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Monday, May 27, 2019

Climax: Love 30, Part 1

In the final version, more suspense will lead up to this “Love 30” section about to be developed in 3-4 parts, including one from Davie’s point of view.  But anyone following the slow pace of this draft has waited long enough, and I have to finish drafting this climactic scene so all the rest falls into place.

“What a great match!” Davie smacked Jazzie’s right hand up high for their High 5, then down for a Low 5 into a grasp to shake hands, keeping the shake slightly longer than a usual hand shake.  It was their typical ritual of triumph.  Except this time, their hands lingered especially long. 
Jasmine can’t help it.  Mindy's text that Justin would "Love 30" flashes her memory straight back to that turning point evening.  She wondered that night if any of the other players had caught their especially long handshake.  Already, she was continuing to worry their envelop was getting pushed dangerously far.  Little did she know what the rest of the evening would bring.
Their opponents, BD and Gabbie, who barely lost to them in a three set match that went 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 came to the net to shake hands.  Grasping Davie’s hand with a strong shake, BD said, “You know, we let you win, ‘cause it is your birthday.”
“Tomorrow,” Davie corrected.  “How did you know?”
“Yeah, tomorrow, Friday,” BD replied, “But today, we get to celebrate.  And since we’re celebrating with you on a Thursday and your birthday is on a Friday, we’re not going to The Alley tonight.  We’re going to TGI Fridays, where we’ve reserved the party room. It should be all set up.”
“Really?”  Davie scanned his eyes to everyone at Mixed Doubles Night.  Finally, he made it around the circle of friends to the one standing next to him, Jasmine.  He held on his eyes on her.  “How did you know?”
Jasmine smiled.  “The church bulletin really shouldn’t announce the birthdays of its staff.”
“No, it shouldn’t,” Davie sighed.  “I mentioned that when I first arrived. ‘Do we really want to announce these?’  The secretary said, ‘Why not?  You all don’t get enough appreciation. This is a way our congregants can send you love.  They don’t feel comfortable doing random acts of kindness,’ she said, ‘but they’ll do something special for your birthday.  Some send cards,’ she said, ‘Some Bible study groups pool their money for gifts.  Some donate to a church project in your name.’  She never said, ‘Your Mixed Doubles group will throw you  party’!”
“You’re welcome,” Jasmine smiled.
“They didn’t announce which birthday it is, did they?”
“No.  They don’t put the year, only the day.  I mentioned to BD that your birthday was coming up, and he said, ‘He’s 29.  This one must be 30!’ He was right, right?”
Davie gave BD his teasing glare, nodded, and groaned, “Yeah, he was right.”

As a party organizer, Jasmine was one of the first to make it out to the parking lot.  She started her car and found and it dangerously low on gas.  So wrapped up in the party planning, she hadn’t remembered to fill her tank.  If only TGIFs was not in the opposite direction to her home, she’d be able to make it fine.  Should she get gas on the way and miss seeing Davie’s reaction to the decorations she had prepared, or should she risk it and wait to get gas on the way home?  
Jasmine’s face must have betrayed her quandary because Davie stopped by her window on the way to his car.  “Everything OK?”
“Yeah, I’m just low on gas.  I should get some on the way, but I don’t want to be late.”
“No need to be.  Just ride with me!”
“You’d have to bring me back here before you head home – from your own party.”
“It’s on my way home anyway.  And what better way to add to my birthday celebration than to have your company there and back?”
Feeling a glow within herself, Jasmine hopped into his car.

