By Faith: The Prequel

by Tikeetha Thomas

This is the prequel to "By Faith." If you haven't read the first story, you can read it here.

– One Year Earlier –

“Teddy, I’m getting tired of your bullshit! I want a commitment now, or I’m done,” Chantel said.

“Then we’re done, Chantel! I told you that I didn’t want a relationship. You knew this when I met you, so why are you tripping?”

“Because I’ve fallen in love with you, Teddy. I want more. I love spending time with you, and I really think we would be great together. But I need you to stop sleeping with every Jane, Nancy, and Beyoncé around town,” yelled Chantel.

“Chantel, that’s not going to happen, I don’t want a relationship right now. Stop making a big deal and just let it go!”

“Teddy, I want you to commit to me. I’m not asking to be your wife, just your girl in a monogamous relationship. Either you step up to make it official and cut those other women, or I’m leaving. It’s been two years, baby. I need to know that you want me and love me like I do you. I do everything like a girlfriend would. I cook for you, drop off your dry cleaning, give you back rubs, and make love to you like I’m a professional porn star. I even did that one thing that you said you wanted for your birthday. I want us to be together, because I need to know that you love me like I love you, Teddy.”

“I have love for you, Chantel, but I’m not going to let you pressure me into committing for the sake of committing. You know I’m not ready to be in a relationship right now. Besides, you broke one of my cardinal rules: Don’t look through my personal stuff. I know that you were snooping around on my iPad and saw those pictures my friend Alicia sent. To make matters worse, Chantel, you actually emailed her that hateful message claiming you were my woman and she was breaking up our happy home. I can’t believe you would stoop so low. You really surprised me with that one. How can you be jealous of someone when we’re not even in a relationship?”

“So, you love Alicia? You want to be with her, huh? Is that what you’re telling me, Teddy? I gave you two years of my life and you’re going to just walk out on me? Well, fine! I’m done. Get your stuff and get out of my house now!”

“Fine, Chantel! Don’t call me when you get your mind right!”

* * *

I never expected her to violate me like this. Chantel knew what the deal was when we met, and I can’t understand how she could get so wrapped up into something so quickly. I hate when women do this to me. I tell them all the time that I’m not ready for another relationship. Plus, they get attentive sex twisted with lovemaking. Women!

Sitting in my office at work, I look up at the clock and realize that it’s after two in the afternoon, and I am starving! Dang, that fight with Chantel this morning has me all messed up. I need to grab lunch quick and finish up this contract by 5.

I walk a couple of blocks to a great Cuban restaurant near my job in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. I love the food here and the service is quick. It’s a nice spring day out and it gives me a chance to watch the women enjoy the warmer weather in shorter skirts and higher heels. Since Chantel and Alicia have been cut from rotation, I need to find some replacements quick.

I grab my lunch to go and decide to eat it at the park across from my job. 

As an introvert, I spend a lot of time watching people, especially women. And I can tell you a lot about women – they all want the same thing: a good man who is gainfully employed, loves Jesus, attends church regularly, and is involved in his community. That’s me and then some. I attend church every Sunday and read my Bible daily, but I’m the first person to admit that I’m not perfect. I have a great job and a college education. I’m fluent in French, active in my fraternity, and I coach basketball for eight-year-olds. 

I am a hot commodity, is what I am telling myself when I hear someone say to me “Excuse me? Is anyone sitting here?”

I look up into the most beautiful eyes that I’ve ever seen? “Huh?” I ask.

“Is anyone sitting here?” she inquires.

“No, please have a seat,” I say.

“Thank you,” she says and sits on the bench next to me.

I sit staring at her. She’s cute with the biggest brown eyes I’ve ever seen and pouty lips that are wrapping themselves around a banana and giving me all kinds of wicked thoughts. I smile.

“Nice day for lunch in the park, huh?” I ask.

“She looks over at me and smiles. Yeah, it’s been a rough winter, and this warm weather is definitely helping me get my Vitamin D.”

“Me too. My name is Theodore, but everyone calls me Teddy,” I say.

“I’m Faith and everyone calls me Faith,” she replies.

“Faith is a beautiful name. Your parents must have had a good reason to name you Faith. Is there a back story?” I muse.

