A Romantic Christian Novel about choices.
Celia, a law student in
, discovers unconditional love as
she works her way through her past. No father and a promiscuous mother lead her
toward self-destruction, but a man's love and his mother's unselfishness give
rise to a real future. Everything changes when she discovers she must make a
decision that will change the course of her life. Philadelphia
For your reading pleasure I've included part of the first chapter:
I have no idea who my father was. Neither does the woman who gave birth to me. It doesn't matter. Not really.
Right now I'm headed for my Yoga session and I really need to relax. After studying for a whole week and taking my exams, I can feel the stress messing up my neck and shoulders. Couldn't even sleep last night. Of all times
to run out of booze. Just as well. I promised myself I was done drinking, and I mean it this time. I simply don't need it. I warned Mo (that's for Mohammad) not to bring it in anymore. The jerk laughed, but then he saw I was serious and cut the humor. I even warned him to get a job or get out. It's hard enough supporting myself on a part-time job, let alone putting up with a guy. Okay, so sometimes he breaks down and buys a few groceries. Big deal. He eats like a horse, when he's not too high. Which isn't often. I thought Muslims didn't drink, but then I think he only changed his name to be cool. I've never seen him pray. Never.
I reach the neighborhood where I take my Yoga class and park a block away. Figure it won't kill me to walk that far, even though it's freezing. Might work out the kinks. One good thing about living in
you can find anything you want around here. This Yoga class is actually in a
woman's home. Philadelphia
After I lock the car I catch up with my friend, Jasmine. I'm envious of that girl--she's got guys clambering after her. Her father works for the State Department. I have no idea what he does. Neither does she, but she says it's important. "So where were you last week?"
. I had to travel
with my job. I forgot to mention it." Amsterdam
"Honestly, Celia, it's getting tough making it through airports and all."
"Yeah. I'm sure they give you the third degree. As if you looked like a terrorist."
"Well I do have long black hair and--"
I roll my eyes at her. "You know you're way gorgeous. No one would mistake you for a bad guy. A movie star, maybe. Hey, I finished up my exams today."
We head to the changing room and put on our exercise clothes. Mine are getting pretty beat, but I don't have the cash for new ones. Guess I'll check out the Salvation Army next week.
Jasmine twists her long black hair into a weird configuration and tucks it under a couple of clips. "How do you think they went? The exams. Will you pass?"
"I hope so. Actually, they weren't bad. So far I've got A's in all my classes except one."
"Which one is that?"
"Music appreciation. I took it as an elective. Didn't need it for my law degree, but thought it would be fun and easy."
"You should be good in that course since you play guitar," she says as we head into the class.
The six regulars are already stretching and gabbing. They're older than we are and we never pay much attention to them. Especially after that dog, Roseanne, or some name like that, made a remark about my tattoo. It's just a rose, for crying out loud.
I continue my conversation with Jasmine as we get on the mats and stretch our legs. "I know. I thought it would be a breeze, but I had to diagram symphonies and stuff."
"Never heard of that. Thought diagramming sentences was hard. I can't imagine putting music through that."
"It's not quite the same, but it's hard. What's new with the guys? Any one steady yet?"
"Maybe. I've been seeing a lot of Zach--the guy who owns the sporting goods store."
"Ladies, it's time to stop all the gossip and begin to relax. Let's get into the Lotus position and breathe deeply."
Silence takes over and we all obey our teacher, though I don't think she knows much more than we do at this point. Maybe I'll teach the class myself someday.
An hour later we leave and I decide to stop at the store for some veggies. I'm on a constant diet, which I figure I'll be on for the rest of my life. Fat runs in the family at least on my mother's side. That's according to her, but I've never met anyone else related to me besides Mom's sister, Aunt Felicia, and she's so skinny it's scary. She stays indoors on windy days. Honest.
This time I wasn't lucky enough to get near the entrance. I have to park at the far end of the parking lot here at Walmart and it's beginning to snow. It shouldn't take long to buy fruit and veggies and pick up soy milk.
Wouldn't you know it? That cool Mr. Perfect from one of my law classes is buying bananas. Maybe he won't see me--
"Celia, I thought that was you," he begins with a huge smile. Alright, I have to admit, he is fabulous to look at. He could be the leading man in a movie. But he's so…so what? Uptight. That's it.
