I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME

(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart Of A Woman) 

EPISODE 29

AUNTIE YONNY: WHAT A FELLOWSHIP

 

 

The next morning, Rachel woke up with her head swimming and throbbing. As she swallowed, her mouth tasted awful. She turned away from the window to avoid the bright sunlight beaming through. As she turned, she saw the time on her beside clock. It was ten o'clock. She had missed prayer and group study and would be late for worship service.

 

She sat up and covered her face, then, looked down at her clothes, wondering why she was still dressed. She couldn't remember when she had gotten into bed, but, the awful taste in her mouth brought back an unwelcome memory. She had thrown up. She remembered she was with Derek Graves at the restaurant. Derek Graves...Derek Graves had gotten her drunk. She hoped nothing else had happened.

 

Looking at her phone, she saw that she had ten calls and three messages. Five of the calls and two of the messages were from Hal. She groaned remembering she was still angry about his betrayal. The other message was from someone at the church wondering where she was. She played Hal's voice messages.

 

"Hi, Rache, just giving you a call, hoping I can see you tonight. Please call me back when you get a chance or text me. Bye."

 

The next message sounded more desperate.

 

"Rachel, I haven't heard from you and I'm hoping everything is alright. You must be real busy today. Man, I really wanted to see you again tonight. Last night was...whew...I don't know how to describe it. I'm still on cloud nine. Please let me know that you're okay. (silence) I..I really love you, Rachel. Bye."

 

Rachel threw the phone down on the bed and let out a scream, then wished she hadn't. Holding her head, she stood up and walked slowly to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for church. She pulled a black suit and a wide-rim black hat out of her closet, thinking,

 

"I guess it's true. People dress how they feel and I feel like death warmed over, if there is such a feeling."

 

After dressing, she looked in the mirror and noticed her bloodshot eyes. So, she decided to wear black sunglasses.

 

Rachel had been attending a modest little church not far from her apartment complex since she moved to the city. It was a small congregation, but, filled with people with warm hearts. Everyone around her smiled when she arrived, happy that she had been able to join them. They were holding hands singing and reached out to grab her hand to add her to the fellowship.

 

Somehow, Rachel felt unworthy and unclean. She knew she had let them down and let herself down by succumbing to her flesh.  She kept her head down, hiding her face with her hat.

 

After the song, they were about to sit down, when the sanctuary doors opened. Rachel couldn't believe her eyes. It was Derek Graves, guarded very carefully by two men.

 

People began to applaud to welcome him. Derek, charming as usual, went around shaking everyone's hand and kissing the children. The pastor began another song and everyone joined in. Derek then moved beside Rachel and held her hand, singing.

 

Pastor Allen then ended the singing and formally welcomed Derek Graves.

 

"We are honored to have presidential candidate Mr. Derek Graves in our midst today. Welcome, Mr. Graves. Would you like to say anything?"

 

Derek stood tall sticking his chest out and walked to the front of the sanctuary.

 

"Thank you, pastor. I am humbled in your presence. I just want to thank God for being here this morning among my brothers and sisters. As you know, I'm running for president, but, in order to be a good president, I want to get to know my constituents and their needs. So, what better place to meet and get to know people than the church?"

 

Everyone began to applaud. Derek smiled and nodded his head in appreciation, then waved his hands to end the applause.

 

"But..but,if it hadn't been for my good friend, Rachel Montgomery, I might not have known about this wonderful congregation here, so, I want to thank her for leading me here."

 

Rachel put her head down as everyone began to look at her and applaud. She couldn't remember telling Derek about her church. Then, again, she couldn't remember a lot of things from last night.

 

"I'm not here campaigning. I just want you to get to know me, as I get to know you."

 

Derek took a seat beside Rachel on the pew and rested his arm behind her. They looked very much like a couple. She couldn't help feeling uncomfortable, but, she sat there, not knowing what else to do.

 

During the following weeks, Rachel continued to see Derek and ignored Hal's calls. It was nice going to church with Derek and not being alone. Derek was always polite and well-mannered. He didn't try to pressure her into sex and only kissed her on the cheek. Now and then, he would bring her a small gift that was perfect for her. He seemed to know, just what she liked. Derek couldn't have been happier. Rachel was making him look better and better in the eye of the public and in the polls.

 

Rachel's story on Derek was outstanding and Derek helped her to get more exclusive interviews with celebrities and politicians. She, her work, and The Daily were thriving and shining. After each column she wrote in the paper, she was asked to come on several major network news broadcasts to give a synopsis of her story and to give her opinion on issues affecting the upcoming election. But, when it came to the issue of the immigration bill amendment, all Rachel could say was that Derek Graves wanted what was best for the country. There were times when she wanted to ask Derek how he really felt about race and immigration, but, she didn't want to pressure Derek on the subject and ruin their relationship.