Sample of Finding Faith




Copyright © 2016 Taretha Jones

All rights reserved. No part of the work may be reproduced without the expression written permission of the author. This book is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters, events, and incidents in this book are a product of the author's imagination.


As they sat together on her parents’ sofa watching television, Monica Hall turned to her best friend, Faith, and frowned. “I’m tired of being single, Faith.” Monica pointed the remote towards the TV screen and muted the volume. “Why can’t I find a fine, chocolate brotha to marry me like homegirl on the show just did?”

Faith giggled. “You just answered your own question, boo — because it’s a show. It’s television. It’s not real.”

Monica shook her head. Then she smiled and gave Faith a pretend stank-eye. “You’re a good one to be talking, Faith Johnson. You don’t have to worry about finding no already got one.”

Faith’s lips twisted in a half-smile/half-frown. “I don’t know if I’d call Trayshawn my man. We’re just dating.”

Sweetie, he’s been taking you out every Saturday for the last three months...I kinda think that makes him your man.”

Faith shook her head. “I don’t know, Monica. I like having someone to go out with on Saturday nights and all, but I don’t vibe a hundred percent with know what I mean? It doesn’t feel like he’s my soulmate.”

Monica gave her bestie a look that said: Girl Please. Then out loud, “Not your soulmate? He fits the criteria for those ten things that you put on your know, the Ten-Things-to-Marry-Me list? Your last three boyfriends came through on the first nine of your requirements. The only one they were missing was number ten.”

Of course Faith knew exactly what her bestie was talking about. Number ten on her list was: The-Man-I-Marry-Has-To-Be-A-Minister. None of the men she’d ever dated had wanted to pursue preaching.

Monica shook her head. “I don’t understand why you absolutely have to marry a minister, Faith. I’ve personally seen you turn down plenty of good saved brothas...all because they weren’t striving to be up in somebody’s pulpit every Sunday morning. I just don’t get it, boo.”

Faith sighed. “You know my Daddy died when I was only two years old. I don’t even remember him, but he was a preacher. I guess there’s a part of me that’s hoping to find a man like my daddy.”

At that point, a smile made its way onto Monica’s pretty face. “I guess you better hold on to Trayshawn then. He’s the only preacher you’ve been able to hook.”

After she’d left Monica’s home and was driving herself back to the apartment that she shared with her mother, Faith frowned. “Trayshawn meets all ten qualifications on my list. Maybe Monica’s right. Maybe I should try to hold on to him. After all, I never know when I’m gonna run into a preacher-in-training who’s interested in me again.”

Then she shook her head. “Lord, I like him and all, but something about him isn’t clicking a hundred percent for me with Trayshawn. I just can’t seem to put my finger on what it is.”

* * *

Two Days Later:

A man has needs, Faith.”

Faith grimaced as she looked over at Trayshawn. They were sitting in the front seat of his brand new, fresh off the lot Ford Mustang.

She sighed. “I know a man has needs, Trayshawn. But I told you when we first started dating that I was celibate. And you were okay with that.” She pointed at him. “You’re taking pastoral classes at House of to become a man of the cloth. You should be focused on being celibate, too.” She pressed her lips into a thin brown line of disapproval. “You know God’s position on sex before marriage.”

Yeah, he knew what the good book said about fornication — after all, he was a preacher’s kid and it had been beat into his head for half his life . However, where his sexual appetite was concerned, Trayshawn tended to turn a blind eye on all scriptures that had anything to do with sex.

As he glanced over at the woman he’d had his eye on and had been courting for months, a sudden lustful feeling overwhelmed him. Making the decision to bring out the big guns to get what his body was telling him he needed, he reached under his car seat and pulled out a jewelry box. He turned to the beautiful girl sitting beside him and smiled. “How about marrying me then, Faith. That would solve our little problem.” His eyes met hers. “Don’t you think so, sweetheart?”

Faith hadn’t been expecting a marriage proposal. They hadn’t been dating for very long at all. But like many of the other single ladies at Hilltop House of Praise, finding a suitable mate was at the top of her list of life aspirations. Plus, in her dreams and fantasies, she’d always imagined herself married to a minister.

Caught up in the moment, she gave Trayshawn a surprised smile. “Marry you?”

