Authors: Kaci Hart
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Christian, #Religious, #Faith, #Inspirational, #Spirituality, #Love Inspired, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Hearts Desire, #Clean & Wholesome, #Stanton Falls, #Series, #University, #Five Years, #Nurse Degree, #Three Year-Old, #Single Mother, #Family Life, #Short Story, #Novella
In Time For Love
Copyright © 2015 by Kaci
All rights reserved. This
book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner
whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of
fiction. Names and character are either the product of the author’s imagination
or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead
is entirely coincidental.
Emily released a deep
sigh as she looked at the sign signaling that they had made it to their
to Stanton Falls
Her father had come to
the airport in Dallas to pick her up and bring her back home. It had been
a long time since she had considered Stanton Falls home. As she looked
around, she realized that not much had changed in the town since she had left
so many years ago. There were no high rise buildings or occasional movie
star sightings. No street corner artists or bistros selling with names
that she could barely pronounce. She had gone to college on the west
coast to become a nurse and honestly had never even considered moving back to
her childhood home again. All of that changed during her junior year of
school. Having a baby had its way of changing lives.
She thought back to when
she had first found out that she was pregnant. She had hoped that she was
wrong. Had hoped that the home test was somehow at fault and that the
ninety nine percent accuracy allowed her to be the one percent of inaccuracy.
Three tests later, she was sure that her life would be changing.
I can’t be pregnant.
I’m not even done with school yet.
She knew it was true
though. She was studying to be a nurse so she should know a thing or two
about the signs of pregnancy. The missed cycle was one thing but the
first morning she woke up throwing up, she knew there was a concern.
That was four years ago.
She looked into the back seat at her now three year old daughter and
smiled at how beautiful she was. She was unable to even fathom her life
without her little child now. She thought back to meetings with the
doctor and at the options that he wanted to make sure that she and the father
knew were available to them. As if her time in nursing school hadn’t
already taught her that. The father had actually wanted her to get an
abortion simply because he wasn’t ready to be a father. Emily knew she
had gone too far from God when she had considered it--even for the slight
No matter how far she
had gone from her roots, she still considered the conglomerate of mixed DNA
inside of her belly to be a live baby and never really entertained the thought of
not having Ashleigh. She’d decided from that day to have the baby and
raise her alone if that’s what it took. She hadn’t spoken to the baby’s
father in two years. She reached into the back seat and placed her hand
on Ashleigh’s tiny forehead rubbing softly as the she slept. She turned
back around in her seat, watching the familiar scenery unfold before her and
was lost in her reverie until her father spoke.
“Sweetie, don’t worry.
Your mother and I are going to be here to help you out. It took you
long enough but I’m glad you finally decided to let us be here for you and our
grandbaby. You know a big city is nowhere to raise a child by yourself.”
Her father had looked at
her while he was driving and had seen the concern on her face. He placed
his hand on hers and continued.
“I know it wasn’t part
of your plan to get pregnant at this point in your life. That definitely
isn’t what we expected when you went off to school, but God knows what He is
doing. You made some decisions and you have to live with them, but you
aren’t going to do it alone.”
His words took the sting
off of what she was feeling. Her dad was one of the kindest people she
knew. She was convinced she had the best parents in the world, with him
and her mother. They supported her from day one, with her mother making
the two hour drive to spend weeks at a time with her and her little grandbaby.
Even still, they were always telling her to come home and have family
around to help raise the baby. She felt low at times. She’d made
all the decisions that they had told her not to.
She didn’t get how they
managed to still see her as their little girl. The car pulled up to her
parents’ house and she got out to her screaming sister calling out to her as
she sprinted out the door to give her a proper greeting.
Elizabeth was her
younger sister by two years and at times her very best friend. Seeing her
face again, she was glad that Elizabeth had convinced her to move back to
Stanton Falls. She had considered at first moving in with her sister
instead of her parents but ultimately decided it would be better to stay with
her parents since her mother didn’t work and--in her own words--couldn’t have
enough time in the world to pinch those precious cheeks. She embraced her
sister for at least a few seconds. She had missed that part of life.
Being a pediatric nurse and a single mother, she couldn’t even remember
the last time she had hugged an actual grown up.
“Liz! I am so glad to see you sis.”
“Sure you are.
Anyway, it’s nice to see you too, although you took your sweet time in
coming back. Common sense finally showed you where you belong. Now on to
bigger and better things. Where is my little niece at?”
“Wow sis. Not even
a three second greeting and my return is yesterday’s old news already.
Yes, you are definitely my sister. C’mon, she’s sleeping in the
back. Help me grab her.”
They walked to the back
seat of the car and stopped for a minute to watch the baby. Liz whispered
softly to her about how she made a cute baby. Her attempt at stealth went
in vain as Ashleigh’s little brown eyes blinked slowly a few times before she
yawned and reached out for her mother, requesting release from her restraint in
the car seat.
“Well, she’s awake now
so get ready for a million questions. She’s at that age.”
