Learning to Live Again
Author: Ruth Staunton
Series: Corbin’s Bend
“No, it’s me,” Grant replied from behind her. Surprised, Lainie turned to him. He was standing in the doorway, arms crossed, looking distinctly foreboding. “What happened in Denver?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Lainie said. “I told you it was fine.” Even as the words left her mouth, her stomach sank a little, knotting with dread and anxiety.
“So what’s this that Natalie is telling me about Kathleen having a meltdown about uniforms? Because she seems pretty upset for nothing to have happened.”
“Okay, so Kathleen got upset and had a little meltdown,” Lainie admitted. “I’d forgotten to tell her that the schools here require uniforms. Natalie sprung it on her in the middle of the store, and she didn’t take it well.”
“Didn’t take it well?” Grant echoed. “What exactly happened, and I mean exactly, don’t you dare try to sugarcoat it or leave anything out. I will ask Natalie if I have to.”
“You’ll do what?” Lainie said, outraged. “Nice, Grant, pitting my own child against me.
I’m not a suspect to be interrogated. I’ll thank you to leave your heavy-handed tactics at work.”
“I wouldn’t need to ask Natalie if you had just been honest with me from the beginning,”
Grant pointed out. “If you had told me the whole story when I asked how the day went instead of trying to brush over everything, we wouldn’t be here right now.”
“No, you’d be having a shouting match with Kathleen again,” Lainie shot back. “I knew you’d fly off the handle and get all on her case again. We had a good morning before all this happened. I just didn’t want to make anything worse.”
“And what happened to being honest with each other?” Grant pressed. “Does that mean nothing to you? Do our rules mean nothing to you?”
Not really. Frankly, she hadn’t thought a great deal about those rules since they wrote them on the paper. There hadn’t been any reason to. In her opinion, the whole exercise was useless. She wasn’t a child who needed the classroom rules posted on the wall to remember how to behave. As far as she was concerned, that paper was nothing more than a way to appease
Grant. He hadn’t seemed to be particularly worried about them either. Other than that one afternoon when she had lost her temper and insulted him and then felt so horribly guilty about it, he hadn’t mentioned the rules either. How was she supposed to know he’d suddenly take them seriously?
Nevertheless, she knew better than to say that right now. He was already angry and questioning the whole domestic discipline thing that he was so stuck on wasn’t likely to improve things any. Sure, Julie had said communication was important, and Lainie had no doubt they should probably discuss their different views one day, but this was clearly not the time and place.
“Of course not, I didn’t mean it like that,” she said. “I was trying not to make things worse.”
“And hiding things from me and letting Kathleen get away with behaving this way is the
way to do that?” he questioned.
Lainie sighed. “Probably not in the long run,” she admitted, “but I just couldn’t handle another outburst today. Can’t you understand that?”
“I can,” Grant replied. “If you had just explained that to me instead of trying to hide things and do an end run around me, then we could’ve worked something out together. As it is, you didn’t give me, or us, that opportunity. Instead of working with me like my partner, you opted to brush over it, like a child trying to hide misbehavior from a parent.”
“I am not a child,” Lainie snapped, “and you are not my father.”