content advisory: some mentions of substance abuse and an injury as a result.

They were so quiet there on the back seat. Brent cast a glance into the rear view mirror and craned his neck. They were too low for him to see. Traffic slowed to a near stop on the highway again and he turned to look behind him. Gemima, or Gemma, as he called her, and Nate were both sound asleep. Their faces squished adorably and their heads rested against each other. Even though the last thing he felt like doing was smiling, one tickled his lips anyway. No matter how rough life got, they could always make him smile, even when no one or nothing else could. 

Traffic started moving again and he moved his foot to the gas pedal. They were his whole world and he wished that nothing could harm them. There was nothing more that he could have done and his heart turned over at the remembrance of what had happened several hours ago. When he had pledged “for better or worse” at his wedding, he had meant it with his whole heart. And he still hoped for restoration. But that blissful day, he hadn’t foreseen the court order that had come between him, his wife, and their children. 

They were his priority now. He must see to them first before he could even think about attempting reconciliation or trying to help Viola out of this mess. 

He should have seen it coming. The weight of guilt on his shoulders was so heavy, not even Viola’s own words of “it’s not your fault,” spoken in a rare moment of sobriety, could assuage the thoughts of self-deprecation that ran around in his brain like a rat race. He should have noticed the signs. Maybe then he would have been able to help her out of her downward spiral. 

Tears started to his eyes when he looked in the mirror at the cast on Nate’s arm. Even more gut wrenching than the actual event that had sent them rushing to the ER were Viola’s impassioned pleas that she hadn’t meant it and that she would never do anything to hurt her babies. 

He believed her.

But drugs and alcohol made people do crazy things. 

He prayed with all his heart that the rehabilitation program she was in would set her on a path of recovery. They had to spring back from this. They just had to. 

He hated the thought that he was abandoning her to do this on her own. He wanted to be by her side the whole way, cheering her on and reminding her that he was in it to win it and that he wouldn’t leave. 

His heart flopped. Never in his life had he experienced such a heavy feeling of being torn in two different directions. 

She was the love of his life, but these children were the loves of their lives and they had both agreed that at least one of their parents ought to be in attendance until they got things sorted out. 

As bleak as things seemed, Brent had hope. If God could heal the lame and sick and bring people back from the dead. . . then he would certainly heal a struggling addict and restore a broken family. 

And he would pray for exactly that as hard as he could.