“9-9-09 @ 9:09” the note read. Well, I thought as I looked around the train station, that’s today and in a few moments, that will be the time. I wonder why Mr. Wilkes wanted to meet me at such a seemingly auspicious hour and minute. Hell – we could have meet in July on the 8th at 10:11, but we didn’t. I hadn’t meet Mr. Wilkes by then.
Mr. Richard Wilkes, philanthropist, entrepeneur, mystery man. We’d met over the phone and then chatted online, with each ‘meeting’ getting a little bit closer to this day; an actual face-to-face encounter. Excited? Yes. Worried? Maybe. 
When he called in to the shop looking for a reproduction piece, Sarah had immediately transferred him to my station. She claimed she didn’t know enough about the historical pieces we created at Glass Imaginarium to offer him effective help. I suspect she just didn’t want to deal with it and had rather wanted to text her new boy-toy Tony. He was ‘in a band!’ Poor girl, she should know better by now. Anyway – I got the call. Mr. Wilkes, it turned out, was in search of someone to help him recreate a specific art deco pattern. He had this atrium, you see, that had originally been built in the 20’s, complete with panels of stained glass. Hurricane Imelda had torn up a tree and sent it through his lovely atrium and ruined one of his priceless panels. I told him ‘priceless? I hope not!’ because Glass Imaginarium was certainly going to charge him. 
“A turn of phrase,” he’d said in his hot chocolate voice. I’d never met a man who did better phone voice than Mr. Wilkes. 
“I’ll have to see the piece in order to match the colors,” I told him. He seemed reluctant to invite me over. Probably didn’t want Mrs. Wilkes to be upset by a strange shop-girl coming over to drool on her precious stained glass. He lived way outside of the city, and the roads were none to good thanks to Imelda…He offered to email me several high-res digital photos. I gave up my email address and tried to think of a way to keep him on the phone so that I could savor his voice some more.
“Are you an artisan yourself, Mr. Wilkes, or just a fan of stained glass?”
“Just a fan, Ms. York. My talents lie more in the scientific than the artistic.”
“Oh, you’re a scientist? In what field?”
“Chemistry mainly, but I dabble elsewhere.”
If his body matched his voice, he could dabble me…
His first email arrived later that afternoon. It had two pictures attached. The first of the outside of the atrium, complete with a tree limb sticking through a truly stunning bit of art deco glass work – possibly a Tiffany piece – and the second, a close up of the broken pieces.  The amazing colors – rich, jewel tones,…

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