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TRUST JESUS TODAY
This is the introduction and first chapter of a 92,000 word novel I have written. I have submitted a query letter to an agent and am praying for the best. Please let me know if I have missed anything
Another month had passed and Emily paced the bathroom floor. Watching her manicured toes pass each tile, she imagined what it would be like to walk the tiles of a hospital floor. Would her time ever come? Would she ever have the baby of whom she had dreamt? Two minutes had never seemed longer!
Emily Jo and Daniel Scott Adams had been trying to conceive for nearly a year now. Emily felt rushed. She felt like if it did not happen this month it was time to look into other options. Looking in the mirror, she could see the stress in her face. She felt old; under her eyes were dark circles. Her mouth formed a frown that she knew did not belong to her.
What happened to the carefree cheerleader she had been only five years earlier? She could no longer see the girl she had been in high school. She had been the girl who did not have a care in the world. Her parents had provided for her. They had spoiled her. Back then, a failing marriage would have been an absurd dream. In addition, worrying about the ability to bear children was for other people. She never imagined it would be her future.
Yes, she reminded herself, I am young. Twenty-two. However, that was not what mattered to her. She felt as though her dreams were slowly shattering. As were her dreams of having the perfect family. Of a husband who came home with flowers, greeted her with a kiss after work and wished to spend family weekends at home. Her dreams of having a brood of children running around her feet as she happily baked bread, hung clothes and decorated their perfect house.
“Oh sweet Jesus, what’s wrong with me?” She breathed aloud. “Baking bread, hanging clothes? I was born a century after my time!” Before she could finish her prayer, the timer beeped.
Emily froze. She could not look. Would her dreams be shattered again this month? With one last look in the mirror she sighed and whispered, “God, if you love me at all-”
Emily did not have time to pick up the little white stick with her trembling fingers because her eyes had already fixed on the answer. Double pink lines blurred in her sight as her throat tightened and tears filled her eyes.
“Thank you, God!” Emily was going to have her baby!
Daniel Scott Adams yawned and stretched back in his office chair. He had overslept and was late to work which only made things harder for him. Work had been brutal lately. The news claimed that real estate and the economy were failing, but Daniel’s firm was not feeling the strain. In fact, he had never been busier.
Only one year out of college, Daniel did not have much experience. Nevertheless, he was sure that they were not in the slump that he was constantly hearing about on the news. Daniel knew why. He was blessed. He was faithful to God and God was faithful to him. “Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings.”
One blessing he should have been happy for was Emily’s pregnancy. She had always wanted a baby. They had married right out of high school and that had been her focus from the beginning. Daniel had begged her to focus on something else. To go to college with him, but she had refused.
“I don’t need college to stay at home with all the children we’re going to have.” She giggled. “I’ll work while you go to school, then we’ll have our baby and I’ll stay at home as mommy all day long!”
Young and in love, Daniel had not argued. It was his job to keep his young, beautiful bride happy, after all. At that time, he had been happy to do just that.
Daniel sighed as he returned from the memory. His young beautiful wife had changed. She was still beautiful, she was still young and he often could not keep his mind off her. However, she had changed. She no longer looked at him with the same desire.
The only desire he had seen in her eyes in months was the desire to create a baby. She felt it was past time to start the family. That phrase always bothered him. They were family whether they ever had a baby or not. Weren’t they?
Now she was five weeks along in her pregnancy and she was delighted. She had never been so happy, but it felt as though she had forgotten him all together. She did not nag him to bring her flowers; she did not beg him to stay back from his weekend football games with his buddies and when he would tell her he was leaving she would pat her tummy and answer, “We’ll be waiting, daddy.”
Daddy? The fetus was as small as a piece of rice and already she called him daddy? That grated on his nerves. He wanted to snap at her when she called him that. Instead, he would plaster on a fake smile and reply, “Can’t wait to get back to my babe and my baby.”
The first time he had said it he had nearly turned red from embarrassment. It sounded like a line from a cheesy movie, but Emily had not noticed. It thrilled her; so the line lived on.
Daniel knew he should go home for lunch. Emily always had a wonderful meal prepared for him, but today he just could not do it. He could not stand to go home and pretend everything was okay. He felt more like a sperm donor than like a husband. Was that all she had wanted him for in the first place? He was sure it was not, but it felt like it.
No, today he would go out for lunch. He would relax, read a paper and enjoy some time to think about something other than the baby. If he went home that is all he would hear about.
With a quick call to Emily excusing him from lunch, he picked up his briefcase and headed out the door.
“Daniel, you have mail.” Cindy, his receptionist, held out an envelope as he walked by.
