Faith sat up in bed staring at her son as he nursed. It was amazing how much she already loved him. His tiny fingers wrapped around hers and her heart melted a little more. He had dark brown, almost black hair, and it was downy soft. She had tried to see what color his eyes were but he hadn't had them open long enough for her to tell. There was a soft knock on the door then Hope walked in.
"I wasn't sure if you would be sleeping or not. How are you feeling this morning?"
Faith sighed heavily. "I feel like I've been run over. My left hip and shoulder are black and blue from falling. But other than that, we're doing pretty good. We're just trying to get to know each other." She smiled down at her now sleeping son. Faith knew it was killing Hope, so she finally asked, "Do you want to hold him?"
"I thought you would never ask!" Hope moved across the room and scooped the sleeping baby into her arms, then moved over to a rocking chair beside the bed. "Faith, he's simply beautiful! But, goodness he's tiny. I don't think Emma and Mason were this little when they were born. Have you decided on a name yet?"
"I think I have. What do you think about Cayson Reese?"
"I love it!" Hope looked at her sister in law for a minute. "You know, you don't look as happy as a new mother should be. Do you want to talk about it?"
"I dreamed about him last night." There was no need to say his name, they both knew who she was talking about. "I dreamed that he was here and he saw Cayson, then told me he loved me. It was so real." Faith brought her fingers up to her lips remembering the soft kiss Cade had given her. Tear clouded her vision. "Why, why would I dream about him again after all this time?"
"Oh Faith, honey, it's to be expected. You had his son, it's only natural for you to want him here to share the experience with you."
"I guess. John told me that he was going to leave after I had the baby. So, I've lost the man I love and now I'm losing one of my best friends." Faith felt tears fill her eyes again.
"But look at what you gained."
Faith wiped her eyes and sniffed. "You're right, you are absolutely right. Okay, I feel so much better now. Did you ever find out about the woman that pushed me?" Faith could feel herself begin to get anxious then angry. What if she had fallen on the baby or if she hadn't been as far along in her pregnancy and he had died from being born too early? All of these thought bounced around in her mind. The only thing that had been any comfort for her after Cade left was finding out she was carrying his baby.
Hope's brows drew together. "No, not really, she was killed almost instantly. So nobody was able to get any information from her. Andy and Levi checked with the hotels and found out her name and that she was a – a lady of the evening."
"A what? How do you know that?" Faith began racking her brain, trying to think of why someone like that would want to hurt her and Cayson. A fuzzy memory came to mind of the night she went to find Cade at that saloon and found a whore in his lap. Could it have been the same woman? She tried to feel something for the woman, after all she had lost her life. But try as she might, Faith felt nothing but anger and a small measure of satisfaction that justice had been served. Well, there was a tiny bit of regret that she would never know why this woman hated her so much that she would try to kill her and her baby. But, thank God, Cayson was healthy.
"It was obvious by her clothing. Her dress was very good quality and expensive but it was still not something a respectable woman would wear."
"Did anyone recognize her?"
"No, and there was nothing in her belongings to indicate where she had come from or where she might be going. Now enough about that, has Doc Baker said when you can go home?"
"Yes, actually he did. Steven is going to take us home tomorrow in his buggy. I saw him earlier this morning, he was taking the cradle I ordered to the ranch for the men to assemble."
"You know Faith, maybe you should really give Steven a chance. He has been so patient and has done his best to court you since Cade left." Hope had done her best to keep her mouth shut but now with Cayson here, the boy was going to need a father.
"No!" Faith snapped. "Oh Hope, I'm so sorry!" Tears sprang to her eyes yet again. "I didn't mean to snap at you, I know you are just trying to help."
"Faith, it's all right, really. I shouldn't have said anything. If the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn't be able to forget about Levi. Besides, your emotions are going to be all over the spectrum for several months"
"Well to answer your question, Steven knows how I feel, he has from the very beginning. I have never given him any false hope, in fact I have encouraged him to court other women." She couldn't tell her sister in law how she really felt. Faith had never thought she would fall in love, get married or have children and somehow she'd done all three. The only problem was the man she fell in love with didn't love her and didn't know he had a son. That was okay though, she was more than capable of raising her son alone. She would much rather have Cade by her side, but it wasn't a necessity.
A soft knock interrupted the women then Levi opened the door and stuck his head around it. "Is it okay if I come in and see my new nephew?"
"Of course, come on in." Faith said to her brother.
Levi walked over to where his wife was sitting and knelt down beside her. "He is a handsome thing." He said as he looked down at the sleeping baby then up at his wife. "No."
Faith's brows drew together in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"My wife wants to have another baby, I can see it in her eyes."
A sheepish grin appeared on Hope's face. "He knows me too well. Reed will be a year old next week and I'm already starting to get baby fever. Levi says that we have enough children but I would love several more."
"Well, I think you should have as many as you want."
"Ladies, I hate to break up the party, but sweetheart, we need to be going."
"Oh, you're right. I've been away from the children for almost a full day." Hope placed a kiss on Cayson's downy soft head then gently laid him in Faith's arms.
"Are you all right?" Steven Gilford asked as the buggy bounced along the dusty road on the way to the Second Chance.
Faith smiled down at her sleeping son. "Yes we're fine. It's amazing actually, it seems all of this jostling around has not bothered Cayson at all. In fact it may be helping him to sleep." They rode in silence for another minute or so. "Steven, I just want to thank you for everything you've done. I don't know what I would have done without your friendship."
"Faith, you know that I still want to marry you and raise Cayson as my own." He knew what the answer would be, but he had to try one more time.
She sighed heavily then looked over at his handsome face. "No, Steven. I care a great deal for you but not in that way. You need someone who loves you as a wife, not as a friend."
"Well, I had to ask one more time." He smiled at her then continued on to the ranch.
Faith was sitting in her favorite rocker on her front porch looking off in the distance but not seeing anything. Cayson was three weeks old today. She loved being a mother and could not imagine her life without him. Her thoughts were interrupted when John walked up to the porch. "Do you mind if I join you?"
"Of course not." Faith's brows drew together, there was something wrong. John was always smiling and laughing.
"I – I just wanted to let you know that I'll be leaving in the morning."
Shocked, Faith looked over at him. "I don't know what to say. I had hoped that you would change your mind."
"No, I haven't changed my mind. I'll be traveling a lot but I'll write and come by when I can."
"I want you to know that this will always be your home and you will always be welcome here, no matter what. You also have to promise me that you'll be careful." Her voice cracked with emotion. "I'm going to miss you so much." Faith sniffed as tears clouded her vision.
YOU ARE READING
Keeping Faith (Book 3 in the Red Valley Series)Historical Fiction
This is book 3 in the Red Valley Series but like the other ones, it can be read by itself. Faith Matthews is a headstrong, independent woman determined to make it on her on in a mans world. She left Charleston to escape the constraints of society...