“Wow. I still
can’t even believe that
have a kid. My big sister. So
much has changed in the past few years.”
“Not everything I bet!”
Emily tickled her little sister and fought back her own side splitting
laughter as Liz jumped at least two feet away. “Still can’t fight a good
tickle, can you?”
The girls laughed as
they unbuckled a laughing Ashleigh from the car seat, leading her into her new
home. Their playfulness had triggered a feeling Emily hadn’t felt in a
long time and if her laughter was any indication, Ashleigh was going to have a
great time figuring out what all the fun was really all about. The truth
was that Emily couldn’t think of a better place in the world to raise her baby.
Aaron sat at his desk
working on designs and support for the website changes he was planning on
making. With so much data hacking going around in the news, he had been
researching and found some great ideas on new checks and balances to protect
information. When he got a knock on his door, he tore his gaze from the
screen long enough to see Nick standing in the hallway. He swiftly
returned his attention to his work, silently praying he would be able to send
him away without too much time wasted.
“Hey Aaron, what’s goin
“Well unlike you, some
of us have to actually work for a living.”
His brief response was
meant to give Nick a hint that he didn’t have the time right then. He
didn’t have to be so curt about it, but that was how their friendship was.
They had been close
friends since junior high. Nick came from a family that was loaded but he
was still down to earth--always the one to be all about having fun. Any
time Aaron had ever gotten in trouble, nine times out of ten Nick was not too
far away. Of course, their kind of trouble wasn’t worthy of the six
o’clock news. Just the silly thing teenage boys did, pranks and such.
Nick’s family had resided in Stanton Falls since its founding and they
owned the largest company in town. At one time it was estimated that a
minimum of one tenth of the population was employed by his family’s company
while another hefty percentage were just as heavily reliant on them.
Nick had been born with
a silver spoon in his mouth, which was definitely true.
But he was never the type to rely on that.
After college he had decided that he wanted to start a business of his
own and when Aaron had finished his time in the armed forces, he hired him to handle
all the computer support and technological aspects of the company since that
was something he was really great at. Or at least that was what he said; Aaron
figured it was just to have someone to hang out with at work. The company
wasn’t really large enough to need him doing full time IT work, but when he did
have a project, he put his all into it.
“Whatever man. You
know the drill, lunchtime. I’m hungry, so let’s go. My treat.”
“No can do.
Seriously. I have way too much to do today.”
“Yeah. You say
that now, but I wonder what you’ll say when I tell you the great news.”
“I’m sure it’s not more
important than this.”
Seeing that Aaron wasn’t biting, Nick laughed before speaking to his
“Well buddy, you leave
me no choice. Aaron, when I hired you on here, I told you I’d never pull
rank on you man, but I am bored out of my mind. You know I’m not leaving
unless you come so stop wasting our time and let’s go!”
Knowing that he would
get more work done after he returned from lunch, he finally relented.
That and the fact that he was seriously hungry.
“Fine. I was gonna
have to eat anyway I guess. Let me just lock up my office.”
Twenty minutes later
they were both eating corn beef sandwiches on rye, one of Aaron’s absolute
favorite meals in the world.
“Man I love this stuff.
I didn’t even realize how starved I was until we got here.”
He stuffed a few more
chips in his mouth and took a drink of his lemonade.
“I know. You
probably completely lost track of time like you always do.”
“You boys doin ok here?
Need a refill or anything?” The waitress came over to their table
to check on them. Aaron noticed how Nick had been glancing at her
occasionally and was sure that his friend found her attractive. He
couldn’t blame him. She was pretty indeed.
“No thank you Donna,
we’re just fine and we won’t take your time up too much longer.”
“Oh you are ok.
You guys come in here so much I just want to treat my good customers
nice. Stay as long as you want. And I am gonna get you a refill of
soda since you pretty much guzzled that one down Nick, alright.”
“Well thank you very
Nick smiled at her a
second extra when she grabbed the drink and Aaron laughed.
“How long buddy?”
Nick cleared his throat.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean how long before
you tell her that you are interested? It’s obvious to me and I can see
she enjoys your company. You always get twice as many refills as me.”
“That’s because I drink
faster than you. Like a man, instead of your little boy sips.”
“I just like to actually
my food. You know, get all the value I can out of my taste
Nick laughed at his
friend before speaking again, excitement in his voice as he continued.
“Oooh I almost forgot.”
In between large bites
of his sandwich, Nick kept talking.
“About the good news I
promised you. Let me ask you a question... have you seen Emily yet?”
Aaron froze switching
his gaze from the sandwich in his hands to his friend sitting across from him
who was grinning like he had secret information.
“What do you mean?”
“I figured you didn’t
know. Clueless. You have absolutely no idea what I am talking about
at all, do you?”
“Do I look like anything
you are saying is making sense to me right now?”
“No, but you always have
that blank, lost look on your face. I meant to ask you about it yesterday
but I guess it slipped my mind.”
“Leave it to you to not
remember something important like that but not forget all the best shot
locations in Call of Duty.”