Good morning everyone. Finally it's Friday, the sun is shinning, and today your timing must be right to win the free copy of my novel STROKE OF LOVE. The odds are fairly good, because only 10 people are registered followers, so you have a 1 in 10 chance of winning...
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The fire was incredible. It blazed a path of destruction in several directions at once. She ran . . . and ran, and ran, and still it nipped at her heels, licked her legs; darted to her thighs. Try as did, she could not out run it.
“Emilie, wake up!”
There was that voice again. She knew that voice, and yet she didn’t.
“Emilie . . . you’ve slept long enough now. Come-on, open your eyes.”
She struggled to find the voice; her head twisted sideways then returned to where it was comfortable.
“She’s not opening her eyes,” a much younger voice jolted her heart into a staccato beat.
“She will Raymond, you just keep at her.”
“Maybe if I kissed her cheek she’d wake up. What do ya think, Annie?”
“I think it’s worth a try. . .”
Small hands touched Emilie’s face with extreme caution, then heated breath, then warm soft lips. A heavy weight fell onto her sternum.
“Please wake up, lieben, please. . .” the small voice was so close now. She had to see . . . had to . . . She worked the muscles of her eyelids until she caught a glimpse of light, then she fought to open her eyes completely.
“Ray-mon . . .” Was that her voice?
“She’s awake – I did it Annie - I woke her up!”
“You sure did. Now scoot away and tell your Dada for me.”
“Annie?” Oh Got, how it hurt to talk.
“Shhh, just relax, child.”
Emilie’s eyes were wide open now. She could see Annie sitting at the side of the bed beside her. Why was she in this bed? Her eyes swept the room – why was she in Karl’s bed? The flush started at her toes and worked its way into her cheeks. She tried to move her legs, fiery pain shot clear up to her hips.
“Best not to move too much, you have a pretty bad case of frost bite on those feet of yours.”
Then she remembered the storm, the freezing cold; Anne - Marie.
“The Kinder?” Suddenly the pain could be tolerated, only if all the children were safe.
“All okay, aside from a bit of frostbite here and there. You fared worse of all. Your feet took the brunt of it, but you have some frost bite on your face as well.”
Emilie had to get up. She needed to see that everyone in her care was safe. She attempted to lift her upper body from the bed only to be pushed back down by Annie.
“Whoa – you’re not going anywhere, young lady. You will stay put here in this bed until I tell you otherwise. There is nothing you have to get up for unless it’s to use the chamber pot, and I’ll help you do that when the time comes. In the meantime you are to rest and sleep and let those feet heal some before you take a notion to go dancing on them.”
Emilie tried to smile at Annie’s high-handed authority, but it hurt too much to smile, so she relaxed back against the pillows and closed her eyes instead.
It took Emilie three days to leave Karl’s bed, and in those three days Karl’s little home was abuzz with activity, all centered around caring for Emilie.
Annie drove over once a day to tend to Emilie’s personal needs and to supervise meal preparation, which had temporarily been taken over by George, Karl and Sue.
The children took turns bringing meals to her. They brought porridge in the morning, soup at dinner time and whatever was hot for the evening meal.
Raymond kept her feet warm with bricks that had been heated in the stove and then wrapped in fleece. Sue assisted her with her daily sponge bath and thrilled when Emilie allowed her to brush her long hair every morning and evening.
George poked his head in Karl’s room several times a day; each time he did his face flushed bright crimson before he withdrew it again. Charles Jr., read last years seed catalogue to her as if it was a dime store novel, and Anne – Marie sampled the spot on the bed closest to her, often times falling asleep while still being held closely in Emilie’s arms.
Karl sometimes joined the children when one or more were gathered around his housekeeper, but he never ventured into the room by himself.
When Annie deemed it so, Emilie was allowed to get out of bed, but only for short periods of time at first. It took a full week of pampering before she was able to attend to the family like she was accustomed doing. Even then she needed to periodically rest her feet so she could last the long day. She had much to do as Christmas was fast approaching, and she was determined not to let her painful feet stop her from giving her newfound family the Christmas they all deserved.