Season of Justice
“To everything there is a season…”
For CJ Harper, an assistant chief of police at a Christian university, it is a season of heartache, danger and deception. For David Harper, CJ’s Texas Ranger husband, it’s a season of coming clean about a secret that has kept him in bondage for years.
Things from the past have a way of turning up again. In A Season of Justice, they don’t just turn up; they explode into the couple’s lives and test their marriage to its limits. It’s time for David to be honest with everyone—starting with his wife. Then David runs into Biff, his best friend from high school, who knows David’s secret.
You will almost smell the salt water breezes drift in from the Gulf of Mexico as the Harpers confront corrupt officials, an amorous high school sweetheart and a person from David’s past that refuses to stay...shall we say, buried.
“David, are you feeling all right today?”
“Huh, what did you say?”
“I asked if you were feeling all right.”
CJ took a long look at her husband who sat in a lawn chair like a mannequin, staring at some distant nothing.
“You didn’t come to bed until after three this morning and you got up at five. I know you don’t need much sleep, but that’s not enough even for you. Something’s wrong, something bad. I can feel it. What is…”
“I told you last night, nothing is wrong.” He softened and escaped from the trance. “Sorry, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately. I never knew how much was expected of a Texas Ranger.”
David kicked the dirt under his lawn chair and changed the subject. “Don’t you have a doctor’s appointment today?”
“Yes, Bea and I are going together. We have appointments at 10:00 and 10:15. I think Bea might have a sonogram today. She should find out if it’s going to be Billy Paul Jr. or Billie Mae.”
David gazed again toward the river as it meandered through their three-hundred-acre farm on its way to the adjoining thirty-seven hundred acres belonging to Bea and Billy Paul Stargate.
“You have to work this evening, don’t you? I guess you’ll need to wear your uniform to the appointment.”
CJ turned and stared. “David, you silly goose; where is your head today? Chief Sylvester is teaching three classes now and your wife…by the way, that’s me… is an assistant chief of police. I don’t have to wear a uniform anymore.”
CJ’s sarcasm floated over David’s head without registering in his mind. “Huh? Oh, yeah. By the way, I’ve been thinking. Isn’t it about time you quit? I mean, with the baby on the way…how much longer are you planning on working?”
CJ bristled. “Mister, I don’t know where your mind is today, but you need to turn on the power. I told you I wanted to work until the end of the second trimester. Don’t you remember us talking about it?”
“That’s too long. I don’t want you working that long…something might happen.”
“Something might happen?” CJ thrust her hands on her hips. “And something might happen to you on a drug bust. Or something might happen to you on a stake out.” Sandy cowered away from the harsh words and left the barn. “Or something might happen to you driving to work. Or a house might fall on you. Or you might slip on a banana peel. Or…”
Without speaking David lifted his six-foot-three-inch frame from his chair and walked across the spacious barn to their temporary home, a travel trailer. He closed the door, changed quickly, and returned to his sulking wife.
“I’m going to the Black Kettle and have some breakfast. I’ll see you tonight. I’m not sure what time I’ll be home.”
“You’re going out for breakfast? I told you I was going to cook us some French toast.”
David walked away without hearing.
“Hey, mister, are you listening to me? Why don’t you plan on eating out tonight, too? Find a table for one.”
The engine to his unmarked Crown Victoria came to life and she heard gravel fly as the car sped past the construction site of their new home.
Sandy returned to where her ‘mother’ sat. “I don’t blame you for ducking out. What’s with daddy? He’s never ignored me like that.” CJ heaved a sigh. “Oh, well. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. Let’s fill up your food bowl and get you some fresh water.”
The height of the sun told CJ the time to be around seven. She slumped in her lawn chair and folded her hands. “Lord, I don’t know what’s wrong with David, but I sure made a mess of things this morning. Please forgive me, and please allow my husband to forgive me. Help him Lord; something important is on his mind. And Lord, please keep all the construction workers safe today as they work on our home. And while I’m asking, keep me and this baby safe…and also Aunt Bea and her baby. Amen.”
The western omelet with extra jalapenos sat like a handful of hot rocks in David’s stomach. He massaged his belly as he returned to his car. A look in the rear view mirror confirmed his suspicions, “I look like I feel.” With his left hand he reached up and scratched the stubble of a day old beard. “That’s just great. I take a shower and then forget to shave.” The reflection of a shiny wedding band caught his eye and he grimaced. “Married four months and I’m already hiding things from CJ. No, that’s not true. It’s much worse. I’ve been hiding this from her for over six years, ever since I first met her. Well, Ranger Harper, you’ve made a fine mess of your life.”
With head down, a soft prayer came forth. “Lord, I know you’re listening to all this. I could use some help.” David glanced through the top of the windshield and observed a cloudless morning. “And a little cheering up wouldn’t hurt either. Thank you, Sir. Amen.”