Terry's Journey: Chapter 36

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Chapter Thirty-six
The House by the Bay

"He [the LORD] sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him."
~ Psalm 105:17-19 ~

It was a wide white house set against trees with a magnificent view of Lake Ontario. It didn't feel real to him, and yet she was in there. He'd seen those little girls. How many sets of triplets could there be in Three Mile Bay? They'd been exactly as Terry had described. This was the place. He had the right house.

Tim fisted his hands when they didn't stop trembling. All those childhood dreams, all those wishes, and now he was here. His sister lived here. It wasn't the grand mansion he'd pictured as a boy, but painted with the sunlight filtering through the clouds, it still took his breath away. The picture moved with the clouds and he could see autumn lightly touching the trees, only to darken again as the sun went back into hiding. The leaves were turning where he lived, making it finally feel as though it were autumn. To Tim, it just didn't feel like autumn until he could see it in the trees, on the sidewalks, and on neighbors' lawns.

He looked down at his hands and wondered how much longer he could stall. He wasn't up to this. Maybe he should get Connor, see if Connor would go up to that house and knock on that door for him. Better yet-- Tim started the minivan-- he would return Terry's missed call and hopefully talk to Madison from the safety of home. If she was back by now.

Something moved at the house. A door. The front door opened, and Tim's heart slammed against his chest. A tall woman came out, and looked across the road where his van was parked. He swallowed as their eyes met.

For one long moment, time stood perfectly still. When he was small, no one could see her but him, she'd been his protector, a pretend but real big sister he could run to when there was nowhere else to go. His childhood memories felt dim now, for now, he could see her. This was no pretend, no wishful thinking, and yet he'd been waiting for this moment for so long, he almost feared it. She might disappear.

She had an otherworldly look to her, delicate and almost fairylike, her oversized sweater and blue jeans hanging loose on her frame. As she stepped from the door and came to the edge of the road, he could see she was very real, and very determined.

She waved to him but he couldn't move. A car sped between them and she waited for it to pass. She wrapped her arms around her middle, then limped across the road with an urgency he couldn't understand. Was something wrong? She came to his van and looked at him through the window, and it wasn't until then that he thought to turn off the engine. At once, her face turned into a smile. She looked back at the house, then at him, as though waiting.

"Tim?" she called.

He couldn't help thinking of all those things he'd heard about that day, and that all those things had happened to this one person, and that this one person was his sister.

Gulping, he got his hands to work.

She smiled as he unfastened his seat belt, then opened the door.

"It's Tim, isn't it?" she asked, and Tim nodded as he lightly shut the door and tried to find his tongue. "For a moment, I thought you were leaving. It's me. You found the right house."

"I thought I had." Tim stood with his arms at his sides, not knowing how best to greet her. He looked at the hand Madison put out to him, and his heart sank. It seemed not enough, out of place, even awkward. Even Grandma had always hugged him "hello," though she'd never meant it and it had always left him feeling cold. The smile that came with Madison's hand though, didn't leave him feeling cold. Madison meant it. Her grip wasn't much, but she didn't let go until he was smiling and feeling really and truly welcome.

"I can't get over how much you look like our mom."

"Really?" An undercurrent of pain crossed Madison's features. "John said I looked like you."

"I guess fair skin and light hair must run in the family. My daughter Madeline is like that, and has some of you in her." Tim started to point at Madison's eyes, but Madison looked wary; Tim stopped, and put his hand in his pocket. "Your eyes-- you and Madeline have the same shaped eyes, though hers are brown. Like Andrea's." He was talking without thinking, but that was because of nerves. He needed to settled down before he frightened her.

"Do you want to come in?" Madison offered. "Izzy's getting snacks."

"I'm sorry for showing up like this." Tim hoped he wasn't messing things up-- not after all the years he'd waited to finally meet his sister. "Karen said I should've called first. If you want, I'll leave."

"I didn't ask you to leave." Madison started across the road, paused, and seemed to check if he was following. She hugged herself and waited, so he got his feet working and went after her. "You're younger than me, aren't you?" she asked.

"I'm twenty-six. And you?"

"Thirty-four."

He nodded. "Your birthday?" Tim slowed his pace to match hers. "When is it? Connor and I didn't know."

"March seventeenth." Madison watched the ground as she walked. Her limp didn't shock him so much since Terry had told him about it, but still, Tim tried not to stare. "When's yours?" she asked.

"My birthday?" Tim sniffed to keep the tears back. He'd managed to stop them on the drive to Three Mile Bay, and didn't want to start up again.

He was about to answer the birthday question when Madison opened the front door and Tim became aware of others, and a round of "hellos" met him as he stepped into a comfortably furnished living room. The man on the couch with his foot propped up, gave Tim a hearty smile. Even before Madison got out the names of who was who in the room, Tim went over and offered his hand. He knew who that man was, and he couldn't wait.

"Thank you," Tim said, and Terry smiled, and offered him the empty recliner, for everyone was standing as though about to leave.

Tim felt as though he should try and say more to Terry by way of thanks, but he didn't know what. What do you say to someone who saves another life? There weren't enough words in the English language to say it all. Without Terry, Tim would most likely be visiting a grave today, and the thought pushed tears to his eyes. Fighting back the mental picture, Tim pulled off his coat, sat down and offered a shaky smile to the people around him-- Izzy, John, and the triplets-- the people who weren't blood relation to Terry, and yet seemed to share the strong bond of family with him and Madison.

Izzy let the girls say "hi," then took them into another room, and a moment later, John excused himself, and Tim was suddenly alone with his half-sister and her husband.

Madison gave the men some small plates and napkins, then served them a snack tray of cheese and crackers.

"We didn't ask them to step out of the room," Terry said, loading a cracker with cheddar and half an olive. "I guess they didn't want to intrude so you could talk to Madison. If you need me to get up--" Terry smiled, and Tim shook his head that it wasn't necessary. "Do you have any questions for her?"

"I admit I probably do." Tim helped himself to a cracker, then let Madison take the tray away. "Nothing comes to mind at the moment. The second I leave, I'll probably think of several things at once, but right now, my mind is a blank. That sounds crazy, doesn't it?" He glanced at Madison, but she just smiled. Tim munched on a cracker. He noticed Terry worked out. Terry had more muscles than anyone had a right to, sitting at a desk. As for himself, he was an accountant. That said it right there.

