Love Waiting for Full Blossom
Two Clinique candles served as centerpieces on the glass table as Josh Davis and Corinna Belle sat eating their spaghetti dinners. Truth be told Josh was too busy twirling the spaghetti around his fork. He didn't know why. He was positive she'd say yes. They'd been courting over a year now. This was it. Funny, he'd never known Corinna to be this slow an eater. She took her last bite. He stood up, dropped to one knee, pulled out the diamond and she whispered, "Yes." All that was left was to plan the wedding and invite the guests
Unlike most couples, the guy was in charge of the planning. Good thing Josh knew everything that was needed to give Corinna the perfect day right down to the dress she would wear. It would be white as a fresh snowfall in New England with a tiara full of stones such as Sapphires, Emeralds, Amethysts, and Topaz. The wedding would be a wonderful start to a beautiful life together. He was sure of it. She, however; wasn't a typical bride-to-be. She didn't want to participate in picking the music, sending out invitations or decorating them. Even conversations with the man she had pledged to love forever seemed too much to ask.
During their courtship, Corinna told him everything. She shared her loneliness, sadness, contentment, joy and everything in between. During the down times, Josh would put an arm around her, and she'd lay her head on his shoulder. In the good times, they take walks together for miles. Either way, they'd talk for hours.
Since their betrothal, she had met new friends and was running around with them from place to place. She'd never tell Josh, but she'd even checked out a few other guys. In fact, she'd even gone out for coffee with one of them. No big deal. It was just coffee, right. Only, she hadn't been out for just coffee with Josh in a month. And in that time, they had talked just a little over two hours. Not that Josh didn't want to. He knew something was wrong. But Corinna didn't want to go a country mile year that conversation. To her, things were fine just the way they were. She was having a little fun. And she wanted to keep having it.
One day, Corinna went with her new friends to a place that served wine. They urged her to taste some. She did.
About a week later, she went out again and drank a quarter of a bottle. Knowing that her new friends were too drunk to take her home, she called her friend Brandi to bring her home. Their friend Anna was at Brandi's house and decided to come along. Corinna stumbled her way into the passenger seat. The driver's eyes peered into her friend’s like a detective searching for clues.
"What's wrong, Corinna?" Brandi said.
"Nothing. I'm just having a little fun, that's all," Corinna said.
"You and Josh seem to have a lot of fun together," Anna said.
"I just need something a little different."
"Even if it means wrecking your relationship with Josh?"
"Look, our relationship is just fine."
With that, Corinna's glazed eyes began to shut. Her breathing sounded like a loud washing machine. Brandi suddenly felt wetness on her face. She tilted her head toward her sleeping friend and whispered, “Open her eyes."
Two weeks later, Corinna went out with the same group of friends. Only this time, the group included the guy with whom she'd gone out for just coffee a month or two before. This time, she drank the whole bottle of wine. But the guy had only drunk a glass or two. He offered her a ride. She accepted with a drowsy, "Yes."
Corinna awoke. Her head felt as large as a watermelon. Her insides felt like ocean waves at high tide were hitting them. Although the alcohol packed a heavy punch, there was something more. And she knew it. Then an only slightly familiar male voice asked where she lived.
"Where am I?" She said.
"My apartment," the voice said.
The bad feelings in her stomach overpowered her. She saw a door to her right that looked like a bathroom. It was. The retching sound was so loud the guy could hear her from across the hall.
"We partied hard, didn't we?" He said. "But we sure had a good time."
It was this"good time" more than the alcohol that caused Corinna's' ills. What seemed like a good time under the cloak of the night was in the transparency of the morning was revealed as a betrayal—the ultimate betrayal. Even Josh couldn't forgive this one. Maybe if she'd told him about the coffee date. And stopped it there. Not just the flirtation with this guy, but all of it. The partying. The drinking. Maybe there'd be a chance. But now, how could he forgive this?
After a while, the guy came in the bathroom unannounced. Just then, Corinna summoned the strength to stand up. When she turned around and saw the guy standing there, she said, "Get me my clothes now." Her tone was sharp as a dagger.
