Chapter 1: An Unexpected Encounter
“Hey, Abe, how about going to the movies with us? They got a new movie out about your namesake.”
“Another one? Which one is this – the one where he kills vampires?” Abe asked. He sighed into his cellphone as he contemplated his answer. He’d seen the ads. He’d read the reviews. He couldn’t warm up to the idea of Lincoln as a vampire slayer. Of course it was fiction, but he didn’t like vampires. Still, he was a bit curious. He wondered how they’d portrayed the former president.
“Yeah, that’s the one. Sounds pretty exciting, huh?” Doug asked.
“I’m not so sure.” Abe hesitated.
“Awe, come on Abe,” Doug persisted. “It’ll be fun. Tim is coming too.”
Doug went to the movies almost every Friday night. A lot of his friends did too. But Abe was choosy about what movies he saw.
Abe was 17 and he had just completed high school. A Spirit-filled Christian and an avid reader, he had been raised on biblical principles. His mom had home-schooled him through middle school and they’d spent lots of extra time on history because he enjoyed it.
As devout Christians, Abe’s parents had named him primarily after father Abraham, that patriarch of faith in the Bible. But they taught him a lot about Abraham Lincoln, the former U.S. president affectionately known as “honest Abe.” He’d read many a story of how Lincoln loved to read and went out of his way to do the right thing.
Abe only hoped he could live up to the examples set by those before him.
On many Friday nights, Abe worked at the check-in desk at the nearby nine-hole golf course. So he had a convenient reason, or should we say excuse, for bowing out of the Friday night movie ritual. But this Friday was different. His boss had closed the golf course to take a long weekend.
Abe decided he’d go and see how they portrayed the former president. “Yeah, sure. I’m actually off this Friday. Must be providential,” he said.
“Sure.” Doug beamed.
Abe’s friend Doug didn’t go to church because he found it boring. But he respected Abe’s decision to attend and follow his conscience, at least most of the time.
“We’re meeting at 8 o’clock at the theater. Or did you want to get a burger beforehand?” Doug asked.
“No, that’s fine. I’ll save some room for popcorn,” Abe replied.
“Great idea. See you there.” Doug hung up and Abe wondered why he’d agreed.
Abe really wasn’t interested in vampires or superheroes. His superhero was Jesus Christ, the son of God who came to Earth so we would be reconciled to God our father. The thought that Jesus would lay down his life willingly out of love had always really impressed Abe.
The afternoon flew and before he knew it Abe was seated with his friends inside the theater. He waited patiently through the previews and timed his departure so he’d miss the gory parts.
“Hey, you guys want anything?” he asked before heading for the concession.
“You’re going to miss the best part, Abe,” Tim warned. “Why don’t you wait? I don’t need anything right now.”
“I’m going,” Abe said, standing resolutely and heading toward the back of the theater and the refreshment stand. He could almost taste the buttery popcorn and Coca Cola. As he was waiting in line at the concession stand, he saw her. He thought his heart would stop beating.
“Abe, so good to see you!” Ann exclaimed.
“I didn’t know you’d be here,” Abe began. “What a nice surprise!”
“My sister and I thought we’d come,” she replied softly. “Everybody wants to see a movie about Abraham Lincoln, right?”
“Sure,” Abe replied. “Let me look at you. You’re a sight for sore eyes!”
It had only been about six weeks since they had seen each other at Terrace High School’s graduation. They’d had a blast together at the prom and had dated for most of their senior year. But Abe had had second thoughts about their relationship and told her it would be best if they didn’t see each other anymore.
“It’s good to see you too, Abe,” she said, oblivious to the line moving ahead toward the concession.
Abe grabbed her hand. “How have you been?” he asked, looking deeply into her eyes.
She turned away from him almost embarrassed. His eyes seemed to pierce her very soul.
She had not really been that great, at all, since they broke up. She found it hard to understand. He always seemed so happy to be with her. Then he didn’t want to be with her. Now here he was holding her hand. She didn’t know what to think!
She met his gaze. “I’ve missed you, Abe.”
Abe was about to sweep her into his arms when the voice at the counter said, “Next!” Suddenly aware of their environment, Abe mumbled an all-purpose apology to Ann and the concession attendant.
