“I’m going to strangle her,” Carissa swore as she stomped angrily
along the concrete walkway leading to her four-bedroom Cape Cod. The red
porch light was on, slightly brightening the shadows. Behind her, the
sound of George’s car engine stopped. She hurried the rest of the way,
almost sprinting up the five steps to her porch, key in hand, and yanked
open the winterized screen door with its glass panel temporarily
replacing the mesh.
Her heart was beating like a kettle drum in her chest, and her hands
were shaking as she fitted the key into the lock. She was struggling to
catch her breath and her trembling hands were making it difficult, but
she managed to quickly unlock the inside door and open it. Stepping
inside, Carissa turned and pulled the glass door shut and locked it just
as George was loping up the steps to the porch. She stepped back into
her house and slammed the wooden door before turning and collapsing
against it, her chest heaving.
Okay, okay, calm down. You’re safe now, she told herself. What had she
been thinking to get into a car with a guy with whom she hadn’t even
felt at ease? Her body temperature fluctuated between hot and cold. But
for the grace of God, she could have easily become another sad
“Hey, Kerry! Open the door!” George Nixon rapped sharply on the
glass. “What is all this?”
Don’t answer. Don’t say a word, she warned herself silently. He’ll
just go away.
She held her breath and closed her eyes tightly, wishing him away with
everything that was within her.
The glass rattled from another series of knocks. Okay, now it was time
to call the cops, and then she was going to kill Andi and dump the body
where even the worms couldn’t find it.
She reached into her purse and took out her cell phone as terror gave
way to anger.
Why was she cowering inside her own house while that piss ant banged at
Her anger gave her the courage she needed, and she stood upright and
turned to face the door. Carissa reached out and yanked the door open.
“George, leave,” she said in a clear, commanding voice. “Get the
heck off my porch and off my property, or I’m going to call the
“What the heck? Why would you do a thing like that, Kerry? I don’t
understand what’s going on? Why are you acting like this?”
The red, porch light did not compliment George at all, but rather made
him seem almost as menacing as he’d been a few minutes ago when
she’d had to fight him off in the front seat of his car. Carissa’s
fear wrestled with her anger as she realized that there was only one
flimsy glass door between her and the man who was now scowling at her
“My name is Carissa! Carissa, George, not Kerry!” she bit out,
hoping that he did not detect the shaking in her voice underneath the
“I want you to leave right now. You tried to force sex on me after I
told you that I was waiting until I got married to do that! I should
have squeezed you where it hurts when you forced my hand over your
crotch and then tried to push your big ham fist up under my dress. You
can’t claim that I was leading you on in any way. The cops are going
to believe me, so get the hell away from here and forget my address. I
don’t ever want to see you again.”
Carissa put her hands on her hips and looked at him with a hard glare.
He looked back at her disbelievingly in the dim light. “Are you for
real?” he demanded scornfully.
“Which red-blooded man do you think is going to sit back and let you
make a fool of him by not serving it up whenever he wants it? No man is
going to stay put if you don’t put out, honey. It’s just the way it
George gave a cynical smile which caused her blood to begin to boil.
“Get lost, jerk!” she spat as she brought her hands up and began
punching in 911 on her phone.
How in heaven’s name did Andrea think that she and this raptor would
suit? She was going to kill Andi for sure!
“All right, all right. Take it easy there,” George implored as he
saw that she meant business. “It’s not like anything really
“Something did happen, George,” she said, poising her right index
finger over the button to put the call through. “My "no" was
meaningless to you! I swear I’m going to push this button if you
don’t leave in exactly ten seconds! Ten . . . nine . . .”
George shifted nervously as Carissa began the countdown.
“All I’m trying to tell you, honey, is that you have to wake up to
reality. What the hell are you holding on to it for? Keep holding out,
and by the time you get a man, it will be all dried up and useless,”
George said, furling his lips in scorn. She glared at him and continued.
“Five . . . four . . .”
“Oh, forget you,” George suddenly muttered as she was nearing the
end of the countdown. “Do you know how many women would kill to go out
with me? I am a successful businessman. Oh, forget you, you puritanical
He spun on his heels and stalked away, across the porch, down the steps,
and along the dim walkway without a backward glance. Carissa watched his
hurried departure with relief and filed the latest in a series of bad
dates arranged by none other than her best friend Andrea Linton, in her
“Live and Learn” mental folder with a shudder. She stepped back and
closed her door.
No more, she vowed. Not another date arranged by Andi. She surely was
going to kill Andi.
With that rather vengefully delicious thought in mind, she canceled the
911 call and dialed Andi’s number instead.
“Hey, girlfriend, how did it go?” Andi’s sing-song voice came
through loud and clear.
“You’re dead meat,” Carissa replied angrily. “How did it go? How
did it go? Shall I tell you how it went? That jerk refused to take no
for an answer, right after I told him I was waiting to have sex until
after I was married! If it wasn’t for his big belly getting in the way
of the steering wheel, he would have raped me right there in the front
seat of his car in front of my own house!”
“Oh no!” Andi exclaimed in consternation. “Are you all right?”
“I’m okay now,” she replied forcing herself to calm down. “I
managed to fight him off and run into my house. Can you believe that
idiot thought I was going to let him in?”
“Okay, okay. Calm down, sweetie. I’m so sorry. He seemed like such a
nice guy too. Chase said that he was an okay guy; otherwise, I
wouldn’t have encouraged you to accept his offer of a ride home.”
