All I Have

Free All I Have by Felicia Rogers

Book: All I Have by Felicia Rogers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Felicia Rogers
pressed down as she was pushed into the back seat of the car. Ellie stood beside Jake with her arm wrapped around his middle.
    Nicholas stayed back while Shane approached them. "What happened?"
    Jake sighed and shrugged while Ellie explained. "Carla's had some charges levied against her. It seems she's been married a few times before and neglected to get divorced."
    Shane's eyes widened, but he kept silent. Ellie shot a glance in Nicholas' direction before leading her father inside.
    Shane came up beside Nicholas and grasped his arm. "Let's go home, son."
    Nicholas followed his father to their cabin. The next morning, after a restless night, he sought Jake out and found him sitting in the swing staring blankly.
    "Jake, I–"
    "Sit, Nicholas. Don't talk, just listen."
    Nicholas sat on the other end of the swing.
    Jake half smiled. "I built this swing for Annie. She was a wonderful woman. Everyone loved her. She wanted a house full of children. And I was more than willing to give them to her. But after she had Ellie and they found out she had cancer, they had to remove everything just to keep her alive. My wife, my wonderful wife, decided right then and there she would help every stray animal and child she found. And believe me, she found a few. A couple of times we came close to adopting, but something would always happen. When Ellie went away to college, Annie was devastated. I mentioned adoption again. Imagine me, almost fifty, becoming a father again. But Annie was ecstatic. She could think of nothing else. Then the accident happened."
    Jake's eyes took on a faraway look. He motioned in front of him. "Look around you. Everything you see was for Annie. She was my life. Then she was just gone." Tears filled his eyes and he rung his hands. Clearing his throat, he continued, "Carla was a failed attempt at regaining some of that back. It hurts to admit how stupid I was. I knew all along it wouldn't work. That she wasn't here for me. I just didn't want to believe it. So, I want to tell you that I'm sorry."
    "Let me finish. I know you have feelings for my girl. I see it, so there's no need to hide it. But I want you to make me a promise."
    Nicholas nodded.
    "Promise me that before it's too late you'll do something about it."
    "Yes, sir, I promise." Nicholas jumped up, happy to have received Jake's blessing. But soon his enthusiasm died. He didn't know where to go or what to do next.
    "She's in the apple orchard, son."
    "Apple orchard? Got it. Could you give me directions, please?"
    Jake laughed and told him the shortcut. Nicholas took off running, not stopping until he saw trees filled with large red, juicy apples and a girl walking amongst them. She stopped and turned, watching his approach. He paused a few feet away.
    "I got your flowers and note," she said.
    "I'm glad," he responded, suddenly feeling shy.
    "Thanks." A red hue blossomed across her cheeks.
    "I think I should be thanking you."
    "For what?"
    "For talking to the Sheriff. What did you say to him, anyway?"
    "Oh, nothing much. Bits of the truth, mixed with tiny suggestions that he run a background check."
    "Did you know–"
    "No, I didn't."
    "Will your dad be okay?"
    "Yeah, he'll be fine. He has the farm."
    "Do you think he'll want my dad to leave because, well…"
    A warm hand clasped his arm. "I don't think he'll want him to leave. In fact, I think Shane needs to stay so they can share their memories."
    Nicholas looked down, shuffling his feet. He looked back up. "We could give them more memories."
    "What do mean?"
    "I mean, if, well, maybe, in time we can give them grandkids."
    "Sure, someday when we both marry."
    "No, Ellie, I mean you and I can give them kids to love."
    "I know, I just agreed with you."
    "No, I meant you and me together."
    Ellie's eyes widened when Nicholas dropped to one knee. "Ellie Pickett, will you marry me? Will you be all I ever need? Can I give you all I have?"
    Ellie stared at him, unmoving and quiet. Finally, one word echoed

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