December 21st, Year 1 of Vow
I’ve definitely taken too long to log this account into the books. What was it exactly? A mission? More like vendetta? Right? I’m not sure. Whatever this has been, I’m glad of the good that came out of it. I guess the longer I drag this account of events out, the longer I can avoid what happened with Nike.
Ricki, Blaze’s long time friend and former colleague, and Nike’s second mother accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her savior. She still had a terminal tumor in her brain, but hey, at least she was bound for eternal life and not death.
After we got the intel from baddie Cutter Steel about where the Swazi Preacher could be up to his illegal shenanigans in the States, we spent the evening preparing to execute our plan the following day, while keeping Nike in the dark.
Blaze still wanted to keep our actions covert because he wasn’t sure how Nike would respond to her father’s ill intentions to get rid of Sibusiso without a directive from the Lord.
After Nike and Ricki went to bed, we left a note we had to get going and that we’d be back in a day or two. Then we set out.
Blaze carted me to a storage unit, not too far from the houseboat. He said he and Ricki used to store their heavy artillery there together.
Not gonna lie, I half expected the storage unit to lead to an underground safe house or vigilante lair, but it didn’t. I have to stop watching spy movies and TV shows.
It was a big storage unit, one half was completely empty and the other half was stocked with guns, knives, gear, and what we came for– gas grenades and masks. The cleared out part used to be Ricki’s side, obviously. I’m guessing she gave her inventory to Samson for Cutter? I know assumptions are bad but it’s only natural to do, being human and all.
I’m a tad lazy and I just want to get this over with, therefore, I’ll be direct with the plan.
- We scouted out all three locations of the Swazi Preacher’s whereabouts.
- We determined which one it was, the shipping warehouse by the coast.
- We contacted Samson and told him where and when his crew could meet us.
- We waited until nightfall and we purposely made noise for one of us to get caught, particularly, Blaze.
- I would gas the warehouse.
Steps 6 through 10 involved rescuing Blaze and letting Samson and his crew go in and steal the inventory. Very simple plan with everyone getting what they want, well except for Blaze carrying out his desire for revenge.
I was up in a dark corner in the catwalk up by the ceiling. I was checking if everything was set for a gas grenade gift bag drop. A McGyver rigged thing that would gas the Swazi Preacher and his men. Though, I nearly prematurely dropped it when Nike appeared.
We were both ‘shook’ with shock. She wore this killer slick all black outfit that made her look like a SWAT girl meets spy chick and my mind started to imagine inappropriate things of what she and I could do together. I sort of expected her to hit me in the shoulder when she picked up my lustful vibes but instead she winked at me and smiled crookedly. We were vibin’ the same.
She mouthed, ‘What are you doing here?’
I mouthed the question back.
Our attention on each other was disrupted by Blaze yelping in dire pain after taking a punch to the gut. Sibusiso’s men then proceeded to tie him up onto a chair with rope. Blaze was a bloodied pulp.
“You really think that you can take down– me?!” The Swazi Preacher, Sibusiso, questioned Blaze.
Sibusiso was drenched in sweat. He wore light tan slacks, and a white Hawaiian shirt with palm tree leaves on it. He held a 9 mm glock in his hand and he waved it around.
This was the part I was supposed to drop the gift bag, swoop in and save Blaze, and then tell Samson on the way out he could grab the illegal stuff. But I only have a mask for Blaze, I don’t have another one for Nike. Her suddenly popping up mucks up everything.
She mouthed asking what was in the bag. I tried to mouth back but she couldn’t understand me. I carefully set it down and whispered, “A bundle of MacGyvered gas grenades.”
Her eyes popped open wide owl style with surprise.
“How long before it kills?” She whispered back.
“What?” I was confused. “It shouldn’t kill anyone.” I hushed back.
She glared at me with scrutiny not believing me, but Blaze swore it wouldn’t kill anyone.
“You rescue my dad and I’ll clear a path from you.” She whispered.
“What?” I was still perplexed.
Then before I could figure out her new plan, she proceeded without telling me. She snatched up the gas gift bag, she pulled the single threading tab, and tossed it toward the Swazi Preacher, his men, and her dad. She took the extra mask meant for her dad and put it on. Then she leaped off the catwalk tucking and rolling to the ground. Super human strength did provide the luxury of dropping from huge heights and hardly feeling a thing.
The gas exploded into visible smoke that reeked terribly. The smell was unlike anything I smelled before. Hurriedly, I put on my mask and jumped to the ground tucking and rolling. This drop would break a normal person’s legs and back or maybe kill them.
Nike was fire as usual. Just using a taser rod, she floored her coughing and hacking attackers.
Blaze was hollering and screaming upset that Nike was present. He seemed even more freaked out not to have a mask. Maybe he lied about the gas?
I didn’t bother to untie him, knots tripped me up sometimes, I just tossed him over my shoulder still in the chair and booked it for the nearest exit.
