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The Unexpected

Ray woke up that morning with a spliting headache... and couldn't get rid of it. It was a Monday morning and she had to get ready to go to work.

It's the summer before her senior year and she had gotten a job at the Family Christian bookstore. But it seemed lately that she kept on getting these headaches and could never get rid of them. Usually when she would get headaches they were sinus.. so that's what she assumed they were. Oh well.. it's most likely nothing serious.

Where are those stupid shoes... oh here they are. She went out to the kitchen and grabbed some orange juice. Her mom came out and was puting all her stuff on the table.

"Hi mom."

"Hey sweetheart." She came over and gave Ray a big hug and then kissed her on the cheek.

"Hey mom I've been having some really bad headaches and I was wondering if you could go take me to see a doctor?"

"sure I'll see who I'm supposed to take you to."

"Okay. Thanks mom." Ray went back to her room and grabbed her bag. She brushed her teeth and then headed to the door. She gave her mom a kiss goodbye and got into the car. ..Man.. my head won't stop throbbing... She opened her medicine bottle and got our three white pills. She quickly swollowed them with a swig of water, turned up her radio and sang along.

Ray got to work, said hello and started her wonderful day at the bookstore.. she really loved working here because it's such safe environment. She start at 8am and would get off at 3pm. It was nearing 12:30 when he walked in..

Ray was puting some cds on the shelf when she heard a deep voice behind her. She looked up and found Cole standing there.

"Hi.." She smiled up at him and stood up.

"Hi..." He was smiling at her and she really had no idea what to say.. so she said the first thing she could think of."How may I help you?"

He laughed and looked around. "Well I was wondering if you could help me find a book?"

"Certainly. Who is it for?"

"Well it's for a very special person.."

"Well what does this person like?" He looked at her for a second and then walked over to the book area. Ray followed him and stopped when he did.

"I'm not quite sure what this person likes.. but I'm sure you could pick out something great for them. So I'll just trust you to do it for me." She looked at him for a second and then smiled.

"Well are you sure, because I certainly don't want to get something that they won't like."

"Promise me, you won't." So she started looking through the books. It took her around fifteen minutes and she pulled out the one book that had spoken to her the most. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. She handed the book to him and smiled. "I'm sure that whoever reads this book will love it."

He smiled at her. "Have you read this book before?"

"Yes and I loved every bit of it."

"Well pick out another book that you haven't read but want to read."

"Well okay." So she turned back to the books and starting looking once again. "well there is one book that would be good but you have to pre-order it."

"Well I really didn't want to do that. But I'll do it anyways."

"Well are you done? I can ring you up."

"Yeah sure." She walked over to the desk and took him over to the computer. She took the first book and then pointed out the other book she had been telling him about. He paid for them and then Ray gave him the receipt. He smiled at her.."So can I take you out to lunch?"

"sure, but I get off at 3pm." It was now 2:30.. boy time flies.

"I can wait the thirty minutes. I'll just look at the other stores so you can work and I'll meet you down here at 3. is that okay?"

"Sure, I'll see you at 3." She smiled and he turned and walked out the door. She couldn't believe it, he's never come and seen her at work before. she turned and found Joanna smiling at her. "What?"

"So that must be the guy you told me about. Ha.. you so do like, like him." she started laughing at her and Ray couldn't help but smile. "Okay, okay.. shutup already." she went back to puting cds on the shelf and all Ray could think about was Cole. Ray guessed she sort of passed out because she woke up with Cole, Joanna, and some other people she didn't even know around her. she looked around and sort of smiled. "I guess I'm tired." She really had no idea what happened, it just happened. She tried getting up but fell back down. So Cole picked her up and placed her in the chair nearby. He looked down at Ray with a worried look on his face. So she tried explaining what is probably wrong. "I took some aspirin earlier and I haven't eaten... so it's probably because I'm out of energy. So if I just get some food, I should be okay." She smiled at him.

"Well okay.. I'll just take you to lunch now." He smiled but he still looked worried. she sat in the chair for a minute and then slowly got up. Ray sort of wobbled a little and Cole grabbed her arm and put it in his. She looked over at him and her face turned red but she didn't care. He gave her a little smile and walked me to the back of the store. Ray grabbed her purse and then he walked her to the front of the store. she waved goodbye to Joanna and walked with him to his car. He had the jeep, so he had to help her in. Once he got in the car he looked over at her and smiled. "I'll take you in my car right now and after you get some food in you I'll take you to your car."