He slid the narrow gold ring with the tiny diamond on her finger. “Yeah.” He grinned. “Marry me, sweetheart. Make me a happy man. I know we’ve only been together three months, but I’ve fallen hopelessly, helplessly in love with you, Faith. You complete me.”

His words were beautiful and they sounded like music to Faith’s ears. Despite all of that, there was a little voice in her head telling her to say no. However, her desire to be a minister’s wife shut the voice down. Before she knew it, she was grinning and saying, “Yes!”

Trayshawn’s beam lit up his handsome face. Now that they were engaged, he knew he’d get the opportunity to sample the sweetness between Faith’s legs. He felt his body tensing in anticipation from just thinking about it.

He leaned across the center console and placed his lips close to Faith’s ear. “You know my brother’s apartment is only a five minute drive from where we are right now. Instead of going out this evening for our date, how about let’s go to his place to celebrate. He’s out of town and his penthouse is empty, but I’ve got the key. We can order in from that Chinese restaurant that you like so much.” Then to really up his chances of her saying yes he whispered, “I even have a bottle of that non-alcoholic champagne that you keep raving about.” He paused for but a second then added for emphasis, “How does that sound future First Lady Anderson?”

The first lady part was the kicker for Faith. Imagining herself as not only a married woman, but also the first lady of some church’s congregation — well, that turned her answer of no into a yes.

She gave Trayshawn a tiny smile. “Okay, future Pastor Anderson...let’s go have dinner at your place and celebrate.”

* * *

An Hour Later:

To Faith, everything was going along just fine with their in-house celebration of their engagement — that is until Trayshawn refused to keep his hands to himself.

While sitting side-by-side on his sofa, and with Trayshawn’s hand snaking up her skirt, settling itself between her thighs, Faith frowned. Then she shook her head and pushed his hand down towards her knees, away from her private parts.

Trayshawn was irritated by Faith’s response to his advances, but he refused to let it show. He knew he wouldn’t make it to homebase if he let his ire shine. He decided to take the charming route instead. “We’re engaged, Faith. And I love you. We’re getting married, sweetheart. I don’t see any reason for us to wait on sex.”

Against her better judgement, Faith sat there on that sofa for close to fifteen minutes listening to Trayshawn sweet talk her and plead his case. She was carrying a world of guilt on her shoulders a half hour later. She’d caved and committed with Trayshawn the intimate act that was reserved for a husband and his wife. No matter how much she tried to justify it by saying to herself that they were engaged, in her spirit she knew it wasn’t right.

* * *

Three Weeks Later:

Faith finally clocked out of her job as a registered nurse at McKinley Medical Center. Her day had been long and she was beyond tired. Accordingly, she was a little irritated when her cell phone kept ringing. She was almost certain that it was Trayshawn calling. Yes they were still getting married, but she’d been limiting the amount of time she spent with him due to him constantly pushing up on her for sex. The guilt from their first little tryst together was more than enough for her to handle. In other words, she wasn’t interested in sexing him again until they were actually married.

Despite her trying to get him to discuss them setting a date for their wedding, he kept avoiding that particular subject. Faith just didn’t understand. Since he says he loves me so much, he should want to set a date for us to marry.

She shook her head. There was also something else bothering her about her fiancee. And that something else was that he always met her at his brother’s house and not his own apartment. She’d been to his place only once. According to Trayshawn, since his place was a hour and a half drive away, it was easier for them to get together at his brother’s house.

She finally pulled into an empty parking spot outside of the apartment complex where she lived with her mother. Then she frowned and picked up her phone from where it was laying on her passenger-side seat.

Lord, she thought to herself, Monica done tried to call me sixteen times in the last thirty minutes. There must be something wrong.

Deciding that it would be best if she handled whatever situation it was out in the parking lot and not disturb her mother, she didn’t go inside her home. Instead she simply reclined back into the seat of her car and speed-dialed Monica’s number. Monica picked up on the first ring.

Faith, Lord it’s about time you called. Are you okay?”

Faith was confused. “Monica, what do you mean by am I okay? Why shouldn’t I be okay?”

Whoa, boo. I guess you haven’t heard the news. Are you by a TV?”

Faith shook her head. “I’m out in my car outside my apartment. What’s going on, Monica? What’s wrong?”

