2014 © Julie B. Cosgrove
Did I really
want this baby? Yes.
Wait, no. Absolutely not.
I recognized her—and that wounded me
deeper than I’d ever imagined.
The barricade of lies, which I’d droned
into my head over the past few months, crumbled the moment
little Josh Holder discovered her on the front steps of the
Bonita Springs Public Library. She lay on the hard concrete,
swaddled in a pink crocheted throw. Innocent eyes, tucked into
chestnut skin, widened as they peered into mine. Thick, straight
strands encircled her head in a coal-colored halo.
“Look Miz Williams. It was taped to her
blanket.” Josh teetered on his eight-year old tiptoes to show
My business card—“Sheila Williams -
Library Assistant.” What
on earth? I tucked a fly-away strand of auburn hair behind
my ear and flipped the card over. On the back a familiar
handwriting scrawled, “She’s yours if you want her.”
Mine? If I want her? The card trembled between my fingers. A
tumult of emotions swirled inside of me like a Dervish dancer.
Anguish because she was my now-imprisoned husband, Robert’s,
illegitimate child. Anticipation she could be what I’d secretly
desired—a baby of my own. Anger over the fact she existed at
all. My nerves mimicked the twirling leaves on the sidewalk in
front of the library, whipped by the tropical storm brewing
Thunder rumbled. Or did my heartbeat
thump a warning inside my eardrums? No one from my past in Texas
had been told I now lived in Florida. Except for Becky, who’d
help me settle into my new life. But she wouldn’t tell. Her
federal job depended on secrecy. So, who dropped off this child?
I scanned the city block. Then, I spied
him. Tom. The one man I’d almost trusted. A smile eased across
my lips. So, he’d kept his promise to Robert after all. He’d
made sure the baby lived. Now, Robert’s hold on him was broken.
The old Navy buddy debt paid.
Oh, how I envied Tom’s freedom from my
husband’s evil vice-grip. My thumb rubbed the place where my
wedding ring once sat on my finger. My faith told me I remained
shackled to Robert—for better or for worse—even though the Feds
had changed my identity and my marital status when I entered
Tom tipped an imaginary Stetson in my
direction. My mouth opened, but no words came out. There
remained too much to say, and none of it mattered now. So, I
returned the gesture with a slight nod, a heart to heart silent
code I hoped he’d interpret as,
I still love you.
Josh tugged on my sleeve. “Who’s that?”
“Just a man saying, ‘Hi’, I guess.”
Tom had been so much more. My husband’s
friend, turned Federal asset, had become my protector. My
comforter. And a fellow victim of Robert’s manipulative schemes.
As our feelings for each other developed, he represented the
forbidden fruit—a constant reminder of the wrong choice I’d made
with Robert before God and man at the altar five years ago
amidst roses, white lace and taffeta. But, a vow remained a vow.
I wrapped my arms around my chest and
watched Tom walk away, his hands tucked deep into the side
pockets of his well-fitted Dockers. My feet yearned to follow
him. My brain knew better than to respond to their request.
Instead, I pushed the soles of my shoes against the concrete
with locked knees. Any feelings for Tom, and his for me, rested
in God’s hands. I’ll wait, Tom. I’ll always wait. Does your finding me again mean you
With a deep sigh, I tapped the business
card against my palm. My thoughts returned to the cooing bundle
on the stoop. So he’d brought the infant to me. Great.
Now what do I do? I
crouched down to peer at her.
A chill zipped up my spine. How had Tom
gotten one of my cards? Wait—how had he found me? Isn’t WITSEC
supposed to keep my whereabouts a secret? Wasn’t that the whole
Even if my and Tom’s ties to Robert
were severed, the federal agents forbade any connections with my
past. Tom knew that. Did that also hold true for this tiny child
at my feet? My eyes stung from the question.
Oh, why on earth did Tom
give you to me, little one? And where is your mother?
A clap of thunder shuddered against the
library building. Quarter-sized raindrops polka-dotted the paved
stoop—first a few, then more. The warm, moisture-laden Gulf wind
spritzed my face, hiding the tears that welled in my eyes.
“We can’t just leave her here, Miz
Williams. She’ll get soaked.” Josh scrunched his third grade
eyebrows together. It made him appear wiser than his years.
Perhaps he was.
I blinked the emotions back into the
dark crevices of my mind. “Okay, Josh. Let’s take her inside the
He dashed up the steps to open the door
“But,” I raised the baby girl to my
shoulder and whispered into her little ear, “I just can’t let
you into my life. Not yet.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie B. Cosgrove is a freelance
writer, professional speaker and published author. She is a
member of Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, American
Christian Fiction Writers, North Texas Christian Writers, The
Christians Writers Group Two, and Christian Writers Fellowship
She represents Women at Risk
International, a Christian missionary group who sponsor safe
houses for women and children snatched from human trafficking
and slavery in thirteen countries and is actively involved in
Prayer For Freedom, a nonprofit anti-trafficking ministry.
As a speaker, Julie has achieved the highest level of
communication award, the Advance Communication Gold, in
Toastmasters International. She has led quiet days, workshops
and retreats as well as spoken to many women’s and church groups
throughout Texas, Louisiana and Florida, and in Indianapolis.
Julie writes regularly for several Christian websites and
publications. In the past three years alone, her articles have
been featured in Devozine and Alive Now Magazines
published by the Upper Room, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find
Your Happiness, Faith-filled Family Magazine, Good News
Daily, The Secret Place, Light from the Word, and
She has also published five nonfiction works: P.R.A.Y.I.N.G.:
Bringing Power and Purpose to Your Prayers (2009), Song
Notes: Devotionals from the Book of Psalms (2010), What
Can She Tell Us? (2011), Between the Window and the Door
(2012), and Squeeze More God-time Into Your Day
Julie has authored three contemporary faith-based novels.
Focused, set in the Texas Hill Country, which follows a
woman’s journey to find God in her empty nest, was released in
2012. She is working on the other two novels in that trilogy,
Grounded and Rooted. The sequel to Hush in the
Storm, Legitimate Lies, launches through Prism Book Group in
Contact her at
www.juliebcosgrove.com or through her blog,