The Gifts of Faith - Putting the Pieces Together (Ch 12)

When Faith and Sarah awakened the next morning, both were silent. Faith fed Lily while Sarah pulled eggs and sausage from the fridge. After Lily’s bowl was put in place, Faith went about gathering the fixings for biscuits. It wasn’t until she was plopping the dough in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet that the silence was broken.

“How ya feelin’ this mornin’, Sarah?”

Sarah nonchalantly placed the sausage in a cast iron skillet and chopped it with a slotted spoon before answering.

“I can’t nail it, Faith. For the first time in weeks I had no dreams. My sleep wasn’t interrupted, yet I don’t feel rested. I’m exhausted, to tell you the truth.”

Faith scooted Sarah out of the way to put the baking sheet into the oven as Sarah continued with her thoughts.

“There’s some connection between Julie’s ring, your ability to see souls and Hope passing her gift on to me. I don’t know what it is and I’m sure you don’t either, but Julie’s ring is the key. I feel it with all my being – and Hope’s.”

Sarah put the spoon down and turned to face her friend.

“I’m really frazzled, Faith. I’ve never in my life experienced soul talk, let alone the extreme weirdness that happened last night. I’m exhilarated, exhausted, mesmerized, and petrified all at the same time.”

“Faith? Hello? Faith!”

What did Faith see beyond the kitchen window?
What did Faith see beyond the kitchen window? | Source

Sarah walked over to where Faith was standing, staring out the kitchen window. She seemed to have gone to a different plane, led by her thoughts. Sarah knew better than to touch Faith when she was in this state or she’d jump right out of her skin. Instead, Sarah planted herself between her best friend and whatever it was she was gazing at through the window.

That got Faith’s attention. They were now standing eye to eye.

“Did you hear a word I said?”

“I’m sorry, honey. I was thinking. Oh shoot! The biscuits!” Faith broke Sarah’s gaze and headed for the oven.

Faith revealed her thoughts over breakfast
Faith revealed her thoughts over breakfast | Source

Over breakfast the girls didn’t say much. Faith was deep in thought. Sarah knew she’d clue her in when she was good and ready. Besides she was thoroughly enjoying her scrambled eggs with biscuits and sausage gravy.

“Sarah, when’s your lease up?” Up to this point Faith had barely touched her breakfast and was now going at it as if she hadn’t eaten in days.

“It’s up at the end of June. Why do you ask?”

“I’ve been thinking tha… “

Sarah cut her off despite having a mouth full of eggs. “Yeah, I kinda gathered.”

“I’ve been thinking that you should move in here – at least for a while. The cottage is more than big enough for the two of us. You can use the barn for storage and bring in whatever you want.”

“I guess it makes sense. I haven’t been back to the apartment in weeks.”

Faith finished her eggs and the last of her biscuits and gravy before continuing. “We have a lot to figure out. Julie’s ring has stirred up tons of questions, not to mention weirdness. Besides, we still have a lot of work to do in the garden so we can stock the shop. If you give your landlady notice now, that gives her two months to find a new tenant and we can take our time moving your stuff.”

“Sounds like a plan my friend. I’ll call her at lunchtime today. Right now, we’d better do the dishes and get ready for work. Just because you’re the boss-lady doesn’t mean we can saunter in whenever we feel like it!”

Faith waited for Sarah to be out of sight
Faith waited for Sarah to be out of sight | Source

“What do you mean I’m the boss-lady? We’re partners, remember?”

“Geez, nothing like a delayed reaction; that conversation was hours ago! Guess that hearty breakfast slowed you down some, girl.” Sarah loved teasing her friend. Their friendship was bound by what each gave the other. Sarah’s lightheartedness offset Faith’s serious nature. Yin and yang.

Faith couldn’t help but chuckle. That’s what she loved about her best friend and business partner. Sarah could draw Faith out of herself in a heartbeat.

“It’s just about lunchtime. I’m going to call my landlady then pick up something from the diner. What do you feel like having for lunch, Faith?”

