Gray got in her way, when Nikki stepped into the willow garden, keeping her from going directly to Mercy Grace's marker. She reached down to grasp his collar to turn him aside, but something in the big dog's eyes made her shiver and pause. She saw Brock move past her and turned to watch him.
His legs wobbled a little. His shoulders hunched, just enough to be noticeable. He clenched his fists.
"Oh, please," she whispered.
What bothered her more? The tears that touched her eyes as she realized this moment hurt him? Or her anger? What right did he have to hurt for their murdered child? He had ordered her to abort when Mercy Grace was little more than a handful, not even visible inside her mother's body. He had slapped her and tore up the Gideon Bible she had found in the nightstand and devoured, begging God for guidance and strength.
"I'm sorry, baby," Brock whispered, and bent over, reaching out as if to touch the bronze marker and the new carpet of cherry blossom petals strewn across it.
A tear fell off the tip of his nose, sparkling in the afternoon sunlight as it tumbled down to the marker.
Lord, please help me forgive him. I can't accept Your forgiveness to me, for all the stupid, selfish things I did, until I can forgive him.
Nikki choked on mixed laughter and tears as her prayer echoed through her mind and heart. How many times had Joan and Vincent and the Carters counseled her on being forgiving and accepting forgiveness during her year of training at Quarry Hall? So many times, she had lost count.
She thought she had forgiven Brock, until she saw him again.