Tale Weavers Prompt: Poem – Octelle – “Story Line Wrote”


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this weeks prompt — Paper Back Writer:

” What is your great novel/novella/collection of short/flash fiction/poetry/ pulp paperback/graphic novel? Of course, you don’t have to write it, just write about it.

Weave any sort of tale;  in the abstract or concrete; as you or a character of yours; being accepted for publication; editing process; book tours – remember you ‘just wanna be a paperback writer.'”


paperbackwriter
Credit: http://www.revolutions5.com

I’m still working on a novel called: How Was Last Night For You? I’m editing it in second draft. Still a lot of work to do and haven’t had the time to work on it lately. This Octelle poem illustrates the story line roughly:


She wants love, but it keeps slipping,

Through her fingers, the Sirene dripping.

She’s a regular girl, too kind,

Believes in people and magic finds —

In her paranormal world sound,

Curses, mermaids, sea witch found.

Nina narrator, life gripping,

Focus and ire of a mer-witch.


John wasn’t smart at twenty-five,

Lied about girl, she cursed him live.

Where ever he wondered,

Strange events encountered.

People got hurt, women injured.

No love; witch’s wrath incurred.

Sees Nina drinking Flirtinie,

Sparks, passion, between them ignite.


A mermaid she is, sea witch too,

She’s experienced pain, heart broke through —

Victorian romance; cad —

He’d a mistress, kids they had.

Clued in after his death –cried,

Traveled, came home to new guy.

Adare never changed, men still lie.

No broken girl now -she’s Talise.


Characters wrote, story occurs,

Talise hates Nina — it’s inferred.

She cursed John left his soul burnt,

She wants John back, she’s a flirt.

Evil, she’ll never gain him through,

Her magic; Nina loves John true.

Witch’s wrath, all will suffer –die?

No one can say; writer yet edits.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 31. How Was Last Night For You: Almost Peaceful Endings


Please Read Chapter 30 here..

Chapter 31: Almost Peaceful Endings

Nina was for the most part, contented. She happily sat beside John while his family enjoyed the dinner Nina and Rianne had cooked. They sat around John’s massive rectangular table in the open concept dining room where the atmosphere was peaceful and laid back.

There was laughter and gratefulness obvious in the eyes of everyone present. Topics flowed from John’s sudden return on the day of his funeral, to explaining the situation to all John’s numerous friends and relatives who had been planning to attend the funeral, which had been called off.

“Oh, well. Will tell them something,” Edith remarked.”It’s not unheard of to have someone who’s missing, come home alive. I have to say, John’s timing was pretty perfect.” Edith and everyone laughed, imagining how certain quirky relatives would take the news.

Jasper and Jordan filled John in on what had been happening with Mergers and Robert told Jordan about his latest challenges as a professor. Robert was noticeably more animated than Nina had seen him in months.

Edith couldn’t stop the tears from leaking out of her eyes.”We should take a cruise vacation,” she remarked. ” All of us and Rianne, Nina, and that girl you’re seeing Jordan. It would so much fun and be a wonderful way to celebrate John’s new life. Our lives free of curses.”

There was silence around the table as everyone smiled at Edith. Nina could tell no one was much into the idea but she doubted anyone had much choice.

“That sounds nice Edith,” Nina said politely, “I’ve never been on a cruise before. We’re you thinking about somewhere hot like the Caribbean?”

“Oh, that would be perfect. It’s so relaxing there and Sam and Eric would have so much fun. There’s so much for kids to do there.” Jasper still had a fake smile on his face and when Edith looked at him for approval he nodded, but nothing else.

“I think boys, your mother has the right idea. I’ll look into booking a Carribean Cruise  and be in touch soon. We should do that cruise before the Christmas Season.” Robert remarked, giving finality to the idea.

Nina gazed up and John feeling trapped, he patted her hand. “It will be fine,” he whispered to her.

“I know,” Nina said. “It’s only I was hoping to go somewhere hot with you. Just the two of us.”

John considered Nina’s words glancing at his excited Mom before whispering back in Nina’s ear: “I don’t think we have much of a choice concerning the family cruise.You’re in the family so you’re stuck like the rest of us. But I think we can very much take our own vacation too. A tour of Italy?” John suggested, tucking a piece of white blond hair behind Nina’s ear.

Nina noticed how Rianne and Jasper never met each other’s eyes as they small talked beside her and encouraged John’s nephews to  eat their food.

John on the other hand, kept his hand on Nina’s back almost the entire time they were eating, smiling at her warmly and kissing her cheek when she didn’t expect it.

She glanced at Jordan. He appeared the exact opposite of John’s healthy complexion. Jordan appeared wan and sickly. She noticed dark shadows underneath his eyes. Nina also realized Jordan hadn’t brought his girlfriend Carissa, he had been seeing her for as long as Jasper had been seeing Rianne.

“Where’s your girl Carissa?” John asked Jordan. Nina smiled minutely, her and John often thought a like.

“Oh, I broke it off about a month ago. There was too much going on at work and with you missing.” Jordan’s tone was curt, almost rude.

“You haven’t been able to get the ring off?” Nina asked Jordan who scowled at his left hand.

“Doesn’t matter what I or anyone else tries, we can’t get the ring off. I had a couple of jewelers try to cut the ring but it doesn’t work. I thought the ring was merely silver but I think it must have some kind of magic spell on it because it’s impossible to remove.”

Nina knew that night in the Sirene had been difficult for Jordan to come to terms with. She hadn’t said anything to him about Talise being alive and she knew John had kept that part secret from his family.

“I wonder if Talise’s soul is really underneath that emerald she placed in the ring?” John said aloud.

Jordan glared at John darkly.”It’s a regular emerald. Talise had no soul because mermaids don’t have souls, even if she was a sea witch.”

Nina tried to tread lightly. “In the original The Little Mermaid, mermaids don’t have souls but supernatural beings in Adare as we have seen with Talise, are significantly different than how fairy tales portray them.”

“I saw Talise take out her soul in a big shiny orb and place it on your finger in the ring. I’m absolutely sure her souls in there, Jordan. I know you don’t want to believe it, but it’s true.” Nina said cautiously.

Jordan frowned at Nina.” Whatever. It’s not as if  Talise’s soul has a body.The Sirene swallowed her supernatural corpse, that magic I do believe in.”

Nina gazed up at John who was staring at the beer he held in his hand. John’s sapphire eyes met Nina’s eyes.

She leaned up to whisper in John’s ear: “You have to tell him today about her, the sooner the better.” John nodded at Nina stroking her cheek with back of his hand. Nina caught John’s hand and held it to her cheek.


When dinner was over, Edith insisted on clearing the table since Rianne and Nina had cooked. Clean-up wouldn’t be difficult as most dishes could go in the dish washer or be left to soak until tomorrow when Nina and John could get to them.

Jordan was staring at Nina and she felt out of sorts because his dark gaze was angry and festering.”What is it?” Nina asked him.

“What were you and John whispering about?”

“Just stuff. Love stuff,” Nina lied smiling at Jordan convincingly.

“I have to see what your Mom’s up to in the kitchen.” She said rising from her chair at the supper table.” I don’t want her to spend her time here cleaning. She should be enjoying herself as should you,” Nina remarked regarding Jordan pointedly.

He gave Nina a tight smile and nodded. She gazed at John encouragingly as she left him alone at the table with Jordan. John’s dining room , kitchen, and livingroom were open concept, so Nina thought she might be able to hear bits of John’s conversation with Jordan.

“Jordan we need to talk. There’s more about Talise I haven’t told you.” John said soberly. Nina heard Jordan swear and John gave her a worried glance as he came into the kitchen briefly, to grab a couple of beers chilling in the freezer.

John opened up both beers and placed one in front of Jordan at the dining table. He sat in a chair next to Jordan and turned to face him. John’s sapphire eyes bored into his brother’s dark brown eyes and he started talking too quietly for Nina to hear. She knew John was delivering Norman’s message about Talise as gently as possible.


 

Twenty-minutes later, Nina was having wine with Rianne and Edith leaning against the kitchen island. They were all laughing about something Rianne had said when Jordan strode angrily through the kitchen nearly knocking Rianne and Nina over.

Jordan appeared bitter. He shoved Nina out of his way trying to escape out the front door.

“Hey, watch where you’re going Jordan. You almost knocked Nina over.” John said sharply.

Jordan glared daggers at John and Nina.

“I mean it Jordan. Leave Nina out of this, don’t even look at her that way ever again. She’s my girl, show her some respect.” John warned.

Jordan turned around and stared at John enraged: ” You bastard. Talise was your problem and she almost killed you. You couldn’t get rid of her and know she’s my issue suddenly, because some guy named Norman said so? It’s your fault and Nina’s fault, I have to deal with Talise. I want nothing to do with Talise and with either of you. I despise that I have no choice where Talise is concerned.” Jordan shouted, slamming the front door on his way out of the house.

The front door was slammed with such force, the wine glasses on the kitchen island skittered. Robert arose carefully, from the floor where he was playing with his grandsons.

“John, he doesn’t mean it. He’s been a hurt, angry, and bitter man since he thought Talise killed you. The thought of dealing with Talise himself, is understandably troubling for him since he believes he already stabbed her through the heart with the dagger.” Robert said reasonably.

Nina peered at John. “Your Dad knows?”

“Yes,” John said turning away from his Dad,”Mom and Jasper don’t know though. Did you tell Rianne?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have.” Nina said quietly.

“I knew you would,” John said with a smirk,” But Rianne’s not going to tell Jasper right?”

“They’re not getting along right now. She doesn’t tell Jasper what I tell her in privacy. Not at this point anyways.” Nina whispered back to John.

She stroked his stubble with her hand running her hand through his long, slightly curling dark hair.

“You need a haircut John,” Nina said smiling and raising her voice to include the rest of John’s family who had gathered in the living room.

“He does, doesn’t he?” Edith said and the conversation continued to flow, despite Jordan’s abrupt departure. It was almost 9:30 pm when everyone else went home.

Sam and Eric were grumpy and needed to be put to bed so Jasper and Rianne left. Nina noticed standing at the front door, Rianne went home in her own car. She was going to stay in her condo tonight but pack a suitcase and stay at John and Nina’s house starting the next day.

John’s parents made there goodbye’s as well, smiling contentedly at both John and Nina and hugging them, before driving home.


Later, Nina lay beside John in their bed. They had made love but were too tired to move after a crazy day. John promised to make it up to her the next day. Nina fell asleep for a couple of hours, but kept waking-up.

Beside her John stirred.”So, what now?” John asked Nina groggily, in the dark of their bedroom. She was snuggled in close to John in bed.

“I don’t know. I can’t stop thinking about everything that’s happened today. My mind doesn’t want to shut itself off.”

“Mine neither,” John said his voice gravelly from sleep.”I wonder if things are going to be difficult again or if we’ll actually be able to have a normal life? I know what Norman said but I’m helping Jordan. I know Talise best, after all.”

“Jordan’s a big boy John. Maybe, you have to let him deal with it as best as he can. I’m not saying don’t help, all I’m saying is let him decide. As a youngest brother, I’m sure he  often felt he didn’t get to make the choices he wanted.”

John grunted. “I’m not likely to let him deal with Talise alone. As if she’ll ever be safe to be with magic or no magic. She’s a terrible person/mermaid whatever she is now.”

“For cursing you and for putting us and your family through all she did, I absolutely agree. But if Norman says she’ll be Jordan’s girl, like I’m yours, I’m wondering if Talise has had to significantly change.”

“In the end of that night, she did do the right thing. She didn’t go through with her evil plan. She broke your curse and let Jordan kill her. I’m not her biggest fan but we might have to give her a chance because of Norman. If she’s out their in the Sirene that is . . .” Nina whispered.

