Legacy…what is yours?

legacy

Zella. Theron. Savillia. Can you identify these words?

To me, they sound like names from those prescription ads. You know, the ones with a bazillion side effects. The pills that might kill you but you won’t have any nicotine cravings. Ahem. Anyways, these words aren’t prescriptions at all. They are first names. (Zella born1898, Theron born 1856, Savillia born 1901)

Behind my house, in a half-mile stretch, lay two centuries worth of humanity. Okay, it’s a cemetery, but to me, it’s a sliver of history. Each plot holds a life story. Dreams, fears. Failure, success. Did they love? Were they loved? How were they remembered after they were gone? All of this caused me to wonder about legacy.

Sounds deep, but it’s not…really. It’s what you leave behind. How do you want to be remembered? When your children are grown, how would you like them to reflect on their childhood? Maybe to reminiscence on how you were their rock—always steady and reliable. Maybe to consider you as their peace—always had soothing tones and loving arms after a day in the chaotic world.

If there was only one thing my kids remembered about me, I want it to be my love for Jesus. I soooo want to instill that into my children. Everything else hinges off of it. That’s why I read my Bible in front of them. Pray in front of them. And, those times when Momma loses her cool, I repent in front of them. Why? I want them to see Mommy’s relationship with Jesus is real and constant. Not just Sunday mornings, Christmas, and Easter.

It’s important for those two sets of eyeballs to see that their parents needed a Savior. Yes, for the big things but also for the small. Decisions, strength, and even to love the not-so-lovely. That Jesus isn’t just a picture on the wall or a story on a page, but an ever-present Lord who wants to be included in the details of our lives.

I saw on my facebook feed a quote—Teach your children to love Jesus, because there’s a world out there that will teach them not to.

So what about you? What legacy would you like to leave? Tell me in a comment below. Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

(Photo credit- Columbiana Firestone Cemetery)

My daughter, my hero

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We all face challenges. You know, that certain evil that shows up wearing boxing gloves. And the fight is on. This obstacle may be easy for others to overcome, almost frustratingly simple to them, but for some reason we struggle with it.

My daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was three. Everyday her eyes open and she climbs the mountain to win the day. Fighting to express her feelings. Searching for the right words, so mommy could understand.

As a parent, you hate to see your child struggle. Hate to see her miss out on things she should be participating in. Hate to see her tear-stained face when the frustration overwhelms her. It hurts. A lot.

She’s just like every other child. She loves to giggle and be silly. Swing on a breezy day. And she can’t resist a good knock knock joke.

One thing that I wish I could tell every person is how much she understands. I have witnessed the bloom in her eyes wilt when a negative comment is directed toward her. Just because she couldn’t voice it, doesn’t mean she couldn’t comprehend it. She does hear it. She knows it. She feels it. Yet, she rallies. Gets up and trudges on. My blue-eyed darling.

Because I home school her, I evaluate her often. The attribute she possesses that astounds me the most is persistence. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that fabulous. Like when I tell her NO a gazillion times and she won’t surrender the notion. But, there’s beauty in her sounding out a difficult spelling word and not stopping until it’s conquered. Or when she rewinds an educational DVD incessantly until she has it memorized. (really, the child learned her months of the year in five minutes.) I am awed by that. Already, she has mastered life skills that no one expected her to pass. And she’s not done yet. 🙂

Then, there’s her heart. So pure. So honest. She loves her Jesus. In fact, she calls her Ipod her “By Jesus” because she would take videos of herself quoting Bible scriptures and singing Bible songs. Her favorite—By Jesus stripes you were healed. I melt every time. (I just imagine how sweet it sounds in God’s ear.)

So my hero doesn’t don a cape but a princess dress. My hero doesn’t fly but can do a mean somersault. My hero inspires me to be stronger, to love greater, and to rule in life. My hero answers to the name—Maegan.

