// shameless fluff for your enjoyment //

I considered writing an insightful Valentine’s Day Post on waiting for God’s timing and true love and all that loveliness (which I did last year).

I also considered writing a “look-at-all-my-favorite-fictional-couples-aren’t-they-beautiful/heartbreaking/perfect?” post, like several other bloggers I’ve seen (which I will be doing at some point in the future).

…But then I remembered that I hadn’t posted a story drabble in awhile.

So here I give you a little oneshot written awhile back for Shadows Into Light, the story I attempted to write during NaNoWriMo. (Which, ahem, I haven’t finished yet. But I have got eighty pages; that has to count for something, right?)

It’s probably a bit cheesy in parts, and definitely fluffy overall, but today is kind of the Official Day for Romantical Fluff, so here you go.

This is what happens when you remove the wisdom teeth of an ex-criminal…

{the shadow lets slip that she’s full of light}

“Thanks again for doing this, Luke,” she tells him softly for the umpteenth time as he slows to a brief stop at an intersection. She isn’t looking at him, just keeps her gaze on the city flashing by her window as they drive by. Her fingertips tap out a frantic rhythm on the door-handle, the only indicator of her nervousness about this whole thing.

He sends her a swift grin, his eyes never leaving the road before them as he turns into the parking lot of the local dentistry. “Hey, don’t worry about it! I mean, it’s not like you could’ve driven yourself or anything.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not as if I have complete faith in your driving abilities either,” she retorts with a slight smirk as she pushes her raven hair behind her ears and unbuckles her seatbelt.

The redhead beside her turns to her with twinkling eyes and an overdramatic pout. “That hurts, Sierra. It truly does.”

She rolls her eyes as she gets out of the car and stretches, catlike. “Funny, considering that was one of my nicer insults.”

“Oh I know,” laughs Luke, undaunted, as he fairly springs out of the car and, shoving his hands deep in his jeans pockets, crosses over to where she’s still standing by the passenger door. “It’s still kinda weird to me that you even have to do this. You’ve never had surgery before, right?”

She throws him an odd look, her dark brow furrowed, as they step inside the dentist’s office. “What’s so weird about it? Nearly everybody gets their wisdom teeth out at some point.” She pauses as she goes to sign in, then follows Luke to go sit in the waiting area. “And no, no I haven’t.”

She sits down stiffly and rummages around in her black satchel, coming up with a small book. Luke arches an eyebrow at this, to which she retorts without even looking at him, “You don’t know how long we’ll be waiting. I always come prepared.”

Luke blinks several times and shrugs in defeat before leaning back in his chair and answering her previous question: “Well, it’s just weird to see you doing something normal like having surgery.” She arches an eyebrow and glances up from her book briefly, but he isn’t looking at her as he continues talking. “I mean, you’re Sierra Roth! You’re— well, you know.” She nods, understanding— they know better than to talk about their alter egos in public. Luke smirks at her. “I’m pretty sure there’s about a thousand different ways you could kill me if you wanted to.”

“A thousand and one, but who’s counting?” Her violet eyes stay trained on her book.

“My point exactly.” His grin turns rather smug. Yep, seeing the ruthless, distant ex-criminal Shadow under anesthesia oughta be fun…

It isn’t long before Sierra’s name is called, and there’s the briefest flash of panic in her eyes before she shoves her book back into her satchel, hands it over to him with strict instructions to “guard it on your life or I will end you”, and disappears down the hall behind the cheery assistant.

For a few minutes, Luke is fine to just sit there and play on his phone, but Luke Howard doesn’t do sitting-still-and-doing-nothing for long. Briefly he entertains the thought of snooping through her ever-mysterious satchel (and phone!), but decides against it; somehow, she’ll just know, and he doesn’t really feel like dying today.

Sighing, he discreetly checks his communicator, just to make sure the Light Squad doesn’t need him. Crime has been pretty light lately, partially due to the defeat of Emperor and his cohorts, but as Josh used to say, it wouldn’t be smart for the team to drop their guard. It’s not like I can just leave Sierra here anyway, Luke thinks with a small smile as he puts his communicator back in his pocket. She wouldn’t let me go— not without her, anyway. Stubborn.

It seems like f o r e v e r, but finally the assistant pops her curly head out of the door and beckons for him to come back. “The procedure is finished; she’s just now waking up.”

He jumps to his feet with a wide grin; the assistant smiles knowingly as she leads him back to the little floral-wallpapered room where Sierra is sitting up in her chair and playing absentmindedly with her long raven hair. Upon Luke’s entrance, she looks up and grins sleepily around a mouthful of cotton and gauze. “Whoa, who’s the hot guy?”

