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Communicating the Tenderness of Protection

Communicating the Tenderness of Protection

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Communicating the Tenderness of Protection

4/5 (2 valutazioni)
378 pagine
6 ore
Apr 6, 2015


United States Secret Service Special Agent Priscilla Lockman is an active part of her family’s legacy, and all she has ever known or has ever been able to see before her is a career in the service. But things are beginning to rapidly change: spiritually, she finds herself turning more towards Jesus, and experiencing Him beyond just reading about Him, while physically, her previous injuries are threatening her career and mobility. Standing at a crossroad where a gorgeously confident man keeps popping up and creating havoc with her overly sensitive feelings, her outer world suddenly seems way too unfamiliar so her eyes shift away and instead, turns toward the Mystery of the Gospel, Christ within her, and finds that her daily commitment unleashes countless treasures beyond her limited mind.

Tech savvy Special Agent Brantley Wilkins, aka Techy, has a major problem that no one foresaw. He can clearly see the issues, blocks, and even the tiny dust particles creating communication errors while seeing Jesus first, as the Holy Spirit guides his fingers and reveals the answers for error messages almost before they’re projected, but he has no idea how to fix his own personal error message. He painfully knows that healthy communication involves requests and responses, and tech responses are easily deleted, but verbal responses are way more powerful in every sense of the words spoken. And despite the fact that Priscilla’s sweet, innocent face commands his heart to wildly beat within him, he has a major obstacle standing in the way, her family, who are even more protective than the CAT guys.

Apr 6, 2015

Informazioni sull'autore

I hope my novels will give you a few hours of enjoyment as well as inspire you to have a deeper fellowship with Jesus as you actively live in His presence. May you always put Him first in all that you do, and deeply know the victory that only He can provide as the Holy Spirit guides you and instructs you in your journey on earth while your heart is held protectively, and securely in the hands of your Abba (Heavenly Father).Beyond our limits, but always within His reach: Only God can take each and every one of our personal, simple choices, done in obedience to Him, and nourish them into becoming profound life-altering changes. A life we can only experience as we individually and privately choose to follow only our Shepherd, our Redeemer, our Savior- our Jesus.

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Anteprima del libro

Communicating the Tenderness of Protection - Andie Renee

Protection Series:

#8 ~ Communicating the Tenderness of Protection

(Each novel in this series does stand-alone, but they also relate to each other.)

By Andie Renee

Copyright 2015 Andie Renee

Smashwords Edition

In regards to my Protection Series:

I have more than surpassed the required waiting years, in regards to writing, which I had agreed upon at the time of my resignation from the United States Secret Service. I have not divulged any top secret, classified, or sensitive information regarding the government, nor any government agency, nor have my books revealed any specific names. They are not meant to disrespect any particular person, agency, or representatives. They are fictional characters involved in fictional and imaginary, life-changing events. I am hoping that you enjoy the unique family bond that this agency actually has amongst its agents. This set of books may be really different from what you normally read, but I am hoping that you can enjoy the uniqueness and interesting situations that they all find themselves in and how Jesus heals their ways and works in each of their lives.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

eBook Cover Designer~Andie Renee

Main Globe photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ kentoh(csp 1534222); Praying hands photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ Hasenonkel (csp 2999212); Colorful World photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ freesoulproduction (csp 6628623); Eagle photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ mtruchon (csp 8384516); Heart with Roses photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ Konstanttin (csp 8446906); Lilies photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ Stocksolutions (csp 9459531); Shofar photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ leah613 (csp 10326685); Gold Cross photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ paulista (csp 12537033); Hand on Keyboard photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ SergeyNivens (csp 13492925); Computer Room photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ SSSRRUSSIA (csp 18853673); Beach photo: CanStockPhotoInc./ Catmando (csp 3656807)

Star Image Designer~Andie Renee: Panther: CanStockPhotoInc./ dagadu (csp7909419); White House: CanStockPhotoInc./ Alperium (csp1845848)

When you read this book you will be experiencing...