John laughed and turned over to gaze at Nina and stroke the dip of her naked waist.” You always see the best in everything, in every situation. I’m so lucky to have you Nina. I’m in love with you. Let’s begin our real normal life now.”

Nina nodded leaning on her arm stroking John’s well defined bicep and then his face. “I’m  in love with you too. Let’s start our new life now.”

Though they were both worn out, Nina and John found hidden reserves of energy as skin slid against heated skin and lips met with passion and a hum of unending connection. Hen they were blissfully content, Nina smiled softly, tranquility overcoming every ounce of worry she felt.

Even in sleep,  Nina’s hand remained on John’s cooling skin, touching his chest and covering his heart.

Fin


 

XOXO Thanks for following!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

28. How Was Last Night For You: Greater Truths


Please read Chapter 27 here.

Chapter 28: Greater Truths

John stared up at Norman speechless.”You’re glad I asked? Because  you’re making this whole process difficult for me. I want to go home and I don’t need any universal truths right now. Since I’m not dead, let me live.”

Norman’s smile got even bigger. His face crinkling and creasing from lines the sun had etched.

“It’s usually about something bigger then our lives, or even the lives of people we care about. Often, I find it’s about faith.” John was perplexed but interested in what Norman meant.

“What kind of faith? You mean spiritual? I have that. I grew up Anglican. God got me through a lot of awful situations. I mean, with being cursed for ten-years, I had to believe there was a better place out there and a reason I was enduring what I was.”

Norman’s brown eyes twinkled.”Yes, God was with you before you were cursed and during. But you’re missing something, the bigger picture.”

“What should I see?” John exclaimed frustrated. He was at the point with Norman where he wanted to punch Norman for being so mysterious.However, Norman was John’s ticket home, so he dealt with his frustration.

John rolled the muscles in his shoulders, cracking his neck trying to workout the strain spreading through his body. It was the first time he’d felt the aches of being human outside the cottage, on the beach, in-between life and death.

Norman steepled his hands on the patio table and the setting sun made his eyes seem alight with fire. “‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it.’ It’s John 1:5 from the New Testament. Do you remember what came before it?”

John thought back to memorizing Bible verses as a youth in church. “I believe: ‘In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.'” John shrugged looking at Norman, wondering what he meant asking John to recall these exact verses.

“You know this, I know.” Norman said seriously, ” But there’s a specific reason I’m asking you this John. Not to waste your time as you think. Many people would think this was a grand vacation place and be quite happy to remain for some time. But I’m trying to get you to understand something significant.” Norman revealed shaking his head at John’s obtuseness.

“Your girlfriend Nina believes you will come back to her because she believes in magic. She quoted Louise Carroll to Rianne recently, saying: people want magical solutions in life but then, they don’t believe in magic.”

“Trust me Norman. I believe in magic. Talise cursed me and I lived through it. I sacrificed myself and now I’m here and you yourself are a kind of magic as you’ve told me. I’m a believer. Otherwise, how else would you know something Nina and Rianne discussed not long ago? How would you know thoughts I think in my head?” John said glancing at Norman for confirmation before continuing.

“I do wish you’d stay out of my head though. Give me the privacy of my own thoughts, Norman.”

“I can’t help that John. You might as well force yourself to stop thinking and feeling, which would be the easier solution.” Norman said.

“I don’t like this, you’re grating on my nerves Norman. What is it you’re trying to tell me about magic and faith? I don’t have time to sit here having philosophical discussions.” John said grumpily.

He was feeling tired and outside an orange and pink sunset was disintegrating into ink black. John could hear the tide, reaching in farther on the shore as a shadow of a crescent moon was revealed.

“You have time John. All the time in the world. I’m here to help you learn,” Norman said in a fatherly manner.”Nina has faith in you and believes good magic will bring you back. She also believes God wouldn’t take you from her at this time, after all you two went through.”

“I can’t speak for God, but I do know if Nina has faith in you, you should have more faith in yourself and your situation. Magic is a gift from a higher power –from God. You have to have faith there is benevolent magic along with the malevolent magic you experienced with Talise. As with many things in life there is both light and darkness.” Norman explained.

“So I should have faith in God, magic, and in things working out?”

“Yes, you should. But you don’t have faith, it’s why you’re here. You didn’t believe the curse would actually give you a happy ending and you didn’t believe your prayers would be answered. You didn’t believe a girl such as Nina, could truly be yours.” Norman’s voice was soft but accusatory.

“Do you know why I asked you about John 1:5, John?”

“I think you are telling me the bad, the darkness doesn’t win. In the end light overtakes it.” John said hesitantly.

“And?”

“I have to believe it. I didn’t remain in the Sirene Lake alive with Nina because I didn’t believe in magic as a gift from a God, a good God. I didn’t even believe a God I’ve had faith in all these years I was cursed, could save my life in the end. All I saw was Talise misusing her gift, not the light.” John said understanding Norman at last.

“Nicely done John. I didn’t think you’d ever see that bigger picture I was talking about. Light always overcomes the darkness, remember that. It’s the reason I’m here, why I’m helping you. Nina is also a light in your life, you are meant to take care of her and to take care of each other.”

“That’s it?” John asked, “You’ve been building up to this for hours?” John was confused again.

“You have faith and your prayers have been answered. You get to live your life to the fullest with Nina and your family. Remember they’re blessings, gifts. Take care of that girl John.” John looked at Norman who smiled at him, his face creasing as always.

“Faith, belief? It’s that big?” John asked.

“Faith can move mountains, you know that.”

“When can I go? Can I go home now?” John asked Norman. He was agitated. The darkness of the night reminded him he needed to sleep. The ocean waves hitting the shore lulled him until John’s eyes were weighted down with exhaustion.

“I should clean-up,” John mumbled sleepily.

“It’s done.” Norman said. John opened his eyes a bit to see Norman standing before him and motioning John into the cottage through the patio door.

“I don’t often get to sleep in a warm, comfortable bed John. Tonight I’ll sleep in a guest room. I think you need to sleep too, your energy is drained from the curse yet. You need to rest up for home.”

“Home? Sleep?”

“Yes, time for bed.” Norman said pointing John towards his bedroom and heading towards a guest room.

John opened his heavy eyes for a moment to look at Norman who waved. John mumbled some indistinctive words. He felt as if he were drugged, but it was only a wave of fatigue.

With difficulty, John undressed and climbed into a warm bed. A fan blew overhead, spreading cool air across John’s torso. He slept for what felt like an eternity, immersed in fantastic and splendorous colours.

Night turned to morning while John slept.


 

Today was Saturday. Nina dreaded this day more than any day she had experienced in a long time. It was worse then the day her father her Mother and Nina when she was a preteen. She knew she wouldn’t hear from her father ever again that day. But inside her being, she believed she’d still see John.

Nina stared at her haggard, washed out appearance in the bathroom mirror. She had barely slept, thinking about having to attend John’s funeral. Couldn’t she skip it? She didn’t believe John was dead after all. But she knew how much her attendance meant  to the Eric’s.

Looking at her iPhone, Nina realized it was only 8:30 am. The funeral didn’t start until 11:00 am. Nina was relieved she could go out for a walk down the beach before she got ready  for the funeral. John had been kind when he willed her his house, Nina loved the beach that ringed the Sirene Lake.

Washing her face and applying a bit of concealer to her under eye circles, Nina put on her yoga pants, a purple yoga top, and a warm fleecy hoody. The Fall weather made the beach down by the lake colder then it had been in spring, when Nina had been forced into the Sirene by Talise. But it was still a beautiful place to walk down whatever the time of year.

Grabbing a bottle of water from the pantry, Nina made her way to beach. The morning sky was blue and pleasant. Even by the Sirene’s shores, there was merely a gentle breeze. The sun beat down on Nina as she walked through the sand, it would be a decent day for John’s funeral at least.

The sky felt too bright for Nina’s mood and she put her hand up to guard her eyes from the invading sunlight. The sunlight was glaring and Nina thought, purposefully trying to lift her dour mood.

Nina walked quickly thinking about how she would deal with the funeral. A dark thought crossed her mind, what if John actually was dead? But she immediately brushed the thought aside.

Nina couldn’t not believe, John would come home. She didn’t know when he’d arrive, but he wouldn’t leave her like this to suffer. The curse had been broken so justly, Nina should get to spend her life with John. But was life just?

John hadn’t always been a stellar guy. He had been a horrible womanizer and used many women purely for sex. He had been a playboy, which had caused his curse initially. But Nina thought, John had tried to become a better person. With Nina he was himself and he wasn’t running from the reality of his life. Together, Nina and John made a great team.

Tears of regret and from missing John, flowed down Nina’s cheek. She knelt down in the sand and jumped when she felt a cool hand on her shoulder, brushing her neck because she had put her blond hair in a ponytail for her walk.

Nina gasped and stared back at a man behind her. Her eyes lit with unashamed love. She couldn’t believe John was behind her.

Nina screamed and jumped into John’s arms. Kissing every inch of his face. Tears ran down her cheeks and she thought she saw tears on John’s face too. She shrieked in shear joy.

Finally, John stilled Nina and held her in his arms kissing her forehead. ” Is it you? Is it you John?” Nina exclaimed.

“It’s me Nina. I couldn’t stay away.” Nina backed up from John, her eyes examining every inch of him from his tanned skin to his sapphire eyes aglow with mirth. His dark hair having grown and not been cut in months, was a wavy mess.

“Where have you been?” Nina asked John, suddenly angry at him. “You made me wait so long. Four-months is forever when you think someone’s dead. How could you do that to your Mom and I?” John appeared regretful.

“I wanted to come home. I did. I don’t know how to tell you this but I was stuck. I was asleep in radiant colours of every shade and texture for a long time. Then, I was on this picturesque beach with a homeless guy named Norman. He told me I had no faith and that was why I was stuck at the beach inbetween life and death.”

Nina gasped again. “Are you okay? I don’t know if you hit your head or if what you’re saying is the truth. Given our experiences in the past I think I believe you. I remember being stuck in colours like you describe myself. You saved me from them and then you disappeared.” Nina looked heartbroken as the memory came to her.

“I know,” John said sorrowfully. “I couldn’t help being gone for four-months since Talise broke the curse with us. I had no control. I wasn’t awake for most of it, I don’t think.” John grasped Nina’s arms and held her close.

“I missed you so much. I didn’t even know my own name, but I knew you.” John whispered to Nina, his forehead against hers.

The kiss began gently, exploratory. As if they were learning each other’s lips once again. Nina sighed and John deepened the kiss, his arms pulling her against him with force. Nina let herself melt into John, kissing him back, tongues sliding against each other and sparks igniting between them. Nina pulled back, tears unknown falling from her eyes.

John kissed the tears away and made his way back to Nina’s lips, exploring her mouth again. “I missed this so much,” John said heatedly.

Nina kissed John for what felt like forever until she couldn’t any longer because reality was intruding in her thoughts. She carefully pulled away from John’s arms and mouth, feeling woozy from lust and love. She stood a moment, catching her breath, lips swollen.

“Today’s Saturday John, today’s supposed to be your funeral.” Nina said frowning. “I told them you’d come back but time passed and your family needed to move on. We have to call them now.”

“Yeah you’re right. Norman told me today was my funeral. I think I should stop it, before it gets too far,” John remarked, ” I can’t wait to see everyone.”

Nina gazed up at John. “For a dead man you look amazing. You seem so full of vitality, joyeux de vivre. Why are you’re wearing beach clothes again? It’s Autumn here you know. How exactly did you manage to find me here?”

