Haley positioned herself to see every patron that walked through the door. Once more, her quivering fingers pulled his computer-printed image from her purse. She wanted to make sure his likeness had burned into her mind so she didn't miss him. This was her first time to meet Ian face to face. Again, she stared into those baby blue eyes, and knew there was no way she'd miss this handsome man. Again, she looked at the door. This time she saw a lanky man in a straw cowboy hat stroll in that looked remarkably like the picture in her hand.
A sharp, quick breath filled her lungs. Even her heart stopped for a moment. Ian was more handsome than her mind fathomed or the photo portrayed. The hours she spent conversing with him on the Internet had done little to prepare her for this meeting.
He paused at the door, and then headed in her direction. Her heart began to race so fast she thought it would jump from her chest. A big smile crossed his face. "Haley," his baritone voice said, "You're as lovely as your pictures."
A blush climbed up her neck and filled her face. She wanted to leap from her chair and pull him into her arms, but that would have been too presumptuous. Instead, she cleared her throat and asked, "Did you have any trouble finding this place?"
Ian took a seat and rested his hat on in the extra chair. A smile filled his face again. "Not at all. You give great directions."
Haley stared at her Prince Charming. She expected his dishwater blonde hair to be thick and full, but once he took his hat off, it was sparse and almost non-existent. But his smile made up for his lack of hair. "Where are you heading to next?" she asked.
"I've got a rodeo outside Tallahassee and then home until the season starts up again."
For what seemed like an eternity, she was lost in his gaze. She could have stared into those eyes forever. That's when his cell phone rang. Ian pulled the phone from his belt holster and looked at the number. "Excuse me; I really need to take this call."
She watched Ian walk away and thought how he was just as wonderful in person as he was when they chatted on the internet. How could God bless her with such a perfect man? Ian was definitely not what she pictured as her knight in shining armor, although he did ride a white horse known as Snowfall. Haley giggled like a girl, just like she often did when thinking of Ian.
When he slipped back into the chair, a grim expression covered his face. "Sorry about that. It was my brother. He's having truck trouble several miles back. I have to go help him if we expect to make it to Tallahassee on time. I'm sorry, but I have to go."
Haley's heart sank as she studied his sincere face; it ached at the thought of their impending separation once again.
"Why so sad?" he asked as his eyebrows knitted together.
A forced smile pulled at Haley's lips. "Nothing. I was just thinking." Haley readjusted in her seat and stared at her arms that lay crossed on the table.
"About how you think it will be a while until we see each other again?"
She said nothing. Ian laid his strong, calloused hand across hers. Haley lifted her eyes and met his mesmerizing stare. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Goose bumps ran up her spine.
His voice was lower than a whisper when he said, "We'll see each other again. God brought us together today, and He'll do it again."
A flood of tears filled Haley's eyes, but she smiled anyway. "It was great meeting you face to face." A quiver filled her voice.
Ian gave a partial smile. "This has been great. I wish we had more time together."
She swallowed the lump that threatened her composure. "We always have the 'net."
He nodded and picked up his hat. "Yeah, we do. I'll IM you later tonight." With a twirl, he took his hat and positioned it on his head. Then, he turned for the door.
Haley watched him go. She wiped a lone tear from her cheek as she whispered, "Yes my dear, we'll always have the 'net."
(c) 2007, Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark is a stay at home mom of two and a freelance writer. She and her family makes their home in Bartlett, TN. For more information about her writing visit: www.freewebs.com/rhondaclark or contact her through www.faithwriters.com