Hey guys! Here's part two! :)
The next few weeks of summer passed much in the same way as the previous weeks, only now Daniel and Shay spent most of their free time together as well. When they weren't teaching or playing with the children at the summer camp, they could be found roaming around town or strolling through the park. Leigh teased Shay, saying Daniel and stolen her best friend.
One Friday afternoon in late July, Shay was hanging around the house after having her wisdom teeth removed that morning.
Her thoughts kept returning to Daniel and the fact that she hadn't seen him in several days. She again reminded herself that he had a job. As much as she would like to be, she wasn't top priority.
She was in her room reading her Bible when she heard a car pull up outside. Assuming it was her older brother, Jeff, she didn't bother to get up and check.
A few minutes later, Mom knocked once on Shay’s door and stuck her head inside. “Are you asleep, Shay?”
Shay shook her head. “No, I'm doing my devotions.”
“You have a visitor. But if you're not feeling up to it, I can tell them to come back another time.”
“I'm fine, Mom,” Shay insisted, setting her Bible and journal aside and swinging her feet off the side of the bed. “I had wisdom teeth pulled, not brain surgery.”
Mrs. Williams frowned. “That's not funny, dear.”
Shay smiled. “Sorry, I didn't mean anything by it. Who's my visitor?”
The smile that Mom returned appeared to be forced. “It's Daniel Rogers.”
Shay grinned and bounded across the room. “Thanks, Mom!” She gave her a quick hug and hurried down the hall.
“Shay, slow down,” Mom reprimanded. “You don't want to appear so anxious.”
Shay stopped at the top of the stairs and turned to face her. “But I am anxious. Why should I hide it?”
Instead of answering, her mother sighed and responded with a question of her own. “Are you sure this relationship you two are forming is such a good idea, dear?”
Shay frowned. “Why wouldn't it be? Daniel is a great Christian guy, definitely a gentleman, and I believe he cares for me very much.”
“I'm just looking out for your best interests, honey. A man with a disability such as Daniel’s could place an awful burden on you.”
Shay leaned against the handrail, trying to process her mother’s words. Surely she'd heard her wrong. “How can you say such a thing, Mom? Daniel is not disabled.” Without waiting for a response, Shay went on. “What about Uncle Tom and Aunt Dasha? He's deaf and they have a great marriage.”
“We’ll tall about this later.” Mom replied, signaling a drop of the subject. “Invite Daniel to have desert with us.”
Daniel looked up when Shay entered the living room. Although Mr. Williams knew some basic sign language, the near one-sided conversation was awkward.
He grinned and stood to greet her. “How's the mouth?”
“Better,” she smiled up at him so sweetly. “Talking is sort of strange with the gauze, but I'm getting used to it.”
“That's good,” he nodded.
“Mom invited you for apple pie and ice cream.”
“Sounds great.” He forced a happy expression – after all he had put himself in this situation – but any amount of time spent around Shay's family made him feel uncomfortable. Sure, they couldn't communicate, but Shay was a great translator. That wasn't such a problem. He had often got the feeling that her parents and brother weren't too pleased with her choice of a beau. And that made what he'd came to say all the more difficult.
Shay must've sensed his discomfort over not being able to talk with her family, because she grabbed two bowls of pie and ice cream from the kitchen and led him out to the front porch.
They sat in the porch swing and Shay handed him a bowl. “It's delicious.”
“Did you make it?”
She feigned an angry expression. “You know better than that.”
He just grinned and they resumed eating their pie and ice cream, chatting over everyday things.
After they'd set their dishes aside on a small deck table, Daniel decided it was time to bring up the real reason he'd came calling this evening.
“There's something I need to tell you.”
Concern filled her eyes. “What is it? Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing like that. I just… These last two months…” He reached over and took her hand in his. “I've fallen in love with you, Shay.”
She didn't speak for several minutes following his announcment and a sweet smile lit her face. “I…I love you too, Daniel.”
He didn't know whether to laugh or sigh in relief. Instead, he tried to imagine what the silly grin he was wearing must look like. “That's good to know.”
Shay just nodded, her green-eyed gaze focused on him.
Daniel swallowed hard and debated over whether or not he should do as he so badly wanted to. He squeezed Shay’s hand and carefully searched her eyes.