“I came from a beautiful cottage on a beach. The beach stretched for miles and I was all alone until Norman came. I went to sleep last night and when I woke up I was walking the surf of the Sirene in Adare and I knew I was close to home when I saw you walking. It’s the only explanation I can give you truthfully.” John told Nina.

Nina smiled softly, “I was a wreck without you. At least you willed me the house and I got to stay near your things. I want to hear all about this beach you were on with Norman. I have the feeling you’re telling me half the story.”

“Would I do that?” John teased.

“Ha, I think you say as little as you can at times.”

“Only trying to stay on your good side,” John said laughing.

“I’m glad I willed you the house. It’s our home and I’ll tell you all about Norman later. He saved Rianne from Malcolm you know?”

“Yeah, Jasper got footage from the Chinese food place. It showed Malcolm knocking her out against a wall. Jasper and Rianne weren’t able to find any sign of the homeless man in Adare.” Nina remarked.

“He was with me I guess. It’s not the only form he takes he told me. I’m not sure what he means by that, but he isn’t always a homeless man.”

“I think I should call my family now,” John said stroking Nina’s cheeks. “I wish we could be alone for a while first, but I doubt that will happen.” Nina smiled holding John’s hands against her cheeks.

“You’re not cursed anymore,” she exclaimed laughing joyfully, hugging and kissing John on the lips hard.

John grinned, “So this is happily ever after I guess?”

Nina smiled. “No, it’s the beginning of real life. Of our life. No magic . . .”

John’s smile slid off his face for a second, “I’m not so sure Nina. I think there will always be magic in our lives. If not magic, Talise.” Nina looked horrified.

“Norman told me. He said Talise was Jordan’s problem now.”

“But why? How did she survive? Jordan stabbed Talise through the heart with her dagger. The dagger changed appearance and the Sirene engulfed her body. Jordan has this ring .. .”

“I know all about it Nina. Norman filled me in. He also told me it’s Jordan’s path to take. Talise sees something in him, like you saw in me when we met.” John explained.

” Jordan hates her. He’ll never forgive Talise.” Nina remarked.

“She’s redeemable, Norman said. She’s not a sea witch anymore. Talise is only a mermaid and Jordan has her soul beneath the emerald in his ring.”

“Wow,” Nina said shocked.”I didn’t see that coming. Plot twist.”

John nodded in agreement with Nina’s exclamation,  kissing her hairline.”If you have your cell, I need to call Mom and Dad. What times the funeral?”

“It’s an hour-and-a-half away John,” Nina said checking the time on her phone and handing it to him worriedly. John clasped her hand in his before taking the phone and dialling his Mom’s cell.

He stood on the beach, listening to Nina’s phone dialing for what seemed like ages.

Please Read Chapter 29 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

23. How Was Last Night For You: Rianne’s Mugged and Nina Disappears.


Please read Chapter 22 here.

Chapter 23:  Rianne’s Mugged and Nina  Disappears.

Rianne’s head ached badly, and so did her once broken arm. She had been lying on it for what felt like forever. The more Rianne tried to escape the tiredness that plagued her, the deeper she fell into nightmares

Rianne dreamed Nina had a fish tale. She dreamed Jasper and herself were visiting Nina on a beach. Nina kept the lower half of her body beneath the waves and refused to come any closer to shore. Behind Rianne, Jasper regarded Sam and Eric playing in the sand. They were building sand castles as Rianne had shown them how to do properly.

Sam and Eric adored Auntie Nina and wanted her to come play in the sand too, but Nina only smiled at John’s nephews sadly; she waved her hands at them blowing both boys air kisses which they pretended to catch with their hands. Rianne reached out for Nina but her hands only grasped lake water. Her best friend and childhood pal, swam away into the Sirene Lake, a mermaids tale flicking behind her.

Rianne recalled Nina had always stood up for her since the time they first met in primary school. Nina was the girl who despite being shorter and smaller, beat-up other girls for pushing Rianne around on the playground and calling Rianne names. Rianne had grown tall and sturdy, but not until high school when she began to workout and play basketball. Rianne had been nearly fifteen-years-old before she began to grow into maturity.

Rianne wrinkled her nose. It smelt like Chinese food in her dream, Chinese food that was stale. Something wet dripped on Rianne’s face and she abruptly awoke. A homeless man leaned over Rianne, his water bottle in hand. His weathered face showed concern.

“Lady, are you okay? Sorry about pouring water on you, but you looked passed-out and I didn’t know another way to wake you without involving the police. We’re you mugged? ”

Rianne gazed up at the man from the sidewalk where she lay on her bad arm. She forced her body into a more upright position and realized her savior could badly use some help of his own. His shoes had holes, his clothes dusty, ragged, and tattered.The man carried an old backpack and his face was covered with a straggly grey beard. Rianne tried to thank the man, but no words came out of her mouth. She was relieved this homeless man was no foe.

“There’s a bump, a red goose egg on your forehead. It looks as though someone knocked you out and robbed you.” The homeless man said to Rianne.

Rianne groaned and rose to her feet hanging onto the homeless man for balance. She felt dizzy but not all that bad considering the bump she saw on her forehead in her reflection on the glass of the Chinese food place. Rianne checked the time on her watch which hadn’t been stolen. It was early morning, around 1:00 am; how long had she been passed-out?

After a while, Rianne was able to walk without help leaning on the homelessman or the window of the Chinese restaurant. Rianne smiled at the man in gratitude.

“Thank you for waking me up and ensuring I’m alright,”  she told the homeless man with sincerity. Rianne’s voice sounded groggy. The man grinned, showing teeth that needed dental work she knew he couldn’t afford. “I wish I could give you something, some money for helping me, but my purse is gone. It’s lime colored, you would see it if it was here.” The man chuckled.

” Someone stole your purse when they knocked you out. I’ve seen it occur before. It happens to quite a few woman at night. Maybe buy a cheaper purse next time. I’m betting your purse was designer.” The homeless man said knowingly.

Then he looked at the bags of food  by Rianne’s feet and smiled. “Can I have your food?” Rianne looked at the man confused at first. “Your Chinese food, it’s probably still okay to eat. I felt the bag, it’s kind of warm yet.”

“Are you sure it might be dangerous to eat now?” Rianne asked the man. He smiled at her again.

” For me it’s fine, I’m used to eating food with recent expiration dates,” the homeless man said chuckling again. Rianne slowly, picked up the food with her good arm and gave it to the man. She was sorry that stale Chinese food was all she had to give.

“My watch,” Rianne said suddenly, “you could take it and pawn it. It’s worth a lot. I received it from my Mom for my twenty-first birthday?” She held out her precious watch to the man. He took it placed it in her hand and closed Rianne’s fingers around it, shaking his head. The man observed Rianne closely.

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay, Lady?” Rianne nodded slowly.

“I’m a tad dizzy and my head hurts but I’m alright. I need to get back to my friend. I told her I’d be back with food hours ago. She’ll be worried.”

The homeless man thanked Rianne for the food after Rianne had reassured him she didn’t need to go to a near by medical clinic.

Rianne thanked the man again, for caring enough to wake her up and they parted ways. She wished there was a way to help him more, to give the homeless man something better then old Chinese food. But he seemed happy and declined to give Rianne any information so she could find him again and give him money.


 

She walked as fast as she could, back to Nina’s condo building, passing The Manhattan which was full of people having a good time before last call.

Rianne didn’t have her key, but luckily a neighbour was coming out the door and recognized Rianne as Nina’s friend. Delighted to see her and asking Rianne about the bump on her head, the kindly woman waved Rianne through the condo door entrance.

Rianne rode the elevator up to Nina’s condo on the seventeenth floor. She had a sick feeling in her stomach, as if something was wrong. Not only had Rianne been mugged two blocks from Nina’s condo, but she had had a weird dream about Nina being a mermaid.

Rianne contemplated her dream, wondering why she remembered it with such clarity. The dream about Nina being a mermaid seemed awfully coincidental considering curses, magic, and sea witches had become real to Rianne in the past few months. She pondered if her dream was as John’s dreams, a premonition of what could be.

Rianne’s head was pounding out a study rhythm when she entered the condo. Nina’s front door had opened without Rianne having a key. Rianne prayed this meant Nina was home safe. Instead, when Rianne walked into the condo she could immediately tell the condo was empty; something wasn’t right.

A messy scrawled note from Nina read that Nina was staying at Heather’s tonight. Nina hated staying at Heather’s place. Heather was a nice lady, but lately, she had had a lot of male company. Company Nina more then a few times, had run into as they were half-naked. Heather would later tell Nina: ” Oh he’s no one.” But Nina had preferred not to stay over at her Mom’s after running into her Mothers various lovers.

All these thoughts sprang to Rianne’s mind in an instant. She needed to talk to Jasper but she didn’t think she had a phone. Nina had no landline, only her cell and Nina’s cell was in Rianne’s purse. Amazingly, Rianne found her own cell half-charged in her pocket. It’s lime leather cover matched her stolen purse.

Rianne sat down at Nina’s kitchen table. Her arms were suddenly wet, there was water all over Nina’s table from a water pitcher. But the pitcher wasn’t leaking so how did the water get there?

Rianne dialed Jasper on her phone; her head throbbed painfully.

” Jasper, sorry to wake you but it’s me. I was mugged on the street picking-up Chinese food for Nina and I. It should’ve taken me fifteen-minutes but someone knocked me out. I have this horrible bump on my head.They took my purse. When I arrived back to Nina’s condo, her door was unlocked and she isn’t here. Her condo is empty.” Rianne said as quickly as she could manage.

” Huh, what?”  Jasper said sleepily but concerned, “Are you okay? Do you need to go to a hospital? You could have a concussion you know. Did Nina leave a note? Maybe give her a call on her phone?”

“Her phone was in my purse Jasper. I took it away from her because she kept looking at her phone to see if John had answered her messages to him. I was so stupid. I shouldn’t have taken it from her.” Rianne said.

“And there was this note. It was really weird it was on the kitchen table which was sopping wet. There is water all over the table and that is unlike Nina to leave water all over her table. The water pitcher wasn’t even broken.” Rianne was getting tears in her eyes. She was usually self-contained.

” What did the note say Ri?” Jasper asked her gently.

“It said she was staying at her Mom’s tonight. But Nina hates staying at her Mom’s house. She would’ve told me if she was going to be sleeping there earlier. I called Heather’s cell but she’s not answering. I’ve left several messages. What if Talise has Nina? What if she took Nina away and wants to kill her like John said?” Rianne was full-out crying now.

“What do we Jasper?” Rianne said fatigued.”John is out at Talise’s cave and Nina is mysteriously gone from her condo. Somethings wrong Jasper.”

“Call Heather again right now,” Jasper ordered Rianne. “I’ll be over soon. Maybe, I can reach John on his phone. He should be back from the cave by now, depending how things went. I should’ve never let him go alone, but he insisted. . .”

“It’s not your fault Jasper. John’s headstrong, especially where Talise is concerned. I’ll try calling Heather again but I don’t think she’s picking up the phone. Maybe she’s out with one of her boyfriends? Come quick and bring ice for my head.” Jasper sighed. She could tell he was exasperated with the entire situation.

” A homeless guy woke me up in time Jasper.” Rianne said trying to stop him for worrying. ” I’ll be okay. It’s Nina I’m worried about.”

“Alright, stay there at Nina’s don’t move.” Jasper told Rianne. “I’ll buy you a new purse and we’ll figure out where Nina is…What did the homeless guy say? I hope Nina is safe, John’s going to kill me. ..”

” Hurry Jasper, don’t worry about the purse right now. I love you.” Rianne told Jasper, hanging up on him before she started to bawl. Rianne didn’t say anything to Jasper, but she knew she was the person supposed to be watching Nina for John. This was her fault, Rianne told herself sternly.

