Bright lightning lit a jagged streak in the sky and the thunder rumbled long and loud. Lexie was grateful for Bo, her big, black Labrador Retriever sleeping at the foot of her bed. Lexie knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep during the storm, so she climbed out of bed, put on her robe and slippers and went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee.
Lexie sat at one end of the sofa and Bo climbed up and lay with his head in her lap. Every time the lightning flashed and the thunder cracked Lexie trembled, and Bo pressed his nose into her hand in an attempt to calm her. Lexie was terrified of thunderstorms.
After a couple of hours, the storm finally passed and Lexie returned to bed to try to get a few more hours of sleep.
Lexie awoke just as the sun was climbing over the horizon. She took a shower and got dressed for work. She went to the kitchen, scrambled an egg, made a slice of toast and a cup of coffee. She just sat down to eat, and the telephone rang.
“Good morning, Sis. You okay?”
“Hi Brad. Yes, I’m fine.”
“But the storm woke you and you didn’t go back to sleep until it was over, right?”
“Brad, it’s no big deal. The storm wasn’t that bad, and it didn’t last that long. Besides, Bo was right by my side the whole time.”
“Lexie, you can’t keep living like this, and you need a man, not just that pathetic dog.”
“Bo is not pathetic. He’s smart and he provides me with comfort and companionship, and he would protect me if he needed to.”
“Right. He’d knock the culprit down and lick’em to death.”
“Brad, unless you called to do more than make fun of my dog, I need to go. My breakfast is getting cold and I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes.”
“Okay, okay. Yeah, I did call for a reason. Patty and I would like you to come over for dinner on Friday night.”
Lexie groaned and said, “Let me guess, you’ll also have a nice, respectable man present as well.”
“Lexie, I’m only looking out for your best interests. You know I want you to be happy.”
“I know. What time is dinner?”
“Six. See you then.”
Lexie warmed her eggs in the microwave, ate quickly and left for work. She worked at Paulette’s Bakery and Pastry Shop. She baked breads, rolls, cupcakes, and cookies, iced the cupcakes and some of the cookies, and helped customers at the counter, when needed. It wasn’t her dream job, but she didn’t really know what her dream job was, and working at Paulette’s suited her.
As Friday approached, the other girls that worked at Paulette’s were busy talking about dates they would have Friday night, and those that didn’t have dates planned to go to a local night club together. They had given up asking Lexie to join them a long time ago because she had always refused.
“You got any plans for Friday night, Lexie?” Erica asked.
“Actually, I’m going to have dinner with my brother and his wife.”
“Not much chance of meeting a hot hunk of man there, huh?”
Lexie’s cheeks burned as she said, “No, not much chance.” She was certain that whatever man Brad would invite would have no interest in someone like her.
“You do like men, don’t you, Lexie?” Erica persisted.
Lexie’s face burned hotter and she said, “Sure, I do.”
Erica and the other girls laughed and walked away.
Friday after work, Lexie took Bo for a walk, took a shower, and decided on a pair of jeans and a sky blue sweater from her closet. She was nervous as she drove to Brad and Patty’s.
Lexie rang the doorbell. Brad opened the door and greeted her warmly with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“You look great, Lexie. You know that sky blue sweater reflects your blue eyes, making them look bluer. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. He’s not here yet, and Patty’s in the kitchen.”
Lexie was happy to join Patty to escape Brad and his conniving.
“Lexie, it’s so good to see you.” Patty hugged her in greeting. “How are you? I hope Brad’s not pushing you too hard.”
“Brad’s always pushing me too hard. He won’t stop until he has me married off to someone.”
“He worries about you, Lexie. We both do.”
“I know, but I just don’t think I’m marrying material.”
“Don’t say that, Lexie. I know that the traditional counseling didn’t help you much, but I wish you’d come to church with Brad and I. I wish you’d give Jesus a chance.”
“Patty, we’ve had this conversation before. There is nothing and no one who can help me.”
“Lexie, that’s not true. You have to see how different Brad is since Jesus found him.”
“Yeah, and I’d love to be able to have the happiness Brad has, but Brad wasn’t in a pit as deep as the one I was in for such a long time.”
Brad walked into the kitchen at that moment. He took one look at the misery on his sister’s face and the tears in his wife’s eyes and said, “Things are a bit tense in here, huh? I thought we’re supposed to be having a pleasant dinner. David is here. He’s waiting for us in the living room.”
“Well, why don’t you introduce Lexie while I get everything on the table in the dining room?”
“Lexie, shall we?”
Lexie followed Brad, but he knew she had her fortress built around her heart and David didn’t stand a chance. He whispered a prayer as he led the way to the living room.