For Better or Worse (Chapter One, page 1 of 3)

Previous Page
Next Page

Carmen pitched the disposable diaper in the trash and hefted Destiny from the changing table. At 14 months, she was already getting difficult to lift. Destiny was big for her age. Katie insisted she was going to be tall like Josh. That might be true. She favored him in many ways.
Destiny was born less than a week after Josh died. As soon as Lori was able, she signed the adoption papers and left the state with her sister. With the exception of a Christmas card the first year, no one had heard from her since. Alex and Carmen were the only parents Destiny had ever known. Unlike Jonathan, though, Destiny had natural grandparents to spoil her – and they did.
Josh’s mother and father lived on a farm within walking distance of Carmen and Alex – and from the farm where Lori and Josh lived when Josh died. Mums, as everyone called Mrs. Reynolds, had been like a second mother to Lori and Carmen. Lori’s father had remarried after her mother died and Mums was the only stability she had known. Mums thought the lack of good parenting was why Lori went wild. Maybe it was also why she never wanted children.
Josh was gone now, and Lori didn’t want anything to do with Destiny. Carmen was torn between gratitude that Lori gave Destiny to them and disappointment that Lori could abandon her child so totally. But then, it was Josh who wanted a baby, not Lori. They had fought all through her pregnancy. Once Josh had considered substituting her birth control pills with candy. Had he? Surely Lori would have known the difference. Lori said Josh wanted Carmen and Alex to have the baby if anything happened to him. Josh’s sister had made a few comments to indicate that she thought Josh might have ended his life purposely because he still loved Carmen. Certainly their marriage was a failure, but it was hard to believe Josh would do something like that.
Focusing on the present, Carmen straightened Destiny’s frilly yellow Easter dress and brushed the thumb from her mouth. Destiny stared up at her with big gray eyes that questioned her motive. Her auburn curls lay in no particular style – so much like her father.
Setting Destiny back on the changing table again, Carmen pushed a shoe back on her foot and tickled her under the arm. Destiny giggled, revealing top and bottom teeth in matching pairs. Thank goodness the molar nightmare was over.
“As soon as Daddy and Jonathan finish getting dressed, we’ll go to church.”
Destiny’s eyes lit up. “Daddy?”
Carmen sighed. It was no surprise both children were so devoted to Alex. She smiled, remembering the day they took Destiny home from the hospital. The expression on his face when he took her from the nurse was one Carmen had never seen on his face before – not even with Jonathan. All eyes were on him as he held the infant in front of him, one hand under her body and the other supporting her head. Carmen sighed contentedly, remembering the gentle warm voice as it said those words the first time: “Come to daddy.” Like her adoptive mother, Destiny was mesmerized by the chocolate gaze and rich deep voice. From that moment on, her heart belonged to him. With Jonathan, it had been instantaneous as well. From the time Alex brought him home for a visit, they had been like father and son. It had been Alex who convinced her to take the risk and adopt Jonathan. She had always feared learning to love a child, only to have the mother change her mind. But Jonathan’s mother had passed away, and his father didn’t want a cripple. Alex had been so shocked when Carmen offered to take Destiny home unconditionally. Fortunately, he had the foresight to make it a legal adoption.
Movement outside the window caught Carmen’s attention. A blue BMW crept up the drive and came to a stop in the yard. A slender lady dressed in an expensive looking dark suit swung out of the car and stood, slowly shutting the door. Something about the woman looked familiar, but it was hard to identify her from behind. The woman walked toward the porch with her head down. Surely no one would come all the way out here on a Sunday to seek veterinary services from Alex – especially not dressed like that . . . and on Easter morning. It must be someone from the church.
Carmen lifted Destiny from the changing table again and turned as Alex walked into the room. His attention was immediately drawn to the car outside the window. His soft chocolate gaze went from the car to Carmen. One dark brow lifted in silent query. As he opened his mouth to speak, the doorbell rang. He smiled.

Previous Page
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 3.0/5 (235 votes cast)

Review This Book or Post a Comment