Dave stood by the door and looked in at his daughter who was squashed in one bed with the triplets. The oldest of the triplets, Amari, was sleeping with her head on his daughter’s chest. It always made his heart happy to see how close the two girls were even if Amari wasn’t really his. Deep down in his heart, he always felt like she was because he had been the since the day she born. In fact, he had been there even before she was born when her mother was still just pregnant. She had her brothers had been part of the reason he had survived the death of his wife. Dave thanked God everything for his family, his daughter, the triplets, and Jess, the triplets’ mother.
The triplets’ mother was the major reason he had pushed through when his wife had died. Jess had been there for him since from day 1. In fact, Jess had been the one to introduce him to his late wife, and so she was the reason he had known any kind of love at all. When his wife had died, she had stuck by his side and had ignored her own problems just to be there for him. It was true that he had helped her out as well by being there for her and her triplets when they found out she was pregnant but for some reason, he couldn’t give himself any praise for that. Firstly, she had been there for him through thick and thin, so being there for her in her moment of need was not just a good deed, it was a necessity. Secondly, someone had once insinuated that it was his fault that she had fallen pregnant at such a young age to begin and he was inclined to agree with them.
While he did not understand their reasoning when they blamed him, he definitely had his own reasons for agreeing with them. He couldn’t help but think that if he had not been so self-absorbed he could have protected her from what happened. And knowing Jessie the way he did, he was pretty sure that the story she had told everyone was just a pack of lies. She knew who the father of her babies was and the scary part was that the act that produced these beloved babies had probably not been consensual. Whatever happened, and however things happened, she had not actually had a choice in whether or not it happened, or how it happened. As a result, he felt that it was his duty to take care of her now. He had failed to protect her when it mattered but now he would not abandon her.
It hadn’t been easy been there for her during the time whilst he was dealing with his own issues. And if he was truly honest with himself, he had failed in that regard except for being there for her physically. Emotionally he had failed to keep up with things and he had not even demanded from her to know what was truly going on. Maybe he didn’t want to know? Why else would he not ask even when he knew that if he asked she would definitely not be able to lie to him or to withhold the information for too long. He could only come to the conclusion that he really just was not ready to face the reality that something had happened to his little and someone had hurt her. Spiritually he had failed to be there for her as well but he wasn’t too sure he had anything to offer her on that front. The least he could have done though was to show his abundant love to her.
Before he met her, he had not known what it felt like to have family and to have someone love you and that had all changed when she had decided that he would make the most perfect older brother. She had taken him under her wings and shown him what it meant to love and to be loved. In his mind, even if he had not ended up getting married to her older sister, she would still be his little sister. Their bond went beyond that of the relationship that had been formed when he married her sister. And in his mind, he completely refused to think that someone had treated her the way he had grown up seeing girls being treated in the children’s homes he had grown up in as a child.
Not facing the situation made him a coward though because he was leaving her alone to deal with all that was happening and he was basically ignoring the fact that she might need him. Not that Jess wanted him to know though because if she had she would have been the first to tell him…or would she? Things had definitely changed from the time where she would tell him everything. Years back before his wife died she had been a different person. She would have told him how she felt if things were not the way she wanted it to be or if something was wrong. These days however it felt like she was keeping a lot from him. He didn’t blame her though because he knew the way he had been acting. What was his excuse for not manning up and getting to the bottom of things all these years? For how long was he going to mourn his wife and ignore the life around him? How long was he going to use his work with the youth at his church and every other thing he did for his church to hide behind his fear of committing to something again?
Jess, in all the years that had passed, had more than proved to him that loving someone does not necessarily mean they will leave you. She had stuck by his side through thick and thin, never once putting herself before him and proving her unending love for him in every breathe. Why was he, a man of God, a youth leader and a believer of His word failing to follow his own beliefs? Was it that maybe he wasn’t actually a believer after all and he was only one of those people who profess the word but does not actually believe in it? He had God in his life so technically speaking, he had nothing to fear. So what if he was scared that Jess would get married and forget about him, he would always have God. God who said I will never leave you nor forsake you. Plus, he would have his daughter.
