Joellen awoke in the darkened room. At first she was so disoriented she had no idea where she was. She had made so many changes in the past few days that her world was all jumbled and where things always were, they were not, and in their place were new rooms and sights and pieces of furniture and sounds. She reached out for North across the bed but she felt only the sheets, so she sat up, shaking her head a little to clear her thoughts. And then she saw him, standing by the window, peering out at the buildings through the slimmest crack in the curtains.
“North?” she whispered it, but she saw him turn toward her.
“Did I wake you?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she said into the dark. “What are you doing?”
“I’m thinking about what you said. About original sin,” he said. “I’m wondering if I’m committing what I preach against every Sunday. I’m wondering what right I have to preach anything to anyone. You’re married. Not to me. And you have two children. And here you are in my bed. Which is not my bed, but some strange bed in some strange place. We might as well be on another planet. This is not our life. This is some alien life we’re living in secret. Like we’re two other people and not ourselves.”
She started to speak but he interrupted her.
“And by everything that’s holy on this earth, I feel more alive with you than I ever have in my life. I feel so much happening to me. And I think this can’t be wrong. I didn’t go looking for this. God knows me. God knows I’m not a sneak or a coward. God knows I have only wanted to serve Him in every way I could. And now He’s brought you into my life. So He must have a plan. Isn’t that right?” he asked finally. “Can you see any other reason why this has happened to us?”
“Maybe you think the devil brought me to you,” Joellen said softly. “Maybe that’s what’s bothering you.”
He walked to the bed and sat down. He took her hand in his and kissed her fingertips, then laid her hand back down on the sheet and looked over toward the crack in the curtains.
“I’m not worried about the devil,” he spoke quietly. “I’m worried about leaving you tomorrow and going back to my other world and carrying on as if this was not happening in the background. Because this is what’s real. And all the rest now feels like a sham existence.
She pushed back the covers and encircled him with her arms, pulling his head toward her breast. He surrendered to her without hesitation and they made love as dawn’s light filtered through the slim space where the curtains remained parted.