FIRST CLASS MALE
The bulky manila envelope was heavy with the weight of rejection as Postmaster Alex Bentley placed it on the counter and began filling out the yellow pickup slip. In the three years since his promotion to postmaster of the small rural office in upstate New York, Alex had delivered his share of good news and bad. Even if the tiny post office he ran was only a mailbox drop, he was there six days a week in rain, sleet, snow, and sometimes into the darkest of night. He tolerated the postal jokes, ran an efficient operation, and received numerous awards, all displayed proudly on the office walls of the ruggedly handsome young man who, at age thirty-two, was the youngest level fifteen postmaster in the district. Years of walking a mail route had given his body a permanent tan, and his daily routine of lifting mail sacks was all the exercise he needed to maintain his well-toned physique.
Promptly at eight a.m., Alex opened the front window and began his daily routine of sorting the mail. He deftly inserted the various bills, letters, magazines and other correspondence into the lock boxes of the 352 year-round residents, and 175 New York City summer escapees that lived in Crystal Lake, a tiny speck of a town deep within the Catskill Mountains. Most of the time, he enjoyed his work. He never enjoyed delivering disappointment-especially to someone as persistently optimistic as Rachel Clark.
An ex-lawyer from New York City, who had traded in her disillusionment of the legal profession for the seductive illusion of a writing career, Rachel fled the stifling summer heat of New York City for the clean air and cool mountain breezes of the country. For the past two years, she rented a secluded cabin, camouflaged deep in the woods where, alone with her imagination, she created romantic, fictional characters whose relationships were full of passion and happy endings. A sharp contrast to the frustrations and bitter disappointments of the real ones she had known all her life.
When she brought in her first stack of manuscripts, over two years ago Alex thought she was a college student on summer vacation. In sandals, Rachel barely stood even with his five foot seven inch frame, and with her lightly freckled face and shoulders Alex couldnít think of any other word to describe her other than cute. It was hard for him to believe she had been a high powered New York City District Attorney.
When she told him she had quit her job to become a romance writer, Alex had been unimpressed. He enjoyed murder mysteries, especially ones with lots of steamy sex, and heíd written occasional columns for the two Postmasterís Association magazines, The Postal Advocate, and Postmasters Gazette. But a girly romance novel was the last thing Alex would ever be interested in reading, and after seeing the address label on the last package he pulled out of the sack, he knew no one else was going to be reading it either.
He heard the lobby door open and immediately recognized the floral scent of her perfume announcing to his senses that she was in the lobby. She walked up to the counter carrying four large envelopes, each containing a little piece of her soul and an inexhaustible amount of hope. After two years of hard work and a great deal of postage, Rachel was still an unpublished writer whose dreams died a little with each rejected manuscript.
"Any news, Alex?" Her voice was high in expectation.
"Sorry, Rachel. Another one came back."
He tried not to see the disappointment in her bright green eyes. She tried to hide it from him, but her smile wasnít convincing. She tore open the package, quickly read the form rejection letter, and put the new pile on the counter with the check already made out.
"This oneís going back to Prelude Press?"
"Yeah. For a change the editor actually wrote me a personal critique along with the rest of the rejection letter. She seemed genuinely reluctant to send it back, so I discussed it with my agent, Sandra. She suggested I take the editorís advice, make a few changes and re-submit it. Hereís the new stack. You know the routine, Alex. By the time the summer is over, youíll have enough money to send your kids through college."
"My kids would thank you, if I had any kids." He tried to joke as he put the stamps on the return envelopes and the meter stickers on the outside ones.
"Maybe Iíll write my next novel about a postmaster who falls in love with a FedEx carrier!"
"I think that would be more of a murder mystery." He laughed, glad to see her mood lighten. "You never did tell me what your story is about."
"You never asked."
" Itís about a lawyer who goes on vacation in the country, falls in love, has her heart broken, takes the guy to court, sues his pants off, and they live happily ever after. Ya know, the usual. Iím sure it would bore you to death."
"Never say death to a postal employee!" He smiled and was pleased when she laughed. "Youíre right, it doesnít sound like anything Iíd read, but Iím sure there are a lot of people who enjoy stuff like that."
"Well, if I keep getting these," she held up the returned manuscript, "weíll never know, will we? Toss this into your very dead letter pile, please." She threw the crumpled rejection notice at him. "Iíll see you tomorrow."
