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A Different Drummer
by Carol Marsh
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Gary turned the corner and groaned as he heard the singing and music from the church. It sounded like his grandma’s church in South Carolina.

He pulled into a parking space and remembered the Summer with Grandma Kaye.
She dragged him to bible study every Wednesday and church every Sunday. It was a Summer without rap music, but her delicious meals and love were worth it. When the end of August came, he dreaded going home and leaving her.

The guitar and drumbeats dominated the air and Gary playfully stepped in rhythm until he reached the steps of the church. At the door, he straightened himself and cleared his throat. A smiling lady dressed in white from head to toe offered him a program and envelope, then ushered him to a row of seats. Almost everyone was swaying, clapping, and singing. Gary joined the minority and sat motionless.

Gary eyed every pew as he searched for Rayna. She told him she attended this church every Sunday. He had told her he was coming one Sunday; thinking the element of surprise would weigh in his favor. That along with his new suit and matching shoes would surely break the tough Rayna down so she would give in and go out with him.

Someone shouted, “It’s time to praise Him!” Gary took in a deep breath and scanned the room again. He stretched his eyes to be certain it was her. Yes, it was Rayna playing the drums. As he watched her and the congregation, he found himself rising and clapping.

The sight of Rayna beguiled Gary and he fell into a trance. Her hair flowed from side to side propelled by a swerving rhythmic head. Rayna’s face was intense with sweat forming around the edge of her face. Her lips were positioned in a pout as if she was about to blow a kiss. Her legs moved up and down with their own pace as her hands flew from drum to drum.

Gary watched as her breasts bounced in unison. He licked his lips. He was not sure when the song ended and everyone sat down. But, he alone was standing and clapping. The organ player eyed him for a quick moment, then shouted “Hallelujah” and started the song up again. Rayna jumped in instantly with her drum beat and the congregation came alive.

Gary realized what he had done and felt foolish at first. He soon smiled and reasoned that Rayna would be impressed by his behavior. At that moment, she recognized him and winked. “Oh yeah, a brilliant plan,” Gary mumbled to himself and smiled back at her.

After the service, Rayna rushed to find Gary. He saw her dimpled smile coming toward him and marveled at how beautiful she was. “Beauty and a slamming body.
One night! All night!” Gary mouthed to himself producing his most captivating smile.

“Hi Gary. What a surprise!” Rayna was happy to see her friend from college.

“Hey, told you I would come one Sunday. Here I am!” Gary spouted and put a gentle kiss on her cheek.

“You did not tell me that you played the drums. Girl you are a monster on them!”
He gathered her in his arms with a long, solid hug enjoying the feel of her breasts on his chest.

“Thanks, let me introduce you to my mom and grandparents.” Rayna grabbed his hand and pulled him through the crowd. Gary followed her willingly, aware that his charms were not capturing Rayna. It would take time, he reasoned to himself as he began to dread the introduction scene and prying questions that he would soon face.

Rayna’s mom said a polite hello and welcome before quickly excusing herself to some important business. Gary felt her apprehension and coldness, but at least she was polite.

Rayna’s grandmother eyed Gary thoroughly and then laughed. “Did you buy that new get up to impress my granddaughter?

Gary coughed out a barely audible “no, this suit is not new.” Rayna’s grandmother moved in close to him and felt the smooth fabric of his suit as she tugged at the tag on the jacket sleeve.

“Then it is about time you removed the tags Romeo”. With that she walked away giggling in her hands and looking back to add insult to her injury.

“You look nice.” Rayna threw the words out to cushion the blow of her grandmother.
But, her smile showed that she saw the truth in her grandmother’s words.

Gary’s trampled ego did not draw pity from her. As Rayna suspected he would, Gary recovered quickly and asked her to go out to dinner.

“No, we have family dinner on Sunday. Would you like to go to dinner with me?” Rayna let out her grandmother’s giggle as she spoke.

