Now and Again

Now and Again by Brenda Rothert Page B

Book: Now and Again by Brenda Rothert Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brenda Rothert
had been filled with meetings, hearings and a short phone conference. But her Monday afternoon was slow and she decided to check in with Melanie from her office phone. The fatigue in her friend’s voice came through the line when she answered.
    “Advocates for Hope, can I help you?”
    “What’s up, woman?” Layla asked. “You haven’t called your favorite attorney in a while.”
    Melanie sighed. “I know. It’s been a zoo here. You need to come over to my place soon for some wine.”
    “Wine and whine? Anytime.”
    “The next night I can get out of here before dark we’ll do it,” Melanie said.
    “Is there something at work I could help out with to lighten the load?”
    “No, it’s not legal stuff I need, it’s just the stuff our volunteers usually handle but we’re short people right now.”
    “I can do non-legal stuff.”
    There was a pause before Melanie answered. “You sure?”
    “Of course.
    “Can you come by this evening?”
    “I’ll be there by six,” Layla said. “And I’ll bring dinner.”
    The office Melanie and two other staffers shared was a single room with three small cubicles and a few chairs. Layla had been there before, and she went right to Melanie’s end cubicle when she walked in.
    Melanie had the phone to her ear, and she rolled her eyes as Layla sat down in a worn metal folding chair.
    “No, I understand, Carla,” Melanie said. “I know how that goes. I’ll try you next time, okay?”
    She hung up the phone and rubbed her forehead. Layla passed a foam cup of fountain soda across the desk.
    “Thanks,” Melanie said. “This day … It’s gonna be the whole week, actually. Scott’s on vacation and Meredith broke her ankle yesterday.”
    Layla cringed as she pulled sandwiches out of a brown paper sack. “So you’re alone?”
    “Yeah. And I just had two crisis calls come in. I’m trying to get a volunteer to take one, but I can’t find anybody.”
    Layla raised her hands and pointed both index fingers at herself. “Hello?”
    “What? You?” Melanie’s eyes bulged as she reached for the chicken sandwich Layla sat on the desk for her. “Thanks, but you’re not trained in crisis response.”
    “I’m trained with common sense, Mel. Are you saying I’m worse than no one?”
    “Well … no. Uh …” She sorted through several sheets of paper on her desk, pulling one out. “One of the calls is a man considering suicide, so I need to go on that one. But this one—”
    Layla reached for the paper Melanie held toward her. “Whatever it is, I’m on it,” she said.
    “It’s a mom with two kids who’s having a breakdown. She wants to be recommitted to a hospital for treatment. Social Services is coming later to get her kids, but if you could just help until then. See that the kids are safe.”
    “I can handle that,” Layla said, rising from the chair. “I’ll eat on the way.”
    “Call me when you leave the apartment, okay? Listen, it’s not in the best neighborhood, so be careful. Keep your big mouth shut.”
    “You’re welcome ,” Layla said sarcastically as she left the office. When she got in her car, she plugged the address into her GPS and cranked up her pop music.
    Her phone dinged with a text just as she was about to move the car out of park and she glanced at it. Ben.
    Dinner tonight?
    She twisted her lips into a pout. She wanted to see him, but she’d never been one of those women who cleared her schedule just in case a man might ask her to get together.
    I’m helping my friend Melanie with something tonight. Miss you, tho. xo
    His response came quickly.
    Tomorrow night?
    This time Layla sighed with frustration. She didn’t want to turn him down again, but she’d already committed to help Emma.
    Painting at my sister’s bakery.
    She hoped Ben didn’t think she was trying to blow him off, because nothing was further from the truth.
    I’m a decent painter. Want some help?
    She smiled when she read his message, typing one back

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