A thick misty fog covered the ground limiting visibility to about one hundred feet. Every so often a gentle breeze would blow causing the heavy fog to swirl around into ghostly forms before they disappeared. The sun was just climbing over the horizon, giving off a milky light. Cade sat on his horse deep in thought as he waited for John. He'd slept very little the night before, unable to stop thinking about his son and his wife.
John told him last night that Faith hadn't found out about the baby until after he'd been gone for about a month and she hadn't filed for an annulment in that month's time. Did that mean she really did love him? For the millionth time he thought back to the day he'd seen Faith and Stephen in Red Valley together. It was obvious to any fool watching that Stephen was in love with her and that made him feel like he'd been kicked in the gut. But in looking back with an open mind, he didn't remember Faith doing anything like a woman in love should do. Her actions toward Stephen had been friendly, nothing more.
Then Belle managed to get to Faith before he could stop her. When he'd seen his wife being pushed off of the boardwalk, it felt like the world was closing in on him. He hadn't been able to breathe or move, nothing but watch. When he'd finally been able to move, he had gone to Doc Baker's office and stayed right by the window listening to every muffled groan of pain that had wracked Faith's body during her labor. He should have been there at her side, he should have been there to see his son take his first breath of life. Thank God he had heard everything from the window, at least he had that.
Cade's mind stopped abruptly. Before he left he had told Faith that he loved her and she had opened her eyes and whispered that she loved him. At the time he had been sure she was dreaming and talking about Stephen. Had she really been talking to him? God, he wanted to believe that. But how could Faith love someone like him, especially since he left her? Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe he should just leave well enough alone. What if she hated him and wanted him to leave? Would he be able to ride out of her life for a third time? He hated these feelings of self-doubt!
"If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were fixing to hightail it out of here." John said as he led his horse out of the stable, stopping beside Cade.
"What if you're wrong? What if she doesn't want me there?"
"Well, the way I see it, you have two choices. You can go back to what you were doing when I found you or you can go fight for the woman you love and your son. I can't say Faith will come running to you with open arms. In fact, she's gonna be madder than a wet hen because I tracked you down and brought you back. Yep, you're definitely going to have your work cut out for you." John set his well-worn dusty boot in the stirrup and threw his leg over his horse in one fluid motion, then nudged the horse with his knees and took off at a gallop. Not once did he look back to see if Cade was behind him. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, he thought to himself. He'd done what he set out to do.
Cade sat there on his horse and watched his friend ride off. The heavy fog seemed to part letting him pass then swirled around behind him, like ghostly fingers covering his path completely. Seconds ticked by and still he sat there, not knowing what to do. He blinked and in that split second he heard his son cry and Faith's whispered words of love the last time he'd seen her. She might have changed her mind about him in the months he'd been gone and if that was the way it had to be, fine. He would find a way to deal with it but he was going to be the father he himself had never had.
He kicked his horse's sides, causing him to sidestep at the rough treatment, then took off in the same direction John had gone. "I'm sorry boy, but we have somewhere to go and someone very special is waiting for us when we get there. Hopefully this will be our last trip together and we'll be able to finally put down some roots." Cade said patting his horse's silky neck with affection. It didn't take long for him to catch up with John, who had slowed down to a trot.
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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...