"How long have you been married?" Madison asked.

His marriage-- yes, he wanted to talk about that. "Two years. Karen's four years older than me, though, so that might explain it."

"Explain what?"

"I don't know." Tim stared at his cracker, wishing he hadn't turned chicken so soon in the conversation. If Madison didn't know what they were talking about, then he should've kept quiet.

"Terry's thirteen years older than I am," Madison offered.

Tim looked at his sister, and she smiled.

"Do you see your marriage intact a month from now?" Tim had to ask.

"Yes. With God's help, I do."

A God answer. Tim sighed, and finished off his cracker. "How about a year from now?"

"Same answer." Madison moved to the snack tray. "Do you want more?"

Tim took more food since he couldn't remember what he'd had for lunch. If he'd had lunch. "I guess it makes sense that you'd share your husband's religion. You do, don't you? It's probably for the best, that way, you have less to fight about when you disagree. How long did it take him before you came around to seeing his way of things?"

"I was a Christian before I met Terry."

"Before?" Tim blinked at his sister. "How long before?"

"While I was with the Dragon."

Now Tim was staring. "How could you possibly believe in God during all that?"

"Did you get the Bible Hour where you live? The old pastor who stood in front of a camera and just preached the Word? It was a plain TV show, and the Dragon would make fun of him and turn it whenever he caught me watching, but I would watch whenever I could. I'd pretend to not care, so it would save me from getting beaten."

Tim swallowed hard. It wasn't easy to hear about his sister getting hurt, or to hear her say the Dragon's name out loud. Tim wished he could ignore the man's existence altogether.

Madison set the snack tray on the end table, then took a seat next to Terry. "When I left the Dragon, I stopped looking back, I stopped remembering, but I've been remembering things lately, and that show is one of them. There was the old man who said I'd break my neck if I got on a swing-- I know, it sounds odd, but it's true-- and then the old man who told me the story of Joseph in Egypt. He didn't tell it to me in person, but the way he spoke made me feel he was talking to me somehow. Do you know the story?" Tim did, but said nothing. "Joseph had ten brothers who were envious of him, and nine of them wanted to kill him, but the tenth talked the other nine into throwing him into a pit instead, and while that brother was gone, the others sold him into slavery. Joseph was taken from everything he knew, his father was told that he was dead, and he was sold into another land, to a master who's wife tempted him daily to sleep with her. When he kept refusing, she went to her husband and falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her. Even though Joseph had served his master faithfully, his master put Joseph in jail, and he was bound with shackles that hurt his feet, and after all of this, Joseph still believed in God. I mean, talk about everything going against you.

"The pastor on TV said God needed to bring Joseph through the fire of testing before He could raise Joseph to the work God intended. That there was a purpose for all suffering, great and small, and that meant me. If I was in sin, I needed to repent, and if I was walking in obedience, then I needed to keep going and to not stop, just like Joseph. I figured if Joseph could keep believing in God after all of that, then I could start. The next show was about salvation, and that's when I came to Christ."

"How old were you?" Tim asked.

"I don't know." Madison shrugged. "It was after I was trying to ignore the years and stopped keeping track of my age. It only made it harder. I could see people celebrating New Year's on TV, though, so I knew time was passing. I kept watching Pastor Kyle-- the man on TV-- until the show stopped and I couldn't find it anymore."

"I remember him," Terry nodded. "He was only on the air for a few months until he passed away. I don't remember which year it was, but he was a good man."

"However long it was, God really used him to help me. I didn't know he died." Madison leaned against Terry, and Terry slipped an arm around Madison's shoulders. It was a small gesture, but a loving one, one that made Tim wish he was on such friendly terms with Karen. The only time they ever touched was when the lights were off, and even then, it was for just one purpose.

"Do you want more food?"

"Huh?" Tim looked up to find Madison talking to him.

Madison wiped her eyes. "Do you want more crackers and cheese?"

He glanced at his plate, and cringed at the crumbs scattered across his lap. He started sweeping them into his napkin before they got onto the neatly kept carpet.

"Do you want to see our wedding photo?" Madison got up and started for the hall while Tim kept sweeping up crumbs.

She wasn't easy to provoke, he had to give her that. Neither was Terry. He might've insulted them by asking how long it had taken Terry to bring her around, and seeing them together in person like this, it was clear they loved each other. Still, no one had yelled, and for that, Tim felt thankful. They were on different wavelengths, though. If God made Madison happy, then so be it, but Tim had had enough. He didn't need to lean on Someone he couldn't see, and wanted to tell her that. He bit back a curse as crumbs knocked from his plate and onto the floor. If only he could bring himself to let loose with a swear word once in a while, he wouldn't feel like such a hypocrite. He'd never believed growing up, and neither had his Grandma, so why he still held back, was beyond him. He guessed some habits were harder to break than others.

"Do you fish?" Terry asked.

Tim nearly dropped his plate at being addressed so unexpectedly.

"I only ask because we have a lot of water-- but you've probably already noticed." Terry smiled. "John and I do a lot of fishing. I love to cast my line out and just enjoy the peace and quiet. It's so quiet, you know? You should join us sometime."

Tim didn't know, but he found himself smiling. "It sounds great. I tried fishing once, but I kept getting tangled in the line."

"Hey, that's all part of the experience. Did you catch anything besides yourself?"

"Does plant life count?"

"I don't see why not. It's a living thing."

Both men looked up as Madison came in. She held a picture frame, and turned it about for Tim to see. He swallowed as he took in the photo beneath the glass. His sister loved, and was loved, and it put a lump in his throat as he saw that love in the photo. He set aside the plate, wiped his hands on his pants, then accepted the picture frame from Madison. He wondered how she would act if she were in his shoes. If she had to part with her spouse, the person she so obviously loved, how would she act?

"If--" Tim looked up at his big sister, knowing he was taking a chance by asking such a personal question-- "if you thought you were losing Terry, what would you do?"

"If I thought he was dying?"

"No, if you thought he was about to leave you. What would you do?"

"Terry? Leave me?" Madison hugged herself and looked at Terry.

Terry gave Tim a pained look, but kept quiet. Tim had said, "if."

"Well," Madison began, "I guess I would pray. Probably a lot. Then I'd ask him to give us some time. I'd want to talk and find out why he was leaving."

"Talk?"

