Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday Fiction: Bade Guest Good-Bye
Bade Guest Good-bye
Sue found Shari’s visitor disturbing. Her daughter, Shari, usually had better taste in friends. This woman, however, spoke with a refined British accent and carried herself with the poise of an aristocrat—a poise that hinted of experience beyond Sue’s own forty-five years. Yet this Tamara woman could be no older than twenty. Sue needed to find a way to convince Shari this woman was no good.
Tamara had dark, peremptory eyes. She looked at Sue with such intensity that it unnerved her. She ran her finger around the edge of her teacup. Yes, she had agreed to let Tamara stay, but one look at her extravagant clothes and enormous pieces of luggage made her wonder how she could afford to keep such a guest.
“Shari should be here soon,” Sue said.
Tamara looked down her long nose at her and raised one eyebrow.
Sue sighed. She recalled the day Shari told her about Tamara. Shari was so excited to meet such an intelligent woman.
“I believe Shari said you are a Junior?”
Tamara’s head turned in a cool controlled manner.
Sue glanced over to the counter where Tamara had been gazing. Her Bible rested in its usual place. Did that hold Tamara’s attention?
“Yes.” The woman’s voice deepened.
Sue’s cheek twitched. How could this . . . this creature have such a hold on her cheerleader-like daughter? “Would you like another cup of hot apple cider?” And may God banish her from Shari’s circle of friends. Sue stiffened. She shouldn’t have such uncharitable thoughts.
Tamara’s eyes pierced hers.
Sue set her jaw.
Sue nodded and let a slow breath out as she poured Tamara another cup.
Shari bounded into the room. “Oh Tamara, I’m so glad you came.”
She gave the woman a quick hug. “How was the drive?”
“Droll my dear, very droll.” Tamara waved her hand like the Queen of England. “I find your common American drivers quite amusing in their fruitless antics to get ahead of one another.”
Sue turned away to keep Tamara from seeing her roll her eyes.
Shari giggled. “Oh I know. They so lack sophistication.”
“Quite so my dear, quite so.” Tamara’s voice rose with an air of superiority.
“I suppose in England they are much more civilized?” Sue worked to keep the sarcasm from her voice.
“Of course darling, of course.”
“Will you be staying for Christmas?” Shari asked. “I told Mother you would.”
Tamara lifted her chin. “I might.”
Sue lifted an eyebrow. “You could join us for our Christmas Eve service. Our choir does a lovely cantata, and this year there will be a play as well.”
“How quaint.” Tamara swirled her cup, and Sue squelched the desire to slap the arrogant look off the woman’s face. “It should be quite amusing I’m sure.”
Knowing Shari had written the play two years ago, Sue glanced at her daughter. Shari’s face twisted. Sue had never seen such an expression on her daughter’s face. She touched Shari lightly on the arm. “Are you all right?”
Shari turned worried eyes to her. “Do we have to go Mom? I mean, it’s not exactly Tamara’s style.”
Sue raised her eyebrows. Her back stiffened. “Any guest in our house will join us for church. It hurts no one to hear the true reason we celebrate Christmas.”
Tamara gave a low laugh. “No, it likely won’t hurt to hear the fable.”
“Fable?” Sue fought to keep her anger under control.
“Of course.” Tamara’s arrogant smile reeked as much as her musky perfume. “Who could possibly believe that a virgin could become pregnant. It takes two, you know.”
Sue blushed and noticed her own daughter turn pale. “There is more to the story than the virgin birth. If you stop there you are only getting a small portion. The whole story includes how her baby grew to be a Man purer than anyone else. A Man who through His works demonstrated He was indeed God incarnate . . . a Man who chose to die that we might have eternal life with Him.”
Tamara threw her head back and laughed. She brought her eyes down and leveled them on Sue. “Anyone who believes that is a simpleton.”
Shari stiffened next to her.
Sighing, Sue put her fingers to her temple. Lord how do I deal with this?
“Are you calling me a simpleton, Tamara?” Shari’s voice rumbled with rage.
Sue’s head snapped up.
“Because if you are, let me point out to you my four A’s in my four science courses, versus your four C’s in your four liberal arts courses.” Shari spoke in a slow, controlled voice.
Tamara waved her hand at her. “Come on Shari, you don’t believe these tales do you? After all we’ve done together? I would never have thought that of you.”
Shari looked at Sue with a pained expression. Sue lifted the corner of her mouth in an encouraging half smile.
Shari bit her lip and looked toward the doorway that opened into the living room. Turning in her chair, Sue followed Shari’s gaze to the nativity scene that sat on the coffee table.
With a deep breath, Shari turned back to her guest. “Tamara, I went to college to learn, but I wasn’t discerning. I thought I needed to learn everything so I listened to you. I went to the meetings and watched the videos, thinking that knowledge of those lies would make me more astute.” She turned and her eyes bore into Tamara’s. “But I never once said I did not believe in God, in Jesus, or in the Gospel.”
Sue repressed the desire to jump up and kiss her daughter. Instead she folded her hands and stared at them, while a smile quivered on the corner of her lips.
“Tamara, you need to hear the truth.” Shari held her voice steady, which made Sue proud.
Tamara snorted. She stood and grabbed her expensive clutch bag.
“I thought you were intelligent, Shari.” She picked up her faux fur wrap and flung it around her shoulders. “I don’t associate with farces.”
Sue all but cheered as Tamara waltzed to the door with the arrogance of a vain peacock. When the door clicked behind the woman, Sue burst into laughter. “Well done, my child. Well done.”
And she gave Shari the biggest, happiest hug she’d given her in years.
This is an excerpt from my book Best of Faith, Fiction, Fun, and Fanciful.
If you enjoyed this story you can purchase the book on Amazon.com - or click on the link at the top of the page.
Be sure to check out the other great stories this week! And don't forget to leave a comment for the authors. This week is hosted by Patty at Patterings. Join us over there for links to more fun fiction.