I sat and listened as Connor sang first Mighty to Save and then Blessed Be Your Name. His voice was absolutely amazing! When he sung worship like this I could hear in his voice that he meant every word he sung. By the time he got to the second verse in Blessed Be Your Name I just couldn’t help myself…I joined in and sang it with him creating a harmony.
Blessed be Your name when the sun ‘s shining down on me; when the world ‘s all as it should be; blessed be Your name. Blessed be Your name an the road marked with suffering; though there’s pain in the offering; blessed be Your name.
When we finished singing I leaned my head against his chest, “That was beautiful,” I whispered, trying to convey just how amazing it had been to listen to him sing and later join in with him. I snuggled in closer to him, feeling his well-muscled chest beneath. I’ve seen him exercise once…I watched as he benched 365 pounds without breaking a sweat. Yet, he was so gentle, he held me tightly…but not so tightly as to hurt or be at all uncomfortable. I could feel the strength in his arms as they encircled me protectively; easily enough o crush me and yet I feel safe, not worried in his arms. I sighed happily as I settled into a comfortable position on his chest and he rested his cheek on top of my head.
“You know,” he whispered quietly, “I take back what I said before…I don’t have a crush on you…I have fallen in love with you.”
I rubbed my head against his chest, “I love you too,” I whispered back. I felt his grip tighten protectively around me and I sighed happily.
We could have stayed like that for a very long time, but Connor’s mom came and made us go to bed. Connor gave me his bed and, after saying goodnight and turning off the light, he went to sleep on the couch in the living room.
The next morning when I woke up and came downstairs I found Connor was already up and cooking a very large number of breakfast sausages.
“Morning Katie,” he said with a smile.
I took in a deep breath through my nose…the smell of the sausages made my mouth water, “Good morning!” I replied brightly.
“Well, some one is in a good mood this morning,” Connor observed as he grinned at me.
“Yup,” I replied as I came down the stairs and into the kitchen to stand beside Connor.
Connor slipped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer. I smiled and leaned my head against his arm/shoulder. I could hear the sizzling and popping as the sausages cooked. Every once in a while Connor would use a fork and turn the sausages onto an un-cooked side. When the sausages had finished cooking Connor stabbed them with his fork and put them on an already-full plate in the oven, which was turned on low to keep the sausages warm.
Next he moved over to the fridge and took out a dozen eggs. Then he went to a cupboard and took out a big mixing bowl. I watched as he expertly cracked the eggs two at a time into the bowl. Then he took a fork and began to mix it up. After about thirty seconds he went to a drawer and took out several jars of spices and added them by eye to the eggs.
“Do you like jalapeños?” He asked me as he put the spice jars back in their place.
I nodded and he went to the fridge again to take out a jar of the little green peppers. He poured some of the liquid into the egg mixture, then took out two of the peppers, minced them, and then added that to the egg mixture as well. That done he put the rest of the peppers back and graded some cheese.
“Alright…time to scramble these eggs.” He smiled.
“I never realized how much work it takes just to make eggs!” I exclaimed.
“Well, I don’t usually put this much into them…and they’re fine even if you just add salt” Connor replied, “…but I love to cook and you are here so I have a reason to do more than usual,” he added with a smile.
There was a loud sizzling as Connor poured the eggs from the mixing bowl into a deep skillet, and then a kind of popping sound as he added the cheese and began to stir. I watched as the eggs gradually hardened and turned from orange and clear to yellow and white. When the eggs were done, Connor got out three plates and loaded them up. He put them on the table, got out some glasses and orange juice, then went to the steps, “Mom!” he called up the steps, “Breakfast is ready!”
Some rustling sounds came from above, and then footsteps as Connor’s mom came down. She was very obviously Connor’s mother…her hair was the same light brown and about as fine as Connor’s too. Connor had also gotten her ovular face and fine chin. Mrs. Baird’s eyes though, were a caramel color rather than the bright green of Connor’s eyes and her nose was also a little bit longer and more angular than Connor’s.
“Thanks for making breakfast Connor,” Mrs. Baird said with a smile, “and good morning to both of you.”
“Good morning Mrs. Baird,” I replied happily.
“Morning Mom,” Connor said from the dining room table as he set the plate of sausages in the middle of the table.
We all went to the table and sat down, Connor thanked God for the food, and then we started to eat. Connor had shoveled down half of his eggs by the time any conversation started.
“So, did you sleep well?” asked Mrs. Baird.
“Yes actually, Connor’s bed was very comfortable,” I replied…and it smells nice…I added to myself. Like the Old Spice that Connor wears.
“Yeah, I found that bed in the same place I found the TV,” Connor said after he swallowed the last bite of his eggs. I can’t get over how fast he manages to put away food.
After breakfast was done, we washed off our dishes and left them out to dry. Then Mrs. Baird sat on the sofa with a book while Connor and I went down to the basement to watch the rest of The Lord of the Rings.
I curled up against Connor as we settled down to watch The Two Towers. Both Connor and I jumped when Treebeard first opened his eyes. He looked so much like a tree! And then suddenly out of nowhere he just starts moving! I thought Faramir was really cute and also very wise when he let Sam and Frodo free. Connor was greatly surprised when the elves arrived to help the Rohirim at Helms Deep, and he clutched me tighter when the elf commander was killed.
