A couple months before the wedding Colt received a phone call. “Oh hey mom how are you?” He listened for a few minutes nodding before finally saying “I’ll need to discuss this with Diana and let you know.”
“Talk to me about what?” Diana asked moving over to him.
“She wants Isabel to come and stay with them for a couple of months before the wedding.”
“No,” Diana said turning her back to him and walking away.
“Honey please don’t be like that,” Colt pleaded following her “she just wants to know her granddaughter.” He wrapped his arms around her “please won’t you at least think about it?”
“Why now?” she asked looking up at him “why make such a fuss over us getting married and living in sin and ….” Sighing she rubbed her forehead “she better not fill Izzy’s head with a bunch of mumbo jumbo….”
Taking her hands Colt gently guided her into the living room where they could sit and talk. “I don’t think that’s her intention. I think she wants to make peace and this is the only way she can do it without apologizing.”
“She should apologize” Diana told him “she hurt you by refusing to accept your decisions. It almost broke us up. The least she could do is apologize.”
“I know but that’s not going to happen. She believes the way she does and we’re not going to change her. Dad goes along with her. She’s offering us an olive branch to see what we’ll do with it.” He lifted her chin so he could look into her expressive dark eyes “I love you. I love our children. You know that. Please don’t make me choose between you and my parents. I love them too. I don’t want to be estranged from them forever.”
Looking deep into his eyes she could see how much this meant to him. As much as she disliked the idea she could see Colt wanted her to agree to let Izzy go. Leaning her head on his shoulder she asked “can I think about it?” She could tel it wasn’t the answer he wanted but it was the only one she could give.
After Colt left to meet with his manager Diana dialed the number and waited for someone to pick up. With her heart in her throat she stammered hello when a female voice answered. “Mrs. Critchley this is Diana Bennett.”
“Oh it’s so nice to hear from your dear,” the woman’s voice sounded sincere to Diana’s ears. It almost made her wonder if she had misjudged the woman.
“I um” sighing Diana took a deep breath before continuing “what are your intentions with inviting my daughter to visit you?”
“My intentions?” the older woman asked “none other than to meet my granddaughter. I thought it would be a treat for her to come to the farm…”
“What about Kevin?” Diana asked “don’t you want to meet your grandson?”
“Of course we do dear. I thought he might be a little too young….”
Biting her lip Diana realized she was right. It was to soon for Kevin to be gone that long. He was only a year old. “I’m sorry it’s just so sudden…”
“Dearie I know it may feel sudden but I’ve thought about this for such a long time. I miss my son and I want to be a part of his life and my grandchildren’s lives. Please won’t you give a chance?” The unexpected entreaty in the older woman’s voice tugged at Diana’s heartstrings. She didn’t want to like this woman who had told her son that he was a sinner. Didn’t want to give her a chance to fill her children’s heads with junk like they had filled Colts. But Colt turned out alright and they were getting married. All her hurtful words would soon mean nothing…
“Mrs Critchley I’ll let Izzy come for a month and if it goes alright we’ll see about a longer trip next time.” Diana told her giving in.
“That’s wonderful dear. I’ll let George know. I’m so happy….”
Diana sat weakly at the table wondering if she had done the right thing. Colt’s mother did sound genuinely happy to know Izzy was coming. Maybe she should have said two weeks instead of a month. Four weeks will feel like forever to a five year old, should she call back and suggest two weeks instead?
That night while they sat in bed. Diana turned to Colt “honey I….I spoke to your mother today.”
He put down the book he was ready “she called you?” he sounded pleased.
“No I…I called her,” the frown that creased his forehead wasn’t lost on her “I needed to know why she wanted Izzy to come to visit.”
Sighing Colt sat up swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. He felt Diana put a hand on his shoulder. “Can’t you let the past stay in the past? She wants to make amends…”
“I’m sure you’re right,” she said “but Izzy’s my little girl. I had to know for sure. I’m sorry if I seem to be holding a grudge. I don’t mean to be it’s just that what she said and did really hurt. I don’t want Izzy getting hurt.”
“But you said yes?” Colt asked turning to her.
Nodding “I did. I believe she wants to know her granddaughter. I’m delighted that she thinks of Izzy as her granddaughter actually. I told her Izzy could come for a month.”
“But…” Colt was about to protest.
“I know she asked her to come for two months but Izzy has a never been away from me for any length of time. She’s too young for such an extended stay. The option is open for longer visits in the future depending upon how well this goes.”
Unable to hide his smile Colt pulled Diana close to him “thank you,” he said kissing her long and hard.
“You’re welcome” she said as he released her.
