“I hate her,” Jane said fiercely to her friends, staring at the girl who just passed through them.“She acts as if she knows everything,” nodded Rachel. “And she’s so flirty! She enjoys being drooled over by the boys,” Natalie rolled her eyes in anger. As the three friends turned their backs and went away, the girl they hated so much stopped in the middle of her track. She looked back at the girls, shook her head, sighed, and continued walking.
Rianne does not act as if she knows everything. She was just plain smart. And neither was she flirty and enjoys being drooled over by the boys. In fact, she was trying to turn them all away—nicely. Well, maybe describing her would help.Rianne Claire Johnson was a fourth year High school student of Boston High. She graduated as the valedictorian in elementary, wand she was running for valedictorian again. If there would be one person in the world you might call perfect, it would be her. In academics, she was best in English, Science, Math, Music, and Arts; all the other subjects are no problem. As her sports, she plays volleyball, table tennis, and swimming. For martial arts, she was a junior-purple belter in Karate. And then there was the look. Three words would describe her: she’s uniquely beautiful. Her eyes were not blue, nor green. They were a combination of both. Many known artists would die to have those eyes. And her hair. She had this brownish-black, naturally straight hair. Fits her eyes. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Hose words would ring in your head when you see her. She looks like an angel? Yes, so much. But not only her looks were angelic, even her very character traits are the, what you may call, “immaculate.” Spotless. She was kind, but strict. Gentle, but firm. And in the social status of her family, she helped her parents run their family company. What more could you ever ask for? Sometimes some students even ask themselves whether she was real, or they were just dreaming. But she was real. Real and alive. And, naturally, boys all over the whole campus can’t help but “fall” in love with her. Who wouldn’t be? You would be a total insane if you didn’t, at least, admire her. Almost all the boys in high school department admired her, so she was the most hated girl in school… by the other girls. Driven by anger, which was triggered by jealousy, many of the high school girls despised her and sought ways to destroy her image and reputation in the eyes of the boys. They tried, tried, ad tried… but failed. That was how much the boys loved Rianne. As the angelic girl continued walking, every boy she met on the way smiled at her, most of them even stopping to stare. She entered the classroom, and then the expression of the class were two extremes: on the boys’ faces, smiles—even grins—met Rianne; and on the girls’ were clear and unmasked expressions of disgust and hatred. Rianne sat down on her chair and took out her pen and notebook almost automatically. Five minutes before the official start of the class, a tall guys entered the room. Their teacher stood up at once towards him. “Mr. Brooklyn!” Mrs. Whitney greeted enthusiastically and extended her hand. “It’s good to see you here in my class.” “A pleasure to meet you, ma’am,” the young guy shook Mrs. Whitney’s hand. Mrs. Whitney turned to the class. “Class, we have a transferee student for this 2nd semester and onwards,” she looked back at the young man, nodded, and went back to her seat. The guy cleared his throat. “Hi. A nice morning, everyone. I’m Caleb Joshua Brooklyn, but you can call me Josh for short. I’m sixteen years of age, transferred to this school from Cambridge High.” A series of gasps of astonishment was launched into the air. Cambridge was one of the most popular school in the country. In no time, hurried whispers were heard all over the room. “Wow there, Cambridge? Did I just hear Cambridge?” and “Wow, he’s so cool!” were just some of the whispers heard. Mrs. Whitney cleared her throat, a little too loudly, and all at once the commotion stopped. “Okay, Mr. Brooklyn,” she smiled apologetically at Josh, “you may sit over there, beside Rianne.” She pointed at the vacant seat on Rianne’s left. Rianne looked up from her papers and saw Josh looking at her. He smiled. She smiled back, and Josh walked and sat on his chair. “What is the most important and essential part of every story, that without it no real story can exist?” Mrs. Whitney threw the question into the whole class. Jane’s hand shot into the air a second before Mrs. Whitney finished speaking. “Yes, Ms. McAdams?” “I believe the most important part of every story is the characters,” Jane answered with a hint of pride and arrogant confidence.” “Characters in a story are important, but they are not the most important. Anyone else?” Mrs. Whitney looked around. “The settings?” a guy offered. “Sorry James, but it’s not that too.” “The incidents, I’m sure of that,” said Rachel. “Almost there, but still no,” smiled the teacher. “Thank you, Matt. The plot is one of the most important, but it is not the most important. Do you have the answer, Mr. Brooklyn?” “Josh, if you please, ma’am,” smiled Josh. “Okay, Josh then. What is your answer?” “For me, the most important element of every story is the conflict, or are conflicts. Without it, no real story can exist.” The class was silent. “Is she correct, Rianne?” Mrs. Whitney smiled at Rianne and asked. “Rianne returned her teacher’s smile and said, “Indeed he is, ma’am. Conflict is the most essential part of the story.”
