Mountain Homecoming

Mountain Homecoming by Sandra Robbins Read Free Book Online

Book: Mountain Homecoming by Sandra Robbins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandra Robbins
attention back to Granny. They pulled her to her feet, and Rani released her hold. Granny chuckled, grabbing her cane with one hand and Matthew’s arm with the other. “Land’s sakes, this is ’bout one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. I’ve got loved ones ’round me and a handsome young feller is a-holdin’ my hand. What more could any woman want?”
    Matthew laughed as he and Granny followed Simon into the next room. “I know I couldn’t ask for more, Granny.”
    When they’d disappeared, Rani turned toward her mother. The frown on her face told Rani she was about to experience her mother’s seldom-seen anger. Red splotches dotted her cheeks. She crossed her arms, and her toe tapped the floor like it used to do when she reprimanded her misbehaving twins.
    â€œWhat is the matter with you, Rani?” Anna spluttered. “I’ve never seen you act so rude to a guest in our home before. Why does Matthew’s staying here bother you so?”
    Rani moved closer to her mother and lowered her voice. “I thought you should get to know him again before you brought him into our home to stay.”
    â€œGet to know him? I’ve known him since he was nine years old.”
    Rani shook her head. “You knew him when he was nine years old. He’s a man now, and he’s worked for Little River. How do we know he’s still not working for them? If word gets around that he’s staying at the preacher’s house, folks will come nearer to trusting him. Maybe he’ll use that trust to get them to sell their timber to his company.”
    Her mother’s eyes grew wide. “That’s ridiculous. You heard him say he doesn’t work for Little River anymore. He just wants to come home.”
    Rani crossed her arms and frowned. “That’s what he says, but we don’t know if it’s true.”
    Moisture appeared in the corner of her mother’s eyes, and she blinked. “When I came to this valley twenty years ago I was so scared no one would like me. Many of the people were unfriendly to me at first. Granny and Simon kept telling me I had to keep making the first move toward friendship with everyone I met. It wasn’t easy, but eventually I became friends with everyone.”
    Rani sighed. “I know, Mama. You’ve told me the story many times.”
    She reached out and grasped Rani’s hand. “You’ve never felt that. You were accepted from the day you were born because you were our daughter. Matthew hasn’t had that. Folks in the Cove remember what his father was like, and many of them will judge Matthew because of that. He must have been scared, but still he came back. He knew we’d welcome him, but you made him feel like an intruder. I think you owe him an apology.”
    Disappointment flickered in her mother’s eyes, and Rani bit down on her lip. This afternoon Josie had accused her of judging Ted’s motives in trying to provide for his family, and now her mother had done the same with Rani’s suspicions about Matthew.
    Judge not, that ye be not judged . The Bible verse that her father had preached on a few weeks ago flashed in her mind, and her heart pricked. All her life she’d tried to be as trusting and loving of others as her parents, but today she had failed miserably.
    She squeezed her mother’s hand. “I’m sorry, Mama. I let my dislike for the logging company get in the way of welcoming Matthew to our home as you and Poppa and Granny did. I’ll apologize.”
    Mama smiled, leaned over, and kissed Rani on the cheek. “I understand how you feel about what’s happening to our mountain forests. From the time you were born you had an attachment to the land like no one I’ve ever seen. I kept hoping you’d decide to follow in my footsteps, but I’m about to give up.”
    Rani’s eyes widened in horror. “Oh, no, I could

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