Last week, we held our collective breath as Will gazed deeply into Sam’s eyes and contemplated delivering the most romantic kiss of all time (ok, maybe not the most romantic kiss ever, but definitely top ten material). Even though every ounce of manhood in his body screamed, “Kiss her! Kiss her NOW!” he didn’t.
Now, our fallen hero stands firmly fixed in the crosshairs of Sam’s anger. She knew he wanted that kiss. And she wanted it too. But, she didn’t get it. Now, she’s done. She’s spent too much time, too much energy, and too much effort chasing after Will. With a wounded heart, she vows that she will never chase after him again. If Will wants something to happen, he’s going to have to come to her.
The Service Project
October 13th, 2008 will forever be remembered as a day of historical and romantic significance. For the events of that day, that fateful autumn day, set off a chain reaction which will echo through the eternities.
That was the day Sam decided she was done with me. That was also the day both of us had signed up to volunteer at a church service project.
I had volunteered for less than philanthropic reasons: Emma was going to be there and I wasn’t going to miss the chance to be with her.
Sam’s motivation was much purer than mine. She was part of the project planning committee. Her jobs were getting people there and kicking off the activity the day of.
In her recruitment efforts, she relied on a two-prong attack. Prong 1 was to appeal to basic human decency. The activity she’d planned was a good one (helping a widow tame her jungle of a back yard) and she really needed everyone to show up if we were going to get the job done. Prong 2 was much simpler: provide food. This age-old tactic consistently comes through when college students are involved.
Sam’s Running Late
Unfortunately for Sam, she got off work late that day. As she raced to the activity (on the same drive where she decided she was done with me), she realized she’d forgotten to get food. In less than two hours, she was responsible for feeding almost 100 college kids, and she had nothing.
Never one to get discouraged, she quickly crafted a plan (not the plan involving me, a different plan). After welcoming everyone to the activity and handing out assignments, she’d run to the local grocery store and grab treats. Before anyone realized she was gone, she’d be back and everyone would be happy.
The Run to the Grocery Store
Sam pulled up to the activity without a moment to lose. She hopped out of her car, delivered an impressive welcome speech, and gave everyone marching orders. As we filed off to our various tasks, Sam headed back to her car.
As she walked, a little voice in the back of her mind whispered, “Ask Will to go with you.” Even though she had just promised herself that she wouldn’t pursue me any longer, she listened to that voice. She walked right up to me and asked, “Hey, Will, do you want to run to the store with me and get treats for later?”
Without really thinking, I said, “Sure” and we were off to the store.
There were two things going against me as we entered that store. First, I didn’t know that Sam was not happy with me. Second, I was in a goofy mood that night. So, as I was busy cracking jokes and generally being stupid, Sam was getting more and more frustrated. And I was slow on the uptake.
It wasn’t until we reached the checkout line that I detected something wasn’t right. Trying to lighten the mood, I asked, “Why do you even keep me around?”
Sam whipped around faster than a gun slinging cowboy and lashed out, “William Carter, I think you need to ask yourself why you keep coming around!”
And she said it loud. Really, really loud. I felt bad for the woman in line in front of us. She was clearly trying to act like nothing had happened but she kept looking back, the way people do when they can’t keep their eyes off a three-car pileup on the freeway. (As a side note, to the woman in front of us that night: sorry if we made things awkward. Also, don’t worry, things eventually did work out.)
After Sam lobbed her grenade my way, I was speechless – not only speechless but confused. See, I knew Sam was mad, and I was pretty sure she was mad at me, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.
Back at the Service Project
I spent the rest of the night following Sam around trying to brighten her mood. I tried making jokes, I tried teasing, and I tried just talking. I tried everything. Of course, none of it worked. Each of my efforts just made Sam more and more frustrated.
Eventually her frustration boiled over (again) and she got snarky. That got me upset (remember, I had no idea why she was mad at me), so I got testy back.
Pretty soon, we were full out sparring, hurling sassy, sarcastic comments back and forth with reckless abandon. At a church outing. In front of nearly 100 people. Let’s just say this was not one of our prouder moments. Things eventually got so bad that our bishop had to ask us to take it down a notch (or twenty).
Home for the Night
When we got back to our respective apartments that night, Sam and I had very different experiences. I thought, “That was weird,” and shrugged off the whole thing. Five minutes after walking in the door, the entire evening was a distant memory and I was plugging away at homework.
Sam, on the other hand, was busy rehashing the night’s events, in great detail, with her roommate. Upon finishing, Sam imposed a deadline: if I didn’t come talk to her by the end of the night, I was done for good. In her mind, she’d made her frustrations clear, I knew where she stood, and if I chose not to act, then too bad for me.
Next Week . . .
Tune in next week to find out if Will meets the deadline he doesn’t even know exists. (Spoiler alert: there might be kissing involved!)
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