I, Natalie Taylor: What Is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me…

October 24
10:08 p.m.

For some reason, now that I’m getting into Tav’s car, I start to get nervous. It was one thing to go on staff lunches together or chat in the office, but this is different. We’re going to be alone.

Whatever am I going to talk about?

And then a thought struck me.

What if he’s some kind of heathen? He could be a criminal. Mark didn’t know everything about him, did he? Tav could be covering up some past crimes.

“Have you made up your mind?” his voice reflected whatever amusing thoughts were chasing through his mind.

Ugh. He’s been holding the door open for me—waiting for me to get into the car.

“I’m so sorry. I was just thinking about something.” Hope he doesn’t ask what. Sink or swim. I climb in and set my purse down on my lap. My idea of a security blanket.

I watch as Tav shuts the door, walks around the car, slides into the driver’s seat. He presses the ignition button (he would have one of those cars), and slowly backs out, carefully avoiding the crowd now making their way to their cars.

“Wouldn’t be good if I ran over someone right now,” he says as he swings the car around, and we slowly head for the exit onto the busy main road.

Suddenly, someone comes running over to his car. Tav slams on his brakes, my purse flies off my lap—this is going to be the second time I have to pick up all my things. I can hear Gwen’s voice: Natty, you have to zip up your purse. Someone’s going to steal something out of it.

Tavish rolls down the window, and, no, no, no—Faith comes to a breathless halt by his car.

“Tav Tav! I’m so sorry to stop you, but I forgot to give you this devotional. You weren’t in your office when I was there earlier so I thought I’d give it to you this evening.”

Tavish is speechless, and I’m wondering how to pretend to be the passenger seat.


“I marked out the ones that I thought you’d find particularly…meaningful.” Faith is still out of breath as she speaks. She must have run a mile to reach him. Please Lord, don’t let her see me.

“Thanks.” Tavish is taking the book, and—oh this is so not a good idea, in fact, a very, very bad idea—giving it to me to hold.

Faith is now crouching a bit so she can be on eye level with him, “I even marked one for you to read tonight. I hope you know how much you mean to me, and…”

That’s when she realizes that Tav Tav isn’t alone in the car.

And that’s when I’m wishing that I could be anywhere but in his car right now.

“Hi Faith!” I give her a slight wave, my voice sounds tight. Very tight.

“What the…what is she doing in your car???” All filters seem to be slipping away. If my voice sounds tight, Faith’s sounds like she sucked all the helium out of every balloon in the world.

“She agreed to let me give her a ride home,” Tavish answers, a certain coolness in his voice. It sounds like a definite coolness to me. Whoa. What is happening right now… “Good night, Faith!” He rolls up his window, and accelerates out of the church.

Enraged face, tight lips, and her hands planted firmly on her sides—the last image of Faith that etches itself into my mind as we drive away in the darkness. Not a pretty picture.

Desperate women will use desperate measures. Okay, I understand that she’s livid to see me with Tavish, but a sixth sense also tells me that she’s going to try and get rid of me. I’m wondering how I can avoid her—as much as possible, or at least until I find another job.


10:13 p.m.

A silent drive so far.

I’m wondering what Tavish is thinking about—is he regretting giving me a ride home? I’m trying to occupy myself and decide to check out the book. He did give it to me to hold. Even in the dim light from the dashboard, I can tell that it’s one of those Christianese feminine touchy-feely devos that always turns my stomach.

I search for my cell and flick on the night reading app. Now I can see the title, “Praying Our Way to Each Other: Devotions for Couples”—finding each other and learning how to express your deepest, inner feelings to your loved one. Eeew. Whoever has written this devotional, I recheck the name and don’t recognize it, has listed herself as a best-selling novelist!

Now I’m intrigued—I want to check the devotion she has specially marked out for him for this evening. On the left side of the book, the page is titled “HERS,” and the opposite page at the top reads “HIS.”

Okay, so this is Faith’s special of the evening for Tavish. It’s titled “Love’s Dream” and the Scripture verses are from the Song of Solomon, “Upon my bed by night, I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer, ‘I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves.’ I sought him, but found him not.”

This sounded like serious stuff. Maybe something was going on between Tavish and Faith. The thought made me a little sick. I need to ask Kate. I couldn’t imagine any woman giving a man a book like this unless there was some context for her to think it was appropriate. She had said, “This is the book I told you about…” Or something like that.

