At What Price?
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by P.A. Estelle
Category: Young Adult
Description: Katherine Gardner is awakened at 6:30 in the morning with a call from a strange woman who claims to have her granddaughter, Rio. This woman is calling the police if Katherine doesn't make arrangements for somebody to pick this little girl up. Katherine is fifty-six years old woman and all alone, since her husband died over three years ago. Her life takes a dramatic turn when six-year old Rio comes to stay with her. Rio is a scared little girl whose life is filled with uncertainty and fear. In her grandmother, Rio finds a safe haven and an unconditional love that she has never known in her six short years and Katherine has found a love to fill the void that has been absent for way too long. Unfortunately Katherine's daughter, who deserted Rio, has other ideas.
eBook Publisher: Solstice Publishing/Solstice Publishing,
eBookwise Release Date: October 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [41 KB]
Reading time: 21-30 min.
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She was coming. Dust from the dirt road on the upper ridge swirled, following her car. I turned to make my way back to the old porch swing to wait, wondering what this confrontation would bring. Bile rose up in my throat and my body shivered, dreading what I knew was coming.
It seemed like only yesterday when the phone call came that would change my life forever.
The bedside phone rang on July 14, 1999. It was 6:30 in the morning. "Mrs. Gardner?" asked a female, with a touch of annoyance.
"You don't know me, but my name is Shannon Harmon and occasionally I watch your daughter's little girl, Rio."
I sat straight up in bed. "Yes, I see. Is something wrong?"
"Yea, there's something wrong," Shannon Harmon snapped. "Your daughter dropped this kid off here four days ago. Rio was supposed to stay a few hours! She finally called me this morning and tried giving me another of her excuses. I told her my next action was to call the police and she begged me to call you instead."
My heart sank. "Where are you calling from?"
"Houston, TX," she replied.
"Texas?" I gasped. "I'm in Arizona. What can I do?"
"I really don't know or care!" she barked. "This kid is not my responsibility and she is not staying another night."
My stomach churned. "Please don't call the police. Just let me think for a minute."
"Look, Mrs. Gardner, sorry I snapped, but your daughter is strung out on something. She simply doesn't deserve this sweet, little girl."
I wanted to say maybe something is wrong, or maybe she's hurt somewhere, but deep down I knew this woman was right. Instead, I said, "I'll make a plane reservation for her. I realize it's asking a lot, but could you possibly drive Rio to the airport in Houston?"
"Yes, I can do that." Shannon Harmon gave me her phone number and I promised to call her back within the hour.
A reservation was made for that same day to leave Houston at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Phoenix at 1:50 p.m. Ms. Harmon assured me Rio would be there in plenty of time to catch the flight.
Phoenix was three hours away. A million things had to be done before picking up a six-year-old to stay with me for a while. Questions ran through my mind. Where would she sleep? What can I tell her about her mom? Was there any food in my cupboards that a child would eat? All those questions would have to wait and I went off to get dressed.
The drive to Sky Harbor Airport was only a vague memory, but the waiting at gate C9 and the events of that day are still crystal-clear. Security had given me special permission to go directly to the gate because, after all, I was picking up an unaccompanied child. A six-year-old little girl -- my granddaughter, Rio.