A wee bit of humorous satire
At the next Bible study, they braved opening the book of Ephesians and attacking the portions on marriage head on. Fletch ended by reading...
But Fletch wasn't willing to let it go. "Don't you think you should break up with her then instead of leading her on?"
"You just opened a can of worms and threw your line into a lake full of piranhas," Fletcher said.
"It's alright, mom, the police are here now. They'll...wait a minute. I think they brought marshmallows!" Fletch reported.
"Well next we need to take down all your social media site, Matt," their dad said.
"Yeah, huh, we should have thought of that first," Fletch agreed.
"They are probably tracking me by GPS in my phone. I need to get that locator app switched off. Wow, that's a lot of messages!" Matt said in shock glancing at his phone.
"You'll probably need a new phone or at least go in and try and change your number," their dad said.
"I'll just turn this one off for now," Matt said shaking his head. "Campus Security isn't going to like this if they follow me to classes, nor my boss. It could get me fired," Matt worried.
While the guys were putting their heads together to wipe out Matt's facebook, twitter, and email accounts, Tilly went to peek out the front curtains. She could hear the music booming from outside clear inside. "It looks more like a big dance party now. A few reporters are in the middle of all those women dancing. Oh, no! Are those protestors?"
"What! Let me see," her mom squeezed in to look. "My goodness they are. What on earth do they have to protest about?" her mom wondered
Tilly read a few signs, Hmm. Let's see. Of course there's "Sexist." "Misogynist." Oh here's a new one, "Why a dog? Why not two kids and a cat," or "Matt, who needs you?" "We are women. We stand on our own two feet." "Wow," Tilly said. "Do these people have a life?"
Her mother peeked out again. "At least the police made them remove their tents from the lawn. I mean I can't very well invite them in if they need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night."
"Looks like there's less than twenty or so die-hards left. Maybe they took to heart what you said, mom."
"Poor Matt. I wonder what got into him to put that out there on twitter?"
"I think it was the Bible study. I mean one minute we were talking about Ephesians 5, and then BAM, the next he shows us what he tweeted. I don't think men get it how most little girls dream of their prince coming on his white horse to her rescue. I know it's not P.C. to talk like that anymore, but it is what it is. They'll search through a field of four-leaf clovers to find a man like him. He's their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
"I have to admit we raised you on those fairy tales," her mother agreed.
"You know, being a college town, I've seen a lot of women who have worked so hard to get their degree and then to start their career that when they look around to find a man, they find that the good marriage material has already been snatched up. Women are so pressured to have it all, an education and a profession before marriage and children, that a lot of them do feel a little desperate, like they've been lied to. They've been through relationship after relationship by that time, that it seems the impossible dream that a man would cherish them."
"Poor boy. We really need to pray for him. He had no idea how he touched a nerve in a bunch of women's wishful thinking," her mom said.
"Poor boy? Poor idiot," Tillie thought, but said aloud, "He touched a nerve, alright!"
"Done!" We cleared out his accounts. He can start over once this settles down in a day or two," their dad said looking happy when they walked back into the kitchen.
"Dad, this is not going away that easily. Matt squeezed all the toothpaste out of the tube, and it's going to be next to impossible to put it back in," Tilly warned.
Matt who had been smiling in relief, suddenly looked worried again.
"Let's eat," their mother called. "We'll all feel better after we've eaten."
Since two more were seated at their table, Jill and April, they were going to have to make the casserole stretch. Their dad bowed his head to pray over the meal.
"For this food we are about to receive, we thank you. And Lord, we pray for Matt. Please divide the sea of women so he can pass through. Amen."
"Thank you, sir," Matt said gratefully.
Everyone watched as April was the first to help herself to the mac and cheese, Tilly gaped as she scooped out at least a fourth of it onto her plate. Fletch took a healthy amount while Matt absently took a goodly portion as well. Her dad, did not take enough to sustain a child while Jill hardly took enough to fill a bird. Her mother took even less. Tilly scraped out the last six pieces of crusty macaroni that clung to the sides of the pan. It definitely was going to be a popcorn night.
She watched as April took a bite then waved her hand in front of her mouth. "Oh, this is hot! I didn't expect that," she exclaimed before grabbing her glass of water."
"Throw salt on your tongue," her mother suggested.
"I'll eat yours if you don't want it," Fletch offered.