He went into his bedroom, picked up the clothes, went to the bathroom door, threw them at her feet, stuck his head in the door and said, "You never told me where you live."
"Do you mind if I call one of my friends to pick me up instead?" She said in a more gentle tone.
"I guess that means you don't want to see me again," he said, putting his face down to appear dejected. "I thought we were having fun."
"We were. But this morning I realized it's just not worth it." Just give me your address, and I'll call my friend."
"And I'll write down my cell number too just in case you change your mind."
Now fully dressed, she went into the bedroom and took piece of paper. The guy stood there are a few moments.
"Leave, please," Corinna said in a sharp but quivering tone. "It's hard enough to do this without knowing you're watching."
He left and pretended to close the door. Corinna called her friend Priscilla.
"Could you come pick me up somewhere?" Corinna said with a voice so strained it sounded like she had a cold.
"Of course," Priscilla said. "Where are you? What's wrong?"
She gave her friend the address for the guy's apartment. Then she cupped her hands around her mouth to muffle the words as she confessed, "I slept with someone else."
Her body quivered with horror at the statement.
"I didn't quite hear you," Priscilla said.
I'm going to have to tell her. It will be good practice for when I have to tell Josh. Corinna's body stopped quivering. But her cheeks turned scarlet with shame as she repeated, "I slept with someone else."
"You're gonna need more them a ride home in that case."
The fallen young woman's hands became cold and clammy, as she did not know what this statement meant.
"I'll call Brandi and Anna and pick them up on the way," Priscilla said. "But you're gonna have to tell them what you just told me. I'm not gonna do it for you."
"I might as well, " Corinna said. "It'll be good practice for when I have to tell Josh. Do you think there's a chance he'll forgive me?"
"I think there's more than a chance. He'll forgive you because you're really sorry. And remember I know Josh almost as well as you do."
Corinna climbed in the passenger seat of Priscilla's car. By then her insides only felt a tiny bit unsteady. Brandi and Anna were in the back seat. They stopped at a little coffee shop nearby. The outside tables at there were deserted. So they knew they could talk without any possibility of being overheard. They sat down and Corinna told Brandi and Anna how she had betrayed Josh.
"He'll definitely forgive you," Brandi said. "But you're gonna have to spend time earning his trust back."
"He'll trust you again too," Anna said, putting an arm around Corinna.
"The girls are right," Priscilla said. He'll forgive you and trust you again. But he probably won't trust you right away. Actions have consequences."
Corinna's eyes contracted. She stared at her friends and said, "Do you think he'll break it off?"
"No way," the three girls said in unison.
"How do you know?" Their friend asked.
"He love you way too much," Priscilla proclaimed. "All I meant is that things won't be the same for a while."
"But in time they'll be better than ever," Brandi said.
"And maybe it will be a very short time," Anna chimed in.
"It all depends how much time she's willing to spend with Josh," Priscilla said.
"All the time it takes for us to be close again," Corinna said.
"It's going to be tough at first," Brandi said. "But I'm so excited for you. It's gonna be great."
"Amen to that," Corinna declared.
"Amen," agreed her three friends.
Corinna's spirit was so full of wonderful possibilities that she almost forgot the moment that lay ahead of her—the recall of which caused a scarlet blush to return to her cheeks. She hated the thought of telling him. Even after everything her friends had told her, she wasn't absolutely sure Josh would forgive her. It was pretty bad. It was very bad. But now, he was all she wanted. She would spend forever showing him. Would he really give her the chance? She had to believe he would.
Priscilla pulled her car into Josh's driveway. Corinna unfastened her seatbelt and was about to step out, when the driver said, "Remember everything is gonna be alright as long as you spend time with Josh." The passenger stepped out and her friends chorused, "Call me and let me know what happens." The last words she heard before entering the house were, "... If you need anything...."
When Corinna came in, Josh was sitting on his couch eating sunflower seeds. She turned her back and started to go out the door. Then Josh said, "Corinna, what's wrong?"
