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Episode 938: Ice Cream

“Abby!” Caroline called after her little sister though that didn’t stop Abby from rushing across the short span of lawn separating them from Jesse and his dad while jabbering loudly about the fact that she was getting ice cream.

The other worker waved goodbye just as Caroline reached them, wrangling Abby by the hand. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to let her get away from me.” Fortunately there were no dangerous tools or machinery around, Abby had been extremely conscientious about minding the safety rules.

“Abby gets excited about ice cream and wants to tell the world. Abs, you interrupted their work, plus it’s not so nice to brag that you’re having a treat when others are not.”

“Oh, sorry,” her sweet-faced sister said. “I mean to be a good girl.”

“You’ve been really good,” Mr. Landon said. “And I’m sure it must be hard to be as calm as you want to be when you’re on the verge of having ice cream.”

Abby nodded. “It’s the best feeling.”

With a kind smile, Mr. Landon said, “and you didn’t interrupt us, not really, we were just packing up so it’s okay.”

“You should come with us and have ice cream then I won’t be not nice for bragging, you can brag, too,” Abby said.

“My treat,” Caroline added spur of the moment, thinking her little sister had been right to extend the invitation. “You, too, Jesse. I want to thank you both, it’s been a huge help being able to bring Abby to work with me.”

“I’m glad it’s worked out so well,” Mr. Landon said, “and thank you for the offer, but it’s been a long day and I really just want to get home. Jess?”

“Um.” Jesse scratched his shoulder. “I might go for ice cream, if that’s okay?”

“If it’s okay with you,” his dad replied.

Father and son shared a long look. Mr. Landon nodded.

They helped Mr. Landon pack up his truck, then Caroline, Abby, and Jesse walked the short distance to the ice cream parlor that had caught Abby’s eye earlier in the day.

Abby made quick work of her raspberry and coconut swirl, not only because she loved it, but because that freed her up to dive into the parlor brightly colored ball pit.

Caroline and Jesse sat at the nearest table, keeping watchful eyes on Abby while they sipped mint chocolate chip shakes.

“All day in the sun and she’s still a ball of energy,” Caroline said, “whereas I am totally drooping. I love her like crazy, but she makes me feel so tired and old sometimes.”

“You’re not old, it’s that kids aren’t usually looking after kids,” Jesse pointed out. “I guess going away to school in the fall will sort of feel like a vacation for you, I mean at least as far as getting some time to yourself again.”

“I’m actually not going away,” Caroline said. “We haven’t had the chance to talk much this summer, but yeah, I made this decision a couple weeks ago. One of the local colleges has all the courses I needed and I can stay home, figure out a schedule that works with Abs. It’s not what I planned but my parents… I want to be there for her, so this is what I decided to do.”

“How does Charlie feel about it? Your schools were practically across from each other, right?”

“Yeah. He offered to stay but he has a scholarship there and the political science program is exactly what he’s looking for, I couldn’t let him give that up. We’re going to do long-distance. I think we can make it work. I just had all these ideas of meeting for lunch, studying together. It’s not a big deal, Abby takes up so much of my time anyway, I won’t be lonely.”

“We could hang out if you do get lonely, we could do lunch and study,” Jesse said. “I mean, I know I’ve been undecided about college, but lately I’m leaning towards it.”

Episode 939: Dangerous Woman

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