Alexís arm took aim towards the corner wall behind him and he pitched the impersonal letter into the trash can. His eyes then re-directed their gaze onto the small of Rachelís back as she left the lobby. He waited until the door safely closed behind her before leaving the area behind the counter. Alex walked quickly to the front window where he pretended to adjust the display posters, all the while his eyes were focused on an entirely different picture.
Outside, the rays of the afternoon sun radiated delicate streaks of firelight through Rachelís red hair creating an enchanting crown above her head. Her delicate fingers opened the door of her rented white Chevy Malibu and she slid behind the wheel. Before closing the door, Rachel glanced over her shoulder towards the front entrance of the post office where she caught Alex gazing at her through the large picture window. She smiled back at him flirtatiously. As she slowly drove the car onto the main road, Rachel put her hand out the window and gave him a playful wave good-bye. Her gesture sent a shiver throughout Alexís body. If anyone could write about romance, he thought, no doubt Rachel Clark could.
It was almost six oíclock when Alex finished carrying the mail sacks out to the loading area. Lighting a cigarette, he rested his back against the wall and waited for the driver. The afternoon sun was warm on his face, and he closed his eyes against the brightness. His photographic memory immediately brought Rachelís face into view. He remembered how she had unsuccessfully tried to hide her disappointment when he handed her the returned manuscript and how he wished like hell he was handing her a publisherís contract instead.
He took a final drag and dropped the butt on the landing. It rolled dangerously close to the pile of mail bags and he rushed to put it out. As he was crushing the life out of the threatening ember, his foot knocked over one of the sacks, causing the latch to pop open. Packages and letters tumbled everywhere. Alex cursed out loud as he scrambled to recapture the escaping mail. He reached for the last package and noticed it was one of Rachelís manuscripts. Instead of returning it, he closed the sack, secured the lock, and without thinking about how many postal regulations he was violating, took the package back into his office.
Alex carefully opened the envelope, making certain not to damage the paper. Inside was a cover letter, a synopsis, a computer disk, and over four hundred pages of a double-spaced, laser-jet printed manuscript. Alex sat down at his desk, turned on the light, and began reading.
Eight hours later, he finished the final chapter. Alex was no expert on romance novels, but Rachelís writing could convince him to become an avid fan. She was good. Damn good, he thought, but an important element seemed to be lacking. Rachelís descriptions and dialogue were colorful and dramatic, but, in Alexís opinion, the leading male character was a bit bland, and he lacked any real emotional depth for a romantic hero. The main female character was a strong, independent and highly sensual woman, but there was no believable chemistry between the two of them. Alex could also tell by her description of the country setting that Rachel had been living in a concrete jungle most of her life. He could understand why the publishers kept returning the book.
He remembered the pain in Rachelís eyes when she tossed him the rejection letter, and how heíd wished he could have done something to change the message sheíd received. Alex stared at the computer screen, lightly tapping the edge of the keyboard, and started to think. His fellow postmasters told him they enjoyed reading his articles, and he had taken a creative writing course in college. Maybe her manuscript falling out of the sack wasnít just a coincidence.
Alex took the disk out of the envelope and put it into his computer. With a click of the mouse, Legal Briefs by Rachel Clark flashed onto the screen. And, as he ignored his body pleading for sleep and his brain telling him all the reasons why he shouldnít be doing it, Alex began typing.
All through the night, Alex wrote and re-wrote parts of Rachelís manuscript. He edited sentences, changed some of the dialogue, and added just a little lust to the romantic scenes. It was seven oíclock the next morning when he finished printing the revised manuscript. He slid the entire package back into the envelope and sealed it tightly, just as the delivery truck was pulling up to the loading platform. Alex met the driver at the back door.
"Here, Walter. You missed this yesterday." He handed the driver the manuscript. "I wonít report it, this time. Just donít tell anyone that the meter stamp is a day late."
Walter shrugged. "Youíre the postmaster here, Alex. Iím not going to say anything. One day, two days, who cares?" Walter took the envelope, gave Alex the sacks of mail and drove off.
"You should care, jerk." Alex said to the back of the truck. Lucky he didnít notice I hadnít shaved. He thought. Good thing, I keep a razor in the bathroom.
Alex tried to make himself look as if he hadnít been awake all night, and barely succeeded when he opened the front window at exactly eight oíclock. He phoned a nearby restaurant, and ordered a large cup of black coffee, which he barely managed to finish just as the first customer walked into the lobby.
