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       Christian Romance: You've Got a Way With Me: A Beautiful Christian Romance Story, p.1

          
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Christian Romance: You've Got a Way With Me: A Beautiful Christian Romance Story
ot a Way With Me...



Joanne Sawyer



© Copyright Faith Publishers 2015 - All Rights Reserved.

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Table of Contents



Introduction

She Was Exhausted...

How is this?

They had talked and laughed...

“How can I help you miss?”

Catching a glimpse...

Prologue



Introduction



Melissa George came home from London for the worst possible reason, because her father had been diagnosed with cancer. After being driven by her career, she finally returns and gives her time to family. She was met by her mother, her brother, and her childhood friend, Jordan James. But her father’s situation is worse than she was led to believe, and Melissa finds herself in the brink of despair, despite her father’s reassurances of a blessed afterlife. But her faith in God and her father’s love allow her to come to grips with all these surprises, along with Jordan, who goes out of his way to help her sort through her feelings and make her happy, becoming her shoulder to cry on...



She Was Exhausted...



Melissa George was dozing on the train. She’d been in transit for about a day and she was exhausted. She wanted nothing more than to get home and fall into a nice warm bed her mother was sure to have ready. She was coming home. There was no major holiday, her job at a prestigious hotel in England almost never allowed for that, but her father falling ill was something she had not anticipated. After working for nearly 2 years abroad as a VP and interior designer without a break, she finally used her vacation time to be with her ailing father. Her dad had been struggling with his weight as he was nearing his seventies, he had high blood pressure and he’d already had a stroke when she was just 17, but they never guessed cancer would come up. Her father had lung cancer despite the fact that he had never smoked a single cigarette in his life.

It had surprised everyone, especially her mother. Melissa knew the people dearest to her needed her and she had to rise to the occasion.

The train finally stopped in their town. There was a nip in the air, but the snow wouldn’t be coming until maybe a month from now. Melissa tied her beautiful auburn hair into a ponytail and checked her look. For a woman who’d just spent 3 hours on a train, she looked pretty good. She scanned the crowd, looking for a familiar face, maybe her mother, or her brother Malcolm. She’d been looking around for a few minutes, but she saw neither her mother nor her brother at the station.

“Melissa, hey! Over here!” She turned and was quite surprise. Standing in front of her was the most attractive man she’d ever seen. He had black hair and dark brown eyes that made her want to melt into them. He didn’t look familiar to her at all.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” she asked politely.

“Are you kidding me? It’s me, Jordan. I spent like half my childhood at your house,” the man said. It finally started to dawn on her. Jordan James was her brother’s best friend. She remembered what her brother had said about him before, how they went to separate colleges but ended up coming back home and working together, her brother as an engineer and Jordan as the landscaper. They even built their own little firm together and from what she recalled, their business was booming.

“Oh wow Jordan. I didn’t recognize you now, you look so different!”

“Yeah, I used to have braces, and horrible acne. How long’s it been, six years?”

“That’s right, six years since I last saw you. I hear you and Malcolm are working together?”

“Yes we are, and we’re doing pretty well too. Where are your bags?”

“My bags?”

“Your brother asked me to pick you up. They just brought your dad home from the hospital, so they’re a little swamped.”

A wave of sadness flowed through her. She should have been there and helped them. Why did she have to take so long? Her little mental exchange was apparently evident to Jordan, because he suddenly said, “Hey, it’s not your fault. No need to feel guilty about it. Where are your bags again?”



They had both brought her bags to his pickup and were now driving down the familiar road to Melissa’s childhood home.

“So… how’s your life right now? Is there a Mrs. James waiting for you at home?” Melissa asked as they drove.

“No, not yet. I’m not quite ready to go down that road, you know?”

“I guess I understand, the same goes for me as well, I need to focus on my career before getting into any kind of relationship,” she said with a smile. But the truth was that Melissa was a bit lonely. Not physically, to tell the truth, she was still a virgin. She believed in saving herself before marriage, and her faith was a strong factor in her life. She had had boyfriends but they never did THAT. Melissa was lonely for some affection. She lived alone in London and didn’t have many friends. She was just too focused on her career to have any sort of social life.

But she was home now, she was sure to get all the affection she needed.

“So uhm, how about you? Is there some lucky Londoner waiting for you at home?” asked Jordan.

“Oh no, I was a little too busy to go out. I spent most of my nights indoors or at the hotel, and I don’t really have a social life in England. But you know, no regrets,” she said with a smile, “How’s your business going with Malcolm.”

“It’s going pretty great, we have a lot of loyal local customers, and we’re branching out, at least we were. I’m sort of handling most of the business right now.”

“Malcolm is so lucky to have you as a friend and partner. Other people wouldn’t be so lucky.”

