For hundreds of years her face has ghosted through my dreams. I began to believe that she would not come. So much so that when I finally met her face to face, I told myself it was not her and nearly forced myself not to recognize her.
God has a strange way of proving things sometimes…
But then I should be thankful that He’s proving anything to me.
He is God and needs not prove Himself or His plans.
He is not accountable to anybody. He certainly doesn’t need to answer all my questions.
But this one question…the one that has haunted me for as long as I’ve been alive…He’s finally answered it…and I’m not quite sure how to react to the answer.
“Do you see him?”
I turned around in a circle, trying to find the owner of the voice.
First, I was standing in nothing but black, but I blinked and suddenly I was standing in a meadow. Daisies stood by the hundreds, running across the field, lifting cheery yellow faces up toward the heavens.
I smiled, and giggled, the mood of those happy flowers infiltrating my spirit.
I saw a gleam of water in the distance.
I picked up the skirts of the pristine white dress I was wearing and began to run toward that gleam.
It looked so beautiful.
“Do you see him?” As I ran, I looked around, trying to find the man who was saying that.
“Did you know you would meet him here? Is that why you came?”
Still, I ran as fast as I could toward that gleam.
A barely perceptible darkness forced its way into the edges of my vision.
I ignored it.
If only I could reach that water…
I was so focused on that gleam of silver and blue that I didn’t hear the voice say my name.
A different voice.
When it said my name again, it entered my conscience. It was a husky voice. And the way it pronounced my name was like a caress.
I looked behind me, slowing ever so slightly.
The person behind me grabbed my wrist and I gave a short scream as I was jerked to a stop.
The scream came back to my own ears, echoing over and over. My head snapped forward and I saw that I was standing at the edge of the cliff that led into that shining water.
I gulped in air and slowly turned my head so that I saw the hand that had saved me from my death.
Strong, tanned fingers wrapped around my wrist, so big they could almost go around twice. A gold ring with a sapphire wrapped around the man’s index finger. I followed the line of his arm up to his face--
I sucked in a shallow breath as I woke up.
I stood on the window seat of my room, the window flung open. It was the old type of window, where it opened inward instead of just sliding up.
I stared out at the sky.
And there was no screen.
A sweet-scented breeze floated around my face, lifting strands of sweaty hair from my hot cheeks.
I turned around and stared down at Pastor Silverton, who had saved me from falling to my death.
I sat down before my legs could collapse and leaned my head against the wall.
The pastor stared at me, then shook his head slightly and said, “Were you sleepwalking?”
I nodded. “I was. I haven’t done that…since…since Death came to take away Caroline.”
Pastor Silverton sat down on the other side of the window seat and stared down at his hands.
“Nellie got worried about you since you were sleeping so late. She checked on you earlier. I just happened to be walking by your room when I heard your window open.”
I looked up and saw Crystal. Her eyes were darker a darker blue than they usually were.
The color of worry.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be all right.” I told her. For an inexplicable reason, my eyes filled up. “I’ve always been all right in the end.”
The pastor reached out and took my hand in his.
I looked up at him, willing back my tears.
But one spilled down my cheek unbidden anyway.
He smiled. “You don’t have to be all right all the time, my dear.”
I nodded and tried to smile.
He stood up. “Well, I’ll leave you to get dressed. Then we can do something for you for breakfast. Or, lunch, rather. And, if you wouldn’t mind, Meredith, I would like to take a walk with you to the park with Edison.”
I nearly sighed with relief. That sounded so…normal. So nice.
When he was gone, I stared up at the ceiling and gave a great, heaving sigh.
How real that dream had been…
Adam and Iana ended up joining the pastor and I on the way to the park.
However, they walked up ahead of us, giving Pastor Silverton space to talk.
“So, what does your son do for a living?” I asked him.
“Adam? Well…actually he’s the CEO of an American real estate company called Silverton and Finn Property Group, Inc."
“Silverton and Finn? Did he start it with somebody?”
“Yes, actually. Adam had the money. Finn had the skill and connections.”
My eyes widened. “The…money?”
He smiled, nodded. “To make a long story short, Adam worked for a millionaire every summer for four years. Whenever he would speak with the millionaire, Adam would invite him to church. Every time he refused. But Adam kept asking and finally the man accepted. He came to my church, listened to me preach, and was saved later that day. Now this millionaire…he had no children. Without our knowing he wrote Adam into his will. He died Adam’s second year in college leaving my son three million dollars.”