Slowly, almost expecting her to protest, Daniel leaned forward and placed a tender kiss in her hair. As he pulled away, he was startled to find tears shimmering in the corners of her eyes. “Was that wrong of me?” He quickly signed.
Shay shook her head. “No, Daniel, that was not wrong. It was…” She seemed to be having trouble finding the right words – so unlike her. “It was perfect. You make me feel so special and loved.”
He smiled at the vulnerable look in her eyes. “You are both. Special and loved.”
Shay just smiled.
“I need to get home.” He reluctantly stood to go and she stood with him. “I just had to come over here and see how you're doing.”
“Okay.” She squeezed his hand and walked with him down the length of the porch.
“I don’t know if I'll see you tomorrow, but if not I'll see you Sunday.”
“I'll save you a seat in class,” she grinned.
“Deal.” He threw her a wink and hurried towards his car.
“Bye, Daniel!” He returned her wave as he pulled out of her driveway, his heart joyful and full of hope.
Shay watched from the porch until Daniel's car disappeared from view. She turned and started back inside, feeling as if she may burst with happiness.
As she entered the living room where her family was relaxing, Jeff looked up from where he sat, his laptop on the desk in front of him. “Just how serious is this guy?”
Shay was bothered by the tone of his voice. “What are you talking about?”
He rolled his eyes. “Come on, sis. Don't play innocent. I saw the way he looks at you.”
“What would you say if I told you he's very serious?” Shay asked, taking a seat on the couch and glancing across the room to her parents. They sat on the other couch, opposite from her, silently watching the exchange between their children.
“I would say you should break things off with him right away.”
“What?” Shay exclaimed. “What do you have against him?”
“I'd like to know the answer to that too, son,” Dad broke in.
Jeff shrugged. “I'm just looking out for you, Shay. I don't think it's a good idea for you to get emotional involved with this guy. You don't want to lead him on and break his heart. Anyone can see that the guy isn't right, if you know what I mean?” Jeff tapped a finger to his temple.
“That’s not true!” Shay jumped to her feet. She knew she was nearly shouting, but she didn't care. How could he say such a thing about Daniel? “You don't even know what you're talking about, Jeff! A tragic accident robbed him of his ability to verbally communicate.”
Jeff returned his attention to the computer screen, not responding to his sister’s outburst.
“Shay dear,” Mom started. “Have you ever given thought to the fact that life with a man who can't speak would be difficult?”
“So you don't like him either?” Shay knew she shouldn't speak to her mother with such disrespect, but her family’s words angered her.
Dad cleared his throat. “Honey, it's not that we don't like Daniel. He's a great guy. But your mother and brother are trying to look out for you.”
“Look out for me? How is that looking out for me?” When neither her parents or Jeff spoke, Shay continued. “Do you know what he told me as he was leaving?”
Still, no one answered. Shay was just waiting for Jeff to spout off something hurtful like, ‘he didn't tell you anything’.
Finally, Dad spoke. “What did he tell you, honey?”
Before answering, Shay slowly looked around the room, studying each of her family members. With the sudden feeling that they would not joyfully accept her good news, tears filled her eyes. “Never mind. You don't really care to know.” She whirled and raced from the room.
“Wait a minute, honey,” Mom called after her. “Shay!”
She wouldn't listen. She took the stairs two at a time, and fled down the hall and into her room, shutting the door behind her.
Shay felt like a silly, young girl as she flopped across the bed, tears steaming from her eyes. The happiness she had felt after her visit from Daniel this evening was quickly deflating, and she didn't like it one bit. She considered texting her friend. Leigh would understand and be happy for her and Daniel.
A cheerful ringtone interrupted her pity-party. Probably Jeff from the living room. She groaned and reached for her phone, lying in the windowsill.
It was Daniel. She grinned and propped on her elbow to read the rather lengthy text.
Daniel: Hey beautiful :) This txt is to tell you all the things I wanted to say right before I left your house. Texting is slightly more romantic than sign language, in my opinion. ;) The way I feel when I'm with you is something I've never felt before...I can't explain it other than to say it's wonderful. I want to feel like this forever. You're an amazing, beautiful girl, Shay. I value our relationship more than I could ever express. Thank you for not minding that I'm different. I love you! Goodnight, my Shay-girl! :) xoxo
By the time she'd reached the end she was crying – no, sobbing. She slowly let the phone drop to the bed. Daniel loved her. Daniel thought she was beautiful. His sweet text couldn't have come at a more perfect time.
