“I’m not sure about this Devon. About being here.” Madeleine spoke in hush tones leaned in close to Devon’s ear. They warmed a couch at the edge of the room of Emmanuel’s parents basement. Emmanuel got the Agape youth group together for the monthly game night. Devon managed to convince Madeleine to join him and Samantha there, but he wasn’t as successful with getting her to take part in any of the activities that was happening in the center of the room. Devon turned toward Madeleine only slightly. His eyes remained fixed on the intrigue encircling the friendly card game across the room. “Why not Mads? Don’t you like to have fun?” He whispered near her ear jokingly.
Madeleine’s eyes shot back and forth nervously “I do…I do like to have fun but…but this isn’t my…” Madeleine’s words were broken in to by the shadow of a medium built, tall Emmanuel, trimmed with perfectly groomed facial hair. “Madeleine, right?” Madeleine’s head rose slowly, her apprehensive eyes cast on Emmanuel’s olive face. “Um…me? Ahem…Yes…ah yes I’m Madeleine.” Emmanuel’s smile was close to igniting the basement. His left hand quickly rose to motion a wave. “Hey Madeleine. I’m Emmanuel. Finally a proper introduction.” He chuckled and shot Devon a playful look but Devon was not so playful in that moment. “So, there’s a game of Pictionary that’s about to get started and it has your name all over it Madeleine.” His grin was infectious and Madeleine was affected. Her lips slowly curled upward. “Pictionary? Me?” Her mouth grew a full smile now.
Devon looked on, guarded. His eyes closely mapped the evolution of the dialogue taking place next to him. A splash of agitation filled his eyes. “Mads you know…you know you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” If ever there was the award for the best poker face of the year, Devon would be nominated for trying terribly hard to wear one just then. Emmanuel on the other hand remained a beacon of joy. It shouldn’t be possible but it appeared that his grin became even larger. “He’s right Madeleine. It’s up to you. But I have a strange feeling this is your game.” Madeleine was blinded by Emmanuel’s smile and she couldn’t help but form a larger one herself. She took a break from absorbing Emmanuel’s light to look at Devon. She couldn’t find any true identifiable expression there so she took a few more moments to read his face more closely. Soon she gave up, drew a deep breath then returned her attention to Emmanuel. Is this guy always this happy? Always this…this…I guess, nice? She chuckled softly and glanced at Devon again. Well Devon wants me to have fun, so what the heck!
“I’m in.” Madeleine locked eyes with Emmanuel. He reached for her hand “Partners then, Madeleine?” She allowed him to take it and stood. “Alright.” Madeleine walked away leaving Devon on his feet, dumbfounded. His wide eyes bounced from Madeleine’s hand in Emmanuel’s to them meeting up with the rest of the Pictionary players, and Emmanuel making the introductions. Suddenly Samantha appeared next to Devon. She slapped him on the shoulder. “See? I told you Devon. This is what she needed.” Devon’s head slowly swiveled toward Samantha. He gazed at her speechless, for a long thirty seconds – or so – before responding. “Um…ah…I guess…I guess so?” His voice trailed off into a whisper before Devon turned again to fix his stare on Madeleine and Emmanuel. Okay Lord. We need to talk.