* * *
Rachel slammed open the door of the cabin and hurled the manuscript against the wall where it made a loud thud before landing on the carpet. She grabbed the telephone and speed-dialed her agent in New York.
"Sandra, why didnít you tell me Ballantine rejected the book?"
"I was going to call, Rachel, but you know how it gets around here. Iíve been sending emails and faxes all week. Donít worry. Itís a good book. Iím sure weíll find the right publisher. Did you send the others out to the list I sent you?"
"I just got back from the post office. I swear the postmaster there is more depressed about these rejections than you are. Maybe I should hire him as my agent!"
"That could be dangerous. In this business, everyone is on the verge of going postal! Rachel, I really do have to get back to work. Iíll make some more calls in the morning. Donít worry."
Rachel hung up the phone and picked up the pile of papers that had fallen out of the smashed envelope. It was beginning to get dark and Rachel was tired. She had rented the cabin to get away from the distractions of the city, but the silence was now beginning to get on her nerves. Or was it the loneliness? Rachel couldnít believe that it had been more than two years since sheíd quit her job in the New York City District Attorneyís office to work on her writing career full time. Sheíd also quit her affair with her overly ambitious partner Mark Greystone, or maybe he had quit her. She couldnít remember.
Rachel tossed a frozen dinner into the microwave, poured herself a glass of wine and began reading the rest of the mail sheíd picked up that afternoon. She was having difficulty concentrating, and it wasnít the wine that was the cause. Thoughts of Alex, and the way heíd behaved earlier, were suddenly more interesting than the article she was trying to read in Writerís Digest. He had been so cute, and so obvious when sheíd left the post office. She knew his attempt to "fix" the posters was just a lame excuse so he could watch her leave. Just as her waving to him was her way of letting him know his ruse hadnít worked.
Driving home, she could still feel his eyes burning the back of her neck like the intense rays of the afternoon sun. She didnít know if she felt uncomfortable because he was watching her, or because the fire she was feeling was beginning to inflame other, more intimate parts of her body.
He was so completely different from the men she had worked with in the City. Two hours away from the formality of Manhattan, there was no need to wear three piece suits and stuffy ties. She liked Alexís casual, scruffy look and the way his dark, wavy hair wasnít so perfect. No one in Twenty-First Century New York City would be caught dead sprouting a Seventyís style mustache, but even that fashion faux pas made Alex more of an individual, and all that much more desirable.
His smile was genuine and honest. Unlike those she had seen plastered on the faces of men who usually used it to hide an ulterior motive. He told her he didnít have children and she wondered if that meant he also didnít have a wife.
"Get real, Rachel" she said aloud to the silence. "Youíre beginning to sound like a character in one of your stories. Youíre just a little lonely, thatís all."
But as she began eating the plastic food from the plastic container, she wondered if he too was eating alone tonight. And if so, she wondered if he could cook.
Not having her life run by the clock, Rachel didnít need to be up any earlier than her body desired. Never a morning person, she enjoyed the opportunity to make breakfast her noontime meal, which was why she was more than a little irritated when her phone rang at nine-thirty.
"Rachel? Itís Alex, from the post office."
At the sound of his voice, she was wide awake.
"Alex?" she tried not to sound as if he had just awakened her.
"Did I wake you?" Apparently, she hadnít succeeded. "Iím sorry, but you have a special delivery package here that needs your signature."
Rachel felt as if he could see her through the phone cord, and she pulled the covers over her skimpy nighty.
"Uh, ok," she said, "I can be there in an hour."
"Thatís why I was calling. I have to take another delivery out your way and thought Iíd save you the trip. I close for lunch, and can be there a little after twelve, if thatís ok."
"Yeah. Sure. That would be fine. Iíll see you then."
Rachel hung up the phone, surprised at the way her body reacted to the sound of his voice. She quickly made the bed and ran into the shower. It took her almost an hour to straighten up the living room and another half hour to get dressed. He was only coming over to drop off a package, she told herself, so why was she acting like a teenager on her first date? Ok, so he was attractive, in a rustic sort of way, and he did have that adorable grin that could melt snow, but he worked for the Post Office. What the hell am I thinking?
