Deleted Scenes of #2, Love Does Not Envy or Boast
(photo by Jack Moreh)
Chapter 2: Racquetball and other assorted dates
We so enjoyed getting to know one another, talking about anything and everything. Whenever we had lunch, we ate together. And whenever we had a free evening, we went out on a date. We talked about where we grew up and why we were made fun of. We discussed our youth groups and how we ended up at this college. It wasn’t all talking, though. We did a lot of fun stuff on our dates, too.
“What should we do today?” Jason asked on Saturday, when he came to my house to pick me up. “Last week I chose bowling, and then you picked window shopping and roller skating. This week, I was thinking that I would really like to play racquetball. Have you ever played?”
“No, I don’t think so. Isn’t it kind of like tennis with walls?”
“Yeah, pretty much. I haven’t played much tennis, but I believe the rules are similar. Do you play tennis?”
“Yeah, I took a class in college and learned all the official rules. I wasn’t very good. I had to really work just to get a B- grade. But my mom and I played casually off and on a lot while I was growing up. It was one of the fun things I got to do with her,” I smiled, remembering.
“Did she spend much time with you?”
“Oh, yeah, a lot—it was usually either playing board games that she liked or talking at mealtimes, though. Especially after she went back to work.”
“How old were you?”
“She stayed home with my sister and me until Amy Grace went into first grade. Then we moved out to the little farm community I was telling you about and bought a house. When they did that, my mom needed to go back to work to pay for the house payment…among other reasons.”
“What other reasons” queried Jason, one eyebrow furrowed a bit.
“Well, it’s a long, sad story, and I don’t want to ruin our date before it even starts. I’ll tell you some other time, ok?”
“Sure. I understand. So…racquetball? Yes or no?”
I wasn’t very sure. I didn’t want to embarrass myself by looking like a total klutz on the racquetball court. But when he looked at me with that cute, pleading look, I couldn’t say no. “All right, I suppose.”
“Great! Don’t worry, I’ll help you, and I’ll go easy on you. And then next Saturday, we can try tennis, if you want.”
“It’s a deal!”
When he drove me onto campus, I turned toward him and asked, “What are we doing back here again? Don’t we spend enough time here on campus for work?”
He laughed and explained, “There are racquetball courts in the Sports Center, so we can use them for free as staff members.”
“Oh, I never knew we had them!”
“They’re right next to the volleyball courts.”
“That’s probably why I never realized that. I don’t think I’ve ever played volleyball down here. Only outside for collegian get-togethers—not that I was ever on a team, just for fun.”
“Ah! Well, we’ll have to get some co-workers together and have a game night or something with a big group.”
“That sounds awesome! What a great idea!”
“Okay, here we are. Which color racquet would you like, Milady?”
“Is there a difference?”
“Not really. They’re pretty much the same. I usually take the blue one because the handle is a little longer, which fits my hands better. And blue is one of my favorite colors. But you can use it if you want.”
“No, that’s okay. I’ll try this red one.” I didn’t want to make a big deal of the fact that I don’t like red, especially since I really did think I needed the one with the shorter handle.
“Wow! Your hands are so small, compared to mine!” he exclaimed. “And I actually have small hands for a guy.”
“Really? They don’t look small to me!”
“Well, thank you, Milady! I guess that’s all that matters.”
“Okay, here’s how you play. This is how you serve. Throw the ball up in front of you and hit it over-handed, just like in tennis. After I serve, then you hit it next. It can bounce off any way and then the floor one time, but then you must hit it, or it’s a point for me. Then after you hit it, it must bounce once, and then it will be my turn to hit it. There are no boundary lines, except that it cannot hit the back wall off of a serve. Got it?”
“Um, I don’t think so. But go ahead, I’ll figure it out as I go along.”
He served the blue rubber ball about the size of a golf ball but softer, and it hit the front wall, bouncing right back at me. I hit it but not hard enough, and it bounced just before it hit the front wall.
“It has to hit the wall before it bounces,” explained Jason. “Here, why don’t you practice serving first.”
I served several times, Jason simply catching the ball and letting me serve again. Then he said, “All right, let’s try some volleys now. You serve, and then I’m going to try to hit it back to you. I’ll tell you if you shouldn’t try to hit it.”
“Okay. If you say so.”
We hit a few volleys back and forth. “See, you’re getting the hang of it,” Jason smiled.
“Thanks, but geometry has always been my downfall. In high school, I had to work hard at math, especially in geometry. I liked algebra, compared to other math courses, but I hated geometry. Spatial relations, angles, and proofs still haunt me in my nightmares. That’s one of the reasons I’ve never been good at sports.”
“Yeah, racquetball is all about angles, and figuring out how close or how far the ball is going to bounce.”
