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“I can’t,” Kit said. “We barely know each other.”

Jayden locked eyes with her. “We’ve known each other for most of our lives. You know me, Kit. I know you. We may have lost touch for quite a few years, but we still know each other.”

“We still know each other.” Kit repeated his words. He could tell by the look on her face that she was considering his invitation.

“Come on, Kit. What do you have to lose? It’ll be an adventure.”

Chapter Five

“You came to Vegas with me and we were married four days later,” Jayden said, his voice infused with emotion. The trip down memory lane had left them both emotional.

“You asked me what I was doing for the rest of my life and gave me a cigar band as a ring.” Kit shook her head. “It was the perfect proposal.”

“I never in a million years thought I could fall so hard and so fast.”

“Me neither. And remember when we came back home to Hope Valley and told our families? No one could believe we’d gotten married.”

“They thought we were pulling their legs,” Jayden said.

“We were so hopeful back then,” Kit said, dabbing tears from her eyes. “Honestly, I haven’t thought about how our love story began for a really long time.”

Jayden reached out and clutched her hand. “We had faith. In our love. In God. In each other and our future.” Jayden shook his head. “What happened to us? Even though our wedding was impulsive, it was done out of love. We stepped out on a limb of faith and pledged our lives to one another.”

“I don’t regret a single moment,” Kit whispered, tears coursing down her face.

“You’ll always be the great love of my life,” Jayden said, choking on the words.

Kit sniffled. “Things became so complicated. We couldn’t face up to our problems without lashing out at each other. The fear and anger seemed to surpass everything else.”

“And pride. We let our pride get the best of us. Neither one wanted to admit fault. Neither of us ever backed down.”

“I’m so sorry, Jayden. I should have fought harder to hold on to what we had. I should have remembered our wedding vows.”

“We can move past all of this, Kit.”

Kit wiped away tears with a tissue. “Oh, Jayden. I think we can too. We lost our way, When things got tough we caved. We crumbled under the pressure. We lost faith in each other and our ability to ride it out.” She shook her head fiercely. “Never again. Being here at the cabin has allowed both of us to remember the strength of what we had. Things aren’t always going to be rosy and we can’t expect them to be. Life is hard. Marriage is even harder.”

Jayden reached out and cupped her face between both of his hands. “I’m willing to wade through all the difficult stuff in order to save our marriage. I’m willing to fight for it.”

Kit began crying hard. She nodded her head in agreement, too overwhelmed to speak. “Oh, Jayden,” she finally said. “I love you so much. And I don’t want a divorce. I only want to be your wife, your other half.”

“I love you too, Kit. And I’m going to spend the rest of my life showing you just how much I truly adore you,” Jayden said, wrapping Kit up in his arms and placing a tender kiss on her lips.

Christmas Day

Tasha folded her arms across her chest and gazed at the newly married couple with a look of satisfaction etched on her face. Georgia, Robin and Mallory stood beside her, their faces beaming with pride.

Kit tightly held Jayden’s hand and looked over at the best friends she would ever have in her life. Because of them, she and Jayden had been reunited at the cabin. Because of their faith in their love story, they had stepped out on a limb of faith and worked to put them in each other’s orbit. Kit had been forced to take a good look in the mirror and face her own false pride and stubbornness. Jayden had also been forced to face his flaws and they had both committed themselves to being better spouses to one another in the future.

That’s what it was all about. Marriage was give and take. Learning. Facing your flaws and working hard to be better for each other. Striving for better communication and a deeper understanding of the other person’s needs. Knowing God was by your side during the good times and the bad. Not expecting perfection. And learning to toughen up as you faced the hard times.

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“Can you believe this?” Jayden asked as his gaze surveyed the ballroom. “So many people came out today to witness our vow renewals and to celebrate with us. I never knew we were so loved.”

“We’re very loved, Jayden. God loves us so much that he paved the way for another chance at making things right in our marriage. And we had friends and family who were willing to fight for us. That’s a rare thing.”

Jayden reached for her hand and squeezed it tightly. He bent down and pressed a kiss against her temple. “It really is, sweetheart. Their faith in us will serve as a reminder of the fact that people believe in us. It’s really not just us, Kit. And one of these days, we’re going to have children, whether it’s biological or adopted. I just want to raise kids with you, Kit. I want to have a family.”

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