#40Before40,  Goodnight,  Heavenly Here With You,  What I'm Loving What I'm Learning

Excerpt From My New Book

#40before40: What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. Join me! I’m writing 40 blog posts before I turn 40 in May.

This is a fun excerpt from the book I’m working on: Heavenly Here With You. Enjoy the sneak peek.

WEDDING NIGHT (rough draft)

This time, two sets of footsteps echoed in the hallway as we stepped up the narrow stairway of our Glendale apartment, hand in hand. The hardwood floors seemed to share our excitement.

We got to the top floor and the thermostat read 96 degrees. Our air conditioner was never turned on that day.

“It’s a furnace in here!” I said.

I was still in my wedding gown, so I was very eager to get that heavy dress off. 

“Now you have to wait a minute,” Charlie said, leading me into the side room. “I have a surprise for you.” 

“How long do I have to wait? Just help me untie my dress first. I can’t reach the back.” 

“I will, just one second,” he said, and he shut the door.

One second? 

Something about the door shutting, the heat, the heavy dress, and the fact that he didn’t want to help me triggered an enormous sense of panic. 

I had to get the dress off. I decided to try to do it myself, and I tugged at the ties behind me. I couldn’t do it. I pulled off my petticoat and threw it on the futon. I needed air. I needed freedom. 

“Charlie! Are you almost done? I need you!” 

All I heard was a muffled response from across the apartment, something like, “Don’t come out. Just trust me, you’re gonna love this.” 

I could not wait. I had to pee, and I was melting, dripping, panicking. I grabbed the door handle. It was locked. He locked me in the room.

I screamed. I was suddenly terrified, and the thought occurred to me that I didn’t really know him that well, and he might be getting ready to kill me. 

I screamed again. He finally came.

“What the heck are you screaming about?”

“You locked me in! Why did you lock me in?” I sobbed. “Why didn’t you help me when I called you?”

“Miriam, you were in there for two minutes. The door was not locked. Look, it’s an old 1920s doorknob, and you just have to push the door a little harder.” 

“I thought you were getting ready to kill me.” 

“Whoa! Where did that come from? I’m trying to make our wedding night special. Look, I’m lighting candles.” 

I poked my head out of the doorway and looked down the hall. He had candles in glass votives lining the hallway and red rose petals scattered on the floor leading to our bedroom. I exhaled and looked into his eyes. I saw kindness, love, and some worry too, as if to tell me I wasn’t the only one wondering if I had made a mistake.

“Help me get this dress off. Please. Please! You have to help me. I’ll be fine as soon as I get this dress off!” 

“As you wish,” he said. “Geez, Miriam.” 

“If you were the one wearing this dress all day you would understand.” 

He untied the dress and left the room so I could climb out of it without him seeing me naked yet. I had some cute white lingerie I wanted to put on for our first night together, our first night of total intimacy. But I had to quickly shower first. 

I walked in the bathroom and screamed again. 

“What is going on?” Charlie yelled through the door.

“A nasty cockroach is in here!” I cried. “Ew, ew ew! Jurassic cockroach!” I wrapped a towel around my body, as if that would protect me.

“Did you kill it?” he asked.

“No, it crawled behind the counter. Ew! There’s two more in the tub!” 

“Oh geez,” he said. “Cockroach city. Don’t worry, we will get rid of them.”

“Could anything else go wrong?” I laughed.

“Well, we wanted our first night together to be in our own bed. So here we are. In our hot, humble apartment, with cockroaches,” he said. “Can you imagine if someone could hear us right now? I mean, this is our wedding night and there is so much yelling happening in here.”

By the time we were finally clean and in bed together, new red sheets, candles lit, quiet music playing, champagne in hand, I was exhausted. But I had heard the stories of some brides who were too tired to have sex on the wedding night, and that wasn’t going to be my story. 

“Can we say a prayer?” I asked.

“Of course,” he said, setting down his glass of champagne.

“Dear God, you gave us life and you created us to enjoy a special intimacy together. Thank you so much for my husband, Charlie. Amen. Oh, and please don’t let me get pregnant. Amen.” 

Charlie squeezed my hand and smiled.

“How do we begin?” I asked. 

“With a kiss,” he said. 

I’m stopping there . . . cliffhanger!

The wedding night is not perfect, and neither are Miriam and Charlie, the main characters. They have their first big fight on their honeymoon. Pretty soon, Miriam wonders if she made a big mistake marrying Charlie. But as the characters grow in friendship and intimacy with each other and with God, they learn that their marriage is a big part of their discipleship and their personal healing from their pasts.

Please say a prayer for me as I finish up this novel!

xo, Chelsea

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Chelsea Rotunno is the author of Goodnight to My Thoughts of You, a novel about life as a Christian teen searching for true love.

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