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Long Time Wounds, Part Two
by Lauren Alan
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Charles and Angie continued to pray for Ty's shooter together for several weeks, and Jeremiah even prayed for him at the dinner table and at bedtime. Spending this time praying for his enemy and giving his feelings of anger and desire for revenge to God liften a burden off of Charles's heart, and that made him feel great.

Ty's family, however, was not as quick to pray for this killer. Ty's father, Tyrone, mother, Keisha, and younger sister, LaToya, had blamed Charles and Angie for the death of their loved one for a long time. They'd said that their romance had caused the Klansman to want to shoot Charles because he was involved with a close friend's daughter, but Ty had taken the bullet, so ultimately Ty had died because of Charles and Angie's relationship. They would not speak to the couple for several years and never accepted their invitations to Charles and Angie's wedding, to Angie's baby shower, to the hospital to see Jeremiah when he was born, or to any other special event. Tyrone also frequently entertained the thought of breaking into the prison where Tyrone's shooter stayed and killing him in the dead of night.

Time passed, though, and Tyrone and Keisha learned to accept Charles and Angie as a couple after God revealed to them that He had brought Charles and Angie together. They stopped blaming them for Ty's death and decided to invite them to spend Thanksgiving with them. LaToya hated the idea. She said that she not eat in the same room with her family if Charles and Angie came over. Tyrone and Keisha were disappointed in LaToya's reaction but decided to invite Charles, Angie, and Jeremiah over, anyway, and to hope and pray that LaToya would warm up to them. Tyrone's desire for revenge against his son's shooter didn't die, though.

Soon later on a Friday evening, Angie was getting a pot roast and steamed vegetables on the dining room table. It was 7:30, and Charles was due to be home any minute. After he and Angie had Jeremiah and Angie quit her teaching job at Selma Elementary School so that she could stay home with their son, Charles left his job as the assistant manager at the Pizza Palace to work for D.W. Jones's construction company, where he participated in building and made more money than he did at the pizzeria. Sometimes he worked later on Fridays to finish up a project so he wouldn't need to worry about it over the weekend. This didn't happen very often, but Angie hated when it did, because she liked the whole family to be together by 5:30. She didn't get mad at Charles, though, because she knew that he wasn't a workaholic, that he only occasionally worked extra hours to support the family.

The telephone in the kitchen rang, and Angie answered it. "Hello?"

"Angie, hi. This is Tyrone Miller. My son was Ty, Charles's best friend, who--well, you know."

Angie was almost speechless. She'd never in a million years expected Ty's family to contact hers. Also, they knew she was a Klansman's daughter, which was why they hated her, so how strange it was for Ty's dad to sound so friendly. "Hello, Mr. Miller. How are you?" was all she managed to say.

"Fine, sweetie. How are you?" asked Tyrone.

"Very well. Charles is working late tonight, but he'll be home pretty soon." Angie moistened her upper lip. "This is a surprise."

"I know. I just want you and your family to know how sorry Keisha and I are for not giving you a chance, for judging you by what your father did and for shutting you and Charles out all these years, and for blaming you guys. What happened to our son just really upset us, but we realize now that you two were just doing what God called you to do--be together. We'd be very happy if you and Charles and your son came over for dinner on Thanksgiving."

Before Angie could answer, Charles walked in. Angie happily and excitedly gave the phone to her husband. "Charles, Ty's dad is on the phone."

Charles couldn't believe his ears. "Darling, pinch me. Tell me I'm dreaming."

Angie playfully pinched his arm.

"Ouch," said Charles. "OK, I know it's real now." He pulled Angie close and held her as he spoke into the receiver. "Hello, Mr. Miller. How are you?"

"Call me Tyrone, son. I'm fine, thank you. You?"

Charles turned to Angie and whispered, "Dear, he just called me 'son' and requested I call him Tyrone. That's why I'm keeping you close by me. I need you to pinch me again."

Angie pinched Charles's arm again.

"Thanks," Charles said. He turned back to the receiver. "How are you, Tyrone?"

"Doing mighty fine. Hey, Charles, I wanted you to know that Keisha and I are so sorry for how we have been treating you and your family, for blaming you and Angie for Ty's death, for judging Angie because of whose daughter she is, and for ignoring you all these ears. We'd be honored if you, Angie, and Jeremiah came over on Thanksgiving for dinner," Tyrone told him.

Charles was so happy that his hand started trembling with joy. He clutched the receiver tightly to keep from dropping it. "Well, yeah, of course--we'd love to come over!"

Tyrone smiled. "I'm so glad, and, Charles, if I haven't told you enough, you were a very good friend to Ty, like a brother."

Charles smiled. "Thanks," he said.

Angie leaned up toward Charles's ear and whispered, "Dinner's ready."

Charles looked at his wife and nodded. "Hey, Tyrone, I need to go. My wife just informed me that she has dinner ready."

"Okay, Charles. Well, you take care, and we'll see you guys on Thanksgiving."

"Okay. You take care, too," said Charles.

When the two men hung up the phone, Charles picked Angie up and twirled her around the room. "We're going to the Millers' house on Thanksgiving!" he exclaimed happily.

"Oh, Charles!" Angie cried, hugging him joyously.

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