Communicating the Tenderness of Protection, a novel about United States Secret Service Special Agent Priscilla Lockman, who is an active part of her family’s legacy. All she has ever known or has ever been able to see before her is a career in the service, but things are beginning to rapidly change. Spiritually, she finds herself turning more towards Jesus, and experiencing Him beyond just reading about Him, while physically, her previous injuries are threatening her career and mobility. Standing at a crossroad where a gorgeously confident man keeps popping up and creating havoc with her overly sensitive feelings, her outer world suddenly seems way too unfamiliar so her eyes shift away and instead, turns toward the Mystery of the Gospel, Christ within her, and finds that her daily commitment unleashes countless treasures beyond her limited mind.

Tech savvy Special Agent Brantley Wilkins, aka Techy, has a major problem that no one foresaw. He can clearly see the issues, blocks, and even the tiny dust particles creating communication errors while seeing Jesus first, as the Holy Spirit guides his fingers and reveals the answers for error messages almost before they’re projected, but he has no idea how to fix his own personal error message. He painfully knows that healthy communication involves requests and responses, and tech responses are easily deleted, but verbal responses are way more powerful in every sense of the words spoken. And despite the fact that Priscilla’s sweet, innocent face commands his heart to wildly beat within him, he has a major obstacle standing in the way, her family, who are even more protective than the CAT guys.

Chapter 1

It will be fine. Everything in my life will continue to be fine.

She smiled to a fellow agent while continuing on into the parking garage.

It will all be fine...just as it always is.

Again, Priscilla paused another brief moment before she got into her government car, unable to dislodge the feeling that something in her life was about to be radically changed, while at the same time trying to feed herself positive thoughts.

Her heart clenched within her chest.

Everything is okay, nothing will mess this up, and everything will run smoothly because right after the doctor signs this release form, which was just a formality, she could go back to work on full duty, and everything within her world will finally be righted again, and will continue to go on as before.

Priscilla’s gaze hesitantly looked to her bag where the form letter rested, waiting to get signed.

Strong determination drove through her, it will get signed, and right after it is signed, I can continue being another Lockman agent, in the very long line of agents. Dating back to when the Secret Service was first created in the 1860’s to crack down on counterfeiting in U.S. currency with my great, great grandfather and great, great, great uncle.

There was just no other option.

Finally opening up her door, she climbed in, set her laptop bag down on the passenger seat, and forced a smile to her face. There was no other option for victory. She was a Lockman, and this is what they do. There were a few that branched out into the other federal law enforcement agencies, but mostly they were all United States Secret Service Special Agents.

And that was that!

Feeling slightly better, she pulled out of the federal building, waved to the security attendant, and then pulled out onto the busy downtown street. Turning up her service radio, Priscilla breathed a heavy sigh of relief. She was so thankful for the distraction. It provided the calming background noise that she was used to, because there was just way too much negativity trying to run rampant in her mind, and what she needed was familiarity.

And what better familiarity for her, then to hear the agents calling in arrivals and departures, as well as relaying pertinent information needed for the duty desk.

The sound of a federal agent’s busy life!

She tenderly smiled, a life I love.

It was the comforting noise she grew up hearing while lying in the backseat of her dad’s government car as he had cleaned it out at home, or during the times that they had just sat in there, because that is where she had always wanted to be. In his very special, Agent Car.

"Just you wait, Priscilla, you will be one of those agents calling in one day."

Her face lit up, Daddy, I would love to be. Will it make you happy? Because I know it will make me happy!

"Oh, honey, nothing could make me happier. You as Special Agent Priscilla Lockman. He exaggeratingly closed his eyes as if in deep thought, Make that Special Agent in Charge Priscilla Lockman."

She laughingly clapped her hands and jumped up to rest over his front seat so that she could actually see her dad’s face light up. Her little heart pounded in her chest as he looked right at her, causing her smile to grow even more because he was beaming with happiness and love. She was always affected so deeply when her dad was happy over something she had done.

Her arms wrapped around his neck, I like that Daddy, and I love you, Special Agent Jake Lockman!

Priscilla tucked her hair behind her ear while she came to a full stop at the traffic light. She will never forget that day. It had been the day she had promised herself that nothing would ever stand in the way of her being an agent, and she couldn’t wait to see her dad’s face beam with happiness while she held onto her shiny badge for the first time.

And on the day of her graduation, his expression, and smile, had not let her expectations down. It had been all that she had ever envisioned it being.

