Child in a Manger: Chapter 4
When we last left Brock and Allison, she had sussed out that he had an abandoning mother, just like baby Joy. Brock, as they say, neither confirms nor denies…
“The only mother we need to worry about right now is hers.” He poked a finger through the air toward Joy.
Allison flinched and was glad the baby was so preoccupied with her dinner and the bright color of her caregiver’s sweater that she hadn’t startled at Brock’s sudden movement.
Um, Allison, did you not take any child development classes in becoming a case worker? That month-old infant can’t see more than a foot in front of her face right now. She also has basically zero depth perception, so even if she could see his finger, I doubt she would perceive it as a threat to her.
But Allison is basically an overprotective Mama Bear (Gawd, how I hate that term!) and she is very reluctant to hand the baby over to Brock for a burp, even though Brock is nothing but incredibly gentle and tender with Joy.
But she finally manages it, and Brock is a natural daddy, of course, and finally reveals that his mother (he calls her by her first name, Madeline), abandoned him when he was five years old. And now he wants to get Joy’s mother behind bars for dumping her in a manger, which…doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the history of the world.
But Allison, like all good Christian romance heroines, is ready with a trite platitude in the face of real-world emotions and problems:
“No matter how bad our troubles are, God can make it right. Or at least He’ll help us to bear the load.”
Allison braced herself, expecting him to ridicule her again about her faith, but he only nodded as if he wanted to believe, too. For joy’s sake, if nothing else.
Um, okay. And damn, Allison, but you are really uptight about the idea that anyone would “ridicule” your faith. Reminds me of your paranoia about being questioned by atheists about jerk Christians. I mean, Brock said one thing about God, and it during a very stressful situation. Calm the frak down.
“Well, Christmas is in a few hours, so Merry Christmas.” [said Allison]
One side of his mouth pulled up in a sad half smile. “Happy holidays to you, too.”
Excuse me, Mr. Brock???
Them’s fightin’ words, son.
I’m actually really surprised Allison doesn’t take offense to this. They just both privately reflect that it won’t be a very merry Christmas for Joy. Not that she’ll know or care this year.
And the next morning, our lovable stalker is back, with a bag of gifts for Allison and the baby. It would actually be quite sweet (Brock knows that Allison’s mother is dead and that the rest of the family is busy and Allison is stuck by herself with the kid), or would be, if it wasn’t put quite like this:
As much as he hated to admit it, his heart had betrayed him as he watched her lovingly tend to that defenseless child, tempting him to wish. For what? Someone to care for him? He was a big boy; he couldn’t rely on anyone. Relying would mean trusting, and that was just impossible.
Someone to care for him? Okay, I know what she means, but…in light of Brock’s admission about his abandoning mother…
I mean, is it just me, or does that make it sound like all Brock wants is a substitute mommy figure?
Convincing himself that giving Allison and the baby gifts is “merely polite,” Brock knocks…