Faith Wish

Faith Wish by James Bennett Read Free Book Online

Book: Faith Wish by James Bennett Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Bennett
popular. There’s pressure that goes with that.”
    She means peer pressure , Anne-Marie thought. If you were truly a Christian though, getting the approval of your peers would be irrelevant. As long as you had the Lord’s approval, nothing else would matter. And for that matter, what good was it to be beautiful and popular if you were also superficial and shallow?
    â€œWe called you Bucky,” said Anne-Marie matter-of-factly.
    â€œI know,” said Sara with a smile. She obviously wasn’t self-conscious about her teeth. “But it was mostly during sophomore year and just in the cafeteria.”
    â€œWe did it more often than that. Brooke and Missy and I. We were mean and cruel. And it was so childish. I think we were jealous of you.”
    Sara Curtis was the only black member of the student council and a candidate for class valedictorian. She said, “It hurt a little bit, but I mostly just shrugged it off. What was it that made you jealous?”
    â€œMaybe your grades. We knew you would be a valedictorian candidate, and we thought a white person should win that. I’m sorry, Sara. I really mean that.” Anne-Marie swallowed hard.
    â€œSo exactly what is it you’re so sorry for?”
    â€œI’m not exactly sure how to put it into words. For being a dork, I guess. Maybe there were times I hurt you even if it was just ignoring you.… Okay, that’s it … I’m sorry for being a dork.” She could feel tears forming.
    Sara touched her hand. Anne-Marie flinched only briefly at the moment of contact. “You’re new to the Fellowship, Anne-Marie. Don’t feel like the Lord is going to convict you all the time.”
    â€œI don’t want to go through the rest of my life finding sin after sin and spending all my time confessing. I’ll just be ashamed all the time.”
    â€œYou won’t have to,” Sara assured her. “The Lord will convict you from time to time, just like he does all of us. But mostly He will forgive you. If you put your trust there, He will never let you down. I forgive you and I’m sure the Lord forgave you a long time ago.”
    â€œThank you.” For several seconds, Anne-Marie looked into Sara’s clear brown reassuring eyes. “I hope you win,” she said sincerely.
    â€œThank you. So do I. But it’s not a big deal. I’m already accepted at Oberlin, and I’ve got some scholarship money coming.”
    â€œI’m afraid it’s going to be junior college for me,” said Anne-Marie glumly.
    Sara seemed ready with an answer, but then a secretary summoned her, so she had to make a run. Before she left, she invited Anne-Marie to Bible study, the one she held in her house on Monday nights.
    At lunch, Anne-Marie sat with Brooke and Missy Timmons, but her mind was a million miles away. Missy had her term paper for biology finished, and a nice glossy cover of Everglades saw grass she’d made on her computer was the wrap.
    Anne-Marie told Missy how good the term paper looked, but wouldn’t permit herself to think about it. Couldn’t even if she wanted to. Her mind was on Brother Jackson. Why was he leaving, and would he ever come back? If so, when? Would she ever see him again? Would there be another tabernacle meeting where she could? She chewed at the edges of her taco shell halfheartedly all the while; her appetite was still as borderline as her concentration.
    She tried to pay attention in world history, her best subject, but her mind wandered to the vice principal’s note. If the note meant that she was getting more unsatisfactory progress reports, then copies would be mailed to her parents. They would probably arrive in the mail today or tomorrow. She would be grounded. She always was when her parents got progress reports.
    After school, Anne-Marie found herself driving west, across the Fox on the St. Charles Bridge, headed toward the forest preserve. She

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