When Jeremy asked Christy to marry him, she shouted yes as loud as she could. She absolutely was sure he was the man that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. He was muscular and super good looking but mostly because he was a good kind man and treated her like a princess. But when they set a date and started to plan the wedding, she started having second thoughts. She loved Jeremy with all of her heart but she just didn't know if she wanted to spend her life being married to a firefighter. She worried so much because he was often in dangerous situations. Also she hated his work schedule. He worked 48 hour shifts with 24 hours off in between. She had just graduated college and was about to start her teaching career in a week. She couldn't stop thinking, "We will have such different schedules, it will be hard to plan anything and I don't like the idea of being married and sleeping alone half the time."
She decided to bring up her concerns to Jeremy. He assured her that he is always extremely careful and that it is not very often that he is in any danger. "I can switch to 24 hour shifts anytime but I wont get paid as much. Also as far as planning things, I already have a lot of vacation time saved up." He said as he patted her back and gave her a hug.
"Even with the 24 hour schedule you will still be away over night. When we have kids, I will need you to be there. It's just not what I have always pictured my married life to be like."
"Are you saying I have to choose between you and my career?" Jeremy's voice cracked as he said it.
"No, no, no, I just need some time to think."
Jeremy had to go to work to start another 48 hour shift. Christy laid awake half the night thinking about it. The next morning she called her friend Katelyn and asked if she wanted to have lunch. "I really need to talk to someone." So Katelyn met her at their usual place and since it was such a beautiful day they sat out on the patio and had lunch. Christy told her how she was feeling and asked for her opinion. "I think you are crazy. Jeremy is so perfect for you. He is so good to you and he's so good looking. There are a lot of jerks out there. Trust me, everyone I have dated this year has been a jerk."
The girls talked about it all afternoon. Then right before they left, Katelyn gave her some good advice. "This is a huge decision and I'll tell you what I do when I have to make a big decision. I pray about it and then I stay busy and try not to think about it and then out of nowhere an answer will come. Why don't you come with me and my friend Carla to go check out the Winston house tomorrow?"
"What's the Winston house?" Christy asked.
"Its that beautiful old mansion down town."
"Is it the one people say is haunted?" Christy said with a scared expression.
"Yeah, people say that but I don't believe in ghosts. I want to go see it because I have been reading a lot about the history of the house. It is almost 200 years old. The first owners were the Winston's. They were a very wealthy family who owned most of the land that is now down town. Oh in the early 1900's a school teacher and her husband owned the home. They say that some of her teaching stuff is in the attic." Katelyn is a history teacher so all of this sounded awesome to her but Christy didn't look to interested.
"I don't know, is your friend Carla a history teacher too?" Christy asked.
"No, but she is a teacher and now you are a teacher, so it will be fun. School will be starting soon, so we wanted to get out and do something. Carla wants to go apple picking. So we are planning to go apple picking in the morning and then go tour the Winston house. You should come with us. It will be fun and it will help you to keep your mind off of your decision. I promise you, if you pray for an answer and then just stay busy, the answer will come to you."
"Alright, I'll go." They made plans to meet at the apple orchard at ten the next day. Christy had trouble getting to sleep again so by the time she finally fell asleep it was 3 am. She ended up sleeping till nine. She jumped up and decided to wear a plaid shirt that she thought looked perfect for apple picking. Then she quickly put on a little mascara. Her mom gave her some money and asked her to pick a lot of apples so she could make apple butter and some pies. She arrived at the orchard at the same time that Katelyn was pulling into the parking lot. They stood in the parking lot talking for a while. Katelyn noticed that she didn't see her friend Carla's car so she got out her phone to text her. Noticing that she had a text from Carla, she clicked on it and said, "Dang it, Carla isn't coming. She says she woke up with a terrible headache." She looked up at Christy, "Apple picking was her stupid idea. We can just skip it and go to the Winston house now."
"My mom gave me money to bring home apples. Come on this will be more fun than listening to some boring person giving us a tour around an old house."
"We aren't going to get a tour guide. I called this morning and they said it's open but on Wednesdays there is no guide. But don't worry I'm going to be your guide. I have read so much about this house, I will probably be a better guide than they could provide and I wont be boring." Katelyn smiled.
"Oh no, I remember that day when we went to the lake and I was just trying to relax floating around on my raft and you gave me an hour long lecture on how the lake came to be and how so many people opposed it and fought to keep their land. bla bla bla." Christy laughed and slapped Katelyn on the back. "Why does my best friend have to be a history nerd."