The envelope was marked “Scotty” and Daniel grinned. “At least I know it’s from a friend!” he laughed as he headed out the door.
“And you’ll never question that we love you!” Cindy called behind him.
Daniel continued to laugh for a moment. It felt good to laugh.
Scotty was a nickname his co-workers had started using for him after the last Christmas party. Emily had been upset with him for embarrassing her with a story he was telling. She had crossed her arms and tapped her foot, as only a spoiled girl could do, and nearly growled, “Daniel Scott Adams, if you finish that story I will never speak to you again!”
He had continued.
His co-workers, most of whom were drunk, burst out in laughter and his name had since been Scotty at work. Daniel did not mind. At the time, he had only been working with the firm for three months. The nickname had gotten him some attention and everyone knew who he was because of it.
After seating himself at a nearby diner, Daniel opened the mail and made a few notes to himself as he read. He had never been to this diner before, but it seemed like a pleasant place. He did wonder, though, if he would ever be served After five minutes of waiting, he looked up to see the waitresses still huddled behind the counter joking and laughing.
He would have walked out, but one of the waitresses caught his eye. He would not care if he had to wait forever if she would serve him.
Sara Jensen had made the mistake of taking notice of the new, handsome customer. “Look.” She said as he walked in. “We get to serve someone under the age of fifty today!”
“He’s hot!” Missy exclaimed.
Nancy, the eldest of the wait staff, rolled her eyes. “Missy, didn’t you just talk about dating someone else last night?”
“And some one else the night before that.” Sara added.
Missy grinned. “I can’t help it. I’m irresistible.” Then her eyes fixed on Sara and moved back to the new customer. “You,” she said to Sara, “go wait on him.”
“He’s at your table.” Sara protested. “I know what you‘re up to! Look at him and then look at me. He’d never be interested.”
“Nonsense!” Nancy jumped back into the conversation. “You’re a beautiful girl.”
Sara rolled her eyes. “They have a description for one that looks like me.” She motioned from her head to toes. “Plain Jane”
“All the more reason for you to go out there.” Missy laughed pushing her in the direction of Daniel. “Getting a man like that could only help your status!”
Sara rolled her eyes again and laughed. “You’re full of it!”
Daniel caught Sara’s eyes and motioned her to the table. “I’m ready to order if one of you could find the time.”
“Sarcastic too!” Missy laughed, pushing Sara in Daniel’s direction. “Take a chance girl.”
When Sara arrived at Daniel’s table, he took in a deep breath. He felt and instant attraction to the shy, sweet looking waitress. The attraction only grew as she spoke.
“May I take your order?” She looked down to his papers, then added, “Scotty”.
Daniel felt his heart skip a beat. What was the matter with him anyway? He was married. Daniel scolded himself for the way his heart was racing. He was angry with himself for wanting to do something, anything to get her to smile down at him again.
You have a wife his conscience screamed. You have a pregnant wife!
He argued back that his pregnant wife cared more about having children than she did about him. She had not shown any interest in him other than to meet that goal.
“Sir,” Sara prompted him. “Your order?”
“Oh, yes,” Daniel replied, quickly scanning the menu. He had chosen a meal before she had come over, now he could not remember what he wanted. “I’m sorry; I’ve forgotten what I was going to order.”
“Strange,” Sara grinned. “You look thirty years younger than the rest of our patrons, but your memory is no better.”
Daniel let out a laugh and Sara wished it would last forever. She had not been on a date since graduating high school in the spring. A few had asked, but she had turned them down. Sara wanted to find a nice, focused young man who would love God more than he loved her. She certainly did not intend to put any guy above her love for the Lord. So far, that had been her problem.
Boys had accused her often of being to serious, too spiritual and of not wanting to have any fun. She was determined to find someone who was as dedicated to the Lord as she was.
“Miss,” Daniel said, bringing her back from her thoughts.
“I’m sorry.” She squeaked, embarrassed.
Sara threw a look in the direction of Missy that asked, “What have you gotten me into?” Missy grinned and raised her eyebrows in response. She was enjoying this.
Sara felt Daniel studying her and turned her eyes back to him. “May I start you off with a drink?”
“Sure.” He replied. I’ll take a coffee… and a glass of ice water. I’m thirsty.”
Daniel watched Sara as she rounded behind the counter to get his drink. He really was thirsty. Either nervousness or guilt was causing him to feel as though his throat was closing up. He was not sure which. Maybe it was both.
Daniel resolved to finish up quickly and get out of there. He never should have skipped out on Emily. However, by the time Sara had brought his drink, his food and refilled his cup, numerous times, he forgot his reluctance. He was enjoying himself. She was shy and sweet, gentle and soft.