***“Okay, listen up, guys! That assignment should and must be passed first thing in the morning. Clear?” Mr. Michaels, their Physics teacher, announced. “Yes,” mumbled the class. The bell rang loudly, announcing lunch break. All at stirred, and in no time were out of the classroom. Rianne was one of the few left, arranging books and things. Josh was there, too. “Um, hi Rianne,” Josh approached the girl. “Oh, hello,” smiled Rianne kindly. “Having any difficulty adjusting to our school culture?” “Well, a little. That’s why I thought you might help me. You know, explain things and stuffs.” “Oh yeah, sure. It would be my pleasure to help.” “Really?” Josh’s face lit up. Then, perhaps we can eat lunch together? Please?” “Well, um,” Rianne hesitated, but then saw Josh’s hopeful and earnest face. “Okay, we’ll eat lunch together. Josh grinned. “My treat. Where do you wanna go?” Rianne shrugged and smiled. “Wherever, I’m not choosy.” “Good. Maybe Yellow Cab will do?” “Oh yes, it certainly will.” As the two walked together towards the main gate, students can’t help but look at them. Rianne even heard almost every girl who passed them say under their breaths, “Oh, yes. There she goes again. Even Josh? She really is so flirty.” Many girls said something like, “Hi Josh, I heard—“but then they realized Rianne was with him, and some would not be able to hide what they felt, like they’ve been slapped on the face. Some would cast angry looks on Rianne; if looks could kill, she could have died long ago. And yet Josh continued walking, not noticing any of these, so Rianne just ignored them and jerked her head straight to where they were going. Once they were out of the gate, Josh made Rianne wait while he went to fetch his car. A few minutes later a black Honda Civic came into Rianne’s view. Josh got out of the car, opened the door for the passenger’s seat, let Rianne in, and drove away.
“So why did you transfer from a popular school to a not-so-popular one?” Rianne asked Josh with a hint of humor, and bit a slice of pizza.
“Not-so-popular one? It was like, Boston High is almost always the talk of the town. Even in the local newspapers, Boston High is always featured. Either you win in a competition or you win in a contest. And, well, for one there has been problems with that school. And for another there has been problems with my family,” Josh replied.
“Oh, I see. I won’t ask for the details then.”
Josh smiled. “Thanks, Rianne. You’re making this adjustment pace so much easier.”
“My pleasure to help.”
A week had passed after Josh’s first day in Boston High. On his second day, he became a popular boy in school already. Because of his looks and former school. And as each day of his first week passed, the more popular he became. He was smart, kind, and sports-inclined. By the time his first week in his new school flew away, Josh was already the most popular boy in Boston High. The girls would crowd around him whenever he would pass through the hallways and corridors. He was branded as the ‘coolest guy’.
But he doesn’t seem to take any of this into his head. He just kept a low profile of himself. And he spends time with Rianne during breaks. They became close friends in such a short time. And now additional rumors from the other high school girls spread in the school. That Rianne’s ‘next target’ was Josh.
When Josh heard this, he did a most surprising thing. He went to the editor-in-chief of the school papers and requested for an article of his to be published in the front page of the news for the week. At first the editor-in-chief wouldn’t budge, but when he saw the article was a present issue and an interest of readers, he finally gave in. I wouldn’t recite the whole article, but its summary was, Rianne was not flirty, she doesn’t go after Josh, and it would be very best for the high school girls to stop fantasizing to destroy Rianne’s image; for it would be impossible.