“And I’m not as fast as I used to be,” I panted. “Nor have I have ever had much endurance. So, can we stop now? I’m not used to the intense physical and mental exercise together.”
“Sure. That’s enough for today. What did you think?”
“It’s kind of fun, but challenging. Too challenging for my mathematically-challenged brain. Geometry is why I never could beat my dad in pool or billiards, either.”
“Oh, yeah?” Jason laughed slightly. “Geometry is not your forte, eh?”
“Not at all!”
“Okay, well, we can stop for the day. Thanks for trying it out, though. I really love spending time together doing stuff like this. This…companionship really means a lot to me.”
“You’re welcome! You know that I must really like you, if I’ll get all sweaty doing something I’ve never been interested in before.” I winked at him.
“Ha! I appreciate it, Milady!” We laughed companionably.
“Next date, I get to choose something—and it won’t be a sport!” I exclaimed, smiling.
“That’s fine. But my next turn, you know what I’m going to be picking: more sports.”
Over the next few weeks, he beat me at all the other sports except tennis, but I kept up, enough for him to stay challenged. At least I wasn’t a pushover.
Jason said, “I’m pleasantly surprised how well you did, for a girl,” which statement earned him a playful punch in the arm. “Hey! I just mean that because you’re small, petite, and academic, I didn’t think you would be able to do much, but I’m actually impressed how you held your own in almost every activity.”
I chose bowling one night, not realizing that Jason had actually had formal training. He had taken it as half of a PE course entitled, “Bowling & Swimming.”
“So, you’re willing to challenge me on in one sport, huh?” he teased, as he unzipped the bag holding his very own, custom-made bowling ball.
...where did they come from?
Backstory for Jason Paul Scott
His father, Paul David Scott, though providing for the family financially, spent most of his time at work. Jason resented how little time his father spent with him. His mother Linda Sue Scott (Matthews) an opinionated Christian school teacher, met Paul at college, where they got married just one week after she graduated with a secondary education degree.
Jason was an only child. Jason’s name carried on the tradition of his paternal family, his middle name being his father’s first name, just as Paul’s middle name was his dad’s first name (David was Jason’s grandfather).
When Jason was a toddler, Paul and Linda decided to move closer to Linda’s family. They lived there for about ten years, but then Paul’s employer offered him a position as a supervisor with a significant pay raise if they would relocate to North Carolina. They packed up and moved when Jason was 11 years old.
His mother got a job teaching at Jason’s school, but after only a couple of years, Linda’s opinions got her in trouble. She quit before they could fire her, and she opened up a homeschool in their home. During that first part of the school year, she only taught Jason. But the next fall, they found two other students. Now she teaches 10-15 in her sunroom, as a private school teacher in their certified Homeschool Academy.
Because Linda taught a curriculum that promoted self-learning and let them work at their own pace, Jason could have graduated early, but his parents didn’t feel that he was ready to go to college yet. He always felt that they should have at least let him attend the college in town early as a student in their high school to college Associates program. However, when he was 18, his parents not only allowed him to go college but recommended he stay in the dorms, so that he could get out on his own.
Jason began as a Computer Science major, but he didn’t like the required coding classes, so he switched Computer Science to his minor and took Video Production as his Major. He did so well that the college offered him a job in the Video Production studio. He took it and started immediately after graduation. Within two years, he became the supervisor, and then Morgan became his secretary.
Jason had dated a couple of girls in college, but none more than two or three times. He didn’t consider any of them an official girlfriend, until Morgan.
Backstory for Tony (Anthony) Mark Brown:
A tragic history beginning with a few unwise choices set the path Tony travels now. What changed between Morgan and Tony being friends in high school to him being overbearing, a sexaholic, and self-centered?
- His parents divorced.
- His low standards of women.
- His lack of self-control.
- His lack of spirituality.
After Morgan went off to college, Tony floundered with no direction. He got an entry-level job at the supermarket and worked 35 hours a week at minimum wage, with no benefits. He found some guys at work to hang out with, beginning to drink to fit in with them. They started talking “locker room” talk about their female co-workers, and Tony joined in. First it was just once in a while, but it soon grew to be every Friday night.
He flirted with any woman who would notice him. He craved attention and especially touch, which is his love language. Subconsciously using his step-dad’s treatment of his mom as an example, he began to see women as tools to get whatever it he wanted. At the time, his ranging hormones told him he wanted sex.
He never worried about doing anything he didn’t want to, except for work. He didn’t clean or cook. He didn’t keep up his car. He also didn’t worry about restraining himself from anything he did want. He spent all his money on dates and booze. He didn’t think about saving, so when his car broke down, he just went and bought a new car with his mother as a co-signer. Now he barely makes his car payment and rent. He often asks his mother for more money to buy alcohol.
