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Authors: Joshua Mumphrey

Loving her softly

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Joshua Mumphrey|Twitter|Website:mumphreyportfoliocollection.wordpres.com|Facebook|

 

Loving Her Softly

#2 Best-Selling United States Drama Author & #4 Family Life novelist

 

Volume 1 |Written By:

J O S H U A  M U M P H R E Y

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.

 

Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. Copyright Joshua Mumphrey 2013. No part of this book may be reproduced without permissionin writing from the publisher. All right’s reside with the author.

 

Dedication

A special acknowledgement to the many mothers and daughters of the world; I couldn’t do this without your love and support. Thank you!

 

“To God for being my compass, to my mother who prepared me for the journey, and to Brandy, my best friend, for helping me pave the path that I so desperately needed to travel.”

 

A   N O V E L

 

PROLOUGE

 

A Day We Haven’t Since Forgotten

****

 

“Well, hello there miss.” She didn’t seem to acknowledge my slightly awkward presence. “How can I help you today?”

 

She tossed her long hair over her shoulders. “I would like a double espresso no-foam latté.”

 

I punched her order into the register without looking. I had done it about a million times and I knew my job at the coffee shop like the back of my hand.

 

“Can you please be quick about it?” She stared at me in annoyance. “I have places to go and important people to see that don’t involve me spending half my day waiting on a simple coffee order.”

 

Oh, so she’s one of those types.I pondered to myself as I glanced up to her, meeting her gaze.

 

“What?” She questioned. “Is there some kind of a problem sir?”

 

I shook my head. “No. Everything is fine.” I suppose I had zoned out a couple of seconds, when I saw how pretty she actually was. She was more than pretty; she was gorgeous, amazingly beautiful!

 

She gave me an evil eye. “Did I do something wrong?”

 

“My change sir, you forgot to give me back what you owed me… I gave you a twenty.” I jerked with shock and embarrassment. Darn, she’s pretty.I wonder what brought her to my little corner of the world.I pondered.

 

She sure didn’t look like the usual customers I was used to waiting on, but I suppose a little change didn’t hurt a thing, especially when the change involved a girl like her; I was already looking forward to seeing her again and she wasn’t even out the front door yet. Her apparent rudeness didn’t seem to bother me at all. I believe her beauty made it hard for me to notice anything else.

 

I pressed a few more buttons as the register swooshed open with a chime. “Here’s your change mam,” I counted, trying not to juvenilely blush when my hand touched hers. I was out of high school and in college. I don’t know why she made my heart beat a little faster inside my chest and my palms sweat. I hadn’t experienced those kind of things since middle school. “I will be right back with your order.”

 

While finishing up the latté’ I glanced over to her out of the corner of my eye. She was standing with one arm folded and the other raised, holding her phone to her ear. Whoever was on the other end appeared to have broken her defenses; she stood there insecure and unguarded. She wasn’t the same strong, elegant and proud woman she was when she walked through the front door and up to the counter. Something wasn’t quite right; I could feel it.

 

I was so caught up in watching the woman I had unintentionally spilt half of her coffee out of the cup. “Shoot!” I wiped the edges and sides of the cup with napkins, before filling the cup up again.

 

“Here’s your order.” I pushed the cup across the counter towards her. She walked over and asked me for something.

 

“Can I have a napkin?” She reached her hand out to me.

 

“I managed to dry the cup to perfection for you, despite the little spill.” I smiled trying to be slightly sarcastic, but she didn’t. She just stood there blankly.

 

“Here you go.” I handed her a couple of napkins. “Are these enough? I can get you more if you need them.”

 

She forced a smile sniffing a little. “These will do.” Her voice was a little scratchy. She was upset.

Instead of wiping her cup like I thought she would, she turned away from me, wiping at her running eyeliner. She was crying.

 

“Are you OK?” I asked stepping around the counter. “Is there anything I can get you?”

 

She shook her head.

 

“I’m fine,” she mumbled, “I will be fine.”

 

I placed my hand on her shoulder as she lifted her head. “Are you sure?”

 

She hesitated.

 

“I told you I’m fine.” She turned away again.

 

I dropped my head in disappointment. I suppose she didn’t want me bothering her so I decided to return to my duties.

 

“It’s just, he doesn’t understand me.” I stopped and turned back to look at her.

 

“He doesn’t know me for who I really am,” she wiped her nose with one of the napkins I had given her. “I don’t think he honestly wants to know me, not the way I want him to.”

 

I stood as still as stone. I didn’t know what to say. I watched her walk away, disappearing outside. I should have said something; I should have at least tried to comfort her. But what if I had said something wrong? Maybe it was for the best. I didn’t know.

 

Suddenly I heard an ear-piercing screech and a crash, followed by shattering glass. My feet were chained to the floor. I couldn’t move even though my mind told me to, it screamed for me to react.

 

Somehow I just knew what had happened and I feared what I would find when I went searching just beyond those two front doors of the café.

