| The next morning when Lynne staggered into the hospital, she was ready for her visit with Autumn, Jamison...and Jason? I hope he's not here, she silently
"Lynne," Sariah Golden was walking toward her. Oh wow, I hope she can't tell...oh well, I have an acceptable excuse, Lynne thought.
"Oh, I'm just really tired this morning. You know how it is. The stress of Autumn's illness, paying for her medical bills--" Lynne stopped speaking; a strange expression crossed Sariah's face for only an instant. Then she spoke and it was gone, replaced with her normal smile.
"Yeah, I know how it goes. I've really been praying for Autumn. I know she's a Christian, and I'm so excited for her!" Lynne was sure she heard something different in Sariah's voice this morning. No, I'm just being paranoid; it's just because Jamison knows. Oh wait...has he told anyone? Oh, Sariah was speaking again.
"What did you say? I'm sorry...I was slightly distracted."
"Oh, I just said that a real relationship with God makes a big difference when someone like Autumn is dealing with a terminal illness. I'm so glad; God has really answered our prayers."
"You said our...who else has been pondering this situation with my daughter?"
"Some of the staff members get together when we're not working to pray for patients that we work with. Since we're all on the same floor and work with the same people, the patient confidentiality is not a problem."
"Sariah...what is this? You normally don't spend the extra time talking to me. What's going on here? Are you trying to...prepare me for something?"
"Oh no, it's nothing like that; autumn is fine." Lynne sighed with relief. Apparently noone had told Sariah about the trouble with her...and with Jason.
Autumn, Jamison and Jason congregated in her hospital room. They prayed for Autumn's mother yet again and for Sariah, who was sent to keep her occupied until...well, that would come soon enough. Autumn was anxious. She didn't want anything out of the ordinary to happen. Life was so ahrd already, and she didn't need another disruption. Still...were Sariah and Jason right? Jamison was just as confused as Autumn was. How could he possibly know what to do?
Sariah tried to divert Lynne's attention, but the girl's mother was clearly agitated. Lord, show me what to do, Sariah silently prayed. Then something happened...it could only be a God thing!
"Hey, Lynne! They have some absolutely wonderful waffles in the cafeteria this morning. You really don't want to miss out!" Praise the Lord for Elana, Sariah thought.
"I...I want to see Autumn first."
"She's having some more tests right now. She'll be finished at about the same time you conclude your meal this morning. The waffles are great, you really should join us." Elana continued to talk excitedly, pretending to be mindless of the activity behind her.
Lynne was finally gone, and Sariah felt she could safely pray with Autumn, Jamison and Jason without her mother's knowledge. It was so sad that they had to do this in the first place. Who would have thought?...Sariah couldn't dwell n that, it was time to act.
Deanna Applegate with the state Department of Social Services stood outside Autumn's hospital room, anxiously awaiting her mother's arrival. Elana and Sariah had done well in orchestrating this whole thing. They all knew Autumn's mother would run if she suspected anything. She could have very easily signed Autumn out of the hospital, and taken her to parts unknown...to die.
Lynne rounded a corner and traversed the hallway that led to Autumn's room. She didn't focus on the sights and voices right away, she couldn't think past her blasted headache. She was only aware of the changes when she saw the unfamiliar faces surrounding her.
"Miss Keller, I'm Deanna Applegate with the state DSS," Deanna began.
"What do you want?" Lynne asked tightly.
"We're here to take Autumn into our custody until court dates are set and--"
"No! What's going on here?"
"You know very well what the problem is." Deanna said as calmly as she could.
"Jason! You have done this! What in the blazes--?"
"Miss Keller, please come with us. Things will be easier for you if you don't fight us, you know." Two security guards hauled the distraught mother away.
"Jason, you are such a spiteful--"
"Don't think that's going to help you, Miss Keller!" the security guards directed Lynne to the elevator and to whatever was in store for her.
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