Tending Roses

Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate

Book: Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Wingate
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General
the clock. Twelve-forty. I must have dreamed that someone was calling me.
    “Katie, wake up.” The call came again from the hallway, demanding and urgent.
    “Grandma?” I jumped up and rushed across the room, my mind spinning a web of terrifying reasons why she might be knocking at my bedroom door in the middle of the night. Throwing open the door, I stood blinking, blinded by the hallway lights. “Grandma, what’s wrong?”
    She motioned nervously across the hall to the open bathroom door. “There were three rolls of toilet paper under the sink last week. Have you moved them? I have looked and looked, but they are nowhere to be found.”
    “Toilet paper?” I stammered, my vision clearing so that I could see the nervous twitch of her lips as she waited for my answer. “I don’t know. I guess we used it up.”
    “That couldn’t be,” she insisted, looking desperate. “We could not possibly have used so much in a few days.”
    Rubbing my forehead, I tried to comprehend the conversation and why we were having it in the hallway at midnight. “I’m sure we did. We can buy some more toilet paper tomorrow.”
    “Almost a whole package in less than one week,” she stammered, looking horrified. “It’s too much down the septic. That pipe will back up in the basement.”
    Taking a deep breath, I fought to control my overtired temper. “Grandma, please,” I pleaded. “Just go back to bed. The plumbing is fine. Do you know what time it is? It’s after midnight. ”
    “Benjamin should go down and check the pipes. We’ll have to call a plumber before the basement floods.”
    “The basement is fine. I was down there this afternoon getting potatoes, remember? It’s fine. Go to bed.”
    “But Benjamin could . . .”
    “He isn’t here!” I snapped, hitting the end of my rope with a twang. “He’s out of town.”
    Grandma backed up a step, then stood looking around my shoulder at the empty bed. “Oh,” she muttered. “Oh . . . I . . . I must have forgotten. Well, perhaps I should leave him a note to check the pipe when he gets back.”
    “All right,” I sighed, having no idea what good leaving a note would do when Ben wasn’t coming home for a few days. “Do you need me to help you get back to the little house?”
    Shaking her head, she shuffled toward the kitchen. “No. I’ll be fine. I don’t want to keep you from your rest. I’m going to go soak my feet. My ankles are stiff. Must be a cold front . . .”
    Growling in my throat, I closed the door and went back to bed, staying awake just long enough to hear the porch door slam.

Chapter 6
    G RANDMA’S ankles were correct in their prediction. The weather turned cold the day after Ben left. Three days later, it was still rainy and unpleasant outside, and Grandma and I were starting to get cabin fever. I was actually glad when she volunteered us to help set up the inter-church Christmas village in Town Square Park. The Senior Baptist Ladies were in high spirits, because for the first time in several years they had been awarded responsibility for decorating the Santa House—the crème de la crème of the Christmas Village display. Plans included a dozen freshly cut Christmas trees, decoration of the gazebo, and the election of Mrs. Santa Claus.
    When we arrived at the church on the crisp December afternoon, the ladies were already sorting through boxes of supplies and discussing decorating ideas. They paused for a moment to pass Josh around, and then three of them hustled him off to the nursery, ignoring my protests that I could carry him in the belly sling while I worked. Grandma patted my shoulder and told me not to worry, that the ladies had been taking care of babies longer than I had been alive. Still, I felt a little strange with Josh gone.
    Surveying the room, I noticed with some relief that I was not the only under-sixty person who had been drafted into temporary membership in the Senior Ladies. There were a couple of women around my age, a

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