I huffed. “How I left him?”
“Yes. That night we had one too many drinks, and…” Her words faded.
“You betrayed me. You never called to ask me if what Finn was saying was true.”
“I’d never known him to lie,” she told me.
“But you were my person, not his. You were my best friend.”
“Please just leave me alone,” I begged. That was all I wanted, really. To be left alone.
Josie walked into the space, and she glanced my way. I gave her a stare, begging her to save me.
She looked at Autumn with such distaste. “I’m sorry, Autumn. This is a quiet section. If you are going to speak, you must go in the lobby.”
“But she won’t follow me there,” she whined. “And we have to talk.”
“We aren’t going to talk,” I barked her way. “There is nothing you can say to me that will make me want to—”
“I’m pregnant,” she blurted out, her words somersaulting from her tongue and slapping against my skin.
For a moment, I blacked out. I felt acid rising from my stomach and burning against my tongue as I stayed frozen in an unbelievable state of shock.
She shifted around in her heels. “When Finn saw you when you closed on your house, he was supposed to tell you, but he told me he couldn’t. Not after all the miscarriages that you two have dealt with,” she told me.
Unlike Mama and Finn, Autumn had no struggles saying the word miscarriage.
I wished she had, though, because hearing it from her made me want to be sick.
“You’re pregnant?” I choked out, my body shaking uncontrollably.
She nodded slowly. “I…this…” She took a deep inhale and sniffled as tears kept falling from her eyes. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, Grace. I swear, none of this was ever supposed to happen. I didn’t expect to fall for him, and this…”
I zoned out on her. I zoned out on all the sounds surrounding me. I watched as Autumn kept speaking, but Josie took her by the arm and pulled her out of the room.
My eyes began to blur as I became dizzier by the second.
I would vomit.
No, I would pass out.
I was going to die.
She did it.
She did the one thing I was never able to do. She would give my husband a child, and I was certain that child would have his eyes.
Those crystal blue eyes…
For a long time, I thought perhaps it was both of us who were the issue—both Finley and me. Yet it turned out, he wasn’t at fault at all. He was able to bear children.
It was me, and only me, who was tragically flawed.
I heard my name but didn’t flinch. I was frozen. Unable to move, unable to breathe. Unable to do anything but stand still.
“Hey! Snap out of it!” Jackson shouted my way. He placed his hands on my shoulders and shook my body back and forth, making my blurred vision clear somewhat. I looked into his eyes and blinked a few times.
Then came the tears, each one taking its precious time to roll down my cheek.
“She’s pregnant,” I softly spoke, staring into his eyes that weren’t as hard and cold as they usually appeared. “My best friend’s pregnant with my husband’s child.”
“Yeah.” He frowned but not his normal frown. This was built around his pity for me. “I heard.”
“I-I-I…” My eyes faded over, and I only saw black. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do or how to react. All I knew was that this was not a panic attack.
I knew panic attacks.
I knew anxiety, and how it had swallowed me in the past, but this was a new feeling.
This felt like the first moments before the final descent into nothingness.
I’d never forget the moment as I stood there in The Silent Bookshop. It was one of the big moments. One of the ones that truly defined who I’d be from that point on. It was the moment that changed me from the person I’d always been.
It was the exact moment when I lost my last mustard seed of faith. It was the exact moment when I no longer believed in God.
“Come with me,” Jackson whispered.
“But…” I started.
“Princess,” he said, his voice smoky as it always had been. He took my hands into his and lightly squeezed them both. “Come with me.”
And with his guidance, I followed him.
We walked the streets of Chester with my hand in his, and it still felt as if time was frozen. We reached his property, and he took me to the area in the back of the shop where the broken-down car sat.
He stood me in front of the car and then grabbed a pair of safety goggles and placed them over my eyes. Then he grabbed the sledgehammer and handed it my way.
“Okay, he said, nodding toward the vehicle. “Go wild.”