Her head hurt painfully. She got up from the table and took two Advil from Nina’s medicine cupboard. Rianne changed out of her sweater with wet sleeves from the pool of water on Nina’s table, before soaking up the water with paper towel.

Exhausted and frustrated that Jasper was taking so long getting to Nina’s Condo, Rianne lay on Nina’s soft suede couch. She drifted in and out of a sleep of nightmares, none as clear as the one she had when she was unconscious earlier. Rianne knew she shouldn’t be sleeping after being hit on her head so hard, but she couldn’t help it; she passed out.

Suddenly, Rianne awoke. She heard the door knob turn on Nina’s front door and it startled her. The room was dark except for a lamp Rianne had turned on earlier. She arose carefully, and went to meet Jasper at the condo door. He hugged Rianne hard when he saw her, towering over her and giving her security.

” Are you okay? You shouldn’t be sleeping with a bump like that on your head.” Jasper shouted at Rianne. She glimpsed past Jasper’s shoulder and was relieved to see he hadn’t come alone, he had brought Jordan with him.

“Thank God your both here,” Rianne said tears sliding down her freckled cheeks. “I’m worried about Nina, we need to find her. Did you hear from John, either of you?”

“I talked to him briefly,” Jordan said curtly. He was trying to not upset Rianne and she could tell.

“Sit down both of you,” she commanded, “are Sam and Eric alright?” Rianne asked Jasper, slamming the front door and sitting beside Jasper.

“Yep,” Jasper said his arm around Rianne as he gently felt the bump on her head and reached down to a grocery bag for an ice pack. The ice stung Rianne’s bump but after a minute or two her head felt better. Jasper continued:

“Mom is watching the boys. They’ll be okay. Super thrilled to have Grandma take them for swim lessons tomorrow. How are you feeling Ri? That bump is nasty. I want Mom to look at it tomorrow.” Jasper seemed to be stalling and Rianne who was usually calm began to panic. She looked at Jordan:

” What did John say? Does he know where Nina is? Is she with him?” Jordan looked uncomfortable but began to talk anyways.

“John’s phone wasn’t working too well. Too much water got in it. He ran into Talise on her piece of paradise. She tried to trap him in the cave, but he managed to steal her dagger. She took my boat to shore and she was coming after Nina. But um, John injured Talise when they fought for the dagger, it effected her magic; she’s not as strong as she was and her barrier trapping John in the cave broke. John had to swim to shore. . . he’s so afraid for Nina. Then, John’s phone went dead . . .” Jordan let out a breath.

Rianne’s eyes were as big as saucers. “No, Talise can’t have gotten to land so fast could she Jordan?”

Jordan swallowed afraid. “John was at the harbor when I called him. We need to go there, I think. If Talise has Nina, that’s the first place she’ll be. And we need to find John, he must be exhausted and freezing.”

” I agree,” Jasper said. His voice was firm and he looked angry as Rianne had never seen him before.

“Let’s go guys,” Rianne said, “Damn it, my keys were in my purse.”

“You hurt your head,” Jasper said tenderly, ” I’ll drive.”

All three of them ran down the stairs as it was faster then taking the elevator. They sped off in Jasper’s car towards the harbor, to the Sirene. All of them were afraid of what had become of John and Nina.

Please Read Chapter 24 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

21. How Was Last Night for You: The Pain of Heartbreak


Please read Chapter 20 here.

Chapter 21: The Pain of Heartbreak.

It had been a week since Nina had had her awful fight with John at his parent’s home. John had chosen to end his and Nina’s relationship. He had told Nina it was for her safety. He didn’t want to be responsible for her death.

No one at the Eric’s house had seen the driver of the red pick-up truck who had twice, attempted to run Nina down. They had all been certain, Talise or someone she bewitched, had been responsible.

Thank goodness Jordan (John’s youngest brother) had saved Nina from becoming road-kill. Nina was frightened of what Talise was capable of concerning her and John. Nina had announced to John’s entire family at dinner that she loved John and wasn’t going to let him suffer from a sea witch’s wrath alone.

John’s family, Rianne, and Nina, were certain Talise (the sea witch who cursed John) had become evil in her jealousy over Nina and hatred of John, who refused to be with Talise again.

John had wanted to save Nina from Talise’s threat to stab Nina through her heart, by finding the cursed dagger Talise wanted to use on Nina. What was problematic was that John had only seen the dagger in a nightmare and the rest of the information they had come up with on the dagger, was purely fairy-tale or Adare folklore.

The red pick-up truck incident pushed John into panick mode. One moment Nina and he were lovers fighting Talise together, and the next moment John told Nina she was safer without him. Nina thought this was absurd because even though John’s curse had been noticeably absent for three-months, John alone protected Nina from his curse because he loved and cared for her.

Nina’s heart and mind were struggling  to come to terms and understand John’s decision to break-up with her after what the two of them had been through. Perhaps, John had only thought he loved Nina? Maybe he only wanted to break his curse so badly, Nina was someone he was using as a means to an end?

Nina’s doubt made her think back to her former longterm boyfriend Max who had used Nina and destroyed her heart and self-confidence with verbal abuse and manipulation. Was John no better then Max? Had John been playing Nina this entire time? But Nina didn’t care about Max because of John. She felt strongly about John, that his feelings towards her were true.

Yet, John had abandoned Nina onhis parents lawn while Nina wept. Rianne and Jasper had driven her home and Rianne had been staying with Nina since.

Rianne was especially worried about Nina and what Jasper’s jerk brother was doing to Nina. Rianne remembered Nina with Max, she knew her friend could not go through such heart-break again and still be a woman who believed the best about most everyone she met. Perhaps, Nina’s rose-coloured glasses had already been broken?

Nina was working again at Wilus after an extended absence due to her concussion. Each day dragged and Nina spent an eternity thinking about John and what he was doing. Nina developed a habit of checking her phone every couple of minutes to see if John text messaged or called her. He never did.


 

Rianne and Nina were watching She’s All That, when Rianne caught Nina robotically checking her phone for the thousandth time and got up to take Nina’s iPhone away from her. Rianne placed the phone in her own purse, so Nina couldn’t take the phone back easily.

Laney was coming down the stairs in She’s All That with her new dress, hair, and makeup, on the TV screen; but Nina’s eyes were glued to Rianne’s Kate Spade lime purse.

“Nina,” Rianne exclaimed, “this is your favourite part in the movie when Laney comes down the stairs with her ‘new look’ to show to Zack for the party. You love it when she trips. You think it’s hilarious and realistic.” Nina made a little puff of air with her mouth, narrowing her eyes at Rianne.

“I like it because Laney is Cinderella, but a modern Cinderella. She already had all this beauty inside her and Zack’s sister and the dress, only help make her beauty blossom. The Prince, Zack, already adores Laney. And who doesn’t love Freddie Prince Junior from back-in-the-day.” Nina told Rianne. But as bees to flowers, Nina’s eyes were drawn back to Rianne’s lime purse.

“Who purchases a lime Kate Spade bag at full price? You could have had pink, light blue, navy, white, or even classic black and you chose to pay eight-hundred-dollars for a lime Kate Spade bag. I would be embarrassed to say I paid hundreds for a purse that colour.” Nina remarked, grinning snidely at Rianne.

Rianne smiled not fooled by Nina’s rude comment. She began to sort through her lime purse, fixing her lipstick, powdering her face, and spraying herself with a sample of perfume. She grinned at Nina pulling out Nina’s iPhone and shaking her head. “Nope, he didn’t call or text you Nina. John still hasn’t answered any of the two-hundred messages you left him on voicemail or by text.”

Nina frowned at Rianne: “Give that back you crazy whore. I want my phone now!”Rianne gave Nina another huge smile and zipped her lime purse up with Nina’s phone inside.

“Nope,” Rianne said.” Call me any name you want but you’re not getting your phone back until tomorrow morning. It’s not healthy for you to check it every two-minutes.”

“When he’s ready, John will call you. He loves you Nina. He’ll be back. He’s just scared for you and it doesn’t seem like he has had a woman he’s been afraid for before. He’s not dealing with you almost being killed again well. He doesn’t want you to die and frankly, I don’t want you to die either.” Rianne remarked.

Nina sighed and scrubbed her face with her palms. Tears started falling out of the corner of her eyes, trailing down soft cheeks bare of makeup. “Rianne…” Nina choked out, “I really need my phone. What if I miss his call?” Nina barely heard Rianne’s sound advice and concern. Nina was having her own pity party, as she had been all week.

“He won’t call tonight anyways.” Rianne said, “John went to find Talise’s dagger tonight, in her special cave.”

“What?” Nina asked sniffling, “You’re only telling me this now? Did John go alone?”

Rianne looked sympathetically at Nina, “Yeah, John won’t let anyone else be hurt by Talise. Especially, if she’s using dark magic, which we’re ninety-nine percent sure she is using.” Tears kept trailing down Nina’s cheeks and Nina started to sob in earnest.

“What if something happens? How could John do something so stupid? Something is going to happen to him I know it. I haven’t talked to him or seen him in a week. That’s a long time you know.” Rianne rolled her eyes.

“I’ve been here with you all week Nina or at work, so I haven’t been able to see Jasper or the boys at all. I talked to Sam and Isaac and they’re both scared I’m not coming back. They’re only five and three -years-old you know, they need structure and routine.” Rianne told Nina, silencing her sobs.

“I’m so sorry Rianne. I don’t mean to be selfish with you. Go out with Jasper and go see Sam and Isaac, tell them you’re only visiting Auntie Nina for a few more days.”

” That would be so good Nina, but I’m supposed to help keep you safe too, so you’d have to come with me to Jasper’s place.” Rianne told Nina and Nina nodded her consent.

“Tomorrow we’ll go see Jasper, Sam and Eric. I’ll babysit for a few hours so you and Jasper can catch-up.” Rianne smiled at Nina gratefully.

“As well, don’t panic but Edith told me John’s curse has returned. It caused some car accidents after the dinner last week. Since then, his curse been acting up powerfully… making up for lost time I guess. John hasn’t had a moment of peace all week, Edith told me. . . ” Nina’s eyes started to tear up again.

” I should be with him. I have to help him break this curse and defeat Talise. If he leaves me . . . If he doesn’t return . . . I don’t know what I’ll do. John’s my guy, curse or not. I don’t want to be without him in my life,” Nina admitted.

Rubbing her face while she cried had made Nina’s face red along with her eyes. Rianne studied Nina with concern:

“Eventually, I’m hoping, and John’s family is hoping, you and John can work-out your relationship. For now you need to get up, shower, and start putting effort into yourself again. The Nina I know hates not wearing makeup and styling her hair. The Nina I know, doesn’t sulk for days, she starts living life again because she believes there are better times ahead.” Rianne brushed Nina’s hair out of her eyes and gazed at Nina, conveying her message with her eyes and voice. She was serious and practical as usual.

“I’m heading out to buy Chinese food for supper. You haven’t been eating Nina, so we need ‘substantial’ food, ” Rianne said grabbing her lime purse, her jacket, and heading for the condo’s door.

“You need to eat more your losing your curves. It’s not healthy for you to wallow in tears so long. You’re the most positive person I’ve ever known. You’ve had your week my friend, but it’s time to start living again. Your still in danger from Talise and you can’t let down your guard.”

” I’ll be fifteen minutes Nina, then we can eat Chinese food until we’re stuffed. After, let’s watch another old movie. How about a couple of scary ones? Let’s watch both I Know What You Did Last Summer movies.” Rianne declared, smiling after her talk with Nina. Scary movies were Rianne’s favourite movie genre.

