Child in a Manger: Chapter 3
And so the thing we were all expecting comes to pass—Allison’s boss insists that Allison take baby Joy home with her, since no other foster family can be found.
We also learn that it is actually Christmas Eve, which kinda surprises me, since I suppose I think of live Nativity scenes as things that happen more before Christmas than December 23rd. Then again, not speaking from personal experience here. 😉
Brock is grumbling in his head about how much this Christmas Eve sucks, since he’s been pulling an extra shift to find the mother. He’s always feeling pretty inadequate because the local news has actually been covering this story, and Brock suspects that any moment now, they’re going to be writing about how much he sucks.
His coworker [Jane, the dispatcher] appeared annoyed at having to work while everyone else spent time with family, attending Christmas Eve services or roasting chestnuts, if people outside storybooks really did that. Too bad for her she had a family to go home to. On nights like this one, when law enforcement officers worked double shifts while the rest of the world celebrated, it paid to be alone in the world. Just the way he wanted to be.
Oh, shut up, Jane. I have zero patience with people who whine about working holidays. And it’s not only law enforcement, you two, while “the rest of the world” gets a vacation. Unless you think that hospitals and nursing homes and gas stations and fire stations and taxis just stop on the holidays. I, and almost everyone I know, has worked the holidays over the years, often many times. Plenty of times, too, people like it, because they get paid time-and-a-half or double overtime. And if you chose a career in medicine or law enforcement, for example, you probably should have expected this going in. Just sayin’.
And Brock kinda cutely chides himself for being a liar, since he’s been thinking about how much he’s liking Allison. And how much he likes her looks (which she hates) because she looks like the kind of girl who would be happy snuggled up for movies and popcorn. Nice. Seriously.
And he finds out that Allison is the one providing foster care for the baby. And off he rushes to her place, though not for any investigative purpose…
He could tell himself he was only checking up on the abandoned infant, but truth be told, he was far more curious about the baby’s temporary caregiver.
Aww. That’s kinda sweet, too.
He didn’t even have to look up her address again, since he’d already done that and had passed by her small ranch home three times since then, always on his way to somewhere else.
Okay, that is not so kinda sweet.
Brock, seriously, what the hell? How’s about doing a bit of investigative work instead of driving past a woman’s house three times in one friggin’ day??? Holy crap, sir.
Anyway, he heads to her house, and two full pages are spent in Brock thinking how attractive Allison looks, fresh from the shower in her jeans and sweater. And noticing how Joy digs into Allison’s chest when she’s hungry.
He holds the baby while Allison prepares a bottle, and again, is super-sweet, kissing the baby’s little head, “natural as anything he’d ever done.”
He even changes the kid’s diaper, and thus digs around the diaper bag again…but this time, he finds a note from the mother:
Remember that I love you.
Wow. Um, short but…short.
And so very personal!
Brock is as unimpressed as I am:
“Yeah, she loved her, all right. Enough to desert her.”
But Allison takes great exception to the idea that Brock should ever speak ill of an absentee mother who isn’t even around to hear the insult, because “How can you possibly know her heart?”
You’re right, Allison, we can’t know her heart. We can only know her actions, those being leaving a month-old baby in a rickety piece of used-once-a-year scenery, trusting that the child will awaken before the cast deserts said scenery, leaving her alone in the “frigid December air.”
Brock, bless his heart, doesn’t take such bullshit sitting down, and says he knows gorram well how mothers can abandon their kids. Allison, of course, immediately intuits that Brock is talking about his mom!