“This is an excerpt from A Lancaster Love, my Amish romance novel. This scene is between Flynn Munro, the heroine’s love interest, and his little daughter, Molly.” ~Mary Lingerfelt
“Now, Miss Molly, would you like to watch your Da make dinner?”
Molly dimpled and nodded, and stuck a finger into her mouth.
“This is a dish your mother used to make,” he told her gravely. “It was a favorite of hers, though not so much of mine. She used to make it when she was too tired to cook fancy, because it’s easy. It’s called Bubble and Squeak.”
Molly giggled, and Flynn tapped her nose. “Now―we go to the fridge, and see what we have on hand. There’s some corned beef hiding in the back of the milk. So we just chop that up with the potatoes and carrots and toss it in.
“And then we fry them up, like so.” He reached down to turn up the heat, and the pan soon began to make small bubbling sounds.
“Hear it?” Flynn smiled, and Molly nodded vigorously.
He took a wooden spoon, and rubbed it against the greased pan. Squeak, went the spoon, and Molly squealed with laughter.
“Now, Miss Molly―you sit on this stool, right here, and hold the spoon. I’ll let you stir, this time.”
He lifted Molly from the counter and set her on a stool, and she sat beside him and stirred the meat and potatoes, and made the spoon go squeak, squeak, squeak.
“That’s right, my girl,” he told her softly. “Just like your mother used to do.”
Molly looked down into the pan, and her eyes went somber. She stood there in silence for a moment, and then blurted, out of nowhere:
“Da―why did Mommy die?”
Flynn sucked in air, as if he’d been punched. He stood in stunned silence, and cast about for an answer.
“Why―Molly―your mother was―”
He pulled a hand over his mouth and hesitated. Something inside told him that now was not the time for a merciful lie―that the truth was important, if he wanted to keep his daughter’s trust.
He lifted her up in his arms, and sat down in a chair. He looked down into her face soberly, tried to read her eyes, wondered if she was old enough for the truth.
“Molly, you remember what I told you about the fighting back home, don’t you?” he asked gently.
Molly nodded solemnly.
“It’s been going on for a long, long time, and it―it never really goes away. You understand that―that the fighting was why we left our home, and came to live here.”
Her big eyes held his.
He swallowed, and went on: “Chickadee, sometimes―sometimes when there’s fighting, innocent people get hurt.”
He closed his eyes, trying to hold it back, but the memory roared over him. Instantly, he was back there again, kneeling on the corner in front of the Whistle. He was holding Maggie in his arms as her blue eyes fixed themselves on a point just past his shoulder. The panic swept him again.
“Maggie?―somebody call an ambulance!” he’d screamed. But the rugby players who’d come running out of the Whistle had only crouched down beside him in silence, and glanced at the broken glass and groceries scattered over the sidewalk.
One of them put a hand on his shoulder.
He’d launched himself out into the street, swinging for the nearest chin he could find and screaming at the top of his lungs.
Flynn closed his eyes and willed that day to fade back into the past. He slowly came to himself, looked down at their little daughter, and thanked God; because it was only the mercy of God that Molly hadn’t lost both her parents that day.
“Chickadee,” he whispered, “your mother died by accident. The police are our friends, they’re there to protect us, but sometimes…accidents happen. There were police standing on the sidewalk across from our house that day, and some bad men drove by in a car, and fired their guns at the police. The police fired their guns back. Your mother was hit…by accident, as she was walking home from the market.”
Molly looked up at him, with her round blue eyes, and to his helpless regret, his own sadness slowly spread across their innocent depths.
Then she lifted her arms, closed them around his neck, and buried her face in his shirt.