Read Finally My Forever Online

Authors: Brooke St. James

Tags: #Christian Books & Bibles, #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Religious & Inspirational Fiction, #Religion & Spirituality, #Christian Fiction, #Inspirational, #Teen & Young Adult

Finally My Forever

BOOK: Finally My Forever
4.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub









Brooke St. James




No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the author.













Copyright © 2015

Brooke St. James

All rights reserved.




Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20







Other titles available from Brooke St. James:



Another Shot

A Modern-Day Ruth and Boaz Story


When Lightning Strikes


Something of a Storm
(All in Good Time #1)

Someone Someday
(All in Good Time #2) 








To join Brooke's mailing list, contact her at [email protected]






Chapter 1



It all began when I was seventeen years old. It was the summer before my senior year when I first met him. It was likely our paths would have never crossed in a city the size of San Antonio, but an odd chain of events led me straight to his door.

Let me back up a little.

I'd gotten into some trouble with my parents, but as you could probably guess, none of it was my fault. My mom and stepdad had to pick me up from the police station one evening, but they waited until the next morning to sit down and lecture me about it. I thought they'd decided to drop it since I explained the night before that I was an innocent bystander, but apparently they had other plans.

I knew I was in for it when my mom flung open the door to my room and stormed in, announcing that she and Mike would like to see me in the dining room. The dining room meant they wanted to sit at the table—not on the couch where we could be comfortable, but at the table where I had to look straight at them and see just how disappointed they were.

It was 9:00 in the morning, and I was still half asleep, but they were both dressed. My mom's hair was perfectly pinned up into a bun, and Mike looked like he'd already been out playing golf.

"You're lucky they're not pressing charges, Carly Michelle," my mom said, staring down at me with her arms crossed indignantly. It was the first thing that came out of her mouth, and I wasn't quite prepared for how angry she was. I thought we were going to sit at the table like civilized adults, but she and Mike had a chair pulled out into the middle of the room, and they instructed me to sit in it while they both stayed standing. I sat there sitting on my hands as they paced in front of me like a couple of detectives interrogating a suspect.

"It wasn't my fault," I said for the tenth time since they picked me up last night. "I didn't know we weren't supposed to be there."

My mom glared at me as if she was scared that I was losing my mind. "What exactly did you think, Carly, when you had to
climb a fence
?" She was extremely agitated. Her eyes were bulging out of her head, and she spit out the words angrily.

"Calm down Rhonda," my stepdad said, playing good cop.

Her mouth formed into a flat line, and she squinted at him while pointing at me. Whatever was about to come out of her mouth was going to be delivered in really dramatic fashion—I could tell from her expression. "I'll calm down, Mike, when Little Miss Trouble With The Law explains why she thought
trespassing and starting a fire on private property
was a good idea!" She started the sentence at a reasonable volume, but was yelling by the time she finished it.

"Mom, you're acting like we started a forest fire," I interjected. "It was a bonfire, and it was in a spot where other bonfires had been lit before. Nothing got burned down. It wasn't that big of a deal. I don't even know why they called the cops."

She coughed out a laugh. "They called the cops, Carly, because you were
trespassing on their property
!" It seemed as if all her sentences were destined to end with her yelling the last few words. Her face was completely red as she stared down at me.

"Calm down, Mom."

"Your mother has every right to be angry, Carly," Mike said in a calm tone. "This isn't the first time you've ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time recently. We're both worried that it's going to become a habit."

"It's Gigi," my mom said, shaking her head and crossing her arms again. "I could see a mile away that girl's not a good influence. I don't think she owns a single shirt that covers her entire stomach."

I felt like rolling my eyes, but I didn't. I just stared up at them with what I hoped was an expressionless face. They stared back at me for several long seconds before my mom stuck her hand out in my direction and looked at my stepdad. "See?" she said, "She's completely unremorseful!"

"I'm just sitting here, Mom. What do you want me to do—bust out crying?"

"It would be better than just sitting here staring at us like you don't even care that you got
last night, Carly!"

"I do care, Mom, but there's nothing I can really do about it, is there?"

"Oh you're gonna pay. Don't you worry about that."

I looked at my stepdad for some support.

"We were thinking some community service might be appropriate," he said.

I stared at the ceiling and let out a sigh.

"And you're taking a break from your phone and car for about a week too," my mom added.

I glowered at them with my mouth hanging wide open. "That's not fair at all!" I said.

My mom was still shaking her head and staring at me with a stone faced expression like I was some sort of hardened criminal. I decided I needed to change my tactics if I wanted any chance of reasoning with them. I stuck my hands in the air in a gesture of surrender, and began speaking softly as if they were both bombs that were about to explode.

"Okay, let me just explain what happened last night so you can see that none of it was my fault and it wasn't that big of a deal."

I paused and my mom's eyes widened as she waited for me to continue. They both looked angry and disappointed, which made it hard for me to concentrate on my story. I glanced down and took a few seconds to remember the chain of events.

"There were about eight of us hanging out last night at Gigi's, and this guy Brice said he knew of a place we could go to light a bonfire. He said he went there all the time."

I glanced at my mom. She was still wearing a mask of anger, but I tried not to let it effect me. She didn't look like she was going to budge, but I knew I didn't deserve a punishment this severe, so I had to start talking my way out of it. I sighed, trying to gather my thoughts.

"Gigi's parents gave us permission. Her mom even went to the store and bought us stuff to make smores before we left."

I paused and she scoffed. "So you're trying to convince us you had
to go break the law."

"I'm saying none of us knew we were doing anything wrong until the cops came. It wasn't a big deal. We were just out in the woods hanging out."

She squinted at me. "Didn't it strike you as odd that you had to climb a fence to get in there, Carly?"

