Nathanael’s composure never left him. Self-possessed, he remained near the wall where he could see down the main corridors of the church and into the narthex. Only weeks earlier Lily had entered this same way and seen Fred Aims, Donald, and attended Tim’s class for the first time.
Lily surveyed the parishioners as before. She found a seat three rows behind Donald and his wife. She pulled her iPhone from her purse, verified it was still on silent, and opened the Bible app. It was still in Ruth. Momentarily Lily’s thoughts turned again to Tim and his class. Naomi’s bitterness in the early parts of Ruth reminded her of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Miss Havisham eventually sought forgiveness for her treatment of Pip. And Naomi’s story ends with her being blessed by her peers, bitterness replaced by benediction.
“Ms. Rood, may we join you?” It was Nathanael with his guest. When Lily raised her eyes, she saw Nathanael smiling politely. Jovial Thomas McDavid stood behind him.
“Of course,” Lily said. “O Thomas, hi. I had no idea Nathanael was waiting for you.”
“I hope I didn’t keep Nathan from you long,” Mr. McDavid said. Looking at Lily, Thomas said, “He has been asking me to come to Beulah nonstop since he assumed his new role.”
Lily watched Nathanael for a response but his equanimity remained fixed. He only smiled and took his seat beside Lily and Thomas McDavid.
(To be continued)