.
Move on she did. A movement caught her hand as she watched Mary steer her car into a nearby place. The white haired woman bounced out of the car with more energy than one would expect from someone her age.
Melody opened her car door. Mary met her before she could even get out.
“What are you doing here? It’s Sunday. We’re not even open.” Her wide grin announced her happiness in seeing her, even if it was unexpected.
Melody didn’t want to admit she came out of loneliness. She needed something to love on even if it was a canine others gave up. “I thought I’d give you a hand taking care of the animals.”
Mary cocked her head as if she could see through her flimsy excuse, but chose not to call her on it. “I could use help. My back isn’t what it used to be.”
Melody flashed a weak smile and followed the woman to the building door. Was she getting the dog because of Levi McDaniel since she implied she had a dog? Eventually they’d meet face to face. If she didn’t have a dog, it would just make her look a liar. Besides a dog would make her look more settled in the house, less likely to move out.
Mary searched through her huge ring of keys looking for the needed one. “This isn’t the only shelter I visit. I’ll make two more stops before I head home.”
The woman’s devotion to the welfare of orphaned pets impressed her. “Goodness Mary, maybe they need to canonize you. You could be the patron saint of abandoned pets.”
A hearty laugh broke over the rattle of the keys. “Saint Mary, that’ll be the day. I’m only here because I have no husband or family to spend my weekend with. The critters are my family. I love each one as much as I can.”
No husband, no family, no one to spend the weekend with. Mary sounded more like her. No wonder they both were spending their Sunday morning with the rejected canines and felines. Melody chewed on her bottom lip. Would she end up like Mary? Better yet, how did such a sweetheart end up alone?