“This is a big mistake, though, isn’t it?”

“That depends on how you see it,” Faith said carefully.

“If something like that bothers you, you tear it out?”

“Well, I generally do. I feel better about the project, and it seems that whatever I reknit goes twice as fast.”

“Then I’ll rip away,” Megan said, apparently satisfied with her decision. “By the way, I told my dad and Craig’s parents about the baby.”

“I imagine they were all excited.”

“Especially my dad.” Megan returned her attention to her knitting.

“If you’d like, I’ll help you with that after lunch.”

Their tea had steeped, and Megan put the knitting back in her bag, then filled their cups. “Thank you for meeting me like this,” she said, engrossed in the task of pouring tea.

“It’s my pleasure, Megan.” She strongly suspected it wasn’t merely—or primarily—the knitting question that had prompted Megan’s invitation. “Is there anything else I can do for you?” she asked.

Megan leaned back in her chair. “I guess you could see through me asking to meet you.”

“Not really. If there’s something on your mind, though, I’d like to help if I can.”

“Oh, Faith, thank you,” she said in a rush. “I needed to talk to someone, and I’ve been on pins and needles.”

“I’m honored that you chose me.”

“You’re exactly the right person,” Megan insisted. “I know you’ll be honest with me and…and I trust your advice.”

“Thank you,” Faith murmured, although she did feel a little guilty.

“I told you how close I was to my mom when she was alive.”


“I saw her every single day. By the end she couldn’t speak all that well, but she always listened. Dad and I were with her when she died and it was…beautiful.” Megan tried to blink away tears. “Death can be beautiful, can’t it?”

“Yes, I believe it can.” Faith reached across the table and squeezed Megan’s hand.

“Mom was sick for a very long time.”

“I know.”

Megan struggled visibly with her emotions and managed to control them. When she spoke again, her voice had gained strength and conviction. “Shortly after my mom died, my father implied there was someone he wanted to date. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrified I was.”

Faith’s guilt quotient rose several degrees. Obviously Troy hadn’t exaggerated his daughter’s reaction, and she understood more clearly why he’d hidden their relationship.

Megan pursed her lips. “At first I thought he was joking. Good grief, Mom had only been gone a few months.”

Faith hesitated, unsure what to do. Megan didn’t have any idea that the woman Troy had been seeing was her. Mentioning it now would be awkward beyond belief.

“As you said, your mother had been ill for a long time,” she said cautiously.

“I know, and I also realize how lonely my father must’ve been all those years. The thing is, he was completely dedicated to my mother.”

The waitress approached with their order and a spare plate. They spent a few minutes dividing the crab melt, tasting their soup, commenting on the food. Faith welcomed the interruption. She needed to think. It was wrong to accept Megan’s confidences without telling Megan about her involvement with Troy.

“Your father’s Troy Davis, the sheriff, isn’t he?” she asked. She had to introduce the topic somehow and this seemed a relatively safe way to start.

“You know him?” Megan’s eyes widened.

“I do. Your father and I went to high school together.” She held her breath waiting for Megan’s response.

Megan clapped her hands delightedly. “Oh, my goodness, I would never have guessed. That’s great!”

“Your father was a handsome young man.”

“I know,” Megan said, beaming with pride. “I looked through his high school yearbooks and he was just so cute.”

Faith had thought so, too. She still did.

“So your father wants to date again?”

Megan nodded. “I told him not long ago that I think he should, but I’m not sure he believed me, especially after the fuss I made earlier…. I regret that now, but it was such a shock. It didn’t occur to me that he’d be interested in anyone so soon after losing Mom.” Megan lowered her gaze. “It was probably selfish of me, but I couldn’t help feeling the way I did.”

“Everyone’s entitled to their feelings, Megan. Don’t beat yourself up over it.”

Megan swallowed a spoonful of soup before she responded. “Dad isn’t that old. He doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life alone and I don’t blame him. I mean, it wouldn’t be easy seeing my dad with someone other than Mom, but I don’t want to be selfish, either.”

“I think your feelings are only natural,” Faith murmured. “The fact that you’re talking to your father about your concerns is important.”

Faith took a bite of her meal, then broached the subject. “This might come as a surprise, but your father and I dated in high school.”

Megan stared at her. “You and my dad?”

Faith paused ever so slightly, then nodded. “As you said earlier, he was a popular guy.”

Megan giggled. “That is so cool.”

“I liked him a lot back then,” Faith told her, using the past tense to keep the situation in perspective. Eventually, if there was an easy way to do so, she’d lead into the fact that they’d briefly reconnected following Sandy’s death.

