A busy day at the library, the phone had not stopped ringing for more than a minute all morning long. None of the calls were the one he hoped for. Jim had realized he left his cell phone at home, he left a message for his father to call him as soon as he could, but so far, no return call.
The news-cast prompter from CNN kept showing the latest update every ten minutes, and Jim began to worry. The FBI and Homeland Security had tracked the Cyber-Terrorists, good news for most, but sad for him, as it meant his family could be on the move again at a momentís notice.
When the call came through, he was in the middle of a line of people, books tagged for return, and even more to be checked out, and everyone seemed in such a hurry. He answered the library's antique phone, nearly tripped over the extra long cord, and knocked over a cart and two stacks of books ready to be returned to the shelves. With his mind preoccupied as it was, the day was not going well.
"Dad, I know, I shouldn't call you at work, but I. . "
A moment passed as his father pointed out the bad timing. His task growing close to completion, the city offices were a mad house.
"I know. I have been watching it on CNN. Does this mean we are going to have to move again?" Another moment, while Jim checked out two students wanting reference books they could not take with them. "You can't remove those from the building. No, Dad, not you. Hold on a second."
Jim called for a co-worker to help the two in line, then tried to explain what he needed from his father, who still waited on the phone.
"I forgot my cell, and can't get Mom on the phone from here . . . Yes, it's important. I was suppose to meet someone today, but may be a little late . . . I know you're busy, but like I said, I can't through . . . It's important to me. If you had been home for dinner last night youíd know."
Jim dropped into the seat at the desk behind the counter and tried patiently to listen as his father explained how rushed things were for him the passed few days.
"I know, Dad, which mean we move again." His expression went from disinterest, to shock in a moment. "D.C.? You're kidding. No, Dad, I can't. Not this time. I met someone . . . Yes, she is, her nameís Rachel."
Jim knew it would be a waste of time explaining his childish desires to his business-minded father, who seemed to thrive on the chaos of his work. His need to belong somewhere, settled down, with friends, and a hope of something better.
ďI am sorry, Dad, but if the Feds are that close, it could be over soon, which means we move, but this time I am staying . . . Just text Mom and tell her to bring my cell to the library, we can talk about it later . . . No, I wont change my mind. Iím tired of rushing from place to place because of your oh-so-important job. At least Mom tries to understand. Just give her the message. Please. . . Thank you.Ē
As Jim hung up the phone, all he could think of was screaming at the futility of life. Just as things started to look good for him, the chaos of his fatherís work had to ruin it all.
Disgusted, he returned to the counter, apologized to his co-worker for the mess, and started to pick up the fallen books.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rachel was growing more nervous by the second, and decided to walk around the campus park a few times, but that left her mind free to wonder.
With class over for the day, she thought to wait for her brother, Tim, who had one more class, then head to the coffee shop together. While she waited in the studentís lounge at the Union-building, she caught a news program on the cityís terrorists.
They had most of the group in custody, with one more arrest in progress. She had laughed then, knowing her neighbor would no longer be able to claim her new friend was one of the group. At that point, Rachel had sent a message to let Jim know she was looking forward to meeting shortly.
Now it was two hours later, and yet no reply had come through on her phone.
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