Nina felt shell-shocked. She wanted to remain laying on the couch. But she needed a shower and Nina knew Rianne was right about everything else too.

Nina needed to pull herself together. That was the best way she could win John back and guard against Talise. She could not let her self wallow in selfish self-pity as her break-up with Max had caused her to do for months. She was over that stage, and she would get over this one.

Nonetheless, Nina was extremely worried about John going after Talise’s dagger alone. Nina didn’t trust Talise’s intentions for her or John. But she got up off the coach to put her face on. ‘Fake it until you make it,’ the saying goes.

Nina took her time showering and shaved, putting a conditioning mask in her hair, and a mud mask on her face. She dressed in comfortable PJ’s, a soft tank top with pajama bottoms. The pajama set was navy blue and Nina loved blue about as much as she loved pink.

She felt a lot better after her shower. Nina felt refreshed and like a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She felt like herself again and knew in her heart she would be alright. Nina was certain she would be with John again soon.

She began the process of blow-drying her thick white blond hair. It was only half-dry when Nina heard the buzzer for the door downstairs at the condo building front entrance. She had been waiting for Rianne but wondered briefly why Rianne didn’t use her key when she buzzed Rianne into the building.

Nina noticed Rianne had been gone about an hour longer then the fifteen-minutes she had said and Rianne was always on time. Nina supposed the Chinese place was busy due to people eating late on Friday night in front of the TV. She felt uneasy about Rianne being gone so long. And she didn’t have her iPhone to ask Rianne where she was.

Nina went to unlock her door when she heard Rianne fiddling with the door knob. She gasped when it was not Rianne who met her, but a horribly aged Talise.

White strands stood out in Talise’s  wavy golden-blond hair. Talise had wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. In a short-time, she had gone from appearing in her early-twenties to appearing harshly older. Talise smiled at Nina and laughed, pushing the doorway open forcefully.

” You and I have business, dear,” Talise said. Her voice was throaty and dark.

Nina cringed at Talise  and Talise threw Nina back on the couch using magic harnessed from water in a flower vase.

Talise slammed and locked the door behind her, keeping Nina trapped inside her Condo with an unpredictable and unstable dark sea witch.

Please Read Chapter 22 here.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

18. How Was Last Night For You: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart


Please read Chapter 17 here.

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart.

“What do we do Dad?” John said, throwing his hands up in the air. “I feel trapped. Who knows if I can protect Nina still? I don’t think I can give her up. I can’t live alone with my curse when I know Nina and I have this possibility of a bright future together.” Jack nodded thoughtfully at what John said.

” Sea witches are an interesting kind of witch. Even the good ones harness a sort of grey magic, not light and dark as we assume. Sea witches know it takes both light and dark magic to harness the power of the wind, water, and the creatures within it. Tia as we saw, drew her power from the Sirene Lake when she cursed John initially. She also did this when she caused the storm that gave Nina her head injury. But, Tia can also draw power from items such as shells or driftwood, things that come from the sea.” Jack said to the rapt table listening.

” What I wonder about is the dagger John saw Tia with in his dream. I think that item has vital significance. If it can be used to hurt John or Nina, I’m quite sure it can be used to hurt Tia. She would need to consort with powerful dark witches to get a weapon such as the dagger. They’re has always been tales about mermaids and sea witches in the Sirene, as long as there has been an Adare. My Grandfather used to tell me some of them when I was small.” Jack mused.

” We need that dagger,” Jordan said pounding his fist on the table.

“But how?”Nina remarked. Robert leaned towards Nina.

“Well, I think an obvious first place to explore, is the true version of the little mermaid. The Brother’s Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson version. I recall a dagger in both versions of the story. The little mermaid is given a dagger by her sisters who sell their hair to the sea witch so the little mermaid can stab her beloved, the Prince, and become a mermaid again. They do this because the little mermaid only has a limited time to be with the prince, to make him fall in love with her, and the little mermaid is failing. ”

” There is also a specific story about a dagger in Adare folklore. A sea witch used a dagger to kill her husband and family, when she found out he had slept with another woman. This sea witch became the first sea witch in the Sirene lake to use dark magic, to not harness any magic of the light. They say this sea witch was so evil, she took sailors on ships mercilessly to their deaths and kept their souls in a jar so they could not go to heaven.”

“As even sea witches have limited lives, the sea witch passed the dagger down to a younger sea witch who practiced the black arts, and so on. I think this dagger is like the dagger in the little mermaid, powerful enough to kill someone you love but also the sea witch herself. The tale also says, there is a price for using dark magic. The sea witches own soul. Find Tia’s hide out, where she goes to feel safe. Find her soul and get the dagger from her. Or else she’ll be using it on you my son John, and your dear Nina.”
“That’s like looking for a needle in a haystack?” Nina said aghast. “But if the dagger is powerful it can kill Talise, she might keep it close to her…” Nina looked at John as he stared off into space, eyes glazed over.

“John” Edith said, “Are you okay?” John shook his head and his eyes returned to normal. ” I was only thinking, there was a cave Tia took me to a couple of times years ago. It was her favourite place. Inside there was this giant mirror made out of natural crystals. I think if I can find it, that is where Tia would be hiding something so important as her soul. Maybe, even the dagger itself.”


 

After, they had discussed Talise, conversation turned to lighter topics. John, Jasper, and Jordan talked about business matters with their Dad regarding Mergers. Nina, Rianne, and Carissa, told Edith more about themselves and how they met their respective Eric brother.

Edith seemed to warm up to Carissa more, when Carissa talked about wanting to be a stay at home when she settled down and have children. Carissa was an extremely pretty woman with her dark skin and almond brown eyes. Nina could see why Jordan would be attracted to such a vibrant girl.

Robert talked more about his work teaching at Adare University in English. He complained about how terrible the grammar of his students was becoming these days –both spoken and written. Edith laughed at him and talked about her job as a Pediatric nurse. It was clear she loved children.

Despite feeling under-dressed, Nina quickly forgot about her outfit and became immersed in conversation. Rianne and Nina caught up on what they had been doing with John and Jasper respectively.

” I really wanted to go out with all you guys and have a fun night out,” Nina told Rianne quietly. ” Not that this wasn’t fun and enlightening. We need to discover all we can about Talise, sea witches, and the dagger Jack talked about. However, a night out dancing is something we haven’t done in forever.” Nina said with excitement.” We could even do just a girl’s night.”

“Yeah, that would be fun.” Rianne agreed. “I get out sometimes with Jasper, but a lot of time we do stuff that includes his two sons, as it should be. You have to meet them sometime soon. They are the cutest boys. Definitely, typical little boys. But they are going to be great adults one day if their Dad is any indication.”

“Oh you like him so bad,” Nina told Rianne.

“Don’t I know it.” Rianne replied.


 

As they all left the Eric’s beautiful historic home around 1:oo am, Nina felt extremely supported by John’s family. She felt Edith and Jack’s approval both with Nina’s and John’s relationship, and dealing with Talise — a dangerous threat to Nina and John.

Nina wasn’t convinced finding Tia’s cave would help them find Tia’s soul or the dagger. She thought luring Talise out with the dagger, might work better. But Nina supposed it didn’t hurt to check Talise’s special cave first. Besides, what did a soul look like anyways? How would they know if they had Talise’s soul? Was it in a jar like the dark witch in Adare folklore did to those sailor’s souls?

On her way to John’s black car, Nina tripped in her periwinkle patent heels. One shoe went flying out into the street. Nina cursed under her breathe. John was busy talking to his Dad so he didn’t see Nina fall. Nina arose carefully, attempting to preserve some of her dignity in a short skirt.She brushed the still wet blades of grass from her outfit and she removed her other periwinkle heel and went out onto the street in her barefeet to retrieve her other shoe.

Before Nina could stand up straight, she heard John yelling. Jordan grabbed her hand and pulled her hard against him. Nina realized she had just missed being run over by a speeding huge red truck.

“Oh my God, John?” Nina yelled.

“I’ve got her,” Jordan said to John.

The windows of the red truck had been blacked out so no one on the Eric’s front drive saw who was inside the vehicle. There hadn’t been time to write down a license plate number.”Nina, Jordan” are you alright “Edith cried.

“Fine Mom, Jordan said waving at Edith and giving Carissa a quick thumbs up. Nina’s okay too, thank God,” Jordan replied with a worried look in his brown eyes.

John was at Nina’s side instantly, checking for injuries. Nina had escaped harm for the most part. She had only scraped her leg on the curb when Jordan pulled her away from the truck’s pathway. “John,” Nina asked, “was that a terrible event or was the Tia using her magic?”

John swallowed. His face was pale and he looked worse then Nina or Jordan whom had nearly been run-over. “I didn’t feel anything happening. It just happened. It had to be Tia using her dark magic. Unless, I can’t tell when horrific events occur anymore?” John sounded tired.

“John are you okay?” Nina asked, standing before John and placing her hands on his shoulders. John wouldn’t look at Nina. “I think,” he said quietly, ” I think we shouldn’t be together Nina. You keep getting hurt, or almost hurt because of me. I love you, I can’t risk you being killed because of me.”

” I love you too,” Nina said hugging John and kissing his cheek. But she didn’t feel him kissing or hugging her back. “It’s okay John, I’m fine. We’ll get through it John.”

John shook his head. “No Nina, I mean it. We’re over. Even if I suffer from the curse the rest of my life. I can’t stand the thought of you dead or hating me. Tia hates me, look what it did to her.”

“I’m not Tia,  John. I’m not going to start hating you because we have to work extra-hard to be content in life. I choose you and whatever we need to get through to be together.” Nina exclaimed fervently to John.

“No,” said John glum and emotionless. He turned to look at his parents and brothers who were speechless and then looked back at Nina.”We’re done Nina.I’m sorry. I should have let you go long before this. Before the farmer’s market.”

“John?” Nina said. Her voice sounded wobbly and and she was attempting not to cry. She put her hand on John’s arm to pull him back but John avoided Nina’s touch.

“Your letting Talise win John,” Jasper told his younger brother. John said nothing. He got into his Mercedes, and drove away leaving everyone standing in the Eric’s front drive.

Tears threatened Nina’s eyes and she felt numb. Rianne immediately hugged Nina and brushed the tears from the edges of Nina’s eyes with her thumb. John’s parents apologized to Nina profusely for their son’s reaction and said they would try to talk to him. Edith told Nina, she liked Nina and hoped that her and John would reconcile. Jack looked unsure about the situation.

“Maybe, it’s a blessing in disguise” Robert said.”Maybe, John needs to break the curse on his own and face off against Tia. Then, he can see Nina again, when it’s safe.”

“He needs me Jack,” Nina cried. ” I’m part of this whole crazy equation of a curse and events.” Jack looked at her with pity.

Jasper drove Nina home and Riane stayed with her that night. They said nothing as they got into Nina’s apartment. “I’m going to bed, Rianne.” Nina said hoarsely.

“It’s fine Nina. Go ahead do what you need to do. I’ll be here. I’m in the guest room if you need anything.”

“Okay, Thanks.” Nina replied.

Nina didn’t even bother taking her makeup off. She climbed into bed and tossed and turned in an exhausting sleep. She dreamed of sea witches and daggers. Nina was trying to get the dagger from Talise in her dreams, but Talise always ended up killing Nina. Talise would stab Nina in her in the heart with the dagger, while she laughed. John watched blankly, doing nothing to stop Talise. It was as if John wasn’t, even John. No matter how much Nina called for him to aid her, John did nothing. Repeatedly, Nina dreamed she was dying.

Please Read Chapter 19 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

15. How Was Last Night For You: Talise’s Past – The Beginning


Please read Chapter 14 here.

