Two weeks after Abby and Livy spoke on the phone, Abby was convinced she needed to show Ray's family that she was a good sister to Livy, and it wouldn't hurt to see if Livy was really as happy as she said she was. She decided to call Livy and make plans to visit for a few days. Livy thanked her and couldn't wait for Abby to come.
Livy couldn't help but feel uneasy after the phone conversation. Abby was going to help her? How much help would she really be? Livy knew she was going to be watching and judging Ray and her.
That night in bed Livy had told Ray about the two previous phone conversations with Abby. She felt uncertain about Abby's intentions and wondered if she would be at all helpful when visiting. Ray shared his concerns about Abby getting Livy upset so soon after giving birth. Livy promised Ray that she would not let Abby hurt her and would speak up if she felt criticized.
A few days later Livy was preparing soup and sandwiches, Abby should be arriving soon and Ray would be coming in for lunch. Just then Ray walked in the kitchen door. He saw Livy standing by the stove. He remembered the day he and Hank dug the swimming hole, she wouldn't let him near her. Now he could touch her any time any place and she would melt in his hands. He eagerly waited for the day when Livy felt better and they could make love as husband and wife. He walked up to Livy, hugged her from behind, and kissed his wife on the back of her neck, Livy smiled and leaned into Ray. Then he walked over to his son and was about to pick Daniel up when there was a knock at the door. They both agreed that it must be Abby.
Ray walked over and opened the door; Abby was startled to see Ray, but was able to spurt out the words, "Congratulations, I here you have a beautiful son." Ray smiled and said, "Thanks, come on in, it's cold out there."
Abby walked in and put her suitcases down near the staircase. Ray took her coat to hang it up, "I'll help you bring your bags up later, we're about to have lunch."
Livy called out to Ray, "Honey, is that my sister?" Ray was so happy she called him honey in front of her sister. "Yup" he answered smiling. Then he motioned for Abby to walk in front of him into the kitchen.
Livy and Abby hugged, "I am so happy you are here." "Me too" said Abby.
Abby smiled, "So where is my nephew?" Livy went over to the cradle and picked up Daniel, who smiled at his mamma. She placed him in Abby's arms. Abby gasped, she fell in love with him right away. She sat down at the kitchen table and stared at her nephew. "You're right, he is beautiful, the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen." Ray and Livy smiled at one another.
Then Abby continued, "I'll help you with whatever you need, besides", looking at Ray, "I'm sure your sister has her own family to care for."
Ray spoke up, "Martha is family, besides she doesn't mind, that's what family does. But were glad to have you here. We can use all the help we can get." Ray surprised himself more than he had surprised Abby. He had to say that. Abby never helped Livy when their mamma was sick, yet she was Livy's family. He wanted Abby to know that as long as he was around, she was not going to insult any member of his family. Ray put another setting on the table, for Abby. "You gonna have lunch, Abby?"
"Sure" Abby responded looking at Ray, giving him a fake smile, she didn't realize that a simple farmer could make such a quick comment.
Livy also smiled, she couldn't believe Ray said that. She was very proud of him; she would have to thank Ray for that later. But she had to break the awkward situation. "Abby you can stay in the same room as before. Ray put fresh sheets on the bed."
The three of them ate lunch and spoke about what a wonderful, beautiful and smart baby Daniel is. After lunch Livy and Abby cleaned the kitchen and Ray brought Abby's suitcases up to Martha's old room.
While Ray was upstairs, Abby looked at Livy, she couldn't believe how bad Livy looked. Her sister would have been caught dead in an outfit like this back in Denver. Sure she just had a baby, but Livy could wear a nicer dress, put her hair up or even put on a little makeup. She had turned into a real farmer's wife. "I brought some extra makeup and some dresses I no longer wear. I'm sure you can't wait to get out of these clothes."
Livy couldn't believe what Abby just said. Her own sister just insulted her. Livy remembered what she promised Ray. She wiped the table, without looking up she said, "Thanks Abby, but I don't have time to put makeup on, I have a house, husband, and baby to care for. I'll save the makeup for when Ray and I go out at night. But I'll check out those dresses, whatever I can't use I'll give to Ruth, she'll love them.
They heard Ray come down the stairs, "I gotta go back to work. I'll be back for dinner." He picked up Daniel and raised him in the air, then he kissed his son on the forehead and said, "I'll see you later little man." He put Daniel back down and walked over to his wife to give her a kiss, Livy leaned in first, and kissed Ray. "See you later, honey." she said.
Abby thought about her father, She never remembered their father putting fresh sheets on the bed, or playing with them as children, or even kissing their mother in front of others.
After Ray left, Abby looked at Livy, "Honey" she asked. Livy smiled, then began to blush, and giggled, she was in love. Abby rolled her eyes and laughed.
"So Abby, what did father say about his grandson." Abby looked at Livy, she didn't want to hurt Livy's feelings. "He's happy, he's happy for you and Ray and Daniel." Truth was he was surprised Livy had decided to stay on the farm, he was certain she come back to Denver the moment the opportunity presented itself. He was equally surprised that any man had accepted her and the baby, he must be a very lonely man.
Livy frowned, "Doesn't he want to meet his son-in-law and grandson? He cares more about the people in his parish than his own children."
Before Abby could respond, Daniel started to cry, Livy walked over and picked him up. She carried him into the living room. Abby followed Livy and sat with her. As she nursed her son she said, "Don't worry, no matter what mistakes you make in life your daddy and I will never abandon you. We will always forgive you because we love you."
"Father loves you, he's just hurt. He wanted a certain life for his daughters. When you spent the night with Edward, well, he didn't want that life for you."
