© Copyright 2006
by Jan G. Madden
Cassie loved east Tennessee. Lisa came to visit her about once a month, and after about six months, she accepted a position in Asheville, North Carolina, which was just a little over an hour away. Things were going great for both of them.
Cassie really enjoyed her job. Dr. Jenkins was an excellent dentist, not to mention a wonderful employer. They worked well together, laughed together and often shared lunch together. Some Sundays, she joined Dr. Jenkins and Olivia for dinner after church. Olivia was such wonderful child. She treasured being with her; she was so close to the same age as her own baby would be. They bonded immediately, and everyone was amazed at the uncanny similarities between them – their hair and eyes especially.
Cassie found herself staring at Olivia wondering if she could possibly be her daughter. But she would dismiss the thought as impossible. It was impossible, right?
Cassie became fast friends with the office staff, and the church Dr. Jenkins attended welcomed and accepted her as part of the family. Cassie was growing in the Lord, enjoying Bible study and fellowship more than she ever had in her life.
One Saturday morning in early October, Cassie sat on the front porch swing with a fresh cup of hot Earl Gray tea. It had been over a year since she first looked at this little country house, and Belinda was right, the fall colors were breathtaking. The crisp breeze, the bright sun making its way higher in the sky, and the sounds of the leaves rustling made Cassie feel grateful… happy. Her heart called out to God.
Father God, thank You for your leading. Thank You for bringing me to this place, and for providing all I need and more. Help me glorify You with my life, Father. Lead me, I pray. In Jesus’ name.
Cassie and Lisa met later that day in Pigeon Forge for a day of shopping at Beltz Outlet Mall. They enjoyed lunch at their new favorite “splurge” restaurant, The Pork Chop. Lisa filled Cassie in on her new boyfriend and could hardly wait for Cassie to meet him. Cassie filled Lisa in on the cute things Olivia did – like making Cassie a necklace of painted elbow noodles and getting bubble gum stuck in her hair. Then she shared the thoughts she had been having.
“Do you think it’s possible that Olivia is my daughter, Lisa?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Cassie. I mean what are the chances of that happening?” Lisa chuckled a bit.
“Well, I know, but her eyes and hair, and the other day, she walked across the room, and just something about the way she looked up at me reminded me of Blake. It’s just so weird.” Cassie drifted off in thought, then snapped back. “Oh, I know it’s ridiculous. Let’s talk about something else.”
“Okay, have you noticed those new cloth purses everyone’s carrying…”
The two friends had a lovely day. They laughed at the ridiculous hats they tried on; they chose fall outfits for each another, even silly outfits that made them laugh until they cried. They hated to see the day end. They decided to see a late movie together, Pride and Prejudice. They both cried and laughed and sat in the theater until all the credits rolled through.
It was after midnight, and they knew they had to get home. Cassie had Sunday School to teach in the morning, and Lisa had dinner guests coming after her church service. So, they hugged and promised to call soon.
The road back to Cassie’s home was curvy; the lights from the semi blinded her. She swerved to the right.
When Cassie awoke, the light overhead blinded her.
“She’s waking up.”
The voice seemed miles away.
“Cassie? Can you hear me?”
The voice sounded familiar, but whose was it?
“Cassie, you’ve been in an accident. You’ve got a couple broken ribs and you’re pretty scratched up, but you’re going to be okay. Can you hear me?”
Her eyes began to focus, and she made out the dark hair, and those gorgeous sky blue eyes, Dr. Jenkins, of course.
She tried to speak, but as she took a breath, pain throbbed throughout her upper torso. All that escaped her lips was a moan.
“She’s awake,” Dr. Jenkins said to the others in the room. “Cassie, you hit the side of the mountain. The semi driver stopped to help, and saw your office name badge hanging from your rearview mirror.” Cassie usually hung her badge on the mirror so she wouldn’t forget it. “He called me since it had the practice name on it. Cassie, he probably saved your life. Oh, Cassie, Thank God you’re all right.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead.
Did he just kiss me? He just kissed me! I wish he’d do that again… a little lower, Doctor, to my lips.
The days that followed were indeed painful, but Dr. Jenkins visited every day, as did friends from the office and church. Dr. Jenkins called Lisa, and she came by, too.
When Cassie was able to go home, Dr. Jenkins readily offered to drive her there. Olivia was in the back in her booster seat. “Miss Cassie, I’m sorry you got hurt. I can kiss your boo-boo and make it all better, okay?”
“That would be wonderful, Olivia, and I know that would make me feel a lot better.” Cassie and Dr. Jenkins shared a grin.
They walked in the front door of Cassie’s little white house, and Olivia immediately ran through the house and out the back door to pick Cassie some flowers. That left Thomas and Cassie alone. Thomas paced back and forth, and Cassie felt her heart flutter. She had to say something. “Uhm.... Dr. Jenkins, would you like something to drink? I have bottled water, or I could make us some hot tea?”
“Oh, no, Cassie, you need to sit down and take it easy; I’ll make us some tea.”
Cassie walked into the small eat-in kitchen and sat at the table next to the window. Cassie watched him fumble around in the cabinets and when she giggled, it hurt. “How about some OJ, that’s much easier.”
“Yeah, okay. Now where did I see the glasses… oh, here they are.” Dr. Jenkins poured the juice and sat across from Cassie at the small kitchen table. He cleared his throat and said, “Uhm … well, Cassie, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Okay.” Her heart fluttered again.
He knows Olivia’s my daughter, too!
Suddenly, the fear of hearing the truth overcame her … the fear of his knowing the truth overwhelmed her. Would he fire her? Send her away? Love her? How she hoped for that one. She gasped causing pain. When had she started having feelings for this man?