Her heart constricted in her chest, but what if I can no longer be one?

Moving on through traffic, she turned down the street to her ankle specialist’s parking lot, and couldn’t help but look to the entrance of the tall building. What if I walk in as an agent, but then come back out as a civilian?

No way! It can’t happen like that, she rolled her eyes, the most that will happen is that the doctor will tell her she will have to have another surgery.

Priscilla blew out her tired breath, this is ridiculous. Priscilla, what is wrong with you? It is just a simple signature, and they give them out all of the time!

Growling, she rubbed her temples, and refused to accept what her mind kept telling her. After all she has been through, and experienced, there is no way it will suddenly stop now. No way! It can’t. Everything in her life had always led to the badge in her pocket, the gun on her hip, the curly earpiece specifically molded for her ear, and the car keys to her GOV.

There is no way it could suddenly be stripped from her, not like this.

This doctor’s visit was just a formality. Like all of the other times, he would say, you’re fine, keep doing what you are doing, and go ahead and get back to work. That’s how it will go!

After parking her car, she confidently walked into the building, headed right over to the elevators, and a few minutes later, after signing in at the receptionist area, she sat down. But her mind was still struggling with doubt until a beautifully soft, pleasant sound came from her phone.

Upon looking at it, her eyes widened, FocusOnJesus. Touching it, she immediately read the text message, ‘Praying you are currently more aware of Jesus than anything else.’

Again, she looked back to see if there was a number associated with it, but all it said was, FocusOnJesus.

I wonder who could have sent it, no one really knew that she had this appointment today. It wasn’t like she publicized it.

Mom and Grandma knew she had a checkup with her doctor today, but they didn’t know all that was involved. They didn’t know what had happened as a result of her latest protection trip, nor of her failed attempts at clearing the PT test, which prompted this visit.

She closed her eyes, she was probably going to have to have another surgery, and although she really wasn’t ready for another surgery, if this is what it would take to make her agent ready again, well, she would gladly have it. She would do whatever it took.

Her eyes again traveled to the simple message, and as she read it, what she was beginning to recognize as Divine peace, rose up even more from deep within her prompting her to immediately turn to Jesus.

Jesus, my Lord.

Aggravated with herself, she inwardly frowned, what took me so long to acknowledge you today, Jesus? I’m so sorry. I didn’t first look to you as I woke up this morning, did I? Especially when I was aware that the unsettling feeling had a grip on me, but now with this message...

She couldn’t help but wonder who could have sent it. Priscilla inwardly smiled, I guess it really doesn’t matter who sent this message. All that matters is that I received it, and understand it, and it has turned my wayward focus back to where it needs to be...on you. I really needed this message right now, her eyes widened as a powerful realization rose up within her.

You let whomever sent it know what I had need of, so that they could send it to me. Praise you, Jesus, you do hear my prayers, and you really do know what I have need of. Please, forgive me, Lord. All the way over here, and including this morning, since I left home, I haven’t acknowledged you, and I am painfully dealing with the effects of that. That is why my mind is still so unsettled, I’m not correctly giving it to you. I am praying, and praying, but it takes me to freely choose to turn to you over that darkness, doesn’t it? And I know better than to do that, the unsettling thoughts should have reminded me that I was spiritually hungry, but instead, the negativity spoke louder through my mind.

I was wrongfully more aware of that, than you.

Thank you for interceding just now, and reminding me that I’m doing it again, I’m not thinking on you and therefore I am not walking in your strength. I’m trying to do it all without you, which is powerless. I love you, and thank you for your faithfulness, and for always being right here within me, waiting on me to actively acknowledge you.

Her eyes continued to absently stare out the huge window. Thank you for forgiving me, and for affecting my life in a deep way over these last few months. I am still amazed at how simple it is, but yet how long it took me to actually live like this. I never realized that actively acknowledging you, as I do other people, is one of the first steps in learning to live in you, and opens me up to hear and receive from you even more. Our relationship becomes closer each day as we mutually communicate with each other. Praise Jesus that the Holy Spirit is teaching me to Divinely communicate.

