TITLE: Healing Touch

AUTHOR: Clairisant and Brenda


FEEDBACK: Would love to hear both good and bad feedback but please try to be kind and constructive. Clairisant and brendagaye42210

AUTHORS NOTE: This story takes place in AJ's past.

CREDITS: A special thanks to our beta readers, Qupeydoll and April.

Chapter 1

Tuesday, May 18, 1976

1400 EST

Chegwidden home

Houston, Texas

AJ was pleased to be going home on leave, he had been on board a ship much too long and he needed the break. He knew his mother and sister would be glad to see him, he hoped that they had news of his six-year-old daughter. It had been over a year since he had any word from Marcella about Francesca.

Adele greeted him at the door with hugs and kisses, she was very happy to see him. However, she told him that he should be prepared for some major changes in their mother. She explained that since their father's death, Josephine had gone downhill. Her arthritis had gotten worse and because it hurt her to move, all she would do is eat. She was up to nearly three hundred pounds and for all intent purposes she was housebound.

Josephine hadn't been out of the house in several months and her greatest regret in that was that she had been missing church. She greeted her son with open arms and AJ tried to hide his shock at the changes in her. "AJ, I'm so happy you're home! When will you bring my granddaughter to see me? Adele is in no hurry to give me any."

"Mom, I don't know. I haven't seen or heard from Marcella in over a year. I doubt Francesca would even know me if she saw me. Marcella just remarried and I got word that she had changed my daughter's name while I was out to sea and couldn't do anything about it."

The three of them spent the rest of the day talking and catching up with each other. It was over breakfast the next morning that Josephine brought the fact that there was a revival meeting going on in town, she begged AJ to take her. He told her that he would be happy to take her; he hadn't been to one in years.

AJ checked Adele's car to make sure it was in good running condition and that evening he helped his mother into the car. Adele welcomed an evening to herself, so waved them off as they left.

The revival meeting started as usual with singing and preaching, praying and testifying. Then they brought out a faith healer! Her father, Harold Foster, stepped forward and with a flourish introduced his daughter, Grace. She came out in a white gown; it almost looked like a nightgown. Grace was tiny, barely five foot tall and looked little more than a child.

She raised her hands in a supplicating position and asked anyone that needed healing to come forward. People in the crowd started to move towards her, and later they claimed to be healed although AJ didn't believe it. However, it seemed that his mother believed what she was seeing. Josephine begged AJ to help her to go up front to Grace, but he told her 'no'.

As they were having a whispered argument, Grace announced that she had done all she could do that evening. Healing weakened her, she told them and her father helped her off the stage. He announced that she would be there again the next night to heal more of the believers.

Josephine begged AJ to bring her back the next night. He told her that faith healing was a load of crock, but she spent the entire next day between begging and crying. Adele stepped in when her mother began crying and added her pleas to Josephine's for AJ to take her back to the revival meeting.

Finally, AJ gave in, he never could resist a woman's tears and here were two of the people he loved most asking him for the same thing. He agreed to take his mother back to the meeting.

The meeting started as it had the night before, then Harold came out and introduced his daughter. Grace was dressed, as she had been the night before, and once again asked people to come forward and be healed. Several did and Josephine looked at her son.

AJ stared back at her not wanting to encourage her belief in this nonsense. Realizing that AJ wasn't going to help her go to the front of the room, she called out to Grace to get her attention. Smiling, the girl came down the aisle and knelt next to Josephine. "How can I help you, sister?"

To be continued…..