Bait: Chapter 1 – Last Stop, Gethsemane – excerpt 2

cover of Bait - a novel - showing "bait" spelled with a Christian fish and a fishhook

Excerpt from Bait – a Novel

Chapter 1 – Last Stop, Gethsemane (continued)

Tickets to the Passion Play were well nigh impossible to come by on short notice, but wonder of wonders, Danny found a ticket to the performance, put reluctantly on sale by someone kept home by family illness. Their loss, his gain. It was nothing short of a miracle. Maybe even a sign. He’d taken a week off work and found a direct flight to Munich. With a small bag packed and his Bible in hand, my brother had started on his 7-day pilgrimage to Oberammergau. First stop, the Black Forest. Last stop, Gethsemane.

Now he was back, sitting in my studio, looking tired and happy and full of grace. “How was the show?” I asked flippantly, a little irritated that I was keeping Lill waiting, a little worried that his revival might have worked as planned. I’d half-hoped, over the past year or so, that he’d abandon his faith and just turn into a regular guy ― a guy who wouldn’t witness to me, who wouldn’t nag me about my “choice of lifestyle,” who could simply live and let live. “Was it any good?”

Any good . . .” Danny shook his head at my tone. “Don’t be sacrilegious. The Passion Play was amazing. I can’t even really talk about it ― not yet. It was so powerful.” His voice caught in his throat and he struggled to compose himself. His hands were trembling.

So, everyone survived the performance?” I teased.

I’m serious. Don’t joke about things like that.”

It’s a show, Danny,” I reminded him, punching my pillows and fluffing them. “It’s not like you don’t know how it turns out . . .” I laughed, but he did not.

My brother stared at the floor and wiped his tearing eyes with the back of his hand.

God, you’re so sensitive,” I prodded.

“If you’re just going to make fun . . .” He started to rise.

Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” I apologized quickly. “But if you can’t tell me about your trip, why did you come by?”

He was silent for a moment, in a way I’d heard before.

You met someone,” I answered my own question. “What’s her name?”

Danny wasn’t quiet anymore. He sat up eagerly, tipping the seat forward on its two front feet. “Her name is Jennifer ― Jenn with two n’s, for short ― and she’s from Philadelphia. I mean, she lives in Philly, but her parents and the rest of her family live down in Virginia outside of Roanoke. She’s just starting her last year of law school at Penn, and she’s amazing. She’s beautiful, brilliant, she graduated magna cum laude from UVA, and she’s as committed to her faith as I am to mine. She actually went to Oberammergau for the same reasons I did ― to revive her faith. Oh, Jax―” he stopped to catch his breath, “praise God, there is still hope for me.”

To be continued…

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