"Oh, no, I couldn't let you do that. I'm getting a cold and wouldn't want to share germs."
Her brother just eyed the plateful of untouched mac and cheese mournfully.
"Well, there's pudding for dessert," their mother jumped up. She'd eaten her helping in three small bites.
Once again, by the time the serving bowl made its way around to her, there was hardly any left. Tilly just swiped her finger around the bowl and licked it off.
Jill stood and said, "Come on, April. I need to go home and study. I have a big biology midterm tomorrow."
April looked longingly over at Matt. "Remember my offer Matt in case you decide you need to get engaged in order to call off the hounds."
"Thanks, April," he glanced up at her with a thin smile.
"Good luck," called Jill.
"Wait, let's get a selfie, of just us girls," April said.
Tilly figured she probably wanted to post it on facebook in order to brag about being with Matt. She grabbed Jill to stand between them.
"Smile!" April said. "Bye Matt. Bye everyone."
As soon as they were gone her mother asked, "Popcorn anyone?"
A resounding "Yes!" was heard, but Fletch was already grabbing April's leftovers and digging in.
"I almost forgot, we need to listen to the local news!" their dad said. A search was on for the remote the next five minutes with everyone tossing couch cushions and on their hands and knees looking under every piece of furniture in the living room.
"Found it!" Tilly cried. "It was by the television.
"Listen!" their mother said as the news was coming on.
Tilly thought it was creepy to see their house on television surrounded by strangers. Some were taking selfies of each other while others looked ready to scratch it out in a cat fight. The camera panned over to the chanting protesters yelling, "Down with Matt. Up with women!"
"Oh, brother," Fletch roared with laughter. "This is so rich!"
Matt threw a couch pillow at him causing him to spill his bowl of popcorn.
"Boys!" their mother said sternly. She'd perfected that tone to where she had to say no more.
"Sorry, Mrs. Keller." Matt said, but his eyes still shot daggers at Fletch.
"We'll report back tomorrow as soon as there are new developments in the case of 'Man
Wants Wife.' Back to you Tim."
"But they didn't show the part of my statement to the press! How dare they not give the whole truth and nothing but the truth? So help me! I'm going to call the station right now."
"They're still parked outside mom, but I don't know if you want to go out there right now. It looks like a mass yoga session going on." Tilly said peeking out the curtains again.
"Matt, you need to come see this. It's your public," Fletch said. Some of them aren't too bad, but there's some real cougars out there with their nails out and enough hair dye to make their own commercial."
"I'll pass," Matt sighed. "It's rather strange having no phone or computer. My books that I was going to study are out there in my car, but there is no way I'm stepping foot out that door."
"They're settling down now. Someone brought out their guitar and they're singing, Kumbiya." Fletch reported.
The next morning when he woke up, he remembered and groaned. He wanted to roll over, cover his head and hope it all went away. But he knew he had to make his move early. So while it was still dark, Matt darted outside in his wig and sunglasses. His disguise worked. He whistled all the way to his aunt and uncle's beach house so happy to have escaped.
His aunt met him at the door. "We were so worried about you, Matthias. We saw it on television last night."
"We tried to call you, but couldn't get through. That is just the craziest thing I've ever seen," his uncle said pounding him on the back.
"Is it okay if I hide out here for a while, at least till things simmer down?"
"Of course, dear. You know we always love having you here," his aunt said.
Matt noticed her shoulders had begun to shake. Then his uncle exploded with a big belly laugh. His aunt must have been trying to hold back hers for she soon joined him in rollicking mirth. His uncle held himself up with one arm against the wall heaving and the other on his shaking belly. His aunt was bent over gasping trying to stop laughing.
"Sorry, Matt. I know this isn't funny to you right now, but some day you'll be able to laugh about this too," his aunt finally managed to say wiping the tears from her eyes. She'd laughed 'till she'd cried.
"Maybe," he said a little put out with them. It wasn't a laughing matter to him right now. "I'm just hoping I won't have any trouble when I go to work this morning. I had to wear a wig and glasses to escape the Keller's house already today. I sure don't want to have to wear those to work."
This set his uncle off hee-hawing some more. "I'd like to see that," he chortled.
"So what will you do?" his aunt asked.
"Hopefully they haven't found out where I work yet. I just hope my boss did not watch the news last night," he said grimacing. This would be hard to live down.
"Well, if you have time for breakfast, I'll make you a nice one before you leave for work."
