Meant to Live: Chapter 4
When Charlie returned a moment later, Christine was still thinking about him. Charlie seated himself in the chair beside her and began to enjoy his food.
“So,” he began. “How long have you attended the Rosewood academy?”
“Over five years. Like yourself, I have only a month until I graduate. Our school only goes to eighteen.”
Charlie nodded. “So I suppose we will be graduating at the same time. What do you anticipate doing after you graduate?”
Christine finished swallowing before she replied. “I will be going back to my home and help my mother with the children. My father is dead and I am the oldest daughter. So I feel a lot of responsibility and am anxious to return home.”
Charlie looked up with a thoughtful expression. “You must be a blessing to your mother. No doubt she is equally anxious to have you home.”
“Yes, I hope so. I have not seen my family since my arrival at the academy; my home is nearly a two hour drive away.”
“What town do you live in?” Charlie asked.
“Grandstone,” was Christine’s reply.
Charlie looked, as if surprised or highly interested. He then lowered his head and was silent.
Christine went back to her food, wondering about Charlie’s reaction. But she soon interrupted as Mr. Range then asked for the attention of all.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will soon begin the dances. May I remind you, ladies, that you are to accept a dance from any gentleman, not only from your partner. We will begin shortly.”
Once all the boys and girls disposed of their plates and utensils, Mr. Range and Miss Martin led the dances. Having learned dancing at the academy, all the girls were excited. It was obvious that the boys had also learned something of this recreation.
There were five dances in all. For the first, Christine was pleased to be asked by Charlie himself.
“Christine, may I have the honor of dancing with you?”
Christine smiled and nodded. “Indeed, I feel the honor mine.” Despite feeling slightly distracted by Charlie, Christine was able to remember her footwork and dance gracefully.
The next three dances were also enjoyable, Christine only wished Charlie was her sole companion. But as the last dance was announced, he returned. At Christine’s consent, the dance began. But it was soon over.
Charlie led her to a chair and sat down beside her. “How have you enjoyed your evening?” He asked with interest.
“I have enjoyed it very much, thank you. But I will admit that I am a bit tired.”
“As am I,” Charlie replied. “But with the dances finished, the party is over. I am sure there will be some time to rest before you must leave.”
There was a short silence before Charlie turned to Christine with an inquisitive expression.
“Christine, I have been thinking about something this evening and I must ask you before you leave, if you do not mind.”
Christine shook her head and he continued.
“Are you a Christian?”
“Oh, yes, I am!” Christine answered excitedly. “And are you?”
Charlie nodded joyfully. “That I am, and grateful to the Lord for it.”
Christine felt an immediate connection to the young man beside her. She suddenly felt even more comfortable around him (if that were possible).
“I thought so, at least I hoped so,” Christine said. “You seemed much different from all the other young men here.”
“The same with you. I instantly saw a difference; are there no other Christian girls at the academy?”
Christine shook her head sadly. “I wish there were.”
“Same with me,” Charlie went on sadly. “One feels quite alone without other believers. But I think that draws one closer to the Lord. I myself have spent much more time in the Scriptures here than when I was at home.”
“I believe I could say the same.” Christine agreed. “Although it has been difficult to be away from home, I can see that God is growing me here in many ways.”
Before Charlie could reply, Miss Martin hushed the room. “Young ladies, I am afraid we must now take our departure. We will be leaving in five minutes.”
Charlie and Christine caught eyes. “I am sorry you must leave so soon,” Charlie said.
“I had a very enjoyable night, thanks to you.” Christine assured him.
“I am glad for that.” Charlie laughed. The minutes were slipping by and Charlie walked Christine toward the door, surrounded by the other boys and girls. The door was opened and Miss Martin and the other teachers led the way out.
“Christine, I do not know if I will see you again. But either way, I pray the Lord’s blessing upon you in all your endeavors. Seek first the Lord and all else will be cared for.”
“Thank you, Charlie. That is true encouragement. I will also be praying for you and your future job.”
Here Christine was pulled away as she was one of the last girls left in the Hall. Christine smiled at Charlie and turned to walk out of the building.
That night, Christine lay quietly in her bed. Although physically tired, as were all the other girls (who were fast asleep by now), Christine’s mind was busy. She had enjoyed the activities of the night, but she now thought primarily of Charlie. She marveled at his character; he was so genuine. She hoped to see him again, but doubted that such a thing were possible.
During the next few weeks before her graduation, Christine studied hard to earn good grades. It was not always easy to keep her mind focused on school instead of Charlie.