Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: 8 o'clock at the Best Western
By Francie Snell
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Handing in my resignation was the sweetest moment in all the time I'd worked there. And as I pondered the freedom awaiting me, that’s when Paul walked in.
It was early afternoon, and I wasn’t expecting his visit. So I was surprised when he sauntered into the room. An attractive five-foot-seven with hints of silver in his hair cropped short, he wore a pinstripe suit with disarming kindliness. He moved to the counter overlooking my desk and casually rested his elbows, then gazed at me with smiling eyes, perhaps the only sincere smile I had seen in months.
We had chatted two, maybe three times, during the time I worked there. A businessman from the Midwest, traveling hundreds of miles, he came to do business with the small foothill community hospital in the office where I worked.
“So, how is your day?” he asked, shifting his feet.
I smiled politely and folded my hands. “Well, this will be my last week here,” I proudly announced...with tinge of regret.
His eyes opened wide. “Your last week? hmmm.” He glanced toward my boss’ office then back at me, then leaned over the counter and whispered with a devious look. “Sounds like we need to go out and celebrate,” he winked, “Best Western Lounge, 8 o’clock?
The playfulness in his eyes made my stomach turn a flip as a primal scream from deep within echoed in my mind.
NO, NO, not again. Not another tediously awkward date spent with someone pretending good intentions and being someone they're not. How long since I dated? Two years? Maybe three?
I wanted to shrivel up and crawl away, but instead, I tried to think fast and come up with an excuse for declining his offer that would sound…well…reasonably plausible.
Meekly I shook my head. “No. ” Then mindlessly spewed out some bogus explanation off the top of my head too ridiculous to believe, embarrassed that I couldn’t come up with something more creative. So much for fast thinking.
He slowly nodded with a look of feigned sympathy. “Oh yeah, I understand… maybe some other time.”
“Yeah.” I nodded with a sigh. “Maybe some other time.”
About that time my boss emerged from his office like a lumbering bear coming out of hibernation. “Hey, I thought I heard you out here. Come on in.” He waved Paul into his office with his paw-like hand then glanced at me and grunted. “Hold my calls.”
Finding myself alone again, I pondered Paul’s invitation. Suddenly a strange overwhelming peace washed over me as a small, inaudible voice spoke into my heart.
It’s okay, the voice whispered,You can go with him… trust Me.
I sat for a moment amazed. The message was just as clear as anything I’d ever received. Immediately I grabbed a notepad from my desk and jotted down words and numbers as fast as I could.
Best Western at 8:00.
When Paul came out from the brief meeting, he started across the room like he was in a hurry. I was ready and waiting and intercepted him before he made it to the door, reaching over the counter and holding out the piece of paper as he went by. “Here,” I said, feeling like a shy schoolgirl secretly passing a love note in class. He took the paper and gave it a quick peek. A smile lit up his eyes. And after a few excited nods, he then headed out the door.
I relished in the miracle the Lord performed that night as Paul and I strolled under the streetlights. We talked for hours. I had finally found a friend.
Sixteen years later, Paul and I cuddle in bed and his feet touch mine. I startle from the icy toes caressing my feet. I think he should put on some socks. But after a few moments our feet warm together and we no longer have cold feet.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
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