Cydnie expressed thanks to Lord Jehovah. In all their dates, Gracie hadn’t given in to Shane’s advances. Any victory was better than no victory. VD stood nearby, watching her pray for Gracie’s situation, and said, ’Haven’t I told you to stay out of my business, cow? Back off and leave!”
Turning towards VD, she said, “I am not obliged to do anything you say, fallen one. You can dupe sons and daughters of men, but faithful saints are involved in Gracie and Evie’s lives. You can count on one thing: as long as they call me, I will faithfully thwart any of your doings.” Her green eyes shone brightly. “And try as you may, you can’t escape the fact that you will ultimately bow your knee to the Holy One who sits on the throne. Whatever you accomplish is only because the Holy One allows it.”
Cydnie couldn’t make VD leave the party: too many here were very willing to listen to her. Gracie was not in that place, thanks be to the Father in Heaven.
Monday, February 11th
Michael had to step up the battle. He had promised Frank Chen that he was going to give regular reports on the comings and goings of Gracie. He decided to call a meeting with Evie and Frank downtown, in the Après Café in the office in the back where they could have some privacy. Agent Farooqi would also be hot on his heels, but that was fine: the best defense against Farooqi was a good offense. He would take care of that later. Right now, first things first.
He walked into the back office of the Après Café, held out his hand, and took Frank’s. “Hi, Frank. He went over to Evie, and gave her a friendly hug. “Hi, sis. Good to see you again.”
“Have a seat, Michael,” Frank said, pointing to a chair across from his desk.
Michael sat down and began. “We have all of our best angels on her case. Vick is keeping a constant watch her, and Cydnie, of course, is dispatched to help at opportune times.”
Wednesday, February 13th
The phone’s shrill blast derailed her train of thought. “Good grief! Just when I start to concentrate...” She grabbed the receiver and put it against her ear.
“Halbreath, Petrovich...Grace Chen.”
“Hi, Grace Chen…I sure do need to see you again. I miss you bad.”
Gracie felt that now familiar check in her spirit. After having thought about this course of action, and in no less measure, the prayers of faithful saints, to include her sister, she began to feel peace about Shane Logan’s pursuit of her. She didn’t want to be anything more than just casual friends.
“What do you say we meet for lunch?” he said, “I’m going to be in that part of town anyway, so maybe we could meet at The Melting Pot, which is not too far away from where you work.”
They met a half an hour later.
Gracie could already hear what was coming: every word out of his mouth flattered and ingratiated. As insincere as it was, she still didn’t mind, because she saw right through the flattery. Her suitor sat in a conspicuous place in the restaurant, and flagged her down, flashing his trademark smile as she approached the table. “Hey there! Boy, are you a welcome sight. I’ve missed you.”
“Well thank you. So what’s on your mind?”
“The truth is, I’d like to see you again this weekend. I was thinking of getting some friends, my sister, and her boyfriend together, and heading out of town to the ocean, in Ocean Pines, near Ocean City. Have you ever been there?
“Yes. Once or twice with my family.”
“Well, then, it’s settled. You’ll have to come with us. We have a house in Ocean Pines with five bedrooms, so everybody will sleep comfortably. Are you in?”
“Umm. What do you and your friends do on these kinds of trips?”
“Oh, you know. We sit around, chat, have a few drinks, or some herb if you are so inclined…stuff like that.”
“Shane: to be perfectly honest, I really don’t want to put myself in that situation. It sounds like the kinds of predicament I’d rather not be involved with. Sorry.”
There was silence following her last words, but he said, “Okay.