“An extra large buttered popcorn and a large Coke,” Abe said. “Did you want anything Ann?”
“That’s okay, Abe,” Ann said softly. “I’ll get it.”
Abe fumbled for his money as another concession attendant called out, “Can I help someone?” Ann ordered a package of Junior Mints and a package of M&Ms. And we’ll have two Sprites, medium.”
Abe waited as the attendant filled Ann’s order. He already was regretting not hugging her before getting his hands full of popcorn and soda. As they walked together towards the theater, Abe was having a hard time remembering why he’d cooled it. What was he thinking? Ann was gorgeous and sweet.
“Mind if I call you some time?” he asked hesitantly.
“No,” she said almost breathlessly. “See you,” she mouthed as she made her way through the dark aisle toward her seat.
Abe’s eyes followed her silently, enjoying every second before making his way back to his friends.
“Hey, mind if I have some of that popcorn?” Doug said, digging his hand into the tub.
“Of course not,” Abe replied. “That’s why I got the extra large.”
“You missed the good part, Abe,” Tim said, helping himself to the popcorn.
“That’s okay,” Abe grinned. “I ran into Ann.” He winked.
Abe settled in to see the rest of the movie, and especially enjoyed Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. But Abe’s mind was elsewhere. He hadn’t seen Ann since graduation, and she was planning to go out of town for college. It was probably all his fault too. She’d also applied at University of South Florida in town and he’d assumed she was going to go there because he was. But at graduation, she told him she would be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a third of their classmates.
Abe was caught off guard. He didn’t like it. He thought they might never see each other again – or they’d see each other so infrequently that they’d be like strangers. He’d pushed it all out of his mind – until he saw her again.
Abe wondered if this was one of those chance encounters they might have every two years when she was in town. Abe wondered if that is what God wanted, or if he had other plans…
Back home later that night, Abe was having a hard time settling in to sleep. He was wrestling in his mind what to do about Ann. Should he really call her? Why did he even say that? They were really too young for the passion they seemed to share.
He’d already decided he wanted to go to college before entangling himself in a relationship that seemed destined for marriage. He envisioned himself with a wife and child on the way before he could finish his freshman year. That just wouldn’t do!! They’d probably be living in his bedroom at the house with no privacy. And what, just what, would they do when the baby arrived? They’d get no sleep at all with all three of them jammed into his bedroom.
He knew he couldn’t afford to rent an apartment. So if didn’t live at his house, they’d probably end up at Ann’s – that is if they would have them.
He couldn’t blame either of the parents if they opposed the marriage. They were, in fact, too young. Abe agreed with them!
Finally Abe asked God to take care of it. If he was supposed to marry Ann, let him marry Ann. If not, let him go on with his life and enjoy it, thank you Lord. Abe felt a peace envelope him as he drifted off to sleep.
Cheryl Rogers began her writing career in the newspaper business. Since then her writing has evolved to include writing ebooks and writing for websites, businesses, and magazines. She writes both Christian fiction and non-fiction for all ages.
It is her goal to help bring others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, encouraging them to seek God early and stay connected to his word. She does this by sharing her testimony and by writing stories about people and their aha moments when they realize they need God.
Her new Bible Camp Mystery series involves a group of 10- to 16-year-olds who find adventure in the Florida backwoods as they seek God. The first ebook in the series, Lost in the Woods: A Bible Camp Mystery, involves the disappearance of 13-year-old Zack in the middle of the night. Her ebook, Just Like Jonah Wail Tales, features modern Jonahs who learn there is a price to pay when you disobey.
Other ebooks deal with specific themes, like Together Again, a Christian young adult romance teaching no one should be a wedge between God and man. The ebook involving Abraham Lincoln and a teen named Abe also teaches we should cherish love whenever we find it. I Can See Christian Storybook Treasury is a unique storybook collection aimed at defeating doubts about God that arise as children grow. It includes stories for toddlers through teens.
A Miami native, Cheryl currently lives in Tampa, FL, with her husband and family. She publishes New Christian Books Online Magazine, a free online publication publicizing and selling kingdom-building books. In addition to her work as a freelance writer, she works as an editor, book designer and publishing assistant, helping other authors achieve their publishing goals.
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