We made it outside setting off an alarm. Blaze puked on my back.
I tossed Blaze in the bed of his truck, Nike took the driver’s seat and I rushed into the passenger. She sped to the entrance, the meet-up point with Samson and his team. She rolled down my window, I ripped off my mask, and I shouted, “Swazi Preacher neutralized, everything is yours!”
No idea if Samson and his team in the van heard anything, but we were done.
Nike finally took off her mask and screamed with excitement like she just scored a soccer goal. I excitedly chimed with her, matching her enthusiasm for victory.
Once we made it onto an actual road and she slowed down to the speed limit, I needed my curiosity to be scratched and soothed.
“What were you doing there?” I asked.
“Um, I’d rather not say.” She confessed. “Seeing you made me stop my dumb plan though.”
I didn’t want to assume the worst of Nike, but Sibusiso was the man that kidnapped her as a child and did things so terrible to her she won’t talk about it with anyone. Her dad was ready to kill the man and disobey God by abusing his Nazarite gifts. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nike was on a similar vengeful path.
“If you must know, I was going to set up Sibusiso to get caught by the Feds. I had to lie and say he wasn’t there when I saw you. They were ready to swarm in and arrest him.”
That was actually a good plan. Something Blaze would have done if we didn’t make the sketchy deal with Steel.
“That wasn’t a stupid plan.” I admitted.
“I was rogue on the LORD. I’m supposed to be in Germany working an exorcism case and I’m in Florida doing what I want. Not okay.” She confessed.
“Well, I guess we better book you a ticket to Germany then.” I said.
Of course, we dropped Blaze off with Ricki and Nike said a tearful good-bye to the woman she considered to be like a mom. They both feared it would be the last time they saw each other on this planet. I was grabbing the keys from Blaze in the houseboat kitchen when Blaze reeled me into a side hug and whispered in my ear, “You got my approval. You can be my son-in-law one day.”
The euphoric level of joy that gave me was cloud nine to ride. When I met Blaze in New Mexico, I thought he would never approve of me.
Nike refused to let me drive her dad’s truck to the airport. I soon saw through her schemes when she pulled onto the main highway, only to pull-over to the side of the road.
She parked the truck, turned off the ignition, and looked at me like she was undressing me with her eyes.
“I know you want to wait to start things with us, but I need to know now before I board that plane, are we gonna start courting or not?”
“But we have some serious Nazarite traditions to follow. Even if you choose me, your dad has to speak to my parents and then my folks will decide when–,” and before I could finish my thought her lips landed on mine.
I daringly kissed back. Locking lips with her was intoxicating and I was perfectly okay with getting drunk on her.
I was hardly ever sober the moments I was intimate with Celeste… Eh… thinking about Celly sucked all the fun out of this taboo makeout session. I gently nudged Nike away.
“Don’t worry boy, I’m not going to tempt you to forsake your virtue and go too far. I don’t want to rush this either, but do you know what I say to Modern Nazarite Traditions?” Nike asked, poking my chest with her pointer finger.
I stayed silent.
“To heck with them. If we want to be together, we should just be together.” She explained.
My mouth got cotton dry quick. No matter how many times I gulped to remedy the issue, zero new saliva formed.
I took a deep breath and I proceeded to explain everything about Caitlin to her. I even showed her pics from an email that my mother sent me of the little girl that was allegedly mine. It was from the surveillance trip my parents took to Turkey. Annabella named the girl Hera, after the Greek Goddess. She had big, doe-like, brown eyes and sort of looked like me from toddler years. She had dark black hair and olive skin like mine too. Her heart shaped face was like Caitlin’s and she had her mother’s cheeks.
Nike started crying and I could feel the panic, the sense of abandonment, the feeling of betrayal, the stench of envy, and, worst of all, the aching heart. She got out of the truck, leaving the front door open. I got out to go after her. I wasn’t going to let her storm off. We needed to talk things out.
She was reaching for her duffel bag in the bed of the truck when I grabbed her by the shoulder and begged her to hear me out.
Furiously, she spun to face me and I wasn’t sure if she was ready to punch me or hug me. I felt like both were real possibilities.
“Okay…” she sniffled, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was-,” she cut me off.
“It doesn’t matter why, you didn’t trust me enough to tell me. I get that we barely know each other, but I thought our connection was more authentic than this. I thought you trusted me.”
She turned her back on me, grabbed her bag, and as she slung onto her shoulder, “I’ll pray you figure things out. I’ll catch a later flight.” And she started to walk away from the truck.
“How dare you?!” I angrily yelled at her.
She froze in her current path.
“How dare you?” I was a bit quieter. “This is my life, my problem, and I know we really want to be each other’s person, but we’re not yet. Frankly, I think I was within my right to be freaked out if you were going to walk away without talking this out! So go, go to Germany without talking to me about how you feel and there won’t be any future for us. I won’t tell you that I can’t stop thinking about you. I won’t tell you that I want to spend the rest of my days with a woman like you. I won’t tell you that even if Hera is my baby girl I still want to be with you and not Caitlin.”
