Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Reunion Christmas Serial: Chapter Seven by Jolene Navarro


Hello, readers. We’re happy to share our gifts to you, a short Christmas story that will run from December 12 through December 21. Please join us and comment each day to win what we call a BOOK BLAST! We will pick two names an if you will, you’ll get books mailed to you from our authors. Several books!!! So comeback often and enjoy our gift to you.

And now…
Chapter Seven
Jolene Navarro


     Straightening her spine, Grace wiped the back of her hand across her face.  She was not going to cry. It was Christmas. Everyone loved Christmas.
     She hated it.
     If it wasn’t for her grandfather, she’d be in her little apartment ignoring all the memories of the past. Her parents, her little brother…and Christmas with Jericho.
     He had given her the one Christmas filled hope and joy after the accident. He was the only one she ever told …No. Don’t go there. He left. 
     She walked to the window. The peace of the mountains alluded her. She was tired of being strong.
    
     “Grace.” The deep voice vibrated through her blood and rattled her heart. He was back.
     She closed her eyes. She couldn’t look at him right now. The darkness started creeping into her vision. Not now. Counting, she took deep breaths. Held for five. And pushed the air out until her lungs burned. She couldn't have an attack now. It had been so long since the last one.
     “Grace.” He was closer. His breath caressed her ear.
     If she leaned back or half turned, she would be against him, in his arms. There would be no saving her. And when he left this time, she wouldn’t recover. “No, Jericho. Go.”
     “That’s what I did last time. You told me to go and I did.” His hands circled her waist. With tenderness that contrasted the roughness of his voice, he pulled her to him. 
     “When you  left you didn't say a word. You never wrote or called." Now she sounded like a child.
     "You told me if I went to not bother contacting you. I didn't. I respected your wishes."
     "Then respect them now.” A very thin string held her together and if she gave in all the years of being strong wasted.
     “No. I think that was a mistake. I should have stayed and fought for you. Even if it was you I was fighting.” His pressed his cheek against the side of her head. “There has not been a day I haven’t replayed that moment in my head. When your grandfather told me you never married or even dated, well, I thought this Christmas could be a redo. A second chance to get it right.”
     One step and she would be out of his arms. Apparently her feet and heart were not in agreement so she stayed a prisoner of her own weakness. The silence pounded in her ears.
    "I have a better understanding of your condition. I haven't said anything to your grandfather, but with my training I can help you. It's not your fault."
    “I don't know what your talking about. All I know is there are no second chances. You don’t think I haven’t replayed the night my family was killed over and over. If I had done one little thing different in just a few seconds. If I hadn’t…” She choked back the words. She fisted the image in her head and tossed it as far as possible. She couldn't deal with that guilt right now.  “There are no second chances.”
     A deep breath, she broke the chains that kept her in his arms and stepped away. A cold draft swirled around her. His warmth gone. She pulled some old homemade ornaments out of the box and put them on the tree without looking and thinking. Instead she kept glanced at him.
     He widened the chasm between them. He was going to leave just like last time.
     Looking down, his strong shoulders lifted and fell with each breath he took. He looked up at her and grinned. The smile that melted her back in the early days caused her heart to skip one beat. He would have broken it if she had any left. The soft felt decoration slipped from her hand landing with a soft thud at her feet.
     "Hi.” He held out his hand. “I’m Jericho.”
     Picking up the red hearts her mother had stitched button on, she focused on the tree. When she turned back to him he still stood there with his hand hanging in the air.
     She narrowed her eyes. “What are you doing?”

     “If you don’t believe in second chances then I want to start over. Here and now, with nothing in the past to get in the way. My name is Jericho. I’m your grandfather’s medical assistant. He talks about you a great deal. It’s a pleasure to finally met you.”

13 comments:

Heidi Kortman said...

Sounds like they both have some level of PTSD

ablst nlki I said...

Sounds like they will have to forgive whatever happened to get back together.

Jolene Navarro said...

Only two more chapters! This is fun. Thanks for stopping by.

Debby Giusti said...

Lots of emotion!!! And I'm feeling Grace's pain. If only she'll give Jericho another chance!

Fingers crossed! :)

J Dennis said...

This just keeps getting better and better!!

Kirsten Rinehart said...

It sounds like Jericho and Grace need to have a heart to heart talk before they can move on.

barb phinney said...

So much emotion! I am glad Jericho is standing his ground.

Brucette said...

Jericho deserves that second chance!
Hf

Carol said...

Aw, so sweet!! Mystery and romance. My favorites!

Scraproni: Adventures of Single Woman said...

go jericho boy can he think on his feet, hopefully grace can allow a redo

Lenora said...

Great job, Jolene. Powerful!!!

Trixi said...

Delicious anticipation.....

Cate Nolan said...

I adore Jericho. And if I was Grace, I'd have a hard time resisting that new start.