Diane Marshall knows loads -- live loads, dynamic loads, dead loads, all part of a life as a construction manager. She's used to carrying hers, as a woman in a man's career. After her boyfriend fell hard for someone else, can her private load get any heavier?
In DeBrett, Paul Cameron funds the church renovations, so he's assigned to co-manage. Diane is stuck with adjusting to small town life and dealing with a widower who apparently wants a memorial to his lost wife. Paul is stuck working with a person who attracts him -- the last thing he wants.
Somehow this project will teach them to trust God in a whole new way. Now if they can only figure out how...
Paul watched from a window in the sanctuary as this Marshall-woman got busy about the jobsite. She didn't lack energy, he'd say that about her. Was it know-how she lacked? Time would tell, but he'd put money on it.
How could a slip of a girl, no bigger than his Rennie, have the mental and physical stamina to tackle a big rehab project like this one? How did she manage reluctant laborers, heavy machinery, blueprints, tools?
She claimed she'd been assigned the project. Well, he didn't suspect her of lying. He could see that --- for a time. Maybe the way her construction firm worked was that she did the easy stuff --- prep work, shooting grades, obtaining the trailer, entering the subs' bids on some worksheet or other. Maybe even picking the subcontractors herself. Then the guy would arrive, the real manager. The actual work would start, and Miss Marshall would simply move on to the next start-up project.
Yeah. That must be how it'll go. Some people carry this feminist thing a bit too far.
He wouldn't mention to her that he'd figured out how the real construction schedule might play out. Discussing her role would only hurt Miss DJ Marshall's pride, a characteristic he'd noted even on an hour's acquaintance. And he excelled at keeping his mouth shut. Particularly in recent months.
He didn't find a lot to say nowadays that meant anything. What did a man need a lot of yak for? What he needed was Rennie back. The one life-necessity he would never again hold.
He turned from the window with a deep breath. Work was the best painkiller. Constant, body-draining work, the sort that left him exhausted enough actually to contemplate sleeping through a night.
Not that that tactic worked. Not once since his wife had died. Most nights Paul spent at least a few hours in a darkened front room, the television on, the audio muted. He'd stare at late-night news and watch the newscasters' lips move, comprehending little and caring less. Sometimes he dropped off for a while. If still awake at dawn, he would give up, go for his normal run and hope it would give him enough determination to face another interminable twenty-four hours.
Of course, he was probably clinically depressed. He understood that, but cared as little for labels on his condition as he cared about anything else. Only DeBrett Christian Church meant anything in the depleted husk his life had become, and that only because Rennie would have wanted it so.
That night he never went to bed at all. He slumped instead in a kitchen chair, drinking iced tea and staring at the same large knife he'd taken out many times before. It lay in solitary splendor on the bare table. Wonder if I can bring myself to use this. I thought it would be easier to bear now that some time has gone by. It isn't, it's harder.
He could blame this fresh surge of despair on his own bad habits. He shouldn't have lingered at church today, watching that dark-haired bundle of energy bustle around the property. He should've left once the routine maintenance was done, and yet he hadn't. And then the house --- he knew he couldn't bear to look at it, yet he'd stayed too long there as well. Stupid. It was Paul's own fault he couldn't sleep.