Rachel turned the air conditioning vents so they blew straight in her face. The sun beamed in the driver’s side of her car. Sweat ran down her back. Slowly her car crept along through the miles of construction zone that appeared a few weeks after she moved to her new house. She sipped on her large coffee. The morning commute was now forty-five minutes because of the orange barrels. She had yet to find that perfect balance between enough coffee to keep her awake the whole trip without sending her running to the first gas station restroom after the construction zone.
She hadn’t slept well the previous night so this morning she was failing at both. Her cell phone rang.
“Hi Shannon.” She said when she flipped it open.
“Quite the night owl. You on your way in yet?”
“How did you know I was up late?” She reached over to turn down the fan so she could hear better.
“I saw you sent me an email at two a.m. Sorry your date didn’t go so well.”
“I wouldn’t say it was a total waste. Especially for not knowing going in that it was actually a date.”
“I told you to stick with Drew.”
“I’m starting to think I should stick with being single. You know he called me a bubble.”
“Why did he call you a bubble?”
“It was some metaphor for how beautiful I am on the outside but lost on the inside. Some church analogy I guess.”
“Is that the only reason he asked you to dinner?”
“Nope. I guess he was inviting me on a date.”
Rachel craned her neck to try to see over the pickup truck in front of her but her car was too low. “What do you say to church people who want to impose their beliefs on you?” It was one of three questions that had pounded in her head until sweet sleep came sometime after three in the morning.
“Nothing. I don’t usually talk to them at all.”
“You believe in God though don’t you?”
“Sure but there is more than one path to God. I’m kind of cafeteria style. I think there is beauty in all faiths so I pull from each. That’s make me more spiritual than religious I’d say.” S
She turned the fan up a little more. The sun was baking her arm. “I’d say I believe the same thing. I see so much beauty in nature and the world around me. I don’t need to go to church to feel God.”
“It takes a strong person to go through what you did with Nate and still be willing to see beauty in God.”
She didn’t blame God. Well, God as she defined him. Not entirely. If the God of the Bible was real then it wouldn’t have happened. As much as she prayed it never would have happened. “You know it was good for me.”
“How in the world could it have been good?” Shannon sounded disgusted.
“I didn’t spend my whole life like some people following vapors. I saw without a doubt that I was in this world alone and -.”
“Yes and with you.” Rachel added. “But I was headed down this same blind path as my family and Curtis are.”
“You should be the one saving them.”
Rachel edged on to the shoulder and accelerated around the semi that had blocked her exit. “You know, I would, but I respect their beliefs and if it helps them deal with the world to think there’s some big guy upstairs then I’m not going to take it away.”
“You’re a better person than me. I’d throw it in their face the next time they tried to judge me. When do you think you’ll be here?”
“Should be by nine from the looks of traffic. I got around this semi so I’m finally starting to make some headway.” She accelerated around a minivan then hit the cruise control. “I’d say if not nine then nine-thirty.”
“This might cheer you up on your long commute.” Shannon’s voice was at once happy and ornery.
“I have a message here that Drew called and would like for you to call him on his cell.”
“And you waited to tell me this?”
She hung up with Shannon and stuffed her phone down in her purse. She had no idea what to do. She could go out with Drew again. Things had been pretty intense in the parking lot and it was definitely too soon to spend the night.
She felt around in her purse for her lipstick then used the rearview mirror to be sure she got it on straight. If she was honest with herself she wanted to be with a handsome man who acted a bit more like Curtis. Minus the church stuff.
Actually that wasn’t quite fair. Curtis had never acted like some crazed fanatic around her. That could change if they started dating though. Then there’d be the expectation that the little lady defer to her man. He’d never said any of that really. He might be open minded and willing to allow her to have beliefs that were different. There were people of different faiths that got married-.
See, right there was why she hadn’t gotten in to a relationship like this. Things get sticky, people get hurt and there’s no reason for it. It didn’t really matter who was right or wrong because it had nothing to do with life today, here, in this car.
She picked up her phone and scrolled through the phone numbers and keeping one eye on the traffic around her. A good God would not send a good person to hell. Her hand shook as she scrolled down through the Cs.
She couldn’t be with a man who made her uncomfortable.
Through the Ds.
She needed a man who could make her feel like a woman. Someone who could take away the pain. Who could erase all memory of what Nate had done. Some one who could fill her bubble.
Of the two men only one had offered that possibility.
She pushed send on her phone. He picked up on the second ring.
“Could we meet for dinner? I have something I need to talk to you about.”
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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