The Final Decision
By Faisal Fransu
The family of Mr. Charles consisted of himself, his wife and their sixteen-year-old daughter Madelyn. They lived in Campia, a country where girls were able to marry at the age of sixteen. Mr. Charles was a very wealthy man. But he loved his family more than his money.
Madelyn, or Maddy as she was called by her parents and most of her friends, was a very quiet and shy lady. She spent most of her time reading, writing, researching or doing her homework, which kept her busy most of the time. She had many friends; nevertheless, she never went out with them. She loved to be in quiet places.
Two young gentlemen had asked Mr. Charles to marry his daughter, but he could not trust them. In fact, he could not trust anyone to take care of her except himself and his wife. Therefore he said to the two gentlemen, "Prove to me that you love her. I give you a month to do something that shows that you are kind and honest. Do something heroic." But he did not tell Maddy about these two gentlemen.
These two gentlemen were Frank and Edmond, who were in all of Maddy's classes. They would look at her the whole time that they were in the class. She, however, kept herself busy with her work and ignored them.
But there came a day when she could no longer ignore them. As she was eating lunch in the cafeteria with several girls one day, Edmond came and sat with them. This took place after her father had asked him to prove his love for her.
"What's up, Ed?" said one of the girls.
"I've found a wife," he replied and put his head down. "But her father wants me to prove to him that I'm a good man."
"Who is she?" asked another girl excitedly.
"Can't tell you," answered Edmond.
When all the girls had left, Maddy remained sitting where she was, which gave Edmond an opportunity to talk to her.
"How are you doing?" he began.
"Fine, thanks. You?" She always answered in few words because she was very quiet and shy.
"So who are you going to marry?" Maddy asked, pretending to be interested in his affairs.
"He looked into her face and said, "Ummm… You."
Maddy blushed and hid her face in her arms. Then she got up and left. She did not want to marry him.
The next day, Maddy was walking in the school hallway when Frank stopped her and said, "I was wondering if you'd like to sit with me during lunch today."
"Sure…" she answered shyly.
She kept her promise. They sat together on one of the cafeteria benches.
Frank did not talk a lot because he knew how quiet she was. But he thought that feasting his eyes on her was better than his lunch.
Maddy was beginning to like him a little. She could trust him more than Edmond.
Meanwhile, Mr. Charles was monitoring the behaviour of both Edmond and Frank. He wanted to see which of them was a true gentleman. An old saying kept coming to his mind: "You will know them by their fruits."
Two weeks later, Mr. Charles went to do his usual work at the Hope Hospital when he heard that Frank Goodman, the man who had asked to marry his daughter, was at the hospital.
"What's wrong?" he asked the nurse who had told him the news.
"Both of his eyes are badly wounded," replied the nurse.
So being a kind man, Mr. Charles immediately went to the room where Frank was staying.
"You have a visitor, Frank," said his nurse.
"Who?" asked Frank, wondering who could be kind enough to visit him.
"It's me, Mr. Charles," said the visitor before the nurse could answer. "Could you please tell me what happened?
"I was walking down the street last night when a man who was drunk approached me and pointed his gun toward me. So I started running as fast as I could. But the man was faster than me. So he got in front of me and then shot me in both of my eyes."
"But the law gives you the right to use your gun if you're in a situation like this," interrupted Mr. Charles.
"Do not forget that Jesus taught us to love even our enemies," remarked Frank.
"I didn't know that you were a follower of Jesus," commented Mr. Charles in astonishment. "Through your actions I can see that you are a great gentlemen."
Mr. Charles and Frank talked about Maddy. Mr. Charles decided that he could trust Frank with his daughter.
So when he went home that afternoon, he asked, "Where is Maddy?"
"She left the house but didn't say where she was going to," responded his wife.
When Maddy heard about Frank's condition, she felt sorry for him. Therefore, she decided to pay him a visit.
"How good of you to come to see me," he remarked when she had entered and the nurse had left.
He told her that he was in love with her, to which she responded with a blush.
The next day, Mr. Charles learned from one of his friends that the person who had shot Frank was actually Edmond!
"Does he drink then?" he asked, horrified at the news. "And he wanted me to give him my daughter!"
When Frank had left the hospital, he came to visit the house of Mr. Charles. Maddy was not at home. So he had a long conversation with her parents about marrying her.
"I think that you deserve her," remarked her father. "You're a true Christian."
"But we have to talk to her first, of course," added her mother.
So when Maddy had returned that afternoon, her mother had a long conversation about marriage with her. Maddy only blushed.
"Take your time and think about it," was the last thing her mother said to her.
Maddy finally agreed to marry Frank. They did not have a big party. The wedding took place at her parents' house. So Frank and Maddy lived happily together until the day of their death.