Almost at once the rumors died after the article had been published. Rianne owed Josh a thousand thanks, and she gave him just that.
“Rianne, you’re welcome okay” laughed Josh when she thanked him again, three days after the publication of his article.
Rianne smiled. “I just want you to know that I appreciate it. So much.”
“Well, you gave more than enough emphasis on the ‘so much’ already.”
Rianne laughed and stood up. She grabbed her bag and swung it strongly to her back,
purposefully hitting Josh with it. “Let’s go, dude. Time for class,” she said.
As their class ended, Josh said, “Be online in Facebook.”
“I go online every day,” Rianne replied, “You know that.”
“Okay. Just wanna be sure.”
An hour later they were both online in FB, and chatting.
_Josh: So… How do you survive all these years?
Rianne: By God’s grace? … What do you mean exactly?
Josh: You know, in school. What with the whole generation hating you?
Rianne: Oh, Haha… yeah, that was worth calling survival. I just manage to keep my poise at school, but at home I often cry myself to sleep.
Josh: What? And you didn’t even tell me?
Rianne: No, I didn’t. Because that was before you transferred.
Josh: Oh, I see. But what about after I transferred?
Rianne: Well, it’s different when you had a close friend in school. And so I began to feel better.
Josh: That’s just what you’re supposed to feel. :D_
School days of their fourth year passed. January’s days were quickly vanishing. Rianne ranked number one in class, followed by Josh. Their ranking was sure to be that wat when they graduated. The two became the best of friends, and once again issues against Rianne popped out.
“Just ignore it,” Josh repeated. Rianne sighed.
“If you’re not there, Josh, I don’t know how I could ignore it.”
Josh smiled and opened the door for Rianne to their class. They hardly got settles when Mr. Crawfords, the Department Head for the High School knocked entered the classroom. Mr. Johannes, the Math teacher, looked up and smiled pleasantly at him, which Mr. Crawfords returned warmly.
“Good afternoon,” began the Department Head as he turned to the class. “The date for our JS prom was set. It is to be held on the 24th of February , at Korale’ Hotel and Resort starting at 6PM. To those who are interested to join, approach me in my office. The fee for the prom was decided to be 250 dollars. As for your partners, you are free to ask the person you want to go with you to the ball. But of course there must be agreement between you and the person. You know how it goes, no need for further discussion. That’s all, and thank you Mr. Johannes.” With that, he walked out of the class.
The rest of the day went by without much activity. And as Rianne and Josh went out the gate and were about to separate ways, Josh said, “Be online.”
“Oh please,” said Rianne with a smile, “am I not online every day?”
And, like they always do, after one hour they started chatting.
_Josh: Hey Best friend.
Rianne: Hi there!
Josh: What date is it today?
Rianne: It’s Jan. 31. Why?
Josh: Oh, okay. Nothing. I can hardly wait for the prom.
Rianne: Haha… and so am I. Things like that don’t happen every day. They’re meant to be remarkable.
Josh: Haha, right. Is there anyone who asked you yet?
Rianne: Ummm, I’m actually being chatted by many of them right now.
Josh: Whistles Haha… planning to say yes to one of them?
Rianne: Um, I’m not sure… But I don’t think so.
Josh: Oh, good.
Rianne: Good? What do you mean?
Josh: Oh, sorry. I mean… good luck. LOL!
Rianne: Oh, hahaha! Okay.
Another week flew away, another one’s halfway gone. It was Thursday. Boys all over the school kept going to Rianne’s locker, to slip some paper into it. A few seconds after one guy left, another one would go and slip another piece of paper. And the girls did that too. They slipped papers—heaps of papers—into Rianne’s locker. And some even punched the locker after slipping the papers, only to hurt themselves and say, “ouch!”