When The Two Towers finished Connor put in The Return of the King and then we settled back down to watch it. I saw Connor’s jaw harden and muscles tighten angrily as Denethor berated his son for losing. When Denethor ruthlessly sent his son out to his death…and then ate and listened to Merry sing as his son nearly died Connor almost got up and turned off the TV; I could tell he wanted to give Denethor a piece of his mind.
“It’s only a movie…” I whispered to him.
Connor settled back down and pulled me closer again…but I could still feel the tension in his muscles and jaw. Connor literally laughed out loud when Gandalf used his staff to knock Denethor out and take control, and I felt all the tension drain out of him and he settled closer to me. I smiled and snuggled my head up against his chest. At the very end, when Sam got married to Rosy, Connor hugged me, “He so deserved her after everything he went through…” he remarked to me.
“So…how did you like the movie then?” I asked.
“Hmm; Denethor was a complete idiot, Saruman died all wrong, and they left out one of my favorite parts…the purging of the Shire…other than that? It was really good,” he said with a grin as he pulled me in for another hug.
“I love how we have managed to go from ‘I really want to hug him…but what if he won’t like it?’ To hugging every time we get the chance. I’ve imagined us being like this millions of times and now my dream has finally been realized.” I remarked happily to Connor.
He hugged me a little tighter, “You know what? I love it too, and yes I’ve wished we could be like this many, many times.”
Connor glanced at his watch, “Whoa! It’s late!” We both hurried upstairs where Connor’s mom handed us each a grilled cheese sandwich and then hurried us out the door, “I don’t want you stuck at Katie’s house overnight without your contact stuff,” she told Connor by way of explanation.
We left and once we were out of sight of the house Connor took my hand and pulled me closer so that our shoulders almost touched as walked. We had quite a walk ahead of us…almost three miles. I felt sorry for Connor, who would have to walk back as well.
After about fifteen minutes of walking a group of Protectors, those are the guards that work for the ‘upper class,’ passed by, “You over there! Stand at attention! An upper classman is passing through!” They shouted at us.
We both stood to one side at attention as a new, red Lamborghini passed by us. The man on the passenger side looked at us, leaned over to one of the guards outside the window to talk to him and then moved on. When the car had rounded a corner the Protectors came up to us.
“What’s going on?” Connor asked, “We’ve done nothing wrong! You have no right to touch us!” he continued as they kept advancing on us. Connor pushed me behind him, whenever the Protectors actually moved up to you it meant you were in big trouble…the only thing is I have no idea what we did wrong!
“Whatever happens, Katie…I promise I will do everything in my power to stay with you…or failing that reunite with you,” Connor promised me.
By that time the Protectors were only a few feet from us, “I demand to know on what charges we are being arrested on,” Connor said in a booming voice that made even the Protectors hesitate.
One of them, probably the leader stepped a little closer, “You are not being arrested boy…you have caught the upper classman’s eye…you are to be taken to the protectorate’s headquarters for training as one of us.”
“And what about Katie, is she free to leave?” Connor asked.
“She is to be taken to the upper classman’s house directly,” replied the man.
“And if I resist?” Connor asked in a voice that was almost conversational, but promised otherwise.
“You will be subdued and taken anyways,” the Protector replied matter-of-factly.
Connor squared his shoulders, “Well I can’t allow you to take Katie,” he stated.
The leader motioned his gang in toward us, “Connor please don’t do this, just let them take me,” I pleaded.
“No, they are not going to take you to that man’s house…if you think I don’t know exactly what he wants you for then you are dead wrong. I won’t let him do that to you,” he said in a voice that brooked absolutely no argument.
I watched helplessly as Connor faced off against at least fifteen Protectors. The first two advanced on him and when they got close enough Connor literally sent them flying backward with a kick. They didn’t get back up, though I could see that they were breathing so Connor must have just knocked them out.
Three more came at Connor, then retreated with yelps of pain as Connor threw several punches their way, “You want to try some more? Or will you leave us alone now?” Connor snarled in a tone of voice that I had had only heard once before, and that was when the bullies had attacked me that first day in the seventh grade.
In response half of the guards came directly at him and the other half came around him; trying to get at me. Connor charged the group attacking me and when the staggered back he turned and trued to get the group that had been going for him. But as he did several arms reached out and grabbed him, holding him back. The group that had been going for him changed course and came for me.
“Run!’ Connor yelled as a fist crashed into the side of his face. I gasped and stared, how could they do that to him? “I said RUN!” he screamed when I made no move to run. A fist crashed into Connor’s stomach causing him to double over in pain, when he looked up at me his eyes were filled with fear…but it wasn’t for himself I could tell it was for me. I turned to run, but a hand latched onto my shoulder and then another grabbed my arms and locked them behind my back.
Connor roared and managed to throw off his captors for a few minutes, he launched himself at the man holding me, but someone caught his foot and he crashed to the ground with a crack as his chin hit the pavement. He was dragged roughly up by the Protectors and four of them held him in place as he struggled desperately to get free. Blood ran down his chin where it had hit the pavement and split open, but Connor fought on headless of the pain. They dragged me to a white van parked by the side of the road and shoved me into the back then closed the door. I heard a key turn in the lock and knew that we had lost.
I curled up into a little ball and started to cry. They had taken Connor away, he was my life and I had no idea what I would do without him. The image of his battered face haunted me as he cried out to me to run. The desperate look in his eyes as he fought to free himself to get to me flashed through my mind again. What was going to happen to him? Would I ever see him again? I had no idea.