Brielle found herself sitting at the local diner, eating lunch with Everett. Well, actually, to be more precise Everett was eating, she was just having a glass of ice cold water because moving her cheek around hurt quite a bit. Brielle decided she had to break the unbearable silence, because it was, well, unbearable. "Everett, you had something you wanted to tell me, didn’t you?" Everett looked directly at her, which made Brielle blush. "Yes. Yes I did." He took a deep breath and proceeded to tell Brielle what he needed to say. "Brielle, I have something to tell you. It’s about Will. Or at least Will’s deceased girlfriend." He said the last part cautiously, wondering what her reaction would be. She looked sad and surprised. But most of all, she had this hate and fear fueled anger in her eyes. So many emotions all at once. She took a deep breath and replied in a very controlled voice, "Go on." Everett was relieved. "Well, that girl Jackie was my sister. She did drugs and drank and just wasn’t the best person ever. She met Will. And for some reason she became worse than she had been. She became more violent and finally my parents were at their wits end. So they told her either to get clean and stay clean or get out. The next day, she was out. Just like that. She was up and out of our lives. Next thing I knew I heard she committed suicide in jail." Everett’s eyes saddened for a minute, but changed back quickly. "I decided I’d keep and eye on Will to make sure he didn’t do that to any other girl. And that’s how I cam across you and him last night." He looked deep into her eyes, searching them for emotion. They all came out at once; anger, hate, sadness, worry, fear. Brielle had so much she wanted to ask. "She was….your sister?" She asked timidly. Everett’s eyes dropped. "Well she was my adopted sister, that’s why she had a different last name." Brielle’s eyes filled with tears. "Everett, I am so sorry. For what Will did."For what I did.Brielle added to herself. She couldn’t keep them contained anymore, the tears started flowing freely. Brielle got up from the table. "Excuse me, please." she said and she got up and fled the diner. Everett found Brielle sitting outside the building. He walked over and sat down next to her. "Brielle, there’s no reason for you to be sorry. None of what Will does is your fault." Brielle thought to herselfYou don’t know.Brielle got herself under control enough to where she could talk. She took a deep breath. "But itismy fault!" Everett looked at Brielle. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.She blames herself for all he does.He put a hand on her shoulder. "Brielle, you can’t keep blaming yourself for what he does." Brielle looked away. "Yes. I do. You don’t understand. It really is my fault! It’s my fault Will is like this. It’s my fault my mother is sick with worry, and my fault that your sister is dead!" Brielle’s head sank back into her hands and she started to cry again. Everett really didn’t understand what she meant by it was her fault. "Brielle, how on earth is it your fault?" His eyes were like question marks. Brielle sighed looked up at the sky which was graying, looking like it was ready to snow. "Four years ago, back when both me and my brother were still living at home, I was looking for something in his room. I’ll never forget what I saw. I saw a gun. I saw a gun and drugs. So many different kinds of drugs, I couldn’t name them all. And the gun was loaded. Right then my brother came in. He saw what I saw. Two emotions ran across his face, rage and shame. Sadly, rage was the emotion that took over. He grabbed the gun and pointed it at my head, threatening that if I tried anything stupid, he’d shoot me, and then himself. And I swore to him I wouldn’t. Then he left. And I didn’t tell anyone until now. And I know that if I would have told somebody, none of this would have happened. None of it! I was so worried about my own life, that I wasn’t thinking about how many other lives this would effect. I was so selfish." Everett saw a touch of relief come across her face.She must have been keeping that bottled up for such a long time.Then Brielle looked away in shame. She then let out a long sigh and started crying again. Everett wasn’t sure how to react.Jesus, give me your words of wisdom right now. I really need them.He silently prayed.He then inhaled deeply and put a hand on Brielle’s shoulder. "Brielle. You think it’s your fault? That he’s chosen this path? Yes. You didn’t tell anyone. But he did hold a gun to your head. He’s dangerous. And you didn’t know if he would really do anything. Brielle, may I ask you a question?"
