Jim opened the front door to find Jenny on the couch sipping a cup of tea.
“Where were you? I thought you’d be home for lunch. It’s nearly four o’clock.” Her voice was still barely more than a whisper.
“I had some errands to run, like picking up Emma. It took her a while to pack and make arrangements with the home.”
“Why on earth did you do that today?”
“Because the next thing we did was pick up Mike. They discharged him this morning. They are both out in the car. I wanted to tell you before I brought them in.” He hovered over a chair but didn’t sit.
“How nice of you to warn me like this,” she croaked. “The place is a mess. I’ve been in bed all day. You said it would be days before Mike was released.” She closed her eyes to force back the tears “How could you do this to me, Jim? And knowing I wasn’t feeling well.”
He sat down tiredly. “Well, for what it’s worth, it wasn’t completely my idea either. Sorry. When the hospital released Mike I had no choice. They give you a few hours notice.
“I guess Mother will help out.”
“I’m sure she will. You should hear them. They talk the same language. Sounds like she’s in charge, and Mike loves it.”
By ten o’clock that night, the beds had been made, the kitchen was cleaned, and clothing put away. Mike was asleep in the down stairs bedroom, and Jim, upstairs.
When the phone rang and Trish said she was staying at Gwen’s for the night, Jenny breathed a sigh of relief. She never told her about the new sleeping arrangements starting immediately. That problem would be put off until tomorrow, and the arguments would begin again. The only thing pressing on her mind was when she would ever get the opportunity to tell Jim about Rawley. Would she ever have the nerve again?
She was bent over the sink cabinet looking for her bottle of wine when Emma walked into the kitchen. “Looking for something?”
“Just hanging up the dish cloth,” Jenny answered slowly.
“I put all the bottles I could find, in the garbage can when I cleaned up the kitchen.”
Jenny looked as though someone had slapped her. “What right……”
“Oh, I know what you have been up to. Bet you finished off that pitcher of martinis the other night, too.”
“Mother, so I took a sip of wine now and then. What’s so wrong with that?”
“You’re not kidding me, honey. I was married too long to an alcoholic. You have all the signs. I could smell it on your breath when you visited. Mints don’t hide it. In fact I was thrilled when I was asked to help with Mike. I knew I would get to help you, too.”
“I don’t need help.”
“Oh, yes you do. It’s either me or AA. With me you won’t have to tell the world. I wish your father had listened to me. He might still be here.”
Jenny stared at her mother and her eyes were round with fear. It was a new and different day.