"Yes, you know-- what we're doing right now, only with the person you're married to? I'd ask for help from people I trust, like Izzy, and John, and Pastor Bill. I'd take whatever was bothering Terry, and look at my Bible and see what God had to say about it, and then pray, and obey whatever it was God was trying to tell us. And then, if Terry still left me after all that, I'd ask God to help me keep going, even though it'd be so hard." Madison wiped her eyes. "I'd have to remember that I still had God. What it would do to my family-- I don't even want to think about that."

"Maddie, could I get some coffee?" Terry gave her a smile and she brightened, sniffed away what looked to be more tears, and hurried into the kitchen. Terry looked at Tim, and when Terry spoke, it was in a whisper. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't make my wife cry."

Tim wanted to protest, but at least he wasn't being shouted at.

"This family-- God, me, the people in this house, and the house next door, are all she has." Terry shook his head. "I would never leave her."

"She has me," Tim put in, and Terry blew out a breath.

"You're right. She has you and your family now. I stand corrected, I apologize."

Tim stared at Terry. He wasn't used to getting apologies, or others telling him he was right and they were wrong. About anything. Never budge, and hold out to the bitter end. Sometimes, Tim felt as though he would die that way.

"I apologize for making her cry." Tim sucked in a breath. As long as he was at it, he might as well do a good job of it. "I didn't mean to imply you would leave my sister."

"It was hypothetical," Terry nodded, "so I understand. You have to understand Madison though, that for the time I've known her, she's had abandonment issues. She trusts me not to leave. That trust is founded on love, respect, and on my word of honor, and I hate to see her even contemplate that trust being broken. If it ever happened, this family would stand by Madison, and I'm pretty sure John would have words with me."

"I envy that." Tim stared at his hands. "When Andrea left me, everyone said how sorry they were but no one seemed surprised. They were shocked she didn't want shared custody of our baby, but they looked at me, and it was one big collective shrug." Tim watched Madison come in with two steaming mugs of coffee.

"Did you have a chance to ask Andrea not to go, or did she leave without warning?" Madison was jumping into the discussion without fear, and Tim kind of admired that.

"She gave me some warning. I asked her not to go."

"And what did she say?"

Tim accepted a dark orange mug from his sister. "Well, she yelled a lot."

"Do you remember what she said?"

"There was an insult I won't repeat, but aside from that, I don't remember."

"You came because you wanted my advice?" Madison asked.

"And to meet you," he nodded.

"Aside from getting right with God-- two words: Listen more."

The God part didn't surprise him, and he nearly rolled his eyes, but the two words made him blink. "Listen more?"

Madison handed Terry a ridiculous yellow mug with a smily face. "One of Terry's best qualities is that he listens to me. Even though I'm not as smart as he is, he doesn't treat me that way. He listens to what I have to say, and I know what's in his heart, because he talks to me, and he knows what's in mine. It's work, and I know it has to take patience on his part, because like I said, he's smarter than me, but he still listens."

Tim nodded, quietly disappointed with the advice. He and Karen were different, but they talked. They talked every day, or the kids would never get off to school.

It was good coffee, though.

"Would you like to see the bay?" Madison asked, the tilt of her face dimly reminding Tim of a woman who used to call herself his mommy. "We have a dock, and I hear the view is really nice from there."

"Is it raining?" Terry glanced at the window. "There's rain in the forecast."

"I'll stay dry," she smiled, and Terry winked at her and took a sip from his mug. She looked at Tim. "How about it?"

"My boss has a vacation house by a lake somewhere," Tim smiled, "and my sister lives like this all year round. You guys probably get clobbered in the winter, though. Yeah? I thought so. Still, to live out here. It'd almost be worth it." Tim got up from the recliner, and Madison hurried to get her coat. "Don't worry," he told Terry, "I won't make her cry again."

"I've been known to make her cry a time or two, myself, so I won't hold you to that. Just try not to, and we'll call it even."

John strolled into the living room as Tim pulled on his coat.

"Madison and I are taking a walk outside."

"It's a good time for one," John smiled, "the sun's coming out. I don't know what your plans are, but Izumi said you're welcome to stay for dinner."

"It's kind of your wife--" Tim glanced at the time-- "but I should probably start for home in another hour."

"Another time then."

Tim nodded. He felt as though he would like this man if he got to know him, just as he liked Terry. Madison was a given. She was his sister, but it did relieve him that he liked her. He hadn't realized how much she looked like their mother until he'd seen her in person. It would've been a nightmare if she had turned out to not only look like her, but to have been like her in temperament, as well. It would have been a tragedy of Greek proportions. Grandma had been wrong about that-- Madison was not a bad seed. Tim was not better off not knowing who his half-sister was, or what she had become. If Grandma had been alive, Tim would've dragged her wheelchair to this house and made her to eat her own words. Not that Grandma ever would, but it still would've given Tim a measure of satisfaction to see her so clearly in the wrong. Of course, he never would've had the courage to face her down like that, but still. He could dream.

When Madison came back, she led Tim through the kitchen, and out the back door. The view stunned him. It had caught his attention from the road, but up close and in his face like this, it crashed his senses one by one, until all he could do was stand and gape.

"It's nice, isn't it?"

Tim looked at Madison. "I don't get out enough."

"Paige said you went out for bike rides."

"Not very much." Tim looked out over the water, the trees lining the shore, the bodies of land in the distance, and breathed in the air. "We have trees in Syracuse, and we have water, but this-- this is amazing." He followed Madison, not really caring where they went, so long as he could take in the nature around him. Gray clouds and white capped water only added to the rugged beauty. And this is where his sister lived. "I still can't believe I found you. After all these years. I've been looking for you--" Tim slowed to match his pace with hers-- "in one way or another, for most of my life. And now here you are." He shook his head. "I feel like I'm dreaming, or pretending so hard that I'm fooling myself into thinking this is real."

They moved down the shore at a slow pace, until Madison stopped, and looked at him. The wind whipped her blonde hair about, but she didn't seem to mind.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"For looking for me." Madison's voice trembled. "I've been wanting to tell you this for a while. When I was with the Dragon--"

"You don't have to say anything. I understand."

"No, please, let me get this out." Madison closed her eyes a moment as though steadying herself, then looked at him with such earnestness, Tim felt the impact of her emotions, even though he didn't exactly know what she was going to say. "When I was with the Dragon, it hurt knowing that I wasn't missed, that no one was looking for me because no one cared that I wasn't there. That the world could go on without me."

