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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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Submitted by Steven ODell on 5 July 2007 - 11:29pm.

Chapter 3

The restaurant was a quiet, intimate little place and unpresumptuous, but charming. Jenna could not recall ever seeing the place before and would have sworn there was no such place, if asked in casual conversation. Yet, here it was.

"This restaurant is wonderful. I thought I had seen most every place in town. How did you find it?"

"Yes, it is wonderful. I'm glad you like it. I found it one evening when I was walking the streets and feeling sorry for myself. Since that day, I've come back every now and then."

"Sounds ominous. You come here to feel sorry for yourself?" Jenna asked half-jokingly.

"No, nothing of the sort," he laughed. "There were a few couples here that first night and I watched them from the safety of my own little corner. They looked so happy and they gazed so deeply into one another’s' eyes that I vowed I would one day come here and bring with me someone I might feel that way about."

Jenna tensed and before she could stop him, Tom had taken her hand in both of his and held her firmly, forcing her to look into his eyes. "Jenna, listen to your heart. I know this is sudden for you, but I want you to know how much I care for you. You don't want to be afraid, do you?"

Her head was swimming. "This is all happening far too quickly, Tom. I need time to think." She tried to pull her hand back, but he was firm.

"Time to talk yourself out of the only true and complete happiness you ever wanted in your life?"

She pulled her hand again and this time she was free. "This is insane. I don't even know you and you don't know me." She was standing up and preparing to retreat when he answered.

"Yes, you do know me and I know you, Jenna! Examine your heart—your feelings. Do you really want the plain vanilla boring life you've led until now?"

Her head was shaking in confusion and all she could say was, "I have to go now." In seconds she was out the door and gone.

On the street Jenna walked in silence, quickly and staring at the sidewalk. With no idea of where she was going, she suddenly froze with fear at the sound of a bus horn, seemingly inches from her. A hand swiftly and firmly grabbed her, pulling her from the crosswalk and back onto the curb. It was Tom. Jenna was shaking like a leaf and made no attempt to resist as he took her into his arms and held her close. Uttering not a word, it was several minutes before she stopped trembling and he said simply, "Let me take you home." She nodded wordlessly and they turned to go to his car. He said nothing to her as they rode the few miles in utter silence.

At her home, Jenna again reflected confusion as the door was opened and she needed to step in. Sensing her dilemma, Tom answered her unspoken concern. "I have to go now. You get some rest. You do have a lot to think about."

His hand brushed her hair back affectionately and his soft smile was strangely soothing to her. Nodding assent, Jenna entered the house and quietly closed the door, leaning her head against it and listening to Tom's fading footsteps in the hallway. I'm so tired, she thought. Turning toward the table across the room, she again caught sight of the antique wooden box and the scroll of parchment. The thought of chasing after him to return it was overwhelming at the moment and Jenna simply unfastened her buttons and walked to her bedroom. Tomorrow is another day.

But Jenna got very little sleep that night. She had just had her first date with Tom and still did not know his last name. Add to that the fact that he had given her a very precious, but very confusing gift. And to top off this whole mix was the fact that he had quite likely saved her life tonight. Emotions ran high and Jenna had disturbing dreams, when she did manage to sleep. Please, let morning come, she thought. How had her life become so complicated in so brief a time?

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