Gary backed away from her. “No thank you. I’m not going to let your grandmother eat me alive.”

Gary walked Rayna to her car. They talked about their classes and then television shows. After fifteen minutes, Gary decided to cut his losses and leave. At least he had made his first move. Getting Rayna would not be easy or quick, but she was worth the effort and wait.

Gary said goodbye to Rayna, mentioning for the third time how much he enjoyed church and her playing. Rayna gave him a routine “glad you came,” and watched him hop into a shiny black Chrysler 300M.

“That’s not your usual ride,” she hollered to him.

He rolled down the window. “No, it’s my Sunday ride. See what you are missing Baby!” Gary proudly looked back to see her face, sure that she was finally impressed. He saw Rayna’s back as she glided into her car.

Rayna was slightly irritated as she pulled out into traffic. “It is only a car and I am nobody’s baby,” she said to herself.

Gary grinned as he drove home. Rayna was one cool momma, but he was sure she would eventually be his hot momma. No girl had been able to resist his charms for long.
He conquered all.

Jay’s laughing irritated Gary. For the first time since their ten-year friendship had begun, Gary considered ending it. He picked up his basketball and aimed it at Jay’s head.
After ducking just in time, Jay realized that Gary was upset.

“Ah. Man. Come on. Don’t get all raw on me. You know I’m your boy.” Jay rubbed his head, an act of nervousness and found a chair as far away from Gary as possible.

Jay had gotten carried away with his teasing, but he found the fact that Gary was chasing a girl ridiculous. After all, girls had been falling at Gary’s feet since tenth grade.
“Man, it’s just I can’t believe you want that stuff so bad you are chasing it into church. Oh Lordy!” Jay shook his head and fell back in his chair in laughter.

Gary walked slowly to his bedroom door and opened it. “See you Friday. Make sure to stop laughing long enough to cash your check and bring the fifty dollars you owe me.”
Jay got up and glanced back at Gary with a confused look before leaving.

Maybe the truth was just hard to face. Gary was running after Rayna, but she was different from any girl he had ever known. Rayna did not blab on and on about her looks, clothes and expensive restaurants. She was focused on her classes, her church and her family. Gary fell on his bed as he questioned why he was drawn to the old acting church girl. He fell asleep before coming up with an answer.

As the Lee family looked up from saying a prayer over Sunday’s dinner, Rayna grabbed her fork and aimed for the macaroni and cheese piled on her plate.

“You can’t continue to eat like that with a boyfriend, gotta watch your figure girl.” Rayna's cousin, Karen was trying to stir up the family.

Since Rayna did not have a boyfriend, she ignored Karen. She and Gary were friends and nothing more. Rayna decided that was the way it would be.

“Leave her alone.” Grandma Lee came to her rescue and Rayna smiled at her with relief.
“Rayna is smart. And if that boy is after her for what he can get, he won’t get a thing. Right Rayna Baby?” Rayna nodded in agreement and continued to enjoy her dinner.

As Rayna left her last morning class, Gary quietly stepped up behind her and whispered in her ear. “How about lunch at a nice, romantic restaurant?”

Rayna jumped. Being that close to him made her nervous and tense. She recovered with a smile and answered him as she softly pushed him away. “I only have time for fast food.”

“I can’t sit next to you under dimmed lights at a fast food joint.” Gary lowered his voice and moved in close to her again.

“And that is a good thing.” Rayna turned and laughed, but she was puzzled.

Gary breathed in deep. “My ice queen, you win as usual.”

After a quick trip in the drive-thru line, they returned to campus. Rayna claimed a picnic table and reached for the bag that contained her burger and fries.

Gary grabbed the bag. “ A kiss first,” he teased.

“Forget it. And I am hungry.” Rayna crossed her arms in front of her. “No, as a matter of fact, I am not hungry at all!”

As Rayna got up, Gary reached for her. “I’m sorry, I was just teasing. But what is wrong with me wanting to kiss you? I really do care for you Rayna. Don’t you know that?”

