I love the two verses Cami and Grant talk about in this chapter.
Psalm 19:7 ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…making wise the simple.’
Proverbs 14:15 ‘A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.’
I should have those above my computer when I’m about to dash off an email response. Or a Woe! It’s Wednesday blog post.
The ringing phone jerked Cami awake and she sat up. What…?
“It’s okay, let your answering machine get it.”
She whirled around, heart pounding, ready to kick and scratch. Grant sat beside her, a quizzical look on his face. Oh, yeah. The flowers.
Her shoulders sagged. “What time is it? How long have I been asleep? Was I hurting your shoulder?”
“It’s midnight. No, you were on my good side. You slept an hour or so.”
“You should have kept me awake. It’s too late for you to be here. And who’s calling me at midnight?” The machine finished its outgoing message and she waited for the caller to talk.
“Cami, are you there? It’s Kennie.” Cami leaned over to the phone at the end of the couch and picked up the receiver.
“Hi, Kennie. I’m here.” She watched Grant carry the tea mugs into the kitchen and rinse them out. “How are you?”
“Good. Busy. You know, the usual.”
“Why are you calling so late? What’s up?”
“You’re a night owl and I figured you would still be up so I called while I was thinking about it. I need some painting done in my office.”
“How soon?” Foreboding tickled the hair on her arms. She didn’t need new work right now but it would be tricky telling Kennie no.
“I know you’re busy, so I’m calling early for once. I don’t need the work done until the fall.”
The goose bumps subsided. “No problem. In a month or so I’ll come by and look at the space.”
“Wonderful. I’d be elevated and arid without you.”
“ ‘Elevated and arid’?”
“High and dry. I’m trying to increase my vocabulary and decrease my cliché’s.”
Cami laughed. “Thanks, I needed that. Oops, sorry. I required some levity at this moment in time.”
“Oh, Kennie, you don’t have the time and I don’t have the emotional resources left to tell you about it.”
“You’re scaring me.”
Cami sighed. “Okay, long story short: remember at our dinner, I told you about running into Grant Andrews and you all gave me a hard time about declining his invitation. So I said I’d think about dating.”
“Of course. And by the way, I know you only gave in so easily because you were sure you wouldn’t be asked.”
“Well, you should have known better. Paige did some maneuvering and we ran into him. She kind of chaperoned me through a dinner and a couple of meetings and we’ve been hanging out a little. That’s been…. Well, that’s another story. In the meantime, I seem to have picked up a stalker.”
“What?” Kennie’s voice tightened.
“I know, it’s like a bad episode of Full House – ‘Danny’s being stalked by a fan of Wake Up, San Francisco. Jesse and DJ work together to discover who’s sending gifts.’” Yes, a light and fun tone would cover the fear.
“Except if it was television, it would turn out to be a misunderstanding and it was really Stephanie and Joey playing a practical joke.”
“How are you doing?”
“Not well. But tonight I decided I’m through being a victim. I’m not scared anymore, I’m mad. I think I’m alarming Grant though.” She looked up and saw him standing in the doorway. “Oops.” She forgot he was still there.
“I gotta go. Everything’s fine. Love you, bye.” Cami hung up on Kennie’s cries to wait.
“How long were you listening?”
“Your kitchen is not at the other end of the house. I heard the whole conversation.”
“You didn’t say anything wrong.”
“No.” He chuckled and looked at her. “But I did wonder why you agreed to stay for dinner the same day you’d shot me down. Now I know it was because your friends nagged you into it.”
“Are you angry?”
“Of course not.” His mouth didn’t curve but his eyes danced. “I owe them chocolate and flowers. Speaking of which-” He picked up the vase of flowers and disappeared into the kitchen. She heard the waste can under the sink rattling, then the back door opening. A faint sound of trash being dumped into the garbage can reached her.
A minute later he returned and put his good hand on her shoulder. “Getting back to our conversation on the beach, no amount of wailing about our differing beliefs or trying to deny it will change anything. I’m crazy about you and I’m not going away.”
She put a hand on his arm, not sure if she should back away. “I wish I could believe everything is as simple as you say.”
“It’s a gift.”
“You’ve heard of spiritual gifts, right?”
“Like teaching, service, and mercy?”
“There’s another, little known spiritual gift: simplicity. I’ve been given it in abundance.”
Cami laughed. “I don’t remember that one being mentioned anywhere in the Bible.”
“You never heard Psalm 19:7? ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…making wise the simple.’ That’s me, the simple wise.”
“How about Proverbs 14:15 then? ‘A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.’ Sounds to me like the simple are easily influenced.”
“Guilty. I’m influenced by beautiful women. Well, one particular woman.”
“Didn’t you say it was after midnight?”
“Are you changing the subject?”
Grant leaned down and placed his lips on hers. A rush of confusion and gratitude surged through her. In spite of her crazy life, this man saw something worth pursuing. She finally relaxed into his kiss.
He released her after a long moment and opened the door.
“I’ll be back in the morning. Do you want bagels or donuts?”
Cami moved to the entryway and locked the door. She stood at the window and watched Grant drive away. She lingered in the window even after the Corvette’s tail lights disappeared.
What was she doing? She was supposed to be Miss Sure-of-Herself-and-of-Her-Faith. And somehow she’d ended up dating a famous athlete, who said he was crazy about her. And here she was whining about a problem women around the country would love to have. Women like Delia. Cami tucked a stray hair behind her ear and stared into the darkness.
But the dating-a-celebrity thing paled next to the real issue. Grant wasn’t a believer. She rested her forehead against the glass and closed her eyes. She never wanted to fall for him; it was supposed to be a casual thing to get her friends to back off. If she pretended she still believed they were just friends, maybe she could convince him. And he’d never know that he’d almost gotten to her. Maybe.
She turned out the light and was about to go upstairs when she decided to let Petey out for a pit stop. Her hand froze on the doorknob when a movement across the street caught her attention. A shadow peeled itself away and began to move behind the trees, fading into the dark. More as a reflex than a thought-out response, she jerked the door open and ran onto her front porch.
“Who’s there?” She yelled as the figure broke into a run. “Who are you? Show me your face!” She screamed in frustration as shadows merged and she lost sight of the running form. She stood on the porch, shaking with anger and fear, and shock at what she had just done. She hurried back inside and locked the door. Petey peeked out from the kitchen behind her and gave a tentative woof.
“Oh, now you bark, when he’s gone. Thanks so much for your protection. Why didn’t you stop me from rushing out there? That was so stupid, I can’t believe I did that. It has to be our secret.” The dog looked at her as his rear half waggled. Sighing, she headed to the kitchen and pushed Petey out the back door. She watched as he made a brisk run around the edge of her yard, pausing twice.
As the dog wandered around, she tapped her foot and reined in her thoughts. Nothing really happened. She lived across the street from a park. It was probably a jogger, stretching on a tree. And anyone would start running if they heard a shout in the middle of the night. Right?
Petey returned to the house. She locked up and set the alarm before going upstairs.