“I thought for sure you were going to say no,” he told her gazing into her eyes.
“I might have” she said leaning up and capturing his lips with hers “I meant o be firm and decline her offer. I couldn’t she sounded so sincere.”
A month later Izzy came bouncing into the house after Colt had gone to get her. “Mom you won’t believe all the things I got to do.” She gave her mom a quick hug and bent to kiss her baby brother’s head before continuing. “They live on a farm. A real live farm with chickens and cows and horses.”
“You’ll have to tell me all about it,” Diana told her smiling relieved that things had gone so well. “Would you like to go again?”
Izzy hesitated a moment before before smiling and nodding. “It was lots of fun. I don’t want to live there though.”
“That’s a relief,” Diana laughed “I have no intention of ever living on a farm.”
“Good,” Izzy enthused a little to loudly “farms are good places to visit but I wouldn’t want to stay there.”
Colt’s lips thinned as he listened to his daughter talk about her visit. he had grown up on that farm. Spent most of his life there but he wouldn’t give up his life in Starlight Shores for anything. Watching his daughter he had a bad feeling that something had been said to her about coming to live on the farm. He needed to talk to Izzy before Diana had a chance to sit her down and really listen to her.
“Izzy why don’t you and I put our stuff away,” Colt suggested. As he expected he received a look of thanks from Diana who was trying to clean Kevin up after he poured his strawberry milk over his head.
Walking into her bedroom she shared with her brother Isabel gave a loud sigh. Colt turned to look at her asking “what was that for?”
“Daddy you and mama aren’t sending me away are you?” she asked her little face wrinkling into worry lines.
“Why on earth would we do that?” he asked in concern.
Shrugging “Grandma kept saying things like when I come to live there I would have my own room. I’d like my own room but I don’t want to live there without you and mama.”
Dropping to his knees Colt wiped tears from her cheeks. Lifting her chin up so she would look at him “you’re not going to live with them. You can visit as much as you like but you’re our little girl.”
In response Izzy threw her arms around Colt’s neck and kissed his cheek. “I love you daddy” she said as she pulled away wiping at her eyes.
“I love you too sweetheart,” Colt stood up and helped her put her things away. As she worked he wondered when would be a good time to call his mother. He had to put an end to this before it went any further.
“Daddy,” Izzy’s voice interrupted his thoughts “should we tell mama?” She looked up at him with concern in her eyes.
“Don’t worry about your mama. I’ll talk to her” he winked at her “ok?”
Nodding she grabbed his hand as they walked from the room “mama have you ever been on a farm?” Izzy asked as soon as they came into the kitchen.
“No I haven’t” Diana laughed “I can’t say I ever wanted to either. What was your favorite thing about being on the farm?”
Thinking for a moment Izzy replied “the baby chick. They were so cute and little….”
Later that night Colt slipped from the bed as soon as Diana was asleep. Making sure to be as quiet as possible he went outside. Breathing deeply of the cool night air he looked up into the clear night sky. Taking his phone out he pulled up his contact list and waited for someone to answer on the other end.
“Hello” a groggy voice spoke in his ear.
“Dad” Colt said trying to keep his voice calm and even “what’s mom up to?” He knew hadn’t kept the accusatory tone from his voice. He needed to know what had happened during his daughter’s visit.
“Son we only want what’s best” his dad said sounding reasonable almost as if he were discussing the weather or next years crops.
“What’s best for my daughter is for her to stay here with us. I know you don’t approve of my life decisions but that doesn’t give the right to take her away from us.”
“Izzy needs a firm hand if she doesn’t want to turn out like her mother” his mother’s voice grated on his nerves as she too the phone from his father.
“She’s five years old mother not a juvenile delinquent” Colt protested ” Diana and I would have been married a long time ago if was up to her.”
“That’s not what we’re talking about now,” His mother inserted “she was a stripper before she met you. What kind of example can she possibly be for a young impressionable girl?”
“She was only a stripper to provide for Izzy. It’s not like she did it because she liked it. Besides that is all in the past.” Colt could feel the tension build in his muscles as they tightened. Why did his parents have to be such sanctimonious bigots? He had hoped they would try to be more understanding. Sighing he guessed that was too much to hope for. “Izzy won’t be visiting any time soon. She’s quite upset at the thought of being separated from her family.”
“She’s young. She’ll get over it,” his mother callously responded “you have to think about what’s best for her.”
“I am mother,” he said firmly into the phone barely containing his anger as he disconnected the call on her baffled response. He sank to his knees on the porch holding his head wondering how he was going to explain this to Diana.