Tim gulped.

"That I can look back on all those years, and know that someone on this earth was looking for me-- for ME. You don't know how much that means to me. Thank you."

Tim swiped at his eyes. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

"For what?" Madison stepped close as he burst into tears.

"I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner. I should've been trying harder. It's my fault, it's all my fault. I'm your brother, I should've tried harder."

"Tim." Madison laid a hand on his arm, but he couldn't see her for all his tears. "It's all right. You found me. You didn't give up, you found me, and you're here."

"I'm sorry."

"It wasn't you." Madison lifted his chin until their eyes met. "You weren't the one who left me there, it was Momma."

"Why? Why did she do it?" He couldn't help asking the question, though deep in his heart, he knew the answer. Facing the truth was never easy, but it was hard to ignore after what Mom had done to Madison, and to him. Walking away was Mom's specialty.

Madison hugged herself and drew her mouth in a firm line. "She always called me her big mistake. I think the Dragon was her chance to make things right for herself. She said I had to do everything he told me, and that I was his. She was going on a long trip, I wasn't supposed to call her, and I was his." Madison shook her head and looked as though she were refusing to cry. "I think she was making things right for herself, and punishing me at the same time."

"Punishing you for what?"

"For being alive."

Those words twisted in Tim like a knife. "Do you ever wish she'd had an abortion, instead?"

"And miss out on life?" Madison bit her lip before saying more, and he could tell sorrow was pressing at her hard. "Sometimes I think it's the ones who know pain, who can really appreciate joy when they find it. Life isn't a small gift, when you think about it. All the miracles that had to come together to keep us breathing, at this moment. All the times I came close to dying, when all the Dragon had to do was choke me a few seconds longer..." Madison paused. "God kept me alive, and life is a gift."

Tim dried his eyes. "I wish I had your optimism."

"It's not called optimism, it's called faith." Madison started down the shore again and Tim followed. "Do you mind if I let Abby and Jake see you? It'd just take a moment. I'd love for them to meet my brother."

Tim could hear the sisterly pride in Madison's voice, and since he didn't want to disappoint, he let her take him wherever she wanted. Which appeared to be a small yellow house. He could hardly believe all this was on private property, and took in the wild scenery, the windswept shore, the tall trees, and found himself wishing Grandma were there to eat her own words.

Even in her fragile moments, Madison had a quiet strength Tim admired. And this was the woman Grandma had told him was evil. This was the woman whose pictures had been destroyed so Tim would forget that he had a half-sister. It hadn't worked. He had never forgotten. All remaining photos that had survived Grandma, had been secretly kept by Tim over the years, and he promised himself to give them to their rightful owner. They rightly belonged to Madison.

Tim kept back from the door as Madison knocked and waited for someone to answer.

The phone in his coat pocket rang, and Tim pulled it out to see Paige's name on the screen. She was home from school by now, and had probably heard from her mom about his going to see Madison. Still. Tim stepped away to answer the phone.

"What is it?" he asked, trying to get the call over with before he was needed at the door.

"Are you talking to her? What's she like?"

"Paige, your phone is for emergencies only. Is everything all right at home? Are we in labor?"

"No."

"Then get off the phone and do your homework." He thought about it, and added, "Please."

"I only wanted to know what she's like."

"She's nice. Now do your homework." Tim put his phone away and looked over to see Madison watching. "That was Paige. I should probably go if I want to get home before Karen gives up on me for dinner."

Madison turned back to the yellow house, and shook her head. "I don't think they're home."

"Then I'll have to meet them some other time." Tim turned to leave as the front door swung open to a man who looked like he'd stepped from a sportswear catalog.

"Hey," the man said, and started talking to Madison. Dressed in a blue flannel shirt and jeans, the man looked ready to go hiking in a laid back sort of way, and his face sported a day's worth of stubble that gave his youthful face some age. Tim couldn't help staring, and realized it wasn't the light beard, it was something about him-- his eyes, the way he looked as though he'd seen more than enough, and it hadn't been good. It reminded Tim of Madison, and strangely enough, of even Terry.

"Jake, I'd like you to meet my brother." Madison smiled at Tim, and Tim stepped forward to shake Jake's hand.

"Sorry I left you waiting at the door." Jake showed them inside. "Abby and Ricky are at the store, and my hands were full." Jake nodded to an easel set up by the window. "Abby's going to kick herself when she finds out who visited and she wasn't here to say 'hi.'"

No one needed to tell him what Jake was painting. From the view, Tim could see it was Three Mile Bay.

"It's very good," Tim nodded. "Who's that?" Tim pointed to a lone person on the shore with a fishing rod, the line arching in a graceful loop against the sky.

"Who else?" Jake grinned as he wiped clean a thin tool, then returned it to a matching set in a wooden case. "That's Abby, my wife." There was a great deal of affection in his voice. "When she holds a fly rod, it's as close to poetry without words as you can get. Do you fish, by any chance?"

"That's the second time I've been asked that, today."

"In this family, you can count on being asked that on a regular basis." Jake smiled. "Maybe we can get our families together sometime, and go fishing."

"Then you fish?"

"Not if I can help it." Jake tossed aside the towel and went to his easel. "I love to watch her, though. She's definitely in her element, and when I paint, I like to think I'm in mine. Problem is, when I'm struggling on the canvas, it can feel like I don't belong there."

"You can't tell by that," Tim nodded to the easel.

Jake shook his head. "I wasn't fishing for compliments. I know it needs work."

"I'm afraid we've got to get going." Madison smiled as she moved to the door with Tim. "It's okay, we'll show ourselves out. Please tell Abby we were sorry we missed her and Ricky. I hope you keep going with the painting, Jake. It's already beautiful."

"Thanks, Aunt Madison." Jake smiled goodbye as they stepped outside, and Tim braced himself against the cold, and zipped his coat the rest of the way up to keep warm.

Though the sun had traveled in the sky, Tim didn't hurry as they made their way back to the house where Terry was waiting. Tim knew he should leave, but paused at the kitchen door to look out over the bay before going inside. "You have a family." Tim turned to his sister. "I know you were never adopted, but you have the kind of family I only dreamed about when I was little. True, there's no mansions, but you have all this--" Tim gestured to their surroundings. "There's no huge garage full of fancy race cars--"

"Race cars?" Madison asked.

