Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hump Day - Ch. 10

On the last Wednesday of class, Sebastian’s students breathed a collective sigh of relief. They’d just gotten the news that they all passed their exams with flying colors. When it was announced that Tabitha was the valedictorian of the hardworking group, no one was surprised. They’d all seen how hard she worked on every assignment (written and fieldwork) and deemed her deserving of such an honor.

At the end of that class, Sebastian’s students surprised him with a gift of appreciation. It was a new platinum briefcase that they’d all pitched in and purchased together. For the first time, they saw a wide grin cross Sebastian’s usually serious face. They knew then that they’d struck gold with their gift. In fact, he couldn’t stop thanking them for it even as they filed out of the classroom one by one.

Sebastian would never know that Tabitha was the idea woman behind that gift. That she’d seen him flipping in many a catalog over the last six weeks during their break times. That from her careful study of him, she deduced that he was trying to find the perfect briefcase to replace the one he’d had for years.

Tabitha had noticed something else about Sebastian lately. Namely the fact that he didn’t seem to have a girlfriend anymore. Alzora hadn’t shown up once over the last month and rumors were that they’d broken up. No one claimed to know exactly why though. But Tabitha knew why. She could almost quote Sebastian’s last personal words to her verbatim.

After what just happened between us, I could never let you go in every way. Yes, I’ll teach you to be the best detective this side of the Mississippi, and I’ll do it without personal involvement, too. But once this course is over and you’ve done what you set out to do in Leeward, you and I are going to finished what we started,’ he’d said.

Tabitha had no doubt that that was why he’d called things off with Alzora. Why he was now available to date again.

Waiting until everyone else had gone; Tabitha approached Sebastian at his desk as he was still admiring his new briefcase. It did her heart good to see how much he liked his gift.

“Permission to speak freely, sir?” Tabitha asked, trying to keep things on a professional level. She hoped they would stay that way. Last time things had gotten way too personal between them.

When Sebastian raised his gaze and looked at her, Tabitha was almost slammed speechless. There was an abundance of love shining in his dark pools. So much that she actually felt weak in the knees.

Yet despite the personal sentiment in his eyes, Sebastian’s voice was just as professional as hers had been. “Of course, Detective Montebello.” He stood to his feet, quickly towering over her short frame.

“I just wanted to personally thank you for all that you’ve done for us, particularly for me. It means a lot to know that I’m well equipped to handle being a detective anywhere in the world, and especially in Leeward. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks again, Chief Detective Armstrong.” At the end of her statements, Tabitha extended her right hand to him in gratitude.

Sebastian took her hand, but instead of shaking it, he used it to pull her close to him. “You’re welcome, Tab,” he replied, dropping all professionalism now as his warm breath caressed the side of her face. “But know that as of this moment, I am no longer your instructor and you are no longer my student. Which means I can take you out on a date to celebrate this major milestone in your life, and I plan to do just that. So tell me, where would you like to go?”

The nerve of this man! Just assuming that I don’t have any plans tonight! Tabitha mused hotly.

Though she really didn’t have any plans tonight since her parents were going to throw her a party this weekend, Sebastian didn’t need to know that. Neither did he have to know that she’d declined to go out partying tonight with the rest of her classmates because the club scene just wasn’t her scene. Never had been.

“I…My classmates were going out partying tonight,” Tabitha replied, stating a fact without stating whether she was going out with them. Interestingly enough, she hadn’t moved away from Sebastian yet. Nor did she want to, despite her offense at his take-charge manner.

“You can’t go,” Sebastian said calmly, as if seeing right through her insinuation. If Tabitha had any intentions of going out partying with her classmates, she wouldn’t have lingered behind for so long.

At those words, Tabitha finally snatched her hand back and moved completely away from him. “You’re not my daddy! I can go anywhere I darn well please,” she hissed, showing that fiery temper of hers as her will bucked against his.

* * *

Sebastian smiled at Tabitha’s fiery attitude. He loved it. It excited him to see her nostrils flare and the freckles on her nose deepen in color. Those were the signs her body gave off when she was highly stimulated about something.

Sebastian could easily tell that Tabitha was highly stimulated by him right now. Why else would her breasts be taut and straining against the red button-front shirt she wore? Why else would she be staring at his sage-colored shirt with such longing while her eager hands danced along the thighs of her black jeans just to keep from touching him?

“Yes. You can go anywhere you please,” Sebastian said, agreeing with Tabitha’s very last statement. “And you please to come to my house for dinner tonight,” he continued, deliberately stroking the flames of her temper up higher. “You also please to spend all night with me, talking and just getting to know me better…without having sex.”

