Antique store

Turn right in route 27. You have 10 minutes till your arrival came from the GPS on the phone.The street was lined with oak and maple trees. It was like stepping back in time on the cobble stone road. Looking down at his phone saying it was has past eight. Still have over a hour till he had to meet with Ms. Ridden about the apartment. Jeremy knew that it would be a while before he’d actually have to be in need of a job.   After his retirement from the military and the money his mother had left him. Jeremy wanted to enjoy life and fresh clean start, were no one knew of his family or his past.
Pulling into a diner THE GRIZZLY for breakfast.Jeremy thought he’d take his time. No rush,no demands nobody waiting, just him and what ever he wanted to do for nearly the first time in twenty-three years. Walking into the front door a young lady with purple streaks in her hair. Hey you can grasp a seat at the counter or next to the window and I’ll be right over. Sitting at the third both. A sigh of relief of being of the road.  Good morning and how are you this morning. Handing Jeremy a menu saying my name is Cameron. Looking at her with a bewildered look and thinking purple and blonde hair that would never fly with his strict Baptist and Chaotic home. It was all yes ma’am and no ma’am. Even to the maid and help. His mother demanded his respect.  Jeremy was always taught  to no matter how much you hate the person, the job and position and uniform deserves and demand respect.
Looking over the menu smiling telling Cameron he’d like a breakfast called the Rocky Express and a grape juice. Smiling at him Saying you not from around here. The Rocky is a heart stopper laughing. It’s ok if the Navy and Chief Fields did stop my heart nothing will. With the brightest smile Cameron had ever seen.
It had seemed like a month of Sunday’s since he’d had real eggs , not powder or liquid eggs but real honest eggs from a chicken. Looking down at his watch saying it was nine twenty-seven. Thinking I’ll have enough time for just one more coffee.
Waiting for his check Jeremy noticed that it had gotten a little crowded.  Laughing and joking with the customer in the next booth. Handming Jeremy a slip of paper that said your bill has been paid. Have a blessed day and thank you for your service in the military .
LOVE CAMERON.  
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You have arrived came from the phone. Jeremy pulled his purple 54 chevy pickup; into a spot on the other side of the street from Memorable Treasures. Looking around the antiques. Seeing a mug the said West Virginia with a black bear on it and several cat eyes marbles big enough to shock a horse. May I help you said from behind the counter was a dirty redheaded young middle aged girl saying what can I do to help you . My name is Kellie Jo if you need anything. Thank you but I’m here to see about an apartment. Ms.Ridden stepped out to get some donations from Genesis Fellowshp . If you’d like we have a coffee counter in the back. Following Kellie to the back Jeremy said I like mine black and extremely sweet. Laughing Kellie told him that it couldn’t be sweeter because I’m pouring it. Sliding the cup of coffee to Jeremy asking what brings him here as the phone started ringing Kellie Jo sighs. Picking up the phone hello this is Memorable Treasures With a few ahh Haas
Ok I’ll tell your mom you called. Turning to Jeremy that was Tina Ms. Nadine’s daughter, she lives in Denver she recently gone though a messy divorce.
Kellie looked at a older gentleman that came behind the counter. Mr.Ridden this is Jeremy here to see the apartment. Let the woman take care of it ,I don’t have the time for all that foolishness said the older gentleman. Let her take care of it. Looking at Jeremy with a annoying grunt I guess you’ll be OK. You look fine and healthy unlike the other guff offs in town . Kellie Jo told Jeremy he could browse wail he waited. Looking around their was a set of old LPs and compact discs everything thing from Elvis Presley to Three Dog Knight and some lady by the name Amy Winehouse his time in the military was probably when she we out. There was a blue tea pot and cup set he could see a king and queen using. Pictures that appeared to have German or Irish scenery. As he was looking though a book shelf. This little older lady that had a warm motherly glow and smile he felt relixed. Hello my name is Nadine. Nadine Ridden. I suppose you Jeremy and here to see the apartment. Yes ma’am. You can enter though the back alley door. The apartment door is just to the left beside the office door in the back,you can come though the store during the day.
The apartment was up 12 stairs. As Nadine was showing the apartment he couldn’t keep from noticing the muriel of the wall of a forest and waterfall. Nadine was telling Jeremy her eldest son Robert had painted the when he was in high school back when it was a small town Caff’e. That is a beautiful piece of work. Smiling she said proud both of her kids were extremely talented. The Robert enjoys painting and woodworking that Tina played piano and guitar for the church since she was fifteen Tina also wrote poetry.
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That following Saturday KellieJo knocked on the down stairs door asking for Jeremy’s help. Wasn’t like he had any plans. Looking through boxes with KellieJo going to the old chest type phonograph the had been there in the McAfee since she had grown up,but then it was in the back where the coffee counter is but was a small dance floor. Turning the radio on . Smiling Jeremy said music is always nice. Today is Saturday and the fair is up and running across town so chances are it will be just the two of us this afternoon. Smiling at Jeremy, KellieJo thought how she’d like to dance the day away in the arms of such a man as him. But Jeremy was so secretive about his past. Was he a murderous made man or in witness protection or just plainly hiding.
Handing Jeremy a cup of coffee and told him it was her specialty blend. We have five boxes to go through. Two are by the door up front and the three here on the coffee counter. After taking a drink and shaking of the hit of caffeine and sweet. Digging through the first box saying looking like all cloths in box one. Here is something that looks like something that my grandma would wear to Mass on Sunday but if a am remembering right. This one would not work at Mass grinning. Long Black and cut low enough to see a belle button and slit on both sides up to the hips. All the rest looks like jeans and more jeans.
Out of the last box KellieJo pulled out a eighties boom box . lets see if it works, pulling it to a plug behind the counter plugging it in and turning it till something came in loud and clear. Jeremy smiled at KellieJo look what is in the box a cassette tape that said only. DANCE TUNES . Putting it in was a voice say how he hated to leave to go to NYU but that he loved you so much, see you at Christmas and I LOVE YOU CHANTELL, the music started as the sky was growing gray. Offering his hand as True by SPANDAU BALLET may I have this dance. Soon after KellieJo and Jeremy lean in to kiss as Nadine open the front door ans saying good morning.
Neither one had relies they had dance through the evening and night. Smiling inconspicuous at Jeremy, Kellie Jo said with out thinking I’ll buy breakfast if you drive.