 

Thanks for reading! What challenges do you face? I’d love to pray for you. Any recent victories? Share below in the comments or just say HI! 🙂

 

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Did you know there are paramount romances that never win an academy award? Unsurpassed stories of undying love that never grace the NY times bestseller’s list? Why? Because they are lived.

The story of Dale and Cathy:

 

He stared down at the enlistment papers. A sober feeling weighted his soul.

“You don’t have to sign.” Frank placed a solid hand on his son’s shoulder. “You can graduate first. Get your diploma and then enter flight school.”

But Uncle Sam needed him. He never considered himself patriotic but the horrific dealings of the Nazis had to be stopped. Had to. And, there was the opportunity…to fly. The very thought made his fingers itch to clutch the stick grip of his own aircraft.

But what about her? She dreamed of him escorting her to the senior prom. Even had the dress. And boy would he miss seeing her in it. Did she understand? Did she know how important this was? Would she wait for him? A punch in the gut seemed more comfortable than the thought of Cathy Ripple on another man’s arm. He could lose her. He could lose his life. Was it worth it?

He heard his dear mother sniffle when he leaned over and signed—Dale E. Karger.

There. No going back now.

 

Cathy walked home from school in silence, leaving her classmates to giggle in her shadow. Just great. Being reprimanded today in Biology for not paying attention would irritate her parents. But how could she contemplate the anatomy of a frog when his letter was burning a hole in her pocket. More like burning a hole in her heart.

Her daily ritual consisted of storming the mailbox for any news of him and, yesterday, she squealed like a grammar school girl when she spied his correspondance under the Woolworth’s circular. She read it a hundred times over, memorizing passages, sighing over his endearments, wishing he were closer than five thousand miles away. She retrieved the letter from her sweater pocket and pressed it against her chest. This was as near as she could get to him.

Pride swelled when he wrote that he earned his wings, graduating in the first army training class. Before men had to go to college to receive officer status. She smiled. Now he’d be known as 1st Lieutenant Karger instead of the filling station kid. What stories he’ll have when he gets back. Oh, please come back, Dale.

Her insides tangled worse than her mother’s knitting yarn. Everyday, she heard of casualities on the radio news hour. Everyday, she read of gruesome attacks in the Post Gazzette. Everyday thousands died.

War.

She hated it. Hot tears stung as she raced for her bedroom. Behind the closed door, she dropped to her knees, not caring if her new stockings tore. Lord, bring him home to me. She sat back on her heels, as the grief tore into her. What was her prayer compared to the millions pushed in His ear. Who was she that God Most High would listen? At once, she felt small. “Oh Lord, please…

She couldn’t finish for the sobs took over, drowning her feeble voice.

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“She’s a beut.” Kenneth ran his hand across the metallic curves.

“Watch it, wingman.” Dale crouched on the right wing. “She’s my girl.” Dale could gawk all day. The sun joined in by bouncing its beams off the silver body. His own P51 Mustang. He couldn’t think of a happier past time than spraying bullet holes in the side of the Luftwaffe aircrafts. Yes, the Cathie Mae was going to do some damage.

“Still can’t believe you named your plane after a dame.” His wingman shook his head in disapproval.

“Not just any dame.” He tugged the collar of his leather flight jacket, shielding him from the whipping air. “When this war’s over, I’m going to marry her.” If their love withstood the trial of war then it would overcome the challenges of a lifetime.

And it did.

***

Here are some notes:

  • The Cathie Mae did perform beautifully in combat. Dale shot down seven enemy planes, resulting in him gaining Ace status.
  • He was the youngest Ace in his squadron and third youngest in the entire war.
  • After a separation of three years, Dale and Cathy forfeited a huge wedding for an elopement.

Thanks for reading the story of Dale and Cathy. I was going to write this in narrative form, but this was more fun—To bring to life their memories. Love for each other flowed out of the love they had for Jesus. Their marriage lasted for over sixty years before Dale went to Heaven. Cathy followed not long after.