“Let me make this clear Gary. First, we are just friends. Two, I am a virgin and I intend to be one until I marry. And I don’t plan on getting married anytime soon. Do you hear me!” The words came out louder than she anticipated and she felt the eyes of others on her.

Gary was pleasantly surprised by her hot temper. He liked a woman with fire. Still, he thought it best that he end this battle. “Hey, Rayna calm down. I hear you and so does everyone else,” Gary said in a low soothing tone.

Gary handed the bag to Rayna and looked down at the table. “I’m really sorry. Please eat and forget the repulsive thought of kissing me.” He pouted and slowly began to eat his lunch.

Rayna and Gary ate in silence as they avoided each other’s glances and looked around with disinterest. When Rayna finished eating, she picked up her soda and got up to leave. “I’ll finish this on the way back to the lab. Thanks for lunch."

Gary ignored the coolness in her voice as he got up and walked beside her. “Need a ride home?”

“No, I can wait for my Mom to pick me up after she gets off of work. I need to study anyway. Two hours in the library would do me good.”

“You know, it would do me good also. I’ll see you at three.” Before Rayna could tell him not to bother, Gary trotted off, then turned to smile as he walked across campus.

Rayna watched him and managed to hold an unconcerned look on her face. All the irritation that she had just felt dissolved as heat filled her body. Rayna shook off the urge to catch up with Gary and grab his hand, then she walked slowly to class.

Rayna headed to the library with Gary on her mind. She enjoyed being with him, but he made her uneasy at times. Yet, she missed him when he was not around. And there were those crazy urges she was beginning to have, like wanting to touch him.

Gary found himself rushing to the library. He slowed his steps. Why was he so wide open for Rayna? He could have any girl on campus. What was it about her? He admitted to himself that for the first time, he had met a girl he really liked and just wanted to be around. Gary smiled and closed his eyes as he envisioned Rayna. She was beautiful, but she was also very uptight and serious. Rayna was a virgin, and he respected that. He would enjoy teaching her how to please him. Gary smiled at the thought of her being his and only his.

Gary searched the first floor of the library. Finally, he spotted Rayna on the second floor. She always played so hard to get, he thought as he hurried to her. “Hey Beautiful, what are we studying?”

Rayna looked up and lost herself in his gray eyes. Her heart pounded as she cleared her throat. “Algebra. I need to study the subject twenty four seven.”

“That’s my easiest class. My dad was a math teacher. Let me give you some pointers.” Gary pulled up a chair close to hers and quickly scanned her study guide.

In two hours Rayna had finished all her assignments for the week with ease.
She looked up at the clock, grabbed her books together and stood up. “Got to go.
My mom must be waiting. Thanks Buddy.” Rayna threw her papers and books in her bag and ran out of the library.

She was almost at the bottom of the stairs when Gary managed to say “no problem.”
He leaned on the table with his chin in his hands and smiled. Could his Grandmother be right? She told him that one day he would meet a good girl who would change his whole way of thinking. She had continued on and on with sayings and stories trying to convince him that he would fall in love one day. If what he was feeling was love, then so be it.

Rayna was busy with drum practice the rest of the week. She was performing in a competition on Saturday. Four days to prepare was not sufficient, but she had decided to use every spare moment to fine-tune her performance. “Just focus.” That was her mother’s constant advice whenever Rayna felt defeated and tired. Rayna followed that advice and pushed herself until she felt confident with her routine.

Gary had tried to get Rayna to go to lunch or take a ride with him. But after trying three days in a row, he had finally given up and left her alone. He only smiled at her in passing on Friday.

Rayna awoke early on Saturday without the alarm. Amazingly, energy and anticipation replaced her tiredness. She whizzed smoothly through her performance with confidence. When she was announced the winner, Rayna took in deep breaths and walked proudly to the center of the stage. She gave thanks first to God the Father, then her family.