mmmmm


Miranda gazed thoughtfully at her image in the bathroom mirror, then looked away. She thought of Lord Henry, in The Picture of Dorian Grey, who described Lady Narborough as having the remains of a remarkable ugliness. She wondered why fate had dealt her the same hand. If she were only plain looking she could go through life without being noticed. She wasn’t deformed in any way, had lovely skin, and nice straight teeth. She was tall and slim, but the features of her face lacked symmetry. She was the proverbial ugly duckling. The children in grade school teased her about her looks. In high school, the other students seemed to avoid her. The high school she attended offered a major in music. She joined and felt some acceptance because of her beautiful voice. Her teacher recognized her talent and invited her to join a cantata group he was coaching. From there he moved her to an acapella group and then coached her in solo work. The night of her graduation she and four other students sang Mozart’s Acappella – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It brought the house down. When the applause ended, the other members of her group sat down and left her standing alone at stage-center. Her music teacher struck a chord on the piano. She closed her eyes and began to sing Barber’s Vanessa – Must Winter Come So Soon. Her teacher emphasized that she must forget about the audience and concentrate on the music. She was mystified the first time he told her to relax and let God sing through her. “You have the perfect instrument, Miranda. Let the Father sing through you.” Over time she realized he was right. He encouraged her with an expression she never forgot. He told her to let go and let God. And that’s what she did now. The lyrics to this song were not very long which is why she chose this piece. When she finished singing, she closed her mouth and opened her eyes. She expected applause but there was only silence. She panicked and looked at her teacher who was standing by the piano wiping his eyes. Was he crying? Was she that bad? And then it began. It was just applause here and there but it grew and before she knew it, everyone was standing, clapping, yelling, and whistling. She was so overwhelmed, all she could do was bow and walk off stage. The other students left the stage with her, hugging her and telling how amazing it was. The applause did not stop. She did not know what to do. Her teacher came backstage and embraced her. “What should I do?” “They want to hear more, Miranda.” “But I don’t know anything else.” “Go back on stage. When they quiet down, ask them if they would like to hear it again.” “But we’re here to graduate.” “Who cares? This is a miracle, go with it.” And so she did. When she asked the audience if they would like to hear the same song since she knew no other, they went crazy. She smiled and looked to her teacher who was ready to strike the cord that would send her on her way. When she finished, the reaction was the same. Only now, the master of ceremony intervened and reminded the audience of why they were there. They quieted down and the ceremony proceeded. When it concluded, Miranda was besieged by well-wishers. It was a very heady experience, but the next morning it was over and she was who she had always been. If nothing else, she was determined to pursue her music study with hopes of someday joining a professional opera company. At twenty-seven, her personal life held no prospects. She still looked the way she did and would probably be alone the rest of her life. If nothing else, she made an effort to be cheerful and to look for the goodness in those she encountered rather than judging them by how they looked. She hoped they would do the same for her. Her voice continued to develop in ways she had not expected. She found singing engagements which were very satisfying and well-paying but still no offers from professional companies. She sang solos on a regular basis at the church she belonged to. She felt needed and she was making a contribution. Secretly she wanted more but knew she would never have it. Aunt Bertha clarified it one day with a remark which cut to the quick of Miranda’s heart. “Honey, get a parrot and a rocking chair and enjoy being single. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.” She forgave her aunt for the well-intentioned but cruel remark because of the pain her philandering husband, Uncle Harvey, caused her and the women he chased. But enough of feeling sorry for herself. She applied a light shade of lipstick, a tiny bit of eyeshadow, dabbed tiny bits of sunscreen on her face and smoothed it in to give her skin a gentle glow. She blotted her lips with a tissue, pinched her cheeks, turned off the bathroom light and headed for the front door. “Okay world, here I come, ready or not.” She was on her way to the Fuga Centro Salon & Spa on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue to have her hair styled and her body pampered. It was the least she could do to buoy her spirits and thrill the world with a new look. Well, maybe not thrill but at least reduce her drab appearance as much as possible. She exited the train station on Jackson Boulevard and crossed the Canal Street Bridge. As she passed the Très Elégant Women’s Apparel Shop, she paused a moment and decided she would drop in on her way home and treat herself to something lovely. It was half past one when Miranda opened the door of the salon and reentered the world with her new look. She gazed approvingly at her reflection in the plate glass window and walked confidently toward the train station. But first, she stopped at the Lola Palooza Soup and Sandwich Bar for a late lunch. She was pleased when Claudette, the barista, admired her hairdo. She would definitely return for another meal when she was in town. She left a generous tip and waved to Claudette as she departed. She purchased some satin undergarments at the Très Elégant Women’s Apparel Shop and was exiting the shop when she noticed The Olde Book Shoppe across the street. She stopped and could not remember having seen it on her way downtown that morning. She turned and continued her walk to the train depot, stopped again, turned around and gazed at the quaint old bookstore. She looked at her watch, then walked across the street. A tiny bell over the door greeted her as she entered. She was an avid reader, especially of old books. There was something magical about holding a hundred-year-old book which had been owned by who knows how many other people. The notes and underscores added to the reading experience. She scanned the interior of the shop. The ambiance pleased her. The well-lit round table at the center of the room attracted her attention. She admired the Tiffany style lampshade over the table but her attention was drawn to the crystal ball at the center of the table, mounted on a simple wooden pedestal. She slowly circled the table until she came to a volume of what appeared to be fairy tales. The cotton gloves which lay across the open pages told her this volume was old and valuable. She placed her purchase from the apparel shop next to the volume and slipped her hands into the cotton gloves, then began turning pages, admiring the beautiful calligraphy and the well-illustrated images. She paused when she came to an illustration of a crystal ball on a simple wooden pedestal. She looked up and immediately saw that the illustration matched the crystal ball at the center of the table. ‘What an interesting coincidence,’ she sat down and contemplated the similarity of the two objects. It was then that the face of a man began to appear on both objects. She stood up so abruptly she almost knocked the chair over she had been sitting on. She backed away from the table as the vision of the man’s face became more pronounced. A chill ran up and down her spine as she realized she was alone in the room with the apparition. Panic kicked in. She took off the cotton gloves, threw them on the table, grabbed her parcel and rushed to the front door, pausing only a second to look back. She could not see the illustration in the book, but the vision of the man’s face in the crystal ball was still there and appeared to be looking at her and smiling. She opened the shop door, exited, and pulled it shut. Without further hesitation, she fled to the Canal Street Bridge and the train terminal beyond. The train gave a slight jerk as it moved out of the station train shed. Miranda was still lost in her thoughts of what she had just experienced when she was startled by, “TICKET PLEASE.” Oh, yes. I’m sorry,” she handed her ticket to the conductor who punched it and slipped it under the clip on the back of the seat in front of her. She began to smile when the realization of the silliness of the afternoon settled on her. She gave a sigh of relief and fingered the bag containing the garments she had purchased. As she gazed out of the coach window she saw the reflection of her new hair style and smiled. It had been a good day. Choir rehearsal was at 7 pm. She looked forward to the reaction the choir members would have on her new look. Sadness encompassed her as choir rehearsal ended and everyone left the choir loft. No one had noticed her new hair style. She could not remember anyone even looking at her. The feeling of homeliness swept away the joy of the day as she returned to her home. She wasn’t angry because no one noticed. They were probably being kind. What were they supposed to say – you look so lovely when it wasn’t true. She closed the front door, laid the purchase from Très Elégant on the hall table, turned the hall light out, and went into her bedroom. She undressed and went into the bathroom to brush her teeth, and wash her hands and face before retiring. As she dried her face with a towel she paused and gazed at her reflection in the mirror. A single tear rolled down her cheek which she quickly wiped away. As she turned the bathroom light out and walked to her bed, she remembered what Aunt Bertha had said. Dawn had already broken when Miranda came awake. The first thing she thought about was the image of the man in the crystal ball. She wondered who he was and why he was appearing to her. He didn’t seem threatening. In fact, he was very handsome and he was smiling at her or so she thought. It was her own silliness that made her run. What was she running from? Nothing. Just a fairy tale book and a crystal ball. The image she saw was probably just her imagination running wild. The hopeless hope she always had of some beautiful man looking at her and smiling approvingly. It was only a fantasy but a very comforting one. She felt stupid when the childish thought came to her of going back to the bookstore with hopes of seeing the vision again. But the thought lingered. A week went by and the thought of going back to the bookstore persisted. Finally, she gave into the urge to return. She would live in her fantasy for a little while. No one would know and it would make her feel ever so much better. A few days later she prepared for the trip to Chicago. She would wear the new satin underwear she had purchased and put on her best dress. She placed a pair of white cotton gloves she never wore into her beautiful new shoulder bag she had received in the mail only the day before from The Old Bag Company. It was handmade and guaranteed to be one of a kind. She felt special just having it on her shoulder. It was as if she were preparing to go out on a date, something that had never happened before. She dismissed that thought as foolishness. As she strolled through the great hall of the train terminal, she remembered something she had recently read. Stop living the life that was expected of you and start living your heart’s desire. She threw her shoulders back and exited the terminal onto Jackson Boulevard. That is what she was doing and vowed to continue doing it from now on. As she crossed the Canal Street Bridge, her determination wilted. The Olde Book Shoppe was not there. The apparel shop was there, just as she remembered, but the bookshop was gone. She could not believe her eyes. Was the whole of that day a dream, the crystal ball, the fairy tale book, and the handsome man in the crystal ball smiling at her? She walked slowly past the spot where the store had been and paused. Could this be the wrong place? No, it was the right place and the shop was gone and probably had never been there. It must have been a dream. When she reached the corner, she stopped and looked back. Her jaw dropped – The Olde Book Shoppe was there. She ran back and stopped at the entrance. Cautiously she reached forward and touched the door knob. It was real. She turned it and pushed the door open. The little bell above the door rang its greeting as before. She entered and closed the door. She moved toward the round table but stopped when she heard someone shuffling across the floorboards of a back room. The divider curtain was drawn back and an elderly man stepped into the room, “Good morning, my dear. How may I help you?” Miranda was struck by the beautiful crystal blue eyes peering at her over a pair of gold-rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose. “Good morning. I was in the other day admiring the crystal ball,” she pointed to the table, “and the fairy tale book.” “Was that you? I remember someone coming in but by the time I finished what I was doing, they were gone. I’m so glad you came back.” “I wanted to take another look at the book.” “Yes, of course. Now, you just make yourself at home and call me if you need assistance. My name is Morris.” “Thank you, Morris. I will.” He turned and disappeared into the back room. Miranda paused a moment staring at the divider curtain as it swayed back and forth. His accent was reminiscent of old world charm. She smiled and turned to the table in the center of the room. She sat down and looked at the book which was still open to the page with the illustration of the crystal ball, and the crystal ball was still sitting in the center of the table as before. Both items were clear of any image. She put her hand to her forehead and shook her head slightly. She must have dreamt the whole thing. Was she losing her mind? As the decision to leave the bookstore occurred to her, she heard the bell over the door tinkle. Someone was coming in. She got up and moved toward the entrance but stopped. The customer who had just entered resembled the handsome man she saw in the book and the crystal ball. There was no question about it. It was him. Then she saw the white cane he carried. Her breath caught when she realized he was blind. “Hello?” came a cheerful greeting from the man. Miranda looked around expecting Morris. When he didn’t appear, she greeted the blind man, “Hello, how may I help you?” “This is a bookstore isn’t it?” “Yes, it is. It’s The Olde Book Shoppe. “Oh, good. I’m looking for some books in braille. Can you help me?” “I don’t actually work here. Let me find Morris, the shop owner,” she moved to the curtain divider. “Thank you very much.” Miranda drew the curtain back and looked into the back room, “Morris, are you there?” There was no answer. She returned to the main room, “I’m sorry. Morris doesn’t seem to be there.” “Oh,” the man paused. “Is there a place where I can sit and wait?” “Yes, of course, there’s a table and chairs. Here, take my hand.” “Thank you.” The man reached out. Miranda gently took the man’s hand and led him to a chair at the table. “Thank you. You are most kind.” “You’re welcome.” She was reluctant to let his hand go. It was warm and comfortable to hold. As the man sat down, “That’s very interesting. I smell a light scent of cedar wood and baking soda.” Miranda laughed, “Oh, that’s me.” “It is?” “It’s a soap I bathe with every day. Helps my skin. Is the scent too strong?” “Oh no, it isn’t. My sense of smell is heightened since I can’t see. It’s a very pleasant scent.” Miranda took a seat near the man. She could not get over the resemblance of this person. It was exactly what she saw in the book and the crystal ball. “Please, don’t let me keep you. I’ll be fine until the shopkeeper returns. What was his name?” “Morris. His name is Morris. I’m in no hurry. I think I’ll wait until he returns. Do you mind?” “No, of course not. I appreciate the company.” “What’s your name?” “Lancelot?” “Really?” “Yeah, I know. I get that reaction all the time.” “Well, it is unusual.” “And your name is?” “Miranda.” “Ah, what a coincidence. I was reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest the other day. There’s a young girl in the tale whose name is Miranda. She was raised and educated on an isolated island by a magician father.” “A magician father. How lovely.” She remembered little of her father. Miranda chuckled to herself when she thought of seeing Lancelot’s image in the fairy tale book. “Was there a particular type of book you were looking for?” “Yes, I’m interested in poetry and wanted to see what, if anything, was available.” “I’m afraid I don’t know the stock of this store . . . oh, wait. There is a shelf over here marked poetry.” “If there is one in braille, it will be in a large format.” “Let me take a look.” Miranda walked to the shelf and began scanning the book spines.” “Love poems if they have any.” “I don’t see any in braille.” Miranda picked up a book of short love poems and returned to her chair. “You found something?” “Yes, but it’s not in braille” “What’s it about?” “It’s a book of short love poems.” “If they are short, perhaps you wouldn’t mind reading one while we wait. Would that be okay?” “Yes, of course. I don’t mind in the least.” She scanned the index, “Here’s one. It’s called Butterfly by Crystal R. Kordell. Shall I read this one?” “Yes, please.” Lancelot smiled in anticipation. Miranda began, “Butterfly.” “I was sitting on the bench in the park one day and saw a butterfly coming my way. “I opened my hand and to my surprise, the butterfly landed. “Consumed in cries, I asked the little one, ‘What is wrong?’ “and then the little one began to sing me a song, “The sky is dark and my days are gray, and there’s nobody here to lift the clouds away. “I sat there quietly for a moment or two and then I had decided what to do. “I looked at that butterfly that was consumed in cries, “and told her promptly, “I tell no lies. “Your skies are dark and days are gray “because you have no love to light your way. “The butterfly finally stopped her crying, opened her wings and went off flying, “I sat on that bench until it was dark, and then I finally left the park. “Day after day had long since passed, I thought I’d seen that butterfly for the last, “and then on a nice and sunny day, I heard a little voice say to me, “Hey. “I turned around, and to my surprise, there she was with her three little butterflies. “I stared in awe as she spoke to me. She said to me, ‘You’ve set me free, ‘you’ve lifted the dark from the skies, and now I see no gray through my eyes, ‘I want to thank you for all you’ve done, and to let you know that you’re our number one.’ “And after that, she flew away, and I haven’t seen her since that day, “but now that I know her troubles are done, I continue my walk in the warm summer sun.” Miranda looked up into the face of Lancelot and waited. “That was so beautiful, Miranda. Could I trouble you to read it again? You have such a beautiful voice, it adds so much to the poem. I’ll understand if you wish not to.” “No, of course not. And thank you for the compliment.” “You’re welcome.” Lancelot settled back in his chair and closed his eyes. “Miranda began again only this time at a slower pace, giving more feeling to the words just as she had been taught to do when singing. She read two more poems to Lancelot and then notice the afternoon light was fading. “I’m afraid I must go. The last train will be leaving soon and I must be on it.” “Yes, of course. I feel as though I’ve monopolized your afternoon. I apologize.” “No need. I’ve enjoyed it. Oh, here comes Morris. He’ll be able to help you with the books you’re looking for. Goodbye, Lancelot.” “Goodbye, Miranda. Perhaps we’ll meet again.” “Yes, I’d like that.” Miranda walked to the shop door, glanced back, smiled, and then exited the bookshop. She paused a moment at the display window, watching Morris and Lancelot talking together. She felt a pang of loneliness as she traveled home to Arlington Heights on the train. She chastised herself for not asking to meet with Lancelot again. Perhaps she feared he would say he was not able to. She should have said something. It would have been better to know the truth one way or the other. She smiled when she remembered how he admired her voice. She would go back to the bookstore. Perhaps she would see him again in the crystal ball or in the fairy tale book as before. She lay awake that night thinking of Lancelot. A tear ran from the corner of her eye when she realized she may have missed an opportunity to be with him. It was silly and childish but she couldn’t help herself. She must go back to the bookstore. Several days later, Miranda stepped off of the late morning train. She hurried through the terminal and exited onto Jackson Blvd. She remembered the bookstore had not been there once before, and then it appeared. She gave a sigh of relief – it was there. As she approached the display window she was amazed at what she saw. It was a book of braille prominently displayed. She hurried inside and waited for Morris to appear. “Good morning, my dear. I’m so happy to see you again.” “The braille book in the window?” “Yes, isn’t it a beauty?” “It is. Does Lancelot know you have it?” “Oh yes, I gave him an exact copy along with a few other volumes I found in the loft.” “He was looking for poetry.” “Yes. I gave him several volumes.” “Oh.” Miranda’s enthusiasm began to fade. “I’m very happy he has what he was looking for. Thank you, Morris,” she smiled, turned, and walked slowly to the front door. “He’s been asking about you.” “What?” she turned back to Morris. “Oh yes, he’s been here on several occasions, hoping to find you. He told me how much he enjoyed listening to you read those poems.” Miranda was at a loss for words. She was overwhelmed with the possibilities that she had given up on. “Do you think he will return? I would very much like to see him again.” “Oh, I think he will. There was one particular book he asked about. I told him I’d look for it.” “Did you find it?” “Yes, I did.” “Morris, if I gave you my name and phone number, would you give it to Lancelot?” “I’d be happy to but, why don’t you give it to him yourself?” “What?” “He just passed the display window.” Before Morris finished, the little bell over the door tinkled. Miranda turned around, “Lancelot!” “Miranda, is that you?” “Yes.” “I’m so happy you’re here. There is so much I have to tell you,” he reached out. Miranda took his hand and led him to the round table in the center of the room. “Morris told me of all the braille books he found for you.” “Yes, it was an unexpected treasure.” “I suppose you won’t need anyone to read to you now that you have these books.” “Oh no, that isn’t true. You’ll never know how much I’ve enjoyed having you read for me. I was just afraid of imposing on your time.” “It’s no imposition and I have plenty of spare time. So, if you want. . .” “Yes, I definitely want,” he grinned. “Okay. Perhaps you could teach me to read braille. I know what it is but there must be a technique to it.” “I would love to teach you. I work at the Braille Institute a few days each week doing just that.” “Do you really. How interesting. I’ve also seen blind folks talk to one another with their hands. You probably know that technique.” “I do.” “Perhaps I could learn that also. That is if you’re interested in taking the time.” “Miranda, I have the time and the interest. You have no idea how happy I am that we’ve met.” They discussed and planned their free time together, meeting three times a week at the bookshop. The weeks passed quickly. Summer slipped into autumn and then it was almost Thanksgiving. “Lancelot?” “Yes, Miranda.” “Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving?” “Yes, some friends from the Institute have invited me to join them.” “Oh,” Miranda paused, “that’s very nice. I hope you enjoy yourself.” “Miranda?” “Yes.” Lancelot smiled, “Come on, you can’t fool me. I’ve gotten to know you too well.” “I don’t know what you mean?” “It was in your voice. You’re disappointed because I have other plans.” Miranda paused and then laughed. “You can see better with your ears then I can with my eyes.” “I never thought of it that way, but I think you’re right. Now, the truth. Tell me why you’re disappointed.” “Well, ok. I suppose there’s no harm.” “In telling me what?” “I was going to invite you to dinner at my home. I’m really a very good cook.” “You are?” “Yes, I am.” “Is the invitation still open?” Miranda paused, “Well, yes. I suppose so.” “Then I accept.” “What about your friends?” “They’ll understand when I tell them who I’m having dinner with.” “They know about me?” “Yes, of course. I tell them about you all the time.” “Well …” “Well, what?” “I was just thinking, would it be all right if I invite you and your friends to dinner at my home?” “Miranda, I think it would definitely be all right and so very generous of you. I’ll ask them today and let you know. But there is one thing I need to find out first.” “And that is?” “I would like to know what you look like.” “I don’t understand.” “It’s very simple but kind of personal. I would like to use my fingertips to see what you look like. Do you understand?” “Yes, I believe I do.” The thought that this beautiful man would discover what she looked like made her uneasy. “You’re hesitating. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have asked. Please forgive me.” “No no, that’s not it. I didn’t realize you were that interested.” “But I am. So, what do you think?” She felt she had no choice. If she said no, he might want to know why. She would be unable to tell him the truth. “Yes, of course. What would you like me to do?” “If you’ll stand in front of me, I’ll trace the features of your face with my fingertips.” “Okay, trace away,” they laughed, but Miranda was concerned about what he would see with his fingertips. Hopefully not the truth. Lancelot moved closer and reached out. She took his hands and guided them to her face. She felt the warmth from his hands on her face as they approached. Lancelot gently began tracing her features. As his fingers traced her nose and moved across her cheeks beneath her eyes he felt the wetness from her tears and pulled away. “You’re crying. I’m so sorry, Miranda.” “They aren’t tears of sadness, Lancelot.” “They aren’t?” “No, they’re not.” “I don’t understand.” “Lancelot, no one ever cared enough about me to see what I looked like.” “I still don’t understand. You’re a very beautiful woman.” “No, I’m not, but I thank you. Every woman should hear those words at least once in her life and I’m happy they came from you.” She drew away from her friend. “You’re upset. Why?” “Because I’ve been using you and I’m so terribly ashamed.” “What in the world are you talking about? You’re very dear to me, Miranda. I thought we were friends.” Miranda was on the verge of crying. “I’m not very pleasant to look at, Lancelot. I took advantage of your blindness in so many ways. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” She moved to the table and pickup up her belongings and walked toward the door. “Wait,” pleaded Lancelot. He moved toward the sound of her departing steps, tripped and fell to the floor. She dropped her coat and rushed to his side, “Lancelot, are you ok?” She helped him to his feet. Lancelot grabbed her and pulled her into an embrace. “I lied to you, Miranda. I saw what you look like and I don’t care. Please don’t leave me. I need you.” “Why did you say I’m beautiful when you knew I wasn’t?” “But you are beautiful, Miranda. What you look like doesn’t matter. It’s what’s between your ears that makes my heart sing when I’m with you. Your voice caresses everything you say. Your goodness oozes out of every pore. And besides,” he broke into his beautiful smile. “I love the smell of cedar wood and baking soda. I don’t want to live without any of that ever again.” Miranda began to laugh and cry at the same time. She stopped resisting Lancelot and moved closer to him. He grabbed Miranda’s head and kissed her on the mouth. She had never been kissed like that before. She tensed with her surprise. Lancelot let go and backed away, “I’m sorry I did that. Please forgive me. I promise I won’t do it again.” Miranda took Lancelot’s hand and led him to the table. She put his hands on the crystal ball sitting on the table. “Do you know what this is?” He smoothed his hands over the glass ball. “It feels like glass, but what is it?” “It’s a crystal ball.” “I’ve read about them. I understand there are people who claim they see things and make predictions when looking into these balls.” “Yes. I saw your face in this ball the first time I came into this shop. It scared me so much that I literally ran from the building.” “Was I that scary looking?” “No, of course not. I just wasn’t prepared for that to happen. But I came back and then you showed up looking for braille books. I think I fell in love with you that day.” “Miranda. Do you mean that?” “Yes, Lancelot. I mean it with all my heart.” “Why didn’t you say so sooner?” “I was afraid.” “Of me?” “No. Afraid of what you might think or say.” “And now?” Miranda paused, “I love you more now than ever. I would love to be your eyes for as long as you want.” tears welled in her eyes as she waited. “It’s music to my ears, Miranda, and my heart. And yes, I want – very much.” “Lancelot, you mean…?” “Yes. Did you never notice?” “I was afraid to believe it.” “And now?” “Now, I would like you to take back your promise.” “What promise?” “To never kiss me again.” “Oh my God,” he reached out. Miranda walked into his arms which gently closed around her. He kissed her forehead, both of her eyes, her nose, and her cheeks. “I love you, Miranda.” Then he kissed her again on the mouth, tenderly. She responded this time and felt a oneness with this man she never thought possible. Morris walked in from the back room. “Okay, you two. I’m closing the bookshop. You’ll have to leave. Come on. “But Morris. . .” “No, but Morris. The two of you will have to find another rendezvous from now on.” Lancelot turned to the sound of Morris’ voice, “Have you been listening?” “To every blessed word. Now off with the both of you and give this old man some rest.” Miranda kissed Morris on the cheek. “Thank you, Morris. Will we ever see you again?” “Only if you get into trouble,” he smiled as he closed the door, sighed, and looked up. “Brother Morris, you’re just an old sentimentalist.” “I know, but I couldn’t help myself, especially with these two. They are perfect for each other. But I did wonder if they would ever get together.” “You’ve done a good job.” “Thank you.” Miranda and Lancelot stood outside, “It’s going, Lancelot.” “What’s going?” “The Olde Book Shoppe. It’s fading away.” She took his hand and placed it on the blank wall of the parking structure. “Was it a dream?” “No. It was a miracle.” She took Lancelot’s hand and led him away. “You hungry?” “Yeah, I could use something.” “Come on. We’re going to the Lola Palooza Soup and Sandwich Bar. I know the barista. You’re gonna love it.” “Are you going with me?” he smiled playfully. “You bet your ass I am.” “Miranda!” “I can be naughty when I want to,” she put her arm through his and held him close. She stopped. “Curb,” and then proceeded. “You’ve been reading up on how to communicate with the blind, haven’t you?” “You bet I have.” They laughed. THE END

