When Forever Fades
One almost indiscretion didn’t count, right? Yet it could end up costing Grayson Turner everything.
When Belva Turner catches her husband about to kiss another woman, her whole world comes crashing down. Well, what’s left of it anyway. Truthfully, trouble has been brewing in their marriage since the birth of the twins. But this… this would be the end of it. The end of their arguing. The end of trying but failing to make it work. The end of their marriage.
Sure, he’d messed up big time, but the last thing Grayson expected was to come home to an empty house. His one mistake costs him everything he’s spent his entire adult life building. With nothing left to lose, Gray grasps the chance to make things right with God and rebuild better this time.
Belva may be ready to throw in the towel, but Gray will do whatever it takes to get his family back and fix their broken marriage—even if it means facing the painful roots that shaped who he is today. But how is he supposed to find redemption when his wife has given up and walked away without a backward glance?
Gray leaned his head back against the cabinet behind him and looked up at the ceiling. “What do you do when the thing God asks you to do is the exact opposite of everything you’ve ever wanted?”
Not even a moment passed before Wade answered. “I think you’d be wise to let God have His way. Chances are you’ll be a lot happier with what He has in mind than you ever could with anything you picked for yourself.”
Gray wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer to his chest. The crisp, minty scent of his cologne mixed with the warm, hickory smoke from his time tending the smokers unnerved her. It was like he’d finally embraced the country life she’d been craving, yet kept the sophistication of the man she’d created a life with over the past seven years.
Belva laid her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes. What would their life together look like in the future? Could they find a new rhythm, keeping the good parts of before and adding to it until they had a marriage better than ever? Or had too much damage already been done? The unknown scared her more than anything.
“I remember thinking we’d probably end up spending the rest of our lives together the first time you spoke to me.” A laugh rumbled through his chest. “Any girl who could go on the way you did over a beat-up old cello was meant to be mine.”
I was yours and you let someone else come between us.
She lifted her head from his chest and focused on the couples around them, trying to keep her thoughts from crossing her face. He had planned out this romantic moment, with the help of her brother, but no matter how hard she tried, her mood wasn’t matching his.
“I’ve missed this. Missed holding you in my arms.” He kissed her cheek and she looked up at him. He leaned closer, his lips hovering over hers. “Missed kissing your lips.”
Do you miss those things about her too?
She didn’t realize she’d said it out loud until they were standing a foot apart from each other, his face drained of color with his mouth agape.
“I’m sorry, Gray. I didn’t mean—”
He began weaving his way through the crowd to the door. Before she could even process her thoughts, she found herself following him. The cooler air from outside hit her face, making her aware of the tears now streaming down her face. What in the world was wrong with her? She’d been anticipating a pleasant evening, but it had been messed up from the moment Chase shared his doubts.
She finally caught up to him at the corner of the house. “Gray, please wait. Let’s talk.”
Just enough light spilled from the barn for her to make out his features. Rubbing his hand over his mouth, he paced away from her and then came back. “I’ve apologized profusely for what I did. I’ve tried everything in my power to make things right.”
His voice broke and he stopped speaking for a minute. She could tell he was trying to regain his composure, but she could offer no comfort.
“You said you wanted to work things out. All day, it seemed like we were on the right track, but I guess I read you wrong.”
“You didn’t. Everything was good and then I talked to Chase and then Hank came along.”
“The guy I was dancing with before. The one that was all over me and you didn’t even care.”
“Didn’t care?” He huffed. “I wanted to rearrange that guy’s face, but since we’re separated, I felt like I didn’t have the right. So I sucked it up and asked you to dance instead. But you have no idea what that did to me. Or maybe you do.” He threw his hands up in the air. “I don’t know. You were probably giddy with the thought that I’d finally have an inkling of what you’ve felt. Probably thought I deserved to feel jealousy.”
Shame washed over her. That’s exactly what she’d thought. Allowing Chase’s insecurities to bring out her own, expecting jealousy from Gray just because a guy flirted with her—it was all so unbelievably childish.
“How long are you going to keep throwing her up in my face?”
She’d like to say she was done, but she couldn’t. “I don’t know, Gray. I told you I needed time. Time for God to help me work through this.”
She stepped closer to him, wishing he could see her sincerity. “I wish like everything that I could erase the image of the two of you from my mind, but it’s still there, right on the edge with the ability to pop up without notice and debilitate me. I’m plagued with the question of what she has that I don’t?”
“Nothing.” Gray peered into her eyes, closing the space between them. “Not one blasted thing. When I strayed from God, when I allowed our problems to seem insurmountable, it became easy to justify my actions. That it was all harmless, until it wasn’t. It was never a matter of choosing her over you. It was all about me trying to escape our problems.”