When Kate’s husband, Ward, locates the son she put up for adoption as an unwed teen, she’s understandably wary. What if he looks like his father instead of Ward?
The boy, now a man, is also wary. Who are these people who suddenly want him to be a part of their lives? Where were they when he was growing up, when he needed to feel a part of something bigger? After meeting each other, everyone’s fears dissipate.
When Ward passes away unexpectedly, Kate is devastated but thankful he never knew the truth. Facing the rest of her life alone, she returns to work in the company he founded. She’s still coming to grips with life as a single when she learns her son was adopted into the family of Jesse, the boy who turned her away as a pregnant teen. Now, she must deal with her feelings of anger and betrayal while also keeping her son and daughters from learning the truth.
Snow had just begun to stick as the last revelers pulled away from the Country Club. “And another Beecham Christmas party goes down in history,” Kate Beecham said to her husband of twenty-five years. “I’m glad we scheduled it early this year. I think this winter is going to be a bitch.”
“Yup,” Ward said.
“It was a good party, hon.”
He slid into traffic. “Yup.”
“I felt sorry for Phyllis though. That long black gown she wore made her look like a string of licorice. Something less severe would’ve been more attractive on her.”
“Dave looked terrific though. But I didn’t like the bimbo he came with. Too bad he can’t settle down with a nice girl.”
Realizing conversation was futile once her husband switched into automatic response mode, Kate leaned back and silently reviewed the evening’s events. She was half-asleep when his softly spoken words jolted her awake.
“Do you ever think about finding him, Kate?”
Her eyes flew open, and she stole a look at his face, pained to see, grimly illuminated in the greenish glow of the dashboard, remembered loss, shared loss. She’d hoped the passage of time and the phenomenal success of their business would’ve lessened the sorrow. As if time and circumstances could ever mitigate the loss of a child.
It seemed so unreal to her now. A living being, concealed beneath layers of baggy shirts and sweaters, unborn, innocent, and a young girl sent to live with an aunt in upstate New York. The girl never saw the tiny infant who’d grown under her heart, never heard his mewling cries, or held his warm body to her breast. The entire experience left an empty place in her heart that lingered still. Did she ever think about him? Often. Did she ever think about finding him?
Ward dipped his head in silent acknowledgement. And though he made no further mention of the child, his introspective look spoke volumes.
Days later, Ward’s sudden interest in something Kate thought they’d put behind them years earlier still troubled her. She knew he thought about it, as did she. But they never talked about it. Ever. Why had it come up now?
She was seated at the hair salon at the mall, waiting for her color to set when her thoughts skipped ahead to her family’s mid-winter vacation. The annual respite was always a godsend for Ward. The minute he stepped off the plane he was a changed man—the most important decision on his plate, whether to jog, swim, or bike around their island getaway. Because he’d been so preoccupied lately, Kate hoped the relaxing interlude would take his mind off more distressing matters.
As she skimmed through one of the salon’s few new magazines, a gaggle of teen-aged girls loitered outside the salon’s window. Exposing as much skin as was legal, the girls postured and posed, showing off their various piercings and tattoos in an obvious attempt to catch the attention of the boys hanging out on the opposite side of the corridor. The scene set a tidal wave of memories in motion.