Candy’s daughter

Sarina grabbed her phone and called Candy. If she was in the middle of making Rice Crispy Treats, it might be answered by her daughter June, but June already knew how to relay correct information over the phone at seven. Her brother was less reliable, but he did know how to pass the phone to someone who was.

The phone rang six times before shunting her to voicemail. Weird. Candy’s phone always got answered, even if it wasn’t by Candy. Sarina dialed again.

“Hello?” A man’s voice. Candy’s phone could have been stolen. That would explain why there was no answer before.

“Who is this?”

“Tyler. Who is this?”

“Sarina. Where’s Candy?” And Tyler who? In the background, Sarina could authoritative voices ringing off hard surfaces.

“Candy’s…distracted. Wait, you’re her assistant.”

Close enough. “Yes.”

“Candy’s daughter is sick. We’re at the hospital now.”

“Sick?” Sarina checked the time on her computer. “Candy only left two hours ago. What happened?”

“They think it’s meningitis. Whatever you needed, you’re going to have to handle it yourself.”

Sarina heard Candy talking in the background about vaccinations and then Suzi saying she was sure Candy had done everything she could. Of course, Tyler Franklin, the singer of Touchstone. The other male voice she could hear in the background must be Suzi’s husband, Brian Ellis, bassist in Touchstone. “How long is she going to be distracted?”

“It’s her daughter,” Tyler said. “As long as it takes.”

Sarina blew out a breath. That had sounded pretty insensitive. For someone whose livelihood was saying the right thing at the right time, she was bombing. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. I need to know how far out to clear her calendar.”

“Yeah, sorry. Stress. At least a week. The poor kid is really sick.”

“I’ll take care of it.” How? Both of them had been overscheduling themselves in anticipation of Candy’s premonition of disaster that had happened before they were ready. “Tell Candy the office is under control.”

“Honey, at the moment I could tell Candy the moon was made of green cheese and she’d keep talking about vaccinations and June being cold and Luke Skywalker.”

Wow, Candy must be really upset. She didn’t even handle Mark Hamill. “Take care of them.”

“I’m on it.” He hung up.

All of this happened from Ty’s POV in Keep Coming Back To Love (Ty, who is terrified of doctors and hospitals, went to the ER because Candy needed him. What a guy.) I knew at the beginning of the book that this would come up and I dreaded making it work. In the end, it fit in like I had planned it this way all along. I suppose I sort of did, but if you consider that I wrote Keep Coming Back To Love in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and Love Me Tender in Ohio in 2016, it’s sort of amazing that it worked.

And the Mark Hamill thing? That happened. I mean to say, it happened in Candy’s book. June got sick and some kind stranger helped Candy get the kids in the car. Candy didn’t realize who the kind stranger was until her son Joey started talking about Luke Skywalker. It seems like the kind of thing Mark Hamill would do.

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