Richie frowned at the incoming call on his phone. Sarah was calling him but usually he was calling her. He answered the call and held the phone by his ear.
"What's wrong?" He asked straight away.
"Why do you think anything's wrong?"
"Because I know you don't want to bother me while I'm working so you usually wait for me to call. Is everything okay?"
Sarah chuckled. "You know me well."
"I do." Richie agreed but noticed Sarah had avoided the question twice now. "So there is something wrong?"
"I'm not sure." She sighed deeply.
"Tell me." He was starting to get worried now.
"Ava showed up a little while ago."
Richie frowned, confused. "At home?"
"I don't mind her being here but she just showed up and went to her room, she hasn't come down to talk. I don't know." Sarah tried to explain to him.
More worried, he continued with questions. "How did she get there? Did Heather drop her off?"
Sarah shook her head. "No, Caleb left a while ago and when he came back Ava was with him. I guess he picked her up."
"But neither has said anything?" Richie guessed.
"I asked Caleb but he says he can't tell because he promised Ava he wouldn't."
Richie nodded even though he was getting more worried by the second. "Wait, does Heather even know she's there?"
"I don't know." Sarah sighed. "I don't know what to do. What if they had a fight and Ava just doesn't want to see her or what if Heather really doesn't know Ava's here? You need to talk to her." She sighed again, she had no clue what to do. Ava didn't want to talk and if anything was wrong, the last thing Sarah wanted to do was pushing her stepdaughter into talking.
"Yeah, I'll phone her." Richie agreed. "I'll call you back afterwards?"
After saying goodbye and ending the phone call, Sarah looked at the staircase, hoping Richie was phoning his daughter at the moment.
The fact that Ava wouldn't talk, had her very worried. She knew all too well how bottling every emotion up could end up badly. Even if it was unpleasant, it was better to talk about the matter so somebody could support and help, and possibly prevent.
Two more weeks and Richie would be home. Hopefully those weeks would fly by. The last month had been harder on her than she had expect. Now with the added worrying about Ava, she wanted her husband home as soon as possible. Two weeks seemed far too long.
A while later, she heard footsteps on the stairs. Turning around to see who it was, she saw Ava walking into the room. The girl was beautiful, her ever present smile was her best accessory but it seemed to have gone lost.
Ava sat on the couch next to Sarah, reaching out to stroke Daniel's darkening hair.
"Want to hold him?" Sarah suggested as she watched her stepdaughter's tender gesture.
A little smile formed on Ava's lips. "Sure."
Sarah carefully passed Daniel over.
After she had made sure she had a firm hold on him, Ava looked up. "You called dad?"
Sarah nodded. "Yes." She wasn't going to lie about it. If she wanted Ava to trust her with problems, she couldn't lie.
"I thought so. It's okay, we talked."
"Did that help?" Sarah wanted to know.
Ava shrugged and looked down at her baby brother laying in her lap.
"You don't want to tell me?" Sarah tried again.
Ava looked away. "I'm sorry."
Sarah looked up at her. "Don't be. I understand but you told your dad about it?"
"Yeah but I don't want you to ask him about it."
"I won't. As long as I know, you talked to somebody about it, I know you're not bottling it up."
"Okay." Ava agreed. "Can I stay 'til dad gets home?"
Sarah frowned. "You want to stay that long? You can always stay here but your mom needs to know. That's all, if it were up to me, you could stay here as long as you needed." She hoped Ava understood she was trying to be supportive. She only wanted Ava to be happy and if staying here made her happy, she wouldn't send Ava away.
Just as Richie loved her sons, she loved Ava just as much. A daughter she didn't have herself. Unlike Richie she wasn't able to adopt but that didn't mean she loved Ava any less.
"Have you had dinner?" Sarah asked, changing the subject completely.
Ava shook her head. "But I'll help making it." She offered.
The next half hour Sarah spent in the kitchen with Ava and Daniel. Ava helped preparing dinner as Daniel sat in his bouncer chair, laughing every time he bounced.
Letting Ava help, gave her a secure feeling that everything would be alright. She was a teenage girl, it was most likely she had had a fight with her mother and wanted to be out of the house for a while to cool down.
By tomorrow she'd probably want to go home again. There wasn't anything to worry about.