13 year old Lucy is abducted by a strange Honduran. Will she be found? What of her folks?
Pulling her jacket tightly around herself, Lucy Emily Nuñez tugged her suitcase nearer. Horns blared, cars in gridlock at the Tegucigalpa, Honduras airport. A mountain breeze caught her strawberry-blond locks as they framed her face. Wow, the first time that I’ve traveled by myself and at thirteen too! She grinned. Cheeks rosy, eyes intent, she raised an arm. “¡Taxi, por favor!”
As a yellow cab pulled up toward her, a tall, lanky Honduran sidled up to her. “¿Hablas español?” He arched an eyebrow as he looked at her with emerald eyes. His wavy black hair caught in the wind.
“Muy poco.” She demonstrated with her thumb and pointer finger averaged about half an inch apart. Her blue eyes widened.
“Oh…I speak some English but it is how do you say? Very bad?” He gave her a crooked grin. Forcing a hand through his hair, he lifted a shoulder.
“Yes. I understand.” Pausing, she caught his eyes. “I need to go now.”
“What if we shared a taxi? They can be…” He snapped his fingers, “pricy.” Showing a winning smile, he offered, “I’ll pay the bigger half.”
“Okay.” She shrugged.
“Good.” With a smile, he took her suitcase, hefting it into the open trunk. Slamming the trunk, he smoothed his fingers on top of it. “Well, then.” He reached for the door handle, opening it wide. “We should be off.”
With a nod, she slid into the seat. Snapping her seatbelt in place, she released a breath. Hands in fists, she stared out the window. As he slipped in beside her, she caught a whiff of his cologne. Cheap and strong, it clung to him with a cloying scent. His seatbelt clicked as he turned toward her. Grin widening, his cheeks creased. She noticed his hair was graying near his ears.
“Name’s Carlos. What’s yours?” He extended a hand.
“Lucy.” Grasping his palm, she almost withdrew. Cool and clammy it felt almost greasy to the touch.
Grip firm, he shook her hand. Releasing it, he nodded. “Good to meet you. As we say, “Bueno conocerte.” His emerald eyes shone, inscrutable. Tucking a wayward strand of hair behind his ear, he chuckled. “This was fate.”
Something akin to fear coiled in the pit of Lucy’s stomach. Brushing it off, she shook her head. He’s harmless, Lucy. Relax. A sigh escaped her as her chest rose and fell. “Perhaps,” she responded. Unconsciously, she folded her arms across her stomach.
“Where are you headed?”
“My great uncle’s house.” She paused. Her eyes found his. Trying to peel back his inward layers, she searched his face. “He couldn’t come today because his car broke down. My mother gave me money for the taxi.” Her brows knit. “I didn’t know how expensive they were. Thanks for the offer.”
He smiled once more. “No problemo.” Placing a hand over his mouth he muttered, “Oops. Not a problem. That’s what I meant.”
A giggle escaped her if only to ease the tension. “Where are you going?” Her eyebrow arched.
Turning toward her, his grin widened. “Somewhere special.”
“Like the zoo?” Her eyes rounded.
“Better!” He chortled. Laugh low and throaty, his gaze covered her curves. Finally, he caught her blue eyes once again. “Would you like to come?”
“I’d better not.” Her brow furrowed. “My great uncle and his family are waiting…” Her voice trailed off as he gave a slight nod.
“I’ll tell the driver where to take us. Where does your great uncle live? Be specific.”
While she explained the address to him, he nodded, relaying some information to the driver in Spanish. With a smile, he murmured, “Good, that’s done!”
As the car pulled away from the curb, Lucy settled back against the seat. Inhaling, she released a breath. Finally. I’ll be at Uncle Jorge’s house before long.
The cab pulled up to a quaint wooden building surrounded by palm trees and mango trees. It had a wrap-around porch and a swing on the porch.
“Estamos aquí, señor,” the taxi driver added as he held out his palm for the money.
“Bueno.” Placing his half into the driver’s hand, he motioned to Lucy to do the same.
