Antoinette “Toni-May” Marie LaVasseur didn’t much like winter. It was, putting it mildly, her idea of the worse time of the year. She wasn’t like her sister, Rachael, who seemed to be able to make the best of everything. She, liked her sister Rachael, which is why, she reasoned with herself, she had gotten out of her warm bed to go and pick her up from work. “If only she’d listened to me”, she said cheerily to the toddler sleepily watching the passerby’s. She glanced at her daughter’s reflection in the rear view mirror, “We knew that Steve was a snake, huh? Didn’t we?” She said in a half baby talk, half sing-song voice. “Auntie Rae-Rae should have walked away from that one, too!”
The baby gurgled, sighed and closed her eyes. Toni-May sighed. She’d been praying for her siblings since she found out that she could pray specific things for each of them. And she’d felt pretty successful in her prayers because they were all happily married, with the careers of their dreams, with the exception of Rachael. It did appear that Rachel would be forever making the same mistake over and over again. She had a way of pretending to listen to advice, but then going ahead with her own plan. In truth, she’d told Rachael not to allow Steve to drive her car – ever. Rachael had said that she understood and agreed that she’d just drive him where he’d had to go, but in the end, he’d convinced her that she was being silly and insecure. So she’d handed him the keys and he’d wrecked her car. Toni-May grimaced. She would continue to try and give her sister good advice, no matter what.
>>Rachael stood as close to the wall as she could. It shielded her from the wind and brought a pretense of warmth that escaped her. “I will not argue with my sister.” She told herself. “I will just sit and nod.” She smiled to herself. Her Dad had hated it when she did that. He’d stop talking and just stare back at her, then he’d hug her and kiss her on the forehead. She missed her dad. She truly believed that her love life would be much easier if her dad were still alive. He would have pointed out to her that Steve wasn’t the one, but then would she have listened to him? She frowned, probably not. She did have a way of ignoring the obvious. She chuckled, I must be growing up. No one could have said that to me and had me agree.
>”What’s so funny in that head of yours, pretty lady?” The voice came from behind her, but she recognized it so she didn’t turn to look at him. Wayne Brown. Wayne was the guy everybody in the office loved, but her. He was fun, witty and somewhat handsome. Rachael thought him to be the office clown.
“Shall I repeat myself?” he asked walking around to the front of her. “I heard you chuckling over here.” He stood smiling at her. He looked handsome even with his shoulders hunched up toward his ears. She noticed the twinkle in his eye that made all of the other women in the office want to be in his presence and yet she’d never seen him with any of them, nor had she heard any rumors.
“Well?” he said smiling at her. Rachael mustered up a smile. “Oh, just some private thoughts.” she said quietly. Why did it suddenly seem warmer where she stood? “I’m waiting on my sister. She’s picking me up.” Rachael wanted to kick herself.
Wayne stared at her, as if he was studying her face. “I would have taken you home, ya know. I still live one block over from you.” Wayne stepped closer to her and lowered his voice, “Why do you dislike me so much?” It was this habit he had of being blunt and honest that bothered her most. How would anyone answer a question like that?
Rachael didn’t like that she liked the nearness of him and took one step back. “I don’t dislike you. I’m just trying to stay out of relationships right now.” The honesty of the statement made her blush and looked down at the ground. “I just want friends right now.”
Wayne gently lifted her head with his fist. “It’s cold out here beautiful. Much too cold for you to be standing out here waiting for a ride. Can you call your sister and tell her that your friend Wayne is taking you home?” Rachael shook her head. “She should be here any moment.” She stepped around him to look out into the parking lot. She saw the little blue compact car idling by the loading dock. She waved cheerily. “There she is, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Wayne stared at her almost lovingly. He took her arm and headed toward the car with her. She felt her back tense and her heart begin to pound. “What is he doing?” She wondered silently. He approached the car and opened the door. “Until tomorrow pretty lady.” He said, pretending to tip his hat. He waved at Toni-May and stepped back from the car.
“WOW!, Toni-May said excitedly. “Who is that?” Rachael kept her eyes straight head, “No one, just drive.” She said flatly.
Wayne stood watching as the car drove out of sight. He knew he was undeniably drawn to the light he saw in Rachael, but he was also aware of her seeming dislike of his presence. He looked heavenward and wondered if he’d misheard God on this one. It’d been four long years since he’d seen Rachael standing in the employee lounge. She’d been friendly enough back then, but now she seemed more distant than she’d ever been.
It was one of those things that hung in his mind and tugged at his heart. Men are not supposed to be so in touch with their feelings. He thought to himself, “I am supposed to just move on to the next woman. and there are a bevy of fine beautiful women to choose from, but he only had eyes for Rachael.
He started his car and chuckled, “This must be why there are stalking laws.”