I apologize for missing yesterday, but I did give you two chapters on Monday and I’m giving you two chapters today to make up for it. 🙂
If you need to read previous chapters, click on Repaired By Love in the navigation bar.
REPAIRED BY LOVE
© 2004 Sandra Pavloff Conner
When Kana got back to the house, Gram told her she’d had a phone call from Cade O’Brien. “He said he really enjoyed meeting you at the magazine on Tuesday.”
“I enjoyed meeting him too. He stayed and talked with us quite a while about the children’s issue the girls are contemplating. Have you met him Gram?”
“Yes, I met him at the open house they had when they first got started, and then he visited at church once. But since he lives in Bryson City, North Carolina, he goes regularly to his home church there.”
“Did he say what he wanted?”
“No, he just asked if you’d call him back at the number I left on the pad by the phone – that is, if you got in before 5:00.”
Kana looked at her watch. “Well, it’s ten ’til now, but I’ll try.”
“I’d better check the meatloaf while you do that,” Gram said as she scooted off to the kitchen. Kana sat down in the living room and picked up the phone.
“Gatlinburg Witness,” Beth answered on the other end of the line.
“Beth, it’s Kana Wallace.”
“Oh, hello! You’ll be glad to know we are already incorporating a couple of your ideas from the other day into the sample layout we’re working on.”
“Great. I hope they really are of some help. I’m actually calling now to return Cade O’Brien’s call to me earlier. Is he still there?”
“Yes. We’re running a little behind schedule – which isn’t at all unusual – so he’ll be here for a while yet. I’ll get him.”
It wasn’t anytime before Cade spoke on the other end. “Thanks for calling me back, Kana. I’ll come right to the point. I’d like to know if you’d consider going out to dinner with me tomorrow night? I thought we could go some place right here in Gatlinburg this first time, so I can have you back early enough Grandma Nora won’t worry about you,” he added with a teasing note in his voice.
“Oh …” Kana was totally unprepared for the invitation. She was still trying to collect her thoughts about Lee Butler. But she couldn’t hesitate too long, or Cade would think she was trying to avoid answering. “Well … I need to double check with Gram and make sure she hasn’t scheduled us for anything particular, but if not, I think I’d like to go to dinner with you.”
“Great. We’ll go any place you’d like. Why don’t you check with your grandmother and call me back. I’ll be here at least another thirty minutes. But let me give you my cell phone number anyway, just in case.”
Kana wrote down his number and hung up. She felt just a little confused. She had liked Cade when she’d met him, and after spending most of Tuesday afternoon with him and the girls, she felt as if she knew them all fairly well. And, after all, it had been quite a while since she had been out to dinner with a handsome, interesting man ‒ or with any man at all for that matter. The last month of school, coupled with extra activities at her home church, had kept her from having any real leisure until she had come to Gatlinburg.
And Cade O’Brien was handsome, with his brown, sun-streaked hair, his eyes that looked almost copper when he was excited, and his athletic physique. And ‒ most important ‒ he was a committed Christian ‒ and fun to talk with on top of that. She nodded her head. Yes, this date might be just what she needed right now. She’d check with Gram.
“No, dear,” Gram said in answer to Kana’s question, “I didn’t plan anything for us for Saturday evening. I think it would be good for you to get out with some more people your own age. You said you liked Cade didn’t you?”
“Yes, very much. And you won’t feel that I’m deserting you?”
“All right, I’ll call him back and accept.”
Since Kana wasn’t familiar with most of the restaurants in the city, they decided on a place that Cade knew well and arranged for him to pick her up at 6:00 the following evening. By the time she’d hung up, Kana was feeling a little flutter of excitement at the idea of going out again. Momentarily, the thought crossed her mind that it would be nice if things were different, and she could go to dinner with Lee Butler, but she did her best to quickly put that thought aside, and concentrated on helping Gram finish the preparations for supper.
The next evening, Kana dressed carefully for her date. She decided to wear her favorite knee-length dinner dress in midnight blue. She considered that it made her look especially trim, and she always felt comfortable wearing it. She added her favorite single strand of pearls, and decided she was ready.