"No huge swimming pool, no armed guys with muscles that can swarm in and save me with just a nod from my big sister--" Tim smiled when Madison laughed-- "but you have the important thing: a family that loves you. You weren't adopted when you were little, but you have one now. I heard Jake call you 'Aunt,' and Terry isn't a blood relation to any of them. No, you've been adopted, you have a family, and I'm glad I was able to see it."

"I'm glad you were, too."

"You're happy here?"

"What do you think?" Madison smiled.

"I had to ask." Tim pulled car keys from his pants pocket, and followed Madison inside.

"How do you like our bay?" John asked, getting up from the recliner.

"Stay where you are, please." Tim held up the keys. "I've got to get going before Karen worries herself into labor. Your bay is breathtaking."

"Come by sometime and go fishing with us. Bring the family," John coaxed. "It's getting colder this time of year, but if you don't mind the cold, neither will we. Terry and I will probably be out there soon, anyway."

"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Tim shook John's hand, then went to the couch and smiled at Terry. "Thank you for taking care of my sister. Someday, I'll be able to see you, and not say that, but until that day comes, thank you."

"I'll be hoping that day comes soon." Terry shook Tim's hand. "Have a safe drive back to Syracuse. Say 'hi' to your family for us, and don't forget about that invitation. You can leave your fishing gear behind, and use ours, just come-- we'll get tangled together. If there's anything I'm good at, it's untangling line. You can ask the triplets."

"Thanks."

"Tim," Madison stepped in, "when Terry and I get married a second time, I'd like you and your family to be there."

Tim nodded, emotion getting in the way of coherent speech. He stepped toward Madison, wanting a hug but unsure if she could give him one. He choked on a sob as she moved close and gave him a warm hug. All those wishes had finally come true. He had found his sister, he had found Madison. He squeezed her, then let go and headed for the door before his eyes misted over into something serious. Izzy called goodbye after him, but he was already out the door and heading across the road. He couldn't stop now, he had to keep going.

Jerking open the passenger door, Tim looked back at the house and saw Madison standing on the doorstep. She lifted a hand, and he lifted one in return.

Light moved onto the road, and Tim looked up to see the clouds part to a brilliant blue sky. Gray pushed in and covered it over, but sky showed again, and when Tim looked out over the bay he could see sunlight glinting on the waves. His eyes tracked back to the house, and he smiled at Madison. Tim climbed into his minivan with the thought that if there was a God, then today, God was smiling.

As Tim started the engine, he had to mentally kick himself. Sure enough, now that he was leaving, he could think of at least half a dozen questions he'd wanted to ask but hadn't. Another time. He knew where she was now, and wouldn't have to hire a private investigator to find her again. If it wasn't for the fact he was probably in the process of losing his job, he could thank his boss for giving him the day off. What a day it had been. There had been heartbreak, but he had seen his sister with his own eyes, and he had seen her family. She'd been adopted, after all.

With a sigh, Tim pulled away and headed for home.

* * * *

She watched until the minivan disappeared, until she was left with her thoughts and the wind that tugged at her coat. Though she knew she should be grateful he lived as close as he did, Madison couldn't help wishing he lived closer. The cold pushed at her, she looked up at the heavens and was reminded that an hour and a half trip to Syracuse wasn't so very far away. She could never have known when she'd bought that bus ticket to the farthest destination she could, with fifty-two cents left in her pocket, that she would wind up only an hour and a half from Tim. But it had been where Terry lived.

God had led her, she smiled, and on that thought, she hugged herself against the weather and went inside.

"How did the visit go?" Izzy asked, as Madison hurried to close the door to keep the cold out. "Did Tim see the dock?"

"No, but I took him to AJ's house." Madison took off her coat while one of the triplets looked into the living room as if curious to see what was going on. Madison smiled at Debbie, and Debbie came in. "My brother met Jake. Abby and Ricky weren't home, but I was glad he could at least meet Jake. Isn't that wonderful?" Madison asked Debbie, and Debbie smiled and nodded that it was. "Oh, Terry!" Madison moved to the couch. "Thank you for telling him about me, so I wouldn't have to." She leaned over the couch, admired Terry, then planted a kiss on his handsome chin. "I love you."

"Then your walk went well?" Terry asked.

"I don't love you because it went well. I love you because you're thoughtful, and kind, and--"

"Maddie--"

"And because you're mine."

A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He gazed up at her, quiet now, and she thought she heard him sigh. As far as Madison was concerned, he was just plain wonderful. She pushed from the couch to take off her coat. It was getting close to dinnertime, and though someone had put the vacuum away, she wanted to get it out and finish her chores before it was time to work in the kitchen with Izzy.

Madison paused as she stepped into the hall. She looked back.

Terry's eyes were closed, and a slight smile rested on his lips. Like he was thinking about something pleasant. She hoped it was her.

The other two triplets were in their room, for as Madison went to put away her coat, she could hear them playing on their computer. From the sound of them, they were having a good time, though they sounded more subdued than usual. They were probably a bit tired after preschool, but also wondering where dinner was. She needed to hurry.

It didn't take long to finish the vacuuming, and Madison skipped the dusting, and went straight to the kitchen when she saw Izzy heading there. It felt good to have a purpose, to be useful. The more she learned, the more she felt she could give back to those around her. Dinner was only one of those things.

Soon Lizzie and Debbie showed up in the kitchen to watch, and the house fell into a calmer rhythm.

Her thoughts, though. Madison had so much on her mind, when dinner went into the oven and Madison had a moment to rest her hip, her thoughts went back to Tim and how she'd told him life was a gift.

It was, and she didn't want to miss out on any of it.

She remembered the notebook sitting in her dresser drawer. She didn't want to miss anything that God had in store for her, but it wouldn't happen if she didn't take that next step. My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. With a quiet prayer, Madison kept her heart between herself and God. She knew she should tell Terry, and she would. Only not yet.

Something was forming inside her-- an idea, not a strange one, really, in fact, it was quite normal, but for Madison, it was outrageous, and wildly bold.

Oh, she would tell him, but not yet. If for some reason she should change her mind, then Terry would never know. Besides, he'd probably question her a dozen times, and that would only make her even more nervous than she already was. If that was even possible. He'd probably leave the decision up to her, anyway. So if her courage was helped by keeping him in the dark, then he'd just have to stumble around for a while. He didn't have to worry, she wouldn't let him get hurt.

