April 6

7:15 a.m.

I check my phone. No message from Frankie. I had texted him and wished him for Easter—”Happy Easter. Love you!” But nothing back.

Not one single word. How is it that people who profess to love you don’t think twice about not responding to a message? I wasn’t expecting the Hallelujah Chorus, but Jesus did give his life for us so you’d think the joy of that would elicit some type of response.

But nothing. Really?

“You’re going to be late.” Gwen hands me a cup of tea.

“I know. Thanks.” I sit up and take the proffered cup.

“Stop waiting to hear from him.”

“I know.”

“This too…”

“…shall pass.”

We laugh at our mom’s favorite family motivational!

9:45 a.m.

I’m never going to church here again on a Sunday. It makes the week toooo long. Feel like I haven’t had a day off.

“You’re dragging today!” Pete announces as I trudge up the stairs to the front office door.

“Let me sleep, please.”

Pete grins and shuffles off. He and I have become best friends since I took that telephone call of his.

I continue to drag myself into the office. Remembering all the people who had been there yesterday made it seem like another planet, not my safe place. I know it’s silly, but I feel like something personal has been violated.

How much longer? It’s only been about three weeks. Actually, I can’t even remember how long. This is opposite to “time flies when you’re having fun.”

At least, my office is nice and quiet again. I start opening mail and sorting through the pieces of paper that had been stuffed into my hands on Sunday morning.

One by one, the staff rolls in. Brad, looking harassed and disheveled, he must have gone straight from his bed to the office. Kate waves a cheery hello, Mark and Tav stroll in from the Easter Monday Pastors’ Breakfast (someone must hate pastors to host an Easter Monday breakfast for them—it was pretty crazy yesterday), and Pete is back inside busy grumbling and mumbling about the mess the members had made on Sunday, which makes me laugh.

The church machine is humming along nicely.

“You made quite an impression.” Kate pulls up a chair with her foot, clutching her coffee cup with two fingers, and handing me a bottle of water with her other hand.

“I did?” I couldn’t figure out why. There must have been hundreds of people there.

“Yes,” Kate says with great delight. “People enjoy putting a face to the voice on the phone.”

“Why don’t they just check the website?”

“It’s not the same. They like the personal contact.”

“I guess. By the way, how do you get people to not give you work on Sunday?”

“I don’t take it. I say, today’s not my workday. Sorry.”

“It works? I’ll try next time. If there’s a next time.”

“Kate!” Mark is looking for her and she’s gone.

3:10 p.m.

“First Church, may I help you?”

“Hi Natalie.” Deep groan. It’s Jessica.

“Could I speak to Pastor Tavish?”

“He’s in a meeting right now.” He isn’t, but that’s what he told me to tell you when you called.

“Bless you, but I don’t believe you.”

I’m not sure what to say.

Jessica responds. “I’m sitting in the parking lot and he doesn’t seem to have anyone in his office.”

She’s sitting in the parking lot watching him?! Does she have binoculars on him?

“He might be on the phone.”

“It doesn’t look like he is.”

“Could I take a message for him?”

“No. He needs to see me.”

This is creepy. Is she stalking him? Uh oh.

“Let me knock on his door and see.”

“Thanks, I’ll just wait in the parking lot.”

I knock on Tav’s door.

“Come in.” Tav leans back in his chair and watches. Just watches me. I’m feeling awkward.

“I like seeing you in worship.”

“Uhm. Yeah. That…” I’m a little thrown by the way he’s looking at me—not weirdo-like, but just…I don’t know. “Anyway, sorry to bother you, but Jessica…”

“Did you tell her I was in a meeting?”

“Yes, but…”

“Just tell her to give you the message.”

“I tried. She’s waiting in the parking lot.”

“You’re joking!” Tav sits up straight, swiveling his chair around to check the parking lot. “I found a note from her on my car, but I thought she’d left it and gone.”

“No…I think she’s been watching you for some time. She knows what you’re doing in your office right now.”

Tav stands up, runs his hand through his hair, and says, “Have her come in.”

I go back to my office and pick up the phone.

“Jessica?”

“Yes Natalie.”

“Pastor Tavish says he has ten minutes.”

“I knew he wanted to see me.”

How delusional can you get!

In reality, it takes only three. She’s escorted into Tav’s office, and no sooner than I can look up to check the time, she’s out.

I’m busy typing when she comes over and stands in front of me, tears streaming down her face.

“You think you’re so clever. Well, Pastor Tavish and you are both going to be very sorry. Very sorry.”

Get in line. If you wanted to hurt me, you should have got in front of Frankie.

4:30 p.m.

Kate wants to “share prayer concerns” as she put it, so she’s coming in to my office as Jessica storms out.

“What happened?” Kate is all agog.

I start to tell her what I know, but just then, Tav walks out of his office. We both demand, “What happened?”

Tav turns red.

“What?” we both questioned in unison.

“Jessica wanted to…”

“Wanted want?”

“You know, a relationship or something…anything…”

“She wanted…anything?”

“Well, she did suggest marriage first. I told her that someone already had my heart.”

We both stare at him. He has someone?? How did we miss that?

“What?” And with that he’s gone.

“Do you know who?”

“Not a clue.”

We both look at each other—we now have a mystery to solve.

3:30 p.m.

And now, which I’m almost (almost, not quite) ashamed to admit, Tav has left the office and this is how we’re spending our break. We’re checking through his mail and his e-mails. Nice of him not to sign out.

“Do you think this is okay?” I’m beginning to feel a little uncomfortable at this invasion of his privacy. What if he finds out? I’ll be fired for sure.

“Nah.” Kate shrugs. “Doing this to protect him from making a mistake.”

Under a much higher motive for discovery, we begin the search again. After all, we need to protect our pastors from stalker women. However, we are still no closer to solving the mystery.

And we kept getting interrupted by telephone calls!

“Another one?” Kate asks impatiently.

“Yes.”

“What was it this time?”

“Somebody called Amanda wanted me to remind Tav about their dinner tonight.”

“Amanda? Ack! It couldn’t be Amanda.”

“I’m sorry, I have to get back to work.” I don’t want to continue the search afraid of what we might find out.

“You know what it is?”

“What?”

“All these phone calls?”

“What?”

“They saw you in church and they’re staking their claim so that you won’t take Tav.”

“Me take Tav? Puh-leez. Besides, as the great man said, he’s already taken.”

“This just doesn’t make sense,” mutters Kate. “I was so sure…”

“What were you so sure about?”

“Oh nothing. Maybe Mark knows.”

Kate has kind of given up and is back to work, but I’m still not sure what she was being so cryptic about. Now she’s asking me what I’m writing. I’ve just told her it’s a love letter to Tav and she’s laughing now.