About the book:
Placing her baby girl for adoption isn’t the mistake Ally is running away from, but everyone else seems to think it is. As Ally tries to move forward in her life, her past keeps pulling her back, and she wonders if she will ever find true love again. Only holding onto hope can help Ally find the peace she’s seeking.
Ally hasn’t seen or heard from Brandon, the biological father of the baby (Hope) she placed for adoption, since well before Hope’s birth. He’s been living out of state and he came home for a visit and tracked Ally down at the flower shop where Ally is working.
“Why so nervous?” Brandon asked. “I’m still the same old me.”
“Exactly,” said Ally as she swallowed down the lump that was building in her throat. “You’re the same old Brandon who told his best friend that she could either abort the baby she was carrying—which, by the way, was his—or go jump in a lake.”
Brandon raised his hands to protest, but Ally didn’t let him.
She suddenly had a few things she wanted to say. “You’re the same guy that I was willing to sacrifice everything for . . . willing to not go to school, willing to move to California, whatever it took to be a family with you and our baby, and when I offered you that and asked you to be there for me, you told me no and ran off to the coast!”
Brandon looked at the floor and said nothing.
“So forgive me,” Ally concluded, “if I don’t run right over and throw my arms around you.”
They stood in silence while Ally tried to get her emotions back under control. She was so focused on calming her breathing that she didn’t notice the tears forming in Brandon’s eyes until he looked up and found her face. “I know.”
This was not the response Ally was expecting. “You know?”
“I know I was stupid and that you have every reason to hate me. It’s no excuse, but the only explanation I can give is that I was a scared kid and I didn’t want to risk my football scholarship and my future.” Brandon shrugged his shoulders. “Anyway, I was just home for a few days, and I wanted to come say hi and tell you that I’m sorry.”
Ally didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t anticipated an apology.
She had to admit that she had been wondering about him.
How he was doing . . . whether he even cared that the baby had been born. Maybe she was even worried about him. He had made a few appearances in her dreams at night, and although she could
never remember what they were about, she always awoke from them feeling anxious.
Brandon continued. “I’m sorry that I left you to deal with everything on your own.” He paused and wiped his eyes. “I heard it was a girl . . .”
“Yeah. She is beautiful.” Part of Ally still wanted to punish Brandon for turning his back on them, but she had already made her peace with the situation, and she knew that digging up her old grudge wouldn’t help anyone. Brandon had come to try and make things right in the only way he knew how. She would let him.
After all, after having felt the power of forgiveness in her own life, how could she deny that gift to him?
Brandon nodded. He smiled, and Ally noticed that his eyes were damp. “Of course she would be . . . with you as her mom.”
Ally blushed. “She has your curly blond hair, and her nose is just like mine.”
“Mom says that you gave her up.” There was confusion behind his eyes.
“No. That’s not how I see it. I gave her a family. I gave her a home. I gave her more than I could offer her. When I placed her for adoption, I gave her everything she deserves.”
“Do you miss her?”
“Do you wish . . . things would have turned out . . . differently?”