"Will you marry me?"

"Uh… I… um…," Evelyn stammered uncomfortably, looking down at one Samuel Rutherford on bended knee. He beamed up at her, his hands holding a very expensive-looking diamond ring begging to be worn. The two were surrounded by smiling family and friends who awaited the "yes" that Evelyn couldn't seem to form.

This is wrong, a small voice spoke to her heart as her mind raced wildly, trying to pinpoint any indication she had ever given that would have led him to believe she wished to marry him. She had known from the start that Sam was not the man God was planning for her, so she had always been quite clear that she enjoyed their friendship; nothing more.

But Sam, apparently, had other ideas.

"She's speechless!" Evelyn heard someone gasp. Out of the corner of her eye she saw it was her mother, trying desperately to cover up this obvious social blunder. The rest of the room was still silent, waiting for her answer. "Um…," she offered helplessly, praying for a solution.

"It's alright," Sam said, standing and flashing the room a confident, pearly-white smile. "I can see the answer in her eyes."

Evelyn felt her face grow red as he shoved the ring onto her finger and kissed her cheek. "Come outside with me," he muttered, taking her hand and leading her toward the doorway to fresh air. Their confused audience applauded out of politeness, and the party resumed as Sam and Evelyn escaped to his parents' beautiful balcony.

"What's wrong?" he questioned her, confusion crossing his light blue eyes.

"Sam… when did I give you the impression that I wanted to marry you?"

Sam's eyes flashed a look of shock. "It is obvious, Evelyn, that we are to be married," he said. "Our fathers are business partners, our families are high society… whom else would you marry?"

Evelyn sighed. "Sam, did God lead you to ask me to marry you tonight?"

"What do you mean…? Evelyn, He doesn't have to. Look, you put a lot of stock in what the Bible says, I know, dear." His voice had taken somewhat of a condescending tone. "But think of it – it's like we were betrothed since we were young children and our fathers decided to build their own law firm together. Just like Mary and Joseph were betrothed. So of course God would want us to be married."

Evelyn resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Sam," she started. "I do not feel that God has set us apart for each other, and that's what matters. You're a great guy, but I just do not feel that this is right."

"No, Evelyn." Sam was becoming angry now. He ran his fingers through his dirty blonde hair in frustration. "You do not know what you are talking about. Do you have any idea how much I spent on that ring?"

"Here," Evelyn said, slipping it off her finger and holding it out to him. "Return it. Please. I'm sorry for any confusion I've caused you."

Sam scowled at it, then snatched it from her. Evelyn silently thanked God that He was not calling her to put up with his temper for the rest of her life.

"I will be speaking to my father about this…," Sam growled threateningly as Evelyn left him and reentered the building. She quickly found her mother, who squeezed her shoulders and gave her a kiss on each cheek.

"Congratulations, darling!" Jacqueline, Evelyn's mother, exclaimed. "Have you two decided on a date?" Her eyes flashed suddenly as her daughter held up her left hand, now void of a ring. "Evelyn," she said sternly, looking around to make sure this wasn't overheard, "this is not a good family to cross."

"I understand, Mother," Evelyn replied, "but I simply cannot. I must leave now, forgive me." She was not sure what to say to her parents, but she was certain they wouldn't understand her true reasons for not marrying Sam. At the moment, she just needed to get out.

"Evelyn!" Jacqueline called sharply to her daughter's retreating back. This was awful news. It would undoubtedly put strain on the business relationship, and David, Jacqueline's husband, would be displeased to say the least. Evelyn, Jacqueline knew, needed to marry Samuel. The family's reputation depended on it.

But Evelyn ignored her and continued on her way out. Of course she understood the gravity of the situation, but she could not bring herself to marry anyone but the man God was planning for her. Still, her cheeks burned as she made her way through the masses, who tried in vain to stop her to find out what was going on. But no one could stop her tonight; she needed out. She was going home.

Author's Note: So? What do you think? Let me know if you like it; if I get enough support, I will continue!

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