She looked up into his face, and saw his deep green eyes glimmering. "Yes.. Of course." She said in a shaky voice as she was wiping away her tears. Everett smiled. "Brielle, have you ever heard of Jesus?" She thought for a minute. "You mean the teacher that lived a couple of thousand years ago?" Everett gave a small chuckle. "Well, kind of. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher. He was.. Well here, I have an idea. Today is Wednesday right? Why don’t you come to Livin’ It with me?" Brielle looked at him with an eyebrow up. "What is Livin’ it?" She asked with pure curiosity. Its when a group of young college students gather to talk and learn about Jesus. Will you come? Brielle didn’t know what to think. "Uhm, yeah sure, I’ll come." Everett got a huge lopsided grin on his face. "Great. I will pick you up at six, okay?" She shook her head. He saw a wave of sadness come over her face, but it had left as quickly as it came. He put his hand on top of hers. "Are you okay, Brielle? Would you like me to take you home?" She looked at him and smiled, "Yes, if it’s not to much trouble for you?" He gives a little smile, "Of course not." He then leads her to the car. "Thank you for lunch, Everett." Brielle says once they’re both in the car. "I don’t see how it was much of a lunch for you. All you had was a glass of ice water!" Everett replied, smiling. Brielle blushed a little. "Well chewing hurts right now so just sipping the water was enough for me." Everett then turns to her with a concerned look. "How is your wound? Is it okay?" She just blushed even more. "Uhhm well it’s…okay." She looked at Everett and his facial emotion showed that he didn’t believe a word she said. "Brielle, please tell me the complete truth." She blushed as red as a beet. "Well.. It burns like it’s on fire and hurts pretty bad." Everett then started the car. "Alright then we will get you home right away."
The car ride home was pretty quiet until Everett asked Brielle about herself. "Well, I go to school at University of Colorado. And I live on campus. My full name is Brielle Renee Brennan and I am 19 years old. Obviously you know a lot about my family background already. And that’s pretty much it." She said with a thoughtful look on her face. "What about you Everett?" She asked him with a smile. "Well I also attend University of Colorado. I am a student teacher. I’m a senior, and am working on becoming a teacher. My mother and father live a little outside Denver. And I have one other sibling, his name is Morgan. He still lives with my parents, he’s 17. And honestly that’s about it." Brielle thought for a moment. "What are your parents names?" She asked inquisitively. "Victor and Cadene." He replied with a big goofy grin on his face. "Oh my. Those are beautiful names." She said her eyes gleaming. He smiled, "What’s your mothers name?" She laughed. "My mothers name is Maeve. It’s Irish like mine." He looked thoughtfully, "I don’t think I have ever met anyone with that name. Is she Irish?" Brielle looked at him skeptically, "You couldn’t tell by her accent?" He thought for a moment. "Yes I do suppose she had a very thick Irish accent, but I guess I just had my mind on other things. Was your mother born in Ireland?" Brielle nodded her head. "Yes. Her parents, my grandparents, came over when she was 15, so she had already lived quite a bit of her life in Ireland. I imagine it must have been hard for her. To move from one country to another. No family here at all. But this is where she met…" Brielle paused for a minute and had this look of hate in her face. "Anyways, that’s some of my families' past." She said. Everett nodded, "Have you ever been to Ireland, Brielle?" He asked. She shook her head, "No, but I would love to. I want to find out more about my mother's side of the family." There was a short silence. "Oh, there's my dormatory." Brielle said pointing to a big, old brick building on the school's property. So Everett turned onto the lane and stopped right in front of her building. "Thankyou so much, Everett." Brielle said as she was getting out of the nice warm car and out into the cold, cold air. "No problem, Brielle. So I will be back here at about six, is that alright?" She smiled, "Of course. I will see you then, Everett." He gave her that goofy grin and then left. Brielle went inside the big building and went upstairs to her dorm room. She took off her jacket and put it on her desk chair. Then she went into the bathroom. She took the bandage off of her cheek and got out her anti-bacterial spray, and sprayed her wound on her cheek a few times. Then she put on a fresh bandage and went into her kitchen and started cooking her supper. Which included your basic food groups: Mashed potatoes with sourcream and butter and a milkshake. Then she sat down at her desk and started eating.