My mouth dropped open.
Pastor Silverton chuckled. “Plus the mansion and grounds Adam used to work in.”
I considered all he had told me for a moment. “So…who is Finn?”
“You know…I’ve known that boy fifteen years and still I cannot answer that question adequately. Let’s just say that Finn and Adam happened to bump into each other, became friends, and created an extremely successful corporation together. Finn is…well…unexplainable.” The pastor sighed and stared into the distance, his thoughts distracting him from the present. I glanced at him, slightly confused. That sigh held frustration.
“I would like to meet him.” I said simply.
He looked at me and smiled. “You never know, Meredith, how God can use you.”
I smiled back.
Ahead of us, Edison ran toward Adam as fast as his little-boy legs could carry him. In his hand he held a light saber. “Infidel, you shall die!” He cried, raising the light saber above his head. He brought it down, intending—it seemed—to cut Adam in half. Adam just barely avoided it.
“Infidel…” Pastor Silverton murmured. “Oh dear. That was part of my last sermon. The way that boy can twist words confounds me. I’ll have to tell him not to call random people infidels. He does that, you understand.”
“Pastor Silverton…is Edison a prodigy like he claims to be?”
He let out a breath of a laugh, kind blue eyes twinkling. “Indeed he is. When you hear him play his piano or violin you’ll understand.”
Edison and Adam ran around Iana in circles. She laughed at them.
The pastor looked at me. “It’s amazing what you’ve done with that girl.”
“I didn’t do it.” I replied.
He gave a single nod.
“No,” He agreed. “You did not.”
Later that day Mrs. Silverton, Iana, and I went to a salon. I had convinced Iana to die her hair back to her original color. I saw a jewelry store across the street.
I asked for permission to explore it and the pastor’s wife gave her consent.
I looked both ways in order to cross the street.
Entering the store, the first thing that caught my eye was a giant grandfather clock with a gleaming golden pendulum ticking back and forth.
I peered through the nearest glass countertop and found a selection of various rings set with variegated jewels.
I smiled at the twinkles and placed my hands on top of the glass. One ring held a sapphire. One a ruby. One a topaz.
“May I help you?”
I glanced up and found a boy a few years older than me, standing behind the counter. His name tag said Jordan.
“No, I’m—” A ring in the far left corner of the selection I was looking at caught my eye.
I stared at it for a moment.
“May I see this one?” I said quietly, pointing at the ring.
He took it out and gave it to me.
“Wow…” I breathed out.
“It’s called a sunset opal.”
“I can see why. It’s…it’s like a dream.”
“How did you know what it’s called?”
I looked up, confused. “What?”
“We like to give the rings names. We named that one It’s Like a Dream.”
I stared into the ring. It was so…deep. It was as if I were looking into the endless sky.
“It’s remarkable.” I said. “I’ve never seen a jewel like this.”
He nodded. “It’s one of my favorites.” He leaned forward and said. “It hasn’t sold because it’s so expensive. Platinum plus sunset opal makes for a pretty penny. It’s so expensive they don’t even put a price tag on it.”
“Could I try it on?” I asked
He winked at me. “Sure. Go ah—”
The door behind me opened, making the bell above it jingle.
Jordan looked up and smiled in greeting.
“Could I help you with something?”
“Nothing at all.”
The voice was husky and smooth at the same time.
Slowly, I turned around.
There he was.
Every golden hair in place, shaded glasses on, there he stood, stance impenetrable.
Yet still I could sense the slightest hesitation in him.
I stared at him for a moment, wondering. When he continued to say nothing, I turned back to Jordan and slipped the sunset opal ring onto my ring finger.
“It fits.” I said. I took it off and handed it back to Jordan with a little bit of a sigh.
“Too bad I’m not rich enough to buy it.”
He shrugged. “Not many people are. Do you need anything else?”
“No. Thank you.”
I ignored the hulking man behind me as I turned to inspect another case of jewelry, though I couldn’t help but cast one last longing glance at the opal.
I stopped moving, closed my eyes for a second.
His voice was surely the same that was in my dream.
I took a breath, held it in my lungs, and turned around tilting my head quizzically. “So you’re…Finn?”
He reached up and took off the glasses. “Do I not look my name?”
I took a step forward and stared up into his eyes for the first time.
They were blue. A deep, sensitive, cerulean.
“You look your name.” I finally said. “There just…seems a part of it missing.”