“But this isn’t my great uncle’s house…”
“Do it now, girl,” he growled.
With a slow nod, she counted out the remainder of the money. As the final bill landed in the man’s hand, he popped the trunk. “Where are we, Carlos?”
“We’re at that ‘special’ place I was telling you about.” His eyes caught hers. “Come out and take a look. It will only take a minute.”
Everything in her screamed at her not to go, but her money was gone. What do I do, Lord?
Don’t leave the car.
The cab driver tapped his fingers on the dashboard. “¡Rapidamente!” He muttered a curse.
Her insides fluttered. Shutting her eyes, she managed, “No.”
Reaching toward her, Carlos grabbed her by the arm. “Come on, girl! Now!” He undid her seatbelt. With a yank he propelled her from the car and into the potholed road. Raw sewage ran down the street. Chickens clucked, darting on side roads away from people. A few children kicked a tattered soccer ball.
Fear coiled in the pit of her stomach as Lucy opened her mouth to scream. A hand covered her lips, snuffing out all sound. Kicking at his shins, she struggled. Spanish fired back and forth until the taxi driver nodded.
With a mighty shake, Carlos hissed, “Be still.”
Immediately, she stopped thrashing, eyes following his every movement. Lord, help!
Hold onto Me, Beloved.
Okay. Her eyes welled as tears slid down her cheeks, wetting his hand.
He unloaded the suitcase and slammed the trunk, hitting it once with his palm. The driver kicked up pebbles and dust as he sped off down the road.
“Do you think prayer will save you?” Carlos uttered a curse as he tipped a bottle of Coca Cola back. It sloshed over, dampening his plaid shirt. Banging the Coca Cola down, he turned toward Lucy with narrowed eyes.
She took two steps back. “Please…”
Pausing, he reached into his pocket and withdrew a cigarette. With one fluid movement, he struck a match. Holding it to the end of the cigarette, he lit it. The cigarette glowed as he pulled in a deep breath. Smoke emitted from his nostrils. “Ah.” Eyes alert, he flicked the cigarette to the floor. Crushing it with his heel, he rubbed his palms together. Reaching for her with both arms, he pinned her arms at her sides. “Come here…”
Her blue eyes widened. “Help, someone, help! ¡Ayudame!”
Quickly, he slanted his lips over hers, quelling all sound.
She jerked back as if burnt. “No!” Her blue eyes widened. “Please, let me go!”
“Don’t beg. That’s so unattractive.” His grip tightened. “Now be quiet or I’ll whip you too!”
She stilled. God! Eyes huge, she staggered. Her gaze found the ground. Surveying her tennis shoes, she shuddered. Cool air seeped into the house through a cracked window. It ruffled her top. Jacket lying across a chair, she stared at it. Lord, what do I do?
I Am your present help in time of trouble.
Releasing a breath, she nodded. Okay, Lord.
“Oh, you want to play, huh?” He drew her close, still in an iron grasp. Pressing his lips to hers, he shut his eyes.
Fear took away peace like an owl with a mouse as she pushed against his chest. Jerking back, eyes afire, she pled, “Stop!”
He arched an eyebrow. “Why should I, when my prey is so sweet?”
Lucy curled in a ball on the rumpled cot. Tears streamed down her face. Why, Lord, why? Not expecting an answer, she shivered as a shard of glass entered her soul. The shower pounded in the background as Carlos whistled. Fear toyed with her soul like a cat with a mouse. What will he do now?
The water stopped and the man entered the shadowy room with a towel around his waist. Leaning his hip against the counter, he stared down at Lucy. Arms folded, he grinned roguishly. “So, what did you think? Did you like it?”
“No.” Her eyes welled. Another tear slid down.
“Well, you will have to learn to like it.” He paused, reaching for her.
Instinctively, she drew back. “Please, don’t.”
“And you can’t say no, either.” He spat. “Do you understand?”
With a slow nod, she looked into his face. “Why?”
“This is my business.” He spread his arms. His eyes flickered. “Don’t disappoint me.”
