ItSo…C: Chapter 13
I didn’t give a crap about Nathan’s disappearance last year, since he was an entitled, acquisitive, obnoxious little brat (not that I’m judging!), and we knew he would be okay, but Jade is younger and much less annoying. Then again, I know she’ll be okay, too. If there’s one thing I cannot imagine a Christian romance novel doing, it’s killing the adorable child right before Christmas.
It’s kinda interesting to compare the two missing child scenarios in the two Steeple Hill books. In Christmas Town, the entire stupid town got in on the search for stupid Nathan. Senile old men even threw their weight around, making sure “the sheriff understood the importance of this small boy.”
This time around…
…Winding Stair was a small town manned by one police officer per shift. By the time the officer rounded up a search party, morning would be here.
So Jesse and Lindsey search for Jade on their own, and they split up. And after three hours of fruitless searching, Jesse is understandably desperate. Now, in Christmas Town, the desperate parent was already a Christian, but is so distraught that non-Christian (yet) Jordan has to pray for her. Which he does, because Jordan rocks, and I wish him many candy canes this year for his tummy.
But Jesse gasps out some very heart-wrenching prayers, and shows that, like so many heroes and heroines of Christian fiction who come to the faith, he is an unchurched Christian at heart, not an atheist:
“Lord, I know you’re up there watching. I’ve always believed You were real, but I don’t know you very well. Not like Lindsey and Clarence do. I have no right to ask favors, but maybe You’ll do this one thing for Jade. Help me find her, Lord. Show me where she is.”
“Was it me, Lord? Have I done something so bad that everyone I love gets taken away? Mama and Erin are gone. Don’t take Jade. I’ll do anything. Anything.”
“I’ll do anything to break the Christmas Curse! Please don’t take another woman from my family at Christmastime, God! Surely you of all people can help me destroy this dark magic!”
And so, having “completed the transaction,” as LaJenkins would say, Jesse continues his search with “a Friend to guide him.” I have never seen anyone capitalize the F in “friend” when talking about Jesus. Is that a thing?
Sadly, the search continues until dawn, which means Jade has been out in the elements for maybe TEN HOURS, which is legit freaky. (We aren’t told exactly when Jade disappeared, but it was full dark and there were no customers.)
FINALLY, he hears animal sounds and a gunshot, which he follows to find Jade with Sushi standing over her, and Lindsey with her gun.
Put these pieces together, Scooby Gang. What happened???
I can’t (entirely) blame Jesse for thinking Sushi was attacking Jade (he’s a goldfish after all, and although Sushi has never displayed the slightest violent tendency, Jesse has been up all night and panicked). But it (of course) turns out that Sushi had been guarding Jade all night, and the animal sounds and gunshot were, respectively, Sushi growling at some coyotes that had just shown up, and Lindsey arriving to scare them off completely with her gun.
And why, you may ask, did Jade run off in the first place?
Jade pointed at the sky. Her knit gloves were dirty and loaded with bits of grass and twigs.
“I wanted the star.”
Lindsey appeared as puzzled as [Jesse]. “What star, Jade?”
“The falling star. For Daddy.” She cupped a hand over her mouth and leaned toward Lindsey. In a conspiratorial whisper, she said, “For a present. So he would like Christmas again.”
A lump filled Jesse’s throat. Jade had ventured into the dark and frightening night alone to capture a shooting star for him. To make him happy.”
Awwww, that is so CUTE…
Where did Jade get this cockamamie idea? Is this another weird not-actually-Biblical idea that Lindsey has stuck inside Jade’s head, like the idea that every human has a personal guardian angel? Give someone a falling star and he’ll like Christmas?
Or has Lindsey just introduced Jade to Perry Como?
But even if she has, the song doesn’t say anything about falling stars making people like Christmas.
I don’t get it.
But I guess that’s okay, since Jade and Sushi are now bonded. And Jesse apologizes to Lindsey and Sushi and tells Lindsey that “God and I had a long talk” and that God was apparently “waiting for me to make the first move.” (Oh, woooowwwwwww…)
Oh, and he tells Lindsey that he loves her.
All this is taking place out in the woods where Jade has spent the night. You’d think Priority One would be getting her to a hospital after being out in the woods all night, but no…
“Time to get you and the butterbean back to the house.”
“Time to go to work,” she argued, but didn’t move from her place in his arms. “Customers won’t wait, no matter how tired we are.”
Customers. All night, he’d been so preoccupied with finding his daughter that he hadn’t thought of the long day ahead.
Wow. What a jerk, right? How weird that he would prioritize finding his child alive over selling Christmas trees.
And I’d say, again, that it’s time to take Jade to the hospital. She’s been in the December elements all night. But apparently, she’s bouncing around, so what do I know?
Oh, and Jesse remembers something else:
The situation with the farm and his rightful ownership tried to press in, but Jesse shoved the thoughts away. Right now, he wanted to bask in all the good things that had come from this strange night. Today he was happy to love and be loved. He’d worry about his dilemma some other time.
Meh, he’s waited eighteen years already. Why not just wait the rest of his life?
I’m serious. They get married and the farm is his again (if it ever was to begin with). What he got to worry about now?
But that’s our Jesse, I guess!