On the way home, Meghan fumbles for the hands-free system in her car and answers the phone.
“Hey, Megs, Deb called your office, but you didn’t answer. Isn’t it great?”
“Isn’t what great?” she asks Rick.
“You didn’t check voice mail?”
“I got fed up with reporters calling all day. What’s up?”
“There’s an offer on the house.”
Meghan’s foot nearly slips off the brake at the stoplight. “What?”
“The folks who saw it this morning are offering full price, and their financing’s in place. We close in sixty days. Deb’s bringing the papers over tonight for us to sign.”
“Two months? We’ve hardly looked at anything. How can we be ready to move in two months?”
“We’ll have the movers store our stuff and stay in a hotel if we need to. But we’ll find something, don’t worry. Gotta go, a client’s calling. See you at home.”
The honk from the car behind her forces Meghan’s attention back to the road. But she’s soon thinking life has become far too busy this winter. This is supposed to be the slow season for home sales. But hers has sold on just its second day on the market. Then there’s the mystery of Josiah Kent in the Walker cellar. And she still needs to visit the National Archives in DC for research on another project.
And now I have to start packing up my life? John can’t do homework in a hotel room. What have we gotten ourselves into?
The evening is a blur as she and Rick sign and initial the contract forms. Deb Cooper promises to find them the right house, which might be easier if they up their top dollar by another fifty thousand. Meghan hears Rick tells Deb that’s no problem and nods mutely in agreement.
When Deb leaves, Meghan makes a cup of hot chocolate and surveys the kitchen and family room while she drinks.
“Are you okay?” Rick asks.
“Yeah, it’s just so sudden. This was our first house, and we’ve been here nearly eleven years. I was pregnant with John when we moved in, remember?”
“I remember,” Rick says, slipping his arms around her from behind. “Six months along, and the doctor didn’t want you doing any lifting. Your brothers were sure you planned the move that way.”
“So many of our memories are here, and now there’s no time to prepare for leaving them. We have to pack and find a new place—”
“We’re not leaving the memories, Megs, they’re coming with us. And we’ll make new ones in the next house. We’ll be settled again inside of three months. We’ll even have time to plant that garden you’ve always wanted.”
Meghan sets down her drink and turns to rest her head on Rick’s chest. “You’re right. I’m being silly.”
“No, you’re not,” Rick says, kissing the top of her head. “We’ve had some great times here. Remember John’s first Christmas and we couldn’t fit everyone in the family room because there were so many presents for him around the tree?”
“And scrambling to buy child-proofing supplies when he started walking earlier than our moms said he would?”
“You were sure he’d fall down the stairs that day if we didn’t,” Ricks says with a laugh. “I ended up doing it before he did. Damn lucky I didn’t break my neck.”
“That’s what you get for being lazy and trying to climb over the gate instead of opening it.”
“So I learn my lessons the hard way. You knew that when you married me.”
Meghan reaches up to kiss him. “You’re right. The memories are in us, not the house. And John will love having a yard he and his friends can play in.”
“With a dog?”
“Yes, with a dog. But not until we’re settled. And you two are doing all the work.”
“It’s a deal,” Rick says, pulling her close. “Now, let’s kick back and relax. We don’t have to start packing tonight.”
As they head to the family room, Meghan’s phone rings, showing a call from Wyndham Thicket Farm. “I’ll be there in a minute. I should take this.”
“Dr. Bode? It’s Jackson Carter. Can you come out to the farm tomorrow morning without your crew? Something’s happened that you need to see.”
I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part 14 next Tuesday.