Three Weeks Later
Diana Nuñez bowed her head. “Enrique, I miss our girl so much!” Her eyes pooled. A tear slipped down her cheek. It dripped from her chin, dampening her nightgown. She sniffed. “Please hold me…” Her voice trailed off as she reached for him.
Enrique drew her into his waiting arms, whispering words of comfort close to her ear. Touching his lips to her forehead, he eased back. “Mi amor, I love you.”
“I love you too.” She paused. Her blue eyes met his. “But, our daughter…” Voice breaking, she shook her head as her shoulders drooped. “This is so hard!”
“I know.” Rubbing her back, he acknowledged, “I know.”
"Enrique, what if she’s dead?” She shuddered. Her eyes slid shut. “God help me.”
“He’s here, mi amor.”
“Why do I feel so hopeless, then?” Her eyes popped open as her teeth gritted. Hands balled, she pounded her fists against his chest. A silent tear fell. “Why?”
“I feel it too, but we can’t give up hope!” His hazel eyes touched hers. With a thumb, he wiped her tear away. “I’m so angry right now, I feel like…” Words straggling as the final horse in a race, he shook his head. “Let’s just say, I hope that the authorities get there first.” He grimaced. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Her eyes searched his. She reached up and tucked a wayward strand of his glossy black hair behind his ear. Eyes glistening with unshed tears, she bit her lip. “What can we do? We’ve mounted a search and nothing has come of it!”
“We’ll find Lucy, we have to!” Voice harsh with grief, he pulled her near.
She nestled her cheek against his chest. “I hope so.” Blinking back the rising tide, she shivered.
“I’m mad at myself for letting our daughter travel to Honduras alone!” He gritted his teeth. Eyes spitting fire, he wondered, “What must she be feeling now?”
Her eyes found his. A tear slid downward. “I don’t know. Most likely she’s feeling terror, sheer terror.” Eyes widening, she blew a wisp of blond hair out of her face. “Enrique, I wish that this never happened.”
“Me too, mi amor.” He worked his fingers into her hair. Slanting his lips over hers, he drew away. His breath caught. Hazel eyes catching hers, he intoned, “I promise with God’s help, I’ll do everything possible to find Lucy.”
The strange man stood and fastened his belt. Shadows engulfed his form as he muttered. “I rather enjoyed it.” The wedding band on his left ring finger glistened in a pale beam of moonlight. Turning, he strode toward the door as he fastened the final button on his shirt.
The door shut with a click. Lucy wrapped her arms around herself. Cowering on the rumpled cot, she huddled against the pillow. God, where are You? Tears slid down, tracking the foundation on her cheeks. Her mascara ran down her cheeks, two lines of black grit. Longing to remove it, she shuddered. Lord?
Beloved, I’m still here.
Releasing a breath, her shoulders shook as tears slid down her cheeks. Silent sobs wracked her body. Thank You, Father. She gasped as her voice caught. Pressing her face to the pillow, she squelched a wail. Lord, help me.
Peace flooded her heart, touching her every part as a cool summer’s breeze.
A rapping jolted her from her sweet moment of relief. “Lucy!”
"Yes?” Voice small, she rubbed her arms. Gooseflesh rose on her arms and legs as she tucked her feet beneath her.
“It’s Carlos Santana. I’m coming in.”
Fear, a fiend with the face of an angel approached her, touching her shoulder with icy fingers. Her heart froze within. Time seemed to stop. Inhaling sharply, she stared at the door. The handle turned slowly. Creaking, the door swung open.
Carlos shut the door behind himself. “So, customers are willing to pay top dollar for you.” With a pause, he turned toward Lucy. “How are you doing it?”
Cautiously, Lucy lifted a shoulder, masking the gall rising up within her. Forcing away the nausea, she managed, “I do what I have to. I don’t want this life.”
“Really?” He arched an eyebrow. “Then, why did you get into the taxi with me?”
“I was naïve.” Shutting her eyes, she turned her head away. A tear slipped down.
Without warning, his hand collided with her cheek. “Don’t show emotion – especially tears. Customers hate that.”
