Deleted Scene – Chapter 27 – Her Daughter’s Dream

This scene is a longer version on one that appears in chapter 27 and would begin on p. 250. Dawn and Jason have just met at Christopher’s VBS, and Dawn decides to try the youth group at Jason’s church.

Dawn looked for Jason when she accompanied Christopher’s class back into the warehouse. He stood on the platform, talking and laughing with the two girls while the classes settled into their designated seats. Pastor Mike had the microphone again and encouraged everyone to get settled quickly. He explained how the children’s offerings would buy books for an orphanage in Mexico. Overhead pictures of smiling Mexican children flashed on screen—a run-down facility, a big classroom with children sitting at tables and facing a big blackboard and teacher, rows of cots in a barracklike dormitory, a dirt playing field, more smiling faces. He asked if anyone had a guest. Dawn held Christopher’s hand down. Pastor Mike went on. “Keep giving out those invitations! We have plenty of room for more.”

He tossed the hand microphone to Jason, who had everyone up and singing again. After several songs, Jason gave a short closing prayer and called out, “See you all tomorrow!”

Dawn grabbed Christopher’s hand and headed for Mom standing against the wall with several other women. She came toward them and smiled at Dawn. “I see you survived.”

“It was okay, I guess.” She didn’t want to sound overly enthusiastic and have Mom wonder why. “I said I’d help again tomorrow. One of the guys.”

As soon as they got in the Suburban, Christopher teased Dawn in a singsong voice from the back seat. “Dawn loves Jason Steward.”

Mortified, Dawn swung around and glared at him. “Get real!”

“You got all red in the face when he looked at you. I think he likes you, too.”

“Shut up, Christopher! He likes everybody, even a little dweeb like you.”

Mom glanced at her. “Who’s Jason?”

Dawn shrugged and looked out the window. “Just a guy that goes to Healdsburg High.”

“Jason Steward, Mommy. You know who he is. He leads the praise band.”

“Oh. Him.” Mom grimaced slightly. “He’s rather zealous, isn’t he?”

“He helps in my class.” Christopher bragged. “And he didn’t laugh when I said I wanted to be a rock star.”

Dawn decided now was as good a time as any to broach a new subject. “He invited me to youth group tonight.”

“Invited?” Her mother gave her a quick glance. “As in asking you for a date?”

“No. He just said to come. He thought I might enjoy it.”

“What did you say?”

“I’d have to ask.”

A troubled frown creased her mother’s brow. “What about dinner?”

“Christopher was pleading for pizza earlier.”

Her mother drove, eyes straight forward. “I’d rather you didn’t go.”

Dawn bristled. “Why not?” Christopher could do anything he wanted, but she asked for something and the answer was no?

“You have a church.”

“So does Christopher, but that didn’t stop you from signing him up for VBS at Cornerstone.”

“Because Mitch’s church doesn’t have one.”

“It doesn’t have a youth group either.”

“VBS only last three more days, Dawn.”

“I’m not asking if I can join the church, Mom. I just want to see what youth group is like. I’d like to hang out with kids my own age, Christian kids.”

“Let me think about it.”

Dawn wanted to push it, but her mother asked Christopher how his morning had gone; and Christopher being Christopher jabbered about kids he’d met, how nice Mrs. Preston was, the games he played during breaks. He was still talking when Mom turned off onto the country road toward home. He started in on his cool art project, then let out a loud groaning wail. Slamming on the brakes, Mom swerved to the side of the road. She swung around, face white. “What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”

“I forgot my burning bush!”

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