The first meeting.
On the cusp of becoming a woman in the eyes of their Lord, Sage Marlowe had questions no one seemed inclined to answer. Her mother, Alma, had finally granted her wish to accompany her on a trip into Loveland, Colorado to replenish supplies and have work done on the engine of her station wagon. It had been making funny noises for weeks. It also happened to be the first time Sage had left their compound. She was homeschooled like so many other children in the congregation and had never been allowed to venture out.
There were nearly three hundred members that lived in their small village. All of whom followed the Lord’s will and the word of the bishop, her father, Gideon. Lately, he’d been preaching about temptation and sin; how they must always fight from giving in.
Hell’s disciples would come for them in their sleep if they failed.
What he didn’t know was that her oldest brother, Porter, had been sneaking around with another parishioner. A married woman in an unholy union.
Sage caught them naked in the pond one night when she was sent to repent after disobeying her mother and not helping in the gardens. Instead, she chose to tell stories to some of the younger children about fairies and princesses.
During that incident, her father had grown so volatile that she feared him for the first time in her life. She began to question everything after that. What purpose did she serve on earth if she couldn’t have the freedom to tell a simple story? How was she to follow his rule?
Nearly a week had gone by before the bruising faded and Sage was introduced to a newly widowed member whose wife had passed from an unexplained illness. Morgan was a nice enough man, but he was older than her barely seventeen years, closing in on forty now.
She had a feeling her father intended for her to marry this person no matter that Sage wasn’t ready for it. She wanted to explore the world, fall in love, find out who she really was.
As her mother parked in the lot of what she’d described to Sage as a mechanic’s shop, she noticed a man. He immediately caught her eye because of the way he was wiping his face with the edge of his shirt. The skin of his stomach and chest was accentuated with muscles of the likes she’d never seen on a man before.
When he lowered the material again, his gaze pierced her own, snaring her in a trap only Medusa could extract herself from. He looked shocked as she watched him cover himself up. When she stepped out of the car after her mother, he left, and she found herself disappointed she wouldn’t be able to speak to him.