When the meeting was over, Nathan felt a bit dazed by all of the information Elder Miller had shared with them. He was grateful he’d received such a strong confirmation in the temple about this decision, because he felt somewhat overwhelmed.
He knew he needed to talk to his father about what was happening in his life, but he also felt a great urgency to talk to Marie immediately. He called her, and he was relieved when she answered.
“Hi, Nathan,” she said. “You know, you can always just text me if you want.”
“I realize that, but I’m hoping we could get together this afternoon and talk. I’m in Salt Lake right now.”
“That would be great!” Marie said. “So did you take the job with the Church?”
“Yeah. I just finished up getting more details about it. That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
everything all right?” Marie asked.
“I’m fine, but I think you’d like to hear what they told me. Are you at your apartment?”
“I’m actually walking there right now.”
“Could I pick you up in 15 minutes?”
“That will work,” Marie said. “I’ll watch for you.”
Nathan soon pulled up in front of Marie’s apartment. She peeked out the window, waved, and then came out the door toward him wearing a red U of U shirt and jeans.
Nathan noticed she looked better than ever, which made what he had to say even more difficult. He was definitely smitten by her, but he knew he couldn’t follow his heart.
He hopped out of the car as she approached and opened the passenger door for her.
“What a gentleman,” she said, genuinely impressed. “I can’t remember the last time a guy did that.
Once they were settled in the car, he pulled onto the road and asked, “How’s everything going with your internship
Marie’s eyes brightened. “Fantastic! I talked with Gretchen Howell and officially accepted it. They want me there a week from today so I can settle in and then start work the following Monday. I’m so excited!”
“It sounds like you’ll have a great time there,” Nathan said, trying to sound enthusiastic.
“I think so! They’re an amazing company, and I know I’ll learn a lot. I really want you to come visit me, though. You’d have to sleep on the couch, of course . . .”
“Of course,” Nathan said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it out there because of this new job.”
“Why not? Can’t you take a few days off?”
“That’s why I wanted to talk to you. This job is going to keep me tied up. They didn’t even mention any vacation time.”
Marie frowned. “Are you kidding me? They can’t treat you like a slave.”
“It’s okay,” Nathan said. “Actually, I’m a little worried about you going to Chicago. Aren’t you?”
““Not really. You mean because of the unrest and rioting they’ve had there?”
“I asked Gretchen about that, and she said it has all happened far from their headquarters. I’ll be working in a skyscraper that’s in a fancy part of town.”
“That’s good,” Nathan said. “It’s just that things there could get really bad fast. The country could unravel while you’re there.”
Marie stared at him, then started laughing. “Oh, I get it now. This is about us, right?”
Nathan shrugged, not quite sure how to respond. Marie put her hand on his shoulder and said, “I know we’ve been avoiding the obvious ever since you got home, but let me say that I’m really attracted to you. Is that too forward?”
“No. It’s nice to hear,” Nathan said. “I feel the same way about you.”
Marie slid her hand down his arm and took his hand in hers. At this point, Nathan decided he’d better pull over to the curb. He stopped the car, and on impulse he leaned over and kissed her gently. She smiled at him and kissed him back.
Nathan was surprised at himself. He heard Elder Miller’s voice in his head saying, “Don’t do something stupid.”
He leaned back and asked, “How is this all going to work out? We like each other, but we seem to be going in different directions.”
Marie frowned. “I understand how you feel. I don’t want to be separated from you either, but this internship is the key to my future—-our future! This will open up all kinds of doors for me after I graduate.”
“That sounds wonderful,” Nathan said hesitantly, “but have you prayed about it?”
Marie furrowed her brow, feeling a bit perturbed. “Of course I’ve prayed about it! That’s the main reason I feel this internship is meant to be. I asked the Lord to help me get the internship, and I did! The odds were pretty slim that I’d get it, so I see the Lord’s hand in it. I really don’t think the Lord would have allowed me to get it if something bad was going to happen to me while I’m there.”
Nathan was briefly speechless. Her reasoning almost made sense, but it didn’t feel quite right. There was no use arguing, though. He knew her mind was made up.
“I can’t really dispute that,” he said. “Go to Chicago and have a great experience.”
“Thank you,” she said, giving him another kiss.
Nathan knew he had to add one more detail. “I hate to say this, but I start working for the Church on Monday. I think they’re going to throw us right into some big project without any time off, so I’m hoping you’ll be coming to Orem on Sunday so we can say good-bye.”
“I’ll be there,” she said. “I need to get some things packed at my parents’ house anyway.”
Marie had to get to an afternoon class, so Nathan dropped her off at her apartment. They kissed good-bye, then she got out of the car and said, “See you Sunday!”
She shut the door and Nathan watched her walk away. She was everything he had ever dreamed of.
He drove through Salt Lake with a huge smile on his face, but as he reached I-15, reality began to set in. Yes, if the world didn’t change for a few years, then they might actually end up together, although just that morning he’d heard a General Authority say the conditions in the United States were about to be drastically altered.
He shook his head in disappointment at himself. He’d arranged to meet with Marie so he could convince her to drop her internship. Instead, they had ended up kissing a few times and her internship plans were more solid than ever.
His head was swirling. Maybe his Church job would only last a few months, then it would all work out. He truly hoped so.