If you haven’t figured it out, I am their youngest grandchild. 🙂 Growing up, Poppy didn’t get into all the details of war-life, though, now I wish he had. This Valentine’s Day would have been his ninety-first birthday.

As for Grandma, she was always small framed, but goodness she was strong. She had a picture hanging in her house that read—Time spent kneeling, makes you stand. God’s faithfulness brought her sweetheart back and kept them together even into eternity.

So Poppy and Grandma, I know in heaven there are no blogs, but I dedicate this post to you. Thank you for showing me what undying love was through your example.

The picture below is how I remember them. (photo curtesy of Lisa Tice Photography)

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Do you have an inspiration? Maybe someone who influenced your life for the better? Who showed you what real love meant? Share in a comment below or just say “HI!”

Thanks, Again!

starin3

Rejection. When it happens, it’s crumby. Really crumby. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s big brother Failure shows up, and the two evils whip the confidence out of you. Stripping you of hope and stomping on your dream. The very thought of trying again hurts.

My first attempt at writing was…well eye-opening. My novel was an eighty thousand word historical romance. I polished it the best I knew and sent it off to the professionals. A few months later I received a response in form of a letter. Rejected. The eighty thousand words I gave them was returned with two—Melodramatic and Telling. Ouch. All the time I poured in, late nights and early mornings. Finger cramps and eye strain. *slight exaggeration on the finger cramps, but you get my point.

For one, I had no clue what telling was. Weren’t you supposed to tell, in forms of storytelling? (This right here proved I was not ready for the big dogs)

Through family encouragement, I picked myself off the proverbial threshing floor. I researched. I applied myself to learning through successful authors and editors. Do I have it all down? Not. Even. Close. But I am better than when I started.

And the best part is, it’s not about publication. That’s not my dream. Yeah, it would be nice. Really nice. But it’s bigger than that. I want to prove to God I can finish strong. To say “Looky God, I didn’t quit! I may have tripped, but You gave me the grace to get back and spit in failure’s face!” That’s the purpose. To prove myself faithful. To be obedient to a calling much bigger than Rachel McDaniel.

So in line with that, here’s the first step of obedience my husband and I faced—

Staring into the Sun (final edition)

 

***

 

June 28, 2002

 

The gravel crunched underneath Rachel’s sandal. Standing at the edge of the driveway she gazed out. The horizon was hazy, limiting visibility. Her sentiments exactly. Could she see beyond her little world? She puffed her cheeks with air and exhaled slowly. It’s been the same house her entire existence. Same town. Same…well everything. Could she do this? Lord, what’s out there?

“Skies are prettier in Oklahoma.” His voice floated over her shoulder. She turned to find Scott, leaning against his Chevy S10 hands stuffed in his pockets. How long had he been there? “It’s flat. Hills don’t get in the way of the view.”

She smiled. “Did you like living there?” The closest she’d ever been to the panhandle state, was in the high school auditorium in fifth grade. If the state was anything like the musical named after it, then she’d be in trouble. All she remembered was that annoying title song and someone named Jed dying. Or was it Jud?

“I was a kid when we went and it was only for two years. It’ll be different when we go, though.” He held out his arms. “Come here.”

“Is it time?”

“Almost.” He pulled her into arms for a good bear hug. “I know this is different for you. I’ve moved several times. I’m used to it.”

She rested her head on his chest, breathing the scented threads of his Abercrombie T-shirt. Curve cologne, never gets old.

“One thousand miles. We can do this.” His pressed a kiss on her forehead. “One thing is for sure.”

Rachel pulled away to look up into his face. “What? What one thing?” Did she forget something? She’d never before packed up her whole life. If she came out only missing a toothbrush, then she’d done well.

“No driving by yourself for at least a couple months.” Amusement filled his eyes. “I have never known someone with a worse sense of direction than you.” He didn’t even try to conceal his laughter.

Rachel attempted to look offended, but couldn’t. What could she say? Guilty. She gets turned around in Wal*Mart. “Deal. But that means you’re stuck as my chauffeur, Mister.” She wagged her finger at him.