Usually, Rianne checks her locker every lunch time. But now she simply passed through it, her eyes locked far away, her mind in another world. Her lips were straight, not wearing the smile she used to wear.
“Rianne, is there something wrong?” ask Josh. When she didn’t reply, Josh laid a hand on her shoulder and said a little louder, “Rianne.”
“Oh, what? Sorry?” Rianne said, like she came back to earth from a whole different dimension.
“Are you alright Is there something wrong?” Josh asked again, not hiding his concern anymore. Rianne stopped walking and sighed. Josh can see a troubled soul bhind those blue-green eyes of his best friend.
“Dad,” started Rianne. “Dad’s been diagnosed of colon cancer. It was stage four already.”
At this, Josh was lost for words. He simply stared at Rianne.
“I’m sorry,” was all that he managed. Rianne tried to smile.
“Well, let’s go eat some lunch. I’m starving,” she quickly said, and turned away. Josh was pretty sure she did that to prevent her tears from flowing.
“So what hospital was your father confined in?” Josh asked while nibbling a slice of pizza. They were eating favorite food in Yellow Cab—again—in their favorite spot. But the air was different, like there was a threatening force lurking in the air.
“He’s in St. Luke’s right now. Presently, the doctor said he’s getting no better, but that he’ll do the best he can.”
“I’m sure your father would be well soon,” Josh tried to convince Rianne and himself as well, but knew he failed.
“Let’s face it, Josh. It is very clear that my father is dying. Expecting for him to be well again won’t help. But I’m not saying we shouldn’t pray; we must pray, but we are not to demand of God what we want.”
“Rianne…” Josh said quietly, apparently lost in thought. “Rianne, you are so strong, and calm. I can see the peace within. Where can all those come from? What would be its source?”
At this Rianne smiled. “No, Josh. I’m not strong. I am very weak, in fact. And I am very much anxious. Anxious on how we’re going to run the company when Dad leaves us, how I could comfort my Mom’s grief, and many other things. But God, the God who created all things, had mercy on me and saved me by His grace—by His grace alone. Not because of my works, for ‘all have fallen short in the glory of God,’ but because He is merciful and steadfast in love, giving grace to the unworthy, like me. He cleansed me of my sins by His blood. And by His grace, when I am weak, then I become strong; and by His salvation, I obtained peace within. This grace has been given to my parents as well. That is why I’m confident and at ease with the thought of my Dad dying. It only meant home to us.”
This speech was met with astonished silence, and Rianne knew well enough. She didn’t break it, keeping an eye contact with Josh. After seemed ages, he spoke at last.
“I always thought there’s no difference with the lives of the Catholic and the Baptist, with the Presbyterian, Reformed, and the Charismatic. But witnessing your life and comparing it to mine, a thick line of separation was clearly made. I want to know more about your God; the God the Reformed Baptist recognize.”
“Rianne gave him a warm smile. “He is the God of the entire tiniest microorganism—even to us humans, whatever we believe in. That is the first thing you should know.” The second Rianne finished talking, her phone rang, announcing it was five minutes before Math class would class. Rianne gasped, and the two ran for school.
Later that day, the two were chatting again.
_Josh: What you told me at lunch time keeps on ringing back in my mind.
Rianne: I am so glad you gave thought about it. If you have any questions, please let me know. I might be able to answer it.
Josh: Indeed, I have. I want to know more. Can we have a long talk about it some time? When there are no classes, so we can really spend time without worrying about being late?
Rianne: Oh, sure! I would love to talk about my Creator and Savior. Hmmm, let’s see… Perhaps Saturday?
Josh: Okay, good. Thanks, Rianne. Before, I always wonder what could be the thing that made you so perfect… how you were able to control yourself all those years… Now I think I’m beginning to know the reason.
Rianne: Josh, again I’m not perfect. I have weaknesses too. I have many weaknesses, perhaps more than you could ever think of. It is all through and by the Lord’s grace alone._
Saturday came, and Rianne invited Josh into their house. She shared to him the Gospel that brought salvation to her whole family, pouring passage after passage and statements after statements from the Bible. Rianne didn’t fail to give enough emphasis that every man was a sinner, dead in trespasses, and unable to save itself. And yet she didn’t fail to state with accent that by God’s saving grace there is nothing impossible.