"The very one. Those bananas are way too ripe. You'll be throwing them out in two days." I pick up greener ones and hand them over. He looks confused, poor thing. For someone as brilliant as he is in class, you'd think he'd know how to buy bananas.
"Thanks. What about grapefruit?"
"What about them?"
"What do I look for when I buy them?"
"Are you planning to?" I have to hold back a laugh. I mean, really.
"Guess I'll skip them. I don't really like grapefruit that much. How do you think you did on the exam?"
"Well, of course I'm not certain, but it seemed easy enough." I reach for some escarole and a package of carrots. I'm thinking maybe he'll take a hint and go away, but then on second thought, do I really want him to? I have to admit, he is quite the handsome dude.
"Look, it's snowing harder now," he says looking out the glass doors. "It nice to look at, but I hate driving in it. Guess I shouldn't complain, after all it is December. Want to have a cup of coffee till it slows down?"
"I barely have enough cash for my groceries."
I let out a long sigh in order to look totally indifferent, though I can feel my heart skipping beats. "In that case."
"Good. We can go into McDonald's here and leave our carts till we're ready to check out."
We wheel the carts over and find a small table for two. "Can I get a snack?" I think that's a trifle bold - even for me, but why not?
"Anything. You want a burger?"
"Maybe fries. Large."
Why is he grinning at me? What did I say?
"I'll be right back. Don't go away."
Like I would when free food is on its way.
While he orders, I quickly add a touch of lipstick and smooth down my hair. It's the first time we've talked more than a few sentences. I hope I don't goof up.
A toddler's piercing shriek comes from the next table. Why doesn't that mother clobber her brat? Look at the way he smears the ketchup all over the table. Gross. When I have kids… I doubt I ever will, since I never liked them much. Now the kid's punching his sister. I thought about offering her a piece of advice but Al's heading back to the table, so she's on her own.
"That was fast service," I say, smiling.
"Here I bought us each a milkshake to go with the fries."
"Chocolate. Is that okay?"
"Guess it has to be." I love chocolate.
"I can drink them both and get you--"
"No. That's fine, but I need two straws. It's way too thick for one."
After adding a second straw from the counter next to the table, he sits down across from me. Oh, good grief, is he going to pray or something? He has his head down. After all, it's just a snack. He looks up. Whew! Guess he just had his eyes closed. "Sooo, what's your last name, Al? I should probably remember, but…"
"The whole name is a moniker and a half. Ready?"
I shake my head. I mean - how bad can it be?
"Vernon Alexander Elliott, the third."
Bad. "You sound like a pompous politician."
"Unfortunately, I didn't have much say in the matter."
"I guess that's why they call you Al."
His smile is disarming. I don't have a chance with this gorgeous creature so why the shivers. He is way out of my league.
"And you? Is Celia your real name?"
"No, just a nickname. My real name is
Somehow, it's kinda weird-sounding in front of Al.
. That's an odd
name. I've never heard it before." Ravenna
"My mother named me that because she figured I was conceived in
that is." Italy
"It sure beats Roma, don't you think?"
I love his laugh. It's so…so deep and real.
"So you're Italian?"
"Half. The other half is Swedish."
"That accounts for your fair skin and green eyes, I guess. It's a nice contrast to your black hair."
"Have you applied to a law firm yet?" I ask hoping he won't get into my family stuff. The compliment stuff is fine, though.
"Yeah. I've been accepted at Fontaine & Fontaine in
. How about you?" Philadelphia
"I've sent out a few letters, but nothing yet. Of course, I still have three semesters to go. You're graduating this spring, aren't you?"
"Yes, I'm glad to say. Do you have a job for next summer?" he asks.
I slurp the last of the milkshake and look up to see him grinning again. "Not yet. I've applied for interning at a couple law firms here in Philly, but haven't heard."
"Maybe I can help you out. I worked at F. & F. last summer as an intern. They usually take on several every summer. Want me to put in a good word for you?"
"You'd do that? I'm practically a stranger."
"Not really. I've been watching you. You're a real bright student. I think you'll go places."