“Then shall we get started?”

It hit.

“I don’t want to get stuck in Columbus at rush hour.” He pulled open the passenger door and peered at the stash of her belongings. “Are you going to be comfortable sitting like that? It’s a fifteen hour drive.”

What, it’s only her make-up bag, purse, snacks and a roll of paper towels. Oh and a set of flip-flops, employed as easy slip-ons for the numerous bathroom trips ahead. Essentials. Traveling light, I think. “Boy, you are going to have to acclimate with living with a woman.”

“I don’t mind.” He wiggled his eyebrows and Rachel swatted his arm. Men.

With seatbelts fastened and Third Day on the stereo, they pulled out of the drive. Excitement swept over her the like breeze through her window.

It wasn’t two miles down the road, when her stomach growled. Rachel frowned. Half a bagel never cuts it. Never.

“Look in the glove box, Rach.” He motioned with his head.

She pushed the latch and the door fell open, exposing the L&B bag. Doughnuts. Yep, he’s a keeper. “Thanks, babe.” The chocolate-iced sprinkle doesn’t stand a chance.

“You ready for this?” Scott flicked the turn signal on.

Route Seven. The first main road of their journey. Her stomach was doing funny things. Was is nerves? Excitement? Too much complex sugar? “I’m ready.” Ready as much as she could be.

“We’re on our way, Sweetheart.” The sides of his mouth turned up as he pulled the steering wheel to the right. “At last we won’t be staring into the sun.”

Wait. What? “How come?”

Scott chuckled. “You’re strengthening my case here.”

“About what?”

“Directions. Rach, the sun rises in the east. We’re going west to Oklahoma. The sun will be behind us.”

No, no, no. This wasn’t how they were supposed to start. This was all wrong. Or…was it. Maybe she was mistaken. The sun should be the driving force behind them. Rather, the Son. Watching over them. Pouring into them. Staring into them. It was time to believe in the strength that always had her back. Cheering her on. Catching her if she fell. What’s behind her gave her the faith to take on what’s ahead of her. Shine on, God. Shine on.

***

 

Thank you friend, for reading! You have made my first week of posting comfortable 🙂

Now to announce the giveaway winner- Meghan Gorecki! Contact me Meghan and I will get your email for the ebook series. I will be doing more giveaways in the future. It’s a way for me to bless you. That’s fun for me.

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

sunsetlove

Confession time. Before meeting my husband, I had a total of three dates. Three. (Well, honestly, it might have been two. I have one memory blending with another, but I am going to be generous with myself and say—three.) And this includes all my schooling years. Zippo boyfriends. Not a one. I seriously believed something was wrong with me!

My eighteenth birthday rolled around and TDH—my reference for the hubs, Tall, Dark, and Handsome—asked me out. On a date. After a few weeks, casual evolved into serious. And…the poor girl finally landed herself a boyfriend. (note* I have known him prior to this for five years as my close friend.)

Next, came the four words. Four words that held the power over my destiny. My future happiness swung over my head like a pendulum. I was fearful it would come crashing over me, leaving me scarred by the shards of my broken dreams.

I am getting married.

The four words that left most girls giddy brought anxiety to me. Was it because I didn’t want to marry TDH? No. I was afraid…frightened to tell my family. I thought they wouldn’t understand. Not give “us” a chance. Say I was too young. Too naïve to know what true love was. Even though, I perfectly knew. True love came in the height of six-foot-two and as loyal as the sunrise.

That was my impending conversation in my “JCPenney scene.” The talk with my family. Yes, it was awkward. But it helped me. I always sought others to direct my life, and walking against the current of other’s expectations allowed me to drift on the waves of God’s grace.

Have you had a situation that was difficult? Maybe you knew you would disappoint people, but had to stick to your guns for your own happiness?

In the end, I came out with a diamond on my finger and a date set. So I invite you to my wedding: Staring into the Sun (second edition)

 

***

 

One hundred pairs of eyeballs stared.

