Tears Fall at Night-The Blessed One Box Set (Praise Him Anyhow and Blessed and Highly Favored Series)

BOOK: Tears Fall at Night-The Blessed One Box Set (Praise Him Anyhow and Blessed and Highly Favored Series)
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Tears Fall at

Night

Tears Fall at Night

 

Book 1 in the

Praise Him Anyhow Series

 

by

 

 

Vanessa Miller

 

Publisher’s Note:

This short story is a work of fiction. References to real events, organizations, or places are used in a fictional context. Any resemblances to actual persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.

 

Vanessa Miller

www.vanessamiller.com

 

Printed in the United States of America

© 2013 by Vanessa Miller

 

Praise Unlimited Enterprises

Charlotte, NC

 

No part of this ebook 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 permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Other Books by Vanessa Miller

Better for Us

Her Good Thing

Long Time Coming

A Promise of Forever Love

A Love for Tomorrow

Yesterday’s Promise

Forgotten

Forgiven

Forsaken

Rain for Christmas (Novella)

Through the Storm

Rain Storm

Latter Rain

Abundant Rain

Former Rain

Anthologies (Editor)

Keeping the Faith

Have A Little Faith

This Far by Faith

 

EBOOKS

Love Isn’t Enough

A Mighty Love

The Blessed One (Blessed and Highly Favored series)

The Wild One (Blessed and Highly Favored Series)

The Preacher’s Choice (Blessed and Highly Favored Series)

The Politician’s Wife (Blessed and Highly Favored Series)

The Playboy’s Redemption (Blessed and Highly Favored Series)

Tears Fall at Night (Praise Him Anyhow Series)

Joy Comes in the Morning (Praise Him Anyhow Series)

A Forever Kind of Love (Praise Him Anyhow Series)

Ramsey’s Praise (Praise Him Anyhow Series)

Escape to Love (Praise Him Anyhow Series)

 

 

1

 

“I’m leaving you,” Judge Nelson Marshall said, as he walked into the kitchen and stood next to the stainless steel prep table.

Taking a sweet potato soufflé out of her brand new Viking, dual-baking oven, Carmella was bobbing her head to Yolanda Adams’s, "I Got the Victory", so she didn’t hear Nelson walk into the kitchen.

He turned the music down and said, “Did you hear me, Carmella? I’m leaving.”

Carmella put the soufflé on her prep table and turned toward Nelson. He was frowning, and she’d never known him to frown when she baked his favorite soufflé. Then she saw the suitcase in his hand and understood. Nelson hated to travel. His idea of the perfect vacation was staying home and renting movies for an entire week, but recently he had been attending one convention after another. And last week, he’d been in Chicago with her as she had to attend her brother’s funeral.

Carmella was thankful that Nelson had taken vacation to attend the funeral with her, because she really didn’t think she would have made it through that week without him. She and her younger brother had always been close, but after losing both their parents by the time they were in their thirties, the bond between them had become even stronger. Now she was trying to make sense of a world where forty-six-year-old men died of heart attacks.

Nelson had been fidgety the entire time they were in Chicago. She knew he hated being away from home, so she cut their trip short by a day. He hadn’t told her he had another trip planned. “Not another one of those boring political conventions?”

He shook his head.

Nelson had almost lost his last bid for criminal court judge. Since then he had been obsessed with networking with government officials in hopes of getting appointed to a federal bench and bypassing elections altogether.

“Sit down, Carmella, we need to talk.”

Carmella sat down on one of the stools in front of the kitchen island.

Nelson sat down next to Carmella. He lowered his head.

“Nelson, what’s wrong?”

He didn’t respond. But he had the same look on his face that he’d had the night they’d received the call about his grandmother’s death.

“Please say something, honey. You’re scaring me,” Carmella said.

He lifted his head and attempted to look into his wife’s eyes, but quickly turned away as he said, “This doesn’t work for me anymore.”

Confused, Carmella asked, “What’s not working?”

“This marriage, Carmella. It’s not what I want anymore.”

“I don’t understand, Nelson.” She turned away from him and looked around her expansive kitchen. It had been redesigned a couple of years ago to ensure that she had everything she needed to throw the most lavish dinner parties that Raleigh, NC had ever seen. Nelson had told her that if he were ever going to get an appointment to a federal bench, he would need to network and throw fundraising campaigns for the senators and congressmen of North Carolina.