Cheek smarting, she touched it. Withdrawing her hand, she shivered. At last, she nodded. Eyes pained, she studied the unkempt sheets. “Okay.”
“Good.” He cupped her chin with a palm. His emerald eyes found hers. “Don’t forget that.”
Enrique Diego Nuñez replaced the receiver on the hook. With a shake of his head, he pressed his lips together. Brow furrowed, he muttered, “I wish that I had better news.” He laughed darkly. Forcing a hand through his glossy, wavy hair, he strode out of the room. “Diana!”
“Yes?” Her eyes widened. “What is it?”
“I just finished talking with Uncle Jorge. He’s had no new information from the local police.” He rubbed the back of his neck with his sinewy fingers. “It’s like a nightmare.”
“I know.” Crossing her arms, she managed, “Do you think you tried hard enough?”
His eyes found hers. Arching an eyebrow, he asked, “How could you say such a thing? You know how much I miss our daughter!” Anger welled up within him like a fierce fire, barely contained. Emerald eyes ablaze, he clenched a fist. Teeth gritted, he muttered beneath his breath.
Reaching for her husband, Diana touched his arm. “I’m sorry I said that. It was wrong.”
His eyes softened. “I forgive you.” He covered her hand with his.
“Thank you.” A sigh escaped her lips. Her hand slid from underneath his.
Drawing her into his arms, he inhaled her scent. “You’re welcome, mi amor.”
“Mom, Dad!” Eight-year-old Mateo burst into the room. “Did you hear any news about Lucy?”
Weariness crept into Enrique’s bones. “Nada, my son.”
Collapsing to his knees, Mateo allowed the tears to come. His fists balled. Angrily, he dragged a hand across his face. “Why, Dad?”
“I don’t know, Son.” He shook his head. “I just don’t know.”
Six Years Later
Surveying the brothel, Gideon Thompson shuddered. For a brief moment, his eyes touched Silas’. Then, he glanced at Paul McGuire. Their eyes held. Paul’s sparked with wrath, shooting fire. “I’ve seen enough John’s go and come. We need to check this out.”
With a nod, Paul stroked his graying beard. “Yes, we do.”
Silas Darville stated, “Since we are with International Justice Mission, they have given us their approval to rescue these young women if they’re being held against their will.”
“Yes,” Gideon responded. His bottle green eyes blazed. “Enough talk, let’s go!”
The three ambled over toward the brothel, hands shoved in their pockets, talking softly amongst themselves. Paul McGuire pointed at a grimy, seedy character with a bottle of rum in his hand. Half drunk, he slumped against the corner in tattered clothing. The bottle slipped from his fingers. It burst in an explosion of glass and liquid at his mud-caked feet.
With a groan, he sank to his knees amid the mess. “No!” His cry echoed throughout the night air, a call of pure desperation.
The three paused. “Wow.”
“What people find themselves involved in,” Paul murmured.
“Yes,” Silas Darville agreed. His chocolate eyes found Paul’s sea blue ones.
Gideon turned to the two. “We must hurry.”
“Yes, we must.”
“Remember your Spanish,” Gideon commanded.
Both nodded in unison. “Right,” Silas replied.
Together, they walked toward the brothel, teeming with the worst sickness of humanity.
Aven Malvolio Lopez stood at the door of the brothel, eyes watchful. A man stepped carefully around him with a slow nod. “Night, Sir. Come back now.” His eyes flickered as he watched the pudgy fellow walk down the poorly lit street toward a waiting taxi. Puddles of muddy water mingled with sewage in the mud caked street. “What a mess,” he murmured. Muttering an oath, he retreated back to the doorway.
Three men approached, walking in a group. As they neared, they separated. Silence shrouded them. One drew near the door. Placing his hand on the door, he pushed it open.
Brow furrowed, Aven followed the man’s movements. I wonder who these men are. John’s don’t usually come in groups. I’ll keep an eye on them.
Gideon passed the burly bodyguard. Bottle green eyes forward, he released a breath. Lips mouthing a prayer, he strode up to the tall, lanky Honduran man.