“Christ died for me. It’s possible that He died for you too,” Rianne finished. Josh’s mom called and requested him to talk to a certain client in their business.
“I should be going now,” he told Rianne. “But I really would like to hear more about this wonderful God.” He stood up and smiled at Rianne.
“I have an idea,” Rianne said, standing up too.
“Would you like to go to our church with me tomorrow?”
“Oh, is it okay with you?”
“Are you kidding, of course I would love to!”
“Okay, yes. What time shall we meet?”
“Sunday School starts at nine. Around 8 or 8:15 AM would do.”
And so Josh went with Rianne to church the following day. Josh was planning to stay until the afternoon service, but then his father required his presence in an emergency staff meeting, so he left after lunch.
Later that night, at around 8pm, Rianne’s phone rang. “Hello, good evening?” she said to the cordless phone.
“Hey Rianne, it’s me, Josh,” said the voice on the other line.
“Oh, hi Josh. What’s up?”
“Nothing, I just wanna thank you for today.”
“Oh, no problem. You’re welcome any time. Hope you’ll visit our church again sometime.”
“Sure, I will. Uhh, you’re going to school tomorrow?”
“Of course. Why?”
“Oh, nothing. Just asking. Okay, ’bye then.”
“Bye Josh, good night.” Rianne put down the phone. Sha sat on her bed and prayed. She prayed for her growth spiritually, she prayed or her family, and for her sick father. And she prayed for Josh’s soul, like what she had always done since they first met.
The next morning, Rianne woke at 3:00AM, as usual. After having her daily devotions, she got ready and left for school. She reached the school at exactly 6:00AM. To her surprise, students were staying outside the gate. A moment later, Josh appeared.
“Hey, what’s up? Why are the gates closed?” he inquired Rianne.
“I don’t know. It’s been like this when I got here.”
“Um, excuse me,” Josh called a senior guy near them. “Do you know why the gates are closed?”
“No, they just told us to wait,” shrugged the guy.
A second after he finished talking, the gates were opened. But they were still in the main hallway, not yet reaching their classrooms, when the sound system boomed, “To all the high school students, please proceed to the multi-purpose hall in the fourth floor. To all the high school students, please proceed to the multi-purpose hall in the fourth floor, now. Thank you.”
“What? What are we gonna do there?” Josh asked, puzzled as much as the others.
Rianne shrugged. “I don’t know, but we better go.”
They were surprised by this announcement, but what they saw in the multi-purpose hall made the announcement look as if it was an ordinary thing. The hall was elaborately decorated with flowers. There were pink, some were white, but most of them were red. Along with the flower designs were heart and cupids. Of course, it was Valentine’s Day! The school’s Supreme Student Government arranged all these, with the administration’s support and approval.
Once all the students were inside the hall, the doors closed and a voice boomed in the air. “Welcome, high schools students. Since today is Valentine’s Day, we decided to cut all classes and give way to your leisure. You will experience today a glimpse of what you’ll do in the Prom on February 25. Enjoy!” once the announcer finished speaking, the students yelled and cheered.
At once the program started. They had recreational activities in the morning, and had a buffet lunch. After lunch, group games were held ‘till 4PM, and then the school band performed. After playing five or so pop and rock songs, the band played the song “First Dance” by Justin Beiber. One by one, boys asked girls to dance with them. Strangely enough, no one dared to ask Rianne. Later, when people asked Rianne what she thought could be the reason, she couldn’t figure it out herself. But I’ll give you a hint: Josh was standing—in a manly way—right next to her.
Just as a pair of dancers passed them, Josh faced Rianne, bowed in a princely way, and held out his hand. “May I have the pleasure of dancing with the most adorable girl in the whole wide world?” he said.
Rianne laughed. “Certainly you haven’t reached the very ends of the world, that’s why you’re saying that. But, sure, best friend.”
