Saturday, October 07, 2006

06 EXCERPT: Falling For Lies

Falling for Lies
Barbara Joe Williams

After ten years of praying for Mr. Right, Pastor Karema Wright believes that her prayers have finally been answered when she falls in love with Deacon Mitchell Pye, the most eligible bachelor in the church. He proposes marriage to her after dating for almost a year. Will she finally have it all: a new church, a new home, and a new husband?

Chapter 1

“All right, gentlemen, unless someone has something else to add, this will conclude our deacon board’s business meeting for this evening on the first Tuesday of December,” Pastor Karema Wright announced.

“I’d also like to thank our newest member of the board, Deacon Mitchell Pye, for joining us here at Noah’s Ark Missionary Baptist Church. After six months of dedicated membership and an impressive letter of recommendation from his previous pastor in Mobile, Alabama, it is clear that we are very fortunate to have him as a member of our small family. We’re not the largest church in Jacksonville, but we have some of the most devoted members that you’ll find anywhere in Florida.” Wearing a warm smile, she glanced down at her forest green suit, and checked her gold band Citizen’s watch for the exact time that they were closing the meeting.

“Thank you, Pastor Wright,” Deacon Pye replied. “I feel blessed and honored to serve with such an established board of deacons under your directorship. I look forward to being a part of this distinguished congregation for many years to come. I want you all to know that as one of the single men in the church, I’m available to each of you at any time. Please don’t hesitate to call upon me in your time of need.”

Deacon Pye made eye contact with each of the other five members sitting at the round table. Resting his eyes on Pastor Wright, they stayed with her for several seconds before he looked away. In those few moments, Karema felt that his words might have been directed more to her than they were to the older men at the meeting.

All evening she’d felt his eyes on her, following her every movement, and listening intently to her every word. Now as she looked away from the gaze of his deep set brown eyes, she noticed the moisture on her palms. Vigorously rubbing her hands together, she tried to retain her composure by sitting up straight in her chair, but the pounding of her heart and head was getting in the way.

Seconds later, Karema could still feel Mitchell’s presence throughout her being as if he was right under her skin, touching every single thread in her nervous body. Silently telling herself to calm down, she tried harder to concentrate on closing the meeting.

Each of the elders took turns shaking Deacon Pye’s hand as they walked out of the boardroom in single file. Finally, Karema was the last one to leave. Mitchell took her extended hand, pulling her in closer for a warm embrace which he gently held until he felt her starting to pull away. Being reluctant to let her go, he held on to her upper arms as he spoke. “Pastor Wright, if you don’t mind, I’d be happy to walk with you to your car. I know that the parking lot is lit, but it’s still pretty dark out there.” He smiled, patiently waiting for her reply.

“That’s fine, Deacon Pye, I’ll be ready to leave in two minutes. Let me put these papers in my office, make sure everything is locked up, and I’ll be right out,” she replied, turning away from his embrace.

When Karema made it out to the front steps, Mitchell was there waiting for her just like he’d promised. She was grateful that she’d taken a few seconds to stop by the ladies room and freshen up before meeting him in the cool night air. As they made it to Karema’s mineral green Toyota Camry parked at the front of the church, Mitchell took her keys and unlocked the car door for her. Holding the door open for the pastor like a true gentleman, he handed the keys back to her, making sure that his hand lightly grazed hers. Sensing the pastor’s nervousness, he took her left hand into his, stroking it gently with his right hand as he spoke softly. “Pastor Wright, I admire you as the leader of this church, and I am a saved man. However, as a single man, I would like to be your escort for the Christmas Extravaganza next week. That is, unless you have a better offer.”
“Well, Deacon Pye, I don’t know if that would be appropriate or not.”

“Why wouldn’t it be?” he asked, cutting off the apprehensive statement he’d already anticipated would follow. “I mean—we’re two saved and single people. We don’t have anything to hide, so why can’t we go to the ball together? Even a pastor should have an escort for social events, especially those sponsored by her own church,” he added, flashing a smile for good measure.

“You know, you’re right. There’s no reason why we can’t go to the gala together. Why don’t you call me tomorrow and we’ll work out the details.” Karema returned his broad smile and flashed her own pearly whites. Her life would be changed forever after this night.

Deacon Pye made it his business to call her the next afternoon. They chatted for several minutes that day and the day after that, and the day after that until the night of the Christmas Extravaganza. They had truly enjoyed each other’s company the entire evening. Engrossed in a stimulating conversation over dinner, they only had eyes for each other. With both of them wearing navy blue outfits, they looked like the perfect pair. Karema wore a long evening gown with a long sheer jacket covering the top, and Mitchell wore a navy suit with satin trim on the jacket collar. They couldn’t have looked better together even if they had planned it.

The Christmas gala turned out perfectly. Every local choir that was invited to the program had shown up on time. Karema and Mitchell clapped together and happily sang the Christmas tunes as they smiled at each other from ear to ear. Feeling the holiday spirit until almost midnight, they were the last couple to leave the church.

When he walked Karema to the door of her condominium on Meridian Court after the gala, Mitchell made the fact known that he wanted to be more than a member of the adored congregation. Cupping her face in his masculine builder’s hands, he whispered, “You’re the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever seen. I respect you, and I want you to know that I have deep feelings for you inside my heart. I want you to be my Nubian Queen.”

Karema didn’t know how to respond to that. It felt like centuries since a man had held her that close to his face or spoken to her in such a romantic tone. Being a full-time pastor, she hadn’t found much time for love or encountered anyone that she’d felt the least bit attracted to. Of course, she’d had her share of propositions, but until now, she was never interested. The trembling of her body gave away her true feelings, making it impossible to keep them hidden. Placing his heated arms around her shaky frame, Mitchell held Karema for almost a full minute before releasing her. As soon as he softened his grip on her body, she opened the door and quickly entered her home. Holding the door slightly ajar with jittery hands, she managed to speak in an audible whisper, “Good night, Mitchell.”

Deacon Pye returned the sentiment with a straight face and an inward smile. Knowing that he’d accomplished his goal for the evening, he strutted to his pearlescent white Cadillac Seville feeling proud of himself. Whether Pastor Karema Wright was ready for him or not, he was going to be the love of her sanctified life.

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