Brad welcomed me to his basement apartment. “Thanks for helping me with this assignment, babe.”
I took off my light jacket and sniffed. The room smelled of incense. “No problem, what do I have to do?”
“It’s for my social studies class. We have to go through a list of premarital counseling questions with someone and see how our answers line up.”
“Sounds interesting. My sister’s engaged, do you think maybe I can copy down the questions and give it to her to look at later.”
“Sure, babe. So, I know this might be a little awkward, with us just getting back together and all, but I couldn’t think of anyone else to ask.”
“No worries. I can be objective.”
“Okay, first question. ‘Do you want kids?’”
“Me too. I think we’d be great parents some day. They’ll get your looks and brains, of course. I’ll teach little Brad Jr. everything I know about baseball and photography, and they’ll grow up to be doctors and senators. Maybe even the president.”
Brad kept up that kind of running commentary after every question, painting a picture of what it would be like to be married one day. I started to play along and then it quickly started to feel like a real possibility. It felt so right to daydream together. Brad’s descriptions of our potential life as husband and wife started out with a some day, distant quality, but as we reached the end of the list, he’d tightened the time frame for our future nuptials considerably.
“I wonder if the college would let a married couple share a dorm room?” he asked at one point. “Or we could just live here together. Sorry, I know I’m getting carried away. It’s just that, I never considered marriage so seriously before.”
Did he mean marriage to me? Could things really be moving that fast? My brow furrowed.
He quickly reassured me. “Now, this is all hypothetical of course. I don’t want you getting scared off or anything.”
“Oh, it’s not that. I’m just tired,” I lied.
“Let me take you home then. I think I can finish the rest of the questions by myself,” he said.
He dropped me off in front of the German House.
“Good night, Brad,” I whispered as I kissed him good night.
“Good night. Sweet dreams, birthday girl!”
I smiled. “That’s not until tomorrow.”
“Look at the time. It’s tomorrow already.”
Before I went to bed that night I listened to the messages on my voicemail. One was from Kirsten, inviting me over to her room for a birthday celebration. The other was from Ian.
“Great news, Giselle. Breanne accepted Christ last night! It worked out that you and Brad didn’t show up … Sylvie, Jonas and I ministered to her in a powerful way that probably wouldn’t have been possible in a bigger group.”
I hoped that I’d misinterpreted what I’d seen going on between Breanne and Lori at the grocery stand on Saturday, or else things were about to get very uncomfortable at CSF.
I knocked on Kirsten’s dorm door and she invited me in.
“Happy Birthday!” she said as we hugged. “You’re welcome to sit anywhere on my side of the room. I don’t know if Lisa will care if I touch her stuff, but things are so tense between us as it is, I don’t want to even risk it.”
I settled onto Kirsten’s bed. “I totally understand. Been there, done that with Lacey last year.”
Kirsten took the chair at the desk. A stamped envelope addressed to Heidi lay near the corner. She picked up a small handmade card. “Here, I made you something.”
I opened the card and then hugged her. "This has been such a happy birthday,” I said. “Oh, Kirsten, can I tell you a secret?”
“I’m in love! This is the real thing.”
“With that Brad guy we had lunch with yesterday?”
“Yes, isn’t he great?”
“Great isn’t the first word that comes to mind.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know exactly. To be honest, something about that guy rubbed me the wrong way. I think you deserve better.”
“What could be better? He’s a total stud, he goes to CSF, he showers me with affection …”
“How long have you actually known this guy? Isn’t he the same one you weren’t sure about this summer?”
“Yes,” I said with a little less confidence.
“Giselle, I’m sorry but that is crazy. Have you even prayed about this?”
“Of course I have. Can’t you just be happy for me?”
“I’m sorry Giselle, I just can’t. I don’t like anything about this.” She reached for my hand. “Please listen to me. I can’t explain it but I just know. Trust me. This guy is bad news.”
“How can you say that? You don’t even know him.” But did I?
Despite my vigorous defense, Kirsten’s concern was getting to me. Was really she seeing something I couldn’t? No, there had to be a more logical explanation … if I could just find it. Aha!
“Looking back at yesterday, I can see why he rubbed you the wrong way. He has a strong personality, just like you. He can come off a little opinionated, but he’s not really like that deep down. Can you give him another chance?”
She shrugged, “Whatever you say. Please think about what I said though. Don’t rush into anything, especially not just because I’m engaged. You don’t need to catch up with me or anything.”
How dare she talk down to me like that! “You’re right, I don’t need to catch up. This isn’t even about that. Not everything is about you Kirsten. Maybe Brad was right when he said he could see why you had problems getting along with your roommate. Why don’t you get off your high horse and grow up?”
“I think you’d better leave now.” She held the door open and slammed it behind me.