Rachel wrapped a plate in newspaper and set it down in the cardboard box on her counter. She reached for the next plate and the muscles in her neck groaned. Hopefully she could get out of the office early enough for a massage one day next week.
“How in the world did you get them to close on the house so fast?” Shannon asked as she taped a box of books shut in the next room.
“The house had been empty for four months and they were ready to be rid of it.”
“Drew didn’t have anything to do with it did he?” Shannon still kept his name in at least two or three conversations a day. Rachel hadn’t forgotten how perfect people thought he was for her, even after only a couple of dates. It wasn’t only Shannon. Her mom also made it a point to remind Rachel how wonderful he was. She put the last two plates down in the box and climbed off her step ladder.
“Shannon can you tape up my box too and I’ll label them.”
“Averting the question.”
“No, I’m not. He only helped me find the house. I don’t think he did anything to try to get me a better deal.” Rachel wrote “books” with a thick black marker that smelled similar to nail polish remover. “We need a new marker. This one is making me light headed.”
“That’s why I like it.” Shannon took the marker out of Rachel’s hand and sniffed it. “How did it go when you saw Drew again?”
“Fine. I’ve talked to him quite a bit.” Drew was his usual charming self but Rachel was a bit more reserved on the few occasions they’d been together, professionally, since the night at his house.
“I know but you put him off until after you got the house. Now you have the house. Do you think he will still be so easily put off?”
Shannon had plenty of reasons why Rachel had overreacted to his…aggression that night at his house. She was probably right. Rachel didn’t like to be led on either. On the other hand his reaction was only part of the reason she didn’t feel comfortable there. She felt, unsettled, there. But for the sake of peace she had learned to keep her opinion to herself when she was talking to Mom and Shannon. Those two matchmakers saw wedding bells in their eyes and she wasn’t in the mood right now to go through why it wasn’t going to happen.
“Who said I was going to put him off now? I never said I didn’t like him. I said I didn’t think it was smart to date someone who was helping me find a house.”
“Which makes no sense.”
Shannon picked up the box of books and moved it to the other side of the living room. There had to be at least three dozen boxes that needed to be moved in to the truck still sitting in this front room. Things were multiplying. There was no way she’d had all this stuff in her apartment. She picked up a long narrow box and started loading DVDs in to it.
“So are you going to go out with him again?”
“Of course.” Shannon brought CDs off of the music rack and stacked them next to her.
“I’m not sure. That Curtis guy is kind of cute too.”
“You don’t think so?”
“He’s not your type, remember.”
Of course she remembered what happened before but Curtis was different. Curtis was kind, gentle and funny.
Just like last time…
But this was completely different. He did nice things for no reason. Never once had they mentioned relationship but he brought her a dozen roses at closing. They were different colors and when she asked him why he’d said “Because I wasn’t sure which color would go you’re your new house better.”
Shannon wouldn’t see that though. All she remembered was when she had been hurt, in college. Shannon picked up the pieces. She had no idea how she would have gotten through those first couple of years without Shannon supporting her…watching out for her.
“So are those the only roses you’ve gotten recently?”
“Remember the little gift on your car.”
“Why in the world would you bring that up?”
“I noticed the flowers over there on your table.”
“Curtis gave those to me.”
“Nothing like that. He was at Mom’s when I stopped in to see Adam and he-.”
“No need to explain to me.”
Rachel’s cell phone chimed across the room on the end table. Shannon picked it up and looked at the screen.
“It says unknown.”
“Give it here.” She took the phone and flipped it open. “Hello?”
“Jeremy Wright. Our cars met about a month ago.”
“Oh Jeremy, hello.”
“I hadn’t heard from you on a bill. You aren’t going through your insurance are you?” His voice was at once concerned and scolding. It wasn’t a combination Rachel liked.
“No, I haven’t had the time to get it fixed. I’m in the process of moving.”
His voice softened. “I didn’t know you were moving. When will that be?”
“Oh, your moving at this moment. I’m really sorry to interrupt. Give me your new address when you get settled and I’ll send your check as soon as you get a quote.”
“You can send it to my address on the business card.”
“I’d feel better knowing that you got it and it wasn’t intercepted at work.”
“It’s fine. I’m co-owner so I usually open all the mail. You can use that address.”
“Oh, well then good. I see the address right here. I’ll wait to hear back from you.”
“Okay, bye.” She flipped the phone shut.
“Guy who hit your car?”
“Yep.” Rachel put the phone back on the small wooden end table and resumed packing. “Drew will be there today with my keys so we’ll have to call him when we get the first load in the truck.”
“The old owners forgot one set of keys so I didn’t get them all at closing. Drew offered to bring them by when we moved in.”
“I’ll bet he did.”
You are reading A Face in the Shadow by Tiffany Colter.
Tiffany is a writer, speaker and writing career coach. She is a frequent contributor to print and online publications in addition to her regular marketing blog at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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This story is copyright Tiffany Colter. 2007. It may not be copied, distributed, sold or included in any larger work without the expressed written permission of Tiffany Colter.
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