(This is the second installment of the story. Chapter one can be found here. )
Chapter 2: See You In Your Dreams
Mae Lee hated flying, and the turbulent flight to Chicago had only reinforced that feeling. She would have passed on that year's Psychiatry Convention had she not learned that an old friend was to be the keynote speaker. Dr. Rhonda Fisher had distinguished herself as the country's leading authority on dream interpretation. Mae Lee found herself torn. A part of her was like a nervous fan seeking an autograph from a rock star. On the other hand, she was excited to be reunited with a friend she hadn't seen in over ten years.
....She returned her cell pull to her purse. That's odd, she thought, she didn't remember using it.
....As she retrieved her luggage she felt a sudden warmth stirring within her. Some forgotten memory began to resurface. Her faced flushed in shame. She looked around nervously. There was a feeling that she was being watched. She could have sworn that she'd heard someone call out her name. As quickly as they had appeared, the sensations passed. The cab ride from the airport to downtown was without further incident.
Rhonda smiled as her finger which had been tracing a path down the list of attendees came to rest upon a familiar name. It would be good to see Mae Lee again. It had been too long since they'd last seen each other.
....Using the hand clutching her cell phone, she brushed a stray strand of hair from her eyes. Perplexed, she stared momentarily at the phone. She whispered through pursed lips, "What am I doing holding this?" Thinking no more about it, she dropped it into her jacket pocket.
....She turned and scanned the crowd of people milling about in the main reception room. Was she being watched? She thought someone had spoken her name. A sudden wave of emotions came over her causing her to shudder in embarrassment.
....Her eyes focused on a large poster near the entrance to the hall advertising the arrival of the circus to the Windy City. The sign featured a rather prominent Bengal tiger in the forefront of a Big Top background.
His last call completed, he flipped the phone and placed it into his breast pocket. He grinned and for his personal amusement said aloud, "Reach out and touch someone!"
....He stood before the mirror and straightened his tie. Satisfied with his appearance, he moved over to the desk and opened the laptop. Things were indeed looking up he thought as sat down before the device. As the computer's start-up processes came to a halt he began to chant, "My kind of town...Chicago is.."
....He deftly typed in the password: "eye-of-the-tiger."
"Mae Lee!" Rhonda shouted over the sea of heads between them. Both were beaming as they made eye contact. From separate directions the two women weaved through the gauntlet of humanity. Just managing to avoid a collision they embraced one another, tears of happiness forming in their eyes.
....It took a few minutes more for then to make the arduous trek away from the crowded center of the hall. Finally, they found room to move and bit of privacy near the entrance. They had stopped in front of the circus poster. For several moments the pair seemed transfixed by the eyes of the big cat.
...."Is it me, or is there something strange about that tiger?" Rhonda asked turning to face Mae Lee.
...."Strange?" Her friend replied, "I don't see anything ..." Her voice trailed off for a brief moment, "And yet..."
....Rhonda shrugged, "Hey! we have a lot of catching up to do. It has been a little over ten years."
....Mae Lee nodded, "Yes, much too long!"
...."So," began Rhonda, "Speaking of tigers, have you any exciting men in your life? Anybody special?"
...."No. I'm afraid there are no men," she said pointing at the poster, "And no tigers or pussy cats, for that matter."
....Rhonda smiled knowingly, "Same here. There's just me and my magic missile."
....Mae Lee giggled, "I guess the two of us don't have the time to have a man hanging around."
...."Alas, we've both become pocket rocket scientists. Analyze that, huh?" Rhonda replied.
....Mae Lee began to feel uncomfortable and said to Rhonda, "I'm sorry, but I really need to find someplace to freshen up a bit."
...."Surely," Rhonda responded. "Now that you mention it, I could stand a change myself. I have a suite upstairs, you're welcome of course."
....Mae Lee smiled, "That's sweet. I have to grab my suitcase from the coat room first."
....Shortly, as the elevator began its ascent, Mae Lee spoke. "I have a rather embarrassing confession to make, Rhonda." Assured that she had her friend's attention she continued, "On the way here .. at the airport .. at baggage claim .." she grew silent and lowered her head.
....Rhonda looked quizzically at her and said, "It's okay. I promise I won't try to psychoanalyze you. Please, continue."
....Mae Lee took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "In the middle of that baggage claim area ..without any stimulus, I had a climax. My God, I came in a public place, Rhonda!"
....Her mouth agape, Rhonda could not believe what she was hearing. What were the odds? She cleared her throat and uttered , "Me too. The same thing happened to me!"
....Mae Lee's eyes widened in surprise. Rhonda pointed in the direction of the floor of the car. "Yes, it's true. Right down there in the middle of that floor - surrounded by all those people!"
A lone man sat a table across the room from the elevator bank. He tugged at his tie as he produced a cell phone from his breast pocket and placed it next to a running laptop. His fingers danced across the keyboard.
....He looked up at the elevator door through which the two women had departed. He grinned and in triumph said, "Let the games begin!"
....He nodded in approval as the screen before him came to life. "See you in your dreams."
To be continued... Chapter 3