As Rayna began to load her drums and equipment into the van, warms arms surrounded her. “Congratulations! My woman, you brought the house down!”

“Thanks.” Rayna closed her eyes, enjoying his embrace and scent for a few moments before moving away from him. “I didn’t know you were here. You saw the whole program?”

“I wouldn’t miss a big day for my woman,” Gary said softly as he stared in her eyes.

“Stop calling me that, I’m not your woman.” Her voice trembled as she talked. Then she frowned because she wanted to take the words back. “Thank you for coming,” she said with a nervous smile and kissed him on the cheek. “Help me load this stuff.”

“Sure, your wish is my command, my queen. And you will be my woman one day soon. I feel it in my heart.” Gary pinched her chin and reached for the heaviest pieces of equipment. “Where’s your Mom? I didn’t see her in the crowd,” he questioned as he moved as fast as he could.

Rayna stood behind Gary admiring the muscles in his back and arms as they flexed with his movements. She fought the urge to touch him for a minute and then gave in.
She touched his shoulder and felt the heat of his skin through his dress shirt. When Gary turned around, Rayna ran her hand slowly over his right cheek and moved into his arms.

Gary’s arms circled Rayna, and he lowered his head slightly to capture her lips. For a moment he thought of them being out in public with her family close by. Gary erased the thought refusing to let Rayna go after she had come to him willingly for the first time.

“That was a great performance.” The stern bass of Rayna’s grandfather’s voice vibrated around them.

Gary jerked his arms from around Rayna and stepped back. “Good afternoon sir.”
Gary watched his hand tremble as he extended it. The man’s powerful handshake drew a painful frown on Gary’s face as he introduced himself. “I’m Gary Barnett. You must be Rayna’s grandfather.”

“R. C. Lee. And yes, I am her grandfather.” Mr. Lee dismissed Gary pushing him slightly as he reached for Rayna. “As always you are the best! You know dinner is on me baby. Where do you want to go?”

Rayna hesitated and then smiled. “Madam’s Tea Room. If we hurry we can make it in time.”

“Well, I have heard your mother and aunts talk about the place. I am curious…”

“And very brave,” Gary threw in with a grin.

Mr. Lee granted him a glance and cleared his throat to hold in his laughter. “Let’s go. Find you mother and tell her I’ll drop you off later. I’ll pull my car around the front, be there when I get there.” With his orders given, Mr. Lee turned to leave.

Rayna wanted to bring Gary along, but did not have the courage to suggest it.
Gary read the expression on her face.

“May I join the Tea Party sir?”

Mr. Paul looked him up and down admiring his guts and humor. “That is up to Rayna.”

“We’ll be right there grandpa.” Rayna moved away quickly in search of her mother.

Gary hesitated a moment then started to follow her.

“No, you come with me,” Mr. Paul ordered. Gary swallowed and joined in step beside him.

“Rayna is a great drummer. She is amazing. I tell you Mr. Lee, I can’t believe how fast she moves on those drums!” Gary heard his loud babble, but could not stop it.

Mr. Paul grabbed Gary’s arm and it went numb. “Stuff it! It is very obvious that you are taken with my granddaughter. It is also obvious to me that you are a wanna be casanova."

Gary felt his whole body shaking. “Sir, I really like...”

“I said stuff it! Change your intentions and your ways or move your sweet talking right on out of here now!”

Mr. Paul still had a firm grip on Gary’s arm. And that along with his own nervousness caused him to almost squeal. “Sir, I haven’t done anything wrong. As I was going to say, I really like Rayna.”

“You hurt my granddaughter and you deal with me and her whole family. Do not dare sit down to eat with me with deceit in your heart!”

Gary nodded. Mr. Paul released him and walked on to his car.

Gary stood rubbing his arm as he drifted into deep thought. The old man was right.
He had started attending church to impress Rayna. His mission was to get in her pants.
But, he had begun to really enjoy the services now. Though the music and singing was still loud, the messages did make him think. He had even written down some scriptures and studied them later.