Aug 16, 2019 5:01 PM

THE FALLING LEAF

The girl walked outside for another day of work. Everything was the same in her life except for the four seasons that had seemed to come each year. It was the beginning of the month of August and everything was at its ending point from the summertime. She smiled happily when smelling the full blooming flowers and the air and bright colors of nature. Across the patches of grass in her neighbor’s yards, you would be able to see see the bright pink and purple peonies and sunflowers blooming with joy.

She could smell that the trees had small flowers and the fresh smell of ripened fruit that was ready to be picked and peeled and eaten with delight. Everything had a purpose and if something didn’t, it now would. The dog she had with her was twitching when noticing a bird, whimpering at the sight, but instead still kept its obedient demeanor. A few months had passed and it became fall. As she walked outside she noticed that she stepped on a half torn leaf by the crumpling sound and let her dog bring it to her. She felt it and realized it felt like crumpled paper. She knew that leaves in this time were said to have tinted shades of brown, yellow, orange, and more fall-themed colors. Everyone this year either grew pumpkins in their front yard or had bought them from a local store for the children to decorate and take part in this month’s holiday. This made her smile even more. This was the only thing she could enjoy and occupy herself with.

Even if her ability to be able to see all of these wondrous things were non-existent, she knew she had to use the other senses she had in life like any other day. Till the day she died, she vowed never to forget these 4 seasons again, she won’t forget her happiness from it. She lost what she thought she needed to be able to experience this as she did when she was a young child. She walked with her dog again, letting him lead her to the place she needed to be, Letting this moment settle in, for the last few days of her life.

By J.R Gardner
06/18/1918

DIEDRE

On a late spring day along the Kanawha river former Navy Seal
Bradley Shepperd sat in the office that belongs to Matthew McDonald.
Bradley was hoping for the job of Chief of Security for
Mr.McDonald and his Family. The office of McDonald sat on
Kanawha Blvd in Charleston. Matt owned 3 funeral homes, one in Dunbar,
Dunlow, and Bluefield of which he ran drugs and laundered money.
The security Dottie said Mr. McDonald would be with him momentarily
and handed the young muscular ex-sailor, a bottle.ed water.
As Bradley waited, the pretty, but quaint dark-haired security
started playing 20 questions with the man in his sparkling
service dress whites.
As he waited, a rather beautiful plump woman with shiny gold
brown hair, rather attractive body with
plenty of curves rushed in and demanded to see Mr.McDonald
saying,” we have a problem in Dunbar” and then barged right in to
McDonald’s office. There is loud talking, but couldn’t make
out what was being said.

Dottie said that’s Ms.Patricia Mayz. She manages two of Mr. McDonald’s
business. She is a lovely person, but a type A personality
and hardcore. The woman came out patting Dottie on the shoulder
saying “sorry I didn’t mean to be rude Dottie, but you the know-how
Matthew hates surprises. Then the door opened and a man stepped
out dressed in a three-piece black suit and red tie, walked
over to Bradley and shaking his hand. “I’m Matthew McDonald. Please
step into my office. As he followed McDonald’s into the office,
both Dottie and Patrica sighed quietly. Patricia says “I just love
a man in uniform especially whites.” Both shared a little giggle
and Dottie saying he can stand guard over me any night.
Both biting their lips as he walked into the office,
Patricia said “I’d do him anytime or place,” Dottie agreeing.

In the office, Matthew McDonald asked Bradley Sheppard to have a
seat. As McDonald sat unbuttoning his jacket, “Mr.Sheppard may I
ask what you did during your time in the Navy” and “I’d like to
thank you for your service to the U.S.” Bradley comes to attention
while sitting “Sir I served in several operations in the Middle
East, which most are classified, and transporting cargo to
members in the field.”
Bradley asked, “Mr.McDonald what is that I may serve you and
your family?” “First, my friend, I think you will do fine. I’d
like you to be my driver. I call Ms.Mayz and tell her you’ll be
there, but we shall have lunch.” first

After lunch, he makes a call to Ms.Mayz saying “I have a
driver for our Dunbar, Bluefield operation.” Have the car
ready. As soon as McDonald and Mayz end the call, she rushes
downstairs, over to the table in the back. “Fill the white
casket with the best we have and put it in the hearse. It will
be out of here within the hour.” Forty-five minutes later,
Bradley arrived stepping into the office. He is met by Ms.Mayz.
Shaking his hand and doing a quick introduction. Handing him
the keys saying “that the remains have to be in Bluefield by
5 pm. Bradley replies, “yes ma’am. Will do”
At 4:30, he arrived at Bluefield. As he backed the car into
the garage, an older man tapped the window saying, “that’s good.”
Bradley steps out and follows the man upstairs to use the
bathroom and to get a cup of joe. As soon as he closes the door, two
men pull the casket out, open it, cutting a bag that was
inside, sniffing it and saying, “that’s good, worth every penny.”
After moving the casket to a back room and putting in a solid
oak casket in its place, they wash the car. As Bradley came
down the stairs 30 minutes later, he is handed the key and
said: “You tell Ms. Mayz we washed her car and here’s the oak
one they needed this morning.” Bradley was off to Dunbar again.
As he pulled into the garage, he is met by Ms. Mayz. Handing
her the keys, “the guys washed it, and something about the oak
one you needed this morning.” “That’s fine; well done. Head up
to the office. I” ll be right there as soon as I lock up.
As soon as he was out of sight, she opened the oak casket.
Opening the envelope, there was 80K, all at $100.
“Perfect,” she said.

That night about 10:00 p.m. Mr.McDonald and his bodacious wife, Diedre
arrived at his apartment in Nitro and asked Bradley for two
favors(which would prove his dedication). Number one my
friend, I’d like you to give one of my “friends” on the
city council, that has been giving me some problems, handle
it as you see fit, and two keep my sweetness safe for the
night. She knows who this councilman is and all about “our
little problem.” Within an hour of McDonald’s leaving, her cell
rang and she answered saying “ok we will be there.” As they
got into Bradley’s car, she leaned over and kissed Bradley’s
lips and said, “This is going to be a fun night my dear. Now drive
to where the track and road meet the river.” while she is rubbing his
thigh. Once they got close she said, “Slow it down and pull
into that fast food place and we will wait. He comes here every
night at 11:30. Leaning in again she said in a sexy tone
“My name is Diedre, but you can call me De Sweetie.” Bradley said
“thank you ma’am, but you’re married,” pulling her hand off his
leg. ” Bradley said, “Wait he’s coming out.” De yelled “Well
follow him.” “I’m on his SIX,” Bradley replied as they got to a
dark part of the road, Bradley passed him slamming on his
breaks causing the councilman to hit him so hard it popped
the trunk. Bradley got out shaking it off, then walking over
opening the driver’s door and smashing the man’s head into the
steering wheel. He noticed a 6-pack of beer in the back floorboard. He opened one and poured it down the man’s throat and all over
him. Upon returning to his car, he looks at De and said call
911 and say “You and your brother have been hit and are
injured.
Wit in 5 minutes the city PD was there along with a fire
truck and ambulance. Once both Bradley and De were released to
leave, the councilman was charged with reckless driving and DUI.
As he was being placed in the police car, De leaned forward
enough that he could see her. Once out of sight of the nightly
excitement, De calls her husband and said:” it was done and your
boy did a good job”. Handing Bradley the cell, McDonald said
“Good Job. I guess you have proven yourself tonight.” and a long
pause, “I’m proud of you. Take care of her til Monday,
I’m going to be out of town till Monday afternoon.” Arriving
at his Nitro apartment, there was an envelope containing 25
thousand dollars, a gun, and a note saying only welcome to the
family. She is dangerous; keep her in line.

Copywrite 6/5/2013
By. J.R. Gardner
Copywrite

AMILIA

Amilia
After losing my job at Ford in Detroit my wife and I decided to take the buy
out and move back home to West Virginia and start over yet again. So we sold
most of everything we owned. Within 3weeks we were gone. ready to start over a
new life, as I drove we took our time to enjoy ourselves it had been years since
we have done that. See I work basically 7day a week 16 hrs a day.
Our son had grown and went away to the University of  Kentucky and we had made plans to stop and see in Lexington on our way to Charleston. As we sat at a rest area
my wife had grabbed some snacks and drinks out of the machines, walking to
the picnic tables, just relaxing enjoying the late spring breeze coming off
the hill that the area was at. As we started to leave my wife said I wanna “go”
before we leave. leaning over to kiss me and said be right back.
while I waited there I turn to watch the trees. when out of the corner
came a beautiful woman say at the oldest mid-forties came around and stand
and asked how I was doing? fine I replied. She said my name is
Amilia. I lived in Georgia and had to go to Columbus for my mom’s
funeral and the bus I was on must have left me here at the rest area. Can I catch a ride to get to Lexington so I can get a bus there?

