Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chapter 18, part 2: Avoiding Temptation

As I spent the night going back and forth between the dorm bathroom and my bed, what happened and what almost happened with Brad that afternoon tormented me. How did I let things go so far? Some leader I was turning out to be. Never mind evangelizing the Greeks, I couldn’t even admit to Tonya that I was part of CSF.
What next?  When I went to Brad’s room next time, the same pattern would repeat itself. He’d probably want to go even farther. And my curiosity about what would happen if I let him scared me. I felt like Ado Annie from Oklahoma, the girl who “cain’t say no.” 
The only really safe thing to do would be to break up. Then again, what was I afraid of? If the laws condemning Breanne and Lori were possibly antiquated, maybe the no sex before marriage rules were outdated too. Anyway, we didn’t necessarily have to have sex. What was wrong with just fooling around?
Who was I kidding? Some leader I was turning out to be, questioning the inerrancy of scripture so I could have my own way. Maybe it would be better for me to resign.
But how could I quit CSF? What reason would I give? Phoebe and Ian were counting on me. Mom and Daddy had been so proud when I shared the news. Probably the only person who’d be happy about it would be Lacey, but it wasn’t like me quitting would get her spot on the team back.
So it was back to breaking up with Brad. That wouldn’t be easy to do. Maybe I didn’t have to? It might be safer to just avoid him for a while. After all, school would be out in less than two weeks, and then we’d be halfway across the country from one another all summer long. 
Either he’d forget about me and move on with Zoey or another “pal,” or we could continue our relationship, but this time with fresh new boundaries. By the time I saw him again on the Germany trip, I’d be stronger and have better self-control. Maybe then I could be a pillar of purity, the one who could lead Brad and all his fraternity brothers to give up their evil ways and join the ranks of CSF.

Sleep finally came, only to be interrupted by a nightmare of Brad and Zoey in bed together, laughing at me. 
***

The next morning, I skipped breakfast at the dining hall and just ate some granola bars in my room. Rob came to pick Lacey up and from their conversation I gathered they were planning to spend the day in Avondale. I was alone in my room studying for finals when Brad knocked.

“Feeling better, babe?”

“Yes, in fact I’m starved now. Must have been food poisoning or one of those 24-hour bugs.”

“You get those a lot, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said as we headed to the dining hall for lunch. “My stomach has been more sensitive ever since I was on those antibiotics last semester. I’ll never know when a meal won’t agree with me.”

“So whatcha wanna do today?” Brad asked after lunch. “I was thinking we could snuggle up on your couch back in your room and watch Pirates for old times sake.”

That was a recipe for a major make out session if I ever heard one. “I’ve been cooped up in there studying all morning, and it’s so pretty out. How about we go for a walk?”

“That’s an awesome idea! My buddy Josh, the one you met last night, was just telling me about this neat spot he found upstream a bit. He said there’s even a waterfall. We could drive out and then hike around a bit.”

“Perfect!”

“We’ll just stop by my room first so I can grab my camera. For all intensive purposes I’m done with my photography project, but a few more shots can’t hurt.” 

I restrained myself from automatically saying “intents and purposes" to correct his grammar.  Though I didn't want to admit being so judgmental, errors like that drove me crazy.

After stops at both of our rooms for cameras, hats and sunscreen, we headed for the main entrance of Warner Hall.

Ian was playing pool by himself in the lobby. “You two look ready for adventure,” he said as we walked by. “Where are you off to?”

“Off to enjoy the great outdoors,” Brad said.

“We’re hoping to find some waterfalls,” I added.

“The ones up by Eddington?” Ian asked. “I’ve been meaning to make it out there.”

“Want to join us?” Brad asked.

“Sure!” Ian racked up the billiard balls and put the cue away. “What better way to spend a Sabbath afternoon than in God’s beautiful creation?”

We headed out to the parking lot. Ian started to climb in the backseat of Brad’s red hatchback.

I tapped him on the shoulder. “I can squeeze back there easier than you. Take shotgun,” I offered.

“Good idea, babe. I’d like to get to know your friend,” Brad said. “Ian, I’ve only met you twice, and both times you mentioned the Sabbath. I don’t get it. At first I thought you were Jewish, but now I know you’re in CSF with Giselle. I thought all Christians worshiped on Sunday. I asked Giselle about it but she said it was too hard to explain.”

Brad’s frank question surprised me. Maybe he was searching after all.

“Your question reminds me of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well,” Ian answered.

“Don’t remember that one from catechism class, sorry,” Brad said.

“She asked Jesus where it was right to worship God: on a certain mountain in Samaria, or at the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus told her neither … what counted was worshiping in Spirit and in Truth.”

“So the place didn’t matter; are you saying God doesn’t care which day we go to church either?” I asked.

“I’m not necessarily saying that. I do believe a day of rest from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday was ordained by God and still holds today, but it’s all meaningless without Jesus. Only by trusting in His completed work can you have a true Sabbath rest.”

“Do you think it is a sin to go to church on Sunday then?” Brad asked. “Not that I make it to Mass all that often, but if I did, I’d want to make sure it was on the right day.”

“Sunday is the Lord’s day, the day of resurrection. Both have meaning for me. Neither one would have meaning if I didn’t know Jesus the way I do. Do you know Him?”

Brad’s long silence unnerved me more than Ian’s boldness had. Had we offended him?

“Maybe not the way you and Giselle do,” Brad said at last. “But I have to admit, sometimes I wish I did. Meeting Giselle and now you might have been a blessing in the skies.”

In disguise, I silently corrected him.

Spiritual talk gave way to general chatter and silence as we enjoyed the tinkling laughter of the river and drunk in the beauty of the wildflowers carpeting the cathedral formed by the soaring trees. The falls were tiny compared to Yosemite, but still lovely.

The outing turned out to be quite romantic despite the company. When he wasn’t snapping pictures, Brad had his hand in mine or around my waist as much as the terrain would allow, and he stole a few kisses when Ian wasn’t looking.

Ian insisted on riding in back on the return trip. Brad drove with one hand, stroking the back of my hand or squeezing my knee with his other. Anticipation and dread built in my gut. It felt like we were leading up to something and I didn’t know if I’d be able to stop once we started.

“What next?” Brad asked after we said goodbye to Ian in the lobby. He pulled me into a deep kiss. “Want to go out to dinner?”

“Let’s just grab a quick bite in the dining hall. I’m sorry, but I really have to get back to studying for finals. I’m so glad we had this day together, though. It’s going to get crazy and we probably won’t have much of a chance to hang out between now and the last day of school.”

“Totally understand. Still want me to drive you to the airport when school gets out?”

“Isn’t it out of your way?” I asked.

“Not really. Besides, I want to spend all the time with you I can before you go all the way back to California. I’m going to miss you so much. At least we can keep in touch online.”