He remembered the pride he felt when Rayna walked on the stage earlier. She was easy to talk to. His intentions were not really deceitful, not any more anyway.

Gary looked around and almost ran to his car. He pulled out of the back exit of the parking lot so he would not run into Rayna.

When he was sure there was good distance between him and Mr. Lee, Gary slowed down to the speed limit. It was clear. Being with Rayna meant spending time with her family and that meant spending time at church. He would have to walk a straight line.

“Man, what a package! I can’t do this!” Gary pounded the steering wheel and decided to go home.

After driving just a few blocks, sadness started to surround him. When a deep sense of loss spread over him, he pulled out his cell phone and got the address to Madam’s Tearoom.

Gary rushed in the front door of the tearoom and was greeted by a massive display of teapots and dainty plates. “This looks like Grandma’s dining room,” he whispered.

A friendly hostess dressed in what he thought was a maid costume greeted him and escorted him to the table where Rayna and Mr. Lee were seated.
Rayna seemed to be sulking, but when she looked up and saw Gary, her eyes brightened. “Gary, you made it!”

“I told you he would be along, didn’t I?” Mr. Lee almost smiled. “Sit down young man, we just ordered.”

“I’ll have what he ordered.” Gary decided to play it safe and follow Mr. Lee’s lead.

He looked over to Rayna and when her light brown eyes seemed to smile at him, he swelled with confidence and sat back to enjoy his meal.

“Do you like Gary Grandpa?”

“He has potential Baby. Just remember who comes first in your life. This is the start of something new and you will need God to guide you.”

“The start of something wonderful Grandpa and I will keep God first. Good night and I love you.” Rayna kissed her grandfather on the cheek and waited in the door for him to leave.

“Aunt Mae, she is my girlfriend or at least hopefully she will be very soon. And she is different from all the girls I know. She is saved. She is a fantastic drummer and she is smart. And she is so beautiful and …”

“Ok. Ok. Down boy!” Aunt Mae grabbed Gary with a tight hug. “When do I get to meet this queen of your world?”

“Very soon,” Gary promised. “Right now, I have a favor to ask. May I borrow your van on Thursday evenings for about six weeks?”

“Are you crazy boy? That’s the oldest trick in the book. That girl is not getting in a van with you.” Aunt Mae had her hands on her hips and was starting to pace the room.

“No, just hold it a second. I want the van so I can take some kids from Rayna’ s church to the recreation center to play basketball.”

“Well, doesn’t the church have a van? And you can’t just load up the kids and take them. You need permission from their parents and the church.”

“See the point is that I wanted to surprise Rayna.”

“So, you are doing all this just to impress Rayna?” Aunt Mae frowned and continued to pace the room.

“No, and please be still for a moment. I figure God gave me basketball skills and I want to share those skills. You know be a real part of the church and give something. They have some great activities going on for the kids, but no athletics. I want to surprise Rayna, that is true. But, what I want most is to please God.”

Aunt Mae stared at Gary. She had to be sure the words came from her nephew’s mouth. “You can use the van if necessary. Just talk it over with the proper people at the church first.”

Gary nodded in agreement. “You are right as always. Got anything to eat around her Auntie?”

A month passed with Gary attending church and bible study every week. He studied scriptures every night and followed his plan for reading the entire Bible.

Gary sat alone on one of the front pews after the morning service listening as everyone said their hellos and good-byes. Finally, the church was empty. Gary took a deep breath and prayed. “Dear God, I come to you humbly. I entered your house with terrible motives. Please forgive me. My intentions have changed. My heart is yours now. I want you as my Savior. I want to be a part of this church. I feel so good when I am here. I feel good learning about You and Your Word. Help me to be a better person, more and more like Jesus. Lead me Lord.”

Mr. Lee cleared his throat and walked down the aisle to Gary. “How are you today Gary?”