I went back to reading, “If you know who your beloved one is, and God has clearly shown you who the person is, maybe he just needs some encouragement from you. Maybe he’s not listening to God, you need to do the listening and acting for both of you. You need to pray him into the relationship that God has already promised you. Name him and claim him, my dear sister. Don’t let anyone take away what is your spiritual promise. Yours. If you’re reading this Devotional together, then you both know that this is God’s plan for you. And brother, don’t let Satan blind your eyes. The prayers of a virtuous woman can drop those scales. Don’t let a Jezebel spirit enter into your heart and steal you away from God’s woman for you.”

Now I’ve heard of naming and claiming it, but here was a new twist. There was so much that was so bogus, and completely off the wall in this reading, I couldn’t decide whether to be horrified or amused.

This is astounding.

You know how you can’t stop reading because something is so horrible that you have to find out how it ends…

“Natalie, if you can tear yourself away from the book that’s been mesmerizing you for hours…” Tavish begins, and I give a guilty start.

“It hasn’t been hours,” I’m defending myself. “It’s only been a few minutes, and you seemed quiet…so I wasn’t sure if you were one of those don’t like to talk and drive types.”

“I’m not one of those types, but I was preoccupied. And you did seem mightily engrossed in the book. I’ve never seen anyone take out their cell flashlight to read on their way home. Particularly when they’re riding with a handsome, irresistibly charming man.”

“If I was riding…” He laughs and I relax. He has a great sense of humor.

“Okay, I confess. It’s this book. I know you won’t be able to put it down.” I couldn’t resist it.

“That bad, huh?” Tavish glances over in my direction.

“Are Faith and you a couple?” I need to know. I couldn’t wait to ask Kate.

“Whaat?” Tavish is incredulous, even the car is doing a slight swerve.

So the question shocked him. Was that because he was seeing her and didn’t want anyone to know?
“I know it’s none of my business, seeing that you are my boss, but I just thought I’d ask.” Hopefully that was asked casually enough. “My mom tells me that I’m too direct so you don’t have to answer that question…if you don’t want to.”

“I’ll be happy to answer your question—” but his stupid cell rang. We both look down at his phone lying in the holder on the dashboard. “Faith” flashed on it.

“You can answer it if you like.”

“No worries. It can just go to my voice mail.”

He obviously didn’t want to talk to her in front of me, I’m thinking. I decided to divert myself by gazing out of the window. We’d been driving a while, now I realize the landscape didn’t appear to be anything near Gwen’s place.


10:35 p.m.

“So,…” How am I to ask a question without sounding like I was accusing him? Maybe he’s just taking a different route home.

“What?” he ask, as he turns on some music. The Foo Fighters! He likes the Foo Fighters?

“This area looks nice, but a little unfamiliar. Where is it?”

“I’m kidnapping you,” he growls, in a scary voice.

“Very funny! I was just wondering where we were.”

“Liar! You know you’re very easy to read. All your thoughts are on your face. That’s what I like about you.”

“Guilty! But you must admit, I don’t know anything about you.”

“That’s why I’m kidnapping you. My secretary needs to know whom she’s working for. You like the Foo Fighters?”

“I love the Foo Fighters! And Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beatles…”

“My kind of girl—she loves rock and roll! Hope this isn’t too loud.”

Loud? A pastor who likes his music loud. Not that my dad wasn’t cool, but I didn’t think there were other pastors who could be cool like him.

“Don’t you want to know where we’re going?” I could see him smile as the car passed under some streetlights.

“I didn’t think that I was allowed to ask my kidnapper questions!”

He laughs out loud.

I love his laugh. In fact, I don’t think I could ever stay mad at him, even if I was mad at him, if I heard his laugh.

I’m so in trouble.


10:42 p.m.

I’m happy to be with him. Pushing away questions about Faith and him, why he wants to take me wherever we were going, I enjoy the moment.

And it was at that moment, I had to face the truth.

Somewhere along the line—through all the working together, joking, teasing, fighting, and laughter—I had fallen in love with my boss.

Cliché, but true. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through all the pain and hurt this relationship would bring.

But I wasn’t going to dwell on that right now, God was going to help me handle that part of my life.


Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

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