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Lost and Found Baby

Written by Hope White

Chapter Nine

She hesitated as she rocked the child, but didn’t look at him. No surprise there. Luke could barely look himself in the mirror most days.

“You’re not the insurgent who blew up his truck,” she said softly.

“It’s still my fault.”

“How do you figure?”

“We both know he enlisted because of me.”

“He was a grown man who chose to serve his country. Get over yourself.”

“If only I—”

“Stop.” She glanced at him with fire in her eyes. “Steven’s gone, but this innocent child is here, and she needs us.” With a dismissive shake of her head, she went to lay the child on the bedspread.

She was right. Getting sucked into the past wouldn’t help them save this little girl.

“What are you looking for?” He walked up beside her.

“Clues to help us identify the baby. You’re sure you can’t be the father?”

“Positive.” It pained him that she thought he’d changed that much, that he’d lost his integrity.

“You said she mysteriously appeared in your kitchen. Who has access to your house?”

“I suppose the rental agency. Mom and Dad have decided to sell, which is why I’m back, to get things in order.”

And now he also ached to make amends.

“So this child is somehow connected to the rental agency?” she said.

“Maybe not. I don’t remember locking the back door. We never locked our doors growing up.”

As Katy got to work changing the baby’s diaper, Luke felt grateful that she’d been the deputy called to the farm tonight. She was so calm and confident, not only with the baby, but also during the violent assault at the farm and at the police station.

“You’ve changed,” he let slip.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said, focused on the diaper change.

“How did you do it, get past Steven’s death?”

“You never get past it. You learn to live with it.”

“Don’t know how,” he muttered.

“You let God carry some of the burden for you.”

He studied her profile, a determined set to her jaw, the slight wrinkle of her nose.

“Check this out,” she said, pointing to a birthmark on the child’s thigh. “This could help us identify her.” She nodded toward the dresser. “Could you grab one of those drawers and put it on the bed?”

Luke did as ordered and she placed a soft feather pillow in the drawer. She rocked the baby until she stopped fussing, then laid her in the makeshift crib.

Katy took a step back and wrapped her arms around her torso. He wanted to hug her to warm her up, but didn’t think she’d welcome the gesture.

“You know where they keep extra firewood?” he asked.

“Out back by the shed. I’ll get it.”

“No, you stay with the baby.”

He grabbed his jacket and left. Distance would give him time to come up with the right words, better words, to get through to Katy.

Making his way to the shed, he considered Katy’s advice: You let God carry some of the burden for you. If only he knew how to do that.

As he grabbed firewood, he heard the slam of a car door. Staying flush against the house, Luke headed toward the driveway.

“Right where you thought they’d be,” a man’s voice said. “I’ll take care of it.”

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About the author

I was born and raised in the midwest and migrated to the Pacific north...

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Hope White

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