When she answered the door, Cade’s eyes lit up. “Wow, you look great!” he said as he stepped inside. “Thank you,” she said. “Come on in and say ‘Hi’ to Gram while I get my purse.”
Cade walked into the living room and immediately reached out his hand to Grandma Nora, who had risen and crossed the room to welcome him.
“How are you, Grandma Nora?” he said, squeezing her hand gently. “I haven’t seen you in a couple of months now.”
“I know, but I keep up with your work through the magazine. Your photography is wonderful.”
“Thank you very much. It’s a blessing to be able to do work that gives me as much pleasure as it does the other people who view it.”
“I’m ready when you are,” Kana said as she came back into the room.
“I guess we’d better go then. I wasn’t sure how crowded they’d be, so I made a reservation for 6:30.” He turned to Gram now. “I’ll have her in before it’s really late.”
“I know you will, Cade, and thank you for considering my feelings. You two have a fun evening.”
An hour later, as she was sitting across the table from Cade, Kana realized that she was having fun. They hadn’t lacked for something to talk about from the first moment. Cade seemed really interested in her experiences with her students, and she was surprised to find that he had done a great deal of work photographing small children.
“Children have always been one of my favorite subjects,” he said now, “because there’s so much honesty in their expressions, for one thing. And when they’re looking at something new and unusual, their eyes get so big and bright … and most times that’s enough for a great picture all by itself.”
“I know what you mean.”
“As a matter of fact, one of the best shows I ever did was all photos of children, and it won some pretty impressive reviews.”
“That’s great. I’d love to see some of those pictures myself.”
“Well, I don’t want to seem like a parent bragging about his child, but I do have an album full of those particular pictures. I’ll bring it with me some day soon and leave it for you to see.”
“Oh, please do!” Kana said.
At that moment, the waitress came to see if they were ready for dessert, and as Kana looked up she looked right into the face of Lee Butler, who was sitting at a table halfway across the room. He smiled briefly, with a slight nod of his head and then turned immediately to the man sitting beside him who had spoken to him. There were two other men at his table, and an older woman.
Kana felt that flutter inside that was becoming all too familiar. She hadn’t realized he’d look so good in a suit and tie. She had seen him in his light blue work uniform, with the business logo on the front of the shirt. The rest of the time he had been dressed in casual slacks or jeans and various colors of knit polo shirts. His broad shoulders and well-muscled arms certainly set those off to perfection. But now she was amazed at how powerfully attractive he was in a basic dark suit and tie. She swallowed with difficulty and reminded herself to breathe normally.
“Have you decided yet?” Cade’s words broke into her thoughts as she looked toward the other table.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I just asked if you had decided what dessert you wanted yet? Is something wrong?”
“Oh, no. I just spotted someone I know and got a little sidetracked.” She looked down at her menu again. “I think I’ll have the Key Lime Pie.”
“Excellent choice,” Cade said and turned to the waitress who had been waiting patiently. “Make that two, and a little more coffee, please.”
The rest of the meal passed pleasantly enough, but Kana felt a little awkward, trying not to look toward Lee’s table, even though it was in her natural line of vision. She concentrated on looking right at Cade most of the time. He must have thought she was a very good listener, because her eye contact for the rest of the evening was almost perfect.
When they got up to leave, she was glad that the route to the entrance took them in the opposite direction of Lee’s table. She didn’t know why she felt uncomfortable. She supposed it was the fact that he had asked her to go somewhere first, and she had turned him down, and then accepted Cade’s invitation less than an hour later.
But after all, Cade was a sincere Christian, and she should be glad that she had made his acquaintance. She scolded herself silently for not concentrating on that fact, and immediately made great effort to do just that.
Cade walked her to the door when they arrived at the house, and after she had unlocked the front door, he took her hand gently between both of his. “I’ve really enjoyed this evening, Kana. Thank you.”
“I’ve had a great time too, Cade. Oh … I meant to ask you earlier, but we kept jumping from subject to subject, and I never got to it … but I was wandering, do you have to drive all the way back to Bryson City tonight?”
“No, I have a good friend here with a spare bedroom, and when I’m working several days in a row on the Witness, I just stay with him.”
“Oh, good. I was hoping you wouldn’t still have a long drive ahead of you.”