“After that slow-me-down breakfast, I’d better just have a salad.” Faith winked at Sarah as she poked fun at her friend. “Actually, I’d like an egg salad sandwich and iced tea.”

“You got it. Be back in a few.” Sarah punched the landlady’s number into her cell phone as she walked out the door.

When Sarah was out of sight, Faith reached into her purse to retrieve the phone number she’d looked up several weeks back. She drew a deep breath as she dialed 770-555-9368.

Faith was on the phone when Sarah returned 30 minutes later. She placed lunch on the counter and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.

“…Yes, they were lovely. I apologize for not calling sooner. I meant to call you weeks ago. Business is good. Thank you for asking.” There was silence on this end of the phone as the person on the other end spoke.

A minute or so later, Faith continued, “Mm hm. Thank you. I appreciate that. Listen, I have something that may be of interest to you. If you’d care to stop by the next time you’re in town… Okay, great! I’ll see you then. Bye!”

Sarah’s blue eyes looked like they were about to pop out of her head as she spoke. “Holy cow! Was that Nathaniel Baxter you were talking to?”

“It was.” Faith’s hands were shaking as she returned the phone to its cradle. “Let’s have lunch and I’ll tell you all about it.”

Faith unwrapped her egg salad sandwich as Sarah attacked her fried chicken and butter beans. How does she eat like that all the time and not gain an ounce? Faith wondered to herself. Even as a born and bred Georgia peach, Faith found she couldn’t eat the rich fried foods that Georgia is famous for; at least not as a steady diet.

“So, spill it. You’re killing me! Did Nathaniel call you or did you call him?”

Faith finished chewing and took a drink of her iced tea before responding. “I called him. I looked up his number when I found the ring, even before we discovered it belonged to his mother. Weird, huh?”

“Honey, weird is no longer in my vocabulary. Weird has become normal in this journey we’re sharing.” Sarah licked her fingers and scooped up a forkful of butter beans.

“This is the way I see it. We know the ring was Nathaniel’s mother’s when she was a little girl. I believe her spirit – or a part of it – still lives in that ring. It’s the only explanation for what happened to you last night. Julie died in childbirth. Last night you appeared to be going through the pains of labor.”

Sarah interrupted, “Yeah. That was too much. That’s why I asked you to take the ring off.”

“Exactly.” Faith took another bite of sandwich while she thought of the right words to convey her reasoning. “The ring has an unmistakable vibe to it. When it’s in our hands – or on my finger, anyway – it’s not a good vibe. That’s because it doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to Nathaniel.”

“But if you didn’t find it, Faith, we’d never have known it belongs to him.”

“You’re right. I was meant to find it. Just as I was meant to buy the property that once was Nathaniel’s mother’s childhood home. We’re all connected. We have been all along. In the beginning, when my mother was dying it was me, Hope and Nathaniel. I was too young to really know what my gifts were and didn’t see it then. Shoot, I didn’t even know Nathaniel was at Mama’s deathbed until I had a flashback brought on by the Lily of the Valley he sent a few weeks ago.”

Faith paused to take a long drink of her tea. Sarah was silent, waiting for her to continue.

“Hope’s soul became tired and took residence in yours. Obviously, her purpose needed your strength in order to keep the circle in tact. That circle is our three souls working together. Yours, (which has been fortified by Hope’s), mine, and Nathaniel’s. I don’t yet know what our job is, but I’m convinced we must close the circle in order for the purpose to be met. And it begins with Julie’s ring. It must be given to Nathaniel. He’s the bloodline – the connection.”

A patron entering Bouquets and Rainbows gave Sarah time to think
A patron entering Bouquets and Rainbows gave Sarah time to think | Source

Just then, the bell over the door signaled a patron had entered Bouquets and Rainbows. The girls were so immersed in conversation that they wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for the tinkling of the bell.

After arranging a spring bouquet for an obviously smitten teenage boy and sending him on his way, the conversation continued. By this time Sarah had time to let Faith’s words sink in.

