Tom smiled. “You two already act like a married couple, so I’m sure you’ll be just fine. Stop by and talk to Betty on the way out. You can check the calendar for this summer, and schedule our next meeting.”
“Thank you, Pastor Tom.” Sophie stood.
Grant followed suit. “Thank you, sir.”
Ten minutes later they headed out of the church. When they passed by the sanctuary, Sophie halted. “Let’s take a peek.”
Grant followed her into the spacious rectangular hall with vaulted ceilings. Morning light streamed in through the long windows lining the walls, illuminating the beige paint and pine wood accents, lending a surprising brightness on a cloudy winter day. The décor was nowhere near as ornate as that of Grant’s church, but the tasteful restraint still showed off the wealth of the Gold Coast, where her father lived.
Though they were alone, they treaded lightly to one of the pews and slid in, facing the altar.
“So this is where we’ll be on June eighteenth,” Grant whispered, looking all around him.
Sophie nodded, whispering back “Have you ever been in a Methodist church before?”
Grant paused. “I don’t think so, but I’ve been in a non-denominational chapel.”
He looked down. “Gurnee.”
“Oh.” Her right hand slid under his left hand, palm up, intertwining their fingers. She couldn’t imagine living in prison for over two years. One year for her had been awful enough.
He glanced around him. “It’s pretty here. Peaceful.”
“Yes. It’s a very spiritual place here, I think. My favorite part of the service is the moment of silence.”
On cue, Grant fell silent. Sophie also drew quiet, noticing her breathing and the soft tick of a clock behind her in the narthex. She felt warmth in her chest—a wellspring of emotion.
When Grant turned to her and found tears gliding down her cheek, his smile vanished. “This is too hard for you. Let’s get married at the courthouse.”
She gave a quick shake of her head as she sniffed. “No, I want to get married here.” She smiled through her tears. “I’m not crying because of grief. I cry all the time here, even before my mother died. It’s like…it’s like I can feel God’s love pouring into my heart when I’m here.” She aimed a sheepish look in his direction. “I…it’s silly.”
“It’s not silly. You feel things deeply—that’s one thing I love about you.”
“Really?” Somehow he always made her feel better about herself. “I remember the first week of my psychology internship at the VA. I had this older supervisor who was really intimidating. She was the director of the program, and she was quite stern. She was asking me questions about my client, and I didn’t know the answers, and I felt really stupid, and I, I started crying. I was so mortified, but she told me it was a good thing I was so emotional because it would help me do my job better. It would help me be a better therapist.” Sophie smiled. “She was my favorite supervisor after that.”
“She’s a smart woman,” Grant said.
Sophie turned to him, and her eyes welled up with tears again. Her voice trembled. “The reason I cried during the silence…I was thanking God for bringing you to me. I’ve been waiting a long time for you to come into my life, McSailor.”
He immediately extended his long arms, scooping her into a warm embrace, cradling her against his chest and rubbing soothing circles on her back. “You’re not the only one grateful to God. I’m so thankful we’re together.”
“And that’s why I’m so scared about this FBI thing,” Sophie added. “I’ve found you, and I don’t want to lose you.”
“I feel the same way.” Grant straightened and looked into her eyes. “Listen, I hear your concerns. I do. I just have to pursue this for now. When you come down that aisle on June eighteenth, I want an honorable man waiting for you—not some Mafiosi.”
“But I already have an honorable man.”
He frowned. “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way. I don’t know if working with the FBI will change things, but I’m hoping it will.”
She took a deep breath, sensing this was one of those unsolvable problems between them that Hunter had mentioned. It didn’t seem right to argue while sitting in the pew. “Okay, I disagree with you on that…but I’ll try to get on board.”