Under The 5th Street Bridge
Last Easter, Trey Lawson returned from war with a combat injury and a long road to recovery. A year later, his life appears to be back on track, but he’s not exactly where God wants him. He couldn’t be. He’s miserable. Joy Cavanaugh has waited a year for Trey to snap out of it. Their once-serious relationship has all but disappeared since his return. She’s convinced he still loves her, but why has he shut her out? He’s made it clear he’d rather spend his time ministering to the homeless men under the 5th Street bridge than to allow her back into his life. As they herald the holiest of all Christian celebrations, can Trey let God resurrect his life, or will Joy have to give him up forever?
Awards & Other Kudos
**Easter Lilies Contest Winner**
Trey Lawson swallowed two aspirin tablets and prepared to hoist the final four cases of canned fruit onto the flatbed cart. Pain surged in his right hip and knee, followed by the tell-tale tingling and numbness that meant it would be a minute before he was sure his leg would continue to hold him. He pressed on. It was late in the day, and if he didn’t get into town before dark, there was a good chance the homeless residents under the 5th Street bridge wouldn’t get dinner.
And that was unacceptable.
He grabbed the handle and headed for the door, grateful for the chance to use it as a support.
He pushed harder. With any luck at all, he’d clear the exit before Joy Cavanaugh got her pointy red claws in him.
The cloud of her perfume danced in his nostrils and traveled into his skull, thereby suffocating about a million brain cells he really needed to keep alive.
He turned as fast as his leg would allow. “What’re you doing here, Joy?”
“I’m here to help.”
His gaze traveled the length of her body. Blue suit. Stiff white blouse. High heels. He snorted like a twelve-year-old girl. “Yeah, right. In that outfit? Besides, you’re late.”
“The church bulletin said four.”
“The church bulletin said three.”
“Whatever. What can I do?”
“This is the last load. We’re finished.”
Huge blue eyes flashed with almost believable sincerity and disappointment. She reached for the cart. “I’ll help you push.”
“No!” He leaned into the handle and moved forward. “Go home, Joy.”
“Why? I’m on the Easter Food Drive Committee, too.”
“Then you shoulda been here on time.”
“I was trying to make arrangements for the newspaper photographer to meet me here. I was hoping for an article on the religion page. The more publicity, the more food.”
So that was it. The Phony Plastic Princess was looking for a photo op. That would certainly explain the clothes...but the hair?
“What’s with your hair?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean it looks like your nephew got a hold of the scissors again. First your brother’s cat, now this...”
“Oh, you’re funny.” She brushed her hand through the short spiky strands. “It was time for a change.”
He started moving. If he looked away, he could still imagine her long blonde ponytail as she sped away from him on her first pink and purple mountain bike.
“Anyway,” she persisted, “the guy from the Houston Chronicle couldn’t come.” She tossed her giant bag—no doubt full of girly nonsense—alongside the food, and fell in step beside him.
He paused and handed it back to her. “Look, Joy. I’ve got to get this stuff on my truck. So if you’ll excuse me—”
“I told you I would help.”
“What’re you going to do? Carry that bag of useless junk downtown and moisturize the homeless? They need food, not makeovers. If they see little slices of cucumber, they better be in a salad and not on their puffy eyelids.”
“You know, Trey, when we were dating, you never used to be so mean.”
“Yeah, well, you never used to be such a priss.”