She was wearing a red and
green plaid shirt and tight jeans (really tight) and boots with
mid-length silky curly black hair with secretary glasses.
very sexy but what do I know been married for far too long to know.
As I turned to look and see if my BABIEGIRL was coming,
focusing my attention back to Amelia she was gone I look on the
the opposite side of the vending area and then the picnic area and the
the information building and wondering “where the hell did
she go”.

Please I said I didn’t mind but
I’m married and I should speak to my wife. Amila said no never
mind I don’t want to be a bother. I replied NO I’m sure it will be
fine. It’s not safe for a lady to be out by her self these days, especially on a busy interstate. Touching my shoulder she NO not worry I’ll be fine and whispering
in my ear saying “I’m sure we will meet again” I got tired of waiting
so I went to the car to wait on my wife there was a note that said
” I’m forever your angel,” I thought how sweet BABIEGIRL did this
after the kind of last couple years we’ve had that was sweet.
As Babiegirl got in the car I kissed and said thank you
for the note,, What note? I showed her and she said
I didn’t leave it. OK sure you didn’t I said but I still
love you. Yea is your girlfriend coming to West Virginia with us,
laughing. I just have alway loved her sense of humor.

After about near a few minutes on the interstate. I told babiegirl about the lady.
She asked why I didn’t take her and leave me at the rest area.
Yea funny I said. But the funny thing I looked around and
didn’t see her and you’d think we would have seen her
walking on the road. Babiegirl said maybe she
went the other way. I replied she is going to Lexington.
so would we not see her. Maybe she sweet-talked some other
sap into a ride. Babiegirl said. Funny thing how I told Babiegirl
that she said ‘we will meet again’. Laughing she said “AWW my old guy
has a stalker”  We stopped to eat just outside Lexington to eat at Halls on the River. As I was sitting there I thought I saw Amila again walking past the quaint little diner.
The kind that gives the at-home feeling. Babiegirl and I sat talking
about how proud we were of our son Tyler going to the University of Kentucky
As we sat waiting on the check I told Babiegirl that I thought I’d seen her
outside that front window. Babiegirl looked kinda irritated. Oh, what now
you can’t get her out of her head?. You won’t see go get her. I’m sure she’d be
glad to see you again.I’m surprised you didn’t get up and rushing outside.

Boy, I blew that one…

Getting up asking the waitress if I could have a refill on my ice tea and I was
ready to cover my bill. Debbie the waitress said ok but sweetie there
was a little problem. Someone paid your half and left you this. Looking at the
note it said “I’m FOREVER ” you angel” signed Amila. Debbie leaned into
me and asked if I was ok or did I have another girl on the side. Giggled and
said you never ever should have you ladies that close together. As she patted
my hand says your wife’s part was $10.35. I gave $15 told her to keep the change.
She said thanks love winked she said: “be good” giggling with another wink.

As we were getting off the University of Kentucky exit on I-70 in Lexington. I could have
swore I saw her sitting her the backset of Kentucky State Troopers vehicle, then gone again.
But I didn’t say a word to Babiegirl, she was just calming down. We pulled out
onto the parking lot of Tyler’s dorm. We saw our little-kid had really become
a man. We got out as he was walking over with his arm around a nice
looking girl. he immediately walks over to hug mom
then coming over to give the old man a fist bump. Babiegirl asked who
the young lady was. walking up to me say “Hello my name is Macala giving
me a hug and over to babiegirl. then saying to her Tyler has told me
a lot about you hugging Babiegirl. Clearing her throat saying
“I mean you both he’s told a lot about you both”. Tyler had changed
his major yet again to engineering from political science. I looked
at him and said ” Good decision”
Macalla said yea I told him that also, but I think he liked the
history of politics. Both me and Babiegirl said at the same time
he was always was good at dates and history. Macala told us her
major was paranormal science.

Macalla said she had a class in an hour, but we all should have dinner
at about 6. Tyler looked and said that’s kool. But I could tell he didn’t
like the idea. So I said “It sounds nice would like to find out more about you but I’d like to get to West Virginia and our new house by dark.

So after a few awkward hugs and polite exchanges we were off to the
great unknowns of West Virginia, Haven’t been there since 1990 when
I joined the U.S NAVY. and I meet my Babiegirl in 1991 at a bar
in Mayport FL. My time in the Navy is a whole story itself. As we
stopped at a Convenient store in Mount Sterling Ky to fell up. I looked at
my wife and said I got to use the restroom and grab a few snacks
and I’ll be back. I asked the pretty little redhead at the counter
where the facility was, pointing to the cooler saying just past
the beer and down the hall big red door sweetie. Turning as
I was trotting faster saying “thank you”. As I opened the stall
door I got the strangest feeling as if I was being watched.
All of a sudden music started and it was ok I liked that song
(Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger) by Kelli Clarkston.
The room got deathly cold. Colder then a funeral home and hospital
combined. The door flew open and Amilia was standing there. almost speechless
I asked “What in the hell you doing in here, with an evil laugh she said I told
you would see me again”  and “I meant it” closing the stall door just so it was
me and her in the stall. she smiled an pointed at the door twisting her long finger and it sounded like the door had locked.

She looked at me saying “My name is Amila I have been following
you for years. I was in your 2nd, 4th grand classes, I was your
history teacher. I know you remember Ms.Holder don’t
you, my sweet” OK thinking to my self this is really getting weird.
You see I can read your mind and I know everything about you”.
I know about your childhood and the little secrets no but you and
I know things you never ever told even your cute little wife. But Amila
always gets what she wants, with a soft evil laugh say you’ll enjoy
this my sweet. Bending my kneck suddenly. putting a death grip on the
right side of my neck and biting the left side.
As she raised up licking her gorgeously red lips of my blood,
then learning back down licking what was draining down my neck and
kissing where she had just bitten me.  It burnt so bad as if
someone had put a flame on my neck. So as she got up turning to me.
I’ll be back then pointing at me saying “I always get what I
want, and you are it, my LOVE.” I clumsily pulled my paints up
walked out of the stall as I got up she was gone. not in the
hall, store and parking lot. I walked over saying Id like to pay for pump 8.
the redhead said “baby some brunette ’ paid for it.. your
wife came in said tell you to grab her an ALE-8 and chip”, and that
was paid for too.

While I was in the store the sky had grown dark. Babiegirl said
“Looks like a storm is headed our way” and putting out her cigarette
on the sole of her shoe. I leaned in and kissed her saying” You do know I love you
right?” Has I was rubbing my neck she took the keys saying I’m driving.
you sit and relax. As we got back on I-64 I leaned my seat back. Realizing, it
doesn’t seem like I’d been out that long but Babiegirl” pocked my face and
said wake up sleepy head, we are here our new house. She tossed me the keys
said “you have the honors” Just as I started up the steps of our new abode
Two ladies yelled from across the fence. The tallest of the two stretched out
her hand saying HI I’m Missy and this is Denise. We hope guys enjoy it here. It’s
a nice place other than that cemetery, pointing across the street.
Denise said that no one had been buried there in years. saying goodbye
we went into there house.

Later that night I couldn’t sleep so I went outside to sit. As
I was sitting a cool breeze started blowing. I looked across the small
cemetery and I saw movement. as it got closer and close I could tell
it was that Lady Amela as I turn to run inside. I heard a whisper
stop you can’t run from me. I slowly looked over my head and seen her
leap over the fence. as I was reaching for the door she was right there in front of me.
I told you, you can’t run from me, grabbing my neck and holding  me at least a
foot in the air she turned opened the door and throw me to the floor.
You will never disobey me again my love Understand. Standing over me and
lifting me to my feet. Her green eye turned red and she said
“Don’t ever make me mad, You will not like when I’m made.”
shoving me against the wall under our staircase. she turns my head
and bit me again, With a sexy smile after liking her lips and smiled
saying “better than last time’ than kiss my lips passionately I could not be
controlled so I somehow kissed her back. Smiling she patted my cheek.
saying “Good boy” grabbed me leaping, we were at my wife’s bedside.
such a pretty thing, but you can do better. and I’m her. Restwell with
her my sweet it may be your last, I haven’t decided yet and she was gone

The next thing I heard the alarm from Babiegirls cell. I jumped out
and heading to the shower as I was washing my hair. I heard a Babiegirl
singing I said nice voice today sexy. I heard her say thank you and
the door slide open and it was that sexy vampire Amilia wait what was
I thinking. I rushed getting the shampoo out and raniseing off.
I stepped out and on the streamed up mirror was written the next bite
you will be mine forever with a heart beside it

As I heard my Babiegirl say you up yet?? I was thinking if
I’m not beside you I’m up. and I rushed whipping the mirror off
running to her side saying “.Goodmorning sunshine” kissing her
on the lips and neck and for some reason I bit her on the neck. Pushing
me off are you crazy I have a job interview at the bank at 10.
As she was saying that I heard a whisper Im proud of you my sweet.

We both got dressed had a nice little breakfast and where out the door.
I again heard a voice saying to let her drive. Tossing the keys I asked
“wanna drive”, opening her door for her and shutting it. As I passed the back of the car I heard a voice saying
soon real soon my love, real soon, shaking it off as I got in and she backed out of
the driveway.
As we were just getting off the interstate heading toward the bank, she
was hoping to get a job. a sports car sideswiped us sending us into
the oncoming rush hour traffic all I heard was screaming and the sounds
of breaks and metal.
I started groaning in pain. the next I thing remember is saying my wife’s name
Patty where are . all I heard was hushhh it will be fine from the other side
of the room curtain. when it opened it has her Amilia in a white nurse uniform
hushhh she said as shes was closing the curtain and then I’m sorry my sweets
she didn’t make it neither will you, unless you come to me. Climbing on my hospital bed, she kissed my forehead and then nose and then my lips saying with a seductive sexy smile, I could see her fangs and she crawled towards my neck saying “I’m gonna enjoy this my love and so will you” and It went dark and all I saw after that was Amilia and myself walking toward a large stone mansion hand in hand….

Copywrite 5/31/2013
By.J.R. GARDNER

 

Photo by Emre Kuzu on Pexels.com

ROOTED

The greenery surrounding our campsite is astonishing. The trees, full and green, tower over us as if they are Gods watching us, protecting us. Flowers and brush sweep around our small clearing, adding a dash of bright color against the greens and browns of the trees. The sun shines down on our campsite, almost like it was smiling in our direction. The two tents in the middle sit still and beautiful, a man made contrast to the nature around it. Andy climbs out of the girls tent, hair a mess of static, holding hiking shoes in her hands.
“This forest is going to be perfect for hiking!” She exclaims, sitting on the dirt and pulling on her shoes. “There’s not too many bugs, the paths are well worn so we aren’t scratching our ankles on the tall grass…” She continues her list as she stands up to zip up the tent and check that she has her belongings. Cam walks out from around the corner of a tree with a tall, thick branch in her hand.
“Sorry guys, I had to find a good walking stick. It’s not hiking unless you have a walking stick!” She says as she comes over to join us standing in the middle of the campsite.
“Where’s Noah?” I ask her. “I thought he went with you?”
“He had to take a bathroom break,” Cam says, smirking and rolling her eyes. “Like he does every two seconds.”
As soon as she finishes her sentence, Noah comes stumbling out of the woods. We laugh at him as he trips over a root and nearly falls in to Andy’s arms.
“Hey!” She says, giggling, as he blushes and wipes off his dirty jeans.
“Come on, man, we’ve been waiting for you!” I say jokingly. He smiles an embarrassed smile.
“Let’s get on with it then,” he says, and we all turn towards the path and begin walking. As we surround ourselves with the trees, I notice a little bird singing on a branch.
“Do you guys here that?” I ask them. They nod their heads in wonder and awe as we go deeper and deeper into the forest.
None of us say any words, for fear that we might ruin the natural beauty of the woods with our man made thoughts. I look back and realize that the camp is long gone behind us. Trees are every which way now. The leaves give us the comfort of a blanket, wrapped tightly and protectively around us. There aren’t as many flowers as there were at the campsite, but I notice a gathering of them and pick one. The flower is a bright blue one, with ten petals surrounding the vivid orange center. I turn back and give it to Noah, who laughs as his cheeks turn pink.
“Thanks, man,” he says. We laugh together and keep walking.
Cam and Andy hike a few steps ahead of us, so, of course, they see the sign first.
“Hey, look!” Cam says to us as she pulls back a branch to reveal a sign, painted red with faded white letters. The sign reads:

Do NOT go off the path

“Creepy,” mumbles Andy as we examine it.
“Agreed,” I say. I look down. Near the base of the sign, I notice wilted flowers, the same color blue as the one I gave Noah. I decide not to point it out to my friends, and after looking at the sign for a little longer, we continue on our way down the path.
I feel the sun on my neck and back. Confused, I look up. The canopy of leaves seems to be thinner than before. Still green as ever though. I smile as a butterfly flies around my gaze before disappearing into the trees.
“Did you see that butterfly?” I hear Cam ask Andy.
“Absolutely! It was so pretty!” She says.
“My mom started planting flowers in her front yard so the butterflies would come by her house more often,” Cam says, giggling.
“Well, does it work?”
“Nope!” The girls laugh together as I walk in step with them. Suddenly, Andy looks back to me. Her gaze narrows as she scans the trees.
“Guys, where’s Noah?”
We all turn to look back, now. We don’t see Noah on the path behind us or in the woods. I turn to the trees. Something about them tells me he’s in there. As I take the first step off the path, I remember the sign.

do NOT go off the path

It can’t be dangerous to leave, right?
“Guys, we have to look for him,” I say. “He probably went for a bathroom break.”
“Of course he did,” mumbles Cam, and she and Andy share a glance before following me into the woods.
“Noah! Noooooaaaaah!” We all call for him as we crash through the fallen leaves and the tall grass that scratches at our ankles. I trip over a branch on the ground. When I regain my balance, I see the same wilted blue flowers as earlier. They give the same creepy vibe as the sign.

do NOT go off the path

I step on them for good measure before continuing on my search.
“Noah!” I call again. I’m getting more and more nervous. It’s something about these woods. And I still haven’t found him.
Where have my friends gone?
The question hits me hard. I stop walking to listen and look around. No voices. No sounds. Just the rustling of the leaves.

