Chapter 8

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Gary turns the radio up and applies a little more pressure to the gas pedal. The world blows by outside the cab of his pickup, but he doesn't notice it. He doesn't think about anything. His mind won't stop thinking about all the what ifs. Close friends, not even best friends, describes the relationship he and Peter have. No, brothers comes much closer to describing it.

When Gary went to college he met Peter. They hit it off almost instantly and Gary often had hot meals and game nights with Peter and his family. His mother became like Gary's own as did the Marshall Family Ranch. For some time Gary new it like the back of his hand, but now everything clouds together into memories of Peter's jokes and crazy stunts.

That is until his mind plays over the way he left Fort Stockton, Texas. The way he brushed Brooke off stabs his heart and causes him to sigh heavily. He tries telling himself that he will call her later, but it continues to eat him up. Finally he quits fighting the urge and pulls over on the side of the road. Dialing Brooke's number he takes a deep breath and drums his fingers on the steering wheel.

After six grueling rings a timid yet surprised "Hello," comes from the other end of the phone line.

He jumps as though someone has jabbed him with a hot shot. "Hey, Brooke, I'm sorry I left in such a rush. I'm sorry."

Her voice perks up a little as she speaks, "Gary, it's okay. I know you were shaken up. How's your friend?"

Sighing a bit at the lack of information he has he finds himself rubbing his free hand over his face gruffly. "Ah, I wish I could give you an answer, but I'm not there yet. I wanted to call you and tell you I am thinking about you all the time and I wondered if you would wait for me until I come back." His voice cracks at the word 'wait'. A long brutal pause meets his ears once the words are out of his mouth.

Finally her sweet voice comes through the line, but it is so soft that he can barely hear it. "You have no idea how upset and confused I was when you left without saying as much as you the fact that you may or may not have enjoyed the time that we have talked. For you to say this is like someone swept me up onto cloud nine. Yes, I will wait for you. But. Gary Maxwell, you need to get off the phone with me and get back on the road!"

The breath he didn't know he was holding in releases through his slightly parted lips. "Thank you Miss Brooke and I think I can follow those instructions."

"Great! Now drop the Miss and the phone and put the lead on the pedal!"

He grins widely. "Yes ma'am! Hey, I'll call you once I know something."

"Good. I'll talk to you later."

"Okay, bye Brooke."

Even though the news she gave him was great his heart is still unsettled. He has an aching for something- someone. Instead of putting the pickup in gear he puts a Bethel Music CD in and lets the calming, soothing words sink in.

Tears begin to pour down his cheeks and he begins to mutter his feeling and thoughts to the Lord, "Father, I don't know why you have taken Peter from us in such a way. Or a way at all, but You always have a beautiful plan in mind." His hands cover his face as he begins to cry out, "Help me! I can't do it without You. I need You to be my strenght. Father, fight this bitterness and anger inside me. I have so many questions I want to ask You, so many things I need direction on, but for now just help me to feel you."
***

Brooke can't help the grin on her face as she steps out of her room after getting off the phone. She drums her fingers on the counter as she strolls to the fridge for a glass of sweet tea. Holding up her finger to Jaelyn, who sits at the bar, she says, "Before you ask, no I am not from the south."

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