Chapter Seven

When Billie awoke in the morning, she was cuddled in the strength of Bo's arms. Her head was resting on his chest, just above his heartbeat. When she remembered the night before, she was filled with fear. What if Bo regretted what they had shared? What if he changed his mind and went back to Hope after all?

Not knowing what the future held, she cherished every second that remained that she could be in Bo's embrace. She knew she couldn't bear it if she lost him now; she had already lost her darling Chelsea.

She lay very still, just listening to the sound of Bo's steady heartbeat, hoping he wouldn't awake and tell her he was sorry; that he'd made another mistake. *Please, God, I need him so much,* she silently prayed. *Please let him stay with me.*

Minutes passed and then Bo began to stir. Bright sunlight was streaming through the windows of the motel room, stinging at his and Billie's eyes. "Billie?" he said as he came awake, his arms wrapping around her so tightly.

"Bo?" she said in response. She raised her head from his chest as their gazes met. "Bo, please tell me that you don't regret last night. Everything we shared... and everything we said. Please tell me that we have a future... and you're not going back to Hope."

As she waited for his response, every muscle in her body tensed up in agitation.

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Justin awakened to the scent of fresh coffee. His stomach grumbled as he got up off the floor in his crumpled clothing and headed toward the kitchen. Hope had awakened about a half hour before him. She had breakfast cooking for Justin and Ciara.

"Hey," she said as Justin entered the kitchen. She barely looked at him as she went back to turning the slices of bacon in the skillet.

He came up behind her and said, "Hope, look at me please."

She turned around slowly as she looked into this compassionate eyes. "Are you alright?" he asked with tenderness.

She nodded but he didn't miss the misting of tears in her eyes. "Hope, about last night..." Justin said softly.

"I shouldn't have cheated on my husband," she said. "I shouldn't have..."

Tears overtook her as she went into Justin's arms. He held and comforted her as she cried.

"I'm sorry I made things more complicated for you, Hope. I honestly didn't think..."

"No, Justin. I know that my marriage with Bo is over; that's not the issue. I just should have waited until I had asked Bo for a divorce."

As Justin held Hope close, they heard a little voice speaking directly behind them. They had no idea that Ciara had walked into the kitchen.

"Mommy, are you and Daddy gonna get a divorce?" asked the little girl.

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"Billie, I meant what I said last night. I want to be with you," Bo said. "What I had with Hope; it's over. I need to go home and pack some of my things... and tell her. She deserves to hear it from me... and not over the phone or in a text. We have a child together, so I have to make provisions for Ciara. She's going to be confused, but the tension between me and Hope hasn't been good for her either."

"Bo, you're going to come live with me?" asked Billie in surprise.

"Well, I would love to ... if you don't mind."

"No.. no. I don't mind. I just don't believe it. Not really."

"I am going to prove it to you, Lady. I love you so much," he said as he tenderly kissed her.

"I love you, too," she said as she stared into his eyes. "But I just won't believe it... not until you walk through that door."

Bo gently disengaged himself from Billie's embrace. "You gotta take me to get my car. And I promise you, after I talk to Hope, I'll be over."

"Okay," Billie said softly. "I guess we better get dressed then."

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Hope's heart contracted with pain when she heard little Ciara's question. She left Justin's embrace and went to her daughter. "Honey, we need to have a little talk..." she said as she sat Ciara down on the kitchen counter. Once she was at eye level with her little girl, Hope did her best to explain to Ciara what was going on with her and Bo.

Justin turned his back and concentrated on the frying bacon so that Hope could talk to Ciara. "Your daddy and I haven't been getting along so well. In fact, we have really grown apart. We both love you so much, Ciara. and this is breaking my heart," Hope said with tears in her eyes.

"Mommy, I just want to know, are you and Daddy getting a divorce?"

"I think so. I haven't talked to him yet, but I don't think that we can go on like this any longer. Your daddy isn't happy and neither am I."

"But I want to live with you AND Daddy," said Ciara.

"I know you do, sweetie, but sometimes parents can't live together. Sometimes they go their separate ways. You'll still see both of us all the time; we just won't live together... not anymore."

"Why, Mommy? Is it because of Chelsea - cuz she died?"

"It's because of a lot of things," she said gently. "But the important thing for you to remember is that it has nothing to do with you. Your dad and I love you SO much... and we both want you to be happy."

A tears slid down Ciara's little cheek as Hope's heart broke anew. She held her sad little daughter as Justin finished preparing their breakfast.

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Billie drove Bo to the cemetery so he could get his car. He reached between the seats between them to give her hand a gentle squeeze. "I'll see you later," he said.

"Yeah, right... Later," she said as she couldn't even bear to look into his eyes. She was fairly certain that once he talked to Hope, he would decide he needed to stay with his wife and child. She couldn't even blame him. How she wished she could have that as well - a spouse and a child. But in the cemetery not that far away, her only child lay six feet under.

"Billie," he said as he tried to get her attention. She was staring off into space at the tombstones in the near distance. "Go home, okay? Don't go back to Chelsea's grave. She isn't there anymore. Our daughter is in Heaven. That's where she is... and she's safe. And I know she wants us to go on now... and be happy."

When she didn't respond, he spoke to her more sternly, "Billie, you need to go home now. Okay?"

She nodded as she let go of his hand. "Alright," she said softly.