“BOO!” Andy jumps out from behind a tree and I gasp, falling backwards. She helps me off my butt as I take deep breaths to calm myself down.
“Are you ok?” She says, laughing so hard there’s tears in her eyes.
“God, you scared me,” I say, rubbing my bruised butt with a grimace. After a moment, though, I laugh with her. “I thought you were lost!” I say.
“Speaking of lost,” she says, the laughter dying in her throat. “Where’s Cam?”
“I thought she was with you?” I say.
“Well I thought she was with you.” We both go quiet and look around. There are no birds singing, no crickets chirping. Not even the rustling in the leaves. I look up to see that the sun is hidden by a cloud.
“How are we going to find them then?” I ask. “They could be in totally different places.”
“We’ll split up!” Andy says with enthusiasm.
“I… don’t think that’s such a good idea,” I say worriedly.
“It’ll be fine!” She says. “We’ll meet by the creepy sign in…” she looks at her watch. “Fifteen minutes. Ok?”
Before I can protest, though, she runs off into the trees, calling for Cam and Noah. I sigh. Now, being left alone with the trees and the brown, colorless leaves, I shiver as a cold wind tickles my neck and arms.
“Cam? Noah?” I call into the brush. I walk back in the direction of the path. “Caaaam! Noaaaah!” I call, louder this time. No response. I walk for a few minutes in silence. Not even the sound of Andy’s voice reaches me. I look around.
The grass no longer scratches my ankles. It’s been trampled down. The area is brown and the grass looks like hay. The fallen leaves seem to come in bigger and bigger piles. None of them are the green color that I had been seeing at our beautiful campsite. Suddenly, I feel a burn on my back. The bright sun comes through the skinny branches above me. Startled, I realize there aren’t any leaves on the trees anymore. Everything is grey and brown, murky colors. I look back down again. I was sure that the path would be here by now.

do NOT go off the path

The sign, hammered into a tree, startles me from my nervous thoughts. Something about this looks familiar. I glance at the tree the sign is on. Surprised, I see the same bright blue flower I had picked earlier, growing off the side of a branch. The same blue flower. I whirl around. The trees around me tower into the sky, looking down on me. The empty branches seem to shake with the imaginary wind.
And then I can see them.
Their frozen faces etched into the bark of the dead trees.

do NOT go off the path

I try to run away but I can’t. I can’t move.

I look down to see roots.

Rooting me to the ground.

Keeping me here.

Forever.

 

by JR. GARDNER  05/2008

MY MIND

There was a meeting of reconciliation between my conscious mind and its eternal rival my subconscious mind trying to put an end to their eternal conflict about control and domination on human being behaviour.

My conscious mind started the conversation by: “Most people think that I am the principal responsible of their behaviour and they don’t even mention your hidden influence”

My subconscious mind replied: “We share the responsibility my dear. At any rate, you work when one is awake and I work when one is asleep. Each one of us has the fair period to settle his rules and practice his supremacy. I don’t see where is the problem?”

My conscious mind said: “My influence is so apparent that people complain about it and try to get rid of it forever while yours is invisible and rare those who are aware of it.”

My subconscious mind: “It is your choice from the beginning. You opted to fame and you love the lights to be spot on your work. On the contrary, I love silence and flee mass media and rumours.”

My conscious mind: “It’s not true. Besides, your work is assessed and appreciated by the academic and the intellect while mine is discussed by ordinary people who know nothing and talk a lot”

My subconscious mind: “so what do you suggest?”

My conscious mind: “The war seems to be endless and tiring for both of us.”

My subconscious mind: “We can be complementary”

My conscious mind interrupted my subconscious mind and said angrily: “They say that but we aren’t, and we can never be so!”

My subconscious mind came up with an idea: “why not be away from the person for one week, a kind of truce,
and let him regain his freedom and be able to choose between us?”

My conscious mind: “what a clever solution! Unfortunately, one will be dominated by a third invader who will take advantage of our retreat and get control of him since he is always in search of something to lead him. The human mind can never be free”

My subconscious mind: “You are right! What a confusing dilemma! then we have no choice, the war will stay open and I hope fair play will prevail”.

*AUTUMN LOVE*

Sitting at the green light on Fourth and Delaware, Jason sat wondering why he was doing this. But it’s been a while since he’d had dated actually it had been over three years. But
he didn’t want to let Crystal down. Crystal had begged him to meet her cousin Debbie for months. The only thing that he knew was that Debbie was a nurse that had recently stopped nursing for personal reasons due to the hostile administration changing hand and to be near Crystal, they were like sisters.

Turning on to Delaware Ave. Jason glanced in his rear-view mirror he saw Georgia State Tropper SUV behind him. Jason had always hated authority figures that were probably the reason he left the Navy only after four years. The only reason Jason had gained respect for in his time in the Navy, was Chief that taught him he had to admire and respect himself before he could anyone. Without really paying attention to the officer behind him, he noticed the flashing lights. His heart and stomach knotted up. Pulling over, he thought that he had done something wrong. But the black and silver SUV sped past his red Toyota. With a sigh of relief, Jason pulled back onto Delaware Ave heading to Crystal’s townhouse apartment. He kept his secret thoughts and fantasies of Crystal to himself for over three years.

Jason wanted to find true love but never did feel comfortable around women. Jason knew he was a decent looking guy to be in his mid-thirties. Before Jason had left his apartment he made sure he was cleanly shaven and his shirt was clean and ironed. His black jeans and blue shirt made him feel a bit younger or at least hopefully it did. The music coming from the radio had come to a stop and after a few beeps, Jason hit the phone button on the steering wheel. , “Hey”, ” Hope you are on your way”. Jason laughed telling Crystal he was on his way. Laughing at her telling her “not to give up on him yet”. ” Ok, I hope you wear that nice smelling stuff you wear at work, smells so sexy.,”

Jason’s thoughts immediately went the lustful thoughts he had for Crystal. Jason thought Crystal’s well-toned body shook Jason’s lust button her medium bronze tan topped it off. Jason knew that he was an adult and wanted to act it. But the deep desire to be with that special girl. Controlled these thoughts. Shaking them off, knowing that would never happen. Crystal’s voice came back saying the Debbie was eager to meet him and was getting ready now, and to leave the day and events up to us. Saying the two of them had talked about it all night. Telling him bye and thanking him for agreeing to meet Debbie. The music came back playing OLD MAN RIVER. A deep sigh of relief or tension expelled from deep within him.

Glancing to the passager seat at the roses he had ordered last night and picked up just minutes ago. He wished Crystal would have told him more about Debbie. All he knew was that Debbie was in her early thirties, and was some sort of nurse and had come into money. He had to admit it did intrigue him. A mysterious lady had to be every guy’s sexual fantasy. Looking at the clock on the dash. Thinking to himself just about ten more minutes. As Jason was getting out of his SUV the clouds just started to cover the area. Brushing himself off and adjust his shirt. Grabbing the roses from the passager seat. Taking a breath, he heads into the building that his friend and boss lived. As he walked up to the elevator the doors opened and a well-dressed man exited the elevator. Stepping into the elevator Jason pressed the number nineteen. It seemed like it took forever to reach the nineteenth floor. The doors opened on the fourth floor, as an older attractive lady stepped into the elevator. The lady had to only smile at Jason. Telling him, hello saying how nice he looked. The smell of whatever it was she was wearing, caught his attention, making him feel light-headed, it was She caught him off guard and felt her staring at him, felt like it was burning into his soul. Uncomfortably moving to the side of the elevator car. Hello, my name is Beonca Davenport, I live in four twenty-seven. I’m physic by profession and holding her hand out with an oval business card between her fingers and a seductive smile, that would seduce even the Pope. Taking the card he felt a jolt of something run through him. His thoughts went to him and her in each other’s arms. She had on a short purple shirt that didn’t leave much to the imagination and jeans that fit her curves perfectly. Her jet black hair and hoop earrings topped it all off making her look even more mysterious. Her soft sensuous voice that gave him chills as she rubbed his arm and shoulder, whispering into his ear saying I’m here if and when you need me. I thought we’d never see each other again Pulling her hand away from his arm as the doors opened with a kiss on the cheek

As Jason stepped off on to the nineteenth floor. It was like he was back to himself. Turning and looking as Beonca waved, smiling as the elevator closed. Looking up the hallway till he found apartment nineteen. As Jason took a deep deep breath, he knocked n the door.

As the door opened, Crystal was standing in faded blue jeans and an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt. Motioning to come in, she hugged him saying that he didn’t know how much it meant to her for him willing to meet Debbie. To him, Crytal look both hot and sexy if it was possible to be both. Being partially being pushed on to the couch. Smiling she said Debbie, is getting dressed now.

Sitting talking about the meeting Crystal and Jason had with a new client on Tuesday. Debbie walked into the living space. Standing to the right of Jason. Standing Jason said Hi, my name Jason handing the roses to a tall well-built blond in heels and the deep green eyes that sparkled drilling holes into his soul and the sexiest black dress with no back. That he had ever seen. Smiling saying thank you with a slight kiss on Jason’s lower cheek.

******

Feeling himself slightly overheating due to the blushing of being kissed nearly on the lips from a very sexy, a woman whose body had to come from the heavens. Crystals taking the flowers from Debbie’s, hands telling them she’d put them in a vase. From the kitchen, Jason saw Crystal smiling giving him the thumbs up. Jason Taking Debroah’s hand to help her sit. Over Debbie’s shoulder seeing Crystal grinning. Debbie saying well. Crystal hadn’t told me an awful about you other than your work together. Debbie leans back on the couch propping her beautiful face on her right palm, crossing her legs.

Jason asked what would she’d like to know.?

Looking at Debbie smiling with her louses red lips. That puckered just enough to make him want to kiss them.

Looking at Jason she said tell me about what it was like growing up. Laughing he said well I started out like everyone else, I was born but a month late. I played baseball and football as a kid. I was a boy scout during my teenage years and became an eagle scout. Graduated near the top of the class of 88. That served in the U.S Navy for four years, went to the University of Ohio gaining a degree of business administration and an under degree in communication. I moved here Jasper to take care of Grandma Moore and started working for Crystal within a couple of weeks. Thinking how much he must have bored Debbie to death. I can’t wait to hear more. Asking him if he’d like a glass of wine, as she walks over to the kitchen. Making sure to show Jason every curve she had. Saying no thank you, I do not drink, I’ll be driving tonight. A man with caricature, I think that’s awesome. Sitting down beside Jason handing him bottled water making sure the wet bottle rubbed his outer thigh.

*****

As Crystal entered the room wearing a set of pants and a sleeveless plum blouse, that match with her standard white tennis shoes. Spinning asking So guys what do you think. Smiling. Debbie whistled. Pouring herself another glass of wine. Debbie started telling Jason about herself. Telling Jason the first thing in common is that she too was born the usual way but was born a week early. Joking she said I wanted to meet the world, and Jason wanted to stay where it was safe. Patting the edge of Debbies’ leg just below the seam of her skirt and just above her bare knee, which sent chills down her leg. Telling of her college years at the University of Michigan in which she studied Education but with all the shooting in schools today, that she thought she’d be more helpful to the world if she went into the medical field becoming a nurse at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center and the University of Michigan Hospital.

*****

Looking at her phone Crystal said she didn’t want to be late that their reservation at Flairentinos is at six and it’s a fourth five minutes drive so they should be leaving shortly. Opening the apartment door Debbie and Jason followed walking to Jason’s red Toyota opening the back door for his boss and friend. Crystal making a smart ass comment that she was a woman and didn’t need any help getting into a car. opening the passenger door

Debbie rubbed his shoulder down to his hand. Saying I don’t mind the attention, with a sparkle In her emerald green eyes and smiled. Saying thank you, Jason, her lips glistened with each word she said.

*****

Pulling Into Fairintenos parking lot just as the evening sky started to dim into the night. Opening Debbie door and holding his hand out for Debbie to take. Helping her out of the car. Debbie held her arm out, linking theirs together. Leaning just a little close Jason says, may I? and kisses just the upper edge of her top lip. With a deep sigh of sexual tension. Debbie says yes. Which took both of their breath away, making both of them want each other more than they have ever wanted anyone before.

