Thad chuckled. “No, sweetheart. I plan to be around for a long while. Do you think we can talk this week?”
“Of course. Since I’m not getting in until late afternoon, what about Tuesday or Wednesday?”
“Wednesday works fine. I can meet you at the hotel.”
“No, that’s okay. I’d rather come to your house.”
“I’ll throw in dinner. How’s that?”
Faith smiled. “Sounds great.” They talked a few minutes longer to finalize the details and ended the call. She lightly tapped the phone against her chin and wondered what he wanted to discuss. First, Brandon and his surprise, now this.
Tossing the phone aside, she went back to packing. She was anxious to find out what Thad had to say. And to see Brandon.
Wednesday evening, Faith rang Thad’s doorbell precisely at seven thirty.
Thad opened the door and had a huge smile on his face. “You’re right on time. Come on in.”
She followed him to the kitchen and placed the box she had been carrying on the counter.
He set one crutch aside and maneuvered to the stove to stir something in a pot.
She sniffed. “Whatever you’re cooking smells really good.”
He glanced over his shoulder. “I should’ve asked you what you liked. I’ve got some fried catfish, potato salad, beans and…” He removed a pan from the oven. “Cornbread.”
Faith’s mouth watered. “Mmm, I can’t wait.” She hadn’t had fried fish in a long while. Growing up, her mother had cooked fish on most Fridays. Faith remembered asking why and her mother saying it was something her mother had done.
Thad gestured. “What’s in the box?”
“I thought since you were cooking dinner, I’d contribute dessert.”
He grinned and his eyebrows shot up. “Yeah? What did you bring?”
“I just made a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.” Since the hotel had a full kitchen, she had decided to bake the cake instead of buying one from the store.
His smile widened. “I may have to skip dinner and go straight for dessert. How did you know that was my absolute favorite cake?”
Faith laughed. “It’s mine, too.”
Thad shook his head and turned away briefly.
She saw him discreetly wiping at his face. She rounded the island and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. She understood. How many more things did they have in common? “Like you said, we can only go forward.”
She wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head on his shoulder. He held her tight.
After a moment, he released her. “We’d better eat before the food gets cold.”
They fixed their plates and sat at the kitchen table. He recited a blessing and she dug in. The fish tasted so good she groaned. She held up a piece. “You have got to tell me what seasonings you used. I haven’t had fish this good in years.”
He took a sip of his iced tea. “I’m glad you’re enjoying it.”
Faith was more than enjoying her food. She didn’t eat everybody’s potato salad, but tonight she had two helpings. She studied him as he got up to get another piece of cornbread, marveling at how easily he maneuvered with one crutch. “You mentioned being fitted for another prosthesis. Any word on when it might be ready?”
Thad returned to his seat. “I’m hoping it’ll be ready in another couple of weeks, but who knows.”
Faith listened as Thad told her about the process.
Then he abruptly changed the subject. “How did it go with your mother?”
She wiped her hands. “Okay, I guess. We talked, so that’s a plus.”
“I’m glad.” He pointed to her empty plate. “There’s plenty more if you want.”
She held up a hand. “No, thank you. If I eat one more bite, I won’t be able to move from this chair. Everything was delicious. Besides, I need to save room for a little bitty piece of cake,” she added with a wink.
Thad laughed and patted his stomach. “Need to save some space myself.”
She paused briefly, then said, “You mentioned wanting to talk to me about something important.”
He nodded. “We can talk in the family room. And I’m going to have a piece of that cake.”