These all stem from one main cause, however. His relationship with the Lord was always superficial. He never disciplined himself to read his Bible or pray or attend church. He fell away from any good influences when he dropped out of church. The only ones reminding him of what was right and what was wrong were his mother and sister. He refused to listen.
After only a couple of years after he began this lifestyle, he got one girl pregnant but then found out that Amber was sleeping with someone else. He left her and then found out that she had his child, Shawn. She won a court battle, forcing him to pay child support, but when she refused to give up the other guy, he refused to marry her. He still wanted to be a “daddy” to Shawn, but on his terms.
He then found another co-worker who seemed to truly love him but didn’t know how to say “no” to him. They moved in together, but that relationship didn’t last long, since Tony didn’t really have much affection for Tasha to tide them through the hard times. She wasn’t happy about his alcoholic parties every weekend, either. When she found out she was pregnant but Tony refused to marry her, she kicked him out of the trailer that she was paying for, and he went back home to his mother again.
During this brief time back home, he began to wonder if he had made some mistakes. His mother forced him to go to church with him, and he felt convicted of his sin. He wavered back and forth about getting right with the Lord. He was close to making the good decision to give up his sinful lifestyle, but then the temptation for partying and alcohol and sex attacked again, and he fell back into it.
It didn’t take long for him to find another girl, Annie, a friend of one of his drinking buddies, who talked him into moving in with her. He was just glad to get away from his mother who had taken away all financial support. He moved in with Annie until she found out about his children. She refused to pay his child support, but he was blowing all his money on partying. When Annie got pregnant this time, she demanded they get married. He fled by going into the army on a whim. He barely made it through Basic Training.
When he was sent to the Middle East for combat, he saw a lot of things that hardened him even more. He saw violence as a way of life, he saw buddies die horribly, and he learned to build a wall around his heart in order to survive. He believed that God existed, but he couldn’t understand how such a supposedly loving God would allow all these terrible things to happen, especially to the innocent children he saw wounded, orphaned, or even slaughtered. A few of his Christian fellow-soldiers had begun to soften his attitude towards “do-gooder” Christians, but when he saw their bodies mutilated in bombings, he lashed out in anger toward God. He refused to listen to the chaplain’s explanation of mankind making choices to bring about sin, that it’s not God’s will for these things to happen.
He got out of the army as soon as he could. He landed a job in the shipping department of a manufacturing plant, and that is where he has been for several months. Going stir crazy, and finding Morgan Maxwell on Facebook, he remembered how she listened to him and seemed to value his friendship. On a whim, he took a weekend off and drove down to North Carolina to see Morgan.
Backstory for Morgan Rose Maxwell:
“Do you have a favorite dish? Or just all Mexican?”
“Um, I like several dishes, but not all Mexican. Actually, I’m kind of weird in that I don’t like much spice at all.”
“But you like Mexican?!” he exclaimed, surprised.
“I know!” I laughed. “I love tacos, both hard and soft—though if it comes to a choice, I’ll choose hard tacos every time—burritos, enchiladas (as long as the sauce isn’t too spicy), nachos, and beans.”
“Chicken or beef or both?”
“Beef. I’m really not into chicken on tortilla shells very often. Every once in a great while I’ll have chicken nachos or a chicken soft taco, but very rarely, and usually then only if chicken is the only thing available. If I have a choice, it’s going to be beef.”
“What about tostados or chalupas?”
“It just depends on how they’re made. One Mexican restaurant will call something a chalupa that another one will call a tostada. I like the taco salad thing, without salsa, but I don’t like the flat tortilla thing, just because I have a hard time actually getting it to my mouth.”
“I know! Me, too!”
“So I don’t usually risk paying money for a chalupa if I’m not going to like it, and just order what I know I love.”
“So you’re not a risk-taker, huh?”
“Well, not generally, no,” I laughed self-consciously, I know it’s something I need to work on.”
“Yeah, we may have to branch out and have you try different restaurants for date night, then.” He leaned forward and smiled reassuringly. “Back to Mexican: what about guacamole?”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot! I absolutely love guacamole! And the chunkier, the better!”
“Well, then, you’ll have to try my mom’s guacamole. She makes the best stuff!! She grew up in Mexico as a missionary kid, so she knows which kind is the best, and she’s a great cook, so she makes it all better than most restaurants!”
“That’s great! I know everything she made when I went over there was excellent!”
“Can you cook?”
“Well…it depends on your definition of cooking. If your definition is your mom’s cooking, then no, no way. I can read and follow a recipe, but I really don’t care to cook. It just seems like another chore to me most times. And it’s especially hard to cook for just one and then eat leftovers—the same leftovers—all week.”
