The church space sang to Juliet in a holy silence that wrapped around her like a welcome embrace. She knelt to pray, heedless of the fact that there were no kneelers in the pews of Trinity Christian. The hard tile floor felt good beneath her knees, and somehow grounding.
“God, what did I do wrong? We didn’t argue, we didn’t fight, we moved forward together in our marriage. Why did he leave it behind? How was that even possible for him? How did I fail him? And You?”
She sobbed openly, speaking the words aloud, heedless of being overheard. The space was empty anyhow. She laid her head on her folded hands trying desperately to bring herself to a new understanding of her life.
My promises are unchanging truth, and life. Your faith will save you. Go forward in peace, and be cured of your affliction.
The words, the glimpse of sacred Scripture, resounded through the entirety of her being. The decree swept through her with such power she went straight, tears drying on her cheeks as she blinked, and assimilated. Had she not already been on her knees, the summons would have knocked her there like the weakened heap of humanity she had become. She pondered. Go forward? In peace? How was she supposed to accomplish that? In prompt, near supernatural response, she received the answer.
Know that I am God, Juliet. Know that I am God.
She bowed her head, drained and empty, submitting herself as best she could. Just then, the sound of footsteps echoed down the main aisle.
The call jarred her. She whipped her head around and gasped at what she saw. Kellen.
Did she simply think his name, or had she spoken it aloud? Stunned and overwrought, Juliet scrambled to her feet. In an untidy spin, she faced her husband. Just as quickly, she went weak, sinking onto the pew just a second or two after standing. She didn’t need a mirror to tell her that her makeup was smeared and her hair was a mess. She knew by the heat in her cheeks that her face was flushed; her eyes were probably red from crying. Kellen’s alarmed expression confirmed every one of her suspicions.
"Juliet, are you OK? Please talk to me. This is driving me crazy. What’s happened to you, love?”
Love. The use of that endearment caused her stomach to churn. Anger rose and obliterated everything else. “Don’t.” Kellen’s confusion intensified. “I mean it, Kellen. Do not call me that again. Not ever again!” She bit off the words; their bitter taste filled her mouth.
He reared back. Although he hesitated for a moment, he eased into the pew next to her. A mask of sorts, protective and inscrutable, now shaded his eyes. He didn’t speak. He waited on her, keeping to his corner of the pew. Juliet simmered and seethed. Just as quickly, though, the anger fled, washed away by a wave of sadness that stretched clear through to every cell in her body.
"This moment is killing me, Kellen, on so many levels. I’ve dreamed about it since the day we married, imagining it to be bursting with joy and anticipation. Instead, it’s breaking my heart."
“What moment? What happened?” Generally fearless and confident, Kellen regarded her now in open trepidation. “I have no idea what to do to hel—”
"I’ll never have another chance to say this to you for the first time,” Juliet interjected, “or share this moment with you the way I had always envisioned. I’m pregnant, Kellen. I’m pregnant.”
A mix of emotions swept across his face. Disbelief came first, erased quickly by joy, then the most crushing visual of all: his love, intimate and rich. It had once made her feel so precious. Despite her vocal firestorm, his reaction was everything she had prayed for. This moment should have made her heart soar. Instead, she was shattered.
“You seem shocked.” The words came out sounding waspish. Juliet hated that fact, but couldn’t escape the rage and heartbreak. The venom inside her needed release.
“I’m very happily shocked.” His response came fast, but sincere. “We’ve wanted this for so long, I’m thrilled—no wonder you’ve been feeling—”
"I’m sure you’ll remember the night it happened.” Juliet cut him off once more. “It was spontaneous and heated and wonderful. Remember? There were no thoughts of anything else but each other. Or so I had believed. But if you do the math, you’ll realize we conceived the night you met Chloe Havermill.”
Kellen went pale.
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