Rachel exhaled the breath, she didn’t realize she was holding. Okay, she made it past the candelabras without catching on fire. A major plus considering a bottle of Aussie hairspray was doused on her head. Wouldn’t have been so excessive with the aerosol if it wasn’t for the mid-June humidity declaring war on her hair. But, she cleared the four sets of blazing candles with ease. Not even a spark. Now to conquer the rest of the aisle.

Left foot. Right foot. Trying to keep in time with the “Wedding March” was a lot simpler yesterday in her flip-flops. Who on earth convinced her to wear four-inch heels? Nevermind. She could do this.

Her layered gown swooshed with each stride. A few sniffles and sighs floated by her ears. And she was pretty sure that the repetitive honking sound was someone blowing their nose. She swallowed the giggle that bubbled up in her throat. Oh great. That better not cause her to hiccup. Or worse. Dear Lord, please. Give her the ability to control her bodily functions for ten more steps.

Hands holding roses dangled in the aisles. Hands that belonged to people who have left a mark on her heart. As Rachel passed she collected the flowers from family and friends. It meant more to her than holding bridal bouquet, she was clutching memories.

Then…the world stopped. Well, not really. But to her, the moment he came in view, her surroundings faded. Now, it was just him and her. Scott and Rachel.

Man alive, the way he filled that Italian suit sent shivers to her toes. But what arrested her heart was the way he looked at her. His bronze-colored eyes held a watery sheen. Come on, ankles, don’t give out on me.

When the preacher went to procure the communion elements, Scott leaned her direction. “Rachy…you’re stunning.” Mercy, there was that look again.

The reverend better hurry before her mascara decides to stripe her face. Her fault for not wearing waterproof? Dumb.

“No tears, Fuzzhead.” A smile played on his lips. Fuzzhead, his nickname for her when she was fourteen. Goodness, has six years really passed? Six years of drawing hearts around his name. Six years of dreaming for this day to come. This day. She bit her lip, tasting the grit of her lipstick.

The preacher returned and handed them the communion elements. Gazing at the bread and the juice in her hands, she had a I-get-it moment. This was deeper than a formality. Bigger than a poofy dress and fancy hair. It was in essence about Him—Jesus. How He surrendered His life for the church. To cleanse her. To beautify her. To make her who she was destined to be, by the forfeit of His life. That was love. Devotion. Sacrifice.

Lord, help me see. Let our marriage be worthy of Your shed blood. For You to be our focus.

In unison, they partook of the elements. Scott caught up her hand in his. The warmth of his grip melted her heart. She smiled at him, the first man to hold her hand. To tell her she was beautiful. To say those coveted words—I love you.

A peace settled in her soul. It didn’t matter if there was one more difficulty to face. One more quandary before her freedom was secured. Things were different. Fear had no hold on her. She lifted her chin, setting her sights on the wooden cross above the baptismal. It was time to stare into the Son.

 

***

Thanks for reading! It was gushy, I know. But truth can get oohey gooey, right? Don’t forget about the giveaway, the three e-book series The Mark of the Lion—a thank you from me for reading my post. To enter, just leave a comment below. Tell me your favorite love story, a fun memory of your own, or just say Hi!

I will announce the winner on Friday’s post. Thanks, friends 🙂

staring into the sun

 

Hello! 🙂 Welcome to my very first post on my very first blog. If you don’t mind, I’m going to jump right into conversation. Have you ever done something terrifying? Not acting out of stupidity, like riding on a car’s roof down the freeway. No, something that you know you should do, maybe even something God is whispering in your heart to do, but the ugly voice of fear is taunting you. Anyone?

Well, that’s what this author blog is for me.

The thought of authoring a blog would bring an anxiety I had to resist. Again and again. Why? My early years of existence have been spent as an extrovert, but life has since morphed me into an introvert. I have felt the gentle nudge of God’s handing leading me to step out, stretch beyond my comfort sphere.

Besides, the book publishing world almost demands an online presence. So…here I am.