Chapter 15: Talise’s Past – The Beginning

Talise was fuming. She had never been this infuriated in her entire life, which was more than twice as long as any human had lived. John Eric caused Talise excessive aggravation.

Talise’s Grandmother Coralia, a powerful sea witch had taught tiny Talise how to use her magic. Coralia had told Talise when she was a child:

“Talise my pearl, you need to learn to control your temper. You need to remember what is important in life: Faith in the Creator and the love of family and friends.” Talise would roll her eyes at Coralia but Talise’s Grandmother would ignore her.

“Talise you need to use your powers to help people, mermaids and humans alike. And never ever let your heart become so disturbed that you turn to the use of black magic. There is no going back from black magic Talise” Coralia warned. “It takes a sea witch over and she can never go back once she is evil.”

Talise hadn’t liked her Grandmother much. Coralia passed away after a lengthy life of five-hundred- twelve human years-old. The other sea witches had placed Coralia in an underwater cave — a mermaid tomb. Talise had become a practicing sea witch when Coralia died, having been trained to replace her Grandmother.

When Talise became a sea witch she wanted nothing to do with the life of a mermaid in Sirene Lake. She swam to the surface of the Sirene, to the cave she had found where the looking glass existed. She gazed upon the humans walking through the fascinating and compelling city of Adare. She had never walked among humans before, Coralia never would have allowed Talise to be among humans yet. Talise was only seventeen-years-old, but perceptive for her age.

Talise peered at the humans from the Sirene, bemused by Victorian women in their heavy dark dresses covering every ounce of their skin. What woman wanted to hide her skin, her enticing shoulders and cleavage, Talise wondered. She could not relate to these women, so called “angels of the house,” they were supposed to be the moral center of the Victorian family. Talise observed the Victorian men in their dark wool suits and hats, who were more often than not, immoral and deeply flawed.

The tremendously overdressed humans came to the beaches in strange bathing suites. The woman sunbathed and played in the water with their children. Strange bathing machines were brought out in the water so women could change into their bathing suits, without being seen by men. It afforded women some amount of privacy.

Talise tried to blend in, sitting in the sand on a blanket wearing an uncomfortable Victorian bathing suit. The outfit was made of wool, worn over bloomers, and had a sailor collar. But people wondered why a young girl of her age was unaccompanied, where was her chaperone?

Men made light of the situation because Talise was so plump and elegantly built. The ideal womanly shape for the era. Young men made passes at her in  eloquent language. Woman looked on her as if she was a trollope. But Talise didn’t mind. She could cause a bitter mother to tumble into the waves, or  even fall naked out of her bathing machine. Talise could cause a chaperone to embarrass themselves and the fragile girls they watched. Chaperone’s and girls in their care knew Talise was more enchanting than, any Victorian girl who lived in Adare.

Mermaids such as Talise came inland to mate and to fall in love. They needed to find a man who carried superior genes for their young. Talise was hopeful that in finding love she could find a completeness she hadn’t found in her family of mermaids or sea witches. Talise had always been called that ‘odd girl of Coralia’s’ growing up. Talise was the girl who made selfish decisions and got into trouble, despite having an adored Grandmother of a sea witch.

The beliefs of other mermaids and sea witches regarding Talise’s behaviour, injured Talise’s young heart sorely. Talise went to her cave where the looking glass was or swam into Adare as often as possible. Her goal was to have a human life on land. To live the dream girls in the Victorian age strived for — to become a wife, a mother, and have a family. Talise wandered the beach of Adare, waiting patiently for an ideal mate in various hideous bathing dresses.

Walking in the waves as the tide came in and out one day, Talise met her first love Ethan. Ethan was handsome and wildly fun. Talise hadn’t even thought twice about sleeping with him over and over again. Ethan married her and introduced Talise to society in a grand wedding ceremony. But Talise never gave birth to any children. There was no little girl (who was actually a mermaid) to pass on the skills Coralia had taught Talise. There was no boys for Ethan, to carry on his lineage.

Talise had loved Ethan with her whole-heart. She learned to be the perfect wife, hostess, and lover. When they never had any children, Ethan was sad.

“It’s not your fault, Talise. I understand. The Lord, does not care for us to have children.”

“Are you sure Ethan,” Talise asked. “I could go to a different Doctor. We could see if we are doing something wrong?”

“Nonsense.” Ethan replied.”But I have decided since my brother Simon has passed away, we should take on raising his two sons, Simon Junior and Edgar. They will be excellent heirs for my shipping business and will give you the children we aren’t able to have.” Talise kissed Ethan for his generosity and good thinking.

Talise silently employed her magic to help her family and to make their lives more comfortable. She healed the boys when they were sick and made sorry those who would harm her family through gossip or otherwise. Their debts were always mysteriously paid off and the boys wanted for nothing. Ethan’s shipping firm was absurdly successful.

But Talise did not know why she was barren. She was afraid to go back and acquire the help of a more powerful sea witch in the Sirene lake to find out why she couldn’t become pregnant. She thought Ethan might have been the reason — but of course, she would never told him what she believed.

Talise allowed her body to age with Ethan. But even at eighty, she looked mistakenly young. When Ethan died at the age of eighty-three. Talise mourned him wretchedly for years. But when the boys were in their late fifties, Talise used her increasingly powerful magic and stopped aging. She transformed her body back to her appearance as a youth. She watched in the mirror in her cave, as her beauty and juvenescence returned. When transformed, Talise appeared as if she had only aged four years, if one could tell.

But Talise had been unprepared for the information she learned from her and Ethan’s nephews after he died, before Talise had become a young woman again. Talise had discovered it was her who could not physically be a mother to a child. Ethan had had an affair throughout his life and had children.

Please Read Chapter 16 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

13. How Was Last Night For You: Injuries and Memories


Read Chapter 12 here.

Chapter 13: Injuries and Memories.

John was searching for Nina beneath debris inside the farmer’s market. He was worried about Nina and he couldn’t find her. He had lost her and their bags when they had dived for the floor as a booth had blown towards them.

John could see other people searching for friends or family in the warehouse. He watched a grey-haired man aid some other men caught underneath a table. Everyone at the farmer’s market was injured someway. The worst were broken limbs and large abrasions. John hoped Nina had escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. John’s breathing stopped for a moment when he saw a soft pile of pink fabric out of the corner of his eye.

Nina was lying on the cement floor of the warehouse her right hand covered in blood. John carefully removed the items that had landed on top of Nina from the wind. He removed the bags with some of her purchases from her slack hand. John gently shook Nina. When she didn’t wake up he realized Nina was unconscious.

John ran his hand gently through Nina’s hair and was startled when his hand came out dripping blood. He grimaced at the awful wound Nina had acquired on her head. She was going to need stitches and John wouldn’t doubt it if she had a concussion. He unwound the the pink scarf around her neck gently and pressed the scarf to Nina’s head injury. The scarf was ruined but hopefully it would stop the remaining bleeding.

Oddly enough, the storm had only affected a small area of Adare, close to Sirene Lake. It didn’t surprise John. He was sure Tia drew her power from the water as a sea witch. She was the one who had caused Nina’s head injury he thought hatefully.  John grabbed Samsung and called 911. Ambulances were no doubt in the area assisting people from the market because the paramedics were helping Nina in a flash.

John watched worriedly as Nina was put onto a stretcher. A brace was put around her neck and the paramedics put bandages on Nina’s head wound. John gathered Nina’s bags and rode in the ambulance saying he was Nina’s fiancé so he could accompany her to the hospital. On the way, John found Nina’s phone in her purse and called Jasper to help Rianne bring some of Nina’s clothes and toiletries to the Adare General Hospital.

John told Jasper Nina had hurt her head. Then he mentioned that Tia had returned. Jasper was aghast.

“After all this time?” Jasper wondered.

“Yes Tia’s back Jasper and she’s vengeful. She wants me, but she wants to hurt me too. She’s nothing like the sweet girl I used to know. Who laughed and partied with us years ago.” John said.

“The best way she can hurt me is through Nina. Tia’s jealous of her. I’m positive it was Tia who hurt Nina drawing power from the water of the Sirene for the storm. Nina said Tia was at the fundraiser last night dating a guy named Malcolm, one of our editors from Mergers. Tia called herself Talise. Nina ran into her at the farmer’s market today too.  Tia hurt Nina on purpose today.”

“Are you sure John?”

“Yes, Jasper. She told me ‘my heart or Nina’s’ I don’t think she could be much clearer. I think she wants one of our hearts literally.”

John ended the call as the ambulance pulled up to emergency. The wait in emergency was painfully long and Nina remained unconscious the entire time. Doctor Kenner eventually examined Nina’s head and said she would be out for awhile. Nina had a nasty gash on her scalp and the doctor stitched up the wound carefully. Doctor Kenner noted that Nina would need three or four weeks to heal from what he thought was a mild concussion.  Dr Kenner ordered  a CT scan and x-ray to be sure of Nina’s condition.

John set Nina’s shopping bags down by the window sill in her hospital room. He saw there were some different spices in one bag and a beat up apple pie in the other. He was starving and managing to procure a plastic fork,  John ate half the pie. It was delicious, and was well worth the necklace he bought Nina. John had never bought a woman such a personal gift before, except Tia. He remembered having bought her a bracelet with an opal stone. Tia’s favourite colour was teal. She had been ecstatic when John given her the bracelet years ago.


 

“John it’s gorgeous. It reminds me of the ocean and the waves.” A young Tia had said to him admiring her wrist. “You have good taste.”

” I saw it and knew you would like it. It was in Tiffany’s.” John remarked, his hands tangled in Tia’s blond waves.

“Tiffany’s wow, it must have been expensive John. I love it. And I love being here on the beach with a bonfire and only us. No one for you to do business with. No brothers for you to rough house with and meet clients with. Just us, when we get married promise we’ll go to Greece, somewhere the water is santorini blue. . .”

“Oh, umm,” John said nervously. “I have a heaping pile of work to do for the next while and building Mergers right now is exceptionally important to my brother’s and I. It’s our dream you know. We’ll have to wait awhile. We can always have a good time as we are. I don’t need a piece of paper to say we’re a sure thing. We don’t need to be married yet.”

Tia sighed sadly, “If you say so John. In a year or two right?” Tia said holding up her bracelet and looking adorable.

John kissed her wrist, “Sounds about right, Tia.” He kissed her slowly by the bonfire.


 

It wasn’t long after Tia cursed John because Tia thought John was using her. Despite searching the lake for her in his sailing boat and inquiring about her from Tia’s old friends, John hadn’t seen Tia in eight years. When John saw Tia at the market she looked almost the same. Her skin was smooth and dewy and her hair was a sun-kissed blond. Only, her personality was colder. She was devious. She wasn’t an innocent girl anymore. John had helped cause her Tia to become hateful what she was today — vengeful. He felt guilty, despite how irate Tia made him feel for the curse she had caste on John.

John clasped the less expensive but beautiful pearl on the gold necklace he’d bought for Nina. The necklace lay around her neck as she slept. When he bought it for Nina he knew it was a gift for Nina which had more meaning to him then Tia’s expensive bracelet. He wanted Nina to be his ‘beloved’ as the charm on the necklace read. He wanted to do better with Nina and work was no longer such an interference in his life. He had enough money that he could take time off when he needed. In that moment, John realized he wanted a future with Nina. If he had it his way — a lifetime.


 

Rianne and Jasper arrived when visiting hours were almost over. Rianne wasn’t looking to well with her arm in a cast and sling. She was in pain but tried to be cheerful with Jasper at her side. Jasper had helped Rianne gather some clothes and personal items Nina would require in hospital for a few days. Rianne kissed Nina’s cheek and she brought home Nina’s spices from the market. John had finished the pie refusing to leave Nina before she woke up.