“Well …” he was still holding her hand. “If you enjoyed the evening too, maybe you’ll be willing to do something else with me soon?”
Kana paused just a moment, and then answered, smiling, “ I think it’s safe to say I’d be willing to do that.”
“Good. I’ll call you in a couple of days, and we’ll plan something.”
“All right. Goodnight,” Kana said as she stepped through the doorway. “And thank you.”
“All my pleasure. Goodnight, Kana.”
Kana locked the door but waited for Cade to leave the drive before she turned out the light. “Is that you, dear?” Gram called from her bedroom. “I’m reading in bed. Do you want to tell me about your evening?”
Kana smiled to herself. Even if she hadn’t wanted to talk, she wouldn’t deprive Gram of a few details, so she went immediately to Gram’s room and sat down in a chair beside the bed. “We had a great evening. The dinner was delicious, and we never once ran out of interesting things to talk about.”
“I’m glad. Did you do anything else after dinner?”
Kana laughed. “No, believe it or not we’ve been at dinner all this time. We just took our time, really lingering over dessert and coffee. But Cade didn’t rush with his driving either. We just took our time and enjoyed the summer evening.”
Gram’s eyes twinkled. “So … do think there might be something promising in this new friendship?”
Kana reached over and laid her hand on top of her grandmothers, looking seriously into her eyes. “Just remember, Gram … that’s exactly what it is … a friendship … nothing more.” She got up and kissed Nora’s cheek. “And on that note, I’m going to bed. I love you.”
Grandma Nora chuckled and patted Kana’s cheek the way she used to when Kana was a child. “All right dear – but you can’t blame a granny for trying.” They both laughed out loud at that. “Sleep well, dear.”
“You too, Gram,” Kana said, as she started for her own room.
“Oh … by the way,” Gram spoke again, “Eve Butler called this evening. They are having an impromptu barbecue after church tomorrow and they wanted us to come. I thought it would be all right if I accepted for both of us.”
There was that flutter again. Just the thought that she might be spending the afternoon in Lionel’s company caused her heartbeat to speed up. What on earth was wrong with her! But she couldn’t act to Gram like she didn’t want to go; at least not without explaining everything, and she didn’t feel like she could do that right now. Besides, she did want to go, didn’t she?
“Sure, Gram, that’s fine. Will it be mostly family again?”
“Yes, only this time you’ll get to meet Eve’s parents too.”
“That’s good. Will they be at church this time to hear Delly sing?”
“Yes, I think that’s the plan … especially since she’s singing a solo this time.”
“She is? I didn’t know that. I imagine Lee will be there too.”
“Oh, I’m sure of that. I’d really like to see him find a good wife and have some children of his own. He’ll make a wonderful father … at least when he finally gives his heart to the Lord. He’d certainly have to be a man of God to lead his children properly.”
“Well, I’m certainly still praying for his salvation.” She stood there looking into the distance for a moment before she continued. “He and Cameron seem to have such a good, easy relationship. I wonder if he’s ever really opened up to Cameron about what hinders him from believing.”
“From what Darrin’s told me, he’s said one or two things, but just won’t open up past a certain point. But I believe God has established Lee’s friendship with our pastor, and He’ll put it to good use.”
“I’m sure you’re right, Gram. Well, goodnight again.”
“Night, Sweetheart,” Gram said and reached over and turned out her light as Kana started down the hall.
The next morning as Gram and Kana started down the aisle of the church, they noticed Eve waving at them from over on the left. She was seated between Darrin and Lionel with an older couple on the other side of Darrin. The rest of their pew was empty, so she was waving them over to sit with them and moving down the seat to accommodate them. Kana left it to Gram to decide what she wanted to do, and immediately found herself following her grandmother to the seat.
Lionel was on the outside, so he stood up and allowed Gram and then Kana to go in next to Eve. He then resumed his seat, which put him right beside Kana. There was room for all seven of them, but Kana was very much aware that her shoulder kept rubbing gently against Lee’s in such close quarters.