"We didn't climb a fence, Mom. There was a gate with a chain, but it opened big enough for us to walk through easily. Brice said we couldn't drive the cars through it, but he didn't say anything about us not being allowed back there on foot. He said he knew the owners."

"Just because he knows the owners, doesn't mean he had permission, obviously. You're lucky nobody's pressing charges, young lady," she repeated.

"She's lucky they didn't burn anything down," my stepdad added.

"Brice acted like it was fine for us to be out there," I said shrugging.

They both stared at me.

"You really should have known better," Mike said. "Especially with the chain on the gate."

My mom sunk her face into her hand with a dramatic sigh. "People are going to find out about this. Even though charges weren't pressed, they're gonna find out you guys were in trouble." She looked into my eyes with sincere disappointment. "You know how important it is to keep a good name, Carly. Is this what you want people to think about when they hear the name Carly Howard—someone who's in trouble with the law?"

"No, Mom, but I didn't—"

"You got arrested, Carly. You rode in the back of a patrol car to the police station. It doesn't matter if it was your fault or not. You put yourself in a compromised position, and now you have to suffer the consequences."

I couldn’t believe they were still going to punish me. I let out a defeated sigh and let my shoulders slump. "What do you guys expect me to do for community service?" I said, hoping to get it over with.

"I'm bringing you over there in a few minutes," Mike said.

I regarded them with a dumbfounded expression. "Today?"

Mike looked at his watch. "I told Jesse I'd have you over there before 10. That gives you fifteen minutes or so to get ready."

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I gawked at them. "Over where? Who's Jesse?"

"Mr. Bennett to you," Mike said. "Jesse Bennett is one of my clients at work. He's a general contractor."

"What's that got to do with me?" I asked.

"He does a lot of work with people with disabilities," Mike explained. "His company built a house in Stone Oak over by where his family lives." He shook his head as if he didn't quite know the whole story. "It's got something to do with their charity work. I think it's a gathering place for people with disabilities. Anyway, they're done with construction and they're having a weekend work party to do things like clean and paint—things to get the house ready for opening. He had us make some t-shirts for all the volunteers."

This did
sound like something I could participate in. I shook my head slightly. "I don’t think I can do that," I said.

"I don’t think you have a choice," my mom said.

I looked at Mike with a pleading expression, begging him to see the flaws in this idea. "I'd just be in their way," I said. "I don't know anything about construction."

"All these people are volunteers," he said.

I shifted my attention to my mom and gave her my best
please help me
face. "I don't know any of these people," I said. "Please don't make me do this."

"I think you need it," she said. "Mike says they're a good family, and I think it's just what you need right now."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"It means it'll do you some good to get out of your little high school box and do what you can to help someone else."

She was implying that I was selfish, and I wanted to defend myself, but I knew it would just lead to more arguing.

"They're a good family," Mike said.

"It doesn't change the fact that I don't know anybody there and I'm gonna be totally out of place. I'll just be in their way."

They stared at me with matching unsympathetic expressions. Mike looked at his watch again. "You better get ready," he said. "We'll need to leave in about ten minutes."

I didn't argue. I knew it was no use.

Fifteen minutes later, Mike and I were sitting in the front seat of his truck on the way to Jesse Bennett's house in Stone Oak. I was eating a granola bar when he said, "Your mom was right about keeping a good name, you know. I'll be talking to Jesse, and I expect him to tell me you did a good job today."

I felt blood rise to my cheeks at his words. I was embarrassed, which made me feel angry. I wanted to defend myself, but I held my tongue.

"You hear me, Carly?" he asked, glancing at me.

I wanted to scream, cry, and hit something, but all I said was, "Yes sir."

"Good," he said. "Your mother and I both want what's best for you. We don't want to see you go down the wrong path following the wrong type of people."

There was no use explaining that teenagers all over the world were doing a lot worse things then hanging out with her friends at a bonfire. There was no point in defending myself anymore. I stayed quiet and stared out the window until we arrived at our destination.

"Jesse's wife's name is Claire," Mike said as we stopped in the driveway. "She's expecting you. You'll ride with her to the construction site. Do you want me to walk you up?"

I was already mortified as it was. The last thing I needed was for Mike to follow me up there. He'd probably feel the need to explain that I had been in trouble and give her way too much information. Come to think of it, he'd probably already said all that on the phone.

"No thanks, I got it," I said.

"This is a nice place," he said, peering out of the truck. It was a nice place, but I didn't respond. He put the truck in gear and I opened the door to get out. "She said I could pick you up at six," he said.

That made me stop in my tracks. "Six at night?" I asked.

"Well, not six in the morning," he said, sarcastically.

"That's a long time," I said. "I thought I was only staying a few hours."

"There's a lot to do," he said, shaking his head like that was obvious. "I'll see you at six."

I closed the door to the truck without another word. I'm sure my face reflected how enthusiastic I was about the whole thing. I walked up the driveway, past the manicured flowerbeds onto the gorgeous, sprawling porch, and knocked twice on the door. I was expecting a lady to answer, so I was shocked to see what I thought was a guy through the beveled glass windows of the door. It swung open, and it suddenly made sense why this family was charitable to people with disabilities. The guy standing at the door was wearing a smile so big that it looked like his face might break in half. It was a huge, open mouth smile that made it literally impossible for me not to smile back.

"I don't think I know you," he said, still smiling, as he looked me over.

It didn't take a genius to tell he was different, but I didn’t know exactly what made him so. He looked like he might have Down Syndrome, but I didn't know anything about different types of disabilities so I couldn't be sure. Just then, the lady I assumed was Mrs. Bennett came up behind him. She looked past me to smile and wave to Mike who was starting to leave. She immediately focused on me with a bright smile. She had long chestnut brown hair that was pulled into a ponytail.

BOOK: Finally My Forever
4.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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