The oral surgeon and the assistant both laugh, while Luke’s face turns as red as his hair. “Um… is this normal?” he asks the surgeon weakly, raking a hand through his copper curls.

The doctor grins and nods as he gathers his things and prepares to move on to his next patient. “Oh yes, it’s common for patients to forget who certain people are— the anesthesia will last for an hour or so, and later on she may not remember anything that’s happening right now. You’ll have to watch her, make sure she’s not messing with her mouth— if the stitches get unraveled, she’ll be in a lot of pain once the anesthesia wears off.”

The assistant hands Luke a list of prescriptions to pick up, foods and drinks Sierra can and can’t have, and other little notes to ensure her smooth recovery. Luke thanks her and turns to the girl in the chair, who is now lying back and staring up at the ceiling, humming a little tune he doesn’t recognize. “Hey, Sierra, you ready to go?”

She blinks up at him confusedly before smiling and nodding. She stands and wobbles, and Luke goes to help steady her; she giggles— Sierra Roth, giggling?— and leans on him as they check out and walk outside to his car.

He opens the door for her and holds back his snickers as she struggles with buckling the seatbelt. “The red button— yeah, that one, right there, there you go.”

After about a minute of silent driving, Sierra turns to him with wide, curious eyes. “What’s your name again?”

“Luke.” He flashes her a quick grin. “Luke Howard, or Inferno. You can’t stand me most of the time, but we’re pretty good friends now. Remember?”

She thinks this over for a moment and nods. “That’s right. I know you! We live together.” A grin grows slowly on her pale face. “We’re superheroes.”


Silence again as she stares blankly out the window, then starts patting at her cheeks. “Luke?”


“What’s up with my face?”

He lets out a chuckle at that. “You just got your wisdom teeth taken out.”

There’s a quiet gasp from her side of the car, and when he glances at her he’s stunned to see that her violet eyes are filling with tears. She never cries, never, and so this is very concerning. “Whoa, Sierra, what’s wrong?”

“Luke— how can I save the world if my wisdom is gone?!” She’s genuinely distressed by the thought.

He tries not to laugh. Really, he does. But good grief, this side of Sierra is way too rare and adorable to not be funny.

“…You’re mocking me, aren’t you?”



Now it’s really a struggle not to laugh. “You’re just really cute when you’re like this,” he tells her, not fully realizing what he just said.

“Hmph. That’s what the government wants you to think.” Her scowl would be dangerous if her cheeks aren’t puffed out like a chipmunk’s.

“Hey Luke?”



“Yeah, Sierra?”

“I can’t feel my face.”

“I know, don’t worry— you’ll be able to feel it later.”

“I sure hope so! Ooh, Luke, can I get a milkshake please?”

“Sure, why not?”

They pull through a Chickfila drive-thru, and Luke has presence of mind enough to remember to ask for a spoon with the milkshake. Sierra accepts the cookies-and-cream treat happily and immediately goes to drink it like normal.

“Sierra, no, wait! You can’t drink out of a straw right now— here, take this spoon.”

She levels him with a glare that’s more like the Sierra Roth he knows. “I don’t want your spoon. I’m a big girl! I can do this!”

“I know you can, but not while your mouth is trying to heal.”

“I’ve saved your life lots of times, and you don’t think I can drink a milkshake? UNBELIEVABLE. You want me to die, don’t you?”

Eventually he manages to convince her to eat with a spoon (or more like she completely forgets their argument ten seconds later), and for a few minutes the drive is peaceful.

But then the peace ends when Sierra starts rambling in between spoonfuls of milkshake-y goodness. “Ya know, when we get home, I’m gonna read my favorite book. Yeah, that sounds good.”

“Oh, really? What’s your favorite book?” he asks conversationally, fully expecting it to be Lord of the Rings or The Book Thief or some other complex, well-renowned book like that.

“Pride and Prejudice, duh!” She beams, and he throws her a look of surprise.

“Seriously? But isn’t that a historical romance novel?” As she’s said time and time again, Sierra Roth doesn’t do romance. Wonder what else she’s hiding from us?

She laughs, actually laughs out loud, and Luke has to admit to himself that it’s a wonderful sound. I really ought to try making her laugh more often… “Of course it is! I love an interesting love story.”

“You don’t say?” His grin turns mischievous. “Never pictured you to be the type.”

“Love is a lovely thing,” she says, then giggles at herself. “You know what my favorite love stories are? The ones where they start out hating each other and then accidentally love each other at the end. Those are the greatest ever. Kind of like ours!”

In his utter shock, Luke jerks the wheel and very nearly ends up crashing his car into a tree right beside the road. After taking a moment to regain control, all he can let out is a confused stutter of, “W-what did you just say?”