"Okay that's fine." She smiled.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"yeah I'm sure it's because I have no energy. I usually feel sick when I have no energy. So that's probably all it is."

"Okay if you're sure." He started the jeep. "So where do you want to go? Anywhere is good."

"Well I'm not sure... you pick."

"Okay.. is Cold Stone good?"

"Sure." So he started for Cold Stone. He turned on the radio and rolled down the windows some. He pulled into the parking lot and came over to Ray's door and helped her out. He took her arm once again and led her to the front door. If she was not mistaken she would think he liked having her arm in his. When they got to the door he looked over at her and asked..."How about we go next door and get some real food and then get some icecream. Is that cool with you?"

"sure" So they went next door to the wing place. Inside they were seated. she looked through the menu and decided that an 8 piece hot wings would be enough with some cheese fries on the side. They ordered and gave the the guy their menus. she looked over at Cole and smiled. "So..."

"So are you liking your job?"

"Oh yeah.. it's the best. I've been wanting to work there for a while now. I was so happy to find out they had an opening."

"That's cool. I was really surprised to find out that you got a job to be honest. But I'm glad you did."

"Thanks. So how have things been for you lately?"

"Pretty good..I've been working on some cars and houses and that's about it. But basically I've been doing nothing."

"Must be nice.. but I'm kind of glad I have a job now because now I can go places and I have something to do."

"I guess I'll have to take you out sometime."

"I guess you will.." She smiled over at him and then picked her drink up. The waitor brought their food over and placed it on the table. Cole bowed his head and prayed for the both of them. She started eating after he was done and they both said nothing for a while. she guessed that they were pretty hungry. Ray finally finished and looked up to find Cole staring at her. she wiped her mouth and smiled at him. She just couldn't believe that she was eating out with Cole... go figure..

"So are you ready for some icecream or would you like to save that for another time?"

"How about another time. I'm way too full to eat anything else now."

"That's cool.. that just means that we get to hang out again." She blushed at that comment.

"Thank you for taking me out and here's my part of the bill." Ray went to go hand it to him but he grabbed her hand and folded it around the money. "I'll pay for lunch." she looked at him and he just kept on looking at her..

They heard a cough behind them and they looked up..the waiter was looking at them expectantly... Ray's face turned red and she quickly took her hand back.. and acted as if she was looking for something in her purse. After the waiter walked away she looked up and saw that Cole was smiling this big smile at her. She blushed and suddenly started laughing...She couldn't help it, he looked so goofy. He started laughing too. People started looking at them like they were crazy. Oh well..

They finally left and got into his car. He started up and made it back to Family Christian bookstore. He parked beside her car and came over to let her out. Once she got out she went over to her car and placed her purse in it. She turned and looked at Cole. "Thank you so much for taking me out to lunch today. I really appreciate it."

"It was my pleasure. We'll have to do it again and soon."

"Sure whatever you say." He said as he smiled at her.

"Well I guess I should get home now. I promised my brother I would take him to the pool today."

"Oh well.." He walked over to her and stood right in front of her... Ray could swear that her heart was going 90 to nothing... He looked into her eyes, then kissed her on the cheek. He turned and walked over to his jeep and before he got in he said.."I guess I'll call you sometime."

"Yeah.. sometime." Ray smiled and waved then got into her car. He waited until she drove off before he left. what a great guy. she just couldn't believe that he came up here to see her at work and took her out to lunch.

she finally made it home and picked her brother up to take him swimming.. They had some fun at the pool.

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As Cole was driving home he couldn't help but think how beautiful Rachele was. But he was worried about her. He'd never heard of her passing out like that before. He knew she got dizzy and sick and would almost pass out, but she never had. It just wasn't normal.

He'd have to watch her more often. But he sure did enjoy tonight. He'd never had thought that he would actually go out with her, but he had finally done it. He couldn't wait to surprise her with the books he bought her. Life could be so weird. But he was happy that he had finally showed her somewhat of what he thought of her.

He couldn't wait to take her again. He was going to have to think of something better to take her to. Maybe a movie.. no he needed to take her to Grandfather mountain, where she's always wanted to go. yeah that's it....

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The next night Cole called Ray.

