Jim looked down at his phone for a good five minutes before he opened the messaging program. What will I tell her, he wondered, fingers hovering over the access button. Then he clicked the Text-tab, typed in the number and the first thing that came to him.
After what seemed a rather long time, the reply came. Though he waited in anticipation, he was still worried as to where to go from there.
In hope of seeming humorous, his answer was a common symbol, " :-) “
"You aren't scared?"
He thought for a moment and wondered if she were ashamed of her disability, being deaf was not a sin. It was funny that she was worried how he might feel about her being handicapped. Does she think I'm that shallow?
"From a simple thing like that?" Then to assure her even more, he sent another text before she could reply. "Want to have coffee later? I get off in an hour."
Jim laughed as two responses came seconds apart. "I thought me being. . " "I would love to, but I have a report to get done for class. :-( "
"Lunch tomorrow then?"
"The normal place?"
"I will buy," he typed in, “and I have a secret for you.. but not til tomorrow. ;-) "
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rachel was in the clouds. Not only had he not been afraid of her disability, he looked forward to meeting later. She wondered about his surprise, but it only heightened her mood. She had to tell her deaf friend, Kellie, as she had forced her to go along to the coffee shop just so she could see this mysterious man.
She was so excited when she got home, her hands were a whirl of motion. All of which was unseen by her friend from across the hall, as Kellie reported on what happened that day. Neither seeing what the other had said.
Kellie finally got through after grabbing Rachel’s hands to calm her long enough to sign to her the news. It seemed the FBI had been in the neighborhood looking for a group of people she thought must be terrorists.
"They come to an area and set up in the city buildings as normal workers, then cause problems; electrical or computers, messing up the city government."
"I hope they find them," Rachel's reply was one of total non-interest as she continued with her own news. "Jim is really sweet, he works at the library, and we are having lunch tomorrow."
"I am not sitting through lunch with you two passing notes," her friend signed with a shake of her head. "Besides you know nothing about him, he could be one of those terrorist from Maryland."
"Stop it." She waved it off with a laugh, "He is a lot nicer than the guy your boyfriend set me up with."
"Nice? I bet he is hiding something."
"Well, he did say he had a secret for me."
"Mark, down at the bookstore, said they pose as a family, real quiet types. They are wanted for the murder of those they leave after they disappear."
"Quit!" Rachel said as firmly as she could in sign language. "Jim is not a terrorist, or a murderer. I can't believe you would listen to Mark, he's a conspiracy nut."
All evening, as she studied and then made dinner, she could not stop thinking of the up-and-coming lunch date. Should she dress-up, or go straight from class. She knew she would need an extra notebook, just in case. But all along her thoughts kept going back to his secret.
I've been around Kellie too long, she thought with a laugh, starting to see conspiracy in every rumor.
On impulse, Rachel sent Jim a text, asking if he grew up in the area. The response did little to set her mind at rest.
“No. With the old-man’s business we move a lot. Came from Baltimore a couple months back.”
Coincidence, she thought, just coincidence. He is not an axe murdering terrorist. With Kellie’s words in her mind, Rachel slowly began to worry.
“So, any hints as to your secret?” Her eyes nearly bugged out as she read over his reply.
“Not until tomorrow. :-) You will simply die when you find out.”
Just then, Kellie and Rachel's brother, Tim, came through the door. Seeing the confused look on her face, her friend asked what was wrong.
“Nothing,” Rachel signed back rapidly and then turned to her brother. “Would you be able to go to lunch with me tomorrow?”
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