Monica sighed. “Just stay right where you are, Faith. I just pulled out of my driveway. I’ll be there in less than ten minutes flat and we can talk about it.”

Now Faith was really worried. Whatever happened must be really bad for Monica to be rushing over here like she is. “Is it my, Mama?”

No, it’s not your Mama, Faith.”

Well what is it, girl. Give me a clue.”, it’s about your so-called fiancee and we need to talk about it.”

Ten minutes later, Faith was staring at the television screen in her mother’s living room with her mouth wide open. There was an active hostage situation going on at the local shopping mall. Apparently a woman was holding her husband hostage — along with a woman that he’d proposed marriage to. As the news anchor flashed pictures of the three involved in the love triangle incident on the screen, she was shocked to realize it was Trayshawn.

Monica shook her head. “They been broadcasting this on the news all afternoon, girl. They interviewed one of Trayshawn’s cousins. Apparently Trayshawn’s married and he’s been getting engaged to women on the side...just to get sex out of them. He’s been handing out fake diamond rings like candy.”

Monica’s words were cut off by a reporter coming on the television screen saying that he had breaking news to add to the story: This is Joshua McMasters coming to you live from the scene at the Four Seasons Towne Center. According to Greensboro Police Department officials, the hostage situation here is over with. Unfortunately, we have to report to you that it has ended as a murder-suicide. Just minutes ago, Holly Anderson shot her husbandMinister-In-Training Trayshawn Anderson. She shot him four times in the head, killing him instantly. Then she turned the gun on herself. The woman who is purported to be Trayshawn Anderson’s illegitimate fiancee was not harmed in the gunfire.

As the newscaster’s words sank into her brain, Faith grabbed her midsection and crumpled down onto her mama’s sofa. She was angry at Trayshawn for using and deceiving her. But her soul was crying out in agony because she was pregnant with the man’s baby.






Monica frowned as she sat in Faith’s room at Women’s Hospital, cradling her best friend’s newborn daughter on her shoulder. She was worried. It had been a full day since Faith had given birth and her bestie refused to even look at the baby.

Monica was pretty sure that Faith was depressed. I would be too if my mama had disowned me when she found out I’d been knocked up and my baby’s daddy was a deceased no-good cheat. Monica hated thinking ill of the dead, but what he’d done to her friend was foul.

Monica sighed and decided to give Faith-seeing-her-baby another try. Smiling, she walked up to the bed with the baby in her arms. “Your daughter is a real cutie-pie, Faith. She looks just like you. Nothing like her daddy.”

Faith knew that she’d given birth. She hadn’t had any meds during labor, so the pain of her contractions had been hard for her to ignore — even in the dark recesses of her mind that she seemed to be living in. However, she had no desire to see the baby who was the product of her one-time hookup with her supposed fiancee, Trayshawn. She didn’t have anything against her child, she just didn’t feel that motherly draw that she’d heard she was supposed to have. All she felt was an emptiness on her insides.

Refusing to give up, Monica smiled. “I think we should name her Tiana. She looks like a Tiana to me. What do you think about that, Faith?”

As the baby began crying, the tiniest inkling of a maternal instinct broke through the fog in Faith’s brain.

Noticing the tiny change in Faith’s disposition, Monica grinned and lowered the baby to Faith’s bedside. “She looks like a Tiana doesn’t she?”

Despite the emotionless state she’d somehow found herself in, Faith understood that the squiggling little person beside her needed a name. She sighed. “Yeah. I guess Tiana will be fine.”

Even though they’d gotten off to a rocky start, within a couple of weeks of giving birth, Faith began to fall in love with her daughter. Burping her child on her shoulder, she turned to Monica and smiled. “Thanks for letting me and Tiana crash in your new apartment until I can get myself on my feet, boo.”

Monica grinned. “Oh, no problem, Faith. That’s what besties are for.” Then she winked her eye and gave baby Tiana a nose kiss. “Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend time around this little cutie-pie right here?”

Faith of course thought her baby was cute, too. However, she was still a little worried in her spirit where her daughter was concerned. She loved her child — she knew that. But there was a darkness that was starting to crawl it’s way into her mind.

She frowned. I don’t know what exactly this is that I’m feeling, but if it be your will, please fix it, Lord.

