Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Did you miss part one? Check it out on my earlier blog post!
As Bella picked up the gift and prepared to leave, the other girls looked at her. They didn’t stop her, and they didn’t cry out to warn their captors. Instead, they laid their hands on her and encouraged her as she left. They found a blanket and fashioned it into a cloak to hide her, and they hugged her and touched the gift as she passed.
Many of them had been given their own gifts in the past and had been forced to throw them away. They knew how much it hurt, and they didn’t want that for Bella.
Someone must have been watching over her, because the guards didn’t notice her leave and not one of the other girls raised an alarm. Bella whispered a prayer for them as she ran, she knew that when the men found her missing they would deal out pain to those she left behind.
As she fled, she realized her gift was slowing her down. It had become heavier as time had passed, and she tired easily as she carried it. She knew that there were places that she could go to discard it. But, when she thought about getting rid of it she remembered growing up in the sunshine with her cousins and her siblings. She couldn’t destroy her gift.
Bella came to a large stone church. She couldn’t go any further, and she collapsed on the steps. As she drifted off into an exhausted sleep she felt warm hands grasp her shoulders, raise her to her feet, and lead her inside.
When she woke she was resting on a narrow cot. At first, she panicked, but she saw the brightly wrapped gift safely tucked against her and she relaxed somewhat. She gazed at her protector with lidded eyes and saw an elderly woman stirring a pot over a fire. The room was small and shabby, but warm and very clean. Most of all, it felt safe. Safer than she had ever been. The old woman glanced over her shoulder at Bella and said, “You asked for protection and He sent me. You and your gift will be safe as long as you’re here. Go back to sleep.” Against her will, because she had been so very afraid for so very long, Bella complied.
After a few days of rest and warmth, Bella felt strong again. The gift had become even larger and heavier, and she knew that it wouldn’t stay quietly in its wrappings for much longer. Her protector knew that too, and she knew that the men were hunting for Bella. Bella wasn’t so terribly valuable, but they would never let a girl escape. If one succeeded then others would try, and they would lose money as well as their reputations.
Her protector clothed Bella in a simple dress and gave her a worn but serviceable cloak. She also tucked food, wrappings, and a very small outfit into a basket and handed it to her. As night fell Bella was laid in a wagon under a false bottom. The driver of the wagon looked at Bella in a new way. Not like her father did, as something to be sold, and not the like the other men did, as something to be purchased, but looked at her as though she was a real person. When he gazed at her he didn’t stare at her gift, and he didn’t stare at her body, he looked right into her eyes. As though she mattered. He smiled at Bella and he cautioned her to stay very still. Bella didn’t smile back, but she took his words to heart. As the wagon rumbled through the streets, Bella held tightly to her gift.
They were challenged at the gates, and she held her breath, but the same Someone who helped her flee the noisy room helped her that night, and the wagon rolled through.
As the wagon traveled through the wilderness Bella got to know her driver. She learned that even though they were alone, and Bella couldn’t run, he didn’t try to touch her. She learned that he watched out for her and was interested in what she had to say. She learned that he thought her gift was as valuable as she did, and he would do anything to protect both Bella and the gift.
After a few days of hiding in the wagon, Bella and the driver came to a small town. The town was not so small as Bella’s home and the people were different, but it felt good. It felt safe. The driver took her to a large inn and spoke quietly with the proprietor. By now, Bella’s gift was quite large and awkward, everyone could see it. She lowered her head in shame. It was not right for a young girl to carry such a gift all alone. She knew it wasn’t her fault. She knew the gift was worthy of protection, but the shame stayed with her.
The driver came back to Bella and told her she would be safe. The people in the inn would watch over her and she would work with them. Her heart skipped a beat as he turned to go, but he stopped and smiled at her over his shoulder. She knew, with a surety she had never had before, that he would be back.
She settled into her life at the inn. The people were kind and they watched over her. Finally, and not too long after she arrived, the day came to unwrap her gift.
Unwrapping it was harder than Bella could ever believe! The innkeeper’s wife and the local healer were with her, encouraging her and holding her hand. More importantly, the same Someone who had been there every time she needed Him was there again, protecting her and her gift and ensuring they survived the process. At the end of several hours of pain and fear, it was over. Finally, Bella could rest and marvel in what she had done. She had never seen anything so beautiful.
The driver of the wagon returned three days later. He came with his wagon full of wood, clothes, blankets, and food. Tied to the back of the wagon was a sturdy ox, a few goats, and a mangy dog. He came to Bella and asked her to be with him, and only him, forever. Bella agreed.
As she settled into the wagon and they rode off for her new home she looked down at the face of her gift, her baby, and she regretted nothing. Her baby had beautiful creamy skin, curly hair, and deep brown eyes. This child would never have her face smeared with mud or be told to look at the floor, Bella would make sure of it. The horror, the pain, and the abuse had brought her something beautiful. She couldn’t wait to see how it turned out.
As Bella, the driver, and the baby drove off into the sunset, she sighed contentedly. Bella and her prince, for no one could tell her he was anything else, lived happily ever after. Not just them, but her sweet baby born of pain and four more born of love. They didn’t have the kind of happily ever after where there is no sadness, no arguing, and no difficulty. They had the kind where you know that you have someone with you through everything no matter what. That’s the kind of happily ever after that really matters.
Generally I write about current events in the pro-life world, but this year I wanted to share some fiction writing. Stay tuned for the next story!