This is all so crazy. She thought to herself. I really wish that Will would just go away. But knowing him, he won't make it that easy. He's put us through so much. And not just mom and I. Grandma and Grandpa too. He's effected all of our lives. If only I would've said something... But Everett said that I can't blame myself. I don't know. I still don't completly believe that it wasn't my fault. I wonder why Everett brought up that teacher, Jesus? What does he have to do with anything? Oh well, I guess I'll find out tonight at Livin' It. Speaking of which. Brielle looked at her watch and saw that it was 5:55. "Oh no! He'll be here in five minutes!" She exclaimed. But at six o'clock she was outside and ready to go. Just then Everett pulled up in his silver Honda. Brielle got in his car. He smiled at her, making her cheeks blush a violent red. "Hey, Everett." She said while putting her seatbelt on. "Hey, Brielle. How're you doing?" She looked at him with bright eyes. "Well, I'm doing fine. I'm curious at what this Livin' It will be like." She said looking at him with a skeptical look. He chuckled. "I think you'll like it, just trust me." She raised an eyebrow at him. "Okay, I'm putting all my trust in you, Everett." He smiled. "That's alot of pressure." He said. Brielle laughed softly. Everett looked deap into her beautiful, deep, shining, green eyes searching, looking, for anything that would tell him what she was thinking. And Brielle was getting lost in his bottomless, deep, brown eyes. Anyone could see that there was a spark going on between them. They both realized that they were stairing at each other and then both looked away, embarrassed. Everett cleared his throat. "Well, uh, I guess we should get going, or else we will be late." Brielle was still looking out the window, her face red as red could be. "Uh..yeah.." She stuttered. It was a very quiet ride there. Then Everett pulled into a parking lot. "So this is it?" Brielle asked. He nodded his head."Yes, this is it." He looked over at Brielle, who was biting her lip. He smiled, "Don't worry, Brielle, everything will be fine. I promise." She looked at him and smiled. "Okay, let's go in." She said as she grabbed his hand, pulling him toward the entrance. He chuckled as he was being pulled by her. Once they got inside, Everett led her into a room with about 20-30 other college age students. All chattering and laughing with each other. Brielle didn't know what to do. She was overwhelmed with all of it. And Everett could read it all over her face. He grabbed her hand. "Come on, Brielle. I'll introduce you to some of the guys here." So Everett led her over to a group of people. "Hey Everett!" Called out a tall, lanky guy with whispy blonde curls, as they were walking toward them. "Hey Jude." Everett replied. Once they reached them, Brielle could see that alot of them were stairing at her. "Guys, I'd like you to meet Brielle Brennan." Everett said motioning to Brielle. "Brielle, this is Jude, Mark, Shane, and Jason." Everett said motioning to the gang. "It's nice to meet you all." Brielle said. Then the shorter guy of the group stuck his hand out and shoook her hand. "Nice to meet you too, Brielle. I'm Mark." She nodded her head. "And I'm Shane." said a guy who looked like he played football." She shook his hand. "I'm Jason." Said a very dark toned guy. She shook his hand also. "And I'm Jude." Said the guy with the whispy blonde curls. Brielle smiled at all of them. Then a guy got up on the stage and started talking, telling everone to take a seat. Jude turned to Brielle."Here, you guys come sit with us!" He said with a huge grin on his face. "Sure. Do you mind, Brielle?" Everett asked. "Of course not!" She said with a smile. So they all sat together. Brielle was right in between Everett and Jude. Then the speaker started speaking again. "Welcome you guys! Glad you could all make it!" he said. "How many of you guys are glad to be here tonight?" Then a wave of whoops and hoorahs came from the small crowd of people. "That was awesome you guys! So how many new faces do we have?" Brielle tried to kind of hide her face. Then the whole line of guys raised their hands. And unfortunately for Brielle, the speaker saw them. "Yeah, Shane?" He said. Shane stood up. "This girl over here is new!" He said, pointing towards Brielle. Brielle's cheeks went pink as she tried to hide her face even more. The speaker spotted her. "Excuse me, could you please stand up?" He asked her. As much as she wanted to hide under a rock right then, she reluctantly stood up. "And what's your name?" the speaker asked. "Uhm. Brielle Brennan." She said as loud as her mousy voice would allow her too. The speaker smiled. "Well, it's nice to meet you, Brielle. I'm David Thomas. Alot of the kids here just call me Pastor David." Brielle nodded. "Or PD!" Someone shouted. Pastor David laughed. "Yes or PD. So, Brielle, welcome to Livin' It. We're all glad you could be here." Brielle nodded and sat down, face still as red as ever. "So let's get started." Pastor David said. "How many of you have heard the word forgiveness?" He asked. Pretty much everyone in the entire group raised their hand. "Okay, good. So who knows what it means to forgive someone?" Someone in the back raised their hand. "Yes?" "Forgiving