So she’d exchanged her kitchen table for a prep table, and installed the walk-in cooler to keep her salads and desserts at just the right temperature for serving. The Viking stove with its six burners and dual oven—one side convection and the other with an infrared broiler—had been her most expensive purchase. But the oven had been worth it. The infrared broiler helped her food to taste like restaurant-quality broiled food, and the convection side of the oven did amazing things with her pastries. She’d turned her home into a showplace in order to impress the guests who attended their legendary dinner parties. She had done everything Nelson had asked her to do, so Carmella couldn’t understand why she was now in her kitchen listening to her husband say that he didn’t want this anymore. “We’ve been happy, right?”

Nelson shook his head. “I haven’t been happy with our marriage for a long time now.”

“Then why didn’t you say something? We could have gone to counseling or talked with Pastor Mitchell.”

Nelson stood up. “It’s too late for that. I’ve already filed for a divorce. All you need to do is sign the papers when you receive them, and then we can both move on with our lives.”

Tears welled in Carmella’s eyes as she realized that while she had been living in this house and sleeping in the same bed with Nelson, he had been seeing a divorce lawyer behind her back. “What about the kids, Nelson? What am I supposed to tell them?”

“Our children are grown, Carmella. You can’t hide behind them anymore.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Carmella stood up, anger flashing in her eyes. “Dontae is only seventeen years old. He’s still in high school and needs both his parents to help him make his transition into adulthood.”

“I’m not leaving Dontae. He can come live with me if he wants.”

“Oh, so now you want to take my son away from me, too? What’s gotten into you, Nelson? When did you become so cruel?"

“I’m not trying to take Dontae away from you. I just know that raising a son can be difficult for a woman to do alone. So, I’m offering to take him with me.”

“That’s generous of you,” Carmella said snidely. Then a thought struck her, and she asked, “Are you seeing someone? Is that it? Is this some midlife crisis that you’re going through?”

“This is not about anyone else, Carmella. It’s about the fact that we just don’t work anymore.”

Tears were flowing down her honey-colored cheeks. “But I still love you. I don’t want a divorce.”

“I don’t have time to argue with you. Just sign the papers and let’s get this over with.”

She put her hands on her small hips and did the sista-sista neck roll, as her bob-styled hair swished from one side to the other. “We haven’t argued in years. I have just gone with the flow and done whatever you wanted me to do. But on the day my husband packs his bags and asks me for a divorce, I think we should at least argue about that, don’t you?”

He pointed at her and sneered as if her very presence offended him. “See, this is exactly why I waited so long to tell you. I knew you were going to act irrational.”

“Irrational! Are you kidding me?” Carmella wanted to pull her hair out. The man standing in front of her was not her husband. He must have fallen, bumped his head and lost his fool mind. “What are we going to tell Joy and Dontae? I mean…you’re not giving me anything to go on. We’ve been married twenty-five years and all of a sudden you just want out?”

“Like I said before, Joy and Dontae will be fine.” He picked up his suitcase again and said, “I’m done discussing this. I’ll be back to get the rest of my clothes. You should receive the divorce papers in a day or two. Just sign them and put them on the kitchen table.” He headed toward the front door.

Following behind him, Carmella began screaming, “I’m not signing any divorce papers, so don’t waste your time sending them here. And when you get off of whatever drug you’re on, you’ll be grateful that I didn’t sign.”

After opening the front door, Nelson turned to face his wife. With anger in his eyes, he said, “You better sign those papers or you’ll regret it.” He then stepped out of the house and slammed the door.

Carmella opened the door and ran after her husband. “Why are you doing this, Nelson? How am I supposed to pay the house note or our other bills if you leave me like this?”

“Get back in the house. You’re making a scene.”

“You spring this divorce on me without a second thought about my feelings, but you have the nerve to worry about the neighbors overhearing us?” Carmella shook her head in disgust. “I knew you were selfish, Nelson. But I never thought you were heartless.”

He opened his car door and got in. “You’re not going to make me feel guilty about this, Carmella. It’s over between us. I want a divorce.”