* * *

Two Months Later:

The darkness surrounding her mind, body, and soul was overwhelming as Faith sat on a park bench gently rocking Tiana on her shoulder. The sun had set hours ago, yet Faith had been sitting there in the cold with a blanket thrown over the baby for at least four hours. She’d even become oblivious to her daughter’s cries.

Thirty minutes into his evening jog through Barber Park, Raymond Bullock stopped on the paved, well-lit jogging path and frowned at the woman who’d been sitting on the bench ever since he’d first gotten there. She was cradling a crying baby against her shoulder. He held his hand up to the sky, feeling the fat raindrops that were beginning to fall through the branches of the numerous reaching oak trees.

Something in Raymond’s spirit told him that something was very wrong with the beautiful woman sitting there like she was. “Ma’am are you okay?”

He’d gotten no response so he tapped her on the shoulder. “Are you okay, ma’am?”

Still nothing, just a vacant stare.

You can’t keep your baby out here in the weather like this. The temperature’s dropped down into the fifties and it’s starting to rain.”

Overwhelmed by feelings of nothingness and inadequacy, Faith closed her eyes at this point and tears began to dampen her cheeks. She knew she shouldn’t have been out  there like she was. If she could stand up and walk back down the road to her car she would. Her brain just wouldn’t let her do it for some reason.

Is there someone you need me to call for you?”

When she said nothing at all and the baby began crying, he studied the woman a little closer. It doesn’t look like she’s on drugs or anythingshe doesn’t have a glassy or crazed look in her eyes. He grimaced. Wait a second, Lord...I’ve seen that look before...back when I was a soldier in the Army...back in Iraq. His frown deepened. A lot of the soldiers had that lookthe ones who’d been in combat or had seen something traumatic that is. He shook his head. It looks like she’s got shell shock.

As the baby’s cries got even louder, he knew he couldn’t leave them out there in the elements. He took the baby from the woman and cradled it in his arms. From the pink blanket surrounding the beautiful child, he assumed he was holding a baby girl.

Given the mental state the woman obviously was in, he wasn’t really surprised that she didn’t object to him taking her baby.  Then he gently cupped his hand under the woman’s elbow. “Let’s get the two of you out of this bad weather. Let’s get you somewhere safe and warm.”

The thought had entered his mind to call the authorities, but the Lord had put it on Raymond’s spirit not to. Being a man of faith, when God put something on his heart, he tended to follow those instructions.

Since he wasn’t sure of the woman’s mental state, he quickly activated the child safety locks in his late model Lexus. Then he handed her the baby, buckled them in, and made his way  to the driver’s side.

As he drove out of the sprawling park he glanced over at the woman and smiled. “I’m Raymond by the way. Raymond Bullock. I own a bed ‘n breakfast on the outskirts of town. I figured I’d take you know, so that maybe you could rest a little and get your bearings.”

Raymond chit-chatted with the woman for the entire fifteen minute drive out to the spacious home that housed his bed n’ breakfast. Seeing that she didn’t respond back to his conversation, it was really just him doing all the talking.

When the car she’d been riding in came to an abrupt stop, Faith finally opened her eyes. A small part of herself knew that she’d just rode off with a complete stranger and that that was dangerous. But she didn’t really care. She didn’t really care about anything. Not if she lived, if she died — nothing. There was no protest in her when the man climbed out of his car, came to the passenger side and took Tiana out of her arms. There was also no protest when he led her into the big house.

* * *

An Hour Later:

Dr. Donnica Bullock stepped out of the spacious bedroom at Clover House. At her cousin’s request, she’d just taken a look at the beautiful young woman that he’d brought into his home.

Raymond seemed to appear out of nowhere as soon as his cousin stepped out of the bedroom. “Well, Donnica...what do you think?”

Donnica sighed. “Based on my limited perception...seeing that I practice family medicine and I’m not a psychiatrist...I’d say that she’s suffering from a severe form of depression. Probably postpartum depression.”

Post what?”

Donnica nodded her head. “Postpartum depression. It happens to some women after giving birth. I think it’s in her best interest to get her some professional treatment.” Donnica’s eyes met her cousin’s. “I wasn’t able to get any response out of her when I asked her about whether or not she had family or friends. I think we should call social services to come get the baby and then get the woman admitted to Cone Behavioral Health for a professional evaluation.”