But when he got to his office, he saw several suspicious cars in the parking lot. He hoped no one looked out and saw him have to outrun five or six women, some of whom were pretty fast. He told the office security not to let them in. Matt plopped into his office chair, but his heart was still pounding. His boss barged in.
"Saw you on the news last night, Matthias. I hope your fans won't interfere with our business here. You are still on probation, you know."
"Yes, sir. I hope they don't cause any trouble."
"Well, I'll give you forty-eight hours to get it cleared up or you can clear out your desk, understand?"
"Yes, sir." When his boss left he closed his eyes and let out a sigh. What now? He had no idea how to keep from being chased. "Dear Lord, please help me!"
He did his best to concentrate on his work, but his co-workers kept sticking their heads in making snide remarks snickering.
"Hey, Matt, I got a dog for sale if you want one," or "Hey, Matt, how 'bought you hook me up with one of your harem?" or "Hey, Matt, can I have your autograph since you're a reality T.V. star?"
A couple of the women in the office just glared at him. He overheard one say, "He probably wants to keep a wife barefoot and pregnant for the next ten years. I know his kind." The other replied, "I feel sorry for whoever he chooses." But a third young woman he heard quip, "I don't know. He's so cute maybe I might want to apply." Someone else said, "But I thought he already had a girlfriend." "Guess not," another answered.
Some were still waiting when he got to the parking lot. A couple of them almost reached him before he could get in Fletch's car trying to grab his sleeves. He drove around hoping to lose them before he got to his aunt and uncle's house. It looked safe enough so he pulled in next to his uncle's restored '57 Studebaker. He was out washing it.
"Welcome back, Matt. Have you given them all the slip?" he said grinning.
"I hope so."
"Your aunt has made your favorite, spaghetti and meatballs."
"Umm, that sure smells good," he told his aunt kissing her cheek. "Do I have time to go for a walk on the beach before dinner?"
"Sure, it won't be ready for about an hour so you have plenty of time," she smiled. "Rough day?"
"You bet," he sighed.
By the time he came out after changing, he found Tilly waiting for him. She handed him his books he'd left in his car. "Thought you might need these. Fletch asked me to bring them to you."
"Great. Thanks. I'm just going out to walk on the beach. Do you want to come with me?" he asked glancing over at her.
"Sure." Her eyes kept darting away from his. That kiss had left them on an awkward footing.
They walked in silence for quite a while. Then she'd asked him about his day. He ended up telling her all about it, including the threat from his boss. "I think I might need a plan B after all. He only gave me forty-eight hours to clear it up...Maybe I should announce an engagement."
Tilly frowned. "April is willing, I'm sure."
"No, not April. She's too crafty and will make too much of it. I don't want her claws in me. How about you?"
Tilly froze. He had walked on then turned to look at her. "What? Don't you think we could pull it off?"
"I'm not having you as my faux beau," she said through gritted teeth. "No, thank you!"
"A faux--what is that anyway?"
"A fake boyfriend. I'm not going there. Find somebody else," she said with her arms crossed.
"But I can trust you, Tilly. I don't know anyone else I can trust like I do you," he said putting his arm around her shoulders.
She shoved it off. "No way. I'm not going to be your fake fiancé."
But she had turned and was marching back towards his aunt and uncle's house. Suddenly, a couple of girls hollered, "That's him!"
Matt didn't wait to find out if they were chasing him. He just grabbed Tilly's hand and ran.
"Get in my car," Tilly yelled. "Here, you drive," she said tossing him her keys.
He drove up the coast looking back in the rear-view mirror often. Then he pulled off in an out of the way scenic viewing point and turned off the car. "Whew," he sighed. "Let's wait and see if we lost them. Do you see what I mean about needing Plan B? Are you sure you won't marry me," he winked at her making her blush.
He had no idea what he was doing playing with her heart. That is why she did not want to do this. But when she next glanced up, he was looking really upset.
"I'm probably going to lose my job if I don't get this straightened out by tomorrow."
She sighed. "Okay, okay, I'll do it. I know I'll be sorry, but I don't want you to be fired. You worked hard too get that job."
He gazed at her with such a look of relief that she managed to smile. "Wow. I'm really engaged to Matthias Emerson. You know I've had a crush on you since junior high. I thought I'd never see this day," she quipped, half seriously but blushed furiously.