Sierra huffs in exasperation. “Our love story, silly! Like it isn’t obvious.”

Luke blinks rapidly for a long moment, his brain trying to wrap itself around what she’s saying. (It isn’t working very well.) “Um… well, it wasn’t obvious to me.” He paused. “I thought I annoyed you?”

She shrugs and takes another spoonful of cookies and cream. “You do. Mostly. But you’re also kinda funny sometimes.”

Now that’s the real shocker— she’s always the first to say that his jokes are lame. What’s up with that? Is she being serious right now or is this just some weird anesthesia thing? Agh girls are so confusing! “So wait, hang on, you’re saying that all this time you’ve made fun of and gotten mad at me— you actually care about me?!”

She turns away to look out the window, gets really quiet and whispers, “Y’know, I probably shouldn’t have said that… you’re not mentally stable enough to deal with such news, and I don’t want to die today thanks.”

Despite his inner turmoil, he can’t help but laugh at the irony of it all. “You know what? We should probably wait and have this conversation tomorrow. Why don’t you— um, take a nap or something?” At her confused glare, he adds quickly, “Well, you can’t talk too much or else you’ll mess up your stitches. And if you come out of this in more pain than usual you’re going to want to hurt me.”

She frowns and mutters something under her breath, digging around at the bottom of her milkshake. To him she says only, “Okay, but you’re being a silly about this. Just ‘cause I can’t feel my face doesn’t mean I don’t know how I feel… wait…” Her nose scrunches up in confusion. “What am I even saying? I need to use the sleep or something.”

He laughs as they pull up into their team’s little apartment complex, parking in his personal spot in the garage. “‘Use the sleep’? Yeah, you really do.” He goes to hold the door open for her, wondering if he should still say what he’s thinking, and then he draws up his courage and presses forward: “Oh, and Sierra?”

“Hmm?” She smiles sleepily and genuinely up at him as she stands.

Luke grins and holds out his hand for her to hold as he guides her unsteady feet up the garage steps and into the complex’s common area. “When the anesthesia wears off… just, just know that it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to show us— me— who you really are. Okay? Because you’re awesome.”

Sierra’s smile is bigger and happier than he’s ever seen it, and he thinks distractedly that it’s absolutely breathtaking. Impulsively, she reaches out and— as if her previous actions and words haven’t been shocking enough— hugs him. Actually hugs him! He’s pretty sure this is the first time she’s ever initiated one— and it’s nice, really it is.

“Thank you muchly,” she says happily, and he laughs and hugs her back briefly before pulling back.

She insists on going and saying hi to the rest of their teammates before heading to bed, and then she goes off to ‘use the sleep’ (hopefully until the anesthesia wears off and she’s fully Sierra again), and Luke slips away from his friends not long after that. He’s got some thinking to do, so he does what he always does when he needs to think: goes for a long walk throughout the city.

As… um, interesting as today was, he’s got a feeling that tomorrow’s going to be even more so.

Still, despite his sense of impending doom, he can’t do a thing to smother the huge grin on his face as he wanders around the city he and the team fight to protect.

Who knew that Sierra’d admit to actually liking me— and thinking I’m funny! AND maybe even being in love with me! This is seriously the best day ever.

Bless you, mandatory wisdom teeth removal…


Hopefully this made you smile at some point or another. Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you all and am so grateful for you! ❤

{love always, Em}

He’s worth it. // to the girl who sat behind me //

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance; the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

// C.S. Lewis / Mere Christianity //


“Hey, Emily.” A light tap on my shoulder.

I turned around expectantly; it wasn’t unusual that the girl behind me in the contemporary issues class was talking to me. We had had a class together before, and were on pleasant terms with each other, even though we didn’t have that much in common. This was the girl who had once called me a “good girl” (yes, it was as condescending as the italics make it look) because I don’t smoke or drink and have never had a boyfriend (and am perfectly content where I am on all those issues). No, she wasn’t trying to be condescending; looking back, I think she simply didn’t understand why I live the way I do. But she was nice to me, and had good intentions, and overall I liked her.

I was expecting this question to be about homework, or roughly related to whatever it was the Coach was discussing that day, and was a bit caught off guard when it turned out to be, “If someone with a gun came in this classroom right now and asked if you believed in God– like, he was going to kill you if you did– would you say yes?”

I blinked, processing the seemingly random question, then smiled and replied with a certainty that surprised even me, “Yes, I would.”

That confident response wouldn’t have come from the younger me. She would’ve hesitated, maybe tried to dodge the question, or if she was feeling particularly truthful, say, “I don’t know. It depends.”

But the older me, the saved-by-grace and eternally-changed me– she knows. She knows that, no matter the circumstances, no matter how afraid she might be, when it comes down to the point of that split-second decision, she could never live with herself if she denied her Jesus.

