Cory’s stomach growled when he walked in the door smelling the pot of stew simmering on the stove. Monica was sitting on the couch arms crossed staring blankly out the window. It was not unusual she was there, he had given her a key and she had spent the night more frequently in the last month.

“ Hey! “ he said setting his shotgun and pack down in a chair in the living room. The orange Vizsla bounded ahead of him crashing into Monica. She held him back from jumping on her and Cory sensed her annoyance. He wondered if it was directed at the dog or himself. “Hey.”

“Boy is it cold but hey, I got five birds, Sam and Ben both shot four…” as he was talking he could tell she was not interested in the hunting trip. “Are you okay?”

“We need to talk Cory.” Monica replied sharply.

“Okay, what are we talking about?” he asked sitting across from her on a footstool. He had an idea what might be coming.

“Are you going to marry me?” She said sternly.

“Wow! I wasn’t ready for this conversation right now…” he said, knowing very well that this conversation would be on the agenda soon.

Monica didn’t reply with words directing her eyes at Cory. The intensity of her stare made him uncomfortable. He got up putting his shotgun in the gun cabinet and took the dog out to feed and kennel him. On the way back into the house he grabbed an armful of firewood. Monica was still sitting on the couch with her arms and legs crossed staring out the window at the snow coming down heavier.

Cory dumped the arm load of split firewood in the wood box with a loud crash. A wisp of wood smoke escaped into the room when he cracked the door on the wood stove stoking the fire with a large piece of red fir. He turned the damper down on the stove pipe and turned back to Monica. Her eyes avoided his. She had a Kleenex in her hand and was dabbing the corners of her eyes and her nose. She was a tough girl and had been through a lot in her life. It was unusual to see her cry.

Cory went over and sat down next to her on the couch and she looked from the window back to him. Her blue eyes contrasted her black hair and the red in them exposed her heart. He grabbed her hand which was ice cold like usual. Grabbing both of them he put them under his shirt on his bare stomach to warm them up.

“Here’s where I am at Monica, I love you very much and want to share my life with you but I have to be completely honest with you, I don’t want to get married. I was married before and well, marriage just doesn’t work anymore. My ex-wife took $85,000 when we got divorced. I just can risk taking another hit like that again not saying that you would do that of course. I mean, look at all the divorce going on everywhere. It is just about at epidemic proportions. It’s even happening in the church. Did you know that the Davidson’s are getting a divorce?”

She pulled her hands from under his shirt and covered her face with both of them. She really did not care whether the Davidson’s were getting a divorce or not. Her long black hair shook as she began to sob quietly. He moved his arm around her and pulled her to him. She fell against him unresponsive.

“Why don’t you move in here?” he said.

Her hands dropped from her eyes to her lap and she turned to him. “Really? What part of that is right Cory? How would God bless that?” she said through her tears completely disgusted.

“Monica that is the way things are now days. God knows our hearts and our love for each other. His grace is sufficient, He already paid for our sins on the cross. We’re covered. Don’t you believe that Jesus died for your sins Monica?”

“Yes, you know I do.” She said “I just want to be right with Him and want to be married…. to you. What are people going to say at church?”

“Who cares what they say! We don’t have to tell them anyway. It is none of their business.” Cory replied.

“What if you are wrong? What if God doesn’t approve of us living together? You know we are heading into the end times. I do not want to be left behind or go to Hell.”

Cory laughed nervously. “I know, me either, Sam and I talked about end times today when we were hunting. Listen, I believe that God loves us and is pleased with the work we do for Him. I mean look at the work you do for Him, Monica. You are an incredible singer and so beautiful. Everyone at church looks up to you. You touch so many people’s lives sharing God’s love with everyone you meet. His reward to you in heaven will over exceed our life together. If I am wrong and we miss out on the rapture then we always have the seven year tribulation period for a second chance.”

That didn’t sound right to her but when he leaned over kissing her lips firmly and pulled her to him the closeness of his solid body and strong hands on her made her melt in the security of the moment. All she wanted was to be held tight. Cory knew what she liked and knew exactly how to touch her and he always touched her perfectly. Surely God had given this man to her, he was everything she ever desired in a man. He worked hard and his business thrived, he was extremely attractive, he was in excellent shape and when they made love it was… unbelievable. Everything was too perfect not to be right. Maybe Cory was right. After all God does know everything and knows our feelings for each other. God would change him if she prayed hard enough and eventually he would come around and marry her. Right now she just needed to give him what a man wanted, hand it over to God and let God do what God does.

She responded and they made love passionately on the floor in front of the fire. When they were finished she lay naked in Cory’s arms with the warm fire crackling next to them. Robin’s words went through her mind.

“Are you sleeping with him? You know you need to stop. God will not bless your relationship when you are walking in sin. Sin interrupts your communication with Him.”

Monica shuddered and shoved the words further back into her mind and held Cory tighter, so thankful that God had given him to her.