Nina awoke from unconsciousness later in the night. She was groggy as he took her hand and kissed her cheek.”John… is that you? I couldn’t find you. I looked but you were gone and this table it hit me and then my head was bleeding.”

“It’s okay Nina,” John said “I called an ambulance and you’re in a hospital room now. Doctor Kenner has ordered a CT scan and an x-ray but he thinks you should be yourself in a few weeks if you’re careful. You have a little concussion, that’s all.”

“Oh” Nina said softly,”I don’t feel good at all…so queasy.” John quickly grabbed a bedpan and Nina threw up. She wiped her mouth with some Kleenex John gave her.

“It’s going to take some time for you to heal Nina, take it slow, honey.” Nina smiled at the endearment and weakly brushed John’s hand with hers before letting her hand drop and resting back in bed.

“I intend to…” Nina whispered. She was going to sleep again when she mumbled, “Call my Mom. Call Heather –”

John sighed. Talking to Nina’s Mother for the first time to tell her Nina’s injured, great…

Please Read Chapter 14 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

2. How Was Last Night For You – The Morning After and Brunch


For Chapter 1 of the story go to the highlighted link!

Chapter 2: The Morning After and Brunch

Nina awoke after sleeping and buried her fingers in her messy hair. Why, why do I drink so much? She thought. Nina’s head was pounding. She began to think about the night before. She thought about the subtle warning her body exhibited about John. And she remembered the vicious fight at The Manhattan, the poor person who was stabbed, and the woman who had grabbed onto Nina’s ankle from the water. Why had this woman claimed someone had pushed her into the water from her boat then decided to change her story? Did she truly see another woman in the water? Was that who pushed her in?

Last night,  Nina hadn’t doubted John in the end. He had been the perfect gentlemen to her. But there was an odd, careless, and resigned feeling to John. He had told Nina that it was only the full moon that made these odd events occur. John reminded Nina of the moon. Perhaps, it called to John like a beacon last night. There had been a bit of crazy in his eyes when he looked at the moon. At the same time, there was the gentle and practical side Nina had experienced of John.

He had helped Nina home and made her laugh. He told her about growing up in Adare in the suburbs playing in the leaves in Fall when he was young with his brother’s, Jasper and Jordan. They had a tree house his father Jack built. John’s Mom Edith would call the boys inside for hot chocolate with whipped cream when they were lucky. As boys, the three men  wrestled and tried to hurt each other. Jasper usually won because he was the the tallest and biggest but Jordan caught up to him, as did John.

John had also said he ran his own company with his brother’s called Mergers. They were a Publishing Company and ran the business over people who edited books, magazines, and decided which manuscripts were good and which were not. Nina had thought John had a fascinating job. She might like to work in the publishing field or be a writer. Nina was an assistant in marketing for an accounting firm called Wilus. Although, marketing had been what Nina wanted to go into in University, it didn’t quite fulfill the excitement Nina craved. Nina thought writing would be exciting. She craved a creative outlet of some kind. It had never bothered her until now, but she thought she might sit down and write something when she wasn’t busy. Only to see if she could still write anything of consequence.

Last night had been exciting! Nina believed  there were certain things that could not be explained by reason. There were powers in this world both good and evil. Nina prayed for the people who had been hurt last night. She secretly believed all people had some good in them. She was meeting John for lunch on Sunday. She thought he had a lot of good to him, even though behind his eyes such as dark shadows, secrets hid.

It wasn’t just the fact that John had piercing bright blue eye’s; a sculpted physique; an open boyish face with a wide smile; and kissable lips. It wasn’t because she liked John a lot, that he had cared for her so well the night before, and they had slept together. But she felt as if she knew John. Despite the fact Nina couldn’t put her finger on what was off about John, she believed his goodness out weighed the shadow of doubt that she and the events of last night had cast upon him.

First, Nina had to eat something even though her stomach felt queasy from getting plastered. Maybe, she would have a glass of orange juice, the electrolytes would help her hangover. Then she would call her bestfriend, Rianne and they would go shopping together. Nina needed to find the perfect lunch time outfit for John. Nothing  too over the top, maybe just a nice shirt to go with her dark jeans and her new pair of svelte black heels. She would also like Rianne’s opinion on what happened the other night with John. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation.

——-

The next day Nina met John at a modern restaurant overlooking the water that rippled and shimmered in the middle of the city. The restaurant was called The Hour Glass and was quite popular with a few locations in Adare. The sun cast John in a bright light which was ironic considering Nina knew John was no angel. It shone and reflected on the frame of sleek designer navy glasses that only made John’s eyes bluer. His mouth curved in a sly grin and he quickly got up to kiss Nina on the cheek as she greeted John at their table. John pulled out a comfortable red chair for Nina to sit in. She sat down grinning at John’s pleasant manners still feeling the imprint of his lips on her cheek.

The Hour Glass was comfortable and stylish. Black chairs and tables with deep-red upholstered seats covered a dining room and patio. Modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling inside where they sat and a sleek rectangular slate grey tiled fountain with shooting water springs was the center piece for the entire restaurant.

At supper The Hour Glass was a fashionable and romantic place to eat dinner with music that wasn’t too loud. But at night it became more of a bar. Especially in the warmer season, a windowed wall would open up and the patio was a prime location to be. It had a round slate tiled fountain and modern street lamps sitting amidst metal patio furniture. There were red cushions on the chairs and on booths for groups and lone couples to sit at. The booths were the best seats on the patio.

Nina sat inside with John as it was becoming Winter. Rain outside often became sleet.  Nina ordered a ginger ale and orange juice to calm her stomach. John ordered a beer. He sipped his drink lazily and turned his bright eyes on Nina who wore a turquoise blouse made from silk with her jeans and heels. John played with the chain around his neck, as Nina examined his appearance. A fitted navy jacket and dark fitted jeans, suited him. John rolled his beer bottle between his hands on the table and grinned at Nina:

” I was worried you wouldn’t come. After all, you don’t know me that well and last night was scary for you.” Nina opened her lips then closed them sipping her orange juice and ginger ale.

” John, was it a one night stand?” she blurted out “I’ve never done one of those before. I’m not that kind of girl, but I don’t think you would have invited me here if that’s all you think it is. I kind of thought we shared a bit of something last night. I think we’re attracted to each other a lot.  I mean, you acted as if you were such a gentlemen. You protected me and I liked being with you last night at my place. I would really like to see you some more.” Nina said wistfully. It was hard to meet men and John was really hot. John enamored Nina and he knew it. But she wasn’t clear if John felt the same way about her. John’s eyes pierced Nina and crinkled up in the corners as he smiled.

” You’re a good girl Nina and I had a lot of fun with you last night, all night. I would like to see you again but I’m a busy guy and I’m not sure you should be hanging around someone like me. You’re five or six years younger than I and I don’t know if you’re looking for the same thing I am. And you don’t know what kind of man I am Nina.  I haven’t always been the nicest guy, in fact, often I’m the mean guy, the guy who’ll  take you home and forget about you the next day. Starting what you want would be different for me…” John cleared his throat and looked away. Nina caught a soft smile still on his lips as he observed her.

” Well”, said Nina bemused ” I wasn’t asking to get married or even for a relationship. I was asking to see where this can go. I don’t meet guys I like often. I would like to see where the situation between us could go? Also, I had questions, you know about last night. Trouble just seemed to follow you and I around John. Why do you think that was?” Nina looked at John worried she’d gone too far and sighed in relief when John picked up the conversation. The waiter returned to take their food orders and Nina ordered a club sandwich and salad.

“I’d be willing to date you Nina, if that’s what you are looking for. I like you a lot. You’re different then my usual type,” John pondered. “But I can’t promise more and have to warn you about me. Trouble follows me like a curse Nina. That’s why I can’t commit to anything more. Bad things happen all around me. You don’t believe me but something is going to happen in this restaurant today. I know it is . . . ” John covered his head as if in pain.

On que, the large chandelier at The Hour Glass dropped to the dark wood floor of the restaurant  in a loud clash of glass and steel. The restaurant was fairly empty for a Sunday but families were there having brunch and enjoying the sunshine let in through the patio windows. Children let out frightened cries and adults held them back in fear and gawked as the light fell. Servers rushed to the scene of the accident and Nina rose up out of her chair to look while John sat calmly and stared at his hands. The restaurant manager came running, in awe at the chandelier covering the floor, no doubt thinking about lawsuits. Luckily, no one was hurt by stray pieces when the light fell.

” I don’t want bad things to happen but around me they do… I get this feeling when there about to occur.” John said sadly. Nina looked at him wide eyed and slightly afraid. He took her hand as she sat back down in her padded chair. ” I could never hurt you Nina, some people I can keep safe. Other, times I’m a walking nightmare. It’s not so bad most of the time, really.” John murmured his last sentence sadly as if he was sure he’d lost Nina already.

” I don’t know” Nina whispered “This is strange but I believe that strange things can happen in life and that they do. I don’t think everything that occurs in our lives is explainable, or always has an answer. I don’t believe you’re an evil person. Can you make those bad events stop happening John? Can you ever escape calamity?” Nina cleared her throat and gripped John’s hand tightly.

” There are ways, Nina” John said softly. ” There are ways, but for now lets just eat our food…” Nina looked at the people examining the chandelier’s remains.

“I’m not hungry” Nina grimaced noticing John’s mostly empty plate.” John stuck three twenties on the table, stood, and took Nina’s hand.

” Let’s walk, I live close by” he said casually, ” I thought maybe you could come over and we could talk, in private you know. I think you might believe me if I tell you”

“Believe what? Why all these events occurring around you? Around us? I think I’m freaking out a bit right now.”

“It will be okay Nina, I’m pretty sure I can keep you safe from these events. I think you’re the first woman I cared about in…well a long time. I know it’s fast but I need to tell you something that will probably seem unbelievable and ‘Brother’s Grimm’ to you. I need to tell you how I became this way. Maybe, you can help me get out of it.”

Nina closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay, you can tell me. I don’t know what I’ll believe but after all these events, an explanation would be nice.” Nina  left her car parked in the parking lot of The Hour Glass and let John lead her up the sidewalk a few blocks into the fancy houses lining the waterfront of Adare. John walked with her to his own house to the front door. Nina felt apprehensive. She concentrated on the  boats sailing by in the Sirene Lake on the waterfront. A lone fish leaped and sparkled in the grey-blue water.

Please read Chapter 3 here.

—-

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

1. How Was Last Night For You – The Beginnning


Chapter 1: The Beginning

“How Was Last Night For You.”

She had never seen John in her life before last night. But from the moment he and Nina spotted each other at The Manhattan Martini Bar, Nina had felt an invisible pull between them. Something about John made Nina feel breathless, excited, and terrified all at once. When he approached her with a unique pick up line it had made her smile. ” Of all your beautiful curves, your smile is my favourite,” he had whispered to her. John had bought her a cosmopolitan and they had started to chat. Nina and John had small-talked about the weather and how they liked living in Adare.

The next moment a fight broke out across from their table. Two men were wrestling. One head butted the other in the stomach while the other one punched the first guys neck and back. The men continued to fight. John had put a protective arm around her and led her away from the fight to another small table where they continued their conversation keeping an eye on the fight as it became increasingly violent and bloody.

It was an unusual scene for such a posh place, two men in designer suites going at it as if the fight was all that mattered. Jason, the manager of the Martini bar had called the cops and she wondered with increasing worry when they would show up. Some men had tried to unsuccessfully break the two fighting up with disastrous results. They had found themselves thrown out of the fighting circle and on to their asses, noses bloodied and ribs throbbing from a stray punch. The fight was getting too much to watch. Nina glanced up at John who wasn’t at all worried. He reassured Nina that the situation would be fine but she could not ignore the gasps, shouts, and groans of the other people at the bar as the two men fought like bears ready to maul each other to death.