“It’s starting to make sense now, Faith. Not completely, but I’m beginning to see it. The only thing that baffles me is what you saw in Nathaniel’s soul when you first met. How does a putrid, disease infested soul fit in with the gifts of Faith and Hope?”

“I don’t know, Sarah. I simply don’t know.”

“Are you scared to see him again?”

“Petrified.”



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

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Comments 42 comments

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Shauna, your writing skills are improving with each and every chapter. Looking forward to the next one....


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Martie. This one was a bit tough. I felt I needed to tone down the paranormal aspect and give the girls some "normal" time. I knew how I wanted to begin this chapter but had no idea where to go with it. It seems to come once I sit down and start writing. How many times has Bill told us to write, write, write then write some more! He knows what he's talking about for sure!


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

I have been waiting for this. Enjoyed it, it's coming together but there's still more to come! You have me on the edge of my seat! Can't wait to see how it all comes out. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Meg, if I've got you on the edge of your seat, than I must be doing something right. And you're right - there's much more to come. Thanx for hanging in with me!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

There is a huge improvement in dialogue from chapter one to this chapter...nice growth my friend.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Bill. I'm sure I'll have a bunch of editing to do when I finally finish the rough of this novel. I've learned a lot since I first began this story. Between you and John Yeoman (my fiction writing coach), I'm soaking up knowledge like a sponge. I'm sure I'll have to go thru more edits than you did for Resurrecting Tobias. This is my first attempt at a fiction novel. I see my progress as well. When I look back at the first chapter, I see I have learned and am implementing those lessons. There will be some major editing to do in the first several chapters.

I have no idea how long it'll take to finish the rough, but I will be ever so proud when it's ready for the public.


Ghost32 2 years ago

Well done, Sha. Reading through this one, I felt a comfort level that (for me) wasn't quite present yet in the others.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Interesting, Ghost. What is it about this chapter that creates a comfort level for you?


epigramman profile image

epigramman 2 years ago

I love how you pay attention, Shauna, to detail and character dialogue, which are two strong suits in your writer's profile. It was so awesome too in order to read another chapter of what you are really good at doing and that is short story writing. Bravo from your admiring colleague and yeah at the end I noticed you had Sting - he's hot but then again Shauna because I am the straightest man in Hubtown - you will always be way hotter!!! Oh yeah. Colin and his pussycats at Canada time 11:02am


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad you're enjoying the story, Colin. Thanx for the awesome comment (and compliment)!


prey profile image

prey 2 years ago from places you should hope we never meet

I adore your message and admire your delivery. This should be read by everyone. Thank you so much for sharing it with us


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Prey, you just made my day! Thank you so much!!!


DJ Anderson 2 years ago

Sha, I feel so very comfortable reading your story. I notice the little things that bind parts of your story to its locations both physically and metaphorically. I think this works so well because you are talking about

your world and much that is in it.

This installment was a real joy to read. Beautifully written, Sha.

Keep it coming, girl. Your fans want MORE!!!!

DJ.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thanx, DJ. It's so good to see you! I actually know nothing about Georgia other than it's the state directly above Florida, which is where I live. Why I chose Georgia as the setting I have no idea. Perhaps it's because it allows me to research in order to make it real.


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 2 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

Sha, this story is getting better and better. I just can't wait to find out how it all ties together! Before I was sure the cat had something to do with it, but now I don't think so. I'm scratching my head, my friend ;) Pearl


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Pearl, everyone needs a pet right? That's all Lily is in this story. At least, so far! Keep scratching your head my friend. That tells me you haven't figured it out yet and that I'm doing a decent job of not being predictable.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Sha, this is coming together nicely. I can see your growth as a writer.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Flourish. That's nice to hear!


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

Sorry for the delay.