Shay lay back across the bed and stared up at the ceiling, searching for some answers.
“God, I know you love Daniel. And I know he loves you. I…well, I've fallen in love with him. That should be good, right? Something to be happy and joyful about. So why does it seem like everyone I thought cared for me is against my relationship with Daniel? They say they love me, yet they don't treat him right. They expect me to live up to their standards. But Daniel… He truly loves me for who I am.”
Uncertain and still upset, Shay was picking up the phone to re-read the message when a knock sounded on her door.
“May I come in?” It was Dad.
“Sure.” She sat up and wiped her eyes.
He opened the door, walked over, and sat on the bed next to her, draping his arm around her shoulders. “Are you okay, sweetie?”
“Not really,” she sniffed.
“Jeff shouldn't have said that.” Dad reached over to the box on the nightstand and handed her a tissue. “I just came to tell you that I approve of Daniel.”
Shay straightened up with a start. “What?”
“Your mother and brother are looking at this from the wrong angle.” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Daniel is God’s child, same as you and me. He's a good man and I know he'll treat my little girl right. That's all that really matters.”
Shay smiled and gave him a hug. “I'm so glad, Daddy… Because tonight he told me he loves me.”
Daniel was walking Shay home one evening after she'd spent the day helping out at the summer camp. As they strolled through town, quickly covering the too short distance to her house, Daniel thanked God for the girl beside him. He pulled her down a back alley, prolonging having to saw goodbye until tomorrow. She grinned and didn't object.
About halfway down the dark alleyway, her voice cut into his silent musings. “Oh, great.”
“What is it?”
Shay stopped walking and motioned up ahead to where four guys, all around their age, were talking and cutting up there on the street corner. “The tall one is Stewart Marshall. He wanted me to go out with him in high school. I turned him down, and he’s held a grudge ever since.”
“So he won't be pleased to see you with me?”
“Right.” She bit her lip in indecision.
“You're with me,” Daniel assured her.
She smiled and walked with him down the alley. Daniel was hoping to avoid a confrontation if that was possible, but it proved not to be.
They were only a couple yards from the gang of guys when the one Shay had pointed out spoke.
She sighed and stopped walking. “Hello, Stewart.”
Stewart glared at Daniel, inspecting him from head to toe. “Who are you?” Before anyone could speak, he continued his cruel jeer. “Aren't you gonna speak to me?”
Daniel’s fists clenched and he looked over at Shay, wondering how she would answer the guy.
She stepped closer to Daniel and took his arm. “This is Daniel Rogers. Due to an accident as a teenager he can't verbally communicate.”
“How sad,” one of the other young men spoke up. The others hopped at the chance to taunt someone. They all faked somber expressions.
Stewart ignored his friends and took a step towards her. “So, Shay, how about going out with me Friday night?”
“Sorry, but I have plans.” She nodded towards Daniel.
“Wouldn't you like to go out with a guy who's a real man?” A second man ridiculed.
“Slack off,” Stewart growled across his shoulder. He turned a menacing grin towards Shay. “It's up to her. If Shay here would rather spend the rest of her life with this stupid mute, that's her choice.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Daniel saw Shay cast a dangerous scowl towards the gang before turning to him.
“Come on, Daniel. Let's get away from these idiots.” She reached for his hand, but Daniel jerked away. He shook his head and tore off in the opposite direction. Maybe Stewart and the others were right about him.
Remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned a music video that I didn't give y'all a link to because it included a certain something for a certain something that would be coming later? (Click here if you don't remember the post to which I'm referring.) Well now you're gonna get to hear all about it. ;) (You're on the edge of your seat in anticipation, right? Nope? That's what I thought...)
Anyhow, here's the video. :) It's a version of Grace Wins by Matthew West, with...sign language!! I thought it was really cool to watch her sign the lyrics. :) If you'd like to check it out for yourself, here's the video. :)
What do ya think? Had you heard the song before? Do you know any sign language? The remaining part of this story will be up tomorrow!! :D
Sisters in Christ,