Nina looked up at John with worried delicate pale-blue eyes. She did not know him well. But John had been perfectly amiable and flirtatious towards Nina. She felt John was distracted; however, and not by the fight.Nina had come out alone that night, to the little Martini Bar The Manhattan, underneath her condo building.

She had jumped in the shower after work, washing, then drying her almost white blond hair and carefully putting on sexy natural looking makeup: mascara, concealer, pink blush, and gloss. Nina chose a short classic black dress, the fabric hugging her curvy size ten pear-shaped figure. The dress draped in the back, revealed her soft white and shapely back. Nina was petite so gorgeous pink heels that completed the outfit were a must.

Nina’s group of friends had all been busy that night and she had  wanted to do something, anything, just to relax and forget a day at work where she had had to hustle. She was not sure why she spent so much time getting ready; she just had had a feeling about tonight, a premonition perhaps, that she needed to look smashing.

Then there had been John with those startling sapphire eyes, dark hair curling at his collar, and boyish handsome face. He was taller than her 5’6″ by a lot and he was nice offering to buy her a drink, sharing pleasant conversation with her, and making her laugh. But as the cops finally showed up, bursting through The Manhattan’s doors, Nina felt there was something off about John. He had not been one of the many men who attempted to intervene in the fight. He had watched the event as if it were perfectly normal as if he expected there to be a fight. John had almost seemed to be bored by it.

The cops who had come in numbers, with sirens, and with yelling, efficiently stopped the fight. Both fighters had swollen eyes that were black and blue and noses that were busted and bent. The men said nothing as they were separated and were shoved off into separate waiting police cruisers. They looked at each other with gleaming eyes full of malice and one of the men was jerked back painfully as he spit at the other man.

The noise in the bar gentled to a hum of excited voices out on a Friday night. The police were talking to witnesses, some people who had been at the bar near the fight, the bartenders, and waitresses dressed in tight black dresses and stiletto pumps. Nina looked up at John who was watching her closely. “Wow” she said, “that was brutal. I thought the police were never going to come. And did you see that fight so violent so….”

“Vicious” John replied quietly.

“But you weren’t worried at all?” Nina asked John.

“Not really” he shrugged “Boys will be boys, besides I would have kept you safe” he smiled. She half smiled back but found it hard to stay cheerful.

“Yeah, but you never thought to stop it with some of the other bigger men. I mean you must be 6’2″ or so and you look like you workout?”

“Why thank you,” John grinned but said seriously,” I knew the cops would have it handled, stuff happens at bars all the time, even this one. Given the nature of the fight I thought it unwise to interfere and leave you here alone.”

“I guess” Nina said distractedly wondering about John. There was something about him that just did not sit right with her. Yet at the same time she felt attracted to him and as if she didn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Want another drink?” She deliberated. “Nina?” John said quietly in her ear.

She shrugged “Sure I guess, a vodka water lime.”

“Let’s make it a double!” He grinned at her going to the bar but coming back empty handed. “Bar’s closing down, something to do with the fight.”

Nina nodded “I should….”

“Come on the night is young. Let’s go for a walk, go find somewhere else to enjoy?” John asked with a mischievous look in his eyes. Nina considered John’s request briefly. Was she safe going off with him? She still felt their was something a bit off about John. But there it was again, an invisible thread of attraction between them. She could feel the connection blooming between her and John when she caught him staring at her.

“Sure, sounds good.” Nina decided. She did not often go off alone and felt a bit nervous walking off somewhere with this near stranger. Usually, if she met guys at a bar it was with a friend or two. The thought comforted her but she felt drawn to John. She trusted him oddly enough, to some degree.

John draped Nina’s jacket over her shoulders and took her hand. They began walking down the block Nina lived on past other condo buildings, stores, and the occasional pub. John wasn’t interested into going into any place so she continued to walk with him, although her feet ached in her slim pink pumps. The heels were not that high but were not met for long walks past the Downtown to the Harbor of Adare, where bells dinged and she could hear water sloshing against the large white fishing and sailing boats. They had barely said a word to each other except for John asking her if she was okay occasionally. She nodded and they continued their walk past the Harbor to a further section of Downtown Adare.

Nina finally had to break the silence. “So you grew up here?”

“Yeah my parents still live here and like I said earlier, I own a publishing company with my two brothers Jasper and Jordan.” John grinned, ” I have great fun with my brothers, most of the time.”

” I bet,” Nina laughed. “Do you fish like most everyone around here?”

“Yeah, I love it. My Dad used to take my brothers and I out fishing when we were young. Taught us how to catch the best trout and how to gut and clean them. I’m more into sailing now, but my oldest brother Jasper goes with his two little boys sometimes. Their a bit young yet to fish but they like being with their Dad. Sometimes I go along.”

” Yuck” Nina said wrinkling her nose, “I hate fish. The way they smell, how they taste. It makes me throw up.”

“I’ll remember that,” John said, “No fish. I usually sail anyways. Only fish now and then makes good eats,” John teased.

Nina was distracted when she heard sirens again and was aghast to find police cars pulling up all over the block they were walking on. A group of paramedics carried a stretcher out in front of them and she heard whispers of a knife attack. She saw the evidence, bags of bloodied clothing, and a knife being carried out in a plastic bags by investigators.

Nina looked at John who shook his head and shrugged apologetically, “bad night” he murmured, “let’s get away from this scene, are you doing all alright?” Nina looked at John than up to the bright white orb of the moon dancing in the sky. It burned through the night sky as some beacon of hope then, a dark cloud moved to dance over it, partially hiding the moon’s revealing brilliance.

“I’m okay John. It’s just Adare, the city tonight is a bit scary. It kind of feels like the fight at the bar happening and this knife attack are more then just coincidence.”

John looked up at the moon and bit his lip. “Ah, full moon” he said” that explains everything” and he seemed satisfied with his answer. “Really are you fine, Nina?” Because I can help you get a cab or walk you home if you really want.” She breathed out carefully not so much afraid as flustered by John’s nearness.

“Like I said, it’s only that having a massive fight and encountering a stab victim on the same night is a lot to take in. Maybe we should head back to The Manhattan, I live right above there.” John looked at her thoughtfully and took her hand. They turned around walking back along the Harbor. Nina turned her head to look at the full moon again. “It’s so pretty but ominous” she breathed. John smiled, a gorgeous smile, much like the moon himself.

“Yes it is pretty, you’re pretty, and you don’t have to worry I’ll get you home. People just go a little peculiar on nights when there is a full moon, it’s scientifically proven. All the crazies come out.”

“Interesting theory” she wondered aloud,” what other kinds of weird things happen?”

“Oh, we’ll I guess anything out of the ordinary you could think of.”

“Hmm” Nina said, “that doesn’t make me feel better. But I do feel safe with you John.” He smiled at her. Nina continued to walk by the lake wrapping her white coat tightly around her body.

It was then something wrapped itself around Nina’s pink shoe and pulled! She screamed. John quickly came to her aid and pulled her away from the edge of wooden walkway at the Harbor. But a cold white hand, hung on to her ankle, and John pulled Nina and a cold shivering mess of a woman out from the Harbor water. “Oh my God” Nina stammered at the woman, “What happened to you? Are you okay? Are you hurt? How did you end up in the lake.Did you fall in?” Nina felt panicked.

The shivering mess of a woman began to cry. ” Somebody pushed me in” she wailed, ” I was standing at the rail of the boat after having dinner with my husband and then I was looking back waving at Thomas and these hands just grabbed me and hulled me over the side of our boat.” The cold wet woman had long auburn hair and shivered as John gave her his coat. She wrapped herself in the coat gratefully and Nina stood their transfixed as the woman told her story, frightened green eyes hazy with cold. “Then I called for help but no one heard me so I swam to the edge of the Harbor here. The water is so cold and I barely made it, then I saw your pink shoe and grabbed on.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Nina bent down to the woman. “ We should call the police John,” Nina said. John retrieved his Samsung phone from his pants pocket and began to dial.

“No, no, no” cried the woman suddenly, changing her mind,”it must have just been my imagination. I probably just fell. But I was sure there was this girl in the water. But I think I was tired and seeing things.” John and Nina looked at one another not knowing what to believe. It was strange, this woman changing her story and becoming all nervous, as if she was afraid of someone or something.

“But a doctor?” suggested John you could have hurt yourself and not known it.” The woman stood shakily and then more steadily.

“I’m fine really thanks…” The dripping wet woman hiked up her wet skirt and ran down the dock dropping John’s now soaked coat and headed for a boat with lights on. She turned around  and waved.John and Nina were left standing on the dock unsure of what to do as they heard the woman’s bare wet feet hit the dock in the distance.

John pulled himself together first, shook his head and went to retrieve his jacket. ” I wonder . . .” he said to himself thoughtfully, then shook his head as if what he thought couldn’t be true.

The light on the boat the woman had ran to went out and John grabbed Nina’s hand. They half walked and half ran all the way to her condo. John walked Nina up to her condo and feeling brave, after everything she had witnessed that night Nina invited him in. “What was that?” she asked John. What a night! A bar fight, a stabbing, and a woman who nearly drowned. And what was that she said about seeing some girl in the water?Do you think she was imagining things.” Nina took out a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Rye. They did a few shots to calm themselves down and began to talk again.

” It will alright Nina it was just one awful night and a full moon. We’re fine. No one is going to hurt us.” He kissed her forehead as if she were a child and preceded to make her laugh by telling her stories about growing up in his family with a Dad who was a Professor of Fairy Tales and Folklore, and a stay-at- home Mom who was a nurse again. Nina told him about her own childhood. About her divorced Mom, Heather, a Cosmetician, and her Dad the Wall Street Lawyer who they never heard from.

It was 3:00 am when Nina drunkenly, sauntered to the bedroom. John followed a dazed grin on his face. She never did things like this but tonight she felt adrenaline from the night rushing through her and just maybe, it was the full moon.

Nina felt her dress fall to the floor and John kissing and biting his way down her neck, before they both fell on to the bed half-dressed. Things became fuzzy after that. They had made love and fallen asleep but when she woke up the next afternoon it was to the ringtone on her iPhone “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.

“How was Last Night for you?” The voice said on her phone as she pinched her eyes together and rubbed her left temple as a hangover set in.

“Um, interesting…” She croaked.

John laughed, “yes, it was” he said.

“How’d you get my number?” She asked John confused. “Oh, you gave it to me last night” he laughed “and this is me giving you my number.”

“Oh thanks,” Nina croaked trying to sound awake.”You left early.”

“No, thank you” he beamed through the phone “ I had a meeting. I just didn’t want you to forget me after all we had to drink and all that happened last night.” Thinking fuzzily back to last night Nina groaned:

“I wouldn’t forget you, believe me. It was just all so weird all the violence and that woman grabbing my shoe.”

“I like full moons,” John murmured,”unusual things happen.”

“Unusual is right.” Nina lay gratefully back on her soft bed.

“You, you were unusual, unexpected” he said softly.

“So were you,” Nina countered.

“I never thought I’d have a chance when you walked in but then….”

Nina sighed, “well that’s a full moon you. Strange things happen.” she commented wryly thinking about the palpable attraction she shared with John.

Nina planned lunch with John for Sunday afternoon. He did not seem so weird to her this morning, after their conversation late into the evening. Nina considered last night and shook her head in disbelief. When she thought of John and his handsome face she smiled. Then, she settled back against her pillows for a few hours more sleep. What a night.

Please read Chapter 2 here.

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