Wonderment flowed through her as the Holy Spirit intimately gifted her with an image of how she had lain prostrate before her Heavenly Father’s throne, and had asked for their relationship to become stronger. It had been a few months ago, during those lonely, nonworking days at home, after she had obediently listened to the strong urgency that she had, to rest her legs more, in order to take off the strain from the physically taxing work that was part of being an agent. Those special resting days had served a beautiful purpose in strengthening her relationship with Jesus.

Priscilla Lockman?

She looked over to the nurse, Right here. As she joined her, a very real, vivid image of her Beloved Savior picking her up and holding her close, rose in her mind. At the same time, Isaiah 46, verse 4 filtered through her thoughts, ‘And even to your old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.’

After the check-in routine was finished, the nurse left her alone in the exam room, and she, again, thought on that powerful scripture.

Read the verse before that.’

Priscilla looked to her Bible application in her phone, and quickly went to it. ‘Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:’

Her stomach excitedly dropped, making her heart race. Oh, praise you, Jesus, I had done just that. I had turned towards you, and then you faithfully responded to me with a powerful scripture, one that specifically lets me know that you carry me, and you will deliver me.

Priscilla took off her shoes, this doctor’s visit will be fine because Jesus is carrying her, and He said that He would deliver her. Praise Jesus! Keeping on her socks, so that the restless leg syndrome didn’t start to kick in because of the cold room, she looked to the door, more than ready for her doctor to come in, recheck them, do his endless strengthening tests on them, and then sign the aggravating paper so she could get back to work.

Jesus, you surely are in all of the details of my life. To date, I have had seven ankle surgeries, four on one, and three on the other, five of them reconstructive ones, one a neuroma and nerve surgery, including a compartment compression syndrome repair along with other types of necessary repairs, and then a left knee reconstruction with two more separate surgeries for meniscus repairs on it. And to think, five of the ankle surgeries, and two of the knee ones had happened during college, and before I had even applied to be an agent. And I was still able to graduate a semester early, with a high grade point average, and make it into the Secret Service. Clearly showing me that you, alone, allowed for that to happen.

Lord, you surely do miraculously carry me through all things, you always have. I can clearly see it now. Before I just took it as one problem, or one thing after another, and it became a part of me, a familiar way of life, and nothing could slow me down, nor put me down. Especially not another surgery.

But now?

She closed her eyes, I am so unsure about all of this, Lord, and I can’t explain why. Why now? Why with this appointment? Especially now, when I am finally beginning to more clearly see that you are my Source for all things? You are my Shepherd that carries me, and I am actually so amazed that I have been through so much in my life, and yet, I am still physically fit. I was even one of the top ones in my training class in physical fitness, and I had passed all physical tests with flying colors up until recently.

I am supposed to be an agent, everything in my life has always centered on me being an agent, and regardless of the obstacles that kept popping up, you saw that I was able to become one. There is no other way to explain that.

It was a fulfillment of a prayer that I had prayed every night since being a young girl.

Looking back, I am so shocked because it really doesn’t make sense when you think on it. How could someone even do all of that after having been through all of those surgeries? It was miraculous, but while going through it I hadn’t recognized it as being so. During my college years, I took you for granted, and just kept plowing on, and I didn’t actively acknowledge you. I prayed, went to church, and talked to you, but now I can see that it wasn’t at all like it is now. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for healing my spiritual eyes so that I may see more clearly what had truly, miraculously happened in my life.

Thank you Jesus for your loving, healing presence that I actively dwell in. Please, continue to heal me in all areas of my life that are not aligned with my Abba, my Heavenly Father, and inform me of barriers that I am unknowingly erecting between us. Protect me, and secure me so that I do not fall back to the way I was, only reading about you, and praying, wondering if you really hear me, and waiting until I get to Heaven to truly get to know you and to dwell with you.

I could not live like that again...

Priscilla looked up as the door opened, and immediately smiled to the doctor as he cordially walked in.

Hello, Agent Lockman. How are you doing today?

Yes! She could see it in his smile, victory was right there in her grasp, as always! Finally, she would get that signature and be able to get this whole rotten thing behind her.

An hour later, Priscilla numbly walked out of her doctor’s office, carrying the empty packages of her new, to be worn daily, ankle braces, and a form filled out for a permanent handicap placard. She walked over through the main door and over to the elevators located down the hall.

It wasn’t just a signature...

