Twin sisters, Erin and Ellen, covet each other’s lives and husbands. Their festered envy has not only kept them at arm’s length for almost two decades, it has placed both on a precipice of divorce— something they’d never admit to each other.
Yet after two weeks together with their spouses, as they sort through their mother’s belongings following her funeral, they discover the flaws in their sibling’s “grass-greener” lives. But will that revelation help each sister appreciate her own husband and lifestyle as truly according to God’s plan? Or is it too late for a change of heart?
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Two hours later the phone blasted its ring through their hotel room as John zipped the luggage closed. Changed out of their funeral clothes back into their comfortable, normal attire of jeans and t-shirts, the boys sat on the other bed passing a video game back and forth between them.
Erin lifted the receiver, more to stop the vibrating bells from impacting her headache than to discover who called. “Yes?”
“Is this Erin Ballinger Duncan?”
“Uh, yes.” She fingered the fake pearl stud in her left earlobe.
“This is Michael Tate of Faulkner, Faulkner and Tate, your late parents’ attorney. We need to meet you and Ellen today at 5:00 p.m. in our offices. That is when she indicated she could be available. I gather you can be as well?”
“Your mother’s last will and testament had a, well, let’s say a rather unusual stipulation in it.” He released a slight cough through the phone. “We are obliged to carry out her wishes. You and your sister, as well as your spouses, are to pack up the contents of her house immediately. According to her final request, the home is to be donated to the Elmwood Juvenile Correction Center within fifteen days of her funeral so it may become a halfway house for wayward teens.”
Erin plopped her rear end onto the bed to keep her knees from crumpling. “What?” She blankly stared at John who had halted in mid-zip. “But where will we stay? What about the kids?”
The attorney’s professional voice suddenly sounded tunneled as her mind grabbed for his words. “You four will reside in her home. The grandchildren, yours as well as your sister’s, will be flown to Orlando for two weeks accompanied by your Aunt Alice and Uncle Blake. It’s been all arranged. All expenses including any additional clothes or supplies will be supplied through a special fund. They fly out at 3:42 p.m. this afternoon. Please make sure they are waiting in the lobby at 2:00 p.m. A driver will take them to the airport.”
She scrambled for the hotel stationery and pen to scrawl his instructions down with a shaking hand as her wide-eyed husband extended his two in a shrug. “What?” His mouth formed the silent question.
Erin waved his query away and swallowed the residual coffee-flavored bile that shot into her gullet. “I don’t understand.”
“You four will report to your parent’s home tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp and remain there through the next fourteen days. Your hotel room is funded for tonight. Last night as well. All part of your mother’s final wishes. We’ll go over this request in more detail when we meet later this afternoon. Good day, Mrs. Duncan.”
The click vibrated in her ear.
The boys stopped playing the video game when they looked at her. John cocked his eyebrow. Erin opened her mouth but no words came out as she clutched the telephone receiver now humming to be returned to its cradle. It seemed all too incredulous. Fourteen days locked in her parents’ home with her sister and brother-in-law? Much less her holier-than-thou, staunch and unfeeling husband?
No. This had to be a hoax—a sick, cruel joke.