He grabbed it and pushed himself to the surface.
It wasn’t Ellie! It was some swarthy man with crooked teeth and a single, ugly unibrow. Fortunately, the man’s punch had been slowed by the water. Ignoring him, Richard dove back under in search of Ellie. He broke the surface a moment later, hating that this try was fruitless.
The ugly Russian was swinging back his arm again. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a huge iron hook bashed the man in the face and caught him under the chin.
Richard looked up, amazed. Mrs. Candy was using the anchor as a man-hook and her fishing skills were top-notch. She’d knocked the Russian senseless, and hooked him, too! And now, with amazing strength Richard knew would have to be God-given, she was hauling the unconscious man into the boat.
Ellie! Tossing aside all other thoughts, he dove again, praying as he hadn’t prayed in a very long time. Easter was coming, and a deep, needy part of him knew what new life really meant.
Save her, Lord!
When his lungs could stand the strain no more, he broke the surface again. He was tiring fast, and grabbed the side of the boat to catch his breath.
Through fogginess, he noted that Mrs. Candy had tied up the Russian with the anchor rope, then reached forward to snag her purse. Suddenly, she let out a whoop and grabbed the steering wheel of the boat. Standing, with her purse neatly over her arm like the Queen on her walkabout, she hit the gas.
Richard could barely hang on to the side and she maneuvered the boat through the water. “Are you nuts? Stop the boat! Ellie’s down there!”
Richard twisted about, spying Ellie as she broke the surface of the water near the far shore. Shoving himself away, he swam with renewed strength toward her.
He caught Ellie just as she dipped below the water again. He tried to swim back, but found he could touch bottom. Encouraged, he pushed closer to the shore, until Ellie’s limp frame found the bottom, too.
She fell deeper into his arms.
“No! Ellie, you’re not going to die on me. Listen, look at me! I let you go five years ago because I was stupid, but I’m not going to let you go now. So stay with me, Ellie. I love you!”
She blinked up at him. A smile grew on her features and she banged her head on his chest.
Much later, still on shore, with the sun beating warmly on them, and the police on their way across the water, Ellie huddled closer. “Were you really going to let the egg and the spy go, all for me?”
“Absolutely. I let my work get between us before and I learned how stupid that was.”
“And I have realized that I was selfish to demand so much of you. God taught me that. Just in time for Easter, I’d say.”
“Do you still like chocolate?”
“Good, because I’m going to give you a much better Easter Egg Hunt than the one we’ve been on. Every Easter from now on, right after church. For the rest of our lives.”
Blessed Easter, all!