someone who has wronged you is basically saying its okay." Pastor David nodded his head. "Yes that's most of it. So let's say you guys have someone in your life that keeps sinning against you. Hurting you physically or emotionally, someone who's lying to you, something like that. How many times should you forgive them?" There was nothing but silence."Okay, how about this? There's a hint found in Matthew 18:22. Jason, would you look that up for me?" He asked. "Sure." Jason replied as he went searching through a book that he had in his lap. "Okay got it." Jason said. "Okay Jason. Can you read it nice and loud for me?" Pastor David asked. Jason nodded his head and cleared his throat. "Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."" Jason read in a strong voice. "Thankyou, Jason. Now in this verse Jesus in talking to Peter, one of his deciples. Here let me start from verse 21 then maybe it'll make a little bit more sense. In this verse Peter is coming to Jesus asking him about forgiveness. "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Now, does this mean that the seventy-eighth time we don't have to forgive someone?" The group shook their heads no. "No, of course not. What Jesus it trying to tell us is this; no matter how many times someone does us wrong, we need to forgive them. And I'm sure you're thinking 'But Pastor David, what if someone murders someone?' Well. Let's say that someone murdered your mom and your dad. And let's say you have a chance to talk to this guy that killed your parents. Obviously some various things will pop into your head that you would want to say to him. But I can almost guarantee that one of the things that will be furthest from your thoughts is that you want to forgive him. And right now, the chance of you saying that you forgive him is pretty much 0%. But what if I told you that with God's help, you could forgive him and truly mean it?" Brielle had a look of shock and skepticism on her face. Pastor David smiled. "It's true! If you ask God with all your heart to help you forgive this person and you truly want to, it's possible! No matter how much someone has hurt you. They are always forgivable. I mean think of Jesus. Think of how he forgave us! Now I want you guys to think of this. Someone that hurt you or wronged you isn't the only person that you have to learn to forgive. You have to learn to forgive yourself in some situations." Brielle leaned forward in her chair like she couldn't wait to hear what he was going to say next. Forgive myself? Brielle thought to herself. "Think about it, you guys! If Jesus, the one and only perfect human being on heaven and earth could forgive you, then you can definately forgive yourself! For those of you who are new and may not know. God is the creator of the universe. God created the stars, God created the sun and the moons, God created the earth, and the God of this earth and universe created you. And God saw that mankind was moving in a very bad direcetion. So God made a very hard decision. God decided to send his one and only son to come and live on earth and teach us about Him. But you see. Mankind needed a savior. And Jesus was that savior. Jesus was the perfect being that would take away the sins of the world. So Jesus lived, and then was crucified on the cross, which was what had to be done. Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and for your sins. If you would like to learn more about it, come talk to me later. Let's pray. Dear God. We thankyou so much that we could all be here tonight. I want to thankyou for each and every young adult here. Thankyou that they give up their Wednesday evenings to come learn about you. Please draw them near you for the rest of this week. In your name. Amen. Go ahead and get treats!" He said. So everyone started moving around. Everett turned to Brielle. "So what did you think of it?" Brielle had a shocked look on her face. "It was...good." She said. Everett smiled. "Good. I'm glad you liked it." So Brielle and Everett continued to visit with people until it was time to leave. "It was nice to meet you, Brielle." Shane said. "Yeah awesome to meet you, Brielle. Hope to see your pretty face around here again soon." Jude said. Brielle blushed. "Thankyou so much for everything. Goodbye!" She said as Everett led her out to the car. They both got in the car. "It was really good, Everett. Thankyou so much for bringing me." Everett smiled. "No problem. It was my pleasure. You know if you'd like to come again next week I could pick you up?" Brielle nodded her head. "Yes please." She said eagerly. Then Everett pulled up next to her dorm building. "Listen, Everett. I was wondering if we could meet for coffee tomorrow morning or something... I..uh.. have a few questions I would like to ask you." Everett smiled a huge genuine smile. "Sure, Brielle. I'll pick you up say around nine for coffee?" She nodded her head vigorously. "Yes! Thankyou!" "You're welcome, Brielle. Goodnight." And with that he drove off. So Brielle went into her dorm building and up to her room. She took a shower and got in her pajamas and then jumped in bed. So much to process. I really liked alot of the things Pastor David had to say. But I don't quite understand some of it. I sure hope Everett can answer my questions tomorrow..