Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chapter 15, part 2: Movie Night

The rest of the week flew by. I had a full social calendar for the weekend, between a movie night in Warner that Breanne and I had agreed to go to together Friday, and a CSF field trip to Cedar Point on Saturday.

After dinner I sat on my bed reading while Lacey and Rob hung out at her desk. I felt like a third wheel when they were together, but maybe that was my fault for not being more friendly to Rob? It was worth a try.

“Lacey, I’m going to the lobby to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean marathon they’re showing. You and Rob want to come?”

Lacey paused the YouTube video they were watching. “Naw, we’re going to stay in. You should watch this with us … this pastor is explaining his calculations for when the end of the world might be. Fascinating stuff.”

Lacey had always been more passionate about her faith than me, but ever since she started hanging around Rob, she’d been verging on wild-eyed fanaticism. It seemed like all they talked about were end times, purity and corruption. Of course, according to Rob, anyone who didn’t buy into his interpretation of how to literally follow the Bible — that is to say, everyone but him and Lacey — were headed straight to hell. What did she see in him?

“I was really looking forward to the movies, and I told Breanne I’d meet her there. I’ll try to watch that video later. Email me the link, ok?”

As I walked out the door, I overheard Rob say, “She spends an awful lot of time with that lesbo. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?”

I stopped in my tracks and turned back. I couldn’t let that go. “Makes you wonder what, Rob? Breanne’s my friend. Don’t talk like that about her.”

"You’re so naive. Everyone knows it’s true.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t pay attention to the campus gossip. I thought someone as holy as you wouldn’t either. See you later, Lacey.” I slammed the door behind me.

Breanne and I were supposed to meet in the lobby. I was expecting a lot of people to be there, but I saw only a few guys on the couch.

And one of them was Brad Talbert.

“Hey, Dancing Queen!” he said with a grin when he saw me.

“Hey yourself.” I said, blushing. I wondered where Breanne was.

“There’s room on the couch. Squeeze on in, we were just about to start.”

I sat next to him, and the two other guys moved to a different couch. Instead of moving away, Brad inched closer. Throughout the movie, he turned to me and cracked jokes. Was he actually flirting? I guess it worked out that Breanne forgot about the movie.

At the end of Dead Man’s Chest, Brad announced he was hungry. “Anyone want to walk down to Plus One Pizza with me?”

A chorus of noes and yawns answered him.

“I’m up for it,” I said. “I’d have to go back to my room first to get my coat, though.”

“Here, babe, just wear mine,” he said, handing me his Elk River letterman’s jacket.

We walked out of the dorm into the brisk early spring night, me in his coat. It had a familiar smell that I couldn’t quite place. Suddenly, an image of me pinning a boutonniere on Quan’s tuxedo flashed in my mind’s eye. That date to the prom had been the beginning of something special. Maybe Brad sharing Quan’s taste in cologne was a sign that this would turn into something too.

“How come I haven’t seen you around before?” Brad asked on our way back to the dorms.

“Well, I was pretty sick last semester and didn’t get involved in campus life very much. Unless you count CSF meetings.”

“CSF? Is that a new sorority?”

“No, it’s the Christian club on campus.”

“Ah, I see. What kind of Christian are you?”

I thought about how to answer. Was I still a Lutheran? I wasn’t messianic, but was I Pentecostal? “I’m not sure what you mean,” I hedged.

“Are you Catholic or Protestant?”

At least that was easy to answer. “Not Catholic, but I dated a guy once who was,” I said.

“Good,” Brad said.

“Good how?”

“I’m Catholic, so it’s good to know I might have a chance with you.” Brad bumped shoulders with me and grinned.

When I got back to my room there was a message from Breanne. “Sorry I stood you up, Zella, but I met someone special. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.”