The girl sort of nodded and half-smirked. “Yeah, that’s what I expected you to say. You’re a good Christian girl.”

And there was that “good girl” thing again. I hummed, mentally biting back my “it’s not about me being good” thoughts, then returned the question: “Well, what about you? What would you say?”

The girl shrugged, an indifferent expression on her face. “I’d say no! I mean, sure, I believe there’s a God. But He’s not worth dying for or anything.”

He’s not worth dying for.

The response shouldn’t have stunned me, but it did.

And I wish, oh how I wish, that we hadn’t been in the middle of class when all this happened. Because if I had been able to talk to her uninterrupted (how dare they try to teach us things at school xD), I would’ve been able to share my heart with her, share the Gospel.

As it was, I got to hear some of her beliefs, and share a couple of my own– but not enough, not nearly enough. Or at least, that’s how I felt.

Because oh, dear girl– He’s so worth dying for. And living for. And knowing personally. And loving. And praising. How I wish you could see that, because knowing God changes everything, and it’s the best decision you could ever make.

And I get that you didn’t grow up in the Bible Belt like I did. I get that you didn’t go to church often. I get that, compared to others, you’re a relatively good person. I get that you don’t believe in a heaven that could be better than this world. I get that you don’t really care all that much about any of it.

I get it. Really, I do.

But see, knowing God, being a Christian– that has nothing to do with where you grow up, nothing to do with how often you step inside the church, nothing to do with your being a good person.

It does, however, have a lot to do with caring.

Because, see, none of us can afford to simply not care one way or the other on matters of eternity. It’s so easy, especially growing up in the Bible Belt (ask me how I know), to be a churchgoer but not a Christ-follower. And honestly? Complacency like that, that’s one of the most dangerous positions to be in.

Christ Himself once said, “If you deny me in front of men, I will deny you in front of my Father.” That verse kept running on replay in my mind as you and I talked that day. Can you even imagine– dying (much later, because you said “no” that one day and escaped the gunman) and meeting Jesus face-to-face and finally realizing just how important Christianity really was, only for Him to turn away from you and say, “I never knew you”? Can you comprehend the heavy burden, the chilling loss of that scenario?

One of the things each of us longs for most is to be known. To be seen as we are and loved all the same. And God offers that gift of grace and unconditional love to us every single day– if we choose to accept it, if we choose to follow Him. He knows you, dear heart, even though you don’t know Him. He sees the brokenness you don’t share with anyone, He knows your hurts and your sins and the darkest parts of you and girl, He loves you. And He will love you even though you would deny Him, even though you claim to not care.

But what He will not do is go back on His Word. And this is what His Word says about lukewarm believers– those who don’t take a stand one way or the other:

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

// Revelation 3:15-16, KJV //

What this means is that not making a decision about God is still making a decision in the end. If Christianity is real, if God is real, if Christ really died to save us and rose again– then this is infinitely important. This is eternity we’re talking about here. You can’t just cast it aside; eventually, like it or not, you will have to come face-to-face with it. And more than anything, I pray that when you do, you’ll be welcomed home by Jesus with a smile and a, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But this can only happen if you choose Him.

And I get that it can be hard to hope in heaven; how can we believe in the unseen? But surely you’ve felt it, that longing for a home and a belonging that you haven’t quite found yet, that quiet ache in your soul that says there has to be something more than this. That longing in your heart, that’s seeking heaven, seeking God. Please, please don’t tune out that longing. Because if I’m being honest here, I can’t understand how you can get through life without the hope of something more than this broken world we live in. If I didn’t have hope in heaven, faith in Christ, I would be such a wreck. I can’t even fathom it, and I don’t want to. But hope in heaven is something like this:

“The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory 

All you have to do is knock, dear girl, and the door will be opened to you. And I’m praying that someone else will come along and plant the seeds in your heart for you to see the importance of approaching the door. I’m praying that, someday, you’ll make a choice– and that it will be Jesus. Salvation. Joy. Peace. Hope.

And I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I probably didn’t do a good job of representing my Savior to you. I’m sorry for all the missed opportunities. But someday… someday, I pray, we’ll be able to celebrate because we’ll be in heaven together, for all of a beautiful eternity.

Every hesitation or doubt you have– don’t let that keep you from looking into Christianity yourself. Don’t let complacency keep you from making a choice.

Do you want to know why I said yes, I would die before denying Christ?

He did the same for us. For you. He died for your sins because He loves you that much– even while you act like you don’t care about Him, He loves you and He knows you and He wants you to come home. He wants you to follow Him.

I promise you, it’s worth it.

He’s worth it.

{love always, Em}