As you wish, p.1
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       As You Wish, p.1

           Robin Jones Gunn
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As You Wish


  As You Wish

  Copyright © 2000 by Robin Jones Gunn

  Published by Bethany House Publishers

  11400 Hampshire Avenue South

  Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

  www.bethanyhouse.com

  Bethany House Publishers is a division of

  Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

  Ebook edition created 2012

  ISBN 978-1-4412-3311-0

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

  Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

  Scripture quotations identified KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.

  Scripture quotations identified RSV are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Copyright 1946, 1952, 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.

  Scripture quotations identified TLB are from the Living Bible © 1971 owned by assignment by Illinois Regional Bank N.A. (as trustee). Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189. All rights reserved.

  This story is a work of fiction. All characters and events are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is coincidental.

  International copyright secured. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

  Cover by Lookout Design, Inc.

  To my husband, Ross.

  I made a wish, and you came true.

  And to our son, Ross, and our daughter, Rachel.

  We wished together, and then there was you and you.

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  About the Author

  Other Books by Author

  Back Ads

  1 Todd, you are really bad at keeping secrets, you know.” Christy Miller let go of her boyfriend’s hand and stopped in the middle of their trek across campus.

  “And who says I’m keeping a secret?”

  Todd Spencer’s wide grin and dimple were sure signs to Christy. “Your face told me. All you have to do now is fill in the details. With words, preferably.”

  “I’ll tell you over dinner.” Todd motioned for her to follow him.

  Christy stood steadfast, folded her arms, and asked, “Where are we going to dinner? The cafeteria isn’t open until Friday.”

  “I know. Just come with me. I made reservations at a quiet little out-of-the-way place. Come on.”

  Christy raised her eyebrows skeptically. “You made reservations?”

  The hot Santa Ana winds that pushed their way from the desert to the southern California coast every September grabbed the ends of Christy’s long, nutmeg-colored hair and drew the strands across her cheek like a veil. She brushed back the wisps from the corner of her mouth and noticed that Todd was looking at her “that way” again.

  She had been home from Switzerland less than a week, but already Todd had looked at her “that way” at least six times. Maybe seven. His silver-blue eyes seemed lit by some inner candle, and she felt as though he was waiting for her to come closer and make a wish before the flickering light went out. Each time Christy had seen that look, she had turned away.

  This time she paused. He’s waiting for me to tell him I love him.

  When no words came from Christy’s lips, Todd held out his arm to her and in his easygoing manner said, “Well, actually, I sort of made reservations. Come on. You’ll see.”

  Christy responded by slipping her arm around his middle. Todd put his arm across her shoulders and drew her close. They walked across the campus of Rancho Corona University in perfect step.

  What’s wrong with me? I know I love Todd. Why won’t those three simple words find their way from my heart and burst out of my mouth?

  They entered the open plaza at the campus’s center just as the sun slipped behind a clump of rustling palm trees. Filtered beams of amber sunlight sliced through Todd’s short, summer-blond hair.

  “Over this way.” Todd led Christy to the edge of the large fountain in the middle of the plaza. Since classes didn’t begin until next week, not many students were on campus. Todd and Christy had the plaza to themselves.

  “Do you want to sit here?” Todd asked. “Or over on one of the benches?”

  “This is fine.” Christy sat on the fountain’s wide edge and crossed her long legs. “What about our dinner reservations?”

  “We have some time,” Todd said. Then he quickly added, “Doesn’t this fountain remind you of that one we saw last summer?”

  “Which fountain? One of the dozen in Salzburg that Katie liked?”

  “No, I was thinking of the fountain in Rome,” Todd said. “Or was it in Milan? I don’t remember.”

  Christy smiled. “When I close my eyes, this spot reminds me of the train station in Castelldefels.”

  “Spain?” Todd asked. “There weren’t any fountains at that rundown train station in Spain. That place was a wreck.”

  “I know. But close your eyes. Listen. It’s the palm trees. That’s what reminds me of the train station in Spain. That rustling sound.”

  Christy watched Todd close his eyes and tip his chin toward the sky, listening. “Reminds me of Hawaii,” he said, opening his eyes and looking at Christy.

  The sound always made Christy think that the trees were clapping. Now she heard the echoes of Hawaii along with Todd. “You’re right. It sounds like a whole row of hula dancers swishing their grass skirts.”

  “Hula dancers?”

  “Yes, hula dancers. Tall, slender hula dancers.”

  Todd laughed. “Very tall and very slender.”

  A gentle breeze swirled around them, spraying the evening air with a mist from the fountain. Christy tilted her head. “So are you going to tell me your big secret now? Or do I still have to wait until dinner?”

  “Oh yeah, my big secret. What was it I was going to tell you?” After a thoughtful pause, Todd shrugged. “Guess I forgot.”

