Chapter 7.1 - Lisa

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Lisa stood with both hands braced against her antique dining table, leaning forward, wearing her three-hundred-dollar cherry red heels with her favorite sleek black Armani power suit. She spoke with clarity and logic. The deal she offered surpassed any they could hope to receive from any other agency of reputation.

The assistant on the other end of the line explained once again. They weren't in the market for a new agency, having recently signed a contract.

Lisa's hands balled into fists. Her voice remained cool and steady as a cucumber. "I'm sure if you let me speak with mister-"

"I've told you, he's not in. It's Saturday. Normally, the phone would have gone straight to voicemail but-"

Resignation did not creep in upon her. It smacked into her with the force of an oncoming locomotive, forcing her down into the nearest chair. Without further comment, she swiped at the red button on the phone lying face-up before her and lay her head down on her arms.

Zolexia had been the last lead on the list. Nothing left after the Z's.

Three new accounts in ten days. Ten years ago they'd have made her partner for that kind of performance. Now, she'd be lucky to hold onto a sales job.

Do you want to be a partner?

Of course that's what she wanted. It's what she'd worked for all these years, wasn't it?

Is it? Is that what you gave your life to?

She sat up and plucked the earbuds from her ears. The green numbers on the microwave switched to mark the passage of the eleventh minute after ten. She'd dressed up, hoping it would help her feel, and therefore come across as, more competent as a professional.

A dark shadow of her reflection watched her from the microwave door. "You're a sham." The wide crimson lips told her.

Lisa shut her up with a powerful expletive, kicked the over-priced shoes off, and headed in search of a pair of leggings, a baggy tank top, and her favorite pair of ratty old Converse hightops. Thus attired, it seemed only appropriate to walk the few blocks to the church. She didn't really need to haul all her crafting stuff. Creativity in any form had hit the high road and hidden itself beyond her ability to retrieve it for the time being anyway. Besides, it wasn't as though she needed a pair of scissors in her hand to spend the time with her K.L.U.M.S.I.E.E. friends eating nachos and swapping stories.

As she neared the corner of her street, she caught sight of an impressively tall man walking a freakishly enormous dog on a tiny leash that would serve only decorative purposes should the beast decide it no longer desired the human's company at its side.

"Good morning Ms. Wellsford."

She smiled, genuinely happy to see him, even if he did have the unnaturally huge canine with him. "Good morning. How are you?"

He took a deep breath. "I can't tell you what a delight it is to enjoy summer in a part of the world where the sun shines more often than not. And you? I'm surprised you're not working. Ms. Tilton tells me you've been putting in six plus days a week lately."

Together, they rounded the bend unto Washington Street.

No part of her wanted to talk about work. "I could say the same of you. Aren't pastors supposed to scramble to write their sermons about this time every week?"

"I'll have you know I never start my scrambling until after four pm on Saturdays." He lifted his chin in offense. "We're headed in to work sedately in a state of quiet meditation."

All teasing aside, she found the claim easy to believe. Everything about the man, from his slow smile to his easy stride, exuded peace. Walking at his side refreshed her soul like floating in a cool, still pool on a hot summer day. A part of her wished he would suggest turning toward a longer route, extending their time together.

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