He grimaced slightly. “I usually don’t tell people my first name upon introductions.”
I took another step forward. “Well, we have met before.”
“But we were not properly introduced.”
“Well…you go first. I’ll go next.”
I couldn’t stop from staring into his face.
He was just…so…beautiful.
“All right, then. At your request I will answer. Aurelius Finn.”
I smiled. “Well…Aurelius…” I held out my hand. “I’m Meredith. Meredith Windsor.”
Creases at the corners of his eyes crinkled ever so slightly. “I knew that.”
“I wanted to make sure.”
He looked down at my hand and that slight expression of a smile slid away. Gradually, his hand came up to engulf mine.
A tingling began to engulf my entire body, starting with my fingers in his.
It was a strange thing to me because that feeling—that effervescent tingling—I only felt it when the Holy Spirit was greatly upon me.
I stared into his eyes, which seemed to be desperately searching mine.
For what I could not say.
At last he pulled his hand back.
The tingling faded away.
He looked away and heaved a great, deep sigh.
I didn’t understand that sigh.
But right then, I don’t think it mattered.
“I happened to see Mrs. Silverton in the hair salon. She came out and somehow managed to get me to ask for you all to join me for lunch. Mrs. Silverton gave me permission to escort you. Said she and Iana would be along shortly.”
“Where are we going?” I asked.
He opened the door for me so I could exit first.
“Somewhere with pizza.”
“Sounds like a lunch I would like.”
He nodded absently, took out his glasses and put them on.
I began to walk on the sidewalk next to him, staring into the shop windows as we passed them.
“So…I heard that you’re something like the CEO of a major corporation. What is your favorite part about your job?”
“Helping people find what they need.”
“Hm.” I considered his answer as I tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. The silence stretched long between us. Finally, I said. “Now it’s your turn to ask a question.”
He seemed slightly amused. “I’m sorry. I’m not much good at this sort of thing.”
“Well, Aurelius Finn, remember this when you’re with me: You don’t have to be a good conversationalist. Just remember to ask questions.”
This seemed to set him at ease, for his stance relaxed and he even gave a small smile. “I’m glad to know that, Meredith Windsor.” He said. “As for my question—”
Without warning, the sound of a woman screaming and the simultaneous screeching of car wheels filled the air.
Aurelius grabbed my shoulders and pushed me against the brick wall of the nearest building. Above my head, he pressed his forearms against the bricks and acted like my shield.
The screeching of those car wheels grew louder. Then, beside us, I heard glass crashing and crashing and crashing.
It seemed as though it would be forever until the breaking would stop.
In reality it was little more than a minute.
Then he pulled away from me and I saw what had happened.
A car—not just any car but a red Corvette—had crashed into the glass of the window of the little shop next to where we stood.
People began to gather around the car, began to murmur.
I saw the driver. His head lay against the inflated airbag.
He did not move.
I sucked in a shuddering breath and took a step away.
It reminded me of…
Finn’s hand found mine.
I jerked my head up and saw him swallow as he stared at the mess.
Then he gripped my hand a little harder and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
The sound of sirens cried infiltrated the silence.
I let him lead me, taking two steps to every one of his.
I didn’t ask where we were going.
Though I knew next to nothing about him, there was something in him—in his eyes and presence—that I had seen in the angels.
Something good and honest.
I knew that because for the single minute he had pressed me against the brick wall and acted as my protector I had heard his heartbeat.
Aurelius Finn’s heartbeat.
It was steady and it was strong. But then…for a moment…it was strange. For a moment—a single second in the time I listened—I could hear a song instead of a heartbeat.
And though it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard I couldn’t repeat the tune in my mind.
No matter how hard I tried.
But I had heard the melody before.
I hadn’t even realized I had heard it.
Whispers of the song had been given to my subconscious every time I had stared into the eyes of angels.
Listening to his heart was like staring into their eyes.
It confused me mightily.
Aurelius Finn had neither demon nor angel looking over his soul or helping him go one way or another.
But now was not the time to ask anything.
I buried my questions deep in my mind to unearth later.
Right now…I would simply let him guide me wherever we were going.
After all...he had saved me from being trampled by the crowd and was Adam Silverton’s partner in their real estate corporation.
Once we climbed into Finn’s truck, he snapped out a cell phone and called someone.
I stared, open-mouthed at the interior of the truck.
I wasn’t very good with brands and such but it was some type of Escalade. The leather seats were brand new. The car even smelled new.