"Hello"

"Hi Ray.."

"Oh hi.. what's up?" Ray wasn't really sure what to say...

"Nothing much. I thought I would call since I'm doing nothing right now."

"OH well that was nice of you."

"Yeah. I think Ashley is trying to listen to my conversation... you know she gets annoyed when I talk to you."

"Yeah yeah.. I know.. but I really don't care."

"Good.. I was hoping you'd say that. So how are you feeling?"

"What do you mean.. Oh wait are you talking about the yesterday when I passed out?"

"yeah"

"Oh I'm doing okay. It hasn't happened again."

"Did you tell your mom?"

"no"

"No? why?.. you really need to."

"Yeah I know but I don't want her worrying over it. she has other things to worry about."

"Well you really need to tell her."

"I will. I promise."

"Okay good. Well I called actually to ask you something."

"Oh really. Well go ahead."

"Well I was wondering if sometime next week you'd like to go to the mountains with me."

"Really?.. will it be just me and you?"

"Yeah.. just me and you."

"Well sure.. I'll have to ask my mom and it would probably be good if you were to call her and ask her too."

"Oh sure that's fine."

"Well cool.. thank you so much for asking me."

"Sure.. just remember I don't just ask anyone."

Ray was glad that he couldn't see how red her face had turned.

"Well I guess I better get going. Ashley really wants to use the phone now." He laughed at that.

"Ha yeah.. I'll talk to you later Cole."

"Okay goodnight Ray."

"Goodnight Cole."

Ray hung up the phone and kept on saying thank you to God.

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Two days later Ray was crying for help in the bathroom.

"Mom... Mom.." She couldn't believe this was happening.. all she could see was black and she couldn't move. She didn't know what was happening. She started crying. She kept seeing dots and after one final cry for her mom she laid unconscious.

The next minute she woke up in a hospital room. She had no idea what was going on. She looked to her right to find her mom sleeping in a chair.

Suddenly a nurse walked into the room and saw that she was awake. Ray smiled and tried to talk, but nothing happened. The nurse came to her beside and placed a finger over my mouth. She went over to Ray's mom and woke her up and pointed to Ray. Her mom came over to her bed and gave Ray a big hug.

Ray got out hoarsly.. "What happened... why.. am I .. here.?"

Her mom looked as if she was about to cry. "Well hunny.. you know all those headaches you've been having?"

Ray shook her head yes..

"Well it turns out they are tumors that are cancerous and they've been affecting your frontal lobe, but they have to start you on chemotheropy immediately."

Ray couldn't believe what she was hearing. How could God let this happen to her. Why would He? She was a good girl. She was Miss Goody Two Shoes. How could He? Ray stared ahead and then she started to cry. Why? The tears flowed relentlessly. Ray cried harder and harder. Her mom came to her and pulled her close. Ray cried until she was asleep with exhaustion.

Ray woke up to her mom hovering over her. "Hi Hunny. How are you feeling?"

"I'm doing okay." Well she through her pity party now and got a good cry. She knew God had a reason for this, she just wasn't sure what it could be.

Ray looked around the room and then back to her mom. "So when do I start chemotheropy?"

"Next week. They're trying to figure out which day to schedule you."

"Okay." Ray looked at the door and saw Ashley standing there. She came over to Ray's bedside as her mom walked out of the room.

"Hi Ray."

"Hi"

"How are you doing."

"WEll I had a good cry already. I know God has a reason for this but I sure can't figure it out."

Ashley smiled a little. "I just can't believe this happening to you of all people. You're the last person I would expect to get cancer."

"yeah I know but I guess this proves taht any one can get it."

"Well I wanted to let you know that I love you and that I'm always here for you. I brought someone with me who I think might want to see you more." Ray's eyes traveled to the door and saw Cole standing there. She gasped. Immediately Ray tried fixing her hair and rubbing her face. Cole laughed at what she was trying to do. He walked over to her bed and sat down on the chair beside it.

"Well I'm going to leave you two alone. I'll talk to you later."

"Thanks Ashley." Ashley walked out the door and closed it.

Cole turned to her and smiled. "Hey there."

"Hi. I must look awful. My eyes must be puffy after my long cry and my hair mus.." Ray couldn't finish her sentence because Cole had come forward and kissed her full on the mouth. Ray couldn't believe what just happened. Her dream had finally come true.. but in a hospital.. oh well. It can't be perfect. Cole slowly pulled away andl looked at her. "What was that for?"

