26th March 2022
"I -- I -- don't know what to say," she stammered, "I'll think about it, and pray about it, and decide what to do."
I doubted she'd slept more than a few hours since Wednesday night
"Thanks, Mrs. Kershaw. Maybe I can ask you about it on Sunday morning. I'd sure feel better knowing there was nothing to it."
She said it was clear that if she hadn't left, he was going to -- to have sex with her
Sunday morning couldn't arrive soon enough for me. Either Sarah would follow her personality pattern and avoid the confrontation, or she would confront him and he would berate her for asking. Either way, he would do nothing to assuage the seed of mistrust that I'd planted. I searched my mental recesses to remember the character from Shakespeare's "Othello" who had employed a similar strategy. Ah, yes -- Iago, a man after my own evil heart.
Before Sunday School that morning, I saw Sarah in the hallway. She looked even more gaunt and tired than the previous Sunday morning. I felt a twinge of guilt.
"Oh," I replied dubiously. "Then I suppose I should talk to him about it. If it's true, I think the deacon board will need to know."
She tensed immediately. The fear on her face was almost palpable. The deacon board had the power to sway the church to oust the pastor. "Oh, no, Tom -- there's no need to do that. I'm sure it was just -- just a misunderstanding."
So I was right. She would rather protect her husband than confront him. "Let's see just how far she's willing to go to protect him," I thought silently.
"I have to get to Sunday School," I said aloud, "but I think we should talk later. I think the deacons need to be aware of what's happened, but I'm willing to entertain other options."
I left my intentions vague. Larry had a nominating committee meeting that was scheduled for two hours that afternoon. Sarah and I agreed to meet during that time to discuss the situation further. She acquiesced to my suggestion that we meet upstairs in an adult Sunday School room, where the chairs were not designed for ten year-olds. My ulterior motive was to get her alone in an isolated area of the church building. The nominating committee would be meeting downstairs in the fellowship hall, at the opposite end of the building.
Two o'clock was the appointed time. I had feasted on fried chicken at KFC for lunch. I'm sure Sarah had barely touched any food as she fretted over our meeting.
"Look, Mrs. Kershaw, I'll be honest," I said, "I'm beginning to think that Tricia's story MUST be true. The way you're avoiding your husband tells me YOU believe it. So I think I should go to the deacons at their five o'clock meeting this afternoon."
"Oh, no, Tom -- PLEASE don't do that. I'm sure that if there was a problem on Larry's part, he's sincerely sorry about it."
"Tricia didn't seem to think he was sorry. She said he laughed when she took off. She was very explicit about what he did to her."
"Yes," I countered, "She said he started by fondling her breasts -- like this." I reached out and cupped Sarah's well-formed breasts in my palms. Even though my touch was through her blouse and bra, I could tell her tits were pert and supple.
"I'm not so sure. YOUR HUSBAND touched MY WIFE like that -- and he did a whole lot more. You don't seem to think THAT'S wrong!"