"Come on lets go pick some apples and then I'm going to give you an amazing tour around an amazing house. If you can honestly say it was boring, I will buy you lunch."
It was a beautiful morning and they had a lot of fun picking apples, they went through a straw maze with a bunch of little kids and then got in a bounce house full of children. One of the kids mothers yelled at them and said, "you two aren't supposed to be in there. It's for children under 12." Katelyn laughed and said to Christy as they were walking away, "Watch that lady be a mom of one of the kids in your class this year."
They left the orchard and rode together into the city. When they pulled up to the Winston house, Christy was so impressed. It was a gorgeous, huge stone mansion. It had a gigantic iron fence around the premise and beautiful stone retaining walls. They went in the front door and there was a lady at a desk in the foyer. She signed them in and told them that they have the place to themselves. "We don't get a lot of visitors on week days until school starts and then there are a lot of field trips coming through. Here is a map with some general information. Make yourselves at home and enjoy."
Right off the bat Katelyn started acting like a teacher telling Christy about the architecture and about the different family's who lived here starting with the Winston's. "You are boring me. I hope you have a lot of money to buy me lunch because I am starved." Christy slapped her friend on the back again. After checking out the main floor they went in the basement. It was a little scary so they didn't stay down there long. The house was 3 story's, so it took a while to get through all of the rooms, Katelyn wanted to talk about every piece of furniture and every artifact. As they walked into the last bedroom on the third floor, Katelyn said, "OK, this is why I'm so glad we don't have a tour guide. In one of the books I read about this place, it said that in this back bedroom there is a trap door in the ceiling of the closet. It should have pull down steps leading to the attic." She opened the closet door and clapped her hands together. "Yap, here it is." She reached up and pulled down the door and unfolded the ladder.
"Are you sure it's safe for us to go up there?"
"Yes, just be careful and look, I brought a flashlight just in case its dark up there." She pulled a tiny flashlight out of her purse. The attic was bigger than they expected. It had a wood floor and a high enough ceiling that they could stand and walk around. There was a window in the back, so they didn't need the flashlight. "Look over here." Katelyn was so excited. "This is the stuff I read about. The teacher who lived here about one hundred years ago. This is her stuff. The trunk says Viola Lincoln, that was her name." Katelyn opened the trunk and started going through it."
Christy whispered, "I just heard someone calling our names. Is it alright that we are up here?"
"I didn't hear anything." Katelyn said as she pulled more books out of the trunk.
"There it was again. I heard that lady who checked us in calling our names. I'm going back down the ladder to see what she wants." Christy climbed down the ladder and walked out to the hall way. She saw smoke coming up the stairs and the lady was calling their names from the first floor. She quickly ran back to the closet and up the ladder. "Katelyn this place is on fire."
"It is not you weirdo!" Katelyn said but as she looked up she could see that the attic was starting to fill up with smoke. "Oh my God." There was so much smoke at the bottom of the ladder. The girls didn't know what to do. Christy ran to the window in the back of the attic and opened it up and stuck her head out to get some fresh air. She could hear sirens in the distance. "I hear a fire truck." Both girls had their heads out the window gasping for air and yelling for help. Soon the lady who had checked them in. appeared in the back yard and looked up and saw the girls. "There you are. Are you alright." The sirens were getting louder. "I think the fire deptment is here." The lady yelled and ran off. Soon she returned with a fireman. He yelled up to the girls, "You are going to have to jump. We cant get the truck back here because of the big iron fence. Just jump, I will catch you." By that time the attic was so full of thick smoke that they both knew they had no other choice but to jump. There was so much smoke in their eyes that they didn't notice that the fireman was Jeremy. Katelyn jumped first. The fireman caught her just like he said he would. Then Christy closed her eyes and jumped. When she was safely in the arms of the fireman, she opened her eyes and saw who it was. Jeremy couldn't believe his eyes when he saw that it was Christy in his arms. He hugged her so tight and carried her around front to an ambulance, where an EMT treated her and Katelyn for smoke inhalation. The EMT determined that they were fine and didn't need to go to the hospital. When Christy got out of the ambulance and saw Jeremy with the fire hose putting out the fire. She thought to herself, "My hero!" She knew right then that he was definitely the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She looked over at Katelyn who was standing next to her watching Jeremy and the other firefighters putting out the fire. "You were right. I prayed for an answer, then took my mind off of what I should do and sure enough, the answer just came to me. He saved me."
The fire was determined to be electrical. Neither of the girls suffered any long term effects from the smoke. Jeremy and Christy were married the next June and Christy never ever complained about him being a fireman.