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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: The Joy We Share
By Rhonda Ritenour


With a slow, deep breath, Jackie inhaled the soothing scent of the lilac bushes overtaking her grandmother's award-winning garden. Jackie had frequently escaped to this oasis as a child and was happy to find, all these years later, that the serenity found here was still able to calm her troubled soul. Usually.

This sacred place reminded her of her Grandma’s favorite hymn, 'In the Garden' which spoke of the joy of walking and talking with Jesus through the trials of life. The peace she hoped for however, which usually rejuvenated her completely during her leisurely strolls, now seemed a million miles away.

Until two weeks ago, everything had been perfect. Jacob was the first man she’d trusted enough to allow into her heart. They'd been on the verge of being more than friends for almost two years before she’d let him know she was ready to begin dating. After that, Jackie was swept away into a whirlwind romance. Captivated, she allowed the walls of distrust carefully built over the years to come crumbling down.

What a fool, Jackie thought, as she kicked a nearby rock and almost fell into the rose bush. How could I ever believe a man could be trusted? Haven’t Grandfather and Father proven otherwise? I'm so …”

"You're so what?" asked a deep, spine tingling voice that Jackie knew all too well. Not realizing she had spoken out loud, Jackie's cheeks matched the color of the red roses beside her.

Afraid to turn around, Jackie began walking as fast as she could. She had to keep her guard up; his beautiful blue eyes and melodious voice couldn't sway her. They may have trapped her into believing his lies before, but not this time. As Jackie continued to move through the weaving trail in the garden, she realized she was being followed. Before she could blink an eye, a large, warm hand abruptly spun her around and brought her face to face with her worst fear. Jacob.

"Jacob! What are you doing?"

"What do I think I'm doing? I was hoping I could say hello to my beautiful girlfriend. What are you doing wandering this garden all alone?"

"What? You expect that I would be happy to see you after the way you left things between us?" Jackie began to pace. Never had she been so angry. Never had she been so confused. And never had she expected Jacob to find her here. It must have been Grandma. Forever playing matchmaker.

"How I left things? Don't you mean how you left things, Jackie? I know we had a misunderstanding, but I didn't think it was that severe. I figured it was something that would work itself out in time and it would be best to give you some space."

"Work itself out in time? Give me space? You call not speaking to me in two weeks 'space'? It made me feel like it was over between us. And our argument was a big deal. From the beginning, you knew how much I distrusted men and when I saw you with that girl at the cafe, I couldn't believe it. When I asked you about it, you refused to answer. You just kept saying I would have to trust you.”

Silencing her with a kiss, Jacob lifted her small hand into his and began to slowly kneel down. As her eyes widened with surprise, Jacob began, "My darling, Jackie. I know your fears and I would never do anything to purposefully hurt you. That day you saw me in the café I was meeting with a local jeweler a friend had told me about. When you asked, I knew I couldn't lie to you and yet, I didn't want to spoil the surprise."

Slowly, Jacob pulled out a small box and opened it wide enough for Jackie to see the precious gem nestled inside. "Jackie, I am and always will be, forever yours. Will you marry me?"

"I can't believe it. I don't deserve this."

Smiling broadly, Jacob asked "Is that a yes or no?"

"Yes, yes, yes! Now, stand up before you stain your jeans in the soft ground!"

"That's my Jackie!"

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This article has been read 310 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anne Warden02/09/12
Beautiful! You have me grinning from ear to ear.

Yes, once-trampled trust is so fragile. You've shown Jackie's vulnerability and Jacob's more mature love so well. I get the sense that Jacob will teach Jackie how to relax into trusting his devotion to her as the years go by.

I love the last sentence. "That's my Jackie." it shows Jacob's feelings that Jackie 'belongs' to him and forgiveness of her distrust all at once. It also shows that he has a glow of love that won't be easily quenched by misunderstandings.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/11/12
This is a sweet story. You drew me in with the lilac bush as that was my safe haven at home. Then the part about not trusting men pulled me in more. The ending may have been a tad predictable but it is a lovely romance.
C D Swanson 02/12/12
Awww.. I loved this whole entry. And, I especially loved the last line! Great job. God Bless~
Allison Egley 02/13/12
Oh, I love this, especailly the end. Fits well with Valentine's Day also. :)
Mildred Sheldon02/13/12
What a romantic story, and I enjoyed reading it. I like reading about happy endings and this did not disappoint. Thank you for sharing and God bless.
Karlene Jacobsen02/15/12
What a sweet story! How often do I believe my eyes rather than listen for the truth? Nice work.
Ebony Murdoch02/16/12
Great story! It's romantic and funny, and the ending brings everything together so wonderfully! :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/16/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level two!