“Well, he’s pretty lucky with what he’s got.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ll see when you get there. He told me he wanted to tell you in person,” said Jordan, winking at her with a glint in his eye.

They drove through some woods and finally, the big white house slowly came into view.

Melissa didn’t realize that she missed her home as much as she did; an overwhelming feeling of relief came over her as she saw her old home, or maybe it was the memories she had here that triggered it. There’s no place like home.

As the car pulled up, they both saw the front door open, and Melissa saw her mother running out to meet them. Malcolm stopped at the door, there was someone else behind him, but Melissa wasn’t sure who that person might be.

Melissa got out of the car quickly and met her mother with a fierce hug.

“Oh mama, I missed you so much!”

“And we missed you my little rose. Your father’s been asking for you since we told him you were coming. Oh Mels, you look so beautiful.”

Melissa smiled after hearing that familiar nickname. She hasn’t heard anyone call her Mels in two years.

“Hey sis, Good to finally see you,” said Malcolm coming up toward her and enveloping her in a big bear hug.

“You too, Mal. I missed you.”

“By the way,” Malcolm said as they pulled away from their embrace. “I have someone to introduce to you.”

Melissa saw a woman standing behind Malcolm. She was petite and she had a sweet smile, blonde hair, and blue eyes. She was lovely.

“I’d like you to meet Sally, my fiancée!”



How is this?


Melissa was stunned. She didn’t know what to say for a good 10 seconds, and then she snapped out of it and said, “Oh wow. How is this? Hello!”

It was obviously a bit awkward, but their mom helped them breeze through the awkward situations, as she always knew how to do it.

“Well, there’s plenty of time for us to get to know each other over the week. Melissa, Sally just helped me whip up a wonderful lunch, she’s quite the cook. And you can cook us up some of your famed roast beef, oh Sally, Melissa makes me look bad with her roast beef. You know Mels, your father has been dying to have a taste of your cooking for months now,” and all of a sudden, Mrs. Agatha George stops dead in her tracks. A simple figure of speech has struck too close to home. Everyone was immersed in icy silence. Malcolm was the first to snap out of it.

“Hey, let’s all go inside. Dad’s been waiting for you Mels, you’re all he talks about recently.”

They all shuffled inside, Sally holding Mrs. George’s hand, who was still pale and dazed, and leading her to the house, Melissa following behind them, eyes downcast, with Jordan and Malcolm bringing up the rear, carrying Melissa’s bags with them.

“You can go right in, he’s been expecting you,” Sally said, pointing to the downstairs parlor that they must have converted into her father’s sick room.

Melissa braced herself for what she was about to see. She knew cancer and what it could do to someone, but she wasn’t entirely sure she could bear to see it reflected in her father, the man she had leaned on and idolized all her life. Breathing deeply, Melissa finally reached out and turned the knob.

Inside, she saw a respirator and some other hospital equipment that measured her father’s pulse and breathing. There was a white bed and tray holder where the chaise lounge and coffee table used to be, and, propped up on some pillows, was her father.

Melissa couldn’t help stop herself from gasping. Her father was just a shadow of the man she remembered. What a nasty disease cancer was, it reduces your loved ones into vestiges of their former selves, until finally, nothing remained but a left over imprint on a mattress, and even that eventually fades.

“Dad,” was all she could say, trying to control the tears that threatened to flow.

“Hello, rose petal. Come over here, let me look at you,” her father said, smiling as she came closer. When she was by the bed, he reached out a bony hand toward her. She took his hand and the tears started to fall.

“No, don’t cry petal. You’re so beautiful. My little girl’s a grown woman now. Hey come on, how can I talk to you if you keep bawling like that?”

Melissa fought to control the tears that she couldn’t keep from falling. “Oh daddy. I’m sorry I took so long,” and she kissed her father’s hand, washing it with her tears.

“I’m sorry I might go sooner than we wanted, too, but everything is part of God’s plan. However, I did get to spend 34 wonderful years with your mother, and I got the chance to raise the two amazing kids. I couldn’t ask for more.”

“I could. I want more time daddy. I was going to bring you to England, take you and mama to see the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and see some shows on the West End. I had it all planned.”

“You can still do that Mels, take your mama out to London and show her a good time. It’ll be mighty lonely for her, out here alone when I’m gone.”

“Daddy don’t talk like that. It’s unfair. You’re not going anywhere yet. You can get better. God will heal you, we just have to pray,” said Melissa, shaking her head.

