He snapped and got into real dark moods a lot, but at least he stayed. She had been irresistibly drawn to him from the beginning. He looked like a stray dog, one that needed food, shelter and a good cuddle. Lacy offered the first two but dared not hint on the third.
Just as Aunt Ann had warned, he insisted on paying for the room, and food. Lacy obliged him. She stayed in a block of apartments and didn’t have much use for help, but he offered to work in the yard, take out the trash, do her small laundry, cook, clean, and give her a vacation in her own space till he was strong enough to hit the road.
Thomas Garet continued to stay in Ravena’s condo down the road. Her friend had more than three months left of her exchange program to Tanzania in East Africa and allowed Lacy the use of it.
They settled into a routine, and he visited her every other day to cook and clean. The arrangement was ludicrous because she did not need his services.
“We have a guest minister coming over to my church, Thomas, I thought you might want to come with me?”
“Haven’t been in church since Molly’s burial.” He picked the trash and walked out.
Lacy swallowed. He’d given her all manner of short, sharp answers about his life before they met since she asked who Molly was. It was obvious he didn’t want to talk about his wife or the tragic circumstances around her demise, yet he did. She let him have his way.
But how would she reach out to him? If she let him be every time he walked off on an attempt.
She followed him out. “Pastor Paul is a renowned international minister. He has the word.”
Thomas smirked. “He sure does now.” He brushed past her back into her space.
She followed him. “It’s rude to walk off when I’m trying to have a conversation with you.” She bit her lip.
“Then don’t have a conversation with me!” He glared, his blue eyes dead cold.
Her voice shook. “Thomas, please—”
He stepped back as if she threw him a punch. “Don’t try to win me!”
She clasped her hands. “Of course not. I—”
“I don’t want to go to your church. And I don’t want to be nice. To you or anyone.”
His words came out jerky, and for a moment, Lacy realized she had struck something in him. He never spoke this much. He stared her down for a second then turned to wash his hands.
Lacy touched his firm shoulder blade and squeezed before he stiffened. “Allow God to heal you, Thomas.”
He turned to her, his angry blue eyes blazing. “I—”
“He did nothing for me. I loved him with all my heart. Still he took everything from me.”
His sobs shocked her but she had prayed for him every single night since the day Charles Taylor shot him on the street. She needed to seize this moment.
Deep, throaty cries shook his body and she held his 200 pounds of toned muscles until they subsided.
She cupped his face and smoothed back his wild, blond hair. He might get a cut if she could convince him. “God loves you, Thomas, and he welcomes you. Home.”
He looked sideways for a moment and closed his eyes. She could almost taste his struggle. Thank God, she thought.
Her heart sang a song of healing and redemption. She prayed for courage to see him through. She whispered words of comfort and assurance, and he nodded intermittently. One day, she prayed he would return her gesture, and love her back the way she loved him from first sight.
For now, she was content to lead Thomas Garet on his way to finding love again.
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