Nikki came back into the office later that afternoon, just before closing time for the daycare, and found Brock standing behind Claire at her desk, studying the computer screen from over her shoulder. For a moment, Nikki just stood there in the doorway, poised to go in but already turning to go out again. Her face felt so hot she thought the temperature of the office could go up five degrees.
"Hi," she finally said, startling them both. Brock stepped back from Claire, putting more than arm's length between them. "What are you doing here?"
"Pastor Glenn sent him over to help us clear up this mess with the accounting program," Claire said. "Isn't that great?"
Brock went very still, watching Nikki, waiting for her response. Did he wait for her to denounce him?
"Pastor Glenn sent you?" Nikki swallowed, forced herself to relax. She trusted her pastor's instincts; or was it his sensitivity? "This is the project you mentioned you were waiting to hear about?"
"I told him I wanted to get involved and help out and use my talents and..." Brock spread his arms, indicating the entire Mission. "Here I am."
"Great. How are things going at the Picayune?"
"Getting there. Claire's explaining the computer program--"
"Trying to explain," the woman broke in, laughing. "We were so glad to have this program donated, we should have known something was fishy. It's a beta test of a program that isn't even out on the market yet -- that's why we got it free. This thing is never going to sell if it works this badly and the manual is so hard to untangle."
"I haven't really investigated that far," Brock added with that deprecating little smile and a glint in his eyes that meant he was interested in the challenge. "I have this feeling, though, that we'll have to start from scratch. Maybe go back to paper records, and if we try computer programs again, get a different program."
"Can I have a witness?" Claire chirped.
"Uh, Claire... I think Nikki needs to see me about something." He stepped around the desk and headed for the door. "Be back in a minute."
"Okay. The problem'll still be here when you get back."
Nikki followed Brock around the corner, down the hall toward the gym. It was quiet and dark now. Not even echoes of splashing water or thuds of a mop handle on a metal bucket. That was strangely comforting.
"I'm sorry," Brock said. "I had no idea Pastor Glenn was planning on sending me here."
"It's okay." She grinned at his surprise. Truth to tell, she was just as surprised at how calmly she seemed to be taking this. Maybe because of last night's revelation, and the prayer she had prayed Saturday night, turning over to God everything concerning Brock and her past pain. Nikki had no idea how long the peace and confidence was going to last, but she was going to take advantage of it.