Doffing his fedora, Carlos Santana smiled. His grin twisted. “What’s your pleasure?”
"The works,” he replied. Removing his hands from his pockets, he asked, “How much?”
"That will cost you two hundred and fifty American dollars. Dinero, yes?” He rubbed his thumb against his fingers. “Now, pay up!”
Reaching into his wallet, Gideon Thompson counted out the money. With care, he placed the bills into Carlos’ waiting palm. “Good?”
“Yes.” His smile widened. “Take the stairs and go to the first door on your right.”
With a nod, Gideon, took the steps two at a time. His heart hammered. Lord, what do I do if the woman tells that Honduran that I didn’t sleep with her? Cold fear like a bucket of ice cold water cascaded over him. It punched him in the gut. Lord?
Beloved, I Am with you.
Thank You. A sigh escaped his lips. At the top of the stairs, his chest heaved. Palms sweaty, he turned toward the first door on the right. Reaching for the handle, he twisted it. Entering the dimly lit room, his eyes caught the young woman sitting on the bed. Her glossy lips glistened in the moonlight. Lips parted, eyes shut, her breath caught. Her long eyelashes curled in the soft moonlight. He sucked in a breath. God…
Behold, I Am with you.
With a slight nod, he opened his lips, “¿Señora?”
Her eyes snapped open. “¿Señora? No-one here calls me that,” she spat out.
“I always address women with that term.”
“Well your Mom must have raised you right.” She lifted a shoulder. Feigning indifference, Lucy shuddered inwardly.
“I’m here for a reason.”
“No, you don’t. I’m not here to use you.” His eyes met hers.
“I don’t believe you.” She crossed her legs. “What game are you playing?” Arching an eyebrow, she glanced at him, head cocked.
“I’m not playing a game, I promise.” He searched her face.
Her face crumpled. A tear slid down her cheek. “The only men I trust don’t even live here except for Uncle Jorge...” Her voice trailed off. “Even God is distant now!”
“What’s your name?”
She covered her face with her hands. Tears ran down. Nose running and dripping, she managed between sobs, “Lucy.”
For an instant, Gideon almost forgot his training. He longed to touch her shoulder and offer some comfort. Reaching out a hand, he withdrew it. “I’m sorry.” With tenderness, he studied her weeping form.
“For what?” She sniffed.
“For what these men have done to you,” he said simply. Eyes soft, his fists clenched. Rage rose up from deep within, uncurling in his belly. It pushed up like gall, forcing its way to the surface. His eyes flickered. Stuffing his anger, he shoved his fists into his pockets.
“You really are for real, aren’t you?” Her eyes found his.
“I was kidnapped at age thirteen. I never did this willingly,” Her head hung. Mascara running down her cheeks, she swiped at it. “Oh, no, I’m a mess!”
“It’s alright. I’m here to set you free!”
Her head jerked upward. “You are?” Blue eyes widening, she searched his expression. “This isn’t a cruel joke?”
“Never,” he rejoined. “You mentioned God. Know that He hasn’t forsaken you.”
With a nod, she whispered hoarsely, “Thank you.” Her eyes welled. A tear slid down.
“Are you ready?”
“You don’t have to ask me twice!” Jumping up, she pulled the wrap more closely around herself. “Let’s get out of here!”
One Week Later
Diana Sarah Nuñez enfolded her daughter in a warm hug. Tears ran on every cheek, intermingling as years fell away. In the warmth of their embrace, Lucy allowed herself to be held. “Oh Mom,” she sobbed, shoulders shaking, body trembling. “Hold me tightly!”
Drawing her daughter closer, she whispered words of comfort. “I love you so much. Do you know how much I’ve missed you? Your father and I have been so worried!” She dabbed at her eyes. Tears dripped onto her blouse, dampening it.
Enrique touched his daughter on the shoulder. “I – I’ve missed you so much. I love you, Lucy.”
Jerking back, she shuddered. Fresh tears pooled, spilling down her cheeks. “Dad, I’ve missed you too. I’m sorry…” Her voice trailed off. “Thank God for Gideon and I.J.M. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them!”
