It was a fine meal until Mark threw his cutlery down shouting,”I’ve had enough.” I didn’t know what he meant and didn’t think we had marriage problems as we had a date night each week, talked in the mornings and evenings, and throughout text messages all day. We’d been married ten years and my eyes teared up at Mark’s unexpected outburst; he brushed a tear from my cheek and whispered, “I’m not done with you silly, just your cooking.”
I didn’tunderstand it, we’d been dating a year and Raph never touched me in public. He didn’t mind when I rubbed his back in the mall or if I made the effort to lace my fingers through his. When I first pecked him on the cheek in public he blushed bright red.
I asked him one day why he didn’t touch me in public. In private he couldn’t keep his hands off me. He didn’t mind cuddling at home and he often tangled his hand in my hair or massaged the back of my neck while we watched TV. I adored these touches but didn’t understand why he was afraid to initiate small bits of PDA.
I explained to Raph how it was important to me because it made me feel like I was his, that he loved me, and didn’t care what anyone else thought of us. He was angry at first and confused, but the next day as we grocery shopped he linked his pinky through mine while we waited to pay.
Two days later he casually put his arm around my shoulders at his friend’s house. I snuggled into him kissing him when his buddy went to grab more beer. I linked my pinky with his and smiling, Raph returned the kiss as his friend walked into the living room. I was thrilled Raph understood how much these small touches meant to me.
Twilight fades and darkness overtakes the sun. It’s difficult to see at night in the winter when there isn’t much snow. Those glistening piles such as frozen clouds, usually manage to catch the moon’s radiant glow. But tonight the only light outside is a crescent moon and far above, the glimmering stars.
The lights on the dashboard flicker on and I gaze at you behind the wheel, humming softly to yourself as you continue our drive in an ink dark night. I can see from your face you’re exhausted.
“Please let me drive for you? At least a couple of hours so you can sleep, Tye?”
You roll your eyes at me in the relative darkness in the inside of our car, “You don’t drive well enough. You only drive to the grocery store and a short distance to work. You don’t have experience driving on icy highways at night, Cara” Tye looks at me waiting for me to respond.
Finally I peep, “When I took my drivers lessons, we drove on icy snowy highways. I drive all around the city,” I inform him. “Highways aren’t my favorite but you’re falling asleep at the wheel and I can handle driving until we reach Red Deer. The roads are deserted and I’m going to be driving straight and making sure I stay a good distance behind any other vehicle I come across.”
Tye nods and bites his lip. I can tell he has no energy to argue with me. “I do need the sleep badly. When we get to Red Deer let’s stop and stay at a hotel for the night, okay Cara?” I smile at Tye in agreement and watch him pull the car over to the side of the highway to trade seats wih me.
I start to drive and at first I can see he’s a bit frightened for me and frankly so am I. But eventually Tye realizes I can keep up the speed on the highway and that I’m driving well, keeping my eyes on the road.
At one moment I feel the car wiggle and slide over an ice patch but I pump the breaks and I drive the car without incident again. I wonder if he noticed my dangerous slip, but peering to my side I see Tye is sound asleep.
My poor guy, I think running my one hand through his hair as we reach Red Deer. I park the car near a decent hotel. The Best Western appears newer and well taken care of. Tye rubs his eyes when I gently shake him awake.
When we are finally in our room I shower and I’m surprised when he joins me. “So, we’re talking again I guess? You’re not mad at me anymore?” I ask Tye.
He holds me from behind, curving his body into mine and sighing in my wet hair. He kisses my cheek, “I don’t want to fight with you Cara. I want us to us again. I don’t like that your ex kissed you, but I thought about it the entire time we’ve been driving home from the mountains. You didn’t initiate the kiss and your friends said the same thing. My buddies agreed with them too. The whole situation made me so angry, I can’t even explain it.”
I nod and rest my head back on Tye’s bare shoulder, “I would never, you know that? But I can’t explain things to you if you won’t communicate with me. We could’ve solved this back in the mountains and skipped the tense ride home. I didn’t mean to make you jealous. I punched my ex for hitting on me after you went back to the hotel still foaming at the mouth,” I say with a proud smirk.
Tye strokes my cheek and kisses my lips, “Punched him, hey? I’m so happy to hear you did. I wanted to morethan punch him before I cooled down. It’s all forgotten, Cara. But I think we could both use some extra distractions just in case.”
I giggle and turn around so I’m flush against Tye, “Okay, let’s completely wipe our minds clear of the past couple of days.”
The night became one of our most memorable nights together.
(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
Today, is part 2 of my Luxebox, a quarterly beauty box. I received two boxes in one for Fall 2016. This part is my actual Luxebox. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pick a theme, but the other free Luxebox balanced out with this fact. Anyway’s enjoy!
Well, that’s it until the winter box. Thanks for stopping by!
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.