Parking was tight in the shopping center where TGIFs was located.  Davie drove through the lot closest to TGIFs, but found nothing.  On the other side of the road, in the next lot over, Davie found an almost open parking spot between two SUVs, both a little too close for comfort, and the one to the right possibly illegal.  “Good thing I’ve got a Toyota Corolla,” he said while gently squeezing his car into the spot.  Since the especially close car was next to the passenger, Davie checked on Jasmine.  “Did I give you enough space to get out?”
“Yep.” Jasmine felt victorious, as she made her belly as tight as she could.  “I’m free!”
“Hopefully we can get you back in too,” Davie said, chuckling.
“Maybe that car will be gone by then?”
Chuckling, Davie replied, “Yeah, just imagine it’ll be some hefty guy who will have to squeeze his way into that driver’s seat.”
“Serves him right!” they exclaimed in unison.
Curious, the two checked the tires against the parking lines.  The front tire was fully in the spot with a couple of inches to spare.  The back tire was on the line.
As a true tennis player, Davie called it “on the outside of the line.  He’s ‘in,’ but barely.”
Jasmine smiled.  “If that guy’s ‘in’ for tennis, he’s probably good for the parking attendant too.”
Davie nodded, rolling his eyes.  Then he  caught something else: the car’s bumper sticker.
In case of Rapture,
This vehicle will be de-manned”

“Makes you want to put a new sticker on top of it, huh? Like one that says, ‘Left Behind!’”
“Or a new one next to it,” Jasmine suggested.  “I know just the one: ‘Who would Jesus bomb?” 
The two doubled up into laughter, knowing that whoever puts up a “de-manned” sticker never asks a question like that.
“I’m not one to believe in a ‘Rapture,’” Davie said, “But even if I did, I sure wouldn’t celebrate it like that guy.”
Jasmine nodded, remembering fifth grade Sunday School.  Should she take the chance to ask her  still unanswered 11 year old question?
Walking across the road of the parking lot to TGIFs, Jasmine decided to test the waters.  “Kind of makes me think of Noah.  He didn’t fight the Flood.”
Davie stopped in his tracks, halfway in the middle of the road.  He looked straight into her eyes and rested his two hands on the sides of her shoulders.  “You’re the only Christian I’ve ever known to say you have a problem with Noah.”
Uh oh.  Was she wrong to have taken the risk?  Davie’s eyes showed he was serious, possibly astonished, even pleased.  His eyes straight into hers sent a bolt  of electricity up her spine.
This is your chance.  Take  it.
“Yes,” she replied quietly, apologetically.  “I do.”
Davie continued to look deep into her eyes.  Jasmine wanted nothing more than to gaze into his eyes all night long.  But they were standing in the middle of a road.  She heard a car, looked past Davie, and cried, “Car!”
Davie then took her hand into his and they ran to the sidewalk.  Davie caught Jasmine’s eyes again, released her hand, and said, “Go on.”
“In fifth grade,” Jasmine began, “I got in trouble in Sunday School for asking why Noah let God drown the world.”
She smiled.  It’s out.  No matter how he would respond, she said it.  And it felt good.  How about that?  Ever since she was accused for being ‘Just like Eve’ for her question about Noah, she had felt ashamed of her question.  Now, in this moment, she realized with pride that she had been a pretty precocious kid.  Why had she been ashamed?   Why had she kept it a secret?
Davie beamed, “Did you really phrase it like that?  Why did Noah let God drown the world?”
“Yes, I sure did. That’s one of the reasons my teacher was so mad.  Red in the face, Mad.”
Davie laughed.  “I love it.  I’ve wondered about Noah for years.  Why did he obey God?  And why didn’t he complain?”
“But,” Davie smiled, sending his gaze back into her eyes, “I never phrased it the way you did.  ‘Why did Noah let God?’  That’s brilliant.”
Jasmine felt her heart racing within her.  She had just discovered that what had originally shamed her now charmed this athletic youth pastor gazing into her eyes.  She felt her heart flutter in a way she had not felt in a long time.
 “Do you still think the way you did in fifth grade?”
“I do,” Jasmine chuckled.  “I’ve just learned how to keep my mouth shut!”
“No need to keep your mouth shut around me.”
Could he see her blushing?  She’d better say something quick.
© 2019 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use with permission or a citation that links to this blog.

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