Her eyes shifted to the elevator button as the light to go downstairs went out. Just like her career, and just like her dad’s expression would be.

I misunderstood you, Jesus, I wrongly thought that it would turn out the way I wanted it to. Priscilla painfully swallowed, dazedly staring straight ahead, the only lifestyle that I have ever known or wanted, and the only thing that I have ever worked towards was gone.

Jesus, it wasn’t just a signature, it was The Signature. The one I desperately needed in order to continue being an agent.

Chapter 2

Bile angrily rolled within her stomach, threatening to rise within her again.

Her fingers gripped the unsigned official document, and she suddenly became completely attentive to every aspect of her defeat. Where was her future headed now? Where was her hope? How was she even supposed to step forward?

Her teeth clenched and she looked to her legs, not at all missing the irony of them feeling so good in the black sporty braces, because it was the complete opposite of what she personally felt inside.

There was nothing more the doctors could do.

"Your main problem is that you have had way too many surgeries." The doctor’s voice continued to echo through her head. We will continue to monitor you once a year, or every other year. Just call our office in six months to make a yearly appointment and we will see how you are doing at that point, to determine when you need to come in again. If there is something we can do as they deteriorate, then we will definitely step in and do something, but for right now there isn’t. Until then, you must do all you can to preserve them. Walking just on a daily basis is more than enough on them, try walking less, try making sure that you don’t have to do anything that will cause them added stress, try not to carry anything heavy, which will also hurt your back as you well know. Because of your ankles, your foundation is off, and that is why your lower back has issues over time, and occasionally goes out.

He frowned, Don’t do anything that could reinjure them, wear the braces daily, and continue with your stretching exercises. Now, if you do reinjure them, call us immediately. You are no longer allowed to run, nor walk for exercise. You need to find an exercise, like a recumbent bike, that will keep you in shape, but off your ankles. And as you know, if you gain weight you will have great difficulty in walking. The added weight would really stress out your ankles, subsequently stressing out the lower half of your body. It is a blessing that you are already naturally thin, and have a high metabolism. You have already learned when you have overdone it, and you are very experienced with taking care of them, but regretfully, being an agent is not possible because of what is physically required. In fact, if you continue being one, I can tell you now that you will not be walking for much longer.

Priscilla could still vividly see his finger sharply pointing to the paper lying beside her as his authoritative voice spoke with finality.

"I will not sign that form."

The chilly spring breeze ruffled her hair as her body actually swayed from the force of all of the doctor’s words, while reminders of how she had actually been feeling this last year, came rushing back to her at an alarming rate. She hadn’t thought much about how she had been subtly changing her life to accommodate her legs, but now she could easily see all of the vast changes that she had actually been making. Including, rearranging her kitchen cupboards to make it easier for her, so that she actually did less walking, and adding the bar stool in the kitchen so she could get off her feet and sit to cook.

Not to mention, the multiple times she had chosen not to go back to the far back of the grocery store for something she really needed and had forgotten, as she had achingly stood in the check-out line waiting to pay for her items. Along with her right ankle unpredictably locking up even more frequently than ever before.

Then there was the gnawing, grinding pain that had settled in both of her ankles, and had lasted for days after her last post assignment, accompanied by the struggle to walk when she had finally arrived at home, making her go directly to bed.

And the most incriminating evidence of all, the inability to complete her required PT mile and a half run without getting dizzy, and again, having her one ankle lock up on her, making her limp through the run, and finish way behind the limited amount of time; much to her ASAIC’s shock, as well as her own.

Priscilla swallowed with difficulty, and then there were the more intense lower back pains and twitches she sometimes experienced, which sometimes led to her lower back actually going out on her, and making her really crooked. The first time it had done that was last year, and she still could remember how shocked she was because she had never known something like that could even happen. She had heard of people saying their backs went out, but to be completely crooked like that? That still shocked her that something like that could happen.

However, thankfully, her best friend, Brielle, had known exactly what to do because her mother experienced the same result when her back occasionally went out. It had taken almost two weeks with four chiropractor visits to get her straightened. And that was supposedly quick.

She shook her head in remembrance, however, to her, it had seemed like a lifetime because I was not used to saying no, nor calling it quits, nor even slowing down. Even on crutches, although she had done above and beyond what was expected to care for her ankles, she had been a pro on those things, and they had never once slowed her down.

