This scene was originally in Jacob and Beth's first draft years ago but was cut for space. Now it comes back in the new version. Enjoy!
Wait, Mom was here? Alive? How? “My mom?” she repeated in a daze. Had I entered a parallel universe and traded places with a luckier Beth?
“Yeah…you gonna repeat everything I say all day?” he teased.
“Oh, shut up.” She blushed. “No… My mom…she’d be home right now?”
“Probably… Are you sure you’re alright?” His brow furrowed in concern.
She smiled, smoothing the lines in his forehead away with her fingers. He leaned into her touch. It was such a couple-y reaction. “Yeah… You’ll be okay alone…with the baby?”
He rolled his eyes. “Of course I will. Been doin’ this dad thing a while, haven’t I? Besides, she’s a little angel.”
She smirked knowingly. “Uh-huh… She has your genes, so I kinda doubt that one.”
He laughed while she carried the girl up to her room.
“I just want to touch base with Mom.”
“I promise not to take too long.”
He waved her off. “Sure, sure…we’ll be fine. Go!”
She pranced out the door, flashing him a smile on her way out, and was relieved to find her same car in the garage. Pulling out onto their street, she realized she didn’t know where she was. “Well, there’s no time like the present to explore,” she muttered. The address book in her purse indicated her parents still lived in the same house, so getting there was easy once she found a street sign she was familiar with. She pulled up to the house, palms sweating from nerves. It’d been seven years since she saw her mother alive.
“I can do this, it’s my mom. God, it’s my mom…”
She stood at the door for several minutes talking herself into ringing the bell, then finally got the courage to push the button and heard footsteps immediately.
Mom opened the door. “Beth? What a pleasant surprise! Is my gorgeous granddaughter with you?”
I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna cry… “Hi, Mom. Uh, no, it’s only me… Is Daddy home?”
Her mother smiled and stepped back to welcome her inside. “Not today. He’s on a buying trip. What’s on your mind, sweetie?”
Could never hide anything from you, Mom, could I? “I…” God, she looked wonderful, just like before she got sick. “I wanted to see you. I…had this dream, and, uh…something bad happened to you, and…”
She enveloped Beth in a tight hug. “Oh, honey… I’m sorry you’re upset. I’m fine, though, see?” she said with gentle reassurance. “You want some iced tea? We can sit in the den and you can tell me about your dream.”
“Um, I’d rather just talk to you…Mom. It was only a dream. So… What’s new?” God, if only this was real…
Her mother chuckled as she poured tea into two glasses. “Since last week? Not much, dear. I developed those photos we took at the park, though. I can’t believe Allison is coming up on another birthday.”
“Mm. She woke me up today with a very loud ‘Mommy!’ I still don’t think I’m quite used to it.” No lie, there, since I really haven’t been a mother before!
Mom smiled knowingly, handing her the glass. “Just wait until she’s giving you hell as a teenager. You’ll be cursing her name,” she teased.
“Is that how you were with Andrew?”
“Frequently. He was like that husband of yours back when, but worse. I don’t know how many times your father wanted to strangle Andrew for getting into too much mischief. And you were just the opposite. We could hardly get you to leave the house!”
“Yeah, yeah…but I ended up following in your footsteps, though…in photography?” Okay, so she was fishing, but how else was she going to learn why this-world’s-Beth chose a different career path?
“You did. I wasn’t so sure about the subject—taking celebrity photos—but you have a real knack for bringing the person’s soul through the lens. Art is art, as they say…and it helped you reel in Jake, too.”
“I can’t believe he got you to call him ‘Jake’.”
“Well, he’s an adult, now. Just like I don’t call you
anymore. Children eventually choose their own names, as you’ll find out soon
enough. Are you starting to miss the work?”
“Funny you ask… Jacob asked me the same thing this morning. I don’t know…the quiet life is pretty appealing,” Beth said. “And they might not want me back. There’s always someone waiting to fill your place.”
“Well, it’s up to you, of course. I have a feeling you’d find a niche soon enough, though.” Mom stood and took her hand. “Come on, I’ll show you those prints.”
She followed into what used to be her brother’s bedroom. The window had been blacked out to turn the space into a dark room. Mom flipped on the regular light switch, illuminating the dry photos hanging up.
Beth walked down the line, impressed. “You took some great shots, Mom. Allison looks beautiful.” The little girl looked like Jacob, but had her fair coloring.
“Oh, no, honey. These are yours. I told you, you have a gift. Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten?” she teased.
She blushed. “I guess I haven’t thought about it.” In real life, she only picked up a camera when she was asked to, and never any of the equipment she inherited from Mom. “And you were always so amazing. I mean, you’ve had gallery showings and sold your work! I just make rich people look pretty.”
Mom squeezed her shoulders with affection. “You’re being too modest, sweetheart. Look at these. You took them with a mother’s love and they’re gorgeous. Now, let’s get these collected so you can take them home. I’d love to spend the day chatting, but I have a luncheon to go to.”
“Oh.” Beth tried not to sound too disappointed. “Okay.” Even in her head, there was never enough time with her mother. She had so many questions still. They put the photos into an envelope, which she slid into her purse.
They hugged at the door, Beth trying to memorize every feature. She held on a bit longer than usual, wanting to be able to recall the scent of her mother’s hair, the healthy glow to her face, the feel of her warm arms when they gave you a hug. Then it was time to leave.
She cried silent tears driving back to the house.
Five years after their attempt at dating crashed and burned, a struggling Beth went to work for rock-star Jacob as his personal assistant. At first, they’re almost friends, but as Jacob becomes the stereotypical hard-partying musician, a wedge builds between them that could be permanent.
When a car accident sidelines Beth with weeks of recovery, she takes it as a sign to change her life and resigns, but Jacob has other plans. He’s still in love with her and won’t give up until she gives him a second chance.
Can Beth and Jacob forgive all the pain they caused each other in the past?
Forgiven is the third of five books in the My Once and Future Love Revisited series exploring Beth and Jacob’s relationship with all its joys, flaws, and heartache. New Adult Contemporary Romance saga.
Less than a week from release day! Sunday, Feb. 2 is the official book birthday for FORGIVEN. Available in e-book and paperback formats.
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