  “You did not.” Christy playfully grabbed Todd by the shoulders and threatened to push him into the water. Todd responded by taking hold of her shoulders. “If I go in, you’re going with me.”

  They laughed and play-wrestled until Todd’s upper-body strength from his years of surfing enabled him to overpower Christy’s best efforts. He pulled himself upright and, with his left hand, scooped a handful of water to splash her.

  “Hey, don’t start something you can’t f
inish,” Christy teased, lightly splashing him back.

  “Oh, you think I can’t finish a water fight?” Todd scooped up another handful of water. “Just watch me.” He splashed her again and again, his laughter dancing around her, riding on the waterdrops.

  Christy’s next scoop of water was the biggest yet.

  “Okay, okay,” Todd spouted, laughing and coughing. “You win. Truce.”

  Christy blinked the beads of water from her eyelashes and brushed them off her cheek and chin.

  “I got the position,” Todd said out of the blue. He used his T-shirt sleeve to mop his wet face.

  “What position?”

  “The position at Riverview Heights Church. They hired me this afternoon as their youth director. That’s my big secret.”

  “You’re kidding! I thought you said they were going to hire someone who had graduated already.”

  “That’s what I thought. But they had their final meeting last night and voted. I’m the guy.”

  “Wow,” Christy said. “That’s really great, Todd.”

  “They said they liked that I could lead music as well as teach the Bible studies.” Todd stretched out his feet in front of him and added, “I told them all about you, and they asked if you would be willing to teach the junior high girls’ Sunday school class.”

  “What did you tell them?”

  “I said you would.”

  “You said I would?”

  “Yeah. I told them you were the best teacher on our missions team to Spain a few years ago and how you helped out at an orphanage this past year in Switzerland. They can’t wait to meet you.”

  “Todd, you told them I would teach Sunday school?”

  Todd turned his full attention to Christy and seemed to try to read her expression. “You’ve taught Sunday school before.”

  “Preschoolers.”

  “Oh. Well, you were a counselor at summer camp a few years ago.”

  “Those girls weren’t even in middle school yet.”

  “Have you ever taught junior high students before?”

  “No, never.”

  “Well, you’ll love these girls. And they’ll love you.”

  “Todd!”

  “What?”

  “Why didn’t you at least ask me first? I mean, what if I don’t want to teach the junior high girls?”

  “Why wouldn’t you?”

  “I’m not saying I would or I wouldn’t. I’m saying you should have asked me first before agreeing that I would make a commitment like that. It sounds like they hired you because they thought they could get three employees for the price of one—a youth director, a music leader, and a girlfriend Sunday school teacher tossed in for free.”

  Todd straightened himself and looked confused. “You think people should get paid for teaching Sunday school? Is that it? You want to be paid?”

  “No, of course not. You’re not hearing what I’m saying. I just . . . it seems that . . . well . . .”

  “What?”

  “Todd, I think you should have let me think about it before you went ahead and made a commitment for me.”

  “Oh.” Todd nodded slowly. “You’re right. I apologize. I spoke for you instead of letting you decide. I shouldn’t have done that.”

  Christy shifted uncomfortably. “I didn’t say I absolutely wouldn’t consider maybe sometimes teaching or at least helping out.”

  Now Todd was the one who sounded exasperated. “Are you saying you will teach or you won’t?”

  “I don’t know. Let me have some time to think about it, okay?”

  “Okay. Take all the time you need. Decision making has never been your strong point, has it.” The thought wasn’t spoken as a question but as a statement. Christy hated to admit it, but the remark was true. Still, it felt like a slap of cold water.

  “Todd,” Christy stated firmly, lining up her thoughts and preparing to defend herself. “I think that—”

  Before she could finish, Todd said, “Hey, our dinner is here.”

  Christy looked out at the parking lot and saw a young guy walking toward them wearing a red-striped shirt and carrying a pizza box.

  “Are you Todd Spencer?” he called out as he approached.

  “Yeah, that’s me. You’re right on time. Thanks.” Todd paid for the pizza and took the box.

  “Have a nice night,” the guy said and then jogged back to his delivery car.

  “This is what you meant by having reservations?” Christy asked. “This is your quiet, out-of-the-way place?”

  Todd grinned. “Cool, huh? Just the two of us. Perfect night. Great atmosphere. It’s not exactly the Island of Capri, but we have hula-dancing palm trees for our dining entertainment.”

  Christy stared at Todd. She didn’t know if she should be charmed or bummed.

  “I ordered their monster combo.” Todd opened the box. “Looks like they went a little heavy on the onions and bell peppers. You can take off anything you don’t like and put it on my half. Do you want to pray before we eat, or should I?”

  “I think you better,” Christy said.

