Hearing Brenda and seeing her expression of distress, David hustled down the basement stairs. Careful not to hit his head on the low ceiling, he looked around to see if anything was amiss. Sure enough, nearly an inch of water covered the floor. He jogged up the stairs, two at a time. "Come on. We'll make a quick trip to North Windham and pick up a sump pump there."
Her face still scrunched with worry, Brenda followed him, slipping into her jacket.
He patted her on the back, trying to reassure her. "We'll fix it. Best if you drive, though. Quicker than if I get my car."
She grabbed his damp jacket from the hook on the bathroom door and handed it to him, then they dashed through the deluge to her car.
* * *
Brenda 's fingers cramped as they wrapped around the steering wheel. She loosened her grip, but not for long. The windshield wipers barely kept up with the downpour.
She swallowed. "I should have checked."
"The sump pump. To make sure it worked."
"It's not something I'd think of doing. They're just there until we need them."
She snorted. "Well, sitting there and not working isn't helpful."
"I know. Just the same ..."
She sighed, glad David was with her. It was comforting to have a shoulder to lean on, even if just for a day.
Turning on to Roosevelt Trail a few minutes later, she pulled into the first small strip mall that had a hardware store. Exiting the car, she raced inside, David close on her heels.
Stopping at the checkout desk, she nodded to the clerk. "This is an emergency. I need a sump pump."
"I'm sorry. We just sold the last one. Seems like lots of other folks are in the same boat--no pun intended."
She clamped her lips shut to keep from screaming.
David snagged her hand. "Come on. We'll find one somewhere else."
She followed him out of the store. Back outside, the rain pounded down even harder, if that was possible. "I'm not taking any chances this time. We're going to Lowe's."
"Good choice." He looked around as she pulled into the crowded parking lot. "Looks like we're not the only ones needing something extra."
"If someone has the last one here, I'll rip it out of his arms."
David's hearty laugh made her smile.
"I'm only half kidding."
"If you don't, I will."
She glanced at him. "Then you'll be my hero."
He grinned and she thought he stood a little straighter. Everyone likes to be a hero. Even if it's just for capturing a sump pump.
Just inside the door was a display of spring necessities, grass seed, fertilizer, potting soil. And sump pumps.
Brenda pounced on one. "They know what they're doing here. Just in time for April showers. Better make that April downpours."
"I'm going to pick one up, too. If I don't need a new pump at the camp, I can always use it in the house I'm working on."
They checked out and headed back home.
* * *
"I'm going to kill Buddy for his April Fool's joke. On second thought, if I hadn't been here, I would have had a huge problem on my hands."
His lips quirked in a smile. He shifted in his seat and looked at Brenda. "Still, have you thought about beating Buddy at his own game?"
"Always. It seems like we've competed over everything since he could walk."
He laughed. "Kids are the same even when they grow up. My brother and I still try to one-up each other."
"I think Buddy has little brother syndrome." She grinned. "But he's always going to be three years behind me."
"Same with my bro."
"So how can we get him--Buddy that is."
He liked the idea that she included him. As if they were a couple. Maybe too soon for that. More like a team dedicated to Buddy revenge. "Is he a computer type? Maybe text him you just heard on the news that sunspots are killing PCs."
"I don't think he'd fall for that from me. I don't pay attention to that sort of thing."
"How about calling a pizza shop and ordering a couple of pizzas for delivery."
Brenda shook her head. "I don't want to waste the money."
"No. He has to pay. It's delivery, not DiGiorno."
"Won't work. He loves pizza. It's his favorite."
"You could make one Hawaiian and one anchovy."
"Nope. He'd pick off the pineapple, feed the fish to his cat, and eat the rest." He laughed and she added, "Buddy would never waste good pizza because of a little pineapple or anchovy."
David snapped his fingers. "Better yet. Call him and tell him that you fell off the roof while checking it after his call and broke your leg. Or text him so you don't have to admit it's an April Fool's joke right away."
"Awesome." She tossed a high five in his direction. "I'll text him as soon as we get back to Morning Glory."
In the blinding rain, she almost missed the road to camp. David pressed his feet to the floor as she took a sharp turn. She'd barely driven a hundred feet when she hit the brakes, and the car skidded to a stop on the slick, dirt road.
Water was pooled on the road ahead.
"We're in for it now." David rolled down his window and peered out.
Brenda followed suit and groaned. In addition to the water covering the road, Running Brook raced under the bridge, and at least several inches had washed over the warped wooden planks.