The timer went off and Madison got up to check dinner. Izzy stayed at the table and let Madison open the oven, and it took a great deal of concentration on Madison's part to pay attention to what she was doing, and not on what was tugging at her heart.

"Izzy?" Madison looked up from the baked dish. "Could we work on wedding plans after dinner?"

"Of course we can." Izzy's face brightened at the suggestion. "As soon as dinner's cleared away, we'll get started and make a list. Have you two set a date yet?"

Madison shook her head, "no." Though she had a question of her own, she kept it to herself.

Dinner was ready, and while Lizzie went to tell her sisters, Madison got out the silverware and napkins. The TV switched on in the next room-- probably by one of the men, for they were planning to eat in the living room since it was easier for Terry to keep his foot propped up there, than in the kitchen.

Madison picked up a plate, scooped up a large helping of casserole, paused, then added a little more before grabbing a fork and napkin and taking it into the living room. She smiled as she brought it to Terry.

"Wow." Terry's eyebrows raised as she gave him the plate. "I don't usually eat this much."

"You're always telling me I need to eat," she coaxed.

He looked at her sideways, but picked up the fork, then bowed his head to quietly pray over his dinner. She figured he deserved a little something extra for being kept in the dark.

When Madison came in with her own plate and claimed the seat next to Terry, he lightly bumped her in the side.

"Did I hear you right? You're starting to plan the wedding with Izzy?"

Madison nodded.

"Do you remember our agreement?" He looked as though he sure had. "I got the ring I wanted, so to keep our deal-- the one we made in the parking lot at Farrington's-- we agreed to a small wedding. You get a nice dress, a few flowers, a homemade cake, and we only hold hands on the honeymoon. It's only fair. I got what I wanted, so now it's your turn."

"I remember." Madison watched TV and tried not to watch Terry. She breathed deep and braced herself. "Since it's my turn--"

"What are you up to?" he asked in a smiling voice.

She kept her eyes on the TV.

"Since it's my turn, can I ask for something?"

"Name it."

"Could I set the date?"

"Any day you want, Maddie."

He ate dinner and watched the news, and all the while Madison's heart thumped in her chest. This was no small goal she wanted, but she wasn't done asking for favors. She needed to ask one more.

"Terry?" Madison tried to sound as calm as possible. "Carol was thinking that, since this morning went so well, and if I thought I needed it, that maybe we could divide up our sessions." Madison slid a glance in Terry's direction.

He looked at her with a fork halfway to his mouth.

"I could spend some time with Carol, alone, and then we'd finish the session together." Madison gulped hard. "What do you think?"

"I'm thinking I missed a lot this morning." Terry opened his mouth to say something more, but shook his head and looked resigned. "If that's what you need, Maddie, then sure. I'm glad Carol's working out."

"She is, Terry. She really is."

"Okay." He smiled and looked at Madison. He was a little concerned. She could see it in his eyes. "You'd tell me? If you were in trouble and fighting the need to cut again, you'd tell me?"

She nodded.

He gave a thoughtful smile and went back to dinner, and Madison focused on breathing. The air was getting thin around the couch, but she kept sucking it in and kept herself conscious, and somehow, managed to get through dinner without Terry noticing that she'd only eaten half of what she'd dished onto her plate.

To her surprise, John helped clear the dishes so the women could start planning.

When the kitchen was clean, and John was safely out of their way and in the living room, Izzy got out her recipes and laptop, Madison pulled out her clicky pen and spiral notebook-- the one Terry had bought for her-- and the women placed everything on the kitchen table in serious fashion. They were soon joined by a curious Ruthie, and the three of them wasted no time in getting down to business.

"Dick is still waiting for Terry to get back to him with the guest list for the engagement party," Izzy began, "and I'm guessing Sara Doyle would like that list as soon as possible, but hasn't pressed for it, because she knows you and Terry have been busy. So maybe we can get Terry started on that. Terry, did you hear?" Izzy called to the next room.

"I heard."

"Make sure you run the guest list by AJ-- it's supposed to be their welcome home party, too."

"I'll email Abby a list, tonight."

"Thank you." Izzy smiled at Madison. "One down."

"One down," Ruthie said, and put both elbows on the table to look at Madison's notebook.

Madison hadn't started taking notes yet, but it was kind of exciting.

"Now." Izzy opened a recipe box. "Abby's been after me to get these into a database. You wanted a homemade cake. Here's a few of my best recipes, but Agatha has a wonderful carrot cake that I don't have. You can look through these and see if there's anything you like."

"Maddie," Terry called from the living room, "should we invite Tim and Karen to the party?"

"Of course," came John's loud reply, also from the living room.

"But her baby is due any time," Terry reasoned. "She might not want to come."

"Invite them both, and let them sort it out," came John's suggestion.

"Sounds reasonable," Terry said. "Never mind. Go back to your cake."

Madison and Izzy exchanged smiles, and Ruthie grinned. Just as they were going back to their cake, the doorbell sounded. John called that he would get it, and Madison sorted through recipes.

"I didn't have my keys--" Abby came into the kitchen and went straight to Madison-- "so I had to use the bell. Jake told me your brother came for a visit. I'm so sorry I wasn't there to meet him. What was he like? Did he stay long?"

"He apologized for not looking for me harder."

"He did?" Abby melted into a smile. "That's so sweet. Does he fish?"

"Pull up a chair and help us," Madison coaxed, and she showed Abby a cake recipe.

"You're planning the wedding." Abby grinned, tugged off her coat, and pulled out a chair next to Ruthie. "When's the date?"

"It depends. I want to invite Tim and Karen, but Karen's due any time, and I don't even know if they can come to the engagement party." Madison saw Abby's eyebrows go up, and gestured to the living room. "Terry's coming up with a guest list. He said he'd email it to you."

"Madison, you don't have to come up with a date right this minute," Izzy smiled. "We're just getting started. I'll heat some water so we can have tea, and we'll talk flowers."

Though Abby looked a bit pained, she stayed and "talked flowers." By the time they came to dresses, Abby was pouring her third cup of chamomile and looking as though she wished it were coffee. Not Madison though, she liked tea.

"Do I really need to wear a big white dress?" Madison asked.

"Why not? If Mom could've had her way, I would've had to go through the same ordeal, so I don't see any reason why you shouldn't."

