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A Daisy for Hannah Jane – FINAL CHAPTER: XXXII

From the novel A Daisy for Hannah Jane.


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A Daisy for Hannah Jane

Chapter XXXII

There was no breakfast on the table in the dining room. I didn’t realize something about the air was different until it was eight o’clock and Grandmother still wasn’t at the table. Her grandfather clock glowered at me.

Finally, Jamison walked in around eight fifteen. He seemed extremely frazzled. His pants were tucked in nicely, as was his… unusually dressy shirt and old-fashioned bow tie? Was he wearing an outer jacket, too? At the height of summer!

“Jamison, are you — ”

“WaitaminuteIforgotsomething!” he interrupted breathlessly, scurrying away.

I frowned. What’s going on? It’s only Tuesday, and he needn’t be so dressed up. Then it hit me. Is he going to propose? I was excitedly nervous, but at the same time, I didn’t know what to think. His father returned yesterday, for goodness’ sake! What was he thinking?

He came back, wearing a black dress shirt this time. I noticed nearly everything he wore was black. “Why so dark?” I asked playfully.

Looking scared, he cleared his throat. Twice. “Come with me,” he squeaked, “but brace yourself first.”

My heart pounded. He led me into his office and shut the door quietly. Harriet was crying, and she looked to where Harriet was turning her back to. At Jamison’s desk, in his chair, sat Grandmother. She was bent over as if she were asleep, with her hand resting on an open book. Except that she wasn’t sleeping.

I felt nauseous. This couldn’t be happening. It couldn’t. I felt like running away like I had when Raymie was found dead, escaping the scene. But I couldn’t this time.

“We found her this morning,” Jamison said softly, his voice raspy and broken. He laid his unsteady hand on my shoulder. “She went to her room earlier than usual yesterday evening. I should have known, Janie.” His voice broke and I saw how hard he was trying not to cry. “I — we could’ve given her the Gospel. One last time. Nobody deserves to go to heaven, but I hate knowing she won’t be there. Sometimes she would talk about how being a Christian wouldn’t help the afterlife, or anything else. I’m sorry, Janie. I…”

I looked up at him. “I was too late,” he whispered.

“It isn’t your fault,” I told him gently. I placed my hand over his for a few seconds, steadying myself, before I approached the desk. Harriet blew her nose into the corner of her apron.

“She must’ve come down ‘ere late last night,” Harriet chipped in. She blew her nose again. I turned around from staring at my deceased grandmother and begged Harriet to go on with my eyes. The three of us could feel the silence crashing down on us.

She gave in. “I shoulda ree-lized somethin’ was diff’rent when she didn’t ask for her usual bed water. Thought she wasn’t actin’ like ‘erself because of ev’rything that was goin’ on. Thought she was just a li’l tired. If Jesus was here right now, I wouldn’t be able to tell him I coulda prevented this,” she sniffed. “We coulda fetched Doc Handen. We coulda had one last chance.”

“Jesus is here, and that’s what you’ve always taught me. It was His decision to let her go when He wanted to. Don’t blame yourselves.”

Harriet nodded, her face scrunched up as if she were about to wail. Jamison’s jaw tightened.

I looked back at Grandmother. I saw a look of serenity on her face. Was physical sickness ailing her, or was it something else? I would never know.

“She’s in her best clothes,” I murmured, “and I bet she knew.”

Jamison took two steps forward. “I will arrange the funeral,” he declared. “I’ll get the best flowers, and…”

“Thank you.” I touched Grandmother’s thin, fragile hair. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I’m sorry I didn’t reach out to you enough and I’m sorry this had to happen. I’ll take care of this place, just like you wanted me to. Don’t you worry.”

Feeling justified, I looked at the book her hand lay on. “Guys, look!”

Grandmother’s index finger rested on the beginning of a verse. The book was actually Jamison’s beloved Bible. The verse was labeled 16 and had been underlined by a thin, shaky hand. A pencil had retired to the middle of the Bible’s open spine.

John 3:16.

• THREE WEEKS LATER •

I was walking along the edge of Caleb’s garden with Jamison. We didn’t need to talk, and there was nothing much to say. The sky was bluer than the morning glories in Caleb’s flower patch, dedicated to Harriet. She was washing the windows.

Caleb saw us and waved one ungloved hand. Jamison smiled at him, waved back, and took my hand. Once we were out of Caleb’s view, Jamison stopped at the lengthy row of roses and looked me straight in the eye.

“You think you don’t deserve me,” he said softly, “but I think you’ve been wrong. You’ve taken care of the estate and went to court last week for ‘Sir’ Henry’s trial. You cried when he was sentenced to jail for life. You’re fiery, Janie, but sometimes I wonder if you have too much compassion,” he added, smiling. I wanted to know where this was going. Were he and his parents moving away? Was there something I didn’t know?

“When I was little, I wanted to give my future wife a rose. Just one rose.”

My heart either stopped beating or drummed twice as fast.

His smile was tender. Even in his eyes I could see his love for me and my heart overflowed with gratitude. He could tell I was returning the favor.

“I think you deserve a daisy instead.” He fished one out of the rosebed and gave it to me. I could barely keep it in my hands.

He knelt, pulling out a small box and opening it ever so swiftly. “Will you be my wife, Hannah Jane?”

I threw myself into his arms. “Yes.”

“Finally!” Harriet hollered. She began to rally the household together. Even Mr. Jamison was out on the lawn.

I was going to be a Jamison.

He slipped the cool ring Raymie had meant to give me over my finger. “I love you,” I said.

I hugged him and Harriet came running, overjoyed. It was as if this was her own wedding day. “I’ll do the planning!”

“Daisies,” I choked out. “I want a hundred daisies.”

“Yes.” Jamison kissed my cheek. “Daisies for Hannah Jane.”

The End.

 

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “A Daisy for Hannah Jane – FINAL CHAPTER: XXXII”

  1. Mary Mace on June 7th, 2018 1:35 pm

    Rachel,
    I feel so honored to have been given the privilege to read this book. It’s been an amazing journey that took me through many emotional directions. I have to admit, the ending made me have tears of joy! Left me feeling so good. Ending it with the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt was perfect!
    Keep writing!!!
    Warmest regards,
    Mary Mace ~

  2. Rachel St. Louis on June 7th, 2018 3:24 pm

    Thank you for saying so!

  3. Miss Silvia on June 28th, 2018 8:26 am

    Rachel,
    You are an excellent writer! Your book was so well written and engaging. I looked forward to reading each chapter. I was hoping for the ending that Hannah Jane richly deserved and she got it. Please let me know when your next book will be posted. I look forward to following your writing career.

    Love,
    Miss Silvia

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A Daisy for Hannah Jane – FINAL CHAPTER: XXXII