Raymond frowned. “Do you think it’s possible for her to stay here to be treated?”

Here at Clover House?”

Raymond didn’t understand the protective feelings he was having for the woman and her infant daughter — they were virtual strangers to him — but he couldn’t deny that the feelings were there.

He looked his cousin in the eye and said, “ you think she can be treated here at Clover House, Donnica? At least until we can find her family and they can take it from there.” For reasons unknown to him, he didn’t like imagining her with a husband at home anxiously awaiting the return of his wife and child.

Donnica nodded her head. “I suppose she could be treated here at your place. You would need a psychiatrist to come in and look at her though. My friend, Dr. Parker...he’s a psychiatrist. He’ll probably be able to come over on short notice.” Then she smiled. “You’ve always had a big heart, cuz. Since you officially have full time babysitting duties, I’ll do you a favor and run to the store. That baby girl in there is gonna need diapers and formula. Knowing babies like I do, she’s probably gonna wake up from her nap any second now.”

* * *

The Following Morning:

Faith opened her eyes from a dreamless sleep. She felt something or someone tapping her on her shoulder. She hoped it wasn’t the man she’d talked to before taking her nap. He’d said his name was Dr. Parker and then he’d started asking her a bunch of questions. She’d answered some of his inquiries, but not many of them. By the time the man had finished putting her through what she’d felt like had been an interrogation, he’d frowned and told her he was convinced she had postpartum depression. Then he’d asked her if it was okay if he gave her a shot for treatment. She’d nodded her head yes and signed some papers he’d given her. Then she’d received the shot — the one that the doctor had said would make her feel all better.

In all honesty, Faith wasn’t surprised about her diagnosis. She’d been sensing herself feeling more and more down for days — weeks really. She’d just felt powerless to do anything about it. Lots of times throughout her day, she’d even felt like she’d wanted to die.

Raymond tapped the woman on her shoulder another time. She was lying in one of the guest suites in his bed n’ breakfast. Having learned her name because she’d finally given it to Dr. Parker the previous evening, he grinned and said, “Good morning, Faith.”

Raymond figured that the doctor had been right in warning him to expect the shot he’d given her to act quickly. Why? Because the first thing she said when her eyes met his was, “Uh...hi...where’s my baby?”

At that, Raymond smiled. To him, it was a good sign to see her finally interested in the welfare of her daughter. His eyes met hers. “Your baby is safe in my kitchen. She’s being looked after by the woman who runs things around here for me. I don’t know whether or not you remember from last night, but my name’s Raymond Bullock. You’re a guest at my bed n’ breakfast.”

Then he pressed an intercom button that was on the wall and said, “Mrs. Cash, can you bring Ms. Johnson her baby. I think she’s ready to see her.”

Faith wasn’t an avid boxing fan, but her best friend, Monica was. She’d known his face had looked familiar when she’d first cracked her eyes open that morning. Now she knew why. Her eyes met his. “Raymond’re the boxer aren’t you?”

He grinned. He nodded his head. “Ex-boxer, with the emphasis on the ex part. I retired a few months ago.”

Then she did something that she hadn’t done in weeks...she smiled. “My best friend would fall out if she knew I was here talking to you.” Then she frowned. “It’s nice meeting a celebrity of sorts — I’ve never met one before — but I wish it hadn’t been under these particular circumstances.”

He could tell from the look on her face that she was embarrassed. “I had a long talk with the doctor who treated you...postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed about. It happens to women more often than most people think. Since you responded so well to that shot that he gave you last night, he thinks you’re gonna be okay. He left some pills here that he wants you to take once per week. And he wants you to start coming to him for office counseling sessions.” He smiled again. “He’ll be back out for another counseling session in a few hours—,” his eyes met hers, “—that’s if your husband doesn’t get here before then to pick you up.”

She shook her head. A grimace worked it’s way across her pretty face. “I don’t have a’s just me and my daughter.” Seeing that she’d known Raymond Bullock for less than twenty-four hours, she was surprised at how comfortable she felt in his presence.

Pleased that she didn’t have a husband for some odd reason unknown to him, Raymond gave her a tiny smile. “You didn’t have a cell phone on you when I found you yesterday in the park...all you had was your baby and her blanket, I’ll go get my phone and you can give one of your family members or a friend a call. You let them know you and the baby are okay.”