 

The moment that I stepped outside on the warm, sun-kissed pavement my actions triggered a chain of events that would alter my future and change my life. I wasn’t quite ready for what that day had in store for me and I don’t believethe young woman I met was either. That day changed us both (within our hearts) forever; it’s a day we haven’t since forgotten.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1: “The Unpredictable Road of Love

 

I sit holding an old worn photograph of a man I used to know. I believe I’ve pulled it from my bill folder too many times today, maybe more than I should have, but I can’t help it. He meant a lot to me. 

 

He was a good man, my father was; the salt and pepper-haired farmer in the still image, the frozen memory I’m holding in my right hand.

 

I remember a lot about him, how he never let anything defeat him, how the strength of his broad shoulders, muscular arms and rough hands, matched the might of his love for people within his compassionate heart. I got my willingness to help those I knew and other’s I didn’t from my dad. He always pitched in where he could and I believe because of him I do the same everyday.

 

He taught me so many things, like the meaning of hard work and the importance of forgiveness. I had a hard time with the later. I learned that forgiveness is more than just a word; it’s an action that many struggle inside to take. I was and still am one of those people who struggle; I couldn’t forgive, I feel that I can’t, not right now. How can I, after what has happened?  I’ve been having a lot of trouble lately letting go…

 

I’ve always believed, (no matter how naive it seems at 22 years of age) that my father could have fought off anything if he tried, a bite from a rattler, a wolf, like he did when I was 13 in the woods a little after dusk, maybe even a bear if he was determined enough. He wasn’t accustomed to failure or losing. He won every battle he fought which throughout my childhood made him my own personal hero.

 

I believed that my father was untouchable and that there was nothing that could ever bring him to his knees. Unfortunately, I was wrong. A massive heart attack did just that last spring. It was one challenge he didn’t victoriously walk away from.

 

“The good die young and without reason,” I remember my mother whispering at the gravesite, clutching a tissue for dear life. Her hand lay rested on his beautifully crafted dark, wooden casket I made in his honor, while she looked upon her one and only, her dear Benjamin for the last time.

 

I wished he had lived longer than he did, but I suppose, after 55 years, God had a different plan for his life that mom and I didn’t quite understand.

 

I can still hear dad saying, “The things that happen to us in life and the places those things take us, are all apart of a bigger plan, a more beautifully painted picture. The trials of life makes us into who we will become, setting the stage for the part we will eventually play in a strangers life.”

 

What wise words of wisdom, spoken from an honest man. How could he have known about the events that would take place in my future? How could he have known that my path would cross with a stranger that made me feel something I never have before? How could he have known that the person lying in the hospital bed in front of me is someone who needs me more than anyone in the world? I don’t even know her name; I’m not even sure if she remembers it either.

 

It wasn’t until today that something inside me changed. She wanted me to stay. She tells me that she doesn’t have any family here. She doesn’t remember anyone except for me, prior to her injury. Her thoughts she tries so hard to express are mostly fragmented sentences; her words are jumbled and spoken with a stutter. 

 

She had been bandaged for almost a week from the chin up, with a leg and arm cast to match. It’s a miracle she’s still alive, and not only alive, but fully alert and aware after the accident. It’s a miracle that I pulled her from the bloody and glass-covered pavement, carrying her down the busy city streets of Austin, in my arms, into a local hospital nearby. If she had arrived a minute later, doctors tell me that there was a chance she wouldn’t have survived.

 

The nurse told the injured woman that she owed me her life, but I humbly disagreed. She didn’t owe me a single thing. It was my duty to help her when she needed it. It was how my father taught me and his father taught him. I learned to be incredibly selfless and true to myself as well as to others. I knew that my reward was in knowing that I did the right thing and that I helped save a young woman’s life, regardless of what I thought I would get in return. However, I did receive something from the girl I saved that I didn’t quite expect.

 

I couldn’t help, but notice after the nurse had removed the blood soaked bandages the day before, just how beautiful the young woman was.

 

Her long, blonde, sun-kissed hair falls gracefully in layers over her chest, while the nurse positions the pillows to comfort her back and neck.

 

The young woman’s pretty ocean, blue-eyes won’t leave me. They are locked with great intensity to my own, making me almost afraid to break her trance, to look away.

 

What in the world is she staring at?I ponder. I’m the only one aside from the nurse in the hospital room. Surely she’s not admiring me the way I’m admiring her. That’s impossible. There is no way a girl like her, one with natural beauty, a face so flawless and pure, could want a guy like me. No way, I just don’t believe it. There has to be another reason why she won’t look away.

 

The nurse walks out of the door, just before glancing back to me, giving me a nod. I’m not sure why, maybe because she appreciates what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

 

I glance down at my watch on my risk. It’s almost noon and I have to be headed to work soon, but I can’t leave her. She asked me to stay. I don’t know how to tell her I can’t. What will Ronda, my manager at Starbucks think if I showed up late for work today? I wonder what would happen if I didn’t show up at all. I wonder if she would fire me; it took me forever to get that job!

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