“Mr. Lee, I’m fine. How are you sir?” Gary stood and offered his hand to Mr. Lee.

“Feeling great. Son, is there something I can help you with?”

“Well, sir there is something I wanted to ask you.”

Gary straightened his shoulders and continued. “First, I would like to join the church and give my life to God. And I would like to start and coach a basketball team. I can use my aunt’s van to carry the guys and we can use the W. Wayne Community College’s gym on Thursday evenings. I just need to let them know a week in advance when we can start. There are plenty boys in the church who would be interested. I’d like to work with the young guys ages 11 to 14.”

“Alright Gary. Let me sit down and take this all in.” Mr. Lee sat and smiled as he turned to Gary. “You can join church next Sunday. And I can see you have the basketball team stuff all figured out. We have a church van that would be used for such activities.
But first we must get approval. That should not be a problem. I’ll make the contacts.”

Gary grabbed Mr. Lee’s hand. “Thank you sir.”

“Before you thank me, you should know that as a new member you will have classes to attend and you will need someone to work closely with you. That will be me. Do you think we can work together?”

“Sure sir, that would be great.” Gary got up and looked towards the door. “I can’t wait to tell Rayna. I know she’s on the way to your family dinner. I sure would like some of that good food myself.”

“Let’s go. You have weaseled yourself into a seat at my dinner table. Gary you are indeed a crafty fellow.” Mr. Lee slammed Gary on the back and walked out shaking his head.

Rayna beamed when Gary walked in with her grandfather. She had noticed a change in Gary. He was in church on Sundays and he had livened up bible study with questions and observations. She had also noticed the Bible on the front seat of his car.

Gary said hello to everyone and took a seat next to Rayna at the table. He wanted to kiss her hello, but thought better. He pondered giving her just a peck on the cheek. In the end he smiled at her.

Rayna smiled back. “You are a surprise.”

“Well, I’m hungry.” Everyone laughed and Mr. Lee immediately blessed the food.

“Can we talk after dinner?” Rayna whispered to Gary.

He breathed in her clean scent and put his arm around the back of her chair.
“Sure,” he said with caution as he looked around the room.

Gary sensed Rayna’s apprehension and removed his arm. He felt Mr. Lee’s eyes on him, but did not look over at him for confirmation of the fact. Instead, he made conversation with Rayna’s aunt and uncle.

Gary finished off his third helping of yams, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken before giving his sincere thanks to Rayna’s mom and grandmother.

Everyone scattered as two of Rayna’s young cousins began to clear the table. Gary and Rayna walked outside.

“I want to take you to my secret place.” Rayna took Gary’s hand and lead him through the backyard towards the woods.

Gary stopped as they approached the edge of the woods. “Where are we going? Do you want your grandfather to kill me with his bare hands?”

Rayna laughed. “It’s just a little way inside here. Relax.”
Gary continued on but could not relax. He felt sweat begin to form on his forehead.

When Gary saw a clearing and a small cabin come into view his heart began to beat double time. They walked up the steps to the front door.

“Rayna are you sure you want to bring me here?”

“ I want you here with me.” Rayna put her arms around his waist and pulled him to her. “I am your lady now. I know I put you off. I just had to be sure. But, I know I am ready now. Let’s be a couple. You mean everything to me and my family likes you.”

Gary stood stiff and unsure if everything was really happening. Rayna ran her hand lightly from his chest to his cheeks. “Gary,” she said softly as she took his face in her hands. “I want to share something very special with you.”

Gary swallowed and jerked away. It would be almost impossible to face Rayna’s family or the church if he had sex with her. Certainly, he could not have sex with her practically in her backyard with the family nearby.

Gary was sure, if he went inside with Rayna it would happen. “Rayna, you mean so much to me and I am very happy that you are my lady now. But again, are you sure you want to do this?”

“Now you are acting weird. We are a couple and I have something wonderful to share with you. I know this what you wanted. Now you act like you are scared.”