Helping the ladies to their chairs in the corner table overlooking the river, as the sun setting reflecting off it. Jason sat down noticing the Crystal was smiling at Debbie. A gentleman approached the table handing each a menu asking if they like to start the evening with a beverage. Looking at both Jason and Crystal, Debbie said they’d like to try a bottle of the houses Carignane. The gentleman telling them his name was Jacque and that was an excellent lively acidity in this wine makes for bright, crisp cherry fruit, which plays off the tomatoes in the lasagna (acidic tomatoes can kill a low-acid wine). A hint of pepper in the Carignane echoes the spice in the Italian sausage. Pairing well with Lemon Ricotta Risotto with Asparagus, Peas, and Prosciutto

This risotto is a lot more lemony than you might expect, so get ready for some bracing tang along with the rich cheeses.

Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a great friend to spring ingredients: Its crisp acidity and fresh herb components warm up to asparagus, peas, and tangy ricotta. Our bottle pick, with a little oak, is a go.

Jason and Debbie both busted out in tears laughing and telling Crystal how Jasque looked like Don Vito Corleone. Saying they’d better like the food and wine or Jacque would make them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Finishing his Lemon Ricotta wiping the sauce from his lips asking to be excused.

*******

Jason standing holding his right arm out asking Debbie If she’d care to dance, walking to the dance floor as Nothing Compares To You is playing. Putting his hand to her back and hand In hand. Debbie whispers in Jason’s ear that she was having a wonderful time. As the evening progressed and four dances later Debbie says that they have left Crystal alone to long. Both headed back to Crystal and their table

***

Pulling Into the Outland Apartments. Crystal says she’d leave them alone getting out of the car. Reaching her hand to Jason’s hand with a few squeezes. Telling each other more about themselves. Looking at the moon, both realize It was almost 2 am. Jason said he’d better get her in that Crystal hates it when he’s late for work.

Walking Debbie to the apartment still arm in arm. Kissing Debbie on her lips with a slight flick of his tongue to hers. Asking if he could call her. Smiling placing her hand around his neck pulling him In for a deeper kiss. You’d better call or Ill call The Godfather and ask him to make you an officer you can’t refuse and closes the door. In a teasing smirk.

*******

As elevator doors open there stands Beonca grinning devilishly and mischievously. Well, it’s nice seeing you again. Leaning in more closely Jason could feel the heat from her body. As the doors of the elevator on the fourth-floor Beonca kisses Jason telling him to call and she knows he had her number. Patting Jasons lower back and one tap to Jason’s backside derriere. Saying and I know you want too as the doors close.

Sitting in his car, as Jason started the engine his thoughts of what a wild night and time he knew he could have with Beonca, but being with Debbie just felt extremely right. Putting the car in drive, he saw a human figure in Crystal’s window. Waking up haring his phone ringing, he didn’t recognize the number. Answering it he heard Debbie’s sweet sexy northern accent saying good morning, thanking him again for last night making his chest skip a few beats. Telling him Crystals had already left for work and saying how she’d like to see him again. But this time it’s on her. Since they had only just met it was only fair. Asking about a movie at his place.

******

Walking into Nelson Advertising. Crystal laughed saying well what did you think? I do believe you could have had your way with her if you wanted. With a bit of a smirk saying “really”. Looking, asking if she really liked him. Obnoxiously Crytal says how Debbie would not shut up about him and fell asleep talking about him. Handing her the Willson file.

*****

Saying how he thought it could use a couple of kids eating ice cream in front of his establishment. Both agreed and made a note to discuss with David that afternoon. Debbie walked in making both Jason and Crystal realize It was noon. Handing each a coffee. Looking at Jason saying I hope you like coffee, so I got you a straight-up black and a few sugars. I also got an idea of a movie for tonight and leaves with the smell of her scented body wash lingering behind her.

******

Adjusting his shirt a knock comes from the door. There stands Debbie in a red and purple plaid button-down shirt with jeans that matched and boots. I hope, is this okay showing him The Notebook DVD case. Leaning into Jason’s chest, just close enough so he could smell the Water Crescent Jasmine she was wearing. Debbie knew that he knew she was teasing him and planned a little more flirting later. Pulling a box of tissue from the shopping bag along with popcorn and soda. Hey, you have the Braves on. What’s the score? Looking at Jason inquisitively. It’s the bottom of the fifth, the score is Dodgers five, Braves three. So you’re a Dodgers fan, too bad but I’ll try not to hold that against ya. Her smile warmed his heart and soul. Before it was the ninth inning. Debbie was popping popcorn in the microwave. Punching Jason in the arm saying I told you the Braves would make a comeback.

*******

In the bathroom, Debbie prepped her long flowing blond hair letting it fall over her left shoulder., Unbuttoning her top two buttons, just enough to let a few ideas flow between her and Jason. Leaning into Jason’s side asking if he is ready to see a grown woman cry. Every time Noahs is rejected by Allie it just breaks my heart, and he tried so hard. Alzheimer’s disease is so horrible. I hope I have someone like that by my side If I ever get Alzheimer’s.

As the last credit rolled Debbie was fast asleep in his arms. Gently moving her from under his arm, placing her feet on the couch. Kissing her on the chek saying goodnight my sweet angel.

The morning sun crept through the blinds in Jason’s bedroom wakening him to the smell of bacon and eggs coffee. Sitting up Jason shook the night away. Walking into the kitchen he saw that breakfast was on the table. Looking at the table, the plate had scrambled eggs with cheese sprinkled on them with three slices of bacon and coffee with a note.

Picking up the note that said,

had a great time hope you enjoy your breakfast.

I heard you call me your angel. Thank you for being such a gentleman.

Love, Deb

With a lipstick print below her name.

*******

It was already three pm and Jason hadn’t heard from Crystal or Debbie all day. Just about to call it in for the day. The office phone rings, answering Jason sighs hoping it wouldn’t stop an early day. Good afternoon Nelson advertising, this is Jason may we help you. Crystal laughing saying I didn’t realize that sounded so lame. Grabbing the phone from Crystal. Hey, this is Debbie we have been talking and I need a huge favor. Would you mind stopping by I’d like to talk?

*******

Stopping by Angelino’s pizza Jason picks up two mediums. As he put the pizzas in the passenger seat the wind began blowing with a chill to it. Saying to himself falls about here. As he walked into the Crystals apartment building he saw Beonca in the hall. To avoid a strange and sexy confutation, he headed for the stairs. Finally reaching the nineteenth floor, stepping into the hall. There she stood pointing her finger at him saying you can not outrun me. Pressing her lips to his once again it seemed like sparks flew through him. Don’t mess with me, come of your own free will, I don’t play nice when I’m angry. Saying something in a bearly audible tone. Waving her hand then pointing at Crystal’s apartment door.

As the door opened Crystal said you’re just in time, the power just went out. Stepping into the apartment that was only lit by the light of the hall and outside lights in the parking lot. Debbie and Crystal informed Jason of their plans. It was all basically settled Jason was flying out with Debbie to Dearborn to help Debbie pack and move here to Jasper. Debbie smiled saying she had put a downpayment on apartment four twenty-four. Crystal saying the was the apartment beside the lady everyone says is a witch. Yea just saw her on the elevator she is a little over the top. Besides that, she just hit on me and pointing her finger at me saying something weird and your lights are out and the hall lights are on. It seems like its just your place.

Kissing Jason cheek saying pick me up at six our flight leave at eight.

******

Gripping Jason’s hand as tight as she possibly could, as the SouthWest, left off the runway into the stormy sky. Jason asked Debbie if flying scared her so bad. Why fly? It is the fastest way to get back home, pulsing saying back to Dearborn. My home is in Jasper with you and Crystal now, easing the grip on Jason’s hand. Looking into Jason’s deep caramel flowing eyes. Telling Jason that she really didn’t have to work anymore. Explaining how she was raised by her grandparents, and how they made tons of money in real estate before the industry collapsed That she just wanted to be normal and have a normal life. Gazing out the window Jason stated how he couldn’t believe that they’d been together for three months. Patting Jason’s leg saying how she loved him and since it been three months to call her Deb or Debra. Debbie sounded so high school. Deb, it is kissing her hand.

With a three hour layover at Nashville International Airport. Deborah suggested a walk and lunch instead of sitting in the terminal. As Jason ordered a Tennessee style cheesesteak with a Coke. At The Cafe. Tennessee Tavern sat outside their gate, 8B. Deb said how she had noticed Jason didn’t like a drink, asking why. To put it simply I don’t like who I am when I drink. One is my limit. Tipping her glass of Chardonnay saying she wished she had that kind of caricature and valor. As Jason took the last gulp his drink he notices the lady across the concourse at The Sweet Shop staring at them.

As Deb went over to the Sunglass Hut just down the concourse. Jason standing in front of the window in Gate 8B, watching planes arrive and depart. Seeing a woman approach through the terminal window, seeing was Beonca. Both stare at a jet pulling into the Gate. Jason not removing his stare and bluntly demanding to know why she was stalking them.

The evil vixen, with her eyes and lips and dark hair bouncing off the window. Taping the glass with her red nail, saying it’s not us, it’s you I am after.

Pressing the fingers of her left hand to the terminal window. Saying you’re little princess will pay for standing between us. That Beonca did tempt his dark side a little. Jason did notice her backside in the reflection as she walks away. He hears her say I know your watching, your pathetic soul.

As the Captain’s voice comes across the intercom system saying they will be arriving in Dearborn in thirty minutes and that’s its a chilling forty-three degrees and to enjoy the remainder of their flight. Returning to her seat she looks at Jason saying she felt sick. Saying it must have been the shrimp and wine. Asking if it could be anything else. Just the water we had at the airport. But I did have a scoop ice cream from the sweet spot at the gate.

As the Uber driver pulls into Carriage Park Apartments. Bearly making into her brownstone, Deb dashes down the hall. Holding her hair back, Jason knew who this was the work of. As deb woke it was starting to get dark. Noises coming from the kitchen shook her to be fully awake and feeling like she had died and forgotten to lie down.

Handing her a wet rag and a cup of tea. Relix you’ve been out cold for three days other than the bathroom. Resting her head on the couch’s arm, Jason places the washcloth on her head. The rest is going help. I’m going out and pick up a few things. All I had to do is mention your name, Dave, at Budget just handed me the keys, I’ve already packed some stuff as you can see. She just noticed most everything was packed, and on the truck. Sitting up near tears saying thank you. Handing Deborah a plate of toast it will help your stomach. Looking and says that saying she was a nurse, she supposed to take care of people, not be taken care of. Why are you so kind to me?

******

Carrying three grocery bags, sitting them on the counter. Rapping his arms around her shoulders, just close enough to cup her firm breast with a gentle squeeze saying he was glad she was feeling better. Turn to wrap her arms around Jasons fit waist. With a deep long passionate kissing, saying not to start something he couldn’t finish. With almost everything packed and in the truck by nightfall. Telling Jason tomorrow is a new day and a new start. Looking in the mirror Debbie looks at herself in the bathroom mirror thinking how old she looked, but not bad for thirty-five. Standing in the hall and walking over to the door of the bedroom. Saying it gets kind of lonely in here, dropping the extra-large red bath towel to the floor. Following Deborah, holding Deborah’s soft hand as she pulls him to the mattress on the floor.

As the rain pounded the bedroom bare window. Lighting and thunder made their climaxes more powerful and stimulating. The morning light beamed through the window. Jason pulls himself up off the mattress. Her soft hand pulling him into her. Saying we have no place to be. Rolling on top of Jason kiss him first on the lips, stopping only to admire his Navy tattoo on his chest. With the streaks of lightning lit the enter room and kisses her nose to her bounty that God had graced her with, continuing to her place as she climaxes with the rolling thunder.

******

Climbing into the cab telling Deb the tank is full, and this is to fill us handing a box of doughnuts and a straight black coffee for me, and a Caramelchiato with a touch of berry for you.

Today is September first a new beginning to my life. Only about ten hours well be there before morning. With a hint of mischievous flame in her eye, Deb grinned suggesting taking a long way. While rubbing the inside of Jason’s right upper thigh with her newly polished nails painted nails in of the color magenta. Resting her hand just long enough, that she knew how he felt about her.

___________

Asking Jason to pull over and let the storm pass. Deborah was right Jason had been thinking the same thing since they passing the welcome to Kentucky sign. Saying I really can’t see a thing for the last twenty-four miles and there was a rest area just ahead. The rest area was almost deserted, one guy smoking a cigarette outside the information center. Debbie hated to go out into the storm, but when a lady has to go, a lady was to go. Opening the cab door running as fast as she could in the rain heading to the information center.

Jason leaning back resting his neck and head against the driver’s window. Jumping back into consciousness as Deborah shuts the door her blues-drenched wife-beater shirt that showed all her cleavage, and showing the mood she was in. Be right back, crawling through the door of the van that leads to the storage area.

Glancing over his right shoulder he saw Debbie in her entirely necked body with nothing but, just a pair of wet g-string panties. Turning so that Jason had a full frontal view, asking what? smiling. The temptation was too much as he kissed her, rubbing the left side of the purple string of her wet panties.

****

Pulling into the Outlands Apartment parking lot. With two boxes each walk into the building. Crystal steps out of the elevator. Saying she expected them yesterday. Looking at each other with a stutter both say that they took a long way around. Laughing hysterically, Crystal says sure, I’ll be in the laundry room. Smiling at each other. Deborah saying will this is it. My new home. Deborah unlocks the door to her new life. Jason feels a sharp burning pain on his left side as Beonca passing them in the hall. Three hours later and like a million boxes, she was officially moved in.

In the bathroom, Jason noticed his side was black and blue with four catches in the football-sized bruise. As Jason was out of the building there stood Beonca smoking with a bit of a scary, seductive grin that was my last warning. Surrender to me or else, crushing out her cigarette and walking in.

