Gert watched the play of emotions cross Livie's face and smiled kindly. "Hells bells child you have been through the ringer" said Gert. "So what made you up and leave your home"?
"There was nothing left there for me Livie said sadly. "I don't have any brothers or sisters and it's always been me and my mom. With her gone there wasn't really anything keeping me there. I was able to sell our house and my mom had invested cautiously through the years so while I'm not rich, I can take the time to search for my dad" Livie said.
Gert looked at Livie intently, "Is you father here in Wolf's Creek?" asked Gert.
"I hope so, but I'm not sure if he still lives here, the last address I found went I went through my mom;s things was postmarked 15 years ago."
Gert asked "What is his name?"
"Richard Anderson, do you know him Gert?" asked Livie hopefully.
Gert looked surprised but quickly composed herself sighing heavily, "Oh child, Rich did live here, before he went off to work for the government. As far as I know he hasn't been back here in five years, hell I'm not even sure if he still owns his property. I know he had it up for sale for a while. His place is still empty."
Livie's face was crestfallen she had never expected that he wouldn't be here. She looked at Gert and forced a smile. "You wouldn't know where he is now would you Gert?"
"No child I am mighty sorry, but I don't. But I may be able to find a way to get in contact with him. Give me a few days to work on it"
Gert felt ashamed at the look of hope that came over Livie's face.
Later that night as Gert was getting ready for bed she thought about Livie wondering if the lie she told the girl was really in her best interest. She had been shocked to hear that Rich was her father. Rich had never said that he had a daughter- hell did he even know he did? What to do, what to do Gert thought.
This revelation had taken years off of Gert in an single instant. She was amazed that she hadn't given away more. But she had to figure out what to do, if she didn't give Livie some kind of information about Rich then she was liable to leave and Gert would lose the only chance she might ever have to get to know her granddaughter. A granddaughter she thought with a smile. What a wonderful surprise.
Enis shuffled in and asked her if she needed anything. Gert asked him to bring up the bottle of Old Grandad and a glass with ice. Enis just looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "Gert, you don't usually have a drink during the week" he said.
"Are you gonna bring it or do I have to come and get it? " Gert said gruffly. Enis hurried to bring it not wanting to agitate Gert any more than she already was.
The next morning Enis woke Gert up to get ready for work. "Gert are you getting up?"
Gert groaned and held her head. "Lands sakes Enis why did you let me drink last night?"
"Gert you were in such a way I knew that to try and talk you out of it wasn't gonna work, what had you so upset sugar?" asked Enis.
Gert was careful not to let on what Livie had asked about, Enis would learn soon enough that Livie was looking for Rich. Enis was a kind soul and he would understand but she just wasn't ready to tell him. Rich had been born to her first husband, who had died in the war. Enis thought of Rich as his own and had been a great step father, but just for a little while this was a secret she needed to keep to herself.
She looked at Enis and said "That sweet young Livie, poor child has had a rough time of it Enis, thinking about all she's gone through, that's why I got a tad bit drunk."
Enis brought her some aspirin and a large glass of water. "Gert if you are under the weather I'll call Cora again and tell her she has to come in. You are just too kindhearted for your own good."
Gert gulped down her aspirin and said "Dammit Enis you'll do no such thing, I'll be ready in two shakes."
Joe flipped through the TV channels. It was getting closer to dinner time and he decided to walk down to the grocery store. The snow had stopped and the plow had gone through so he could walk along the edge of the road.
Once he made it to the grocery he got a cart and started down the isles. He decided to get enough snacks to help carry him through a few days. He grabbed some Doritos, Oreo s, a six pack of beer, a bottle of Jack Daniel's, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. As he put his stuff on the conveyor belt he added a package of beef jerky, some chap stick and a couple of Milky Ways. He ran his credit card through the machine and signed the credit slip. The clerk a middle aged woman wearing a tag that read "Millie" looked at him and said "You that young man who has Bud working on that car?"
Joe glanced up and said "Yes ma'am I am."
"Guess you're stuck aren't ya sonny?" said the clerk.
"Yes ma'am I am" said Joe with a slight smile.
"Well don't you worry sonny, Bud'll do right by ya, he's a wonder with cars."
"I sure hope so ma'am" said Joe.
By the time Joe made it back to the motel he was freezing. He had stopped by the diner and got a dinner to go. He decided to warm it up in the microwave in the room. He poured himself healthy shot of JD and downed it while he waited for his food to heat up. If nothing else this forced time here would provide a well deserved rest. He'd been working almost non stop for weeks, and that was part of the reason for the misunderstanding with Livie and why he'd missed her train.
He heard the beep of the microwave and got his food out. He put it on the small table in the corner and grabbed a beer and sat down to eat.
Looking down at the food he took a swig of his beer suddenly not hungry. He looked at the bottle of JD wishing he had made different choices. He took another another swig of beer and turned on the TV. As he made his way to the bed he grabbed the Doritos and JD and began eating the Doritos between sips of beer.
He found a hockey game on TV and thought about how his actions must've seemed to Livie.
Even if he did find her, getting her to even talk to him might be hard. For all he knew she might refuse to even talk to him. God he had screwed things up majorly this time.
Looking at the bottle of JD he reached over and screwed the top back on and put it aside. That was NOT going to help. He remembered long ago watching his dad use the bottle as a crutch, nearly ruining his life one shot at a time.
When his mom died his dad had lost it, and used to say that is why he got drunk... finally he realized that he wasn't going to do anything but numb himself with the alcohol. Those were rough years and he didn't want to follow in those footsteps. His dad almost lost everything.
Joe watched the game not really seeing it. He had muted the sound, the only sounds he heard were the occasional car whooshing by through the slushy road outside and the the whir of the heat kicking in on the rooms register. As he crunched the Doritos he began to formulate what he would say to Livie when he saw her.
If he wasn't already too late.