Hope and Seth's high school argument sent her into Ricky's arms. Nine years later, she is free of her forced marriage, but not the stigma. When Ricky flees the law, Seth returns to her life.
Surrounded by criticism and threats, Hope finds shelter with her foster-family and their new diner. With their help, she puts her life back together, and her children begin to heal.
Seth wants to be there for Hope, but their past mistakes make them both hesitant to love again. What can he do to defeat his rival when Hope doesn't seem to realize how feels, after all he has done to be her knight in shining armor?
"Yeah, well, just between you and me, your Uncle Lawrence doesn't speak for God. I think God is nice to you all the time, whether you're good or bad. And from where I sit, honey, your daddy is the one who's sinning and rebelling."
"That's what I think." Tessa crossed her arms on the table and looked up at him, her face momentarily that of a weary young woman three times her age. "How come Daddy ran away? Is it like when Ronny Douglas stole the teacher's ceramic apple and broke it, and he ran away when she didn't believe him that April Howser did it?"
"Yeah, a lot like that." Patrick bent over his pie crust again. "You're a pretty smart kid, you know that? I bet you're a big help to your mama."
"Yeah? Why do you say that?" He picked up a bowl of apple pie filling and poured it into the prepared crust.
"'Cause I'm a sin child and I'm never gonna be any good unless I work hard and God forgives me." Tessa spoke so matter-of-factly, Hope knew her daughter had rehearsed the words many times in her mind.
"Who said you were a sin child?" she demanded, putting the boxes of catsup and mustard bottles down on the counter by the door. Hope muffled a sob when Tessa looked up at her with old pain in her young eyes. "What have you ever done that you have to earn God's forgiveness?"
"Miss Tanya said so," the little girl answered in a whisper.
"Who's Miss Tanya?" Patrick asked. He finished scraping the pie filling into the pie and handed Tessa the rubber scraper full of apple chunks and cinnamon sauce.
"The children's Sunday school teacher back at that horrid place," Hope said, pulling up a stool next to Tessa. "Sweetheart… that woman is entirely wrong."
"But it's the truth. You and Daddy made me before you got married, so that makes me a sin child and that means I'm evil and I'm never going to be worth anything if I don't work really hard to be good." Tessa spoke to the rubber scraper rather than Hope or Patrick. When she finished, she took a tentative lick of the pie filling.
"You are not a sin child. You are not evil. You are God's gift to me," Hope said, her voice rough with the effort not to shout. She put an arm around Tessa and brought her daughter close against her side. "God brought good out of evil by giving you to me. Your daddy and I did wrong, but that doesn't mean you are wrong, that you are evil. You are not to blame. If anyone ever tells you something so cruel, so wrong, ever again, you laugh at them and tell them they're lying. You tell them they're stupid and they should ask God to forgive them for saying such evil, lying things. You hear me?"