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Authors: Mary Manners

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Miracles and Dreams (9 page)

BOOK: Miracles and Dreams
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“It was a huge success.”

“In how many ways?”

“Just the most important—the job.”

“I see.” He gathered a lock of her hair, wrapped it around his index finger. “And, will you be doing any more business with Spence Tucker?”

“You’re not jealous, are you, Jack?”

“Do I have reason to be?”


His finger slipped to stroke her cheek before he reached for her hand. “Come inside. Allie and I have something to show you.”

“It’s a surprise, Mama.” Allie scampered beside them. “A really good one.”

Misty kicked off the pumps that nipped mercilessly at her heels as the trio wound their way through the living room and down the hall. When they turned into her office, she froze, her heart thumping.

Sunlight kissed the cluttered desk and danced over the walls. The ample view of the pasture, and the Smokies beyond, was nothing short of breathtaking.

“Oh, Jack…” Tears welled in her eyes. “It’s beautiful.”

“Can you get ’spiration now, Mama?”

“I sure can.”

“Daddy made the window extra big for lots of sunshine.”

“It’s perfect.”

“I helped him. I didn’t get to saw, but I balanced the level and handed Daddy the tools and I got to hammer one of the nails, too.”

“You did?”

“Uh huh. And Ralph watched us work. Daddy set his play village on the picnic table so he wouldn’t be lonely. He likes the fresh air, Mama, but not the saw. I think it hurt his ears.”

“Where’s Ralph now?”

“Back in my room. He needed a nap.”

Misty laughed.

“Can we have lunch, Mama? I’m hungry.”

“We certainly can.” Misty checked her watched, frowning. “But it’s way past noon, so I’m not sure we should call it lunch. You go on into the kitchen and wash up. Start setting the table. I’ll be right there to help, OK?”

“Are you staying, Daddy?”

He glanced at Misty for approval, and her heart melted as she nodded. “Yes, Daddy’s staying.”

As Allie scampered away, Misty leaned in toward Jack. “I have a surprise for you, too.”

“You do?”

“Uh huh.” She reached into her purse and drew out a bottle of spicy brown mustard. “It’s not as good as a window—”

“It’s perfect.”

Misty sighed, dropping her purse. “If it’s OK with you, I think I’d like that kiss now.”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

He drew her in, sheltering her safely in his arms as his mouth sought hers. Sawdust mingled with the scents of spearmint and aftershave, and the heel of a hammer bit into her belly. A familiar jolt surged through her as his lips brushed lightly across her jaw and then skimmed over to claim her lips.

“Jack…” She leaned into him, feeling like she was finally home—right where she needed to be, where she belonged.

“I love you, Misty.” Jack’s words warmed her; his touch brought her alive. “I’ve loved you my whole life.”

“I know, but I need more.” She paused long enough to glance up at him. “Allie needs more, too.”

He stroked her hair, his fingers gentle as they drew her back. “Do you love me, Misty?”

“I do. I love you, Jack.” She pressed her cheek to the soft cotton fabric of his T-shirt. “I’ve never stopped loving you.”

“Then I’ll give you and Allie everything you need. Together, we’ll make it work. I promise.” He kissed her again. “I need you to trust me, Misty.”

“I do.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and held tight as he claimed another kiss. “I’m so sorry for all the time we’ve lost, for my part in it, for my stubborn pride. I trust you, Jack.”

“I’m sorry, too. Now, that chapter is closed. It’s time to move forward, Misty—together.”




Later, Jack and Misty sat on the back porch glider as Allie chased Lucky around the yard. The grass was neat—Jack had given it a quick trim with the riding mower after he and Allie finished installing the window. Not his best lawn work, but it was passable—for now.

“Allie could use a play set back here.” He sipped sweet tea and sighed. “With a slide and a few swings for when she has friends over, maybe a climbing wall and a fort with an enclosed sandbox beneath, too.”

“That sounds like a lot of work and pretty complicated.”

“I’d better get on it, then.”


“In a few days…maybe more.” The next words pained, but Jack knew they were necessary. It was impossible to move forward without taking a step—just one single step—back. “After I finish up some business in Palm Springs.”

“You have to go back?”

“Yes.” His gaze captured Misty’s. “I need to get my car and my things from the apartment, find a place to stay here until we figure out what comes next.”

