“There you are!”
They had just finished their short goodbyes to Miss Esther and Billy when Marydell Piersol came around the corner of church.
“I was worried when I saw you both leave. Is everything all right?”
“Yes,” said Adam.
Marydell looked between the two, and let out a nervous laugh that sounded like a bark.
“Well, I was hoping for a ride to Wal-Mart. I need some, um, ladies things.”
Angela looked at Adam.
“OK with me,” Adam said.
“And we can talk on the way,” Angela said. “No interruptions.”
“You ok with missing dinner on the grounds here? Wal-Mart will take most of the afternoon.”
“I need to get away, Adam. I just need to be away from here.” Angela said.
“And I’d like to talk to the both of you, in private,” said Marydell. “There may not be another chance.”
As they rode out, the men were setting up neat rows of folding tables and chairs on the lawn in front of the Parsonage. Homecoming meant a dish-to-pass, all-day dinner on the grounds. The barbecue grills were already smoking and the teens were organizing water balloon games for the younger kids. One of the men, the Head Deacon Ed Wilson, flagged them down and asked if they’ll be back soon.
“Food will be ready in about an hour. Hate to see you miss out!”
“Not sure,” Adam said. “Emergency store run,” he nodded toward the women. “If we’re not back, start without us!”
“I’ll save y’all plates.” Then he caught sight of Marydell in the back seat. “Marydell? Marydell Piersol? Where have you been hiding?”
Marydell blushed. “Hello Eddie”
“Anything special I should save for you, Mary?”
“ You know what I like, Ed Wilson. I haven’t changed.”
The electricity between them was almost unbearable.
“I’ll try to get her back here for you, before too long” Adam winked.
“Thank you, young man! See you all soon. Mary? I’ll be waiting for you!”
Mary didn’t answer, and Adam let off the brake. As the car rolled down the dirt road, Mary was staring intently out the window. A rumble of thunder sounded in the distance.
“Some things never change,” she said, softly. “I almost married him.”
When they got to the County Road, Angela turned around in her seat.
“Marydell, you haven’t been back here even once in all these years?”
“No. I have a past here. Adam knows what that’s like.
“Yes, I do!”
“Add to that I was friendly with your mother and Billy’s father, two more of the outcasts!” She halted, obviously wanting to say more. “Let’s talk about the girl, first, though.”
“The ghost girl you’ve been seeing.”
“How do you know about that?!”
“The tour guide said you saw her in the Chapel yesterday. The whole congregation knows about it by now.”
“What?! Why didn’t somebody say something?”
“Because nobody there has ever seen her. She only shows herself to strangers.”
“So they don’t believe it?”
“Oh, they believe it all right! But they’re scared. She knows something.”