disgust. “Now that he is going to inherit, the maid moves in.” “Like I said…” Jane’s voice cracked. The conversation had been going so well until the question of her housing came up. She didn’t want Marjory to think she was a gold digger. She wasn’t anything of the kind. “All right. That’s fine. Don’t make a scene. We’ll discuss this later.” Jane stood her ground for a moment. She prayed silently. The meek shall inherit the Earth. But that was the point, wasn’t it? She wasn’t trying to inherit anything. Just trying to have a safe place to sleep at night. The meek shall inherit the Earth. She may not want to marry the Roly Burger heir but that didn’t change what God was whispering to her. Be meek. “Yes, ma’am.” She left the room as quietly as she could. She wasn’t sure that Marjory still wanted breakfast, but better safe than sorry. She went back to the kitchen and started to cook.
Marjory was somewhat less than impressed by the toast and fried egg, but Jane couldn’t fault herself. Buying groceries and cooking had never been on her to-do list. If Marjory wanted to add it now, she’d have to pay for it. As she scrubbed the yolk off the china plate, Jane wondered about the etiquette of contract negotiation during a time of mourning. Not for the first time her mind wandered back to Jake and what he might think about it. No, Isaac. She shook her head. She wanted to know what Isaac thought of this situation. Not Jake. She wiped the plate dry. She had better get out of the house. She had no interest in confusing her feelings for Isaac and Jake. Jane reached up to put the plate in the cupboard and got an unfortunate whiff of her unwashed self. Laundry. And a shower. She couldn’t go to her next client’s house, or anywhere for that matter, like this. From her spot tucked in the corner of the recently remolded kitchen Jane listened to Marjory on the phone. She wasn’t trying to eavesdrop. She just wanted to sneak out to her car to grab her laundry while Marjory was distracted. From what she could hear the conversation Marjory was having was complicated and heated. When Jane thought she heard the door to the late lamented-Bob’s office close, she made her break for the car. She felt eyes on the back of her neck as she popped open the Rabbit. She even turned around, but every curtain was closed. Jane pulled her laundry basket out of the car. If she wanted to be clean, it was now or never. She lugged her canvas bag of dirty clothes upstairs to the laundry room. The real problem was going to be waiting for the clothes to get clean before she took a shower. She shoved a small load in the machine, just enough for the day, and set the machine to quick wash. Had her life really come to this? Skulking about in someone else’s home trying to hide while she washed her clothes? She had used her own detergent in an effort to take as little as she could from the Crawfords while she stayed at the house. She sat down on the parquet floor of the laundry room and leaned against the wall. She stared at the rose-covered wallpaper across from her while her laundry spun in the machine. Jake was right. He was sleeping off a hangover in the other room, but he was right. The Adlers did have money. Money they would have been happy to spend on her if she had only picked a real university and a real degree. They were even willing to help her reach her goal of being a missionary, but like the washing machine, whose digital timer ticked down with painful slowness, a four-year university education had sounded like it would take forever. Why should she spend four years studying econ and literature if all she wanted to do was spread the gospel to the lost? Jane closed her eyes and rested her face in her hands. “Oh, dear Lord, I am homeless and broke, and I am afraid it was all for pride. Who am I to say that I know better than my parents? Do you want me to call them? To quit all of this and go