Illusions begin, p.22
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       Illusions Begin, p.22
 

           N.L. Greene
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  ***

  Lunch with her father was a blur, her mind on the mysterious caller and the things he told her. Thankfully she was able to maintain a decent conversation though and was much more convincing that she was that morning when she reassured her father that she was feeling better. The hour flew by and before she knew it they were back at the office. With a kiss to his soft cheek, she thanked her dad for taking the time out of his busy day to make her feel better and promised to call him and her mother later that evening. As she stepped off the elevator, Helen handed her a stack of messages that she blindly thumbed through on her way to her desk. She couldn’t focus on what they actually said though because thoughts of the mystery man were still dancing in her head.

  Which is where he stayed, distracting her from her work for the rest of the day. She struggled to push through, trying to focus on her job, but knew she was only giving her work half of the attention it required. She couldn’t focus or concentrate and it wasn’t because she was tired. Her grumpy attitude and fatigue really had fled after her lunch with her father. This distraction was worse.

  But she trudged on and right before the day ended, her call rang. She glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Ethan. After their date last night and the soft kiss he left her with, she should have been shaking with nerves to see his name on her screen. But the truth was, for the first time since she met him she wasn’t nervous to talk to him. In fact, she hadn’t even thought of him since she woke up this morning. She wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

  Either way, she still had to answer his call. “Hey,” she said as she held the phone between her ear and her shoulder so she could start packing her stuff up.

  “Hey beautiful. How’s your day been?” his deep voice greeted her.

  “Good. You?”

  “Long,” he chuckled. “I was hoping you were free tonight and we could have dinner again?”

  “Oh, umm…actually I have dinner with my parents tonight. Maybe tomorrow?” the lied rolled off her tongue much easier than it should have. She wasn’t sure why she felt the need to lie to him. She wasn’t going to meet her…er… the mystery man. She knew it was a bad idea and as curious as she was, she wasn’t going to give in to her impulse. She was just going to go home and go to bed. She could have told him that, but she didn’t.

  He sounded a little disappointed but didn’t make her feel guilty about her plans. “Oh, of course. No worries. I’ll call you tomorrow then?” he asked hopefully.

  She couldn’t help but to smile, “Yes, please.”

  “Good. Enjoy your dinner Becky,” he breathed softly into the phone.

  “Thanks Ethan. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she hung up and sat down feeling guilty for lying to him.

  She glanced down at the notepad in the middle of her desk where she had scribbled the time and place to meet her ‘stalker’. She hated referring to him that way, but what other way was there to describe someone that knew who she was, where she worked, where she lived, and seemed to know her deepest secret. He even pretty much admitted it when she accused him. He may have said he wasn’t stalking her exactly and that he would explain, but she would be crazy to believe him.

  On the other hand, he had plenty of opportunities to harm her or scare her and he never did. He even saved her from Lances’ threatening treatment just the other day. He didn’t have to do that. She didn’t know him and hadn’t even known who he was or that he was near. He could have watched or walked away and she would have never known the difference. Instead, he stepped in and faced Lances’ volatile temper to allow her to get away, when no one else had even looked her way that day.

  Becky was a smart, rational person. She knew all the horrible things that existed in the world; she was a criminal attorney for crying out loud. She knew there were muggers, stalkers, rapists, and murderers in the world. Her parents helped put them in prison every day and soon she would be standing in the court room doing the same. She had just been assaulted and come from the police station to point the finger at the assailant herself. So she knew better.

  She knew better than to be even considering going to meet a stranger and talking to him about the possibility of magic. Magic? Was she crazy? Magic didn’t exist. Even if she could talk herself into believing that this mysterious man wouldn’t harm her, she just couldn’t talk herself into believing that he was right and that magic was real.

  With that thought, Becky tore the paper from the pad and crumbled it up into her tight fist before tossing it in the trash can. She wasn’t going to fall for it. Giving a stiff nod to solidify her decision, she turned to her lap top and finished shutting it down. She packed her things up, doubled checked her voicemail and made sure she had taken care of all the messages Helen gave her after lunch. She didn’t think about the mystery man, magic, or anything even remotely close to that topic while she did so. Nor did she think about him as she said goodbye to Helen, made her way down the elevator to the lobby, and said goodbye to Ralph as well. Nope she didn’t think about magic, not once.

  So why, when she pushed through the big glass doors and stepped out onto the busy New York sidewalk, did she find herself walking toward the diner?

 
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