Meeting Lizbeth - Chapter Three
Watching her mother die had left a large knot in Louise's heart. Each time her mother's head hit a step the knot grew bigger and tighter. When her mother finally lay lifeless at the bottom of the steps all the love and trust Louise had was tightened inside that knot. From that day forward Louise would not allow another woman into her heart. She was not as close to her father as she once was. There was that gnawing feeling her mother's death wasn't an accident. Over time they had survived well enough as father and daughter but Louise was more alone than she had ever been.
That curly haired Tom she'd seen at mother's wake had found a way into her heart and she began to love and trust him. They dated through high school much to the dismay of Tom's friends, no one was fond of the beautiful, stuck up Louise. Tom knew though, he saw a side of Louise the others didn't. Oh, they all admired her beauty but no one wanted to be friends with her. College changed them all but not Tom and Louise, they grew closer with each passing year. Talks of marriage led to their engagement.
Tom's mother Sophie had come close to getting into Louise's heart. Her gentle and unselfish spirit touched that knot and loosened it just a bit. Louise and Sophie talked about Tom. Sophie told her about Tom's childhood and the things he liked and disliked. Sophie tried to explain marriage to Louise and all the joys it could bring.
“Oh, there will be sorrows too, Louise, but its all about love.” said Sophie. “The love two people share can overcome anything if they let it.”
Sophie talked to Tom about Louise.
“She's very fragile Tom but there's a loving girl in there. She needs patience and love.” Sophie had told him.
Louise was afraid to love, afraid to love even Tom but she couldn't help herself. She asked Sophie questions she was afraid to even think about but somehow she wasn't afraid with Sophie. They grew closer every day, almost a mother-daughter relationship. Sophie was so happy for Louise and Tom. She knew Louise was just a girl with a lot of hurt inside and Louise knew Sophie was the kind of woman she could trust.
Tom loved seeing his mother and future wife together. They talked and smiled a lot and that made him happy. He loved Louise so much and he knew she was a tortured soul. Life had not been kind to her but he promised himself he would make it all up to her. Their life together would make her happy and help her to trust again.
No one could foresee what was to happen, life is often cruel and seems to keep hurting one person over and over. Sophie came down with pneumonia six months after the wedding. Louise stayed with her night and day, caring for her and praying for her. When Sophie passed away quietly one night Louise was devastated. She had opened her heart and here again it was rewarded with pain. She vowed never to let another woman into her heart. Tom felt his own grief but it was doubled watching his beloved Louise suffer so much yet again.
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Baby Lizbeth was yes, a woman. Louise saw the tiny little darling but her fear just knotted tighter. She couldn't allow herself to be sucked in to more pain. Tom would care for her and Maddy was like a mother, so she didn't need Louise. As Lizbeth grew and developed her loving, friendly personality Louise was tortured. She wanted to let Lizbeth in but the pain was too great. What if she did and something happened to Lizbeth? Best to keep her at arms length and let others provide the love she needed.
Little by little Lizbeth pushed her way into Louise's heart but Louise couldn't let go of the knot. Ten years had still not untied that knot. The night the three of them went to the movie and had burgers was one of the best times Louise could remember. Their laughter and joy in each other was so evident. She was so proud of Lizbeth who had chosen her own clothes to wear and looked so proper and yet like a ten year old. She knew she could teach Lizbeth so much but that knot just wouldn't go away. She had a doubt now too, maybe her loving these women caused their death? Best to stay away from Lizbeth.
Maddy was very good at observing other people. She could see Louise struggling. She thought Louise wanted to love Lizbeth but there was something there keeping her back. How sad for that lovely little girl and for Louise too. Lizbeth not having any siblings and having a distant mother was not an easy way to grow up. She knew Tom did all he could and more but he couldn't replace a mother.
Maddy filled in but felt guilty too. She wasn't Lizbeth's mother and yet she knew there was something special about this little girl and she couldn't stand by and watch her miss out on having a mother-daughter relationship. Their morning trips to school were filled with talk about everything a ten year old girl talks about. Thankfully she hadn't brought up the subject of who her mother really was or if her Grandfather had killed her Grandmother.
Had he Maddy wondered? No one would ever know for sure but suspicion ran rampant. He was a hard man and after his wife's funeral he became withdrawn. The only person he related to at all was Louise. When Louise and Tom adopted Lizbeth they were both surprised at her father's reaction. He doted on Lizbeth and seemed to find a new joy in her and in life. Maddy just couldn't figure that man out. There must've been more to the story of his wife's death than anyone knew. Was he really driven to overwork by his wife's avarice? Was there something else that always came between them? No one would ever know. The important thing now was Lizbeth and the love she needed from her family.
Maddy's ruse about seeing Brady again had worked well with Tom. She hadn't seen Brady in years and the last she heard he had moved overseas so he posed no threat. When Tom married Louise Maddy lost interest in other men. Louise didn't have to worry, Maddy was not out to break up their marriage but she did want to be close to Tom and help him in any way she could. She would always love Tom and being there for him gave her great satisfaction. Riasing his daughter was more than she had ever hoped for.
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