THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
home!" Douglas called out
as he came through the front door.
"Douglas, w-what are you doing here?"
Lorraine Davis asked her husband as she hurried in from the kitchen with their
newborn son cradled in her arms. "I wasn't expecting you home from
work for another hour. I haven't even managed to finish dinner."
"Well, I just couldn't wait to get home to
my family," he smiled and kissed her lovingly on the cheek before leaning
down to kiss their son. "Ever since this little guy's been born, every
minute I have to spend away from the both of you seems like forever."
"I know the feeling," she nodded as she
gazed down at the baby. "Sometimes, when he's sleeping in the
afternoon, I'll just stand by his crib and watch him. It's like I can't
believe how much I can love someone I just met, but...I do. Our
son." She looked up at her husband, nearly beaming with pride and
joy. "Oh, Douglas, I just can't believe how happy we are. If
someone had told me a year ago that I could be this happy, I would have thought
that they were crazy."
"It really is a miracle." He
pulled her into his arms and held her tenderly, their son held by both of their
intertwined arms. "So, where's your mother?
"Mom's in the kitchen helping with
dinner," Lorraine replied. "Grace just got home from
class. She's upstairs in her room."
"Did she say how her day was?" Douglas
asked casually as he walked over to the desk and began thumbing through the
mail. "I think she mentioned something about a big biology test that
she was supposed to have today."
"She didn't say anything about it,"
Lorraine sighed with a shake of her head. "In fact, she didn't really
say much of anything. She just ran right up to her room." She
paused and knitted her brow with concern. "Douglas,
I'm...worried. Grace really hasn't been acting like herself lately.
She doesn't want to talk to anyone or see anyone. She spends all of her
time in her room. She won't even see Trevor when he stops by."
"I'm worried, too." Douglas
paused and rubbed his chin as he considered what could possibly be troubling his
younger sister. "I just don't know what could be on her mind. I
know that she's had a difficult time dealing with our mother's death---it's been
hard on all of us---but I just can't get over the feeling that there's something
else wrong. I was trying to write it all off as maybe some stress with
school or, maybe, just her age like your mother said, but..."
"But you don't think that's all it is?"
"I'm not sure," he muttered.
"I just know that there's something bothering her."
Before they could say anything else, the
conversation was interrupted by Mikey's soft cries.
"I think he's ready for his nap,"
Lorraine smiled as she looked down at the baby and gently stroked his
cheek. "I'm going to take him upstairs to the nursery and put him
"All right," Douglas nodded.
"And I think I'm going to see if your mother needs any help with
Lorraine carefully climbed the stairs and then
turned to head down the hallway. As she neared the nursery, she passed
Grace's room but stopped when she heard the faint sound of her sister-in-law
crying. Concerned, she hurried on to the baby's room, put the baby down
for his nap, and then returned to Grace's door. Still hearing the sound of
Grace's tears, Lorraine took a deep breath and rapped lightly on the door.
"Grace?" she spoke up softly.
"Are you...all right?"
"I'm fine," Grace called out weakly.
"You don't sound all right."
Lorraine paused and listened closely. "Can I...come in?"
"I...guess so." A few moments
later, Grace opened the door and Lorraine immediately noticed her red-rimmed
eyes, proof that her sister-in-law had, in fact, been crying. "W-what
"Grace, honey, what's wrong?" Lorraine
asked as she stepped into the room, pushing the door closed behind her. "And don't tell me that nothing's wrong, because I
can tell you've been crying. What is it? What's wrong?"
"N-nothing," Grace replied and quickly
turned away to hide her face. "I'm...fine."
"No, you're not!" Lorraine came
up behind her and grabbed her gently by the shoulders. "Look, your
brother and I are worried about you. You just haven't been...acting like
yourself. You're spending all of your time in your room. You barely
say two words to anyone. You won't even take Trevor's calls and..."
"I said I'm fine!"
dear, look at me." Lorraine took her by the hand and led her to the
bed and motioned for her to have a seat. "No, you're not fine.
It's written all over your face." She shook her head and sighed and
then sat down next to Grace. "Why won't you tell us what's
wrong? Are you sick? Are you having problems with school? Is
"N-no," Grace muttered as her voice
caught in her throat. "It's...nothing like...that."
"Then what is it? Why won't you talk
"Why do you care?" Grace snapped
angrily. "Why are my problems so important to you?"
"Because you're family, that's
why!" Lorraine grabbed Grace's hand and held it tightly.
"When I married your brother, I became part of this family. You
became part of my family. Families care about each other and worry about
each other." She paused and looked at Grace intently. "And
I care about you. Please, tell me what's wrong. Maybe...there's
something I can do to help."
"No." Grace shook her head
vigorously. "There's nothing you can do. There's nothing anyone
"You don't know that. Maybe...if you
tell me what's wrong, you can help me to understand. Maybe I can think of
a way to help."
"No, there's n-nothing..."
"You'll never know unless you tell
me." Lorraine kept her eyes firmly focused on Grace as an awkward
silence fell between them. Then, slowly, Grace lifted her head so that her
eyes---brimming with tears---met her sister-in-law's.
I...I..." A knot began to form in the pit of Grace's stomach.
After several long moments, she took a deep breath and began to speak
again. "You're right. I...have to t-tell someone. I don't
know if I can...go on like this m-much longer."
"Then tell me."
Grace looked down at her hands, thankful that
Lorraine was still holding them tightly because it kept them from shaking, and
took a long, labored breath. "All right," she muttered
softly. "I'll...tell you."