“My name is Mason. I’m sorry to stare, but you’re interesting to watch, and for some reason, you seem so
very familiar. That sounded horribly cheesy, but it’s the truth.”
“I appreciate your honesty and candor. I fear I have a familiar face for certain reasons that shall remain
nameless for now. I will share my first name, though. It’s Starla.”
The blonde haired, dark-eyed man stood up and came over to her table. He reached out to shake her hand,
and then, to her shock, kissed the top of her hand.
“The pleasure is definitely mine in getting to meet you. Do you mind if I sit here?” He was already
sinking into the seat, so there was no time to object. Mason placed his iced tea and newspaper on the table
and settled in.
Well, I’d go back to reading, but I can’t concentrate with him sitting here. Starla sipped her tea and
glanced at Mason again. He was reading his paper without an obvious care in the world, other than his
foot tapping to the various seasonal songs that were playing. What should I do now? Right about then, he
peaked at her over his paper. Great, now I’ve really done it.
His eyes sparkled and dropping the paper, he smiled. “It’s nice to have someone to sit with. I’m sure
you’ve noticed.” Mason inclined his head towards the rest of the cafe and out the windows beyond. It was
teeming with couples. Couples holding hands, couples sitting close with their heads together giggling and
smiling, walking and holding hands, laughing, and overall, appearing happily in love.
“Um, I see what you mean. I think I’ve been so involved in my work for so long that I hadn’t fully
realized…” Starla left her sentence unfinished.
“Quite right. I know that feeling well. My work has kept me very occupied and then there seems to have
been somewhat of a timing issue in my life. I hope you don’t mind if we look like we aren’t alone for a
little while?” Mason had a questioning look on his face.
“No, it’s actually, well, a bit nice.” Starla smiled a shy smile, her dimples showing just a little. Just then,
one of her Christmas songs came over the radio. One of the classical ones, not one she’d written.
Mason listened briefly, then his eyes widened. “Ah. You’re that Starla. That’s your voice on this song,
“Oh my, guilty as charged. Yes, that’s me.” Starla held her breath. What would his next reaction bring?
“Then, we have more in common than I’d anticipated. It might help if I shared my last name, now that I
have discovered yours. Mason Dixxon.” Mason winked.
“Ah! Are you the Mason Dixxon that I think you are? Are you the lead singer with the British accent I so
adore, from the Christian rock band, ‘The Edge’?”
“Yep, hopefully, the one and only.” Mason chuckled.
“Can you explain to me what happened, or would you like to wait till tomorrow? I’d prefer today, if you
can find it within yourself to share with me. I’ve always been here for you … always. Starla, what is
wrong?” Janice had cleaned her face up in the bathroom, and had already returned to her perpetual look
that said, “I’m the one who manages ‘Starla the Starlet.’”
“Again, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I just need a break. I’ve been telling you, for the last several gigs,
that I’m worn out. I don’t feel like I’m being heard. Something is off, and I can’t figure out what it is. I
didn’t mean to hurt you or Jacob.” Starla rubbed her temples, and perched on the edge of the office chair.
Her coffee threatened to refuse to stay in her stomach. “I decided I needed a vacation, just a week or two.
I found a great place and a good deal and I didn’t know the note vanished. I was just over at The Hot
“You mean to tell me you weren’t even a block away? You put me through all of this and you weren’t
even out of the state or in another country! Starla that is the most selfish, childish thing you have ever
done. That’s not showing love, or kindness. What the heck were you thinking? That’s not Christ-like, and
you know better! What if something happened to you? We were so scared that you’d been murdered or
worse. What if….” Janice’s list of dire issues droned on, but Starla couldn’t concentrate on them. The
carpet that had started moving in slow circles seemed to be speeding up.
Starla tried to cut into Janice’s monologue, but all she managed was a moan before she fell out of the
chair onto the floor. Something cold was on her head and everything sounded like a hive of bees and
looked fuzzy. “What’s happening to me?” The words seemed thick and difficult to say. Starla wasn’t even
sure they came out right. Suddenly, everything went black.