“Well, make sure you remember who to thank for that,” Pastor Kline said, making his way to his car.
“Pastor, I was actually going to call you today,” Sawyer said, jogging up alongside him. “I’m sure if you’ve been following the news about me, you’ve heard I’m engaged.”
“I have. Congratulations, son.”
“Thanks, but I was going to call you, because Piper and I were hoping you would officiate at our wedding.”
“Me? Well, I’d be honored. Why don’t you call me when you have a chance and we can schedule a meeting so I can get to know your fiancée? From there, we can talk about setting a wedding date and get you enrolled in the Prepare and Enrich program we run for couples looking to marry at the church.”
“Oh, we already have a date and we’re planning to get married at my family farm, not the church. Is that a problem?”
Pastor Kline shook his head. “If you want to get married at home, we can definitely make that work. Like I said, you give me a call and we’ll set up that first meeting.”
“Well, sir. There’s just one other thing. We were hoping you would marry us two days from now. We’re heading back out on tour at the end of the week, and we were really hoping to get this all done quickly.”
The pastor’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Two days? Sawyer, that’s awfully soon. I know you’ve been engaged for a bit, but have you done anything to prepare for marriage?”
Sawyer contemplated lying for about half a second. The last thing he wanted was to curse the marriage by deceiving a man of God.
“We haven’t had any formal preparation. We would absolutely be willing to meet with you in the future, but we really want to get married as soon as possible.”
Pastor Kline’s forehead was creased and his mouth was in a straight line. “I’m a huge proponent of having these conversations before the wedding, before you’ve said your vows and made the commitment before God.”
“I’m only getting married once, sir. You know me. You know how seriously I take my commitments. I promise you that Piper and I are on the same page about a lot of things. We’ve spent hours talking about what’s important to us, especially with the baby on the way. The baby is another big reason we’d like to do this sooner rather than later.”
“I heard about the baby, as well.” Pastor Kline set his box of doughnuts on the roof of his car and pulled his keys out of his pocket. “If you promise me that the two of you will come in and do some faith sharing with me in the near future, I will perform the ceremony in two days.”
Sawyer exhaled in relief. “Thank you so much, sir.”
“You must really love this woman,” he said, opening his car door.
Sawyer felt his smile falter. He nodded rather than say anything out loud. “Thank you again. We’ll be in touch.”
One down, one to go. He hurried back to Harriet’s. The bell above the door rang as he entered. Only it wasn’t Harriet standing behind the cash register—it was Gretchen. She had the money drawer open and a stack of bills in her hand.
“Faith does the books here. She makes sure Harriet knows where every nickel and dime goes. You might want to think about that before you do something you regret.”
Gretchen set the bills back in the register with an annoying grin on her face. “I think there’s only one of us at risk of having some major regrets soon.”
“I need to talk to Harriet. Is she upstairs?” Harriet lived in the apartment above the shop.
“I know you’re mad at me, and you have every right to be.” Her expression softened. “I’m not here looking for your forgiveness, because I haven’t earned that. I’m here because I see you and you’re so much like me. You deserve to be young and free. I’d hate to see you make the same mistakes I made.”
Though she’d sounded sincere at first, Sawyer’s anger started in his toes and crawled up the entire length of his body until it felt like flames were shooting out the top of his head. “I’m nothing like you. I’m like my father, a man whose first instinct is to take care of his family and do what’s right for them above everything else. Don’t think for a second that you know me. You gave up that privilege long ago.”