Priscilla straightened up, was that when I had started to slow down, with my back going out? To the point where I am now, that I am really laid back, and barely doing anything when compared with how I used to be? Or was it the increasing amount of times my ankle began to painfully lock up, or the increase of unbalancing falls, which also happens without warning?

She continued to look straight ahead while the list of changes she had unconsciously made in her physical life, as well as what has been actually happening to her, continued to roll through her mind while she looked to the beautiful pond that she had grown up going to with her cousins.

There really is no point in rehashing it all, is there? Thinking on it, or speculating about it wasn’t going to change her situation. And regardless of the fact that there was a list of things she had waiting on her desk for her to do, along with the visits that she was supposed to make today to various homes for two of her cases, she wasn’t going to be able to get any of that done.

Her fist clenched, wrinkling the paper, I can’t do any of them, because I am not cleared.

A tear silently rolled down her face, nor will I ever be.

From a distance, she heard two vehicle doors shut, and for the first time in her life, she didn’t even bother turning around when she heard footsteps coming closer to her.


Special Agent Riske. She closed her eyes, Yes?

You okay?

She shrugged and continued to look straight ahead as two of her fellow agents stood next to her.

We were out on the road, and Agent Mason said you hadn’t checked back in yet. That wasn’t sitting too well with him, nor with the boss, so we told him that we would head out to check on you.

Emotionless, her fingers, again, tightened on the form, He located my car, and told you where I was.


Not liking the gloomy sound to her voice, Agent Dexter clapped his hands, knowing the best thing to get her happy again, Hey, we could use a little help on this next case. Just in case they admit to it, and the girlfriend is present, want to join us?

Priscilla felt even more crestfallen because of her inability to help her coworkers out. No. Thanks anyway, Agent Dexter, but I can’t this time.

Dexter sharply looked to Riske, and both of their eyes communicatively met. He continued to frown, this was their always, ready-for-action Agent Lockman. The one that was normally the first in the office, and generally the last to leave. What was going on with her?

Riske’s eyes rounded, and he motioned to her hand, causing Dexter’s mouth to drop open while both of their gazes slid down to what she held. A slightly crumbled blank release form.

They uncomfortably looked to each other again, just as Riske’s heart sickeningly dropped, Agent Lockman had not been cleared for duty. After clearing his throat, he sat down next to Priscilla, putting his arm around her, Well, we’ll just sit right here with you for a moment then. An unfamiliar pressure built from behind his eyes while Dexter sat on the other side of her. One final question would provide all of the answers they needed to confirm what they suspected was happening, and although he didn’t want to even ask it, he knew that he had to because he had to know if it was temporary, or permanent. Again, he forced a casualness to his voice, Do you have any cases you need us to accompany you on, instead?

She slowly released her breath, shook her head, and whispered, Not anymore.

A lonely tear immediately escaped from his eye, and he hastily swiped at it while he quickly looked over to Dexter, who likewise was having difficulty with the sudden news. It was permanent. He never would have ever imagined that this would happen, at least not to her. Sure, he knew she had a lot of issues with her legs and all, with past injuries and surgeries that didn’t quite hold up, but she had always been right there actively participating, never slacking, always fully involved in all of her cases and even involved with a few of theirs. Doing the Lockman name proud, every day, and every time.

Riske’s gaze absently looked straight ahead, utterly and completely shocked. Priscilla looked so fit, ready to delve into her career with a gusto, able to physically tackle all obstacles, and also participate in their office’s softball team. But inwardly, she wasn’t. He had suspected something was majorly wrong when their ASAIC had privately confided in him over her failed PT test, but he had just figured she would have to go get it fixed again. He closed his eyes, and couldn’t stop himself from warmly rubbing her upper arm as he silently prayed for her, unable to even come to terms with what had to be irrevocably ripping her apart.

After a few minutes of complete, sad and very uncomfortable silence, Dexter stretched. Do you know what my grandpa always said?

Priscilla sadly shook her head, No, what?

"‘Boy, I had better never catch you sittin’ by a body of water without a fishin’ pole.’"

Riske rolled his eyes, And let me guess, you don’t have one right now, do you?

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