Rachel checked the mirror, cursed her freckles and ran a brush through her long red hair one more time before pouring herself a third cup of coffee. When she heard his truck pull into the driveway, she ran to her desk and pretended to be heavily involved on the computer when he came to the door.
"Just a second." She said as she finished typing the phantom note.
Rachel opened the door and Alex handed her the package along with the yellow receipt. He took a pen out of his shirt pocket and intentionally, or by accident, Rachel wasnít sure which, brushed his fingers against hers when he handed it to her. The gesture produced an embarrassing blush on Rachelís face, which she hoped he hadnít noticed, and an inviting smile, which she hoped he had.
"Got time for a cup of coffee?" she asked, hoping heíd say yes. He didnít disappoint her.
"Sure. I donít have to be back Ďtil one." Alex followed Rachel into the kitchen. "Working on your next book?" He asked as he walked by the desk.
"Yeah, you know writers. Up at dawn, type all day, edit all night."
"It might be a lot easier if you turned your computer on, first."
Rachel felt her face get hot. "You caught me. I was trying to impress you." She smiled and sat on the couch, putting the coffee on the nearby table.
"So, I did wake you this morning. I should have known you creative types slept late."
"Well, you know what they say about the early bird."
"Yeah, they always get the worm."
"Exactly my point. What does getting up early do for the worm?"
"I must admit, I never quite thought about it that way."
Rachel opened the package, quickly scanned over the letter, and tossed the rest of the contents into a nearby garbage can.
"Another rejection?" Alex asked, his voice heavy with sympathy.
"They made me sign for it, too. Just to be sure I read the damn thing. Itís like theyíre saying weíre rejecting you and we want to make really sure you know it!"
"Still, if your agent didnít think she could sell it..."
"What does she know?" her bitterness obvious, "Maybe she was just hoping to get rich off her reading fees. Remember, I was with the D.A.ís office for almost six years. Iíve been lied to by the best. Maybe I just donít have it. I tell you, Alex, if nothing comes of the last batch I mailed, this may be the last summer I spend holed up in the woods like a hermit."
Alex felt his stomach tighten. Her last summer? The last time heíd ever see her, and she had no idea how much he would miss her. Until she mentioned never coming back, neither did he.
"Rachel, you donít really mean that."
"Yes I do. The only reason I was coming up here was to concentrate on my writing career. If I donít have a career, I donít have a reason to keep coming here every summer. Itís a nice place to visit, but so is Paris, at least my roommate Karen tells me it is. Iíve never been. I could always go back to the D.A.ís office, or maybe Iíll start my own practice."
"Rachel, I think youíre giving up too soon." Before Iíve even had a chance to ask you out. "I hear it can take five or six years to get a book published"
"I donít have five or six years, Alex. I made some pretty good investments when I was getting a paycheck, but that money wonít last forever. I just feel so damn frustrated. Iíve been trying to sell this book for almost two years. Some editors wanted to add chapters, some wanted to cut scenes, some even tried to re-write it themselves, if you can believe that."
"But isnít that what editors are suppose to do?"
"Theyíre editors, their job is to edit. Correct grammar, typos and spelling, stick a comma in here and there, or question a specific line, but not change the entre text of the manuscript. One publisher re-wrote the entire opening paragraph, told me she liked her version better but I didnít agree and we parted company that afternoon. These are my words, Alex. I have to be true to what I write and I wonít compromise my principles for some publisher whose only interest is the bottom line. Iíd burn it in the fireplace before Iíd allow anyone to tamper with my work.
Alex felt the intense determination in her voice. Even though sheíd just expressed her contempt towards impersonal editors and publishers, maybe if he told her what heíd done, she might see it as the act of a friend who was trying to help. Maybe sheíd be grateful, maybe sheíd decide to stay, at least until the end of the summer.
"Rachel, thereís something I need to tell you..."
"Youíre married, and you donít know how
to boil water."
Just then the phone rang. Alex looked at his watch and realized he was never going to have time to finish his sentence.
"Iím sorry, Alex." Rachel covered the mouthpiece with her hand. "Itís Karen calling from Italy, now. Thanks for making the special delivery."
"Youíre welcome. Sorry it wasnít better news." Although he desperately wanted to leave her with a more intimate gesture, Alex waved a quick good-by and left the cabin. It had been a stupidly impulsive thing for him to rewrite her book, --especially after she expressed her feelings about people who tried to tamper with her manuscript, he was glad the phone had interrupted his confession.