Nodding his head to himself as he closed the door to his daughter’s room, he froze, hand still on the handle as realized the thought that he had just had. For so long he had been disapproving of the relation that Jess had with her current boyfriend, Simon…though of course as per his now typical behavior, he had not said anything to her about his misgivings. Of course, he was sure that somewhere somehow she knew how he felt but she would carry on being with the guy anyway unless Dave actually verbalized his grievances. Her parents and the rest of her family…and the church…approved of the relationship and so she was basically stuck in it. Was that the reason he had not said anything? Or maybe was it because sub-consciously he knew that the only reason he didn’t approve was that he was afraid of losing Jess to Simon?
And it wasn’t because he was in love with her or anything, but it was because he knew that a lot of people, including her current boyfriend, did not approve of their relationship. If she got married to him, or anyone in their church, he would be saying goodbye to that aforementioned relationship. No one in the church understood how close they were or what they meant to each. Take away all the mess shadowing everything, there was a whole lot more to their relationship than what most people saw. He loved her from the bottom of his heart and he knew that she loved him too. Despite everything that was happening, he wasn’t sure he would survive being cut off completely from her. He saw her as a gift from God in his life, sent to show him what love was and to help keep him grounded. How far would he fall if he didn’t have her in his life? And what kind of thinking was that to begin with?
It was time that he man up and stopped running away from his reality. If all this time all he had been afraid of was losing Jess to her future husband, then he was being selfish and thinking only of himself. Maybe it was time to finally face all his fears and help Jess face hers. It was time to be the man he was meant to be and to help his little sister prepare for marriage or whatever her future held. And the first thing he would start with was the obviously tense relationship between her and her daughter Amari. Though he hadn’t said anything, he had noticed how rough things had gotten between the two of them and he suspected it was because Amari wanted to know who her father was. Of the three of them, Amari was the stubborn strong-willed one who always wanted things to go her way. Her two brothers were more on the quiet side and they always let their sister have centre stage. They were really protective of their mom though so maybe it was time he intervened before he had a full-blown family war on his hands.
He had only a couple of days before Jess came back from camp for him to get his life together before he dug into Jess’s world. He would pray and talk to God for the Almighty to guide him and lead him in this direction that he had decided to take. It would also give him a chance to get ready to receive some very bad news from her regarding what had happened to her and he would need a clear mind for that. He realized that getting the information he needed out of her was probably not going to be easy but this was the way it was going to have to be and he would go all the way to figure out what had happened. Eventually, she would tell him and together they could heal and deal with whatever issues had been caused by the whole thing. Together they would find a way to communicate with the children what had happened and it would probably be the last big thing that they did together as a family.
First things first though, he would get himself some counseling. He would definitely not go to his own church because he knew that the counselors would feel a need to report to pastor considering his position in the church and he just did not want his to problems to be known by the whole church. His only choice now was to contact Jonathan and meet with someone he knew who was a Christian counselor and who went to Jonathan’s church. J had offered more than once to introduce him to the lady but for a long time, Dave had resisted the offer. The younger man had however been God sent in all other aspects of his life, and again he had Jess to thank for that as he was Jess’s best friend. For the longest time, he had hoped that J and Jess would hook up and someday get hitched but he had long since given up on that idea and had accepted that they were really just friends. That reality to him was a sad one because J was one of the few people who understood his relationship with Jess. Even more than Ruth, who always seemed to look at him with suspicion every time they were in the same room.
He would call J and have the man help him out with sorting through things and in getting him a counselor. For better or for worse, his life was about to change. He prayed and hoped with all his heart that it would change for the better…he wouldn’t know what to do with it changed for the worst. One thing that was clear in his mind was that Jess deserved better from him and better is what she was going to get, no matter what the cost on his end. She didn’t deserve anything less than great.
God help him.