Just as the song reached its first chorus, Rianne and Josh started dancing. “Baby if you just give,” the song played, “give your fist dance to me, girl I promise I’d be gentle…”
When the song “First Dance” was over, it was followed by yet another one a few seconds after. “The best thing about tonight is that we’re not fighting,” the song ‘Fall For You’ started. “Could it be that we have been this way before?…”
“Rianne?” Josh said, as they continued dancing.
“I’ll take advantage of this good opportunity. Will you please be my partner in our coming Prom?”
“Hmmmm, I’ll think about it.”
“Oh, okay,” Josh said, unable to hide his disappointment and sadness.
Rianne laughed. “I thought about it now. Yes.”
“YES!! Looks like all the luck in the world has been given to me tonight.”
By 7PM innumerable songs were finished playing, and the students were by then having dinner.
“This lasagna is wonderful,” Rianne remarked.
“It sure is,” nodded Josh.
When students finished eating, the band started playing love songs again. “Wanna dance?” Josh asked.
Rianne smirked. “My feet would do some rest.”
“Oh, good. I’d like to show you something.”
“Come on,” Josh took Rianne’s hand and led her out to the hallway. He took his guitar from his locker and led Rianne to the rooftop, holding her hand all along. When they reached the rooftop, two chairs were there.
“Please sit down,” Josh said, and sat on the other chair. He took out his guitar. “This,” he said as he strummed the intro of a song, “is for you.” He strummed his guitar. “Do you hear me; I’m talking to you… Across the water, Across the deep blue oceans…”
His voice was wonderful, and so was his skill in guitar. And when the chorus came, Rianne softly hummed along. “Lucky I’m in love, with my best friend; luck to have been where I have been. Lucky to be coming home again…”
The song was wonderful. And inspiring. At the end of the song, Josh said, “Rianne, I wanted to tell you something ever since I first saw you. But day after day, the desire of telling you this grew stronger.” He paused. Rianne gave a tiny nod to assure him of her attention, but knew well enough not to break the silence.
“The more I get to know you,” he continued, “and the more I witness your stand and belief in life, the more this feeling grew stronger. You are a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. You are so likeable. Rianne, I have fallen in love with you. Do I have a space there in your heart?”
For a moment, Riane was silent. Then she spoke, “First of all, Josh, I wanted to thank you so much for loving me, you don’t know how much strength it gave me. What with a best friend like you to be with me every day? You don’t know how much it all meant to me.”
Josh was hanging on to every word that came out of Rianne’s mouth. “And for your question,” continued Rianne, “whether or not you have a space in my heart, you know very well the answer. Of course you have. How else could you be my best friend? But—“she looked earnestly at Josh. “I really don’t think this is the right time for having a relationship. We have many other things to prioritize and think about. We have studies for one and business for another. But most especially, we all have a very big responsibility, and that is the lives that we live. Everything we do would be recorded above and that record will be the basis of our eternal home. That is why we should have our spiritual growth on the very top of our priorities and dreams.”
Josh was silent, but his eyes were sparkling and his mouth had curved to a smile. “I’m sorry, but I admired you all the more. Don’t worry, Rianne. I completely understand and accept what you said.”
“Thank you Josh,” Rianne smiled.
“May I ask you something?”
“If ever the time comes,” Josh said, a little slowly, ”that I ask you again this question,… Do I have the chance of winning your heart?”
“Umm, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I have no idea what would happen tomorrow, much less in the future.”
“Oh, yeah. Well miracle happen, right?”
Rianne smiled. “I guess.”
“Then this song is for you too,” Josh strummed his guitar once more. “The strands in your eyes,” he sang, “that color them wonderful Stop and steal my breath…” Rianne smiled to herself. She liked that song very much. And she was pretty sure she didn’t tell that to Josh.
“And tell me That we belong together…” he continued singing. His voice was gentle and sweet. It was very wonderful, and makes you feel light. Rianne sang along with him in the chorus.
