Bygones

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book: Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Tags: Romance, Historical
contemptuous sneer on his face. “Shorn hair and an uncovered head? Clothing that—”
    Henry held up both hands, unable to stay silent a moment longer. “Stop this! What are you accomplishing here?”
    J.D. pointed at Henry. “You brought me here. You said I should go see my daughter. Well. . .” His gaze swept from Marie’s head to her feet and back again. “I’ve seen. I come here, out of the goodness of my heart, and all I receive is disrespectful backtalk and blame for her foolish choices.” He shook his head, releasing a snort that sounded very much like the one Beth had made. “This is not thegirl I raised. This is a woman of the world—a woman who intends to return to the world. And I have no reason to stay here.”
    He spun on his heel and thumped to the back door. He slammed through without a backward glance.
    Henry looked at Marie. He expected tears, but none came. Her face was white, her blue eyes wide, her chin quivering. But she held her emotions inside. His heart ached for her. “Marie, I’m sorry.”
    She moved woodenly to the noisy box on the counter. She clicked something, and the raucous tune halted midscreech, abandoning them to an uncomfortable silence. Her shoulders slumped. For long seconds she remained beside the counter, head down. He stayed in his spot beside the dining room door, uncertain what to do.
    With her back still to him, she finally spoke. “You have no need to apologize, Henry. You meant well, bringing him here. And I admit, when I saw him, I hoped. . .” She sighed, lifting her head as if examining the ceiling. Her nutmeg curls graced her tense shoulders. Turning slowly, she met his gaze. All sadness was erased from her expression. She simply looked resigned.
    “I’d better go check on Beth. Thank you for. . .” She swallowed, giving a shake of her head. “Thank you.” Moving toward the door, she said, “Would you lock up when you leave?” She didn’t wait for his answer but slipped out the door. In a moment he heard her car’s engine fire up and then the rumble of tires on gravel as she pulled away.
    Henry remained in the middle of the silent café, hands in pockets, heart aching. “Lisbeth, it isn’t working.”

    Marie found Beth at Lisbeth’s house. As Henry had predicted, she’d found her way just fine. But judging from the way she was slamming clothes onto hangers and smacking them into the closet, the walkhad done nothing to drive out her hurt and anger.
    Marie understood Beth’s pain. Her chest felt laid open, her heart lacerated and bleeding. She leaned against the doorframe of Lisbeth’s sewing room and crossed her arms. “Hey.”
    Beth barely glanced at her mother. Her lips were pressed in a tight line. She whammed another hanger onto the wooden rod. “Don’t tell me I shouldn’t have spoken to him like I did, because I won’t apologize.”
    “You’re an adult, not a child. You can decide when you believe you owe someone an apology.”
    “If anyone owes anyone an apology, he owes us one. Standing there looking at us as if we were scum.” She rolled a T-shirt into a wad and slam-dunked it in a dresser drawer. “Couldn’t even say hello after two decades of ignoring us. Who does he think he is anyway, some sort of god?”
    Beth paused, hand raised to place another hanger in the closet, and released a huge sigh. Plunking the hanger into place, she turned to face her mother. Tears glistened in the corners of her eyes. “Why does he hate me so much? What did I do to him?”
    “Oh, honey.” Marie rushed forward, her arms outstretched. But Beth eluded her, sidestepping to reach into a box and pull out a sweater. Marie folded her arms across her middle, giving herself the hug she longed to give her daughter. “He doesn’t hate you, Beth. How could he? He doesn’t even know you.”
    “And he doesn’t want to.” The harsh undertone returned. She held the sweater at arm’s length, frowning at it. “At least I have a few memories of

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