“I know, I hear you. Cooking for one is a pain. I can cook a little, too. You know, as a bachelor, you have to learn to fend for yourself a little bit. But my problem is keeping enough ingredients on hand, especially produce, without it going bad. They don’t make single servings of anything, unless it’s a frozen dinner. I usually just eat with my parents or get drive-thru’ on the way home from work. It’s not exactly the healthiest the eating habits, but it’s the easiest.”
Faith from Grief:
“When I was seven and Amy Grace was four years old, my mom had another baby. Because this was before sonograms, we didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl until the day of birth. I remember helping my mom cross-stitch the orange and green baby blanket with pictures of nursery rhymes on it—the cow jumping over the moon, the cat and the fiddle, and the dish running away with the spoon. I was so proud that I was helping prepare for the new baby.
“But baby Clara was born and died on the same day, only living 12 hours after her birth. It was on the 4th of July, even. I remember it was kind of sprinkling, spitting rain, and Dad took Mom to the hospital and then came back with us to do a few little sparklers and fireworks that would work in the rain, while we waited for the long labor to finish. Then we went back to the hospital, and we had to wait in that boring waiting room and watch TV for forever. I still remember the moment I found out Clara was in danger. It was the only time I ever remember seeing my Dad cry in my entire lifetime.
“Well, long story short, she was buried in the closest graveyard, which just happened to be up on the hill across the street from our little trailer. Every day my Mom looked out the window from our dining room up toward that hill and cried. I knew she was thinking of baby Clara, how her “bright and clear” star was never going to become “famous,” like her name meant.
“I didn’t realize how bad it was then, but Dad knew she was going into depression. To prevent it, they bought a house away from the graveyard, and we moved to the country. Mom not only needed to help with the new house payment, but she also needed to keep busy and keep her mind off her loss.
“I bring it up now for two reasons. One, I just want to share that traumatic experience in my life with you. It’s the most traumatic to date. Two, I always reasoned that after Mom lost Clara, she hung onto Amy Grace even tighter, not wanting to lose another child, who would now be her ‘baby’ forever. I always thought she over-indulged Amy Grace, though unintentionally. I always thought it had something to do with why Amy Grace was so difficult to get along with sometimes. I’ve finally realized it’s way more complicated than that.”
Jason had remained quiet this entire time, his eyes widening more and more throughout the story. Finally, he cleared his throat and said, “I don’t know what to say. That’s a pretty hard thing for a seven-year-old and a four-year-old to go through.”
“Yeah, it was rough. I remember after they life-flighted baby Clara out to the big hospital in Boise, my Dad dropped us off at my best friend’s house while he went to be with Clara in her last hours. I remember crying with my best friend and telling her mother I didn’t want Clara to die, that God couldn’t let her die. A few weeks later, I saw Mom crying at the window yet again, and I got angry. I asked Mom, ‘Aren’t you angry at God? He could have let her live if He wanted to.’”
“Wow! At seven?”
“Yeah, it really shook my fragile faith. For me, life had always been good. Believing in God was just another thing we did as a family, and church was just another place we always went to. But when that tragedy happened, I found out God wasn’t a genie in a bottle. He doesn’t always answer prayers the way I want Him to.”
“So how did your Mom react? What did she answer?” asked Jason, curious.
“Well, she didn’t even bother to wipe her tears away. She just turned her head and said, ‘No, I’m not angry at God. I know He loves her even more than I do. She was so sick. She would have had a hard life if she had lived. I know God took her home to Heaven with Him for a reason, where she will never again have pain or suffering.’ It took me a lot of processing, but her example of faith really helped me as a child to put my faith in God no matter what. I’m so thankful my Mom could show me that kind of faith.”
“That’s amazing! I know as a seven-year-old you couldn’t understand all of the intricate theories of theology, about the origin of evil and suffering, but you didn’t need to. That’s awesome. You allowed God to work in your heart, too.”
“I know. It was hard. But it was so freeing when I finally trusted in Him wholeheartedly. I didn’t need to have all the answers. He is the answer. And though I did thirst to learn all about Him and eventually the theological arguments, it helped to already start out with the personal knowledge of Him as a wise Ruler who knows what He’s doing, but who does it out of love and what’s truly best for all His subjects. That’s what I think ‘sovereignty’ really means.”
The rest of Love Does Not Envy or Boast, #2 in the "Love is..." series, will be available for pre-order soon! :)
Comment on www.facebook.com/loveisseries to tell me what you're looking forward to most about #2, Love Does Not Envy or Boast! See you there!
A little about me...
I have been married to the only love of my life, Chris, for 15 years and am a homeschool mother to two energetic boys, ages 11 & 7. I love Bible study and am passionate about the importance of filling our minds with truth that points back to Jesus (Philippians 4:8). I write Christian Romance books, because I need them not only to escape from the overwhelming stress of everyday life and relax but also to vigilantly guard my thoughts.
(photo by Heather Cannon)