“I’ll be,” their melodic voices filled the air, “your crying shoulder, I’ll be love’s suicide. And I’ll be better when I’m older; I’ll be the greatest fan of your life…”
“So what time will I pick you up from the salon?” Josh’s voice came right after Rianne answered the phone.
“How did you know I’m in a salon?” Rianne asked, surprised. She was having a hair and make-up package in David’s Salon, along with foot spa and manicure.
“Uhh, you told me last night? On chat?”
“Oh, did I? Okay. Well, I guess this would all be done by 4:30, and I’d be done dressing up by 5PM. So five.”
“Okay, I’m waiting right outside, here in the car.”
“Wha—?” the phone call ended. Rianne smiled to herself and shook her head.
At exactly 4:30PM, she was done. She paid her bill and went outside. Immediately Josh went out of his car and led Rianne in. He was wearing a white shirt, and in the car she saw his polo and blazer, neatly hanged. They went to Rianne’s house and she got dressed, all the while with Josh waiting in the living room. After thirty minutes she was done, and was ready to go.
As Rianne walked down the stairs, Josh slowly stood up, his eyes fixed on her. Rianne wore a ball gown with black for the bottom and white for the upper part. And it has a thin cloth of pink all over. If she was beautiful before, she was a hundred time more beautiful—especially to Josh—that moment.
“Oh no,” muttered Josh as he stood facing this angel.
“Oh, why? Is there anything wrong?” asked Rianne, a bit bothered.
“No, no. There isn’t anything wrong. In fact, everything in you is right and proper. Makes you even more adorable than before.
Rianne laughed. “Oh, so that was it, huh?”
And so they went to Korale’ Hotel and Resort. The prom started at exactly six in the evening. They had the school band, whose name was Blazing Fire, playing. They had dinner at 7, and at 8 the ball started. They danced and danced until 10, and then they had games for thirty minutes. And students danced once more.
Rianne and Josh agreed to have a rest for a while as they were sitting and watching the others, Rianne’s phone rang. “Excuse me, Josh,” she said and went out to answer the call. Josh waited for her in his seat.
It was almost eleven already, and yet Rianne had not returned. Josh had a queer feeling, and so he hurriedly went out to look for her. He found Rianne in the back garden, sitting on a carved wooden bench with her head bowed. At one glimpse Josh knew she was crying.
“What happened?” he asked gently as he sat down beside her.
Rianne looked up, and smiled. She was silent for a moment. Then she spoke, “Father’s home. He’s finally home. Now he’s resting.” At this Josh was puzzled, so Rianne continued. “He vomited blood when mom called me. It was so sudden. And we were praying over the phone when the doctor called my mother and announced my father’s time of death.”
At last Josh understood. He didn’t say any comforting words, but what he did was far more comforting, and it gave Rianne the strength she needed at the moment. He put his arms over her shoulder, making her lean on his, and sang gently. “I’ll be your crying shoulder I’ll be Love’s suicide. And I’ll be better when I’m older, I’ll be the greatest fan of your life…”
“Bye mom,” Kristy said as she kissed Rianne’s cheek.
“Bye darling, take care,” Rianne kissed back.
“And don’t forget,” Josh looked up from his newspapers, “It’s Sunday tomorrow. We will worship the Lord.”
Kristy laughed heartily. She laughs the same way as her mom does. “Dad, as if going to church is a burden to me,” said Josh’s 16-year-old daughter.
Josh chuckled, and Rianne smiled. “Can’t wait to be a member, right? I was like that too. Ever since I was thirteen,” Rianne put her arms around her daughter’s shoulder.
“Ever since I was nine,” smiled Kristy, and locked her deep blue eyes to her mother’s.
“Well, you better be going now. You don’t wanna be late in that training,” Rianne said at last.
“Advance happy 18th anniversary!” Kristy ran for the door.
When their only child finally left, Rianne sighed and sat down beside Josh. “Our baby’s growing up. Soon she’ll leave us.”
Josh put down his newspapers. He looked at Rianne, at the only woman he truly loved, at this soul who made him know God, and took his guitar. He started strumming. “I’ll be your crying shoulder, I’ll be…”