Jenn led Tara up the stairs to their second-floor room. To Tara’s delight, Margie rented a suite equipped with a living room, a small kitchen and two bedrooms. The décor wasn’t fancy, but the room was clean and it was big enough that she and her family were not falling over one another.
“The only downside to the room is the single bathroom.” Margie told her.
“Mary Lou doesn’t plan to leave the hospital and I’ll be gone a good part of the day, so I don’t think it will be a problem,” Tara said. “Does the hotel have a pool?”
“The bestest pool in the world.” Jamie ran from the bedroom into her mother’s arms. “Do you want to go swimming with me?”
She looked at her watch. “I would love to swim, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.”
Jamie pouted. “I want to show you the pool.”
“If you go to bed now, we can check it out in the morning.”
Tara lowered her daughter to the ground and instructed her to say goodnight to Jenn and her grandmother. The girl complied and then ran back to her mother.
“Can we swim?” She asked on their way into the bedroom.
“Where were you and Grandma Mary Lou?”
Tara chewed the inside of her cheek. She hated lying to her daughter. “I had to visit a friend.”
“Can we do something fun tomorrow?”
“We’re going swimming,” Tara told her. “That’s fun.”
Tara pulled the blankets off the bed and checked the sheets before placing her daughter in bed. “Aunt Jenn tells me you were unhappy this evening. What happened?”
Tara slipped into bed next to her daughter. She turned on her side and propped her head on her fist. “Something must have happened. Aunt Jenn doesn’t lie.”
“Remember last summer when we went on vacation and Daddy wouldn’t let you go to the amusement park with us?”
Tara checked over her shoulder to make sure Jenn and her mother hadn’t followed them into the room. She hadn’t told anyone about the incident and didn’t want them to overhear her conversation with Lilly.
Despite her best effort to keep her mind in the present, her thoughts drifted back to that August morning.
“Are you accusing me of ruining the day?” Tom asked on the car ride back to the hotel.
“No. I want you to stop yelling at me. I asked you three times if you packed the tickets.”
“I did pack them, Tara. You must have gone into the bag and taken them out while I went to buy breakfast.”
“I didn’t go into the bag, Tom. For once in...