Velvety Smooth Red Velvet Cake
Deacon Perry said, “Come on, Charlotte. You’re going to make yourself sick.” He escorted her to one of the folding chairs and then turned back to the group. “It’s true. Pastor Griffin did leak the video. I went to him first, asking to offer some type of protection for Charlotte, to help us get to the bottom of the leak. He just laughed.” Hanson Perry shook his head. “Told me since he was planning to divorce her anyway, I’d now have my opportunity to get with her,” he shook his head. “I’ve never known anyone so cold.”
Charlotte said, “Deacon Perry has never said or done anything inappropriate or out of order with me.”
“I love Charlotte as the First Lady of our congregation. I only wanted to help her.”
Uncle Frank said, “Tell them about the loan.”
Deacon Perry sighed. “Pastor Griffin took out the mortgage loan two years ago. He made sporadic payments, just enough to keep the bank quiet. Six months ago, he stopped paying altogether. One of the bank managers called me after failing to reach either Pastor Griffin or Deacon Kieran.”
“I told y’all,” Kieran protested. “I didn’t know nothing about that.”
“Anyway,” Perry continued. “I confronted Pastor Griffin about loan.”
“When?” asked Mama Lou.
“Right after his announcement that he was retiring the Deacon board. He never had any intentions of repaying the loan. He wanted the land. Apparently, some real estate developer made an offer to purchase the land in order to build a new shopping mall. From the beginning, his plan had been to bankrupt the church, buy the land at a steal, then sell it to the developer for a generous profit.”
Izzy said, “yeah, he said something like that to me too. He used the money from our . . . exchange . . . to purchase the loan from the bank.” Izzy toed a large duffle bag into the center of the room. “This money.”
Deacon Perry and Uncle Frank eyed him in puzzlement. Izzy gestured for them to open the bag. Hanson unzipped the bag then peeled back the folds. Stacks of hundred dollar bills were revealed to the room.
“That’s a quarter mill. Money he’d siphoned from the church. I couldn’t let him destroy the church. Being with Delilah, feeling her love for me and for God, has shown me . . . well . . . there’s a calling on my life. I just gotta figure out how to repent for all the bad stuff I’ve done. I figured this was as good a place to start as any.”
While the small group eyed the overstuffed bag, Mama Lou asked, “How did you get the money back?”