Love and success: A short story. Part 4

Part four: Not everything’s a game

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The Sunday after I’d returned home, I asked my mom if she’d come to church with me. “I don’t have to go to church to have a relationship with God. I’ve had a relationship with God for years, but if you feel like church is best for you, then you go,” my mom said. “Mom, I just wanted to spend time with you, doing something that could possibly help restore our relationship,” I said. 

“Charlotte, church folk are the worst people. I’ve been burned by the church too many times. Church isn’t about God, it’s about people in clicks, and folks thinking that they’re better than you because their kin to the pastor, or they’ve been apart of the church since it was founded. Not only that, but some of these pastors are sleeping with all the women and some men in the congregation,” mom said. 

“Mom, but that’s not every church. I can understand why you don’t want to go, but don’t be mad at everybody for something you’ve experienced at one church,” I said. “Oh, no. It has happened at more than one church. 

Charlotte there’s something I need to tell you. Besides my mom and dad, your father is the only other person I’ve told this to, God rest his soul. When I was twelve, our pastor molested me,” mom said. “What?” I said. “Yes, and at first no one believed me, and then they blamed me for wearing certain clothes around the pastor and deacons. 

I wore normal little girl clothes, but because I matured faster than the other kids, I was told by some of the mothers of the church, that my clothes were too provocative. I always got the stares and side eyes no matter what I wore.

When my parents confronted the pastor, he said, that I seduced him. He said that he had a moment of weakness and he felt terrible. He apologized to my parents, but never apologized to me, and everyone just swept everything under the rug as if it never happened.

“He raped me, Charlotte,” mom began to cry, and I had no protection. A year after that, my dad blew his brains out, and by eighteen, my mom was admitted to the psych ward.

I’ve never felt like I had a voice until I met your father. He was the only man I’ve ever felt safe with. One of the reasons I yell to get my point across is because deep down, I still feel like that silenced little girl. 

When your father died, it triggered all of my childhood traumas. I worked sixty hours a week just so I didn’t have to think about the demons I’ve been fighting because when I got home, the reality was that your father, my love, and the only man who truly loved and protected me, was gone. 

To be honest, I haven’t had a relationship with God for a very long time. I’ve been angry with God ever since I was twelve. I just don’t understand how he could have allowed that to happen to me,” mom said. 

“My God. Mom I’m so sorry. I had no idea. How have you stayed so strong for so long while holding on to this?” I said. Mom cried, “it hasn’t been easy, but ironically I know for sure that it has been the grace of God that has kept me. 

There were times in the past, when I wanted to end my life, but I’d think about you. I know what that does to a child, and I didn’t want you to go through it. Then God sent Sara and Ross to make sure I didn’t go crazy. I had to think about their lives, and not just my own,” mom said.

I finally understood why mom is the way she is. I had no idea what she’d been through. It must have been tough carrying that her whole life. She seems so strong though, no one would have ever guessed the demons she’s been fighting.

I didn’t want my mom to continue to carry those burdens alone. I went over her house and we prayed and had our own Bible Study, and I gave my life to Christ, and she rededicated hers.

Mom cooked us dinner, and we got a few laughs in looking through our family photo album. We talked about the reality show, and mid conversation, one of the producers called and asked me if I’d like to come back to the show as one of the surprise guest. 

The producer said, we were invited back to shake things up a bit, but he meant a lot.

Three days before the finale, I was back in Maui. The producers had invited back three women and three men who had special bonds with the final three couples. It was an emotional moment. None of us knew what to expect until the producer said, the tables would turn, and we’d have the opportunity to vote two couples off the show. The final couple would then get to choose if they wanted to continue with the person they are with, or go on one more date with any past guest before deciding. 

This was tough, because this time the votes had to be unanimous. We voted to keep Joseph and Jessica. Joe then decided that he’d like to have one more date with me, and Jessica decided to have one more date with Aaron a pro football player for the San Francisco 49ers, and one of the hottest men on the island. 

Jessica, a cheerleader for the Miami Heat, was one of the four women who had put claims on Aaron. She had recently become close to Joe, only because Cindy Chu and Aaron had grown close. Now that Cindy Chu, a beauty influencer from NewYork, was out of the picture, she could once again call dibs on Aaron, as if he was the last hot wing at a Super-Bowl party. 

I was excited to see Joe. It was emotional for sure. We went out on the beachfront deck to talk. “Come give me a hug,” Joseph said. He held me for like a minute and then let go. 

“I’ve missed you so much. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. You’ve been gone a week, but it feels like forever. I’ve been needing you. You know that your my best friend,” Joseph said. 

“Oh, Joe. I’ve missed you too, but I will say, going back home wasn’t too bad, thanks to you.” “What do you mean?” Joseph said. “Well thanks to you, me and my mom gave our lives to Christ, and we are making progress in our relationship,” I said. 

Joe hugged me again. “Charlotte that’s great news. I’m so glad,” Joseph said. “But I do need to ask you something Joe,” I said. “Of course, anything,” he said. “Did you vote me off the show?” I said. “Char, no. Of course not. 

Wait, did you think that I’d do that to you?” he said. “I don’t know Joe, I mean, it is a game, right?” I said. “No, not everything’s a game Charlotte, and it hurts that you believed that I voted you off the show,” he said. “I didn’t think you did, but I didn’t know for sure,” I said. “

“Wow. Okay, well. I have to go. I have some things that I need to take care of. I’ll call you in the morning to give you the time and place for our date. Goodnight, Char,” Joseph said. 

“No, Joe. Don’t go. Wait,” I said. “I just need time to think Charlotte. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Joseph said. 

“Meanwhile, Aaron and Jessica were on the beach kissing and cuddling like they were on their honeymoon. 

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