He was dressed more casually than he had been last night, in dress slacks and sport coat, but no tie. No matter what he wore, his clothes fit him like they would have fit a model, she thought. He had smiled and said, “Good morning,” as they were trading seats, but he sat now, looking rather intently at his bulletin. The service started almost immediately, so Kana didn’t try to speak to him either.
The music was beautiful, and Delly’s face glowed as she sang her solo. It was a joy to see someone so young excited about the Lord the way Delly was. Kana wished all of her students could have that experience. She wasn’t allowed to teach them anything about God in the public school, of course, but nothing could keep her from praying for them, which she did fervently every day.
After the service, everyone on their pew separated to their cars and headed for the Butler’s. Darrin acted as chef at the grill, and Eve had everything else ready, waiting for the meat to get done. Kana was sitting in a lawn chair in the shade when Lee walked over to her with two glasses of lemonade. “I thought you’d like something cool while we’re waiting.”
“Yes, I would, thanks.”
He sat down in the chair next to hers. Gram and Eve were sitting at the picnic table with Eve’s parents and Delly, so that left Lee and Kana to have a quiet conversation alone. Kana struggled to decide what would make a good topic, and finally said, “I really like Eve’s parents. They seem like easy-going people.”
“They are. I’ve known them for years myself, even before Eve and Darrin married. They have the one other daughter – the one who was having the baby when you were here for Delly’s birthday – and they dote on their family.” He paused for a moment and then added. “And they’re both very strong Christians, like Eve,” he said now, looking lovingly at his sister-in-law. “She’s certainly been a wonderful mother to Delly. I hope they can have some more children soon.”
“I imagine they want more, especially if they can be like Delly. Gram said she’s actually named after your mother.”
As soon as she said the words, she realized she probably shouldn’t have brought up that subject. Lionel looked down at his hands, leaning over to prop his elbows on his knees, holding the glass of lemonade between his legs. He sighed just loud enough for Kana to hear, but he didn’t speak for another moment or two.
Finally he answered. “Yes, that’s right. My mother’s first name was Delores, and Delly looks like her, as does Darrin. Mom was half Cherokee, and that’s where they get their dark coloring and black hair.” He sighed, and Kana couldn’t help noticing that there was a hint of disgust in his next words. “I seem to have taken on a good deal of my dad’s coloring.” He looked over at Delly in thought for a moment and then continued. “Anyway, with Delly being the first grandchild – and perhaps the only one – who knows – Darrin wanted her named after Mom.”
“You talk as if you don’t expect to ever marry and have children yourself.”
Lionel looked at her then, a bleak expression on his face momentarily. “That’s right. I don’t.”
“Do you mind of I ask why?”
He shook his head slightly. “It isn’t important.”
Kana knew she was treading on dangerous ground, but she just had to try to understand this man a little better. Gram had said he was bitter about how his mother had been treated by his father … but why? Could she get away with asking him about his parents, she wondered … . Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“Were both of your parents Christians?”
Lionel looked at her for a brief moment and then looked off in the distance, a brooding expression on his face. Finally, he looked back at Kana. “No.”
That was all he said at first, and Kana’s eyes questioned him further. He gave up trying to avoid the look in those big eyes of hers and spoke again. “No, my mother was a Christian, but not my dad. He didn’t believe in much of anything. … It made my mom’s life pretty hard.” Why had he shared that? He never talked about his parents with anyone!
Kana nodded her head. “I understand how that would be the case.”
Lionel looked sharply at her, surprise registering on his face. “You do!”
Kana felt surprise that he was surprised by what she’d said, but then she remembered that he didn’t really understand the difference it made being bound to an unbeliever. She looked at him seriously. “Yes, I do,” she answered quietly, her eyes gentle and caring as she looked right into his. “That’s why I’ve made the commitments I’ve made to the Lord about marriage.”
Lionel was looking at her intently, soaking in what she had just said. Understanding dawned in his mind then, and she could see it on his face. He nodded his head, as he answered her just as quietly. “I see,” was all he said, but Kana knew that he was seeing – or at least considering – something deeper than the actual words she had spoken.
Kana couldn’t have known it, but at that moment Lionel Butler was looking at some things from his past in a new light, and for the first time since his mother’s death, he was opening a door to understanding some things from God’s point of view.
Continued in Chapter 8