“And then he just left, and his dad was standing there all smug and mean and, and, I’m never going to see him again.” Melissa grabbed another tissue and cried harder.
“You’ll see him again,” her cousin, Jamie said. “You guys can’t stay away from each other.” She patted Melissa on the shoulder and pulled her feet up onto the couch. Jamie had beautiful furniture and a cozy home, but Melissa had been kind of hoping to move into Troy’s house soon. Now that dream seemed impossible.
“I mean, like, seriously, he had been kissing me literally two seconds before that, okay, two minutes before that, but still. We were totally making out and now he’s just gone.”
“Don’t stress, Lizzy. He just needed some time. One of these days he’ll show up at your work or come knocking on the door and everything will be perfect again.”
There was a soft knocking on the front door and both girls jumped.
“Do you think that’s him?” Melissa asked in panic.
Who else would be knocking on our door this late at night?” Jamie asked. “Why don’t you go answer it and find out?”
“I can’t answer it.” Melissa squeaked out a response. “I look terrible. I look like I’ve been crying all night.”
“You have been crying all night.” Jamie scrambled to get off the couch and strode across the room to open the door revealing a very haggard looking Troy Weller. “Good evening, Troy, have you been crying as much as my cousin?”
“Guys don’t cry.” Troy’s gruff voice strained with emotion as he stepped into the living room, slipping off his shoes at the door.
Liar. Melissa didn’t stand to greet him just huddled in the corner of the sofa, not even bothering to wipe the mascara from under her eyes.
“Mind if I sit down?” Troy moved slowly across the room and didn’t wait for Melissa to answer his question before lowering into the middle of the sofa closer to Melissa than to the other side.
She didn’t hesitate but climbed right up onto his lap and held him as he wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair. They didn’t kiss. They didn’t talk. They just held each other.
“Gosh, look at the time,” Jamie said somewhere in Melissa’s peripheral thoughts. “I have to work in the morning so I should probably get to bed.”
Neither Troy nor Melissa moved an inch to indicate they’d heard her cousin leave. The just held each other.
Eventually Troy whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry too,” Melissa whispered back, not really sure what she was apologizing for.
“Guess I didn’t do as much research as I thought I did,” Troy said. “I mean, we’ve got our Bible Doctrine and Practice explaining our beliefs. You guys need to have a manual or something.”
“We do,” Melissa said. “It’s called the Book of Mormon.”
Troy pulled back but kept his arms around her waist. “And you seriously think that’s scripture?”
“I know it is.” Melissa kept her arms around his neck.
“How do you know?” He still sounded skeptical.
“How do you know the Bible is scripture?”
“Because it just… is,” Troy said.
“How do you know?” Melissa asked again.
“I read the Bible every day.”
“I read the Book of Mormon every day,” she said. “And I cross reference back and forth with the Bible.”
“But the Bible contains the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Troy said.
“So does the Book of Mormon.” Melissa felt as if she were winning this debate, but she had one more point to make. “Have you ever gotten down on your knees and asked God if the Bible is scripture?”
“Asked him? Like ask him ask him?” Troy sounded confused. “Why would I do that? I already know it’s scripture.”
“How do you know?” She knew she was baiting him, but they needed to get past this.
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” he admitted.
“Can I tell you how I know the Bible is scripture?” Melissa asked, looking him in the eye. He nodded. “Because it feels right. In here.” She poked him gently on his chest.
“Yeah, that’s a good way to describe it.” Troy nodded.
“That’s how I feel when I read the Book of Mormon too.”
“Can I interrupt?” Jamie said from the doorway to the hall holding a little blue book. “When I was serving as a missionary, I gave away dozens of these and I’d like to gift one to you as well.” She stepped tentatively into the room and handed Troy a copy of the Book of Mormon.
“Oh, I couldn’t take your book from you.” Troy tried to push the book away. “Books are expensive.”
“Our church gives them away free to anyone who wants one.” Jamie rested the book in Troy’s hands.
“If you insist.” Troy chuckled and smiled up at Jamie. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Jamie winked at Melissa. “Goodnight.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Troy whispered. “This is a lot to take in.”
“I’m sorry.” Melissa bit her lower lip.
“You don’t have to be sorry.” Troy set the book on the little table in front of the couch and wrapped both arms around Melissa, holding her close. “Thank you for being patient with me.”
“We’ll get through this, Troy,” Melissa said. “Just like we’ll get through lots of other tough things in this life.” Melissa yawned and tucked herself into his arms, resting her head on his shoulder.
“You’re exhausted. I should let you get to bed.” Troy rubbed her back.
“No, don’t leave yet. I just got you back.” She snuggled herself even closer.
“Okay.” He continued rubbing her back.
“Just hold me a little while longer,” Melissa whispered. Her words had started to slur.
“Okay,” he whispered back. Within a minute or two Troy’s breathing evened out, slowing to meet her breathing. Before falling asleep, Melissa heard Troy whisper a sleepy, “I love you.”
She tried to answer him, but the words never left her thoughts.
Book Club Discussion Questions: Have you ever read the Bible and/or the Book of Mormon? I'll send you a signed copy of one of my books if you've ever read Bible Doctrine and Practice, an explanation of the faith and practice of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. My copy has seven sticky notes and a bookmark. I've never kept track of how many times I've read the Bible because I've been reading it since I was a kid, but I've kept hashmarks in my Book of Mormon and I'm almost done reading it for the seventeenth time! The answer is, no, I don't sleep. Much.