Forever Innocent is the story of Gavin and Corabelle, lifelong friends and high school sweethearts who experience an unplanned pregnancy in high school. They rearrange their life around the birth of the baby, but he is born premature and with multiple problems, and on his seventh day, they have to make the decision to take him off life support. Gavin deserts Corabelle at the end of the funeral and disappears from her life.
The book begins four years later when Corabelle is starting fresh at the University of California in San Diego after running into trouble at her last college. She enters her astronomy class to discover Gavin is taking the same course.
This excerpt begins after she flees the room and Gavin chases after her, catching up in the stairwell of the building.
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I couldn’t help but look up as I descended the rest of the stairs. Gavin was above me, his hair so pale, it was almost white, blue eyes piercing even in the yellow light. He had so much rage coming off him. Like he had earned it. Well, I had too. “Why did this happen?” My voice was powerful in the chamber, stronger and bolder than I felt.
I knew what he meant. The baby or his death? Gavin’s desertion or now, finding each other again?
Hate burned in my belly. Gavin had been my best friend since I was a baby myself, the one person I thought would be there for me all my life. But he’d walked out of the funeral, shucking his jacket and tie as he stormed out, missing graduation, disappearing completely. Gone from my life, just like the baby.
He came down the stairs, slowly, almost as if he wasn’t controlling his own feet. “Do you believe in second chances?” he asked. His voice had gone soft now, losing its edge.
No way. Our baby had not been given a second chance. And Gavin had left me, discarded like his clothing in the aisle of the church. A person capable of that was not the sort of man I could depend on for anything.
But he was holding out his hand, those fingers I had once known so well. My gaze moved from his hand up to his arm, darker and hairier than it had been, to the sleeve of his t-shirt, and his shoulder, broader now, like a man’s instead of a boy’s. Then back up to that chiseled glorious face. And those eyes, piercing blue. I was sure the baby would have them. But I never got to see. He never opened his eyes.
Life rushed at me too hard then and I felt light, like I was floating. My knees buckled and I bent over the rail. Gavin rushed down the last steps and held on to me, pulling me into that familiar embrace. He smelled of outdoors, boyish soap, and the life I’d once loved.
I had to consider that maybe I’d arrived at the college by the sea just to come home.
Stressful, isn’t it? I worry about Corabelle and Gavin a LOT. I have a lot of their story left to tell.
If that wasn’t enough for you, make sure you get on the mailing list, where I send entire chapters out as we go along.
Thank you for being on this journey with me! I’ll be asking for more experiences from families, so if you or someone you know has been through these things direct them to this blog so they can contribute. I am absolutely interested in helping elevate everyone’s understanding of what baby loss families go through, to make this something we can all talk abut more freely.
- Relationship struggles after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or baby loss
- Break up after a loss
- Breaking up and getting back together after a loss
- Premature labor
- Babies with heart and/or lung conditions
- Premature babies
- NICU experiences
- Feeling suicidal
- Teen pregnancy
- Facing pregnancy alone