The volume level in the room rose as the official business of CSF came to an end and the fellowship began. I heard once that God cannot hear the prayers of those who are in willful sin. Did that apply to me? Who knew, but for the moment anyway, I felt relief. I could move forward, and the first order of business was to find Kirsten and check in.
“How were your classes today?” I asked as we walked toward the refreshment table.
“Just okay.” Kirsten sounded defeated.
“Nothing really, but I haven’t been feeling all that great. I couldn’t concentrate all day.” She held her punch and cookies but didn’t eat.
“You’re not coming down with something, are you?” I cringed at how much I sounded like Mom.
“I don’t think so. It’s just … I never thought I would be so homesick. My roommate is driving me crazy. She has people in and out of our room at all hours of the day and doesn’t seem to care that it’s my room too. This weekend was really bad. They just seemed to get louder and more obnoxious when I told her I couldn’t hear Charlie on the phone on Friday, or that I needed to study on Saturday, or that I needed to go to bed at ten last night because I had an early class today.” She sighed and frowned. “I don’t know. I think there’s something else ...”
Before she could continue, the Finley brothers interrupted us to say goodbye.
I turned back to Kirsten but she had disappeared. I saw her at the door, leaving with a group of freshmen girls. Soon almost everyone had cleared out.
The volleyball girls stayed to help Ian and me stack the chairs back in the corner of the room.
“It’s getting late. I should walk you ladies back home,” Ian said as we finished up. We all set off together to the East Hill.
I straggled behind Ian and the others as we walked across the bridge. After saying goodnight to Jenny, Melissa and Sylvie, Ian and I continued and up the hill of Lakeside Drive to the German House.
Ian told me about a passion play in Exeter, a town ten miles to the east of the college.
“Sylvie was telling me they put it on every Friday night. Anyone who shows up gets to be extras. We get to wear crazy robes and pretend to be disciples. Doesn’t that sound so freakin’ cool? Would you be up for it, Gigi?”
“You know I would! I didn’t know they had anything like that around here. When I lived in California—“
I stopped short. Brad Talbert sat on the front steps of the German House. Was he waiting for Zoey?
“Hi, Giselle. Hi, Ian,” Brad said. “I couldn’t help overhearing, were you talking about that passion play in Exeter? I grew up there. I remember going once when I was a kid.”
“Yeah, man, you should come with us this weekend!” Ian said. Then he winked at me. "I bet you two have a lot to catch up on, so I’ll leave you alone.” He let out an obviously fake yawn. “Time for me to hit the hay anyway. I have an eight o’clock class tomorrow.”
Brad grinned at me and invited me to sit beside him. I melted a little inside.
“So, um, how’s Zoey?” I asked. My eyes wandered from his grin to his arm. Well-defined muscles filled out the sleeves of his white t-shirt, and the short blond hairs that dusted his forearms glinted in the moonlight.
“We’re through. I’m here to see you, Giselle,” he said. “I’m so sorry for how things went in Europe. It was all a giant misunderstanding. Can you ever forgive me?”
“Can we talk about what happened first?” I asked.
“You really want to? I’d rather let bygones be bygones and have a fresh start. Let’s never speak of Europe again! Deal?” he said, extending his hand with a glint in his eye.
“Deal!” I said hastily and shook on it. He kept my hand in his. I couldn’t believe he was giving me a second chance. I didn’t want to drive him away again. “I’m sorry too. Can we pick up where we left off?”
“Not exactly… I mean, I want to make sure I do a better job of respecting your beliefs and boundaries. In fact, next week, I’m going to come to CSF and make sure Tom, Owen and Josh come too. Now, it’s late and I don’t want to get that Elkie Grapevine going, so I’ll just give you a quick kiss and let you go inside to bed.”
As our lips parted, he beamed at me. “I missed you,” he whispered huskily.
“I missed you too.” I beamed back at him and stood to go inside. “Good night, Brad.”
The ascent up to bed became a dance of joy. “Bed, bed, I couldn’t go to bed,” I sang. My cheeks hurt from smiling too much. I felt like Eliza Doolittle wanting to dance all night, Liesl Von Trapp on cloud nine after trysting with Rolf in the gazebo, and Nurse Nellie singing about her wonderful guy all rolled into one. This is very promising indeed!
I whistled a medley of tunes while preparing for bed, daydreaming all the while. I lay down to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. Thoughts raced and begged to be shared. Back home, I might have gushed to Alicia, Mom or Kirsten for hours. Now it seemed like a waste of long distance minutes to call anyone in California, Kirsten was probably asleep already, and there wasn’t even a roommate to giggle with. I dug a journal out of a desk drawer and poured my heart onto the page instead.
Oma met Opa here. Maybe Brad was God’s special someone for me?