Since my vulnerability meter is already pegged, I decided to venture a little further and introduce myself in fictional form. Okay, way tough for me, but I am going to do it 🙂 I chose a time in my life that was both emotional and life-changing. Before I start here’s a few notes below.

  • Names have been either altered or completely left out for courtesy’s sake.
  • The scenes that I will be posting throughout the week are as true to form as I could possibly remember. (This has been both awkward and awesome for me. Reliving memories that I have long buried had its level of pain, but then it also had been freeing.)
  • My goal of writing my intro in this fashion is this: One, to show you my writing style. Two, to give you an inside glimpse of my life. (May not be too entertaining, but oh well.)

GIVEAWAY! Since you were so nice to take time out of your busy day to read this post, I want to give you something. I am offering you a chance to win the Mark of the Lion gift collection. It’s three books in one. Love love love this series. It started me back into the swing of writing. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment( say Hi, ask a question, etc.) sometime this week in my posts. I will announce the winner on Friday.

So without further ado

(I know it’s corny but stick with me) the first installment of

“Staring into the Sun”

 

***

 

Year 2001

Monaca, Pennsylvania

“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.”

“Aw. You’ll hurt its feelings.”

Rachel punched the register key only to have it beep at her. Again. “You speak as if this thing has a soul.” If she didn’t clock in within two minutes she’d be late.

“Doesn’t act that way to me.” Kristen pulled some receipt paper from the printer and spit a wad of gum in it. Posturing herself like Allen Iverson, she shot it through the air into the wastebasket. Two points. “And, my gal, it wouldn’t act that way to you, if you’d turn your key.” She gave her an exaggerated wink, the glitter on her eyelids in full sparkle against the fluorescent lights.

Rachel scowled, looking at the key that was vertical instead horizontal. Why didn’t she catch that? She twisted the key and mashed hard on the keys. Oh, for this day to be over. But then, what about tomorrow? Fear pressed her heart, but Rachel didn’t consider it. She couldn’t. The monitor lit up. Clock In Successful. JCPenney owns her for the next six hours and twenty-nine minutes. Yippee. “Anything, I need to know before I take over?”

“No.” The taller girl said, picking at her blue fingernail polish. “Oh…yeah. I put some holds in the closet. I am going to buy them tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. Payday. “If Jerry sees that, he’ll have a fit.” Rachel shook her head, brown wisps falling onto her forehead. She smoothed them back into her ponytail.

“Don’t show him.”

That easy, huh? Rachel forced a smile. At least it was slow. One customer browsed the clearance rack, but that was it. Plenty of time to mentally rehearse some talking points. She huffed. If only the real world conversation could go as easy as it did in her noggin.

“So, you don’t mind?”

“Huh?” Oh, the holds. Jerry. “No, I’ll do my best to keep his nose out of the closet.” She turned to Kristen and knocked the tape dispenser onto the floor, the tape wheel tumbling out and knocking into Kristen’s right Sketcher. “Sorry.”

Kristen swooped low to pick up tape and bounced back to full height. “You doing okay? Where’s your big smiles and way-too-much-Dr.Pepper attitude?”

“I’m fine.” Her stomach soured. Liar. I’m sorry, God. But how could she tell Kristen when she didn’t even tell her family? “I have something to say to somebody that I know they won’t like.” Okay, like that made any sense. Got to work on that.

“Finally being a rebel, missy?” Kristen softly punched her in the shoulder.

Rebel? If the word meant wearing Tommy jeans to work rather than the required Arizona brand, then yes, she was notorious mutineer. Other than that, she was no more a rebel than Ozzy Osbourne a folk singer. She sighed. “Got to stare into the sun.” Again.

Kristen made a face. “Babe, this is October. Overcast invades the sky from late September to about forever here.” She pointed to the double door leading to the outside. Sure enough the sky was as grey as Jerry’s head.

“Come on.” Rachel shrugged. “I was trying to encourage myself.”