“My daddy was a drunk who beat my mom the entire time she was pregnant with me. And, as she tells it, she prayed endlessly for God to protect and save me, and for Him to strike my father dead. My daddy was killed by a drunk driver two days before I was born,” she stated matter-of-factly.

Her story was raw, open, and unbelievably sad. I just stared in silence.

“So, when I was born,” she continued, “my mom named me Faith because, through it all, she had faith that God would smite her enemy.”

“The book of Samuel.” I replied.

“You know the Bible?” she asked.

“Why do you seem so surprised? I am a man of many talents,” I responded.

She just shrugged. “Many men don’t seem that interested in reading the Bible, that’s all.”

“So, what do you do Faith?” I ask.

“I’m a labor and delivery nurse. I work over at Holy Cross Hospital. I just got off a double shift, and came here to take advantage of the nice weather before I go home and crash. What about you Teddy?”

“I’m a communications and media lawyer for Discovery Communications.” I replied.

“Cool! What does a communications and media lawyer do?”

I laugh. “A little bit of everything. I work on legal issues; including antitrust, mergers, acquisitions, intellectual property, and copyright protection. Basically, any and all things media related that require an attorney.”

“Well, Teddy, that sounds intriguing… but I got to get some sleep. I am exhausted and I have to go home and get some rest. It was a pleasure to meet you,” she said. She rises and gathers her bag and begins exiting the park.

“Nice meeting you, too, Faith.”

She smiles and walks away.

Damn, she’s beautiful, I thought. I have to get to know her. I mean, there’s something about her that intrigues me. I can’t put my finger on it. I can feel it though. She’s special. She’s got the look of someone who wants—rather needs—some excitement.

I know I can give her that and more. I feel excited just watching her walk away. She has a beautiful shape. I have got to get her number.

I get up off the bench and yell after her, “Faith!”

She stops, turns around, and smiles at me. “Faith, can I give you a call? I would love to keep in touch.”

She looks at me, quizzically. “Sure, you can give me your number.”

“Are you going to call me, Faith? You’re not just telling me that? You will call, right?” I joke.

“I will call you, Teddy. Give me your number,” she says with a smile.

I pull out my business card and gave her all of my information: my work number, work cell phone, and my email address on it. I flip it over and write both my home telephone number and personal email on the back of the card.

“Here you go, Faith. All of my contact information. I can’t wait to hear from you.”

“Goodbye, Teddy. I will talk to you soon.”

* * *

Three days have passed and I still haven’t heard from Faith. But I see her everywhere in my mind. I see her at the park, at church, and mostly in my dreams. Faith is special. There is something about this woman that is driving me insane. She’s captivating. I don’t know what it is. She just seems genuine and the chemistry was off the scale. I know she felt it.

I sit at my desk re-reading and editing a contract that I’ve been trying to get right for the last few days and I just can’t concentrate. Faith keeps entering my mind. Her walk, laugh, talk, eyes—I am going crazy!

“Ugh!” I yell.

My cell phone beeps. Did Faith finally decided to contact me? I look at the text message icon eagerly.

I click on the message icon on my cell phone. It was from Chantel:

I love you Teddy! I miss you, and I’m sorry. We can go back to the way things were. I promise that I’m okay with it, and I won’t look through your things anymore. And I can even do that thing we did for your birthday again! I just need you to forgive me.

I delete the text.

Still no word from Faith. This woman has got me all messed up, worrying about whether or not she’s going to call. Why? Probably because she’s the first woman that I actually gave my number to who didn’t call me.

I guess I need to accept the fact that my sensors were off because she is apparently not interested in me. She hasn’t called, e-mailed, sent a text message, or even a damn smoke signal to my job. This is a first and I’m starting to wonder if I’m off my game? Did I imagine the chemistry in our brief conversation? No, I’m sure I didn’t. I’m good at reading women and I know she was interested. If she would just call, I could see where her head is.

“Mr. Baxter, you have a Faith Smith on line one,” my assistant announced.

“Anna, I’ll take it,” I said.

I pressed the line and sigh “Faith. You called…”

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Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Tikeetha Thomas is a full-time working mom with a six year old son who is the apple of her eye. She resides in Maryland and when she is not working and catering to her little boy, she is busy working on her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter (@MsKeeinMd) or read more about her life at her blog: