Just then Beth, Brian and Brigid entered the front room and were surprised at the scene.
Brian asked, “What’s wrong with everyone? Something has happened. Please tell us.”
Cullen gently placed his arm around his daughter, led her to the couch, and asked her to sit. Kneeling in front of her, he held her hands and quietly told her the sad news.
Stunned, Beth starred into space, minus tears, trying to comprehend what she had just been told. And then she looked at each face in the room with her.
“It never occurred to me that anything would happen to Edward. All our dreams, all our plans … now they’re all gone. He never even knew about the baby. I wish I could have let him know about the baby,” Beth sobbed, leaning on her father.
Her in-laws urgently asked, “Baby? What baby?”
“We were going to tell you — we just found out ourselves. Beth is expecting Edward’s baby. Now what are we going to do? The town will be so mean to her. We were planning to send her to her aunt’s house until the baby was born so there wouldn’t be a big scandal. But now we need to figure something else out. Beth can’t care for a baby on her own,” said Cullen without thinking.
Beth gasped. “Father, what are you saying? It’s my baby. I’m going to raise my own child,” she said before pleading, “Other women have done it — why can’t I?”
“Now, Beth, you know this just won’t work. Someone will adopt a newborn — they’ll be happy to,” explained her father.
“Just a moment, Cullen,” interrupted Edward’s father. “You’re talking about our son’s child, too. I think we have something to say about this, don’t you?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to exclude you from this discussion,” Cullen responded. “I guess I’m just worried about my daughter first. I was being selfish and silly. I’m so sorry.”
“Maire and I will adopt our grandchild. It’s the only sensible thing to do,” insisted Edward’s father. “We have the same name … this baby is the only remembrance of our beloved Edward.”
“Doesn’t anyone care about how I feel? It’s my baby. You’re talking about my baby. Edward’s baby. We were married. What’s wrong with my having a baby? It’s no one else’s business. You’re not taking my baby away from me,” countered Beth.
“We don’t have to solve this right now. First, we need to focus on our son, his funeral and memorial service. Beth, I’m sorry I opened this, it was really meant to go to you,” James apologized.