As Nelson backed out of the driveway, Carmella put her hands on her hips and shouted, “Well, you’re not getting one!”

She stood barefoot, hands on hips, as Nelson turned what had seemed like an ordinary day into something awful and hideous. He backed out of the driveway—and out of her life—if what he said was to be believed. Carmella had been caught off guard…taken by surprise by this whole thing. Nelson had always been a family-values, family-first kind of man. He loved his children, and she’d thought he loved her as well. The family had attended church together and loved the Lord. But in the last year, Nelson had found one reason after another for not attending Sunday services.

“Are you okay?”

Carmella had been in a daze, watching Nelson drive out of her life; so she hadn’t noticed that Cynthia Drake, their elderly next-door neighbor was outside doing her weekly gardening. Carmella wiped the tears from her face and turned toward the older woman.

“Is there anything I can do?” Cynthia asked, as she took off her gardening gloves.

“W-what just happened?” Carmella asked with confusion in her eyes.

“Come on,” Cynthia said. She grabbed hold of Carmella’s arm. “Let me get you back in the house.”

“Why is everybody so obsessed with this house? It’s empty, nobody in it but me. What am I supposed to do here alone?”

Cynthia guided Carmella back into the house and sat her down on the couch. “I’m going to get you something to drink.” She disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a glass of iced tea and a can of Sunkist orange soda. “I didn’t know which one you might want.”

Carmella reached for the soda. “The iced tea is Nelson’s. I don’t drink it.”

Cynthia sat down next to Carmella. She put her hand on Carmella’s shoulder. “Do you want to talk?”

“Talk about what?” Carmella opened the Sunkist and took a sip. “I don’t even know what’s going on. I mean… I thought we were happy. I had no idea that Nelson wanted a divorce, but evidently, he’s been planning this for a while.”

“You need to get a divorce lawyer,” Cynthia said.

“I don’t want a divorce. I don’t know what has gotten into Nelson, but he’ll be back.”

“You and Nelson have been married a long time, so I hope you’re right. It would be a shame for him to throw away his marriage after all these years.”

Carmella put the Sunkist down, put her head in her hands and started crying. This was too much for her. Nelson was the father of her children. He was supposed to love her for the rest of her life. They had stood before God and vowed to be there for each other, through the good and the bad, until death. How could he do this to her?

“Here, hon. Dry your face.” Cynthia handed Carmella some tissue. “Do you have any family members that I could call to have them come sit with you for a while?”

“My parents have been dead for years and my only brother died last week,” she said miserably.

“Oh hon, I’m so sorry to hear that.”

Carmella lifted her hands and then let them flap back into her lap. “I just don’t understand. I thought we were happy.”

Sitting down next to Carmella, Cynthia said, “I’ve been married three times, and honey, trust me when I tell you that you’ll probably never understand. Men don’t need a reason for the things they do.”

They sat talking for a while, and Carmella was comforted by the wise old woman who had taken time out from her gardening to sit with her in her time of need. When Cynthia was ready to leave, Carmella felt as if she should do something for the kindly old woman. She ran to the kitchen and came back with the sweet potato soufflé that she had lovingly fixed for her husband. She handed it to Cynthia, and said, “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t helped me back into the house.”

“Oh, sweetie, it was no problem. You don’t have to give me anything.”

“I want to. I made this sweet potato soufflé for my husband. But since he doesn’t want it, it would bring me great joy knowing that another family enjoyed it.”

“Well, then I’ll take it.”

After Carmella walked Cynthia out, she went to the upstairs bathroom. She lit her bathroom candles, turned on the hot water and then poured some peach scented bubble bath in the water. She got into the tub, hoping to soak her weary bones until the ache in her heart drifted away. The warm water normally soothed her and took her mind off the things that didn’t get done that day or the things that didn’t turn out just the way she'd planned. Carmella enjoyed the swept-away feeling she experienced when surrounded by bubbles and her vanilla-scented candles. But tonight, all she felt was dread. She wondered if anyone would care if she drifted off to sleep, slid down all the way into the water and drowned like Whitney Houston had done.

BOOK: Tears Fall at Night-The Blessed One Box Set (Praise Him Anyhow and Blessed and Highly Favored Series)
7.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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