Authors: Katie Fox
Moment of Weakness
An Embracing Moments Novel
Copyright © 2015 Katie Fox
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Editing: Kelly Hartigan,
Pink Ink Designs
Formatting: Stacey Blake,
Table of Contents
For my sister, Sarah, who knew the ins and outs of Roman and Julia before they even made it on to the page.
For my Aunt Annie, who is my biggest fan and my first true reader.
I love you both more than you’ll ever know.
Thirteen Years Earlier—Julia, Age 7
“WHERE WE GOING
, Momma?” I asked, gripping my mother’s hand as we walked down the tiled pathway.
“You’ll see. I want to show you something before Theo takes you to ballet.”
I glanced up at her and smiled. The long blonde waves that framed her face shimmered in the morning sun, and her white sundress swayed with each step she took. She reminded me of the angel we would put on top of our Christmas tree every year. We continued along the path, and as our house faded from view, I couldn’t help but wonder where she was taking me. I played outside all the time, but coming down this far wasn’t something I was allowed to do—at least not by myself. After a few minutes, the path led to a small clearing in the trees, and as we stepped through it, my breath caught in my throat.
We stood in a meadow.
Hundreds of wildflowers scattered the open field, ranging in color from deep purples to light pinks. I stood and marveled at the sight before me, but also saddened to see so many patches of dandelions.
“Did you know, Julia, dandelions are actually considered weeds?” she asked, bending down and pulling two of the fuzz balls from the ground. I shook my head. I didn’t know that, but I understood the reasoning behind it. In a field full of pretty flowers, they were the ugly oddballs. She handed me a dandelion. “Dandelions are special though. Do you want to know why?”
“What is so special about a dead weed?” I asked, taking it from her hands and sitting down in the grass.
My mother sat down beside me. “Once the flower dies, the seeds are the only thing left. Long ago, some people believed the seeds were little fairies. By blowing on them, you were setting them free. In return for your kindness, they would grant you a wish.”
Amazed, I stared at the little white fuzz ball in my hands. I handled it with care, afraid I’d lose some of the precious seeds if I moved too fast.
“I know you’re worried about landing the lead role in ballet. I thought maybe you’d like to try it.” My mother looked down at the dandelion in my hands. “Go ahead, Julia, make a wish.”
I pulled the dandelion up to my face and examined the little seeds that sprouted from the center white bulb. If I was going to make a wish, it had to be a good one, and ballet just didn’t seem good enough.
“What’s wrong, Julia? Do you not want to make a wish?”
I shook my head. “No, Momma. I want to save it for a wish worth making.” My mother’s lips tipped up into a smile, and she placed a kiss against my forehead.
“I love you, Julia. I love you so much.”
Now it was my turn to smile. “Are you going to make a wish on yours, Momma?”
Standing up, she said, “No, dear. I made my wish a long time ago.” She held her hand out, waiting for me to grab it. “We should get back. I’m sure Theo is already waiting for you.”
I placed my hand in hers, and we made our way back toward the house. Halfway there, I stopped abruptly. I was curious. I had to know. “Did it come true?”
“Did what come true, sweetie?”
“Your wish. Did it come true?”
She stood for a moment and then knelt down in front of me. Reaching her hand up, she brushed away a stray piece of hair that fell from my bun. “I’m looking at her,” she said, her finger caressing my cheek. “I wished for you, Julia.”
As we walked the rest of the distance to the house, the anxiety that had me on edge all morning vanished. Mom always knew exactly what to do or say. By the time we made it back to the house, our driver, Theo, was waiting beside the car for me, my pink ballet bag clutched in his hands.
“I’ll be right back,” I exclaimed, running back through the house. When I made it to my room, I dropped the dandelion on top of my dresser.
One day. One day, I’ll have a wish worth making.
As I made my way down the stairs, disappointment hit me full force as Mom stood beside the front door. I wanted her to come with me. She must have read my expression, because when I stopped in front of her, she looked down at me with sad eyes.
“I’m sorry I can’t be there with you today, sweetheart.”
“I want you there, Momma. Please,” I begged. I didn’t understand what was more important than coming with me. I knew Daddy wouldn’t be able to come because he had important meetings all day.
“I would, sweetie, but Mommy has a doctor’s appointment.”
I frowned. “Are you sick?”
She pondered my question for a moment and then tilted her lips up in a soft smile. “No. Look, I promise as soon as you get home we will celebrate, okay? What do you say we go to Big Dippers for ice cream?”
“Okay,” I said, a smile replacing my frown. Mom pulled me into a tight embrace and walked me down the front steps. Theo had already placed my bag in the trunk and resumed his position in the driver’s seat as mom buckled me in. She dropped another kiss to my forehead and then closed the car door. As Theo pulled out of the driveway, I waved to my mother, watching her figure become smaller and smaller, until she disappeared from view.
“I did it, Theo! I got the lead role,” I yelled, as I ran toward him. The moment I reached his embrace, he picked me up and spun me around.
“I knew you could do it, Miss Julia. I’m so proud of you.” He set me back down on steady ground, his smile shining through his chocolate brown eyes. “What do you say we go home and celebrate with your parents?”
I nodded my head in agreement, and moments later, we pulled out of the studio parking lot, heading for home. Excitement trilled through my veins, making it impossible to sit still. Landing the lead role in ballet was an accomplishment anyone would be proud of, but what made it even more special, was the fact I was the youngest in the class. I couldn’t wait to get home to share my news with my parents.
Halfway home, the loud sirens of a passing ambulance broke the quiet silence of the car. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck rose, and when consecutive police cars flew by—their sirens blaring—an uneasy feeling settled in the pit of my stomach. Theo and I exchanged looks through the rearview mirror, and I didn’t need to question what he was thinking. Concern flashed in his eyes, and as we reached the large black wrought iron fence that separated our driveway from the main road, his expression grew into one of silent panic.
The engine of the car roared down our cobblestone driveway, drowning out the sounds of my thumping heart. In the distance, bright red and blue lights flickered above the cars they sat on, and uniformed men and women scattered our property. With yellow tape in their hands, two men walked in circles draping it around the entrance of the house. Its bold black letters—CRIME SCENE-DO NOT CROSS—scrolled through my mind.
“What is going on, Theo? Where is Mom and Dad? Why are there police everywhere?” The words spilled from my mouth quicker than I could comprehend saying them.
“I’m not sure, Miss Julia. Please wait in the car and do not get out. Do you understand me? I’m going to go and talk to the policeman and see if I can find your mom and dad.”