*****

The room is dark only lit by candlelight. Beonca lays four tarot cards on the dark chestnut table.

Death, Love, and two World cards have she flip each over reviling its face value. Lighting a green candle the stood in a silver stand on the table. The flames light lit the table.

Placing the World card in the center of the table. Laying both the Death and Love card side by side on top of the World card. Placing three long blond hairs on the top of the Death card. Cutting her finger and dripping her blood, three drops of blood on the Death card and the Love card. Stabbing the Death card catching its hair in its blade. Saying something in Latin. Pulling the knife out of the table with the card, hairs still attached. Hold in the card over the flame smiling.

****

The cell phones, the third ringing wakes Jason. Not even looking at who it was he answered it. Hey, Ja this is Crys, Deb just called an ambulance and then me. We are at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, Doc thinks it’s her heart.

Holding Deborah’s hand. Dr. Yakamora walks into the clinical decision unit. room G of the emergency department. Asking if they could be alone. No, these are my friends, the only people I have, it’s ok. I have the results of your electrocardiogram. I don’t really like them. Ms.Sanders, you’ve had a heart attack. I am suggesting you stay a few days for observation and tests. Before we decided on a course of action. You’ll be up in the cardiac unit. I’ve scheduled a stress test at six am tomorrow morning. Then we’ll decide on a heart catheterization.

But Doctor I’m a registered nurse. I’m supposed to start Friday upon the Pediatric floor. Turning the doctor said he would notify the administration department immediately.

Kissing her, Jason told her he would be right by her side. I’ll go get you some things from your place. Smiling with a heartfelt thank you. Handing Jason the apartment key asking Jason to pick up her cell phone and an outfit of clothes.

*****

Stepping out of the elevator Jason pulls the key out of his pocket. As he starts to put the key into the lock. Bianca’s door opens. Wearing nothing but a black sheer, semi-transparent nightie. If you are looking for your little princess, she was taken out this morning by a couple of paramedics earlier this morning in a sadistic almost happy tone. Jason telling Beonca that he knew and she was in the hospital. Beonca taking Jason by the arm, leading him into her lair. Hand him a cup of tea, telling him it would help with his nerves. As he was telling Beonca it may be a heart attack, he started to feel light-headed and queasy. Whispering a soft shhh. Rubbing lotion on her hands, then on Jason’s neck and shoulder working her way to his chest. Holding his hand leading him down a hallway lit by only one candle. Looking at his watch it was nine am. Jumping up pulling his sweatpants on saying Oh shit, What The Hell. With tons of crystals hanging from the ceiling, there were glass globes and candles everywhere. Running out into the living room. Beonca stands to say awake so soon?

What the hell did you do to me? Jason standing there pulling his black shirt over his head.

Raising Beonca points to the door. The long black sleeve hanging from her arm saying You must leave now. At that moment Mortisha Addams ran through his mind.

At midnight Jason stood beside the hospital bed. Wondering what was going on. What had on earth had he done? Laying the gym bag on the cart beside the bed, that had a half-eaten meal or whatever it was. In walks, a nurse in gray scrubs checking on Deborah’s vitals. Waking to the noise. Deborah smiles groggily at Jason and smiles. Holding her hand saying Jason telling her everything will be ok. Asking why it took so long? I must have fallen asleep on your couch, I just sat down for a minute.

Looking at the beautiful woman whose hand he was holding, he had just lied to. He didn’t even know what or why it happened. Thinking of the experiences he and Deborah had back in Dearborn and on the interstate in Kentucky. He knew she was the one. How would he tell her that he loved her? Would she love him back, even with what just happened with Beonca? Feeling Deborah move. Looking at in tears asking if she was ok? Saying just uncomfortable and hungry. Disappointed in himself, asking what she’d like? MMM. I’d like a nice greasy, cheeseburger. Bowing with a grin saying your wish is my command, kissing the top of her hand.

It was nearly five o’clock, by the time Dr.Sanders came in telling them her results are good for the most part. Looking at Deborah with a stern look you’re a nurse and you know the spill cut your fats and alcohol get lots of exercises. I’ve signed and your release papers. As soon Kathy makes you an appointment with my office your free to go.

*****

Helping Deb out of the car in front of The Outlands Apartments. Standing in front of the elevators, was a sign.

OUTLANDS HALLOWEEN PARTY

OCTOBER 30. 8 PM

IN

THE

COMMUNITY ROOM

Opening the apartment door. Jason felt like they wear being watched.

Telling Jason she thought the Halloween party sounds fun, and she hadn’t dressed up in years.

Well, we have two weeks to think you’ll be up to it. I’m not dead, I just need to take better of myself.

****

Phone ringing, Crystal yelling for Jason to get the phone.

It was just the Girls from the CAKE SHOP confirming our appointment tomorrow. Ok, she yells from the breakroom. Deborah coming in dressing for the ever-changing October temperatures. Exchanging a kiss, she said since we’ve been together for almost six months. I think its time for you to have this, kissing him on the lips, laying a key to her apartment on Jason’s desk. Heading into the break room/ conference room to talk to Crystal and closing the door behind her.

_____________

Deborah was telling Crystal about her plans for the Halloween party and asking if she was going. Deborah and Crystal came out of the conference room talking and walked without a goodbye or love you. Leaning out the door watching them, even under Deborah’s black leather duster Jasons imagination got away from him. Until the cold fall wind cut his dream short. Looking out the front window Jason noticed it had gotten dark. Looking at his watch, it was 6:47. Mummering as he locked the door looking down the street seeing the 61MAN DINER thinking what a good mom n pop meal would tastes like.

A redheaded woman having to be in her 40s with a gruff voice asking are you alone, of course, you’re alone were all alone. Dropping the menu on the table. Saying sit here, decide and ill be back.

*****

Halfway through his 61 burgers. Jason found himself wondering if everything was ok with the girls.

Where were they? And what are they doing? The waitress with the really shittty attitude sets a cup of tea in front of him saying in the same gruff hateful tone. Says it’s from the lady over there. Pointing across the diner. With her cup raised and a nod. It was Beonca smiling. Jason knew she was trouble but lustfully and mysteriously so was so sexy.

Nursing his tea as if it was a glass of Scotch. He feels a warm presence. Looking up from his phone, there she stood. May I? Pointing at the chair across from him, sitting down. Look darling I promised you, a reading, there is no better time than the present. Reaching for Jason’s hand. Rubbing his palm saying, oh a long lifeline. I haven’t seen one this long in a very long time. Rubbing circles, in Jason’s palm with her red fingernail. Humming seductively. I see you such a strong caring and passionate man. There is a gray haze surrounding you. I see a very attractive and sexy blond standing beside you. The haze around her is much greater than yours. I see a little girl standing off with a lady with her.

Looking up at Jason, Beonca smiles saying seems like I feel a deep, deep presence in your past possibly another life or a dark secret of sorts. With a shake and node Beonca raising her head to look at Jason. With a sigh and a wooo My dear darling, you need to confront your past before it carries you to your grave. Smiling taking a sip of Jason’s tea. Beonca pats Jason’s hand, moistening her lips with a little pucker as if she desired a kiss. I will see you later daring, Beonca gets up a walks out the door of the diner.

****

Looking down at the table wondering what just happened. Jasons phone rings Crystals name is flashing on the screen. Hey. It’s me, sweetie. We are in Atlanta looking for costumes for the apartments Halloween party and wounding what do you want to be. Tell you what I’ll pick you out something. Jason, able to tell Deborah had been drinking. Asking how much she had to drink? Only three sweetness, hearing Crystal in the background. Feeling like he was hurt and being lied to, Jason disconnected the call in anger.

___________

Walking past Nelson Advertising to his car. The air was turning a bit chilly, an early winter Jason said to himself. Turning the corner, Beonca stood at the bus stop. Hey there stranger with that smile on her ruby red lips. You look like you could use an ear and maybe a drink. Rapping her arm into his, saying Rocco’s is around the corner. Almost leading him, as if he was in some sort of trace he followed her. Sitting in the back table. Drema said haven’t seen you in a while, Jason, how are you. So the usual for you both. Beonca putting her hand on Jasons saying Sure and asking her about her family and classes are going. Leaning into Jason telling him that she is studying Journalism and her dad had terminal cancer. It has been three years since I’ve been here and I didn’t know that about her, Jason said. Placing a banana-lime daiquiri in front of Beonca and a Jack and coke in front of Jason. Jason asked what did she mean by running from my past what past and how she knows him. Drema passing commenting that she didn’t know you two was an item. Beonca said we’re not at least, not yet. Rubbing his thigh under the table. You see sweetie we have been together twice before. Don’t you remember the bridge that we used to cross in Berlin, to shop and, the Nazis started shooting. The bastards killed you, you died in my arms darling and they took me and 2 others, abusing us doing horribly and awful things to us. I had a child of one of the guards. I named him Devlin like we wanted to out the first son.

I was one of the ones burnt to death in Massachusetts. You tried so hard to fight for me, but I told you to go so you wouldn’t also die. I saw you watching from behind the church. Kissing Jason saying I’m so sorry darling that you had to see that. A young boy, barely a man should not have to see his older lover die like that. After four daiquiris and five Jacks and screwdrivers, Drema and Tracy had to call a cab for them.

Waking to noises for the shower. Fulling waking of Beonca standing there with her black hair in a ponytail her oversized loop earrings signing from the morning the light showing the dragonfly tattoo on her neck well. Why do you have my shirt on? Jason asked in a demanding tone. You don’t like me on your shirt. I liked it on me, I thought it looked sexy on me. But If you insist, unbuttoning the only two buttons she had buttoned crawling into bed. Jason said we can’t do this. Placing her hand under the covers, kissing him whispering no one has to know.

****

Driving thinking about what he was going to do if he really had relationships with Beonca. But most of all who did he love more, Turning south on Sam Nelson Rd. There it stood his old church before the Army, where had gone to Alcohol Anonymous after. Parking in front of Our Lady Of La Salette. Sitting on the stairs of Our Lady, just stirring at nothing. Walking into the cathedral, it took his breath. So beautiful and overwhelming. Lighting a candle, saying a prayer and nodding quietly saying hello, sisters as 2 nuns pass. Stepping into the oak box. He stared at the cross right in front of him.

Yes, my child came from the other side.

Father, please forgive me. I have sinned, in fact, several times in the last two months. As a result of my drinking again I have sinned against the woman that I love and sinned against myself, the church and against God.

When was your last confession?

It’s been almost 5 years

How long have you been sober?

3 years until last month, Father I don’t like who I am when I drink

My son as pennants. Go confess your sins to the woman you love. 20 hours of service to the work of the church and most importantly get back on the wagon and go to Alcohol Anonymous. Our group would be of great assistance to you.

Go and sin no more.

The Priest closes the confessional window.

The darkness and quietness of the confessional, become deafening, as his tears started to flow.

****

Laying across the couch watching television and soul searching there’s a knock on the door. Answering it you, Deborah was holding 2 boxes. Smiling Jason was happy to see her. What’s this?

Our costumes, walking in and sitting the boxes on the table in the kitchen, saying this is serious we have to have a talk and started crying.

Ya, I know with tears forming in his eyes.

Jason, I got drunk and woke up the next morning. I didn’t remember who it was. So I sneaked out. I sat out in front of the building crying which seemed like forever.

Hugging Deborah as tight as he could. Deborah sweetheart I love you more than anything, but I too slept with your neighbor, Beonca, after several drinks.

Laughing are you sure, that she didn’t put a whammy on you. After all, she is a witch.

Maybe she did, I had a cup or two of tea she gave me. Uh, Uh but last night it was me. I had gotten something to eat at the cafe’. She was there. I left and was walking to the car at the other end of the block. She was standing there at the bus stop. We exchanged pleasantries I offered her a ride. She offered to buy me a drink at Rocco’s and we ended up here this morning.

Hugging each other swearing not to let it happen again.

Smiling but first, we must burn those sheets. I really do believe she a witch. Sometimes I get the feeling she is following me.

Jason agrees, as long as you agree to go to AA with me.

Evidently, we both are horrible drunks.

_______________

Sitting in Deborah’s apartment watching tv. Crystal comes in dressed as Vampire. Giving a friendly love punch to Jason in the arm.

I’d suck your blood but I don’t like your type.

Dude, you make an ugly pirate, does Captain Sparrow know you went AWOL.

Laughing Jason told Crystal that Captain Jack is sleeping on the Pearl with his bottle of rum. The good Capitan won’t even know I’m gone.

While Jason and Crystal were making fun of each other.

From the hallway, Deborah says ready or not. Stepping out into the room wearing a sexy blue nurses scrub carrying a clipboard and a red stethoscope around her neck. Jason grabbing his chest saying nurse I’m not feeling well. Smiling rubbing his arm with the stethoscope maybe I’ll check your temperature and blood pressure later if you’re not feeling better.

Walking into the party a bit late everyone is talking, dancing and drinking, looking like everyone is having a good time.

While Crystal is dancing with Peter Pan. Deborah walks up to Jason leaning in the corner. Handing him a bottle of water saying not drinking may be harder tonight. Putting his arm around her saying it’ll be fine, we can do this together.

The room got a little bit quieter. As a witch walked into the room, it was Beonca. With all the greeting and small talk. Deborah and Jason were dancing to the Ghostbusters theme. Beonca steps up asking if she could break-in. Looking in Deborah’s eyes for permission. Go ahead I trust you. Walking away Deborah whispers he’s mine, leave him to me or I’ll kill you.