“I understand.” He withdrew his hand. “I want to hug you, but I won’t.”
“Thank you.” Involuntarily, she shivered. It went down her spine like time lapsed lightning. Brushing away her tears with her fingertips, she murmured, “I missed you both.” She paused. “Where’s Mateo?”
Her mother’s arms fell away. “He’s…”
“He had to use the restroom,” Enrique stated.
Hurrying over to the group, a tall, muscled youth approached. His curly black locks framed his face. Eyebrows bushy, he smiled. His grin widened. “Lucy!” Voice deepening, he extended a hand.
Slowly, she took it. His hand held hers firmly and securely. Their eyes met. “Oh, Mateo! You’ve grown up!”
Releasing her hand, his cheeks creased with eyes aglow. He massaged the back of his neck. A breath emitted from deep within. “You’re home at last.”
“Yes.” With a slight smile, she looked up at her brother. “You’re really tall.”
He grinned. Spreading his arms, he managed, “Well, Dad is too.”
“That’s true.” A sputtering cough escaped her lips. Inhaling, she released a breath. “God is good, isn’t He?”
“He is,” they echoed. United, the family strolled toward the sliding glass doors of the Bahamian airport.
Leaning close, her father said, “Be prepared for reporters.”
With a nod, she stared at the ground as they walked outside. Amid camera flashbulbs and a barrage of questions fired like bullets, she walked with those she loved and trusted most in the world. Not saying a word, she pressed her lips together.
Three Years Later
James Anders Collie lifted his mocha latte to his lips. Inhaling the aroma, he sighed. With a tentative sip, he smacked his lips. His eyebrows rose. “That’s good!” As he took another swig, he allowed the flavor to burst upon his tongue. “Hmm, chocolate, whipped cream and coffee, it’s delicious.” He grinned.
Suddenly, his eyes caught a young woman sitting in a corner, sipping an iced Chai tea latte while perusing a novel. Intent upon her book, she flipped a page. Legs crossed, she shifted in her plush chair. Setting her drink aside, she blew a wisp of strawberry blond hair out of her eyes.
Something deep within tugged at James. Ambling over to the young lady, he asked, “May I join you?”
Pausing, Lucy looked up from her reading. An old fear washed over her. Lord, what do I do?
Remember My promises.
Alright. Fear still clung to her with talons like a hawk. She shuddered. This is so hard, Lord. Inhaling sharply, she held her breath. Releasing it with a whoosh she sighed. Okay, I’ll trust You. With a slight nod, she gestured to the chair opposite her. “Sure, sit down.” Setting her novel aside, she searched his light brown eyes. His caramel skin almost shone in the soft light. Jet black curly hair cut close, he offered a smile.
“Thank you.” Sinking into a chair opposite her, his grin widened. Cheeks creasing, eyes alight, he uttered a soft laugh. “This must have been God.”
"You believe in God?” Her brow pinched.
“Of course I do! He is my savior, Lord and King!” His eyes gleamed. Tipping his mocha latte back, he drew in a swig. “Ah…” As he set it on the table between them, he clasped his hands loosely between his knees. “My name is James. What’s yours?”
“Lucy.” Suddenly shy, her cheeks bloomed with color. Studying the closed book, she tried not to look into his eyes.
“Why do you avoid my gaze?” He arched an eyebrow.
In answer, she gripped her iced Chai tea latte. Sipping it, she released a breath. Setting it aside, she managed, “Do you want the truth?”
“If you’re willing to give it.” His light brown, mysterious eyes searched her blushing face.
At long last, her eyes found his. She blinked. A shiver like bones rattling went through her body. “Oh…” An unfamiliar feeling uncurled in the base of her gut. He’s so handsome! She paused. Gathering her thoughts from prickly paths, she searched his expression. “I-I think you’re intriguing.”
“I find you so, also.” With a guileless smile, he reached for his latte. Grinning, he set his cup down. “Sorry, I just had to come over here.” He shook his head.
