The hardest thing Nikki has ever done is go home to Tabor Heights, to the people who know how far she fell, and the hearts she broke. Working for the Arc Foundation, she is to assess the Mission for funding. She refuses to fail the God who has forgiven her, and let down her home church.
Released from prison, Brock follows Nikki home. Now that he is right with God, he wants more than anything to win her back, and make sure their love is the right kind. Nikki knows she won't find full healing until she forgives Brock, but she discovers she has to forgive herself, first.
"Could I see her grave?" he asked, getting up slowly, like a creaky old grandfather, from the bench against the wall parallel to the stairs. It was a good guess that he had been waiting for her to come downstairs again.
Nikki was just too tired to argue. This wasn't like all the times she swallowed misgivings to make Brock happy. She wasn't scalding her conscience and building a callous that let her do stupid things. She would never throw aside what she knew was right to make someone else happy, ever again. No matter how much she thought she loved him. No matter how much she thought he loved her.
This was keeping the peace, so he would leave as quickly and quietly as possible. Still, she couldn't help resisting a little bit.
"Why? She's not really there."
"I know that. It's just... I was getting all geared up to learn how to be a daddy... and now I'll never know."
"If I had aborted her like you ordered me, there wouldn't even be a marker."
"Nikki!" He stomped away a few steps, whirled and spread his arms as if he would lunge at her. Or hug her. Nikki held her ground, stunned to realize she hoped he would hit her so she could fight back. Vincent and Joan had taught her to hold her ground and defend herself -- but never to provoke arguments, never trick someone into attacking her. What was wrong with her?
Arguing and deliberately baiting someone wasn't approved behavior for a representative of the Arc Foundation. Nikki knew Joan and the Carters would be disappointed, at the very least.
Worse, Jesus would be disappointed. She worked for the Arc Foundation to do good in the world, to heal wounds -- and here she was picking at her own wounds, and Brock's, deliberately making them worse. What was wrong with her? Was it just fatigue? Or hadn't she healed as much as she thought?