You are stirring up a really dense swirl of intrigue and mystery with the elusive Nathaniel. The girl's clearly have a good bond and are filled with light; but Nathaniel... well you are keeping us guessing, aren't you? :)

Great build up of tension as we wait to see how his role plays out.. and what secrets and allegiances he holds.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Anna, so good to see you! Yes, Nathaniel has been elusive so far. He's not even aware of his role or that he has one. Stay tuned. You and he will discover the connection together!


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

I look forward to it. :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Cool. Me too!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

It looks like it's all coming together, except Sarah's connection. I get this feeling that Sarah is much more than a friend.Oh shucks, i'm out on a limb! Still loving your story.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Ruby, I was waiting for someone to say what you just said about Sarah. It's not what you think. They're friends and there is a growing connection, but it's not romantic.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Sha, that's not what i meant, i didn't get that vibe at all. I just feel like she is a real fanily member somehow. The mystery surrounding them is growing with each chapter. Keep em coming!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

You should hook up with my mom, Ruby. She thought the same thing of Nathaniel. My mom was thinking that Hal had an affair and Nathaniel is really Faith's half-brother!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Now wouldn't that be a hoot? Hee


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

It never even entered my mind, Ruby! :-)


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

OMG, Sha Sha,

I knew this chapter was familiar (as in deja vu) because I read it when you first published but was too tuckered out to comment (ai yi yi...)!

Thank goodness you published again (thanks to Christopher AGAIN...LOL) so I could remember to let you know you still have my avid interest and it is going to be wonderful to have this compiled in a book when all is said and done!

And how can a gal complain about hearing Sting twice...I think not...!

Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Mar, you're a trip and I love you with all my heart. When I finally get this book together and published, you and I will have a party. If it's in the summer, it'll be at your house; if in the winter - come on down girlfriend!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Wow Shauna-this series is so incredibly captivating. What a labor of love it's been for you to create this spiritual series. I sure hope your planning on publishing this on Kindle. It will sell like hot cakes my talented friend. I can't wait for more of the story. Love you girl, Linda


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Linda, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. There's still so much of the story to be told. It's just now starting to come together. You'll see. I know it's taking a long time to get the story out, but one day I'll have the satisfaction of writing the last words. Then the real work begins!

Thanx for your support, my friend!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Great writing here with the dialogue for sure! You made me hungry with that sausage gravy, being I was also a Georgia Peach growing up there and all, and I, too, must not give into all of that rich food or ... hee hee

Looking forward to reading your next installment here and see what is in store!

Blessings always


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

Faith, after reading this chapter my mom, who's from Missouri, got a hankerin' for biscuits and gravy. She waited until the day after her annual check-up to give in!


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

The nice thing about being gone for a couple of months is that I get to come back to stories like this! This is great, Shauna! And lucky me, I can go on to the next one immediately!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida Author

It's nice to see you again, Randi. I started chapter 14 a few days ago but life got in the way. I'm afraid you'll have to wait for that one. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the next chapter.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 19 months ago

Great story. I like how this story has come together. Thank you for this hub. Voted up.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 19 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you for reading, Torrilynn! I've posted a total of 16 chapters in what will become my first novel. That's all I'll be posting online, but you'll have a taste of what the novel is about.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 13 months ago from New York

Another great chapter Sha, drawing us into this mystery. Can't wait to see where it goes and what the connection is.

Your writing is definitely top notch all the way.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 13 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you Mary. I've only posted 16 chapters of The Gifts of Faith. I decided to stop there so my novel hasn't been read in its entirety by the time I finish and publish it. I really to need to get back to it one of these days. I love my characters and need to finish telling their story.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago

Shauna, this will be my second go around reading this story. It is so interesting and I can't wait for you to finish the book so I can read it.

Blessings and hugs my dear friend.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 weeks ago from Central Florida Author

Shyron, I'm ashamed to say it's been quite a while since I've picked it back up. I started working on chapter 17 a couple of years ago and wasn't happy with it. I will get back to it though. I've made myself that promise.

Thank you so much for your support (and the push). That's just what I need!

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