Curl up with an Irishman.
This excerpt comes from an upcoming young adult short story to be released in late November, A Miracle for Mari. In this scene, Mari Tatum is talking to her boyfriend, Shay McNab, about the Christmas Play they will both be in and thoughts of the future. But what Shay doesn't know is, fatherhood will come sooner than he's ever planned.
A fall from grace. A miracle of life. A gift of forgiveness.
Mari Tatum has a secret. Forced to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the church play, she finds herself working alongside Shay McNab, the very boy she’s keeping a secret from.
Yet in the story of Christ’s birth, she finds that in God’s hands her fall from grace can become a miracle.
A Christian novella dealing with teen pregnancy and the true meaning of the season.
The low light in the barn and the breeze that blew through chilled the air inside considerably. Mari leaned over the stall door, stretching her fingers for the horse’s head. Bitsy looked miserable, her sides distended, her head drooped. She twitched and her skin flexed and pulled.
Mari’s mind returned to the figurine – Mary, great with child, on her way to Bethlehem. What was she thinking that day? Of the pending birth? Of the care of her husband? Of the fulfillment of the angel’s words?
Maybe she wasn’t thinking anything at all. Maybe instead she pondered the length of the journey and her own discomfort. Much like the horse.
“Can I touch her?” Mari asked.
She withdrew so Shay could open the stall door. The horse snorted at her presence and swiveled her ears. Mari stroked her rounded belly. “My mother said it was all worth it.”
She made the statement without turning around, hearing Shay’s boots scratch over the floor. “Having me, I mean,” she added.
Still he didn’t speak.
“I asked her only a couple days ago. I was looking at some photographs. Me when I was born, thinking, you know about Mary.” She inhaled a shaky breath, her nerves tingling. “You ever think about it? Being a father?”
She braved a glance then. He was staring at her, his gentle blue eyes bright in the darkness.
“No. Well, maybe a little,” he said.
“Y-you don’t object to having children. Do you?”
Her gaze lit on his hands curved over the top of the door, and she tried to picture him holding a baby. His baby.
He slouched on one hip. “No. Always figured I would … someday. Why?”
She looked back at the horse and laid her cheek against her warm furred shoulder. “Just wondering. The play and all, you know.”
The horse nuzzled her and tiny hairs on her snout tickled the underside of Mari’s arm.
“What you waiting on, girl?” she asked. A flash of life moved beneath Mari’s palm, and she stilled her hand, savoring the thump and strike.
Knowledge grew in her heart. That was what Mary thought about. Not the journey nor the dangers, not her discomfort at the load she carried, but contentment in the miracle of pending motherhood. That she, a girl from a small town, would deliver a child.
A child with a future. The Savior of the world.
Unthinking, Mari looked down at herself and a picture formed. She would be a mother; Shay would be a father. This was their child. Theirs.
Her fingers numbed, and she turned her head, finding his gaze.
That didn’t excuse what they’d done. Things would still be difficult. She still had to figure out how to tell him, and how to tell her parents. Feelings would be hurt and words said; they had a price to pay. Their story wasn’t Mary and Joseph’s.
Yet when all was said and done, for the miracle growing inside her, it might be worth it.
Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.