"So he sends me away to marry a man I don't know. Thankfully Ray is a good and honorable man, who loves and accepts me no matter what mistakes I have made. Father would have never accepted mom if she had done that."
"Well I don't think mom would have ever been that stupid." Abby suddenly realized what she said, she couldn't believe she just said that. "Oh Livy, I didn't mean that."
Livy looked up and stared at Abby, her face becomming red with anger. "Is that what you think I am, stupid, Stupid for sleeping with Edward, stupid for falling in love with Ray, stupid for staying on this farm, stupid for not dressing like you. You and dad left me alone to care for mother, I was alone. Now here I am with a loving husband and a child." Abby tried to respond, but Livy was so angry she wouldn't let Abby get a word in edgewise, "Ray's family has never once judged me. Martha and Hank welcomed me into their family. Martha has helped me and has been like a mother and a sister to me. That's the only reason you came to help, you were jealous."
Daniel had finished nursing, "I'm going upstairs to take a nap with my son. I'll be down a little later to start dinner." She walked up the stairs leaving Abby alone on the couch.
Abby just sat there in shock, she could not believe Livy just spoke to her like that. She had never seen Livy that angry before. She didn't mean to say Livy was stupid she was trying to defend father. But Livy was right, Father is a minister, he of all people should have forgiven Livy. Abby felt awful, she wanted to apologize to her sister, but she didn't want to disturb her nap. Maybe she should leave, but that wouldn't solve anything. Abby walked around the house, not sure what to do.
Meanwhile Livy lay upstairs, unable sleep. She could not believe she just spoke to Abby that way. She was surprised Abby did not leave or march up right after her screaming. She had never felt that angry before, but Abby was out of line. That was her own sister down there, the one person who should always be on your side. Livy realized that she used to be like Abby, then she came to live on this farm with Ray and his family. She realized that she could have been living at home jealous of her sister and Kent. She thanked God for the direction of her life. She thanked God for sending her to this farm, for sending her to Ray. She decided to forgive her father and sister even if they never apologized or accepted her and her family. Tears rolled down Livy's faced as she held Daniel in her arms and watched him sleep.
While Livy and Daniel were upstairs sleeping, Abby had checked out the house. She saw little bits of Livy's decorating style throughout the house. It was then she realized she was not just on any farm, but her sister's farm, in her sister's home. She decided to keep busy by cleaning the house and folding laundry she found in a basket. After she had done a fair amount of cleaning she decided it was time to start dinner. She had watched her mother cook and considered herself to be quite a talented cook, she just hoped her city cooking would satisfy a farmer.
Ray walked in the front door, to as quiet hosue. As Ray walked into the kitchen, he noticed the table was set for dinner. He looked quite confused to see Abby in her fancy outfit cooking in front of the stove. She reminded him of Livy on her first day on the farm. The smell of Abby's cooking filled the air, he was surprised at how good it smelled. "Where's Livy and Daniel." Abby looked at Ray, not sure what to say, she began to cry, Ray just stood there, mouth open, not sure what to do.
"She's upstairs sleeping with Daniel. We had a fight, I said some terrible things. I don't know if she'll ever be able to forgive me."
Ray sighed as he sat on a kitchen chair. He knew something like this would happen. Abby continued, "I didn't know what to do while Livy was upstairs, so I started cleaning, folding laundry, then I started dinner. But now I'm thinking that I should leave. I am so embarrassed."
Ray thought for a moment, then began to speak, "Abby, you're family, families forgive one another, families don't abandon each other when they make mistakes. You and Livy are sisters, sometimes you're gonna have a fight, as long as you forgive, accept, and love one another, that's all that matters. Not a day goes by that I wish my brother were still alive, If he were here I'd tell him everyday that I love him. Abby listened to Ray's words. She understood why Livy fell in love with him. She was wrong about Ray. He may be a farmer, but he was not at all simple. Livy was right, Ray had a genuine goodness about him, a wisdom that went beyond her own small world. She felt better after hearing Ray's words.
Abby wiped the tears from her face, "Ray, I was wrong about you. I am very sorry. I have misjudged you from my first visit. Livy is lucky to be married to such a good man. I never officially welcomed you to our family." She walked over to Ray. Ray stood up not sure what Abby was going to do. She kissed Ray on the cheek and said, "Welcome to our family." Ray blushed, and said, "Thank you"
Livy had awoken from the smell in the kitchen, she looked at the clock and realized she had over slept. Who was cooking? She was about to bring Daniel down stairs when she heard Abby and Ray talking. She had heard their whole conversation. Livy began to cry. Her sister and husband were getting along. She couldn't have asked for anything more. Did Livy her correctly, Abby cleaned, folded laundry and cooked? Livy was shocked, she had misjudged Abby helpfulness.
Livy practically ran down the stairs with Daniel in her arms. They heard Livy coming, Abby walked over to the stairs. Abby and Livy looked at one another, with tears in their eyes they hugged one another, with Daniel in the middle.
Ray watched from the kitchen. He smiled, at the sight of his wife and her sister reconciling without using words. He wondered what Livy had said to Abby to make her cry? What had Abby said to make Livy so upset? He wanted to know, but knew that his wife would tell him tonight in bed. Livy loved talking to Ray and telling him whatever was on her mind. He loved listening to his wife talk to him in their bed, while he held her in his arms.
Eventually Abby and Livy made their way back into the kitchen. Ray looked at Abby, trying to break the ice he said, "Smells good, maybe you can give my wife some cooking tips." Livy playfully hit Ray on the arm and laughed. They all sat down to eat, as a family.
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