Tabitha’s mouth snapped open and shut without a word spoken in between. She’d been all ready to tell him off. Yet as soon as he added that sweet addendum to his comments, she’d been rendered speechless. But that was obviously okay, because Sebastian had much more to say anyway.

“That’s right. There will be no fornicating between us tonight,” he said, grinning at her shocked expression. “While you’ve been busy studying to be a better detective, I’ve been busy studying to be a better human being. In fact, I’ve been reading up on this whole Christianity thing. Since I no longer have a girlfriend, I’ve had lots of free time on my hands lately. Plus, my parents have been very helpful in explaining things even more to me. I don’t know if you know this or not, but they became born again Christians a year before they moved out west.”

He paused and looked puzzled for a moment. “They never did tell me what happened in Leeward to change them from being flower children, who believed that there are many ways to get to God, to being born again Christians who only believe in one way to get to God.”

Tabitha knew how the Armstrongs had changed their way of thinking, but she wasn’t telling. If Sebastian’s parents hadn’t volunteered that information themselves, she wouldn’t either. Tabitha knew not to toot her own horn. She also knew that Proverbs 27:2 was very clear about how we should let another man praise us, and not our own mouths.

However, the whole truth of the Armstrongs’ conversion went like this: Shortly after Tabitha was fully converted in the hospital by Mrs. Abraham, one of the women that prayed for God to save Tabitha’s life, she went on a save-all-my-friends-and-loved-ones crusade. Her parents and Sebastian’s parents had been part of that crusade.

Getting her parents saved had been a piece of cake for Tabitha. They were so grateful to God that she was alive that they readily accepted Christ.

The Armstrongs had been a different story. Because they were more indoctrinated with various religious beliefs from other cultures they’d been exposed to over the years, they didn’t easily take to this theory of there only being one sure way to God. However, Tabitha was known for her patience. It showed in her extensive rehabilitation, her job, and in the fact that every week non-stop she mailed gospel tracts to the Armstrongs.

Tabitha started her mailing campaign from her hospital bed. She continued even after she was discharged and sent home to her apartment. On the back of each tract, she always invited the Armstrongs to her church.

This continued for years until Herschel and Cree finally showed up at Tabitha’s church one Sunday morning. Once there, all it took was the anointed truth of God’s Word and lots of yoke-breaking praise and worship to convince the Armstrongs to commit their lives to Christ.

Herschel and Cree were so grateful to Tabitha for blessing them with such thought-provoking gospel tracts, that they offered to let her have first-consideration to rent (with an option to buy) their property when they left. The Armstrongs always knew how much Tabitha loved their piece of prime lakeside real estate. They wanted her to have the first shot at it when it became available to the public.

“Are you saying that you’re now born again, Seb?” Tabitha finally managed to squeeze out of her mouth. All professionalism was long gone by now. So was all of her desire.

Sebastian smiled wider. “If that means accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, then yes, I am. I finally sealed the deal just last night.” His eyes lit up at those words. It was obvious that he’d had a great encounter with his Creator.

Tabitha swallowed the lump in her throat. She was fast running out of reasons not to fall head over heels back in love with this man. First, Sebastian eliminated the girlfriend issue. Then he kept his word to her by making sure she was properly trained as promised. Now he was a believer, too.

The only thing standing in their way now was of a geographical nature. Would Sebastian consider changing that, as well? Tabitha would never know unless she spent some time with the man, learned who he was now.

“I’ll be glad to join you for dinner,” Tabitha told Sebastian. “But not at your place. Too much temptation there. At a public restaurant. Chinese, in fact. Afterwards, maybe we could take a walk in the park or something. Affirmative?”

Sebastian smiled with approval. “Affirmative,” he replied. I wonder if she’s going to challenge me for the seat of safety at the restaurant, he added to himself. I hope so. Sebastian was looking forward to the inevitable heated debate following that particular challenge.

As a rule, on or off-duty cops always wanted their backs against a wall with their faces actually facing any available door. Additionally, when they parked to write reports, they usually backed up against something or parked in the middle of a huge, empty parking lot. This way, they could observe any danger coming their way. These were just a few of many simple, yet effective things that cops did in order to stay safe.

Although Sebastian already knew he was going to let Tabitha have that seat of safety, he was going to enjoy every bit of the intense verbal sparring match that preceded his final surrender.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier

No comments: