“We’re running a minute and forty-two seconds behind schedule, but if you’ll have a seat you’ll be waiting more comfortably,” the sweet receptionist motioned toward a nearly empty waiting area.
A minute and forty-two seconds, was she serious? How did she figure? Well, if there was a place for exactness, Rochelle guessed ‘The Center for Answered Prayer’ was it. She moved toward the chairs, but thought better about sitting, it hardly seemed worthwhile.
“Go ahead, have a seat,” the receptionist, Marla, encouraged.
“Thanks, I’m fine,” Rochelle answered. If she’d looked at Marla right then, she’d have seen the receptionist’s eyebrows arch and the slightest nod of her head.
Rochelle bent to pick up a copy of ‘Answers to Prayer Weekly’ and thought the name was odd. She entertained the idea that ‘weekly’ could have been spelled ‘weakly’ and the title would sound just as effective to her. She was just opening the magazine when she heard her name and a hand was outstretched toward her.
“Rochelle Blake? Ryan Cole. Right this way and before we get settled, can I get you anything? Coffee, tea, soda?” Ryan Cole was energetic, confident, friendly and dressed in a deep blue suit and crisp white shirt. His tie, in various shades of blue, complimented the suit perfectly.
Rochelle felt self-conscious about her own clothes, but told herself that was silly. This appointment wasn’t about style of dress. It was about honest advice. “No, I’m fine, thanks,” she answered and suddenly felt the need to wipe her palms on her jeans.
“Okay then, right in here and we’ll get started,” Ryan opened a door and waited for Rochelle to precede him into a large, immaculate office.
“Have a seat, please” Ryan gestured.
Rochelle sat, very conscious of her posture.
“Are you comfortable?” Ryan asked. His eyes moved up and down taking in the level set of her head, her hands together in her lap, her legs together and crossed at the ankles.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Rochelle stated.
“You’re a self-sufficient woman,” Ryan stated. “No nonsense. I believe you probably stay on task and get the job done, am I correct?”
“Why yes,” Rochelle was beginning to like Ryan.
“And I’m going to venture to say that you’re a very busy person, you have a lot on your shoulders,” Ryan gave her an understanding smile.
“Yes,” Rochelle sighed and relaxed her shoulders for a moment.
“I see here that you’re a faithful member of your church. You lead a prayer group, you are on the hospitality committee and you head up the women’s ministries.” Ryan looked up from the clipboard holding the forms Rochelle had filled out.
Rochelle sat straight in her seat and lifted her chin. “Yes, I try to help where I can,” she answered proudly.
“I’m proud of you that you’re here today, but tell me what brings you?” Ryan asked.
“I feel overwhelmed. I pray for direction and guidance, but I don’t seem to get answers. I was hoping you could help.” Rochelle explained.
At that moment there was a quiet knock on the door. Ryan welcomed the knocker to come on in.
Rochelle was momentarily offended. What an inopportune time to be put off, she thought. But to her delight, a tray of steaming coffee and delicate little pastries was wheeled into the office.
“Exactly what I wanted!” Ryan exclaimed. “Thank you. Would you like some yourself, Bill?” Ryan asked his staff member.
“Why yes, I would and much obliged..” Bill smiled largely and helped himself before leaving.
Rochelle looked on in disbelief. She had been afraid that Bill was going to join them. That would have been the end. This was her appointment.
“Help yourself, Rochelle, that’s why it’s here.” Ryan motioned toward the tray.
“Oh, I couldn’t. I told you I’m fine,” Rochelle remembered herself and why she was here.
“And that, dear lady is exactly the problem.”
The goodie tray disappeared. So did Ryan and the entire office.
Rochelle was alone at her kitchen table.
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