"Abby."

"Mom, you wanted me in a fluffy white gown. Admit it."

Izzy squeezed her eyes shut, and Ruthie giggled at "mommy's funny face." "The way you make it sound, Abby. I didn't wear a wedding dress, and neither did you. Finally, someone in this family has a chance to do it right, and the dress is the one place besides the ring where Terry and Madison agreed they wanted to do it nice."

Madison winced. They had agreed. In the parking lot.

"But if she doesn't want the big dress--"

"Then she doesn't have to have one," Izzy finished. "This isn't my wedding, it's hers and Terry's. Just tell me what kind of dress you'd like, Madison, and I'll do my best to help you find it."

"It's just that..." Madison didn't know how to put it into words. She didn't want to look pretty. The thought of looking attractive for a man, made her sick to her stomach. She steadied herself and remembered that man would be Terry. One step. All she needed was one step to make progress. Her mouth felt dry, but she finally got out the important words. "Should it be white?"

Abby looked at her mom.

"Ruthie, why don't you go play with your sisters?"

"But, Mommy--"

"Please?" Izzy gave her daughter a pleading look, and Ruthie climbed off the chair and left the kitchen at the slowest possible pace. As though she wanted to hear what was going on and hoped something might slip out if she lingered. Izzy gave her a look and Ruthie moved into the living room as Terry came hobbling in.

"Terry, you should be on the couch." Madison got up to take him back, but Terry planted himself at the table.

"I think I'll sit in here for awhile."

"We were talking about the dress," Izzy said, and Terry gave a look that said he already knew.

Slowly, Madison sat down.

"May I interrupt for a question?" Terry asked. He looked about, and when they all nodded for him to go ahead, he placed his hands on the table as though he were feeling the wood. "Everyone here is familiar with my history. What I'd like to know is this: Do you consider me a virgin?"

The question caught Madison off kilter. Wasn't he too embarrassed to just come right out and ask? It had taken her a great deal of courage to ask whether or not she should be wearing white, and for Terry to put himself out there like that, and to just ask-- Madison held her breath. Izzy didn't look surprised by Terry's frankness, and neither did Abby. In fact, the look on Abby's face right now spoke volumes.

Fierce pride. Not proud with a capital P, but loving pride in an uncle who had the courage to ask an embarrassing question for someone else.

"You were raped." Abby spoke clearly. "You might not be a virgin in the technical sense, but in every other way, you are. It's something you have to give. It can't be taken." Abby took a big sip of tea, made a face, then set the cup down. "Anyone want coffee?"

"I agree with Abby," Izzy said quietly.

Terry bowed his head, his point made like Madison was sure he knew it would be.

"Will anyone blame me," Madison heard her own voice tremble, and willed herself to be strong like Terry, "if I wear white, even though Terry and I are already married?"

"If they do, they'll have to get past me." Terry looked at Madison, and Madison knew he meant it.

She sniffed the wet back, no longer feeling as ashamed as before. "Does it need to be fluffy?"

Terry laughed, and sniffed, and pushed out of his chair. He leaned over, softly kissed Madison, then went back to the living room.

"They come in all styles," Izzy said, and opened her laptop. "Let me show you a few examples. You can be very basic, or very elegant, or go fluffy, like Terry said, but it's up to you." Izzy turned her laptop around and showed Madison a screen of white dresses. There were twenty to a page, and there were at least nine pages. "This store isn't local, but it might give you some ideas."

One by one, wedding gown photos went past Madison, and she began to wish she could send one of those models down the aisle for her, then swap them out at the last minute for the vows. Just so she wouldn't have to wear the dress. She wasn't pretty like they were, and she'd have to look attractive. Wear makeup. Have her hair arranged. Right now she just ran a brush through it, and that was that. But seeing those models, it gave her an idea of what she should try for, and it made her weak in the knees just thinking about it.

One step at a time.

Even if she had to crawl on her hands and knees to move forward, she would.

* * * *

He couldn't help watching her, even though she was in the next room. In his mind's eye, he could see her at the kitchen table, leaning over a notebook, writing out wedding plans in that painfully slow hand of hers. His ear trained to her voice, and each time she said something, he stopped typing and listened.

Reception at the house, was Izzy sure she didn't mind having people here...

Terry went back to the guest list. Though it did no good to guess at what was going on with her, he couldn't help wondering. She needed alone time with Carol so she could face planning the wedding? They'd agreed to keep it small, and she had Izzy's help, not to mention Abby and Agatha. The dress? Could that have been it? But divide all the sessions over that? He frowned. This wasn't helpful, and Terry shook it off and focused on the screen. She was doing good right now, he wouldn't talk himself into concern over nothing.

He went down all the people he knew in the area but cut it down to those he'd promised to the wedding, friends who were like family, fishing buddies who would never turn down a free meal, and any he thought Abby would like to have at the party. Smiling, he started to type a name, paused, and wondered if Jake would mind. Terry went ahead and added the person, figuring Abby could always make changes if she thought it best.

Eyes growing heavy, Terry yawned and pushed on. If he forgot anyone important, he hoped they would forgive him, and pulled out his smartphone to check his address book. Just to be on the safe side. He'd made it to the H's when Abby came from the kitchen, looking tired and ready to fall into bed.

"All that wedding talk is making me grateful Jake and I eloped." Abby dropped onto the couch, and looked over Terry's arm at his laptop.

"You didn't elope, you had a small ceremony with your parents watching. It's not eloping if your parents are there. Is it?" Terry frowned. He was getting tired. "Hey, since I've got you here, what do you think about inviting this guy to the party?" Terry highlighted a name and saw Abby's eyes pop wide.

"Tyler is back?" Abby punched Terry in the arm. "Why is it I'm always the last one to know?"

"Maybe it's because you two were once close to getting married, and people aren't sure if they should tell you?" Terry shrugged. "Or maybe because he isn't here yet--" Terry laughed as Abby punched him again-- "and I heard from Gus that Tyler's coming back sometime this week."

"Wait a minute. Gus? The guy who manages the gas station on the corner-- that Gus?" Abby sighed. "For a minute there, I almost believed it was true."

"Then you don't think Tyler's coming back?" Terry studied Abby. "Do you know something I don't?"