She wasn’t going to get into how Andi had tricked her into meeting
this guy in the first place. She thought that she and Andi were going
out for a quick drink. Andi had picked her up from home and driven them
both to Buffalo Wild Wings for a quick girls’ night. How convenient
that Chase just happened to show up, and also just happened to have a
friend with him!
Carissa had leveled a gimlet stare on Andi, and the other girl had
blushed but offered no apology.
“You know if I told you, you wouldn’t have come,” she said
defensively after Carissa had dragged her to the ladies room. “I think
this guy is great for you. I know he’s a little bit on the heavy side,
but he’s handsome, successful, and he wants to settle down. He also
likes you a lot. I can tell. Come on; don’t tell me you don’t find
him just a teeny bit attractive.”
Carissa tightened her lips in frustration at the memory. Andi just
didn’t get it. None of the men she’d tried pairing Carissa with had
been suitable. What made her think that this one would be any different?
She’d been on her guard, but Andi had still been able to manipulate
her into accepting a ride home from George Nixon.
“Listen to me, Andi,” she ground out. “We’ve been friends for a
long time, but there are certain things that can threaten the bonds of
friendship. I don’t ever want to go through another evening like this
one. You’ve managed to shake my trust in you, and it’s going to take
a while to fix that.”
“I’m really sorry,” Andi said repentantly. “I really was trying
“I know, Andi. But believe me when I say that I am fine with God’s
timing. I’m sick of dating all these prospects who turn out to be
duds. I am ready to take a long break from all this dating business. I
hope that you will respect that.”
Carissa sighed with relief as Andi promised to cease trying to manage
and manipulate her dating life. Thankfully, they ended the conversation
on a happy note.
Later, as she slipped into her pink, plush, Sherpa robe and slipped her
feet into a pair of matching house slippers, Carissa sighed almost
despondently. Why was it so difficult for her to find someone with whom
to share her life? Was she being so unreasonable? Was it so wrong for
her to want to have her very own fairy tale where the prince she’d
been waiting for all her life would show up and, voila!?
“Oh, damn it! He’s out there somewhere. He has to be!” she told
her reflection in the bathroom mirror. She pulled back her soft,
chestnut hair and secured it from her face with a scrunchie before
slathering cream on her face to remove her makeup.
After washing her face with a cleansing rinse, she gazed critically at
her features: wide-spaced, almond-shaped, violet eyes, a pert nose with
a slightly turned up tip; a wide forehead and a delicately pointed chin
which gave her face an almost heart-shaped appearance. Her cheekbones
were high, and her mouth was small with an enticingly full bottom lip.
Her facial features were never an issue. She knew that she was a
beautiful woman, and she was confident in that beauty, yet not vain.
She took care of her body and had the right proportion of curves in all
the right places. Her shape hinted at an hourglass without being too
exaggerated. Her style of dress was modest and professional, perfectly
matching her personal philosophy.
Everything about her presented a beautiful package that most men she met
found pleasing. The problem, she discovered, was in the way she thought
about and approached life. She wanted to marry and raise a family, and
she wanted to wait until after marriage to consummate the act of
marriage. That was a philosophy that was at odds with her society.
Still, she felt this was right for her.
She was twenty-five years old and was still very much a virgin –
pretty much an anomaly in this day and age. This made her a challenge to
the guys once they discovered that she had barely kissed much less made
love with a man. It wasn’t long before each guy would think that he
would be the one to storm her citadel. How inconvenient that she kept
holding out for marriage first?
Carissa grinned humorlessly. She’d discovered a lot of toads and to
her credit had refused to even kiss any of them other than the
occasional perfunctory peck on the cheek. Her hugs with the opposite sex
were usually the sideways variety, and she always made sure that she
gave good, strong, handshakes. All in all, they sent a message – a
warning to those who would try to take liberties with her person that
she wasn’t interested.
“You’re too cold,” her honey-blonde, turquoise-eyed best friend
had told her time and again. “The way you are doing it, that is no way
to find a husband. Believe me!”
“And what do you suggest, Andi? How am I supposed to be?” she’d
asked Andi once, smiling sardonically at the irony that Andi wasn’t
doing any better finding a husband. She knew Andi would be quick to deny
that she even wanted a husband and always delighted in boasting that she
could have any man she wanted whenever she wanted. Still, Carissa
wondered if Andi thought one could use the same methods to find a
husband as one did to incite lust in any man.
“Stop covering up your beauty, and relax a little. I understand all
about you wanting to wait until the honeymoon to give up your virginity,
but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun until that time comes. Guys
won’t want to wait if you don’t give them a little sample every now
and then. There are things you can do with your hands – and your mouth
and still keep your virginity for your wedding night.”
She had rolled her eyes at Andi’s words, having not the least bit
desire to indulge in such a cavalier attitude towards sex. Somewhere
there must be a man who felt the same as her about sex; a man who would
cherish and appreciate her most precious gift. She knew he existed for
she had been waiting for him all her life. Sometimes in her dreams, she
could almost see him, but his face was always hidden.
A heavy sigh escaped her lips and drew her attention back to the
reflection of the glowing, pink face in the mirror. The wait would have
She headed to her lonely bed, knelt down and said a prayer before
slipping in between the cool, fresh, cotton sheets.
God’s willing tomorrow may just turn out to be the day.
Excerpted from "How They Met" by Charlene Mathis. Copyright © 2017 by Charlene Mathis. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.