"Karen, Alex just left," Rachel said
into the phone, "Heís really amazing. Heís so unlike anyone Iíve ever
met...Yes, heís single, and he can cook!"
Rachel tried to concentrate on her writing, but her fictional romance plots were constantly being interrupted by her real life thoughts about the postmaster. It took all her will power not to find some excuse to visit the post office. In the past week, she spent more than two hundred dollars on postcards and stamps she would never use. She was sure he knew her motive. The last time he gave her change, his hand stayed on hers a few seconds longer than necessary, but he never said anything. In fact, except for that one visit to her cabin, their conversation was strictly business.
With only three weeks left on her summer rental, Rachel decided to make the first move. She reached for the phone just as it started to ring.
Maybe thatís Alex. She thought. Her voice quivered slightly when she said, "Hello?" but the voice on the other end wasnít his.
"Rachel? Itís Sandra. Have you checked your mail today?"
"No. Iíve been working on the rewrites of Legal Briefs all day. Iím not even dressed, why?"
"Well, you can forget the rewrite. Peter Williams, the main man from Prelude Press just called and he loves the book. Heís sending you the contracts overnight, and Iím looking at my copies as we speak. So throw some clothes on, or go in your pjís, I donít care, but get your little ass over to that so-called post office of yours and pick up your mail."
" Oh my God! Are you serious?"
"As serious as an advance royalty check, and yours my dear is very, very serious! Congratulations."
Rachel grabbed some clothes from the pile of laundry she planned on washing sometime, and managed to pull the zipper up on her shorts as she closed the car door. With one hand on the wheel and the other trying to button the rest of her blouse, she just managed to miss hitting a woodchuck that had wandered onto the road. With the animal safe on the other side, Rachel hit the gas and spun around the final turn that led toward the main road. She nearly slammed into a pick-up truck full of chickens going about two miles an hour. Rachel cursed and checked her watch. Ten to five, and she knew Alex closed exactly at five. Well, if she were late, sheíd just have to break into the place.
Fortunately, she didnít have to commit a felony. Another late customer was just leaving, and she nearly knocked him down as she breathlessly ran to the counter.
"Is this what you were coming in here for?" Alex said, holding out the large envelope "Or are you breathing heavy because of me?" He flashed her a wide grin and she tore the envelope from his hand.
Both, she wanted to say as she nervously opened the package and began reading. She was so absorbed with the contract, she didnít notice he locked the door and began turning off the lights.
"Good news?" he asked.
Rachel looked up, expecting to see him behind the counter, and was startled for an instant when she realized he was standing right behind her. She turned around and without thinking, put her arms around him and kissed him hard on the mouth. When she realized what sheíd done, she was suddenly embarrassed.
"Iím sorry...I didnít mean..." She tried to pull away, but he didnít release her.
"Hey, thatís ok. You want to try that again, only a little slower?"
Before she had a chance to answer, Alex started kissing her, slowly moving his hands down her back, gently pulling her closer. It had been so long since she had felt this kind of passion for a man. Passion that had been building up for weeks, or maybe it was a lifetime.
She pulled away from him and tried to breathe.
"I really am sorry." She held up the envelope. "These are contracts from Prelude Press. They bought the book! I guess I got so excited, I just had to kiss somebody, and you just happened to be there and..." Rachel knew she was babbling and wondered if her excuses sounded as lame to Alex as they did to her. Yes, she had been thrilled with the contracts and yes she wanted to share her good news with someone, but when Alex kissed her, she knew there were a whole lot of other reasons why she had not wanted him to stop.
"Oh." He backed away. "Then, Iím the one who should be apologizing. Iím glad I was the only one here when you got that contract. If youíd kissed Jake, he probably would of had a heart attack! I already locked the front door, so youíll have to go out the back."
Alex started to walk away. Rachel put her hand on his arm, turned him around and stared deeply into his dark, brown eyes.
"Alex. Thatís not quite true. What I said about you only being at the right place at the wrong time wasnít quite the complete truth. Iíve been thinking about you ever since that afternoon you came to my cabin. In fact, Iíve been having trouble thinking about anything else."
Alex was afraid to believe what he hoped was the truth. He tried to cover his apprehension with humor. "You sure this isnít some research project for your next novel?"
" I never write about people I know, too risky. Iím a lawyer, remember?"