“Staring into the sun? Tell me how scorched retinas is a pep talk.” Kristen grabbed her Charlie’s Steakery cup from under the register and took a long swig. “What are they teaching you over there in community college land?”

Rachel laughed. “When I was little, I would stare into the sun and, you know, get yelled at for it.”

“And rightly so, doll.”

“I couldn’t help it. My eyes would wander that way.” She said, watching three teenage girls walk into the dressing room with arms full of Amy Byer’s signatures. “I look at it as my motivation.”

“Being?”

“Being, when you set your sights on something brighter and bigger than you, someone is going to fuss. Ignore ‘em.” And ignore that little voice in her head as well. The voice in her heart was what she needed to put a microphone to. Lord, help me.

“Ooh I like that.” Kristen nodded. “The sun might burn them, but it makes you glow.”

And there you have it. Kristen, the platinum-blonde Aristotle. “Simply fabulous.” Rachel’s heart could stand a good glow.

“I am so stealing that for my public speaking class. But, hey, I got to run. Brittney Spears is in the Burgh tonight. Us girlfriends plan to dress-up like her and heckle her during the whole concert.”

And…then she said that.

“Later, Kris. Have fun.” Rachel tapped the keys to wake the monitor. Only five minutes passed. A lone penny on the counter inspired her to pick it up and flip it. Heads, she camps out in the fitting room or tails, she snuggles under one of those fancy shamancy bedding displays upstairs in home décor. Tails. Man-oh-man, if that were possible. Anything to avoid this evening. This evening. This evening. The words pounded into her head worse than the Spice Girls song that was polluting the sound system. Don’t think on it. Maybe it will go away. She looked around and saw some jeans that need folding. Keep busy, Rachy.

She just finished a stack of size elevens, when the phone rang.

“Juniors. This is Rachel.” The receiver was cold on her ear.

“Hey.”

It was him.

Her heart turned a summersault. “Hi.” She poked her head over the counter to secure her thoughts of any Jerry sightings. Clear. “You still at work?”

“Yeah. Did you tell them?”

He jumped into the conversation like he did her heart. More like cannonballed into her heart, making waves that she never wants to settle.

“Nope. Gonna have the talk tonight.” She pressed her lips together. Getting her stomach to ease would be nice. Not likely though. She should’ve never hit Taco Bell on her way to work. The mild sauce wasn’t being very nice to her insides.

“Is that a P.C.?”

Rachel’s eyes flew to the new voice.

Rats. It was Jerry. Where did he come from? Rappel from the ceiling? Forcing herself to breathe, she said into the phone, “Hold on, sir.” She heard him say a “Huh?” before pulling the receiver down and pressing it against her chest. Think. She could totally act like this was a customer, write down a phony order and be done. No questions. But for one, she was a lousy liar, and for two, she just…just couldn’t. “Yes, Jerry. It’s a personal call. I’ll get off.”

He scowled and walked away.

“Sorry, hon, just got busted.”

“No, I’m sorry. I should have asked if you had time to talk.” His voice sounded regretful. My, she loved this man. “Do you need me to come over tonight? To stand by you?”

“Thanks, but I think you should stay away. It could get ugly.” The words poked at her heart as tears stung her eyes.

“It’s going to be okay. I promise.” His deep voice fed strength to her struggling soul. “I love you, Rach.” And that’s why this was worth it.

“Love you, too.” So. Very. Much.

After saying goodbye, she hung up. Gestapo Jerry stopped in the hall and… was he? Yep, he was craning his neck to see her, to make sure she was off the crumby phone. What nerve. He nodded as he grabbed his walkie-talkie and headed toward the shoe department. She felt her face heat. No guts. That was her problem with Jerry, with tonight, with life. No guts.

 

***

Thank you so much for reading! I can’t leave without asking some questions: Was there a time in your life that was a “do or die” moment? A decision, that if chosen wrong could alter your future? If you want, tell me about it in a comment below. Or, like I stated above, just say Hi!