She went over to him and buried her face in his knees. The heat felt like fire.
"Honey, just tell me what happened," Josh said, putting a finger under her chin to lift up her face. "Whatever it is, I know you're sorry."
Corinna face became more and more scarlet. Say it. Just say it.
She blurted out, "I slept with someone else."
He jerked his head back like a child who'd been slapped across the face for the first time. She put her head on his knees again. He took his hand, began to smooth out her hair and whispered, "I forgive you."
Corinna lifted her head and kissed his cheek three times and whispered, "What about the wedding?"
"We'll just have to postpone it for a while till you know what you want," Josh said.
She began to take off her ring.
"Keep it. As far as I'm concerned, we're still getting married. I'll come for you when I know you're ready."
Corinna kissed Josh on his cheek seven more times. She gave him the kind of a look a teenage girl would give her first love. Only the admiration and devotion that lit up her eyes like sapphires on a bright summer day came not from some sappy note or other romantic gesture meant to impress but from a full glimpse into a heart that forgave and loved someone like her. Before she felt so dirty. Now she felt like she had just taken a bath in pure water—the water of love. She looked into his eyes trying to soak in his heart. When she finally got up to leave, she looked back and said, "I love you."
"I love you," Josh said. "And I'm waiting."
As soon as Corinna went home, she called Priscilla.
"You were right," she said. "All of you. About everything. He still loves me. And he forgave me. She chatted away like a little child excited about the day's events at school. Then she slowed down and concluded, "He postponed the wedding, though."
"I'm not surprised," her friend responded. "Are you?"
"I shouldn't be. But I am. I'm a little confused too."
"What's he waiting for? He didn't mention anything about trust. I was expecting that."
"I think he's waiting for full blossom," Priscilla said.
"He did say something about my being ready," Corinna said. "But what does that mean?"
"Let's put it this way. How much interest have you taken in sending decorating and sending out invitations for your own wedding?"
"None. I wanted to have some fun. And besides I wasn't sure if any of the people I'd invite would wanna come. I've realized that I can never truly enjoy life without Josh."
"And if you love him that much, what difference does it make how many people show up? Those that want to will come. Just decorate the invitations and send them out. And don't forget to help pick out the music."
"That's right, I've got to express my love somehow. But I don't know how to do it right."
"I'm sure Josh has given you all you need," Priscilla said. "Don't worry."
From the next morning on, Corinna and Josh each ate a packet of sunflower seeds. Then they went to breakfast where Corinna asked for instructions about decorating and sending invitations. Her popped out like when he told her to send invitations to her partying and drinking friends.
"Honey, they're more likely to come than you think," Josh said.
"Okay, I'll send them some invitations," Corinna said.
She even sent one to the man she had slept with that horrible drunken night. She had a headache the entire time. But a part of her wanted to see him again just to tell him all that night had taught her. About herself. And about Josh. He probably wouldn't want to hear any of it. He especially wouldn't want to hear songs like Bethany Dillon's "All I Need" blaring during the reception.
And she was almost certain; he wouldn't want to hear any song she wrote and dedicated to Josh. Her heart erupted with desire to do this, but finding the right words was like trying to touch the sky. The words of others would have to do.
No surprise, the guy declined the invitation. However, other friends with whom she'd taken the trip to misery accepted. To a person, they said they wanted what she had. Peace. Joy. But most of all, forgiveness. Each invitation contained three pictures. An ocean with a boat floating on the waves, parents waiting at the airport to embrace their adopted child for the first time, and a woman kneeling as she looks into the eyes of a man. The man's hands were under her chin as he was saying I know you're sorry. You can get up. Corinna was putting her true self out there for these people to see. A wretched beggar. A wretched beggar given life.
After three months, Josh awakens her. Corinna had yet to see her dress. She walked into the hall, looked at the dress, and wept.
"It's beautiful," Corinna said staring at the white gown and jeweled tiara. "I'm gonna be beautiful. He has made me beautiful. She puts this attire. The instruments start. The time has come.
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