  She did her best to hide her feelings, which still stung from Todd’s comment about her inability to make decisions. Yet the hurt hung over her like a shadow for the rest of their time together. She only ate two pieces of pizza and silently listened as Todd filled her in on more details about his new position.

  When they walked back, hand in hand, to her dorm room, Christy said, “Sorry I got so stressed about the Sunday school thing.”

  “Don’t worry about it,” Todd said. “I’ll be back on campus Friday to move into my dorm room, and we can talk some more then.”

  “Okay,” Christy said. “Call me when you get here. Katie and I can help, if you want.”

  He stopped at the front door of Sophia Hall and leaned over to give Christy a soft kiss. If he was upset or disappointed with her, it didn’t show in his words or in his kiss. “See you Friday.”

  Christy found her dorm room unlocked and Katie, her red-haired best friend, standing precariously on a chair, trying to squeeze a small stereo speaker onto the top of their built-in bookshelf.

  “Oh, good, you’re back.” Katie gave the edge of the speaker a whap with the palm of her hand and commanded it to stay in place. “Where did you and Todd go to eat?”

  “He made reservations at a quiet, out-of-the-way place.” Christy flopped on her bed.

  Katie stopped to stare. “Are we talking about Todd Spencer? Your Todd Spencer?”

  “Yes. It actually was very creative. He ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the fountain in the central plaza, if you can believe that.”

  “How romantic!”

  “It would have been if I wasn’t such a bean head.”

  “You? A bean head?” Katie climbed down from the chair but still was eyeing the speaker as if commanding it to stay in place.

  “Yes, me. What is my problem?”

  “Which one should we discuss?” Katie made herself comfortable on the foot of Christy’s bed. Katie was always ready for a good evaluation session.

  “Forget I asked that.”

  “Oh, come on. Give me a hint. Why did Todd come all the way here tonight?” Katie’s perceptive green eyes examined Christy’s expression. “Let me guess. He drove an hour and a half from Newport Beach because he missed you so much, right?”

  “Not exactly.” Christy told Katie about Todd’s new position as youth director at Riverview Heights, including the parts about Christy teaching the junior high girls’ class and Todd’s comment concerning her inability to make decisions.

  “Well, that is true, you know,” Katie said. “I mean, you have gotten a lot better about making decisions and everything, but I don’t think you should be upset with Todd for saying that. It was an observation, not a criticism.”

  “Well, I am upset. I feel like crying my eyes out.”

  “That’s probably because of the jet lag. You were in Switzerland for a year, Christy. Your body has had only a
few days to adjust to the time change. Give yourself a break. That’s why we decided to move into the dorm early, remember? You were the one who said you needed a chance to adjust to all the changes.”

  “Arrrrgh!” Christy pulled a pillow over her head. “I hate change!”

  “Now we’re getting somewhere.” Katie grabbed the pillow and used it for a backrest. “Remember, flexibility is a sign of good mental health.”

  “Oh, please!” Christy yanked at the pillow. “Give me back my pillow.”

  “Only if you promise you’ll work on a better attitude about Todd’s new job. This is what he wanted, you know. It’s perfect for him.”

  “I know. It is.”

  “It’s a real job.” Katie handed the pillow to Christy. “A career. A ministry. Something permanent. This isn’t like all his random jobs over the years.”

  Christy made herself comfortable. She knew Katie was determined to shower her with advice. Resistance was futile. And even though Christy wouldn’t admit it, deep down she wanted to hear what Katie had to say.

  “This is it, Chris. This is the final stretch for you guys. It’s possible that both of you could graduate this year.”

  “Only if I can figure out what I want my major to be.” Christy sighed.

  “You will. When is your appointment with your counselor?”

  “Friday.”

  “That works,” Katie said. “You can sleep all day tomorrow to get over your jet lag. On Thursday you can find a job, and on Friday figure out everything with your classes and your major. By the time Todd arrives Friday afternoon, your life will be in order.”

  “I wish,” Christy said. “It’s not always that easy, Katie.”

  “And it’s not always as complicated as you make it. I mean, can I just say that it’s obvious God is doing all His God-things at the right time so you and Todd can get married and get on with your lives together?”

  “Katie, you’re assuming an awful lot.”

  “Assuming a lot? Moi?”

  Just then someone knocked rapidly on the door. Katie hopped up and swung open the door. The visitor who came floating in wore a glowing expression. Her wild, curly blond hair cascaded over her shoulders.

  “And just where have you been, Little Miss Happy Heart?” Katie asked.

  Sierra Jensen, a fun-loving, free-spirited freshman, gave Katie an impulsive hug and then flitted over to Christy and gave her a hug. Sierra had been roommates with Katie and Christy two years ago when they had met on a missions trip in England. Despite Katie and Christy being older than Sierra, they were all close friends.

 
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