“I think I understand.” Her eyes caught his.
Their gaze held. The Spirit stopped him from reaching for her hand. What is it Lord?
She's been abused.
Oh, Father… Anger welled up within him like a dragon, forcing its way to the surface. Banking it, he murmured, “I didn’t know.”
“What did you say?” Her eyes widened.
“Nothing.” He lifted a shoulder.
…Turning to her husband, Diana Nuñez smiled. “Our daughter has improved so much over the years!” Her smile widened. Eyes aglow, she reached for her husband.
Returning her embrace, Enrique pulled her close. “You’re right. She trusts me again.” Glowing with pride, he touched his lips to her forehead. As he drew back, he grinned. “God is faithful.”
“Yes, He is.” She smiled in return. “Did you realize that she met a young man at a café the other day? His name is James. They seemed to get along well.”
“No, I didn’t know. Who is this James?” His arms slid to his sides. Folding his arms, his lips set. Feet spread, eyes intent, he searched his wife’s face. His heart beat a war beat within his chest, rattling against his ribcage.
Touching his arm, she assured, “It’s fine. He’s a believer, mi amor.”
“He could still be bad news. If he breaks my daughter’s heart I’ll…” His voice petered off. Running a hand through his glossy black hair, he shuddered. He uncrossed his arms. Fists clenched, his teeth gritted.
“Mi amor…” She touched his chest. Her blue eyes met his. Searching his face, she spread her fingers over his heart. “Trust God for our daughter is in His hands. This young man seems to be a fine, godly Christian.”
“Yes, at least he is. He seems trustworthy, but if we find out otherwise, she won’t be spending time with him.” His fists tightened. Knuckles white, he murmured, “I know that I must trust in God.” A sigh escaped him as his shoulders drooped.
A soft knock resounded on the door. “Mom, Dad?”
“Come in Mateo.”
Tall and muscled, Mateo strolled into the room. “Hey, are you guys ready to get up?”
“We are now.” Enrique smiled. His cheeks creased. Ruffling his son’s black curls, his smile widened. “Let’s go make some breakfast.”
Eight Months Later
Lucy Emily Nuñez reached for James hand. Their fingers intertwined. Enmeshed, their hands seemed as one. Her heart hammered like a smithy’s mallet on an anvil. Looking down at their hands, she grinned. “Oh, James…”
He touched his lips to her cheek. Drawing away, he searched her face with light brown eyes. “I really like you, Lucy.” His eyes glowed. Their eyes held.
“I really like you too.” Her eyes shone with light and unspeakable love. Welling up within, desire coursed through her veins. Body quickening, eyes flickering, she shuddered.
“Are you okay?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Yes.” With a nod, she smiled. “I am.” Better than you know. Blue eyes aglow, her eyes touched his. She sought his spirit. Reaching up with her free hand, she traced his jaw with her finger.
He squeezed her hand, releasing it. “That’s good.” His light brown eyes twinkled. “Come here,” he whispered. Drawing her into a half hug, he rested his chin on the top of her head. Her strawberry blond hair shimmered, cascading downward like a waterfall. Eyes sliding shut, he drew her closer. “God is so good to us.”
“Yes He is,” she rejoined. Her eyes closed. Eyelashes curled just so, her strawberry blond tresses framed her face. Gradually, her eyelids fluttered open. His eyes opened. Searching his face, she looked deeply into his heart. She placed her palm over his heart. Her fingers spread. His heart beat steadily beneath her fingertips.
Lord, I want to tell her that I love her! His brow pinched.
I will wait. He released a breath. His chest heaved. Inhaling, he trembled beneath her touch. His pulse throbbed. Lord, help!
I will. Guard your heart.
With tenderness, he covered her hand with his. Carefully, he brought her hand to his lips. Brushing his lips against her palm, he inclined his head. As he eased back, he grinned. Lord, help me to guard my heart.
I understand your struggles. I Am with you.
Thank You, Lord… Peace washed over him, indescribable and perfect. His heart slowed as he basked in the Father’s Love.