She let her duffle bag strap slip off her shoulder and the bag stirred a cloud of dust as it hit the dirt floor. Slowly, she pivoted on one foot to look back at me.
Her cocktail of emotions all melted into remorse with something else below it. I couldn’t figure out what it was.
“I was only walking away because I was afraid you were going to choose Caitlin because of Hera.” She confessed, wiping the tears from her eyes.
Cautiously, I approached her and I met her taking both of her hands in mine.
“I get it, I was thinking about doing that, but Caitlin was only in my life for dark purposes. I didn’t get to choose her. The enemy chose her for me.” I said looking down because I was too nervous to look her in the eye, “I would be blessed to choose a woman like you to spend my life with, if a woman like you chose me.”
Nike cupped my face in her grasp and forced me to look up into her eyes, “I definitely would choose you, Jude. I choose you, Jude.”
Perfectly in sync, we kissed each other.
I’d like to say, she got back in the truck and I took her to the airport as planned.
But she didn’t make it to the airport. She did not board a plane to stay on assignment to Germany.
She stayed and we did something two Modern Nazarites weren’t supposed to do…
We got MARRIED! In a courthouse! Without the mutual blessings of our families.
Yes, what we did was insanely irrational. We’ve only known each other for, like, barely two months. But I didn’t want our parents planning our wedding date centuries from now. I know my parents would want to settle the whole Caitlin-and-Hera-situation before Nike and I could start planning our nuptials.
Okay, the insane idea was Nike’s idea and I went with it because her case was wildly compelling.
Alright, I’ll explain in more detail what happened. I’m all over the place right now because, well, your first night ever with your wife can do that to a man, if you catch my drift…
We got in the truck. This time, I was driving. We were heading to the airport and Nike got word from the LORD that someone else was sent. She was to take a break for a bit until further notice. Basically, she was in trouble for her disobedience, but the LORD was probably giving her a window to spend more time with Ricki before He took her.
We turned around and we went back to the houseboat. Ricki was excited that Nike could spend more quality time with her.
Blaze took me to run errands for Ricki, since he was too sore to walk. He sat in the truck while I went into store after store. We were gone all day. When we got back, the ladies had dinner ready- lasagna and salad.
After dinner, Nike and I went for a walk. We were holding hands and trying to figure out what our secret courtship would look like. The more we went over the details we realized we wouldn’t be able to keep the secret long. Then our parents could ban us from ever getting married and if that happened, we could never go against guilty consciences to be together.
I joked, “It would be easiest if we were married.”
She gasped nearly losing her cool, “We should get married!”
I told her she was mad and she didn’t argue that, but she brought up how her dad and Ricki should have married ages ago, but they didn’t because the timing wasn’t right. She brought up my parents and how untraditional their union was. She reminded me no one was promised tomorrow and we needed to pursue every good and lovely thing in life. She also pointed out how steamy our makeout sessions kept getting and how much longer could we abstain from crossing that line chasing bliss that should only belong to married couples.
I was in… foolishly or, perhaps, bravely?
December 14th, we rode rusty bicycles to the nearest town. We bought rings in a pawn shop. We filed all the necessary paperwork. We waited in line at the courthouse. We entered a courtroom designated for quickie marriages and we said “I Do”. I was so nervous, I thought I was going to puke. But when the judge said I could kiss the bride, all my nerves melted away and I felt secure.
Since becoming a Nazarite, every day felt like living on the edge, but when Nike was around I felt like I was on solid ground, safe and sound inland.
We didn’t dare go back to face Blaze. Nike texted him that we were going our respective ways. We grabbed some bus tickets and headed to Patriot City. I had never been and there were a few places Nike was obsessed with in that city and insisted we needed a Christmas in that town.
We arrived in the city at night. The streets were covered in white powder snow. Nike picked out the fanciest, most expensive hotel in the city and I expected to go see her favorite spot, but we haven’t left the room for five days. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Not really, we’ve been staying out of the cold, snuggled up in bed, watching Webflix and eating junk food… when we’re not doing what honeymooners do, to be closer.
I know I’m not a novelist, so I’m not going to write all the intimate details. Plus, I feel that would be super degrading and disrespectful to my wife.
However, before I sat down to finish this latest account, we video chatted a conference call with Nike’s sisters, my parents, Ricki and Blaze and broke the news that we were married. I really expected my father to be quiet, brooding with anger, but he had the largest smile on his face. Everyone was happy for us and no one was upset we broke Nazarite customs. Ricki and Blaze stole the thunder and announced they were engaged. I got over my offense. If anyone should have eloped it should have been Blaze and Ricki, right?
I couldn’t be more grateful in my entire life than this moment in time now.
*Edited by Kristen Wenneborg