Christian Contemporary Fiction
Book 3 of The Sola Series
Date Published: July 1, 2019
Publisher: TruthNotes Press
Grace Neunaber may have everything she’s ever dreamed of, but sometimes it’s too much. With an infinite to-do list and not enough sleep, she can’t even get out of survival mode. Her struggles dim, however, in light of the challenges of her oldest daughter.
Thanks to a supportive family and boyfriend, Faith Williams is managing single motherhood on top of college plans. But when the father of her child re-enters her life, her carefully scheduled world is rocked. She can hardly blame him for wanting to spend time with their son, but making her boyfriend jealous and claiming to be Christian is going a bit far.
Despite Faith’s best intentions to keep everyone happy, disaster after disaster strikes, and school is suddenly the least of her worries. Grace must set aside her own difficulties so she can be there for her daughter. And in order to survive the uncertainties, Faith must loosen her grip on her grudges and cling to the hope that God is the only one in her life who hasn’t changed.
“Hey, you two sounded great up there,” a voice spoke from behind them. “Nice duet.”
Faith froze as she stared at Aaron, seeing in his eyes the same incredulous reaction. She didn’t need to turn around to know who was speaking. That deep, confident voice was one she’d recognize anywhere. With a sense of dread, she turned toward the speaker. She knew all too well those intense blue eyes, the smile displaying perfect teeth, the dark blond hair expertly styled with gel, that attractive face she’d fallen for so many months ago.
The three of them stared at each other for a long moment until Spencer spoke again. “So this is Griffin, huh? Mom was right. He’s adorable. Hi, buddy,” he addressed the baby in a sing-song voice. “How ya doing?” He looked at Faith. “He has your eyes. Is he rolling over yet?”
Aaron snorted in derision, and Faith laughed. “Spencer, he’s almost eleven months old! He’s been crawling for a few months. He’s starting to pull himself up on furniture to stand. At this rate he could even be walking before he turns one.” She felt a swell of motherly pride as she spoke of her son.
“Oh. I don’t know much about babies.”
“Obviously,” Aaron mumbled with another snort.
Faith could feel the tension between Aaron and Spencer and quickly turned to Aaron. “Could you take Griffin over to my parents?” she asked, shifting Griffin to her other hip. “I’ll be right there. Promise.” She looked into his eyes, silently pleading with him to comply.
Reluctantly, he nodded, and Faith breathed a sigh of relief. “Time to go with Aaron, sweetie,” she sang, handing Griffin to him. He took the baby with ease.
As Aaron and Griffin walked away, Faith grabbed Spencer’s elbow and pulled him to a more discreet spot at the edge of the parking lot. “Spencer, what are you doing here?” she hissed, well aware that other members were casting curious glances their way as they made small talk around them.
“Going to church,” he said innocently, his eyes wide.
“That doesn’t answer my question. Why here? Why now? You’ve never been to church before. What little game are you playing?”
“Faith, listen. You have every right to be mad at me and to distrust me. But I’m a Christian now. Really,” he insisted at her skeptical look. “Short version of the story is that I started going to church with my roommate last semester. I came back here because I want to talk to you about everything that happened between us. I owe you an apology. And I want to do what I can to support you and Griffin now.”
Faith folded her arms over her chest, looked up into the sky, and bit her lip, trying desperately to control her emotions. “Spencer, don’t! Don’t do this to me right now! You have no idea what’s involved in raising a baby. It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. Since the father of the baby abandoned me—” she glared at him for good measure “—my family has stepped in to fill the void. Without their support, I would have either dropped out of high school or put Griffin up for adoption by now. I get up at five thirty to feed him and get him ready, and I take him either to Aunt Livy’s, your mom, or Aaron’s mom, depending on the day. I cut out all extracurricular activities. I didn’t even get to play volleyball my senior year.”
She paused for a moment to compose herself. Her voice was getting too loud. “I pick Griffin up on the way home from school, do homework, help Mom with the twins while she gets dinner ready, and fall into bed when I finally get Griffin down. I haven’t slept through the night since he came home from the hospital, and I’m constantly exhausted. I couldn’t do this alone, but thankfully I have lots of help. And you aren’t one of those helpers! Besides, I’m with Aaron now. He’s been there for me from the very beginning, before I even appreciated him.”
The tears she’d been fighting were dangerously close to spilling over. Spencer’s sudden reappearance had affected her much more than she’d thought possible. She was shaking and kept her arms tightly crossed to disguise that fact. Telling him how drastically her life had changed in the past year had drained her emotionally as well. Her life was nothing like that of a “normal” high schooler.
“I know it’s hard on you,” Spencer answered, looking down at the ground. “I’m sorry. And I’m glad you and Aaron are together now. He’s a good guy. And he has a mean right hook,” he added with a rueful smile.
Smooth, Spencer, she thought, narrowly avoiding an eye roll. Instead, she threw up her hands in exasperation. “What do you expect me to say or do? I haven’t thought about you for months, and now here you are telling me you want to start supporting us? What does that even mean? Financially? Emotionally?”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “I want to get involved in Griffin’s life somehow. I can help over the summer. Faith, he’s my son too! Can’t I at least get to know him?”
Her eyes were burning as she glared at him. “You didn’t even want him!” she hissed, leaning closer to him so no one else would overhear. “You told me to get an abortion! And now you want to help? I don’t think so!”
“I know, I know. Faith, I was wrong. I was so wrong—about everything. Will you just give me a chance to explain myself to you? To apologize properly? I owe you at least that much. Let me take you out for dinner tomorrow night. Please, Faith. Just dinner. I need to talk to you.” His eyes were pleading, and Faith groaned. He was giving her the look, the one he used to make a girl’s heart melt. She hated that look. But she hated herself even more because his look was working.
“Oh, fine,” she groused. “Just dinner.”
He grinned away like the Cheshire Cat. “Perfect. I’ll pick you up at six.”
“We moved since the last time you were at my house.”
“I know exactly where you live,” he replied with a saucy wink. Spencer’s normal self-confidence had returned. “Wear something nice. I’m not taking you to McDonald’s.”
With that, he kissed her cheek and scooted away before she could protest.
About the Author
About the Author
Ruth Meyer graduated from Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a degree in church music and no plans whatsoever to become an author. But a student of the week project for her son inspired "Our Faith From A to Z," a children's picture book. After that, it was only a matter of time before she tried her hand at fiction. As both the daughter of and the wife of a pastor, Ruth has moved around a lot and had many experiences that provide ideas for her writing. Currently, she resides in rural Texas with her husband, their five children, two dogs, and a cat. It is her hope that through her writing, readers are assured of God's grace through His Son, Jesus