“Hey. I am not scared. I just want you to be sure. This is a big deal for you.
Just be sure.”

Rayna pulled him back to her and took his hand. “I am sure. Gary I am sure.”

As Rayna opened the door, Gary looked around and hesitated again. He walked inside behind Rayna enjoying the motion of her hips. He felt his legs grow numb and looked down at his pants to see himself protruding.

Rayna turned on a dim light and Gary took her in his arms and softly kissed her. She returned his kiss and he moved his hands to her breasts.

Rayna jumped back and wiped her lips. “Does being your lady mean I am your feel over toy? Keep your dirty hands to yourself. We had better talk about what being a couple means. I don’t mind a little kiss, but I think you are expecting more than you will get from me.”

Gary saw anger and then the hurt in her eyes. “Yeah, let’s talk. Come here,” he said as he held out his hand to Rayna.

“Forget that. I just want to get my book and we can go outside.”

Rayna pulled a large red notebook from a table drawer and stormed through the door.
Gary followed her outside and behind the cabin to a bench under a tall pine tree.

“This is what I wanted to share with you.” Rayna opened the book to a handwritten table of contents. “Here are the names of my songs. Songs I have written and some are about you. No one else has seen them.”

Gary laughed in relief. “You wanted to share your songs with me? I thought you wanted to… forget that. Let me see.” He reached for the notebook and began to read the words she had written.

“What did you think I wanted to share?” Rayna stood up. “Oh no. No you didn’t!” Rayna covered her mouth with her hands and walked back and forth in front of him.

“Well, you brought me here saying you had something special to share. Out here in this cabin all alone, what would I think? And you said we were a couple now. Yeah, that is what I thought.” Gary defended himself and then grabbed her hand.

“But Rayna, I don’t think your being my lady is a good idea right now.” Gary heard the words, but could not believe they were coming from his mouth. He closed his eyes in a tight squeeze and forced himself to continue. “I don’t think I can handle it now. I am just getting into this God thang. I don’t want to dishonor you or myself. I want to please God. And being alone with you here brought on some strong feelings that I am not sure we can control.”

Rayna squeezed his hand. “ I understand. I have to admit when you kissed me, I felt so weak. I’ve never felt like that Gary. I felt like I needed to kiss you back and more.”

“But we are still more than friends right?” Gary asked with pleading in his voice afraid
that Rayna would end all contact with him.

“Gary, I was so weak just a few minutes ago. I was so close to being completely lost in my need for. I don’t know…”

Gary took her hand. “ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-1)

“Listen to you. The Lord will help us; we’ll find the strength we need in him. And we will use some common sense. I should not have brought you here. I am very sorry.” Rayna held his hand tight and stared at it with the hope of sealing their friendship and future.

They walked back through the woods hand in hand as they talked about Rayna’s songs.
Rayna caught a brilliant smile on Gary’s face. “What is that big grin about?”

“I never thought I could be happy about not having sex with the lady of my dreams.”
Gary shook his head and gently rubbed the back of her neck. “His spirit is powerful and you are special Rayna.”

Mr. and Mrs. Lee stood at the back door watching Rayna and Gary return. “They were out there all alone. She took him to her cabin!” Mrs. Lee’s face heated up and her chest began to swell. “I’ll ring his neck and hers! Right here under our noses!”

Mr. Lee put his arm around his wife. “Relax darling. They did not do a thing. Look at them. They are smiling and laughing. If anything had happened, they would be on pins and needles while scheming up excuses. I have put a healthy amount of fear in Gary and he is a fine young man. But, I will have a talk with both of them about temptation.”

Mrs. Lee studied their faces. “You are right,” she responded as she opened the door and stepped out to greet them.

“Gary, I saved some banana pudding for you to take home.”

Gary grabbed her in a bear hug as his eyes sparkled with joy. “Thank you Momma Lee. Ain’t God Good!”

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