The Gift of Christmas Present

The Gift of Christmas Present by Melody Carlson

Book: The Gift of Christmas Present by Melody Carlson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melody Carlson
Tags: Romance
kept talking to me like I was having an interview, and, well, I was so nervous and scared that I just went along with it, and I meant to tell you the next day, but then I got caught up in the job and in helping you, and the more time went on, the harder it became to tell you—”
    â€œSilence!”
    Christine blinked, then leaned back into the couch. “Sorry . . . ,” she muttered.
    Her grandmother shook her head sharply, as if she was trying to shake some sense out of what she’d just heard. “Are you actually telling me that Lenore Blackstone, my only daughter, is your mother?”
    Christine nodded.
    â€œMy daughter is your mother?” she said it slowly this time, as if it were still sinking in.
    â€œMy birth mother.” Christine added. She still thought of Marie Bradley as her real mother. Lenore was little more than a stranger to her. “My parents adopted me at birth.”
    â€œAnd that would’ve been about twenty years ago?” Her grandmother seemed to be doing some math in her head. “The same year she left home?”
    â€œI guess so.”
    Her grandmother sighed. “She was pregnant with you when she left.”
    â€œThat’s what I’d heard.”
    Suddenly her grandmother sat up straight and eagerly looked at Christine with what seemed like an almost childlike hope and expectancy. “So, tell me, do you know anythingabout Lenore now? Do you know where she lives or whether she’s married or has other children? Can you give me her address?”
    Christine felt a lump growing in her throat. “I’m—I’m sorry,” she began, then choked on the words. “But sh—she’s dead.”
    Her grandmother sank back into her chair like she’d been deflated. She leaned her head back, then closed her eyes and moaned as if she were in great pain.
    Christine, worried for the old woman’s health, jumped up and went to her side. “Are you okay?”
    â€œOh no. Oh no. Oh no,” she muttered in an almost incoherent way.
    â€œShall I call someone?” Christine asked. “Do you need help?”
    Her grandmother slowly shook her head, eyes still closed, still moaning. Christine wasn’t sure what to do now. Was this turning into a medical emergency? Should she call Jimmy and Felicity? She put her hand on her grandmother’s shoulder and silently prayed for help and guidance. She begged God to comfort this poor woman in the grief she’d so carelessly poured upon her.
    â€œI’m sorry to be the one to tell you about Lenore,” Christine said. “I thought you already knew, but then you wanted to look her up on the computer and I realized—”
    â€œWhen did she die?” her grandmother said suddenly. She sat up and looked at Christine. “And why wasn’t I notified?”
    â€œMy parents tried to find you, but they didn’t know your name was Daniels back then. Apparently, they attempted to locate a Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone in this townbut couldn’t. Lenore died nearly twenty years ago, just a month after I was born. She was hit by a car. Since my parents were unable to reach any of her relatives, they just handled the funeral arrangements and everything themselves. They’d been good friends to Lenore. She’d even been living with them for a while. That’s about all I know.”
    â€œIs there a gravesite?” she asked in a hollow voice.
    â€œYes, it’s in Larchwood, my hometown.”
    â€œI’d like to see it.”
    Christine nodded. “I know where it is. I’ve been there a few times, and my mother’s grave is nearby. I can take you there if you think you’re up to it.”
    She shook her head. “Not today. I don’t think I can handle much more today.” Then she looked at Christine and frowned. “You were dishonest with me.”
    â€œI know. And I’m really sorry.” Christine sat back down

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