“Rose petal, I’ve got a feeling God’s got other plans for my soul. Don’t be afraid, I’m not. I’ll be with God and take my rest, but I can’t do that without being sure you’re all going to be alright when I leave. Your Mama, she’ll be fine. She’s as strong as a mule even if she looks frail, and I’m sure she’ll pull through no matter what. You’re brother got Sally now, and Jordan, he’ll be fine too. But I worry about you. You write plenty of letters but I’ve read them and read them, and all you ever talk about is work. You never mentioned a friend in any of your letters. You always go out alone. I don’t want to go to heaven thinking about you alone in a London apartment. I want to be sure you have people around you who’ll help and support you.”

“I’ll be fine daddy, you should worry about yourself first. You’ve lost a lot of weight, is it the medication?”

“Maybe,” he father replied with, it seemed to Melissa, a hint of irony. “I’ve come to terms with what’s about to happen petal.”

“What?” she cried angrily, “Dad! It feels like you already gave up on getting better! Stop talking like that and concentrate on living another twenty years, please!” she implored.

“Calm down Mels. I’ll be…” Before her father could finish the sentence, he was caught in a wave of coughing that wouldn’t seem to stop. Alarmed, Melissa rushed out and called her Mother, who came running in with Sally in tow.

Melissa watched helplessly as Sally placed an oxygen mask over his face, while her mother rubbed her father’s back until his coughing quieted down.

“He probably needs to sleep now. We should let him rest,” Malcolm said, taking Melissa by the shoulders and leading her out. Tears were still streaming down her face.



They had talked and laughed...



Melissa was back in her old room. The small double bed that she hadn’t used in almost six years still had the familiar rose-colored sheets with the floral print. Her old books where in the night stand and the beloved bible was on her dresser, her old pictures were still on the frames and everything felt really familiar to her, comforting even. She had already unpacked her things and she decided to look over some old pictures.

There was her prom picture, her in her pale blue dress and silver shoes. Jordan had taken her to the prom and they had danced all night. She had been a bit disappointed that Jordan was her date, he was almost a permanent fixture in their home, and she had a crush on another boy, but that boy never asked her, and as a last resort she begged her brother to find her a date. They had talked and laughed, and she enjoyed herself despite her initial disappointment.

Then, there was her sweet sixteen; she was wearing a sweet yellow dress, standing in front of a big cake and a tarpaulin that said Melissa’s Sweet Sixteen on it. Her mother, brother and father stood next to her. To the side were some of her friends in high school, as well as some of her cousins. To the far side, she saw Jordan again, skinny and awkward. Who would have guessed that he would turn into all this now? He was handsome and confident, a real catch compared to the awkward teenager he once was. She looked over to their family again. Her mother lost a bit of weight, but she looked almost the same except for the gray hairs. Malcolm had become a man and filled in his gangly frame. She was taller, and her freckles were gone, but she felt as lost as she was when she was sixteen. Her eyes turned to her father, he had a ruddy color on his cheeks and he was still big and strong, he was her hero, he still was. A searing pain went through her chest. Her mind still couldn’t believe that this big, strong man in the picture was the same person on the bed in the parlor. Her father was pale, and he must be about half his weight. He looked frail and weak, nothing like he had been in life.

“Mels? Lunch is ready,” said Malcolm’s voice through the door.

“I’ll be down in a minute. Okay?”

She heard Malcolm’s foot falls go down the stairs. She took another deep breath and stood up. She wiped her eyes and applied some concealer. She didn’t want to make the lunch seem grim with her swollen eyes. She had to pull a brave face, in undoubtedly the same way as her mother and brother were. She had to be brave for her father most of all.



The atmosphere during lunch was understandably strained. Jordan left for work, but Sally still ate with them.

“So Mels, how’s the food? Didn’t I tell you it was good? Sally cooks exquisitely doesn’t she?”

“Oh yeah, she really does. This is great.” Then came another awkward pause that Melissa decided to fill. “So Mal, how’d you and Sally meet? To be honest, I was a bit surprised you were engaged; I didn’t even know you had a girlfriend a week ago.”

Malcolm cleared his throat, fully aware of the barbed thought behind the question.

“I’m your father’s nurse. I have been since he first started showing symptoms. I work at the hospital and I decided to work with your family full time when he was diagnosed two weeks ago,” Sally volunteered.

“So you’ve known each other for less than a month? And you’re engaged already?”

“No, we’ve known each other for half a year. Malcolm proposed last month.”

Melissa saw the guilty looks from her mother and brother.

“How can that be? You only called to tell me about dad being sick a month ago, how could you two have known each other for half a year? Have you been hiding all this from me?”

Malcolm and her mother looked at each other, until Agatha finally cleared her throat.

“When your father started coughing, we didn’t know what was wrong or if it was a serious disease. We didn’t want to have you worrying on the other side of the world. We went back and forth to the hospital. When we got the diagnosis last month, we decided to let you know. We just wanted what was best for you Melissa, please don’t be angry.”

Melissa mouth was a thin line. She felt angry and betrayed by the people she
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