Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 2)

Brad entered the living room with Lexie behind him.

“David, I’d like you to me my sister, Lexie.”

Brad took a side step so that David could see Lexie.  David extended his right hand to Lexie and she gingerly placed her right hand in his.

“Lexie, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Thank you.”  It was barely a whisper.

David was struck by her beauty.  She was petite and just a few inches more than five feet tall.  Her hair was a cascade of rich, auburn curls, her skin a flawless, creamy white.  But it was her eyes that held him captive.  They were like two deep indigo pools he could easily drown in, and yet, he could see such pain and sadness in those eyes that it caused his heart to ache for this beautiful, but obviously tortured, woman.

“Come and get it,”  Patty called from the dining room, and the spell was broken.  David released Lexie’s hand and they walked to the dining room.  David was happy to be seated across from Lexie so he could bask in her beauty while he ate, but he had to constantly remind himself not to stare.  He didn’t want to make her any more uncomfortable than she already was.

Lexie thought David was attractive, but she wouldn’t say “hot”.  He had sandy colored hair and light brown eyes with flecks of gold.  His eyes were kind, but they were also probing, and he had an air of self-confidence but not in excess, and there was something else . . .  He seemed to have a peace surrounding him.  That was the thing Lexie found most attractive about him.

“So, Lexie, Brad tells me you work at a bakery.”

“Yes.  Paulette’s Bakery and Pastry Shop down on Brindle Street.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been there.  Have you been working there long?”

“Seven years.”

Brad noticed that Lexie wasn’t making it easy for David.  She gave short answers and asked no questions.

“Lexie, why don’t you tell David about your dog?  You like dogs, don’t you, David?”

“Why, yes, yes, I do.  We had a Bloodhound when I was growing up.  My father and brother liked to hunt.”

“I have a black Labrador Retriever.  His name is Bo.”

David noticed Lexie’s eyes light up a bit at the opportunity to talk about her dog, so they talked about Bo and dogs in general, until it was time for dessert.

After the deep dish apple pie and vanilla ice cream were served, Lexie said, “What kind of work do you do, David?”

“I’m a pastor.  Actually, I’m the associate pastor at the church that Brad and Patty attend.”

David saw the change in Lexie’s demeanor immediately.  She threw Brad a look that was both wounded and angry and the bit of relaxation she had shown in her posture was gone.  He also noticed a hint of guilt on Brad’s face, and dessert was finished in silence.

After dessert, they retired to the living room where David began the conversation.

“Do you attend church anywhere, Lexie?”

“No, Pastor, I don’t.  I don’t see a need for religion in my life.”

“It’s not about religion.  It’s about our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we all need a Savior.”

“But not everyone can be saved, can they, Pastor?”

David knew he must tread lightly on this subject with Lexie because it was obvious she thought that her sins were too grievous to be forgiven.  Now he understood a little better about the pain, sadness and anger that were in her eyes.  He was also well aware of her attitude change toward him as he was no longer “David” but “Pastor”.

“Yes, Lexie, sadly it is true that not all will be saved, but those who learn about Jesus and believe that He died for their sins will be saved.  It is very liberating to know and believe that Jesus died for your sins, as it lifts the heavy burden of carrying a multitude of sins from your shoulders.”

“Surely there are sins that are too bad or have been repeated too many times to receive such, uh, forgiveness?”

“No, Lexie, nothing is too big and nothing has been repeated too many times.  The Lord Jesus Christ died for all sin — the sins that were in the world while He walked among men and the sins of men and women who have not even been born yet.”

Lexie stared at David for a long time, not saying anything.  David held her gaze without faltering and silently prayed that God would let Lexie see that he was telling her truth.

After several minutes, Lexi rose from her chair.  She thanked Brad and Patty for dinner, told David it was a pleasure to meet him and excused herself.

When Lexie was out the door, Patty began to cry and Brad’s face broke into a big grin.

“Oh, David, what a blessing.  We have never been able to talk to Lexie that much about the Lord.  Thank you so much.  I’m sure you’ve given her something to think about.  We just need to continue to pray that the Lord will soften her heart toward Him,”  Brad said.

“I’m glad that she was willing to listen to as much as she did, and I will pray for her too.”

Lexie didn’t know why she had stayed and allowed David to talk to her about his religion.  She had never let Brad or Patty get farther than one sentence on the subject.  But there was something genuine and sincere about David, not that Brad and Patty weren’t but she thought it was different because she knew them so well and knew Brad before he knew the Lord.  It was clear that David really believed what he said, and he seemed so comfortable with himself.  Oh, how she wished she could be comfortable with herself.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 1)

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.

“Hello?”

“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.”

“Bye.”

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.

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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.