“I think I could accept it better if Dad was dating someone like you,” Megan said, picking up her spoon.

It was on the tip of her tongue to explain that she had been seeing Troy, when Megan continued.

“But I don’t like this other woman at all.”

“Other woman?” Faith blurted out, unable to stop herself.

Megan nodded. “Her name’s Sally, and she’s a widow.”

The chills that ran down Faith’s back had nothing to do with the December weather. Troy Davis was just as inconsistent as she’d suspected. Worse than that, he was fickle, swearing undying love one day and taking up with someone new the next.

“I got the feeling he didn’t want me to know about her,” Megan said with a frown.

Faith rested her spoon beside her plate. “No, I’m sure he didn’t,” she said tartly. Apparently keeping his romances a secret was quite a pattern of his.

“Craig says,” Megan went on, “that some men need a woman in their lives. I would never have thought my father was one of them, but now I think he must be.”

“Why’s that?” Faith asked, a little fearful of the response.

“Well, because,” Megan said. “There was that other woman earlier on and now there’s Sally.”

“It might be the same person,” Faith suggested. How was she to know when Troy had started seeing this Sally? Her face burned with anger and mortification. It wouldn’t surprise her to discover he’d been dating both of them at the same time.

Megan was quiet for a moment. “Now that you mention it,” she said, “Sally might be the woman Dad alluded to after Mom died.”

Faith was finding this rather difficult to take. Anger surged to the surface. How dare he treat her in such an underhanded way? He’d led her to believe she was the only woman he cared about. He’d even said he loved her!

“So you met…Sally,” Faith said. Apparently the other woman was higher on the food chain than Faith, who’d never been introduced to Troy’s daughter.

Megan took a sip of her tea. “Craig and I were out Christmas shopping and we ran into Dad and Sally at Wal-Mart.”

“I…see.” That was an interesting note, considering how Troy felt about shopping.

“I could see right away that Dad was embarrassed. He tried to pretend he didn’t see me.”

Faith nodded. She’d just bet he did. “What’s Sally like?” she asked. If this other woman was young, tall and blond, Faith didn’t know if she could be held responsible for her actions.

“Sally? Oh, she’s okay, I guess. She’s around Dad’s age and kind of…I don’t know, dumpy-looking.”

“Pretty, though, right?”

“Not really.”

“What didn’t you like about her?” Faith asked, disgusted with herself for encouraging Megan.

“First off, she’s bossy,” Megan said without hesitation.

“Bossy,” Faith repeated.

“Yeah. She said she and Dad were going out for sushi later and I happen to know my father hates sushi.”


“He doesn’t like shopping, either.”

That, Faith knew. “So, your father must be quite impressed with…Sally.” Faith could barely get the other woman’s name out of her mouth. She felt her anger growing and knew she should leave.

She resolutely picked up her purse and set it on her lap. Only a few days ago Troy had been at her front door trying to talk her into giving him another chance. The man juggled women the way a clown juggled balls. Hmm. Clown. Not a bad word for Mr. Sheriff Troy Davis.

“What do you think I should do?” Megan asked, looking expectantly at Faith.

Caught up in her own emotions, Faith didn’t understand what she was asking.

Megan, apparently sensing her confusion, explained, “Should I say anything to Dad about Sally? I mean, I don’t like her and if he does, well…I think it could be a problem. If she’s that bossy with Dad, she will be with me, too.”


Megan sighed. “I suppose it really isn’t any of my business. I should probably keep my nose out of it.”

“Yes, well, I’m not…well, quite sure what to tell you. It’s—it’s just that…” In the course of a few minutes, Faith had turned into a stuttering fool.

“I don’t understand why my dad doesn’t realize Sally’s all wrong for him.” Megan shook her head as if she couldn’t fathom what had gotten into her father.

“You have a point there.”

“Men can be dense, can’t they?”

“You’re telling me,” Faith muttered, faking a short laugh.

The restaurant was filling up and it was time for both of them to return to work. The waitress had dropped off the bill at their table, and Faith reached for it.

“I wish you’d let me pay for your lunch.”

“Of course not,” Faith insisted, opening her purse. Her hands shook as she withdrew the cash from a small zippered pouch. “That should cover my half plus tip,” she said, placing twelve dollars on the table.

“I appreciate your coming on such short notice.”

Faith did manage a genuine smile. “It was my pleasure. I don’t know that I was much help, though.” This lunch had been instructive and in that sense probably more of a help to her than Megan. Her eyes had been opened in regard to Troy Davis.