"I should have done that a long time ago. I wasn't about to mess it up now."

Ray smiled at him. "Can I please have another one. It would make me feel much better." Cole laughed at her request but wasn't about to waste any more time with an answer. He slowly leaned forward and placed his lips on hers gently. He smiled at the feel of her trembling. He grabbed her shoulders and deepened the kiss til the both of them could breathe any longer. He forced himself to stop and looked into her eyes. She smiled at him not only with her mouth but with her eyes. They were shining the most beautful colors. He kissed her on the forehead and kissed her once more on the mouth before sitting beside of her.

"Well I never expected to be kissed in a hospital room like this by you."

Cole laughed and took her hands in his. "I came here to of course to see how you were doing but to also tell you something."

"Yes..." Ray waited expantly as he took grabbed a bad off the floor.

"Well.. Ray I've wanted to tell you this for a long time now but I could never make myself since you're such close friends with my sister. So I thought I had all the time in the world and I would wait til after your senior year." Ray stared at him as he went on. "I know you've made it clear in the past about how you feel about me. Well now it's my turn to do the same. Ray I truley do love you. You simply amaze me. Even though I had hurt you a couple of times you still liked me. You still thought I was this amazing guy, even though I didn't think the same of myself. Ray will you be my girlfriend?" He looked at her with all the love in world in his eyes. She smiled at him and then started to cry. He didn't know what to do. "Ray are you okay?"

Ray looked up and shook her head yes... once she got some composure she tried to talk. "Oh..Cole.. I'm just so..happy. Of course I'll be your girlfriend. It's what I've wanted for two years now." Cole looked at her and smiled big. Ray laughed at how goofy he looked.

"Well I'm so glad you agree because there was no way I was going to lose you now."

"You might still.." Ray said sadly.

Cole's eyes hardened. "Don't say that again. I'm not going to lose you at all. You can beat this with God's help, I know you can. I'm not going to let this ruin our future. I'll be with you every step of the way and you can count on that."

Ray looked at him and placed her hand on his face. She gently traced the outline of his jaw and rubbed the stubble on his chin, then she traced his lips. She lifted her eyes to his and leaned forward. She placed her hand on the back of his neck then leaned in and kissed him. She deepened the kiss, but held back. She wanted him to know how much she loved him. She pulled away from him and wiped a tear away that had rolled down his cheek.

"why are you crying?"

"Because..I just can't lose you."

"You won't. I'll fight this and win. I'll fight as hard as I possibly can. I promise. I love you."

"and I love you." Cole smile then turned to the bag and handed it to Ray. She opened it and pulled out the two books that she had helped him pick out at the bookstore. She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and smiled.

"Thank you."

"That's not all look again in the bag."

Ray opened the bag again and found a box at the bottom. She pulled it out and slowly opened the lid. She found a diamond and amethyst bracelet. She looked up at Cole with big eyes. He smiled at her and took the bracelet out of her hands. He unhooked it. He gently took her left hand and put the bracelet around her wrist. Once he had it on he looked up at her and slowly pulled her hand to his mouth and kissed it. Ray's face went a deep red. Cole laughed at the sight of her blushing. He pulled her close and kissed her softly on the lips.

"I can't believe you got this for me. When did you get it?"

"The same day I took you out to lunch."

"Really?"

"Really, really."

"Were you planning on asking me out before all this?"

"Yes. I finally decided that I wanted you to be my girl and I was tired of hiding my feelings. So I made my decision and it's the best one I've ever made." He smiled big at her.

"Well I'm glad you finally made that decision." Ray looked down at her bracelet and smiled.

"You know my sister got a bracelet like this a last year and I was so mad because here she is younger than me and she's already getting fine jewery. Honestly I was just jealous, but it was worth the wait." She looked up at him and then realized what she had just said.."I mean it's not that jewery matters to me. I mean just getting books from you makes my day... umm.. now I feel foolish."

"Don't feel foolish. You deserve getting something so nice. You're the most amazing woman I've ever met. I've waited to long to tell you all this and I wanted to show how much you meant to me by buying something nice for you. That proves how much I love you."

"Just you telling me is enough."

