Love Me Again

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December 2, 2016

Faith Derrick clutched a picture of her wedding day to her chest and watched as her husband packed his suitcase. She was sitting on their bed, her long legs tucked under her, and her long blonde hair spilled down her back in a tangled wave.

"I can't believe you're leaving," she rasped, her voice hoarse from the tears she'd already shed.

Josh glanced at her then looked back at the shirt he was folding. "Why not?" he asked. "All we do is fight and yell and cry. When's the last time we were happy together?"

Faith pressed a hand to her stomach. "August," she whispered, the ache building even more. "I can't help that I lost the baby."

"No one blames you for that," Josh said huskily, his throat clogging with tears he refused to cry. "I'm tired of being sad all the time; of not being good enough for you or your family." His voice turned bitter. "I'm tired of being accused of cheating on you."

Faith lifted her chin. "I know what I know," she returned evenly. Her bravado left as quickly as it had come, and her face crumpled again. "Oh, Josh. Don't you love me any more?" she whispered brokenly.

He snapped the suitcase shut. "I think the problem is we're both lost and lonely and too deeply hurt to love each other enough."

Josh cupped her face with trembling hands, his dark brown eyes searching her drenched gray ones. For a moment, their tears mingled together and fell onto the wooden frame she held. He kissed her gently and then quickly walked away.

Faith curled into a tight ball and wept bitter tears until sleep overtook her.

February 14, 2017

Faith started as her cell phone chirped the alarm she'd set. It was 2 pm—time to stop work and begin preparing for her meeting with Josh.

That's how she made herself think of it. She frowned, wondering again just what kind of game he was playing. For two days now, there had been a volley of text messages back and forth between them: he wanted to cook her dinner and talk—and on Valentine's Day, no less. A day meant for lovers.

Faith had declined but, worn down by the constant pleading and wheedling, she'd finally said yes. One last dinner, cooked by him in the house he'd walked out of.

Maybe that would finally bring an end to everything.

Faith closed the greenhouse door behind her, her thoughts swirling as she walked towards the house. She plucked a bottle of water out of the fridge and guzzled it as she mounted the steps leading upstairs.

Once she reached the master bathroom, she turned on the hot water and began filling the huge tub. A nice, long soak was in order, she decided, after spending the day transplanting seedlings and listening to a customer change her landscaping plans for the third time.

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