"Well, Miss Lawyer, do you think you could get us acquitted if we violated a few federal postal laws?"
"Weíd have to get caught first."
"The postmaster would have to turn us in."
"Do you think he can be bribed?"
"Iím sure of it"
Alex gently took her hand and led her into his private office. The room was hot from the afternoon summer sun, or maybe it was just the effect Alex's touch was having on her that caused Rachel to have difficulty breathing. He closed the office door and turned off the lights. The sunset filled the room with a natural orange glow that lit the red highlights of Rachel's hair.
Alex placed one hand delicately on the back of her neck, his fingertips tracing lines through her hair while his other hand gently caressed her back, drawing her body closer. Rachel was dizzy with the heat in the room and the heat of her passion. When their lips met, the hunger she had denied herself since her break-up with Mark suddenly and ravenously came to the surface.
The total feeling of safety, of being with someone with no baggage, no strings and no ulterior motive, brought out sensations in Rachel she thought were long dead. She trusted Alex. He was an honest man. There was no pretext, no illusions. She lay back on the cool vinyl couch, closed her eyes and gave in to her desires willingly, freely and without question.
* * *
Alex watched her get dressed not quite believing that he made love to this woman who was so totally and completely out of his league. She was a lawyer from New York, a writer. A beautiful, talented and dynamic woman and he was just a guy who worked in a small town post office. Was it more than just an afternoon fling? Sounding very sure of himself, and feeling anything but, Alex said, "The place closes at noon tomorrow. Do you want to have lunch?"
"I'd like that." She smiled warmly, glad he had made the offer, almost afraid he wasn't going to. At least he didn't say "I'll call you." she thought.
"My apartment is a mess. How about I pick up a few things and cook something at your place."
"I was hoping you'd say that. I'm getting sick of microwave meals."
Rachel was glad the room was dark. She didn't want Alex to notice her knees were having a hard time holding up the rest of her body. She was trying to play it cool, and having a difficult time convincing even herself.
Rachel would never admit it, especially to Alex, but her ex-boyfriendís comments still continued to haunt her. Every time a publisher returned her manuscript, a subconscious I told you so, would creep into her thoughts to the point that Rachelís self-esteem level was close to zero. She stared to believe her book kept getting rejected because it wasnít good enough, and that perhaps Mark had rejected her for the same reason.
She didnít want Alex to know how unsure she was, or how much she needed to prove both of her assumptions to be false. The contracts she held in her hands earlier affirmed her writing competency. Holding Alex in her arms moments ago reaffirmed her sexuality. But as she watched him watching her with eyes full of something other than simple physical satisfaction, Rachel silently asked herself, was it more than just an afternoon fling?
Alex walked her to the parking lot. He kissed her tentatively, still feeling the uncertainty of their first time lovemaking. He watched her car drive down the road until the tail lights became two tiny dots of red. Alex knew he was in trouble. He didnít know when it had started exactly. After reading her book, he knew he wanted to get to know her better. He would use the excuse of delivering the package to her cabin in order to see her outside of the office, but was not quite ready to ask her out for fear she would say no.
Almost subconsciously, he began looking forward to Rachelís daily visits. He caught himself watching the clock and the door in anticipation of seeing her. He didnít want it to happen, but the wall heíd built around his heart was beginning to crumble a little bit everytime she walked through the door. And today, when she kissed him, it was as if she had blown the horn of Joshua, knocking down his self-imposed wall of Jericho. And he was scared.
* * *
Rachel drove up the dirt road that led to her sanctuary in the woods. Her body was still tingling with the memory of Alex and the excitement of finally selling her book. Once inside, she turned on the lights and began reading through the papers. Sandra was right. It was an excellent contract, but it did require an extensive travel itinerary for book signings and other promotional events.
She held the pen in her hand and stared at the signature line. She was about to get everything she ever wanted and possibly lose the one thing she never thought sheíd ever have. Her life was about to change and Rachel knew Alex could never be a part of it.
She closed her eyes and immediately his endearing smile came into view. Her body remembered the way heíd held her, and how his touch had taken her on a trip of unimaginable pleasure. But when she opened her eyes, the room was empty. Cold, dark and lonely. She wasnít ready to take that kind of risk. She was scared.
Rachel put her signature on the contract and faxed the papers through the telephone lines at thirteen cents less than the price of a first class postage stamp.
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