Daniel’s guilt had nearly vanished by the time he went to the counter to pay. Missy met him at the register.
“Hey, Mister.” She grinned. “I’m glad you’re single. Our Sara is in need of someone like you.”
Daniel lowered his eyebrows in question. “Single?”
Missy pointed to his ring finger. “No ring. We women notice these things.”
“Oh, yes, definitely… single.” Daniel lied.
In reality, he did not have his ring on because he simply forgot it; he had been running extremely late. He would not have been surprised if he forgot his shoes!
Sara rushed through carrying an armload of dirtied plates. After passing, she called over her shoulder. “Missy, stop harassing the man or he’ll never come back!”
Daniel did not say anything. However, as he walked the short distance to his car there was a debate raging within. He had not intentionally led them to believe he was single, neither had he treated them any differently than he would treat his own sister. It was harmless flirting. Aside from the missing wedding ring, any conversations he had would have remained the same if Emily were there with him.
But you would never share with Emily what you were thinking. A soft voice he knew well spoke in the deepest part of him. He argued with that voice the remainder of the afternoon. By the time he got home, he was frustrated, tired and angry.
Emily was disappointed that Daniel could not make it home for lunch. He expected her to understand when he worked extra hours. She was aware, and often reminded by Daniel, that if she wanted to be a homemaker he would sometimes need to work extra hours.
Emily worked a couple times a week at her church’s daycare center. It gave her a little extra cash for her manicures, pedicures and the like. She had worked this morning and she originally expected to work again after lunch. However, her friend and supervisor, Darla, sent her home from work.
Emily had protested. “No, I’m fine, Darla.”
Darla insisted. “Emily, we’ll be fine. You have the baby to think about now. If you are sick, you need to rest. I can see the pain in your eyes, dear.”
Emily fought tears as she spoke, “I’m worried. I’m having a lot of cramping. I don’t feel like I expected to feel.”
“Emily, every pregnancy is different. What is normal for other people might not be how it happens for your. I had a lot of cramping with Emma. My doctor told me it was ligaments stretching.”
“Yes, that’s what my doctor said too.”
“Then relax, Em. And please, go home. Rest!”
“Are you sure it’s okay?” Emily asked. It was her way of pleading for her friend not to send her home.
Darla laughed. “Of course, you know we’ve got about twenty grandma’s praying everyday that we’ll need them to come help out. I can have a replacement here before you find your keys!”
Emily smiled; it was true.
Now she was home and she was sure her shift was covered. Her smile remained as she walked through the house. Daniel told her he overslept this morning, but she never would have known. He had still washed and put away his breakfast dishes, his jogging clothes were in the hamper and he had rinsed and dried the shower.
Emily paused in the bathroom, leaning against the sink. She laid a hand on her still flat stomach. The cramping was increasing. As much as she wanted to believe Darla and her doctor, she could not shake the feeling that something was very wrong. “God, please!” She whispered. Her heart was breaking. “Please keep my baby safe. Please!”
Washing her face, Emily decided maybe a nap would be beneficial for herself and the baby. She reached for a towel and spotted Daniels wedding ring lying on the vanity. He must have forgotten to put it on after his shower. She smiled; even perfection sometimes missed details.
Emily slipped the ring into her pocket and grinned. Daniel had been irritable lately. Perhaps she could think of some romantic way to return his ring.
Her mind danced from one idea to the next as she walked to her bed and pulled back the comforter. Whatever she decided to do, she wanted to say, “Even through the darkest night.” Of all the things that he had said in his vows to her, it was her favorite.
Emily drifted to sleep remembering the vows her husband had recited to her at their wedding.
He had been so handsome in his tuxedo. She had never seen him dressed so formally. Daniel had piercing, deep green eyes in a T-shirt, but the tuxedo brought out even more of the sparkle that resided therein. It was with those deep eyes he captured every thought in her mind; the dress, the cake, the friends, the family and even the honeymoon were no longer playing in her mind. It was as though it were only Daniel and Emily.
He took her hands in hers as he began to speak. “Emily Jo, I love you with all of my heart. I know that better than I know anything else.” He paused and gave a nervous chuckle. “I’m not very good at this. And I know to say that during our vows is probably not setting the bar too high, but I want you to know…” A tear slid down his cheek and his voice cracked. “Emily, our marriage won’t always be easy. And the romance might not always meet with perfection. But Emily, my Emily, even through the darkest night I will be there for you. Even through the darkest night, I will know it will be okay. We never need to be afraid, because from now until forever we will always have each other.”
Emily continued to reminisce and in a deep in a peaceful sleep, she relived her wedding day. She renewed her love for Daniel and she knew that no matter what came they would be okay.
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