Laura stopped the book cart in front of the library bulletin board. A folded piece of paper with her name printed in block letters was tacked to the board. Why would anyone leave her a note when they could talk to her at the checkout desk? She took down the note and unfolded it.
Meet me in Romance.
She glanced down at her left hand. If the anonymous writer had come to the desk to talk to her, he’d have seen her ring. She held up her hand to look at the diamond. It had been perfect when Blake put it on her finger, even though it wasn’t very big. But now that they were arguing a lot, it didn’t seem as bright. She pushed the cart away from the romance section and threw the note in the waste basket.
The next day there was another note on the board. Curiosity made her read it, even though it felt a little like she was flirting with temptation.
Meet me in Travel.
Apparently, her secret admirer was offering her adventure, but that was exactly what she didn’t want. For a minute she wondered if Blake was leaving the notes to make his point. But he was in class and couldn’t have pinned the notes to the board. Even if he were standing in the stacks waiting for her, she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of coming over. And it might be some creep who didn’t have the guts to introduce himself. She stayed at the desk reading a wedding magazine.
On the third day she ripped the newest note down and stuffed it into her pocket without reading it. She watched every person who came through the library, but it was a quiet day and she only saw kids and a couple of old ladies. As her shift was ending, she finally pulled the crumpled paper out and smoothed it flat.
Meet me in Religion.
It sure sounded like Blake was making a point. Too bad for him there wasn’t a Missions section. She marched over to the religion books to confront whoever he had talked into playing this game for him. A man she’d never seen before was sitting at a table next to the stack, reading a book. When he looked up, she shivered. She knew who he was. He smiled at her with kind brown eyes and said, “Come sit with me, Laura.”
She wanted to turn away, but she went over and sat down. You didn’t run away from this man.
“Why are you only willing to meet me in religion? Why won’t you let me into the rest of your life?”
She stared at his scarred hands resting on the table and said nothing. Blake had accused her of the same thing. Finally, she muttered. “Blake put you up to this, didn’t he?”
“Blake loves you.”
“He wants me to live in the jungle and eat bugs.”
“Does he know you’re scared?”
“I’m not scared. I just don’t want to . . .” Laura looked down at her hands in her lap. It would sound so selfish to say she didn’t want to leave her car and grocery stores and television. “Why can’t he just be a pastor here?”
“What are you really afraid of?”
Laura twisted the ring on her finger. “He cares about other people more than he cares about me.” She raised her head and looked right at him. “Especially you.”
The expression on his face was familiar. Her father always looked at her that way when she disappointed him. She looked back down and started picking at her thumbnail. So much for growing it for the wedding. Not that manicures would matter when they ended up in the wilderness. Her eyes began to water. She had agreed to marry a minister, not a missionary.
“Trust me, Laura.”
“I want to,” she whispered. “I want to love you too.” She lifted her head and tried to smile. “Even more than myself.”
But the chair opposite her was empty. The NIV Bible he had been reading was open with a book mark laid across the page. She pulled it over to see what message he had left for her. The bookmark rested under I John 4:18.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
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