Untangling the Knot
“I did what?”
Twenty-eight-year-old Gabriella Bessu is St. Therese’s meticulous wedding ceremony coordinator. So the fact that she has mistakenly registered her newest couple for an annulment, rather than a wedding, sends her Catholic guilt into overdrive. But who can blame her? The groom is gorgeous and his two kids tug at Gabriella’s heart in a way that overcomes all her best intentions. Before long, she’s in over her head, fixing her mixed-up plans and helping the children and dad come to terms with their haunting grief for the mother and wife they lost years earlier.
Can Gabriella untangle her own fears and accept the messy life that God has handed them?
Untangling the Knot
Late Saturday morning, Ryan found himself zooming down Route 3 on his way to the Cape. He’d been trying to call Gabriella and the kids for over an hour but there was no answer, so finally he’d jumped in his car to track them down.
In any case, the reason he was on his way to pick up his kids, rather than at the marriage retreat, was probably better explained in person. He had a feeling Gabriella would have a nervous breakdown when she realized what had happened. Certainly Mandy was in a bath with a stiff drink in her hand right now, and it was only 11:00 a.m. in the morning.
He tried the phone again, just in case, and then double-checked his directions as he drove across the Sagamore Bridge.
Twenty minutes later, as he stood knocking on the front door at the address Gabriella had given him, he was finally overcome by the worry he’d been keeping tamped down. No one was answering the door and Ryan’s mind pictured all of the horrible things that could have happened. Finding the door unlocked, he rushed inside.
“Hello,” he called as he entered. “Anyone here?”
“We’re in the back,” he heard Gabriella’s voice reply from somewhere down the hall. “I’m so glad you’re finally here.”
He stormed down the hall toward her voice, wondering how she’d known he was on his way. Relief flooded him when he heard Chloe’s voice chime in.
“Umm, Gabriella, I don’t think that’s the plumber. It sounds like . . .”
The last thing Ryan had expected to see when he’d entered the cottage was Gabriella flat on her back in a puddle of water, inspecting the rear of the toilet. Chloe was holding a bucket and a sopping wet towel, and Peter was nowhere to be seen.
“Hi, Chloe,” he said quickly. “Where’s Peter?”
“Dad!” Peter came flying from another room and flung himself into Ryan’s arms.
“RYAN?” Gabriella yelled and quickly sat up. The thump of her head smacking the toilet bowl echoed around the tiny room.
“Ow,” she cried. “Damn it! Ow, ow, ow.”
Ryan grimaced. Gabriella sat on the wet floor, near tears, rubbing at the welt already forming on her forehead.
“I’m sorry,” she said, clearly at the end of her rope. “I can’t believe I said that in front of the kids. It’s just, everything has gone wrong today.”
She hung her head in her lap and began to cry for real.
Ryan had to hold back a smile. She looked so much like a wet cat. And, to top it off, she had yet to hear how wrong things had really gone with the day.
“Come on, now. It’s not that bad,” he finally said. “We’ll get it all fixed. Don’t worry.”
Chloe’s face lit up with an expression he hadn’t seen in years. For a few moments at least he was back to being her superhero.
“You have no idea, Dad,” Chloe told him. “Like, we had barely gotten here and Peter”—at this she paused and glared at her brother as if the entire thing were his fault—“flushed the toilet and water started squirting everywhere. It was like, soooo gross.”
Ryan squeezed Peter’s hand to reassure him it was okay.
“And then we called a plumber and we’ve been, like, totally waiting for hours for him to come. And then Gabriella decided to fix the toilet herself and, hey, did you know there’s actually a way you can shut the water off? We just found the knob,” she finished. She was out of breath but clearly proud of her and Gabriella’s efforts. “Wow, you really have been through something,” Ryan said with a straight face. “And now that you found that knob, let’s see if we can help Gabriella get cleaned up and then maybe I can check it out and see what’s going on with this crazy toilet.”