She frowned. “Nobody’s gonna be worried about us. Well, I take that back. My friend, Monica — the one I was just telling you about — she’d be worried for sure. My baby and I have been crashing at her house for the last month or so. I probably should give her a call and let her know we’re alright.”

Before he could make a move to go get the cell phone he’d promised her, there was a brief knock on the door followed by a middle-aged woman coming into the bedroom. She was carrying a very contented-looking Tiana in her arms.

Faith assumed that the woman was the Mrs. Cash that Raymond Bullock had just spoken to. Either way, she was all smiles to see the woman coming in with her baby. Now that the meds the doctor had given her were working, Faith couldn’t stop herself from opening her arms wide to receive her child.

The middle-aged woman with smooth brown skin grinned at Faith as she settled little Tiana into her mother’s arms. “Chile, the good Lord done blessed you with a beautiful little baby right here. She’s a little sweetheart.” The woman’s eyes met Faith’s. “Now what did you say her name was again?”

Faith placed a soft kiss on her daughter’s cheek. “I’m Faith...Faith Johnson. My little peanut here, her name’s Tiana.”

As the baby began making cute little gurgling noises, the woman grinned again. “I’m Mrs. Cash. My husband and I live here with Raymond. We help him run the place. I already fed little miss Tiana, I can bring you a plate of bacon, grits, and eggs if you’re hungry.”

Faith was starting to feel guilty. She’d already taken up a room in Raymond Bullocks home overnight and they’d already fed and taken care of her baby. She shook her head. “I don’t want to put you to anymore trouble. Everybody around here has done enough for me already. I think I’d better go ahead and get myself and Tiana out of your hair.”

Mrs. Cash shook her head. “It’s really been no trouble at all, chile. It was a pleasure looking after that there baby. She’s such a sweetheart.”

Raymond grinned. He thought the baby was adorable, too. “I’ll go get that phone so that you can call your girlfriend. I’ll give you our address. I’m sure she’s gonna want to rush over here to pick the two of you up.”

At that point, Faith frowned. “My friend, Monica...well, she went out of town on business a few days ago. I don’t think she’ll be back until sometime next week. I’ve been a little out of it with my depression and all, but I’m pretty much sure that’s what she said.”

A concerned look made its way onto Raymond’s handsome face. “So you and the baby are gonna be alone for a week or so?”

Faith nodded her head. Raymond shook his. “That’s not good, Ms. Johnson. Those meds that Dr. Parker put you on are working — we can tell that — but he said that you can’t be left on your own for at least a month. Postpartum depression isn’t something to play with. You being by yourself right now could be bad for both you and that beautiful baby right there in your arms.”

Mrs. Cash decided to chime in. “Do you have family close by, honey? Somebody you could go live with?”

Faith immediately thought about her mother. But she knew her mom was a no-go. That was due to the fallout they’d had when her strictly religious mom had realized that Faith was pregnant out of wedlock. Faith shook her head. “No. I don’t have anyone I could go live with.”

Without hesitation, Raymond said, “You’re staying here. The room you’re in right now isn’t booked. Me, Mrs. Cash, and Mr. Cash wouldn’t mind looking out for the two of you.”

Mrs. Cash nodded her head. Then she smiled. “Yep. We’re Christians ‘round here...Christians who take God’s word mighty serious. Helping you and that baby in your time of need is what the good Lord would want us to do.”

Faith shook her head. “Your offer is generous. But I can’t let you guys do that. Due to my illness, I haven’t worked in months. I can’t afford to pay for this room.”

Grinning, Mrs. Cash shook her head. “We not asking you to pay for the room, honey.” She turned to Raymond. “Are we Ray?”

Raymond smiled. “Nope. Mrs. Cash loves kids.” Then he chuckled. “I think she wouldn’t mind if Tiana paid her in baby smiles.”

Faith thought it ironic that her daughter chose that exact moment to give Faith a broad grin that literally melted her heart.

Not missing a thing, Raymond chuckled again. “See there, Tiana is paying up already.”

Faith kind of took all of that as a sign from the Lord that she should take Raymond Bullock up on his very generous offer.

His eyes met Faith’s. “You staying, Ms. Johnson?”

Faith sighed. “Thank you...both of you. Yes. I think we’re staying.”