"Well I wanted to give you more." Ray smiled then laughed. "I think you better let my mom and Ashley back in now. They might start thinking we're having a little too much fun." He smiled at that.

"Well first I want one more kiss." Ray giggled.

"Okay. If you insist."

Cole leaned over her and lowered his head down to her face. He looked deeply into her eyes and kissed her forehead and then her nose. He put his cheek against hers and softly kissed her neck. He finally put his mouth over hers and slowly and desireably kissed her. She kissed back with as much intensity. They heard a beeping and Cole pulled his head up slowly and realized it was for her heart beat. He chuckled and kissed her quickly on the lips. He knew it was God telling him to be careful. She was fragile and he couldn't hurt her. He privately promised God that he was going to be careful and not go to far with Ray. When he looked at Ray he saw that she was red as a tomatoe. He smiled.

"Hey don't get embarressed. I'm the one that should be embarressed. That one was too far and it was totally my fault. I'm just so happy and I've wanted you for so long now.. I'm sorry."

"It's okay Cole. I'll admit I still liked it.. but I don't want to do something I'll regret." He got up and smiled one last time at her. He opened the door and let Ray's mom and Ashley in.

Ray's mom came over to the bed and smiled down at Ray.

"Well mom I think you should be the first to know. Me and Cole are now officially a couple!" Ray just about squealed the last part. Her mom laughed and then gave her a big hug.

"I'm so happy for you hunny. See something good comes out of everything."

"Yeah I know mom... I'm not sure if this was exactly it. I think there's something bigger here, but it was a plus." Ray laughed out loud and looked at Cole. He smiled and then sat down in one of the chairs. Ray looked over at Ashley wondering what she could be thinking. Her mom told Ray she'd be back and took Cole along with her. Ray looked over at Ashley. "Ashley are you sure your okay with all this?"

"Yeah.. I mean it does bother me. But I realized that it's not fair that I don't let ya'll be together. I also realized that we're not meant to be best friends, friends yes, but not best. You'll have Cole for that. We'll still hang out. I still love you." Ashley smiled then began to cry. Ray had never seen her cry. She wasn't sure what to do. "Oh Ray I can't believe that this is happening to you. It's not fair. You've done nothing wrong. I mean I know you're not perfect but I deserve way more than you do."

"Ashley don't say that!... I was meant to have this. Maybe I got this because God knew I could handle it and use it to my advantage for Him."

"Yeah I guess. I know that if I had brain cancer I'd be pretty angry at God."

"Yeah I mean i was pretty angry at first.. but I don't know.. I'm just at peace right now. I'm sure something will come up and I'll be angry again.. Once I start losing my hair I'm not sure how I'll feel. Expecially since it's taken me forever to grow it back out again."

"I didn't think about that. I'm so sorry Ray." Ashley leaned down and hugged Ray closely. Their tears mingled together.. and their faces were wet. Ashley pulled away. She finally said goodbye and walked out the door.

Ray wasn't sure what to feel right now. She looked around the room wondering what God really had in store for her. She was sure that God had a plan... if only she knew..

Ray closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

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Ray woke up to find Cole sitting beside of her. He was asleep and he looked so adorable. She gently pushed his arm. He woke up abruptly and sleeply looked over at her. When he realized that she was awake he smiled so big she thought he'd stay like that forever. He quickly got up and ran out of the room. Ray had no idea why he did that.

Cole returned with a nurse.

"What's wrong... what happened?"

"Oh hunny... you've been in a week coma." Ray couldn't believe it...

"Are you serious?"

"Yes the tumor trigered you to drop in to a coma. It's better that happen than a seisure. Luckily you didn't stay under too long."

"When do I start chemo."

"Actually.. we're going to take you immediately there. We don't want to keep you out much longer."

After hearing that Ray looked over at Cole. He could see the fear in her eyes.. All her anxiety seemed to drop a load onto his back. The questions in her eyes seemed to tear at his very soul. He could see the tears building in her eyes. She looked at the nurse and then at the window.

Cole took Ray's hand and forced her to look at him. She started to cry and he pulled her to his chest and just held her. She was so scared. He'd never seen her like this. He gently rubbed her back until her sobs subsided. Cole put his hand under her chin and pulled her head up. He looked into her eyes and gave her a little smile. "Ray don't worry.. I'll be with you every step of the way." She looked at him and gave him a small smile then burried her head in his chest.  

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