“What does come next, Jack?”

“I asked you once before to marry me. I still feel the same, but I know you need time—
need time—to make this all right.”

“And Allie, as well.” She nodded, but took his hand. “When will you go?”

“In the morning. It will give me a chance to pack things up, break the lease for my apartment there, and I have to be at an appointment on Monday to close the deal for the development project I’ve been working on.”

“Oh.” Misty’s voice trembled. “That’s a full plate. When will you be back?”

“As soon as I can.” He stroked her hair. “I’m not sure, honey.”

“But you
coming back, right?” Tears gathered in Misty’s eyes, bluer than the clear spring sky.

“I’m coming back,” Jack assured her. “I won’t let you—or Allie—down.”

“OK, Jack.” She leaned into him, kissed him once more, murmuring, “I trust you.”

That was the best gift of all—having her trust once again. Jack vowed to do anything necessary to hold it forever.

“So, tonight…”

“Right. I won’t see you or Allie again until I return.”

“She’s going to miss you.
going to miss you, Jack.”

He simply drew Misty close and held her as the glider gently swayed. He couldn’t speak for the lump in his throat.

He missed them both already.







Summer sun streamed across the yard as Jack rounded the hood of his jeep to open Misty’s door. Three months had passed since he’d returned for good. He didn’t miss the West Coast at all. He’d been so empty there, despite the phenomenal success of his business, and he’d never even realized the gaping cavern that passed for his heart.

He’d waited those three long months to marry the woman he’d loved his whole life. Now, he took Misty’s hand as she slipped from the passenger seat, her lovely white dress swishing around her ankles as a gentle breeze rustled the fabric.

“Allie’s fallen asleep.” Misty whispered, glancing into the backseat where their daughter was slumped to the side in her booster seat, her cheeks flushed from the kiss of wind as they’d meandered through town.

“Leave the windows down and let her nap.” Jack loosened the tie of his tux and the tails flapped as the breeze caught it. “She’s tuckered out from all the excitement.”

“It has been a lot.” Misty grinned. “This sure has been a whirlwind romance.”

“Seven years in the making.” Jack lifted Misty into his arms, tucking her close to his chest as he spun in a lazy circle before starting toward the porch. “I couldn’t wait another day to marry you.”

“Thank goodness for that. I think I’ve waited long enough.” Misty squealed and adjusted her veil as the breeze caught it. “You’re lucky I’m a patient woman.”

“Is that so?” Jack climbed the front stairs and eased her laughter with a long kiss as he carried her over the threshold and into the living room before setting her gently on the floor. Photos of the development property he’d purchased were scattered across the coffee table. The project was slated to begin in a week or so, and Misty had agreed to design and launch a Website to promote the work. They made a great team.

But, even better than the prospect of a new beginning for his business was the picture that hung on the wall, framed and matted.

Their family tree—the one Allie had made and given him for Father’s Day.

His first Father’s Day of many to come. The thought of it—the pure and awesome joy—brought tears to Jack’s eyes and filled his heart with a love he never imagined was possible.

He gazed through the front window to watch Allie for a moment, still peacefully asleep in the jeep. She was his very own miracle—his precious daughter. Jack could barely fathom the multitude of blessings in his life.

The life he now shared with Misty.

“I’ll bring Allie in now.” Jack stroked a finger over Misty’s cheek. “Don’t move. I’ll be right back.”

He ran into the sunshine and gathered a sleeping Allie in his arms. Striding back into the living room, he laid her on the couch and turned to Misty as soft music drifted. “I think you left the radio on, honey.”

“Oh, I did.” Misty turned toward the sound. “I’ll fix it.”

“Leave it. I like it.” Jack immediately recognized the song as, instead of squelching it, Misty adjusted the volume a bit louder for him. Jack drank in the hymn that had filled him with boundless hope only months before. Life had been hard for a while, but God’s grace—and Misty’s love—had given him a second chance at life and happiness.

“Nothing could possibly make this day more special, except for one thing.” Misty sighed as she returned to him, her blue eyes twinkling with love. “Dance with me, Mr. Seaton?”

“Forever, Mrs. Seaton.” Jack leaned in for another kiss, treasuring this moment in time, and took her hand as he swept her into a slow two-step. “I sure do love the sound of that.”





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BOOK: Miracles and Dreams
6.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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