I wondered if there was a scent that you could buy called New Car Odor.If not, surely whoever sold it would be an instant millionaire.
I glanced over at Finn and found I could actually see his eyes staring at me through his glasses.
He had the type that turned darker in the sun and faded in lesser light.
I suppose I knew that before but I didn’t actually know it until then.
He continued to stare at me, even when I met his gaze.
“Yeah, hi, it’s me.” He said to the person he had called. He paused, listened. I could hear the person on the other end asking if he was all right. “No. I’m fine. Yes…she’s with me. I was going to call your mom next…” He stopped, nodded. “Hey, look, Adam, I was calling to ask…did you lend your Corvette to somebody?”
I could hear Adam say no.
“Go check to see if it’s still in the garage, would you?”
“All right. Hold on.” Adam said. “What? Do you think the kid we just hired went for a joyride? How did he even know where the keys were?”
“He’s a teenager, Adam. Teenagers can be smart when they really want to be.”
There was silence for a moment.
Then I heard Adam say. “Yeah. You’re right. It’s gone. The kid really did steal it. Guess I better get down to the police station, huh?”
“That would be best.”
“Can’t take the Corvette now. How bad did the kid total it?”
“Ran-it-into-a- glass-and-brick-building bad?”
“That was my favorite car, too.”
“You have seven other cars, Adam. Do me a favor and give the kid a break. He just made a dumb decision. Let’s hope he learns from it.”
“All right, then. See ya. Oh, wait. You have Meredith with you?”
“Yeah. Was planning on taking your mom, Iana, and Meredith to lunch.”
“That little pizza joint on 27th Street.”
“Okay. I’ll see if I can make it.”
Finn took his cell phone from his ear, called Mrs. Silverton, assured her he and I were all right and that plans still hadn’t changed.
I stopped listening to the conversation, distracted as I was by the scene of that Corvette smashed into that building. The driver had been as still as…but no…he wasn’t dead. I hadn’t seen Death anywhere.
So he would be all right.
I crossed my arms and tried to rub away the goose bumps that appeared on my flesh.
The accident had so reminded me of that time when I had been eight years old, driving on an interstate in the pouring rain with my father.
I remember seeing the cars in front of us slam together…remembered the sirens afterwards…the blood…my father as he—“Meredith?”
I looked up and was nearly overwhelmed by the blue of Finn’s eyes.
It was like I was being swallowed by the sky.
I saw the concern in the blue deepen as I continued to stare at him without saying anything.
He reached out, gently touched my arm.
“You’re trembling.” He whispered. Then he shook his head slightly, took his car keys, and turned on the engine. “Let’s go to Mario’s.” He winked at me. “His pizza makes everything better.”
We drove for a while in silence.
“Is Aurelius Finn your real name?” I finally asked.
“Well…yes. As far as I can tell.” He answered. “Is Meredith Windsor yours?”
“That’s my name.” I said, pushing the button to roll down the window. “But it can’t exactly tell you much about me. Every name has a soul.”
“And every soul has gifts and deficits that nobody can see.” He said.
I glanced over at him, narrowed my eyes slightly. “Exactly who—”
I stopped, surprised that he had interrupted me.
He shook his head. “Don’t ask me. I don’t want to tell you the answer. I want you to discover it for yourself.”
I titled my head, considered him, then leaned back against the headrest and crossed my arms.
“How come you act as if you know me?”
He swallowed. “Because…perhaps…perhaps I do.”
I stared at him, trying to figure something out without having the pieces to do so.
But then…it seemed there would be much with him that I would not understand.
We came to a stop light. He looked over at me, met my eyes.
I couldn’t understand what he tried to convey with the look in his gaze.
But I did see two things.
“Do you mind?” He said. “If I know more about you than you do about me, I mean.”
Befuddled, I searched his face for a clue. Not finding one, I shrugged. “Aurelius Finn, if you truly know that much about me, I think you would believe I was insane.”
The red light turned green up ahead. He glanced ahead, smiled a strange smile.
“What if I were to tell you I’m the same sort of insane as you?”
I couldn’t answer him.
Because I wasn’t sure if I knew what he was saying or not.
Well, then, Aurelius Finn certainly is something of an enigma. Hope you liked that small paragraph in the beginning in italics. Can you guess who he is? Leave a note about what you think. Also, if you enjoyed this chapter please subscribe to my blog. I need more subscribers!!!