"Really," he said lifting her hand up to his lips making her eyes huge. "We'll have to do this publically you know."
"In front of the T.V. cameras would be best," she scowled.
They'd been sitting there the lone car in an empty parking lot, but a couple of cars pulled in beside them. "Let's go," he said.
They went back to his aunt and uncle's and overlooked the cars starting to park along the street. Once inside they ignored the knocking on the door and the doorbell while they ate their dinner.
His uncle admitted, "I see why you said this is no laughing matter. This is ridiculous."
"We've decided to announce our engagement to see if we can make it all stop," he told them.
"You two are getting married?" his aunt asked beginning to get all misty eyed.
"Not really. I'll just be his fake fiancé," Tilly explained while looking miserable.
"What's more romantic than a proposal on the beach at sunset? I have your grandmother's ring in my cedar chest you can use, Matt. Honey, go call the television studio and tell them to hurry up and get here before they miss this story."
"Are you okay with that?" Matt asked her.
"Let's do this, but I'm not very dressed up," she said looking down at her jeans and sloppy sweater.
"You always look beautiful to me," he said gazing at her.
"Th-thanks," she stammered as her heart was pounding. This man had no idea what this was costing her heart. She had dreamed of this for years, but now it was only pretend. "When will be break off our engagement?"
"Let's worry about that later. Right now, I'm about to ask the prettiest girl I know to marry me," he smiled looking down warmly at her. "This means the world to me, Tilly. I hope you know that."
She could only nod staring into his eyes. Her heart was so swollen in her chest, it felt like it would explode. Tilly kept blinking to keep from crying.
"Here, dear. I found the ring," his aunt said. She smiled at Tilly. "It couldn't go to a sweeter girl."
"There're on their way," his uncle announced. They'll be here in twenty minutes or less."
"Let's go make a fire in the fire pit on the beach, for old times sake," he said pulling her up.
"This is so romantic!" his aunt exclaimed.
Matt held Tilly's hand entwining their fingers. Then she sat on a log while he built the fire. A few people were watching them already. He pulled her up and said, "Let's go for just a little walk," putting his arm around her shoulders tucking her up against him.
Oh, it felt too good. Tilly felt like sobbing. She bit her lip instead. Fortunately, he didn't try to make her talk.
There was a bit of a commotion behind them. "Looks like the T.V. crew is setting up. My aunt is showing them where. Shall we do this?" he asked stroking her cheek gently. "Sometimes I wish that I was good enough for you, Tilly. I've always admired you, you might even say, desired you. But you are so far above me, I could never hope."
Tilly stopped. "What?"
"I didn't dare look at you these past couple of years after I became a Christian. I couldn't feed the desire, you know. I think that's one reason I kept things dragging on with Diana, because in a weird way, I felt like she was all I deserved, even though I knew it wasn't right to still be dating a non-Christian."
Tilly responded still shocked. "I knew you wouldn't look at me, but I thought it was because you were still ignoring your best friend's pesky sister. Matt, don't you know that if God can forgive your past making you a new creature in Christ, I can too?"
He swept her up in a hug. Then they stood there looking at each other with a million thoughts crashing like wave after wave. Finally he said, "I think they are ready, Tilly, sweetheart. Are you?"
She nodded, still stunned by his confession. Hope could not stay down, but flickered like the lick of flame on dry tender. By the time they stood by the bonfire and he went down on his knee, she was fully engulfed. She forgot that he was her faux beau and that she was his fake fiancé. It all seemed too real.
"Tilly would you marry me?" he asked solemnly.
The tears were coursing down her cheeks as she hoarsely said, "Yes. Yes, I'll marry you, Matthias.
He placed the ring on her finger with a diamond that gleamed in the firelight. Then he kissed her. They forgot anyone was watching. It was just the two of them kissing like lovers have on the beach at sunset ere time began. Finally, he pulled back and said. Do you want a man who wants a wife, two kids, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence?"
"I do," she sighed. "And if any of those women come around, they'll have to get through me first, because I'm claiming you for myself, Matthias Emerson."
"No faux?" he asked.
"No fake," she said decidedly.
"Good!" he laughed swinging her around. "This is great!"
They heard people clapping and turned around to see a small crowd had gathered. The television reported said, "Well, that's a wrap, folks. I guess this is the last we'll see of a Man Wants A Wife cause it looks like he's found one." But the camera caught the disappointed faces of women who were walking away.