Robyn yawned as she turned the page. The book was interesting, but her eyes and mind were too tired to comprehend. Helping her ailing mother was taking its toll. Books had become her vacation – a mental break from the reality of her world.
The damsel was in distress. No longer could she care for the manor. The storm brewing would be its end as well as hers. Sitting on the disheveled porch, she cried. Then a man stood before her. It was Tobias. He cupped her face in his hands, gazing into her eyes before pulling her close to his heart. He vowed to make everything right. She looked up at him with hope. He reassured her by passionately kissing her ruby lips.
Robyn swooned. Her attention was glued. Adrenaline pumped through her body providing a jolt of energy and excitement she didn’t know she had. She longed for a man like that.
She daydreamed about being whisked away to a happily ever after – summer picnics by the lake and quiet times snuggling by the fireplace. Her man would look like Tobias too – a tall, handsomely strapping man with a loving and determined heart. But who was she kidding. There were no dates or prospects – unless you count the old mailman who flirted with her.
Robyn revisited the book, but something was different, strange. Her exact thoughts were written in the story. She flipped pages, and more of the same. It was like reading her own mind.
She slammed the book closed thinking some type of voodoo was going on. Slowly she reopened the book and continued to read. Her eyes dazed as she read about Tobias falling for her. She closed the book again holding it tight to her chest wanting to believe it real, but knowing it was just a story and a coincidence.
She couldn’t put it down. Like an addict to a drug she continued chasing the high. Robyn delved into the book, enjoying every minute of her budding paperback romance. But near the end, a quandary ensued.
“My dear. I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted. Because I know our time would have to come to an end. Yet, here I am, begging you not to turn the page.” Tobias’ nerves were tingling with anticipation. He, like Robyn, wanted the moment to last forever.
Robyn didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t like she could jump into the book. And besides she still had her mother to think about. So how could she get Tobias into her world?
Robyn laid the book face down on the couch as she kneeled to pray. When she opened her eyes, she was laying on the floor. She had fallen asleep.
She picked the book up, noting one page left til the end. Reading the last paragraph, she realized the story wasn’t about her at all. She frantically turned through previous chapters. Tobias was there, but she was not his leading lady – Rosemary was. And the story was very different from the one in her head.
It was all a dream. Disappointed, Robyn threw the book against the wall and sobbed.
A week later, Robyn’s mother passed away. In the midst of the grieving process a myriad of emotions surfaced, but loneliness prevailed.
Robyn entered the funeral home to make arrangements and was spooked when greeted by a man resembling Tobias – or at least the image in her mind.
“Good afternoon Miss Stokes. I’m sorry for your loss. My name is Thomas. I will be assisting you today with your mother’s arrangements. Would you follow me this way?” His voice was calm as he placed a hand on her elbow for comfort and to guide her towards his office.
“Thank you.” Robyn felt warm with a slight tingle. Seemed odd under the circumstances. She studied Thomas for a while before mentally slapping herself back to reality.
“What type of arrangements would your mother have liked?”
“Well, she wanted something small without fanfare.”
“Of course. We could hold a small service at the cemetery if you like.”
Robyn nodded while a tear slid down her cheek. Thomas handed her a tissue. Then came the flood. He rose, hurrying to comfort her. She laid her head on his chest, gazing up at him with enamored gratitude. For a moment, he was smitten too – losing himself in her green eyes.
Robyn noticed Thomas’ stare, and hid her face with tissue. The moment had grown awkward bordering unprofessional. In his time as a funeral director, this never happened and he wondered why now. He removed his arm, returning to the other side of the desk to resume the arrangements.
At the conclusion, Robyn stood to leave. Thomas stood as well, straightening his tie. He reached across the desk to shake her hand, “Miss Stokes, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to call if we can be of service.”
“Thank you Thomas. You’ve been quite helpful.” The pair locked eyes again. Thomas broke the gaze first, inwardly bashing himself for being caught up.
As Robyn walked to her car, she wondered if this was God’s way of closing one book and opening a new one.
In the weeks after the funeral, Robyn thought about Thomas, and he the same. Both wanting to reach out to the other, but fear of poor taste and internal condemnation winning out. It was Robyn who finally took a chance and made the first move.
She invited Thomas for coffee. Things went well. The next day, he met her for lunch. By the end of the week, they were cooking for each other. Before long they were dating – picnics by the lake and evenings by the fireplace. Then déjà vu.
“My dear. I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I expected. Because I thought our time was at an end. Yet, here I am, asking you to turn the page. To a new chapter. To us.” Thomas bent to one knee, “Robyn, will you marry me?”
Through tears she emphatically said, “Yes!” Thomas placed the ring on her finger. The couple enwrapped each other celebrating with a passionate kiss.
Robyn looked to heaven with thanks. And they lived happily ever after.
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