"Done!" 21-year-old Lacey Evans cried as she threw a decorative pillow onto her bed. "That's it, Jessie. The last thing that needed unpacked. I'm officially moved in."
Jessie Calhoun walked into her friend's bedroom with an empty box on her hip. "You are officially a resident of Nashville, Tennessee. Congratulations. And only a week after you passed all the foster parent qualifications!"
"It has been a great week." Lacey said collapsing onto her bed.
"Shall we relish in your success with some coffee?" her social worker best friend questioned.
"Sounds good." Lacey flounced off the bed, and headed for her kitchen. "Thanks a lot for doing this with me, Jess, I wouldn't be near unpacked if you hadn't helped me. I don't even want to think how many of your Saturdays I claimed."
"No problem. Your flexible schedule left you to do a lot over the week, anyway. I'm glad I could help when I was free."
"Anyhow, you were a real lifesaver. I owe you." Lacey brushed a lock of brown hair back from her face, her blue-gray eyes dancing with excitement at the prospect of being able to spend next week on her computer, typing her stories as she turned the coffeemaker on.
Freelance or not, she still felt an obligation to herself to put her many stories down on paper.
So when can I call in that IOU?" Jessie asked, sitting in a darkly stained barstool.
"Why do you ask?" Lacey leaned on the counter, looking across it at her friend.
"Well, I was wondering if you'd be willing to take in a kid for a while."
"Okay, questions before answer. Boy or girl? How old? How long?"
"A Girl. Twelve. A week."
"Both of her parents are slow. They have to undergo tests to see if they're fit to raise a child. The girl, Rebekah, needs to stay somewhere else while all of this is going on."
"Poor kid. Does she go to school near here?"
"West End Middle School. It's ten minutes southwest from here. She's a really good kid, mature for her age. She won't give you any trouble, I'm sure."
"All right, sure."
"I'll bring her to church tomorrow, if that's okay."
"Sure, why not?" Lacey shrugged her shoulders and reached into a cabinet for coffee mugs.
"So, I gotta pick her up tomorrow afternoon. Is it okay if I bring her to church with me, and you take her home from there? I can come to your house after church and we can do all the paperwork."
Lacey paused for a moment, surprised by the short notice. "Sure."
"Thanks a lot, Lacey. Tell you what, you make it through the week, and when Rebekah leaves, I'll take you to the Bluebird Cafe for a latte."
"Oh, you don't have to do that, or anything for that matter."
"I know, but it's not really fair of me to spring this on you either. It's no problem, and it'll be fun."
Seeing that Lacey was about to refuse, Jessie pointed at her threateningly, as if speaking to a rebellious teen. "Don't you refuse me, young lady."
Lacey smiled. "Fine, Bluebird Cafe it is." Lacey sat Jessie's full coffee mug down in front of her. "By the way, you are too used to being around kids."