I don’t usually put a story this long on here – it’s about 800 words, so I would still call this flash fiction. Let me know what you think. I’m breaking one of my self-imposed rules on story writing. Typically I’ll write a story, let it sit for a day or so, come back to it and then see if I really want to publish it. But I felt like throwing caution to the wind today and going for it. I may wish I’d kept to my rule if I discover some hideous mistake tomorrow! You’ll forgive me won’t you? Thanks always for reading…
Sunday Kind of Love
Nothing could have startled Andrea more than when Martin whispered those words into her ear, especially since a crowd of people at St. Mark’s Worship Center surrounded them. The parishioners were greeting one another with handshakes and smiles. His whispered, “I love you” certainly didn’t come from a well of Christian love, but that of romantic depths. His hands lingered on hers longer than usual; his gaze seared his devotion into her eyes. Andrea’s cheeks flushed red. She feared everyone in the room saw her discomfort…and excitement. She realized right away that he knew he was being clever. He winked at her and continued into the crowd with the customary ‘hello’ and ‘good to see you’ greetings.
Andrea had no idea what the service was about. She didn’t hear a word the pastor spoke. Her skin reacted with gooseflesh every few minutes with awareness that Martin’s eyes bore into her from a few rows back.
They’d met at the church. He’d sought her out for her natural talent with marketing. Although Andrea had never worked as such in an official capacity, she’d been very successful at organizing several events at the church, managing a great turnout every time. Martin approached Andrea to help him with his fledgling restaurant. He’d been successful in his venture at first, but the past year he’d only lost business and was desperate to turn it around. He made his case to Andrea. No doubt, she was interested in seeing what she was capable of doing in a real business setting. She smiled inside thinking of how someone recognized her for something, for anything. She smiled thinking of how someone needed her. She realized she hadn’t felt that way in a long time. Sure, she was appreciated at the church, but to have someone seek her out, recognizing a talent she had, made her feel special.
As Andrea sat in the pew next to her husband and three daughters, she thought of how she’d been brought to Martin through the church. She was a woman of deep faith, always turning to the Scriptures for guidance and understanding. This relationship with Martin was confusing her. He disarmed her with his charm, with his affection and attention. He knew it, too, as her rosy glow gave her away with every flirtation.
She’d grown quite used to simply being a mother and housemaid. Although Andrea was still a young woman at 34, she didn’t bother coloring the gray beginning to show in her hair or wearing lipstick anymore. The last time she did make an effort was for an evening out with her husband. She’d carefully applied her makeup, styled her hair and put on a new outfit. He glanced up at her and only said, “You ready? Where’s your coat?”
Martin noticed her, though. Of course, at first, she believed his intentions were purely about improving his restaurant. That changed one night when they met after the restaurant closed. The two of them sat together at one of the tables near the kitchen, writing out suggested plans for improvements. He looked into her eyes. Something, besides work, was on his mind. She thought she saw desire staring back at her.
“So, um, we were talking about the new layout, for the, um…the…” Her faced flushed and she was grateful the lights were low in the room.
“I don’t know what’s the matter with me Martin,” she tried to laugh, but her breath caught in her throat. “I must be tired because I’ve completely lost my train of thought.”
He smiled at her, one of those smiles that indicated amusement.
“You’re quite beautiful when you’re embarrassed. And when you’re not embarrassed. And when you’re sitting across from me.”
Andrea looked down at the pen in her hand. She didn’t know how to respond. No one had called her beautiful in years. She was taken completely off guard.
Martin spoke again. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I have to be honest, though. I’ve been attracted to you since the first moment I laid eyes on you.”
She realized the nerves, the flushing cheeks, the tingling she felt whenever he was near her was her attraction to him.
And there it was. Two adults, married to others, finding themselves caught in electrifying, unexpected, desire for each other. He’d confess to a ‘show’ of a marriage. She’d confess to feeling completely neglected. Thus ensued what each believed a new reality, a hope for something more than they ever imagined possible only a few weeks earlier.
The organist’s mishap with the unyielding instrument jarred Andrea back to the worship service. The pastor was bringing the service to a close. Her husband was doodling on the bulletin, writing the initials of his name and her name and finally drawing a heart around them. Andrea’s gooseflesh disappeared. Nausea replaced the tingling in her body. Her husband did love her, in his own way. Now all Andrea needed to do was decide if it was enough.
And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
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