Dr. Jenkins plainly hadn’t noticed her discomfort, for he continued to speak. “Uhm… Cassie, when I received that call in the middle of the night, you know, telling me you had been involved in an accident?” He looked at Cassie, then stood again and began pacing the floor of the small kitchen. “Well, I realized something…”
“Here ya go, Miss Cassie, some pretty flowers to make you happy! Have you got a thing to put ‘em in?” Olivia said as she ran through the kitchen door.
Cassie jumped with a start, then groaned from the pain that it caused. She looked up at Thomas. He was looking at Olivia; his brows lowered and his lips tight. He leaned over the sink and peered out the window.
Cassie got up slowly, her heart pounding and she was dying to hear the rest of what this amazing man had to say to her. Nevertheless, she looked at Olivia, her heart warmed at the sweet gesture, and said, “Well, let’s see what we can find.” She found a glass vase; Thomas got it down from the top of the cabinet, and then filled it with water. Cassie and Olivia put in the ‘flowers,’ which were mostly just weeds with a few Golden Rods and Queen Anne’s Lace mixed throughout. “Now, then, let’s put them right here on the table, okay?” The vase of wildflowers and weeds actually looked delightful on the red checked tablecloth.
“Okay. That looks beautiful, Miss Cassie. May I go play outside, Daddy?”
“Oh, certainly, pumpkin, just be very careful.” He leaned down and kissed Olivia on the top of the head, then patted her bottom as he said, “Stay where we can see you.”
“Okay,” Olivia sang as she ran out the door. Cassie watched her run to the old wooden swing that hung from the maple tree. She wondered how many children had swung on it over the years. As Olivia’s dark red curls bounced as she swung, Cassie was sure. God had led her to her daughter. The joy was almost more than she could bear.
“So, Cassie, before we get interrupted again, I really need to tell you this.” Thomas sat down this time and patted the table in front of where she had been sitting moments ago. She sat again, and he moved the ‘flowers’ to the side.
“Yes,” Cassie said, her voice trembling.
“Cassie, when I got that call, I realized how lost I would be without you. I don’t know how it happened or when, but I’ve fallen in love with you. I never thought I could or would love again after Maggie, but somehow it has happened. You are wonderful with Olivia. You even look like Olivia. If I didn’t know better, I would think you were her…” He gasped. His eyes widened. He bolted up from the table. He looked out at Olivia who was singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of her lungs as she swung lying on her belly. He looked back at Cassie. His hand covered his mouth and his eyes revealed his utter shock.
She was speechless. She remembered Olivia’s birthday party and sending up a balloon for her own baby wondering if it could possibly be… then brushed the thoughts from her mind yet again as being too impossible. Now she watched as the truth soaked in Dr. Jenkins’ soul.
Finally, Cassie felt she had to speak. “It’s true, Dr. Jenkins, but I didn’t know until just recently. Then I could only hope. I really couldn’t believe it was true, but now, I know it is. You see, I found out I was expecting only weeks after my husband committed suicide….” Cassie shared the entire story.
They shared the stories about the adoption, and there was no more doubt. Tears. Laughter. Rejoicing.
Cassie stood too quickly forgetting the broken ribs, “OUCH!”
Thomas went to her, and placed his arms gently around her. The touch caused a tingling sensation throughout her entire body. Her eyes filled with tears again as she looked out at Olivia still lying on her belly in the wooden swing singing. She brought her hands to her mouth. Dr. Logan’s words rang in her mind, Trust in the Lord, Cassie, with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, my dear. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.
“Cassie.” Thomas gently turned her toward him. “I can’t believe this is just some crazy coincidence. God brought you here. He led you here.”
“Oh, Dr. Jenkins.” Cassie allowed herself to gently fall against his strong chest ignoring the pain in her ribs and loving the feel of his strong arms around her.
“Cassie, I think it’s time you call me Thomas,” he said with a chuckle as he rubbed his hands in small circles on her back.
“Thomas, this is remarkable. I don’t know how or when either, but somewhere between helping with that root canal and holding down that wild little boy who was scared to death of a filling, I fell in love with you, too.” She looked up into his sky blue eyes, and her heart pounded in her chest. “Yes, God is in this entire situation. Olivia is my baby. He led me to her … and to you.”
Thomas leaned down and hesitated only briefly before his lips met Cassie’s.
Cassie wasn’t sure if there was a thunderstorm brewing or if it was just lightning bolts running through her body, but she had never felt more complete.
“AAAhhhh! I caught you!” Olivia giggled as she slipped in the kitchen door. “Daddy, is Miss Cassie going to be my new mommy?”
Cassie ran her fingers over Olivia’s curly hair. Her baby.
God, You are amazing, Cassie breathed silently in prayer. Thank you.
“If I have anything to say about it she is,” Thomas said with a big smile. “Let’s ask her, whaddya say, Pumpkin.”
Thomas dropped to one knee; he kept one arm around Olivia while he held Cassie’s hand.
Cassie had to sit down before her knees gave out beneath her. She looked at Olivia, her baby, then to Thomas.
His voice was little above a whisper, “Cassie, will you marry me?” Then he quickly added, “Marry us?”
Cassie’s heart felt as though it would take flight. “I’d be honored.”
Thomas looked deeply into Cassie’s eyes. Cassie was again speechless, joy overflowing.
Olivia jumped up and down and twirled in circles, “Yeaaa!” She ran up to Cassie, gently climbed into her lap, wrapped her arms around her neck and Cassie, ignoring the pain in her sides, wrapped her arms around her daughter.
“I love you, Mommy.” Olivia’s voice rang in Cassie’s ear.
Cassie closed her eyes and knew this moment would forever be etched in her memory, “Oh, Olivia, I love you, too, sweetheart, more than you know.”
“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah. 29:11 (KJV)
HEY! and don't forget to e-mail Jan Madden if you have a comment!
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