As the two join hands Beonca says with a bit of a smirk on her face. She’s a bit off, never mind. I don’t want to come between you two, but I think you should know that sort of a bit late, kissing him on the cheek. Pulling away telling Deborah he was hers, thinking for now to herself walking off smiling with a deadly sinister smile. As the night progressed Beonca was telling fortunes and reading palms and cards. Looking up Deborah was sitting at Beonca table holding out her hand.

Laughing and talking like old friends Deborah, Crystal, and Beonca talk for hours. Becoming friends quickly.

……

Calling Jason from the pediatric floor. Telling him she had made a double date with one of the nurses tonight, pick me up at 4.

Walking up to the nurse’s station and kissing Deborah handing her a single, red rose. All of the ooooo, and ahhhing from the ladies inside the nurse’s station.

_________________

Deborah introduced Kara, saying this the one I have to take care of her, she’s always getting us into trouble, and I’m the new one. Kara introducing her husband Dave. Standing Dave and Jason shake hands. With everyone sits as Kara pours herself some wine. Offering some to Deborah, holding her hand out. Kara replying sorry I forgot. Deborah telling Dave that she was a recovering alcoholic. Hiding the fact that Jason was too. Jason and David realizing both are Dodger fans and veterans. David joking how his recruiter had screwed him into joining the Navy as a corpsman, P.O. Abbott telling him he’d get to hand out drugs and hang around the women. But ended up in the Marine Corps for 6 years because the Corps uses Navy hospital personnel.

Halfway through dinner, and lots of chit-chats. Stopping the conversation, Deborah points to the table on the upper level, actually just 4 steps. There she is. Jason just looked don’t let her know you’re acknowledging her. Kara and David. Looking over their shoulders inquisitively. Clearing her throat saying softly The real pretty lady up there, nodding in the direction of Bianca. Finishing their desserts. An extremely tall young lady sits 2 daiquiris for the ladies and 2 rum and coke in front of Jason and David. These are from the lady in the blue dress, pointing to an empty table.

Lowering to a bearly attainable voice. That lady that, unfortunately, lives next to me. Everyone says she’s a witch. We are sort of friends in a passing sort of way. We both have been in her apartment, she is definitely a witch. She did fortune-telling and tartar card readings at the Halloween party. It’s like she’s stalking us and always making sexual innuendos to Jason. Like she’s trying to seduce him or something. Jason said well she offered him a drink and it was hard to say no, then I’m dead drunk. She had told Jason they’ve had lives together, in the past.

As all four say goodbye. The female Valet hands Jason the keys to his car. Getting into his car, Deborah asks what is that on the dash. With a horrific look on her face, it’s from her. Reading it Jason crumbles it troubling it into the backseat. As Jason and Deborah say goodbye with a short sweet kiss. As Jason pulls out of the Outland Apartment parking lot. Waiting for a green light, the passage door shuts. There she is, how did you get in, the door was locked. Shhh now pulling Jason’s lips to hers. I wish it was me with you tonight instead of her. Replying Jason said. Look Beonca if we really had a past, it’s in the past. Besides you and Deborah are becoming friends. I like you but I’m in love with Deborah. Kissing Jason again, well see you soon, sleep well darling. But if you like me that means I still have a chance. Oh and Jason, I’m late, you and I have planted a seed in the garden of life. Kissing him once again good night darling.

________________

Hey, since we’re both off tomorrow and it’s not too cold yet. How about a picnic tomorrow. Call me when you get this. Jason.

Hey, It’s me, I know it’s late. I’d love to go could really use a break That little boy that I was telling about. Well, he passed away this morning. It got us upset. He was fine on Monday turn for the worse last night. Not into too good of spirits right now. Deborah starting to cry I love you, see you at about 8? Hanging the nurse’s station phone as Deborah leaves to go home.

Arriving a little before 8, Jason called Deborah’s cell phone saying he was outside. Getting into Jason’s car asking why all the secrets. Just to avoid any confrontations. Holding Deborah’s hand kissing her saying it’s just us today.

So Mr. Secrecy, where are we going? Smiling Jason replies So place special. Pulling Amicalola Falls State Park. Pulling off the road, into a gravel lot and helping Deborah out handing Deborah a blanket. Carrying a basket in his right hand with his left tightly around her waist. Reaching a lake where the light from the autumn sun reflecting. Deborah kissing Jason saying how beautiful it was with all the blues and golds from the sun. Pulling Deborah into him saying it is, isn’t it

A few kisses later, Jason takes the blanket from Deborah, laying the blanket and basket under a large Northern Red Oak. Pulling her hand come, on I want to show you something. I did dress for this Deborah said with a little bit of complaining. Come on laughing at her, you look fine. You’re beautiful how could you not look fine. Kissing her. It’s only about a half a mile up. Jason said smiling come on sweetness. My shoes weren’t made for hiking. Fine then, Jason grabbing Deborah, I’ll carry you. Embracing each other all they could do was kiss each other. With the passion between them, Jason let Deborah slip to the ground, with her toes of her heels nearly touching the ground, Pulling away Jason looked into her green eyes. Deborah kissed him. I think I should walk or well never get to where ever we are going.

*******

O.M.G. looks at those waterfalls. They are so beautiful, let’s get closer. As Deborah edges close enough to feel the spray. Wrapping her arms around Jason. Telling him that shed always had a fantasy of making love under a waterfall. sheepish Jason said that sounded fun. Grabbing Deborah’s hand into his. First, we need to talk. Smiling Deborah asked what was so important that we had to make a day of it. Deborah was hoping in a forever kind of day. After several long steers. Jason asked if Deborah would forgive him. Forgive you why. I love you. Well, sweetheart, you remember that night you and Crystal had in Atlanta. With a tear forming Deborah asked him not to bring it up. Jason squeezed her hand, well that very same night I had an affair with Beonca, in my defense I was drunk or she got me drunk. Kissing Jason caressing his face. We can forgive each other and move on. Looking at the ground in shame that’s not the worst of it. Bianca said she was pregnant and its mine. Last night she said she’ll know the sex next week.

*****”

So this is why the hell you wanted me up here alone. I thought you were going to ask me to marry you, but someone else is carrying your baby. Losing her balance Deborah slips in the falls and runs down the gravel trail with only one high heel shoe. By the time Jason caught up to her trying to hold her. With all the yelling Deborah shoves Jason into the lake throwing the picnic basket at him, wrapping the blanket around herself. Throwing the only shoe she had, saying I hope she gave you something that will kill you or make you itch the rest of your measurable life. As Jason catches up with Deborah asking her to get in its starting to rain. Reluctantly Deborah said ok, but I’m getting in the back

Pulling into the Outlands Appartments. Deborah slams the door breaking the glass in the door. Saying I hope you rot in hell. throwing the blanket at him. As Deborah turns there stands Beonca, looking at her. Deborah says, Bitch, I hope you rot in hell with him. Beonca smiles looking at Jason saying I told you you’d be mine.

________________

Three weeks later.

Hey Crys, how is everything going at the office, do you need any help or something. NO, I, think you should take more time off. She doesn’t want to speak to you or any other man either. How could you do that, I thought more of you? I trusted you. Take the rest of the month, I’ll let you know on the first if I will continue your employment. Slamming the phone to the desk.

****

Well, you stop knocking on the door, I’m coming, opening the door. Stepping into Jason’s dark and cluttered apartment. Looks like you haven’t been out in a while says,

Bianca. Haven’t eaten anything besides takeout. Look I know you and your sweet Deborah are no longer an item. And since I am carrying your, I mean our child. Let me do this. We can be good together, we have been, rubbing his shoulder with a warm but seductive smile. Go clean up and shave. I’ll fix you something besides (looking around the room ) pizza, tacos and Chinese.

Jason enters the kitchen there stood Beonca cleaning up all the takeout containers. Sitting Beonca hands Jason something. Smiling it’s not alcohol. It’s my family’s recipe for sweet tea. It’ll cure what ills you. Spaghetti is on the stove.

Darling, I know that you thought you cared for her. You see she couldn’t handle being with a man like you. But I am here darling, I have been and always will be. Reaching for Jason’s hand as he pulls away. Look Beonca I do appreciate you trying to help. I will be here for our child forever. But as far as we are concerned, I’m just not sure, about anything. Please be gone when I get back, at least for now. Before you go I just want you to know I go to the doctor next Monday to find out the sex of our child (rubbing her stomach)Saying nothing he shuts the door.

As Jason walks through the parking lot, heading to Ritter Park just across the street. Starring at the reflection in the river. Jason sees Deborah crying in its reflection. Looking up to the late afternoon autumn sky Screaming what do I do?

Looking down at the waters in the river. Jason hears Deborah’s voice, but he does not understand what the reflection is saying. Jason looks up but instead, of the sun’s glare, the moon is there shining over the night sky.

Opening his apartment door. Jason smells the smell of clean. Been almost a week since he’d felt like life was worth it. Going to bed without touching the plate of spaghetti that Bianca had made for him and crumpling a note, that was on the table throwing it into the trash.

______________

Nelson Advertising this is Crystal how may we help you improve your business? Crys it’s Jason. It’s been almost a month, do I still work for you or not. I know that I messed up with your trust in me. But most of all I really did mess up with Deborah. I’d give anything to go back, but I can’t. I’ve made a mistake and have to live with it. I’ll be the man and take care of Bianca and my child, as I should. But I still have strong feelings for Deborah, and will do anything to make it right. Would you please tell me what to do, to get on her good side at the least. I’ll do anything.

With a long silence and sigh. Well, I guess that I could use your help around here. Besides, I miss your neatness and your sense of humor. I suppose you are probably running out of money. If you’d like you can come back on first. It kind of out a little behind here, we took on two more clients and the Club Facts asked for you specifically. But as far as I am concerned, with a long pulse. I forgive you, besides we’re pals. We started this and I can’t do it without you. I let my personal feels get in the way of our partnership but most of all r friendship. For that I am sorry. As far a Deb is considered, give her more time. Deborah misses you be on words can say. She talks about how her life has changed and Jason you the reason and you have changed it for the better. Trust in her and yourself, it will work itself out. See you on Tuesday and bring coffee. I can’t make coffee it’s killed the office plants. Besides the weather guy on the radio says we have a bad storm coming.

As the unusual heavy fall thunderstorm, knocked the power out for most of Jasper. Jason sat on his couch, watching Netflix. As the phone’s power died. As the rain pounds against Jason’s apartment window. There is a light knock, then pounding on the apartment door. Opening the door to the hallway that was dark as the black molly that was in the fishbowl sitting on the antique black cherrywood Victorian box that was given to Jason by his great grandfather. Though the dim light from the candles in Jason’s apartment. He sees Deborah’s face. Falling into Jason’s arms crying and saturate from all the rain.

Telling Jason that she had walked from Cotton Wood Circle, nearly a mile away. Sitting Deborah down, Deborah continuing to cry saying . I don’t need a blanket to stay warm in winter, I don’t need an air conditioner to be cool in summer and I don’t need an umbrella to remain dry in the rain. I will stay warm, cool and dry under the shelter of your love in every season of my life while holding Jason’s hand. Jason, I have missed you. Would you forgive me for being so stupid and foolish? I should have been more understanding, after all, I am guilty of doing the same. Before Deborah could say anything or explain. Jason kisses Deborah on the nose saying it will be fine now as long as we are together. Deborah continues to cry as she falls asleep in Jason’s arms.

Waking Deborah up to a cup of hot coffee. Asking if she felt better? Smiling, a weak and sleeping smile. After Deborah starts her third cup of coffee Jason hands Deborah a clean towel and set of clothes, her to get cleaned up while he fixed breakfast. After her second omelet. Deborah looks a Jason across the table thanking him for his forgiveness. pulling Deborah to her feet, embracing her as tight as he could saying Steve Maraboli once said “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” We’ve cried watered our seed now its time to grow and move on. Running his hand across her cheek, telling Deborah she was the girl of his dreams kissing her passionately on soft tear stain lips saying I LOVE YOU.

————-

Sitting at Club Facts, Crystal and Jason discussed their plans for advertising with Serina Davenport for the club. After a few hours of negotiations. both return to the office. As the skies over Jasper starts to darken. Deborah comes carrying a couple of pizzas from Buffalo Petes. Kissing Jason as she walks to the conference room in the back. telling Jason about the hospitals Christmas Party, asking Jason if hed mind escorting her to the party. I would be honored kissing her, handing Deborah the hast slice of pizza.

As Jason leads Deborah to the dance floor, Santa Baby is playing from the stage. the evening grows long and seems to be dying to a handle full of couples on the floor. Deborah and Jason staring out the window overlooking the river, the moonlight causing the rays glistening over the snow like diamonds over the river. Holding Deborah in her a red evening gown with a large bundle of mistletoe hanging overhead. Jason bends pulling a ring out of his breast pocket. Deborah id like to ask you to be the party of my Christmas for the rest of our life will be the Christmas gift and be mine, will you marry me. As the snow starts falling again, A kiss lingers for what seems like hours. As Spring ends. Deborah and Jason are sitting in the maternity ward. A nurse walks in the waiting room holding a baby smiling, the doctor at her side saying that his mother didn’t make it we are sorry but congratulations the little guy is healthy. Holding the gift of life say Driven meet your mom Deborah. As Deborah reaches for Driven, smiling you’ll make a wonderful father.

As Jason fastening Driven into his car seat. Deborah grasps Jason’s hand asking if he is okay. Sure why glancing out his rearview mirror seeing Beonca standing beside her grave. Deborah asking do you like you both had previous lives together. maybe, maybe one never knows. Deborah smiling telling him that she loved him rubbing her baby bump.

by, JR Gardner

10/2019