"Not really." Abby stretched out. "Jake and I got a call from Tyler while we were in San Diego a few years back. He was dating some woman, and it wasn't going very well, and I think he just wanted someone to talk to, and so he called us." Abby leaned forward on the cushion. "When I came back to Three Mile Bay and didn't find him here, I figured he found a reason to stay where he was."

"Then should I take his name off the list?"

Abby looked thoughtful a moment, and sighed. "Gus? We're going on his word?"

"He's a good mechanic, Abby."

"When it comes to gossip though, he stinks. And that's not a recommendation for gossipers."

"I'm leaving Tyler's name on." Terry watched Abby push off from the couch. "Unless you think Jake would prefer I didn't."

"Tyler won't be there, so it won't matter either way. But if he is, Jake won't mind. Last time I saw, they were actually getting along together very well."

"Really."

"Yeah." Abby gave a good-humored laugh. "As Tyler's former girlfriend, I find it disconcerting, but it beats being enemies by a mile." She waved to the recliner. "Good night, Dad, 'night, Uncle Terry. Email me when your list is done, and I'll send it on to Dick."

"Keep warm," John said, and smiled sleepily when the door closed behind Abby. "I remember a time when I thought the best thing in the world that could happen to Abby, would be for her to marry Tyler Greene. And now--" John groaned as he got up and went to lock the front door-- "whatever happened to him, I know the best thing for our Abby wasn't Tyler. Hearing her tonight, I know it was Jake." John scratched at his shirt and looked at the kitchen. "Sounds like they're really serious in there."

Terry nodded in ready agreement, and paused as he heard Madison's voice.

They could get Agatha to help with the cooking...

And went back to his list.

John went to get the munchkins ready for bed, and Terry looked over the guest list for the party one last time before hitting send. It would have to do. He shut the laptop, only to hear rain on the roof.

Man, just what they needed. More rain. Another long day behind him, Terry set aside his computer and began working some of the stiffness from his leg. He lifted his foot off the chair as familiar sounds of bedtime drifted into the living room.

"Who brushed their teeth?" John called out in the hall.

Terry smiled at the chorus of me's that followed. With no one around to help him, he turned on the couch and managed to push up without feeling the familiar twinge in his foot, the one that told him he hadn't gotten away with anything. He left his laptop behind for John to put away, and used anything within reach so he would put as little weight on his ankle as possible. Limping into the hall, he grinned at John as John directed from the door of the triplets' room.

"Where's your other slipper? Debbie, is that Lizzie's nightgown?"

He nodded good night to his buddy, then switched on the bedroom light. Though John had turned up the thermostat, the room felt chilly and Terry knew the night would be another cold one. Terry moved out of the way and nudged the bedroom door shut. Leaning on the couches, he moved down the length of the room, around to the dresser, pulled out his pajamas, some socks, then went into the bathroom.

It was even colder in there.

Minutes later, he came out and made the journey to his couch. He would be grateful when all resting was over, and he could use his ankle again. The overhead was still on but his good leg was getting tired and so was he. Terry climbed into bed, then pulled the covers up only to realize he'd left his propping pillows in the living room. He groaned. Life was so simple when you had two good feet. Terry started to think it might not be important to keep his foot elevated, when he felt his ankle.

He could go back to the living room, or he could call for someone. Or... Terry rolled off the couch, moved to Maddie's, and opened the closet to tug out some coats. Wadding them, he took his makeshift pillow back to bed, and used them to prop up his foot. It wasn't as comfortable as the pillows, but it was cold, and he was tired.

And in a bit of a mood, he realized, as he tugged the covers over his body.

Great. The overhead light was still on. He pulled the blanket over his head rather than get up. He'd just gotten everything in place. Still, that light. Terry sighed, and pushed the blankets off his head as someone knocked on the door.

"Come in." He felt quiet relief as Maddie came inside. "Before you close that door, would you see if John put away my laptop?"

Maddie smiled and went back into the hall while Terry waited. The girls knew better than to touch the laptop, but he wouldn't get any rest until he knew it was safely back on his desk.

The door creaked open.

"John put it away," Maddie said, coming in with the pillows from the living room. "I saw it on your desk, and it was plugged in." She shut the bedroom door behind her, then moved to Terry's couch and placed the pillows on the blanket by his feet. "How is your ankle?"

"Better, now that you're here." He sat up to pull out the coats, and saw her smile. "Thanks for these. My family is good to me, and that's a fact."

She bit her lip, and he could tell she was pleased.

He adjusted the pillows, then tugged the blankets up and got comfortable as she moved off to get ready for bed.

Though the overhead light was still on, his laptop was safe, and Terry started to drift off, though he tried not to. He drifted again, and when the bathroom door opened, he saw Maddie come out in her PJs and robe. She left the door ajar, for it would serve as their night-light, and as she moved between the couches to turn off the overhead, Terry reminded himself to get a real night-light sometime, one she would like. Something with an angel, if he could find it.

He was about to remind her they hadn't shared in a good night kiss yet, when he noticed she kept by the door. Probably so she could take off her robe. He was too late, he'd missed his chance, and Terry made sure he kept his head turned away so she wouldn't make another flying dive into bed.

"Did you have a good time planning things with Izzy?" he asked.

"I did. We started the wedding list, but there's a lot to do."

"Let everyone help, don't take it all on yourself." Terry peeked out of the corner of his eye and saw Maddie climb under her blankets. He gave her a moment before leading her in a hushed prayer, then breathed deep as the room settled in for the night. "Sweet dreams," he whispered. "I love you."

He had just fallen asleep, when something in the room woke him. Maddie's blankets rustled, and Terry soon found himself looking up at her face.

"We forgot to kiss good night," she whispered.

"Worse things could happen," he smiled, but his next breath was cut short by a kiss. She added something extra to that kiss, for when Maddie pulled away, he was left wanting more. He hoped she couldn't read his mind, but an apology was there in her eyes. She looked ready to say something he didn't want to hear, and he put a finger to her lips. This was enough, he loved her anyway. Terry touched her cheek, and she gave a faint smile before stealing back to her couch.

"I love you, too, Terry."

He smiled, and shut his eyes, and willed himself to breathe. Loving her was never straightforward, it was mixed with strains of the bitter and the sweet, with sadness and joy, but it was what they had, and for that, Terry would be grateful. Always grateful.

With that tucked in his heart, he let the rain cradle him to sleep.


"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
~ Lamentations 3:21-24 ~

end of chapter