Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s Tale Weaver Prompt. The prompt is to have a character visit this centre of relaxation and cover and recount their experiences. I will use it as continuation of my Teegan’s Potion story. This is Part 4. Here are the links to the other parts of the story. I apologize for taking so long with this last part.
Teegan couldn’t recall ever being at a spa before or a place of retreat. But he hadn’t been given a choice. He was a thief, a crookster. He conned people out of their money, he had been doing so for a couple of hundred-years.
He was almost nomadic, roaming the forests and the woods. He could not help when his curse took over him. He was learning to control it, but even to control it a little was difficult for the first one-hundred-years he lived as this ‘thing.’ Whatever you would term him.
Teegan wasn’t sure himself what he was. But he knew when he was upset, he was still prone to rages where darkness, the shadow of the beast hiding inside him took over. He was in a little town when it happened this time. He’d been in a lodge having a bath, cleaning himself up, shaving his beard when his room was suddenly filled with men. They had come to collect him and in turn the bounty on his head for his years of murderous deeds.
“Teegan of the Forest, we’ve been after you a while. My Father spent his life chasing you and my Grandfather, half his life too. I’m ending it here and bringing you in. You’re a plague on society. I don’t care you can control your wickedness at times. I only care when you’re angry you cannot,” a man named Henry Barger said. He was the brother to a son of the local earl, who had come across Teegan on a bad night.
He vaguely recalled Henry’s father and grandfather, both had been named Henry and hunted him. It wasn’t Teegan’s fault they’d died. They kept pushing him, attacking him, refusing to leave him in peace.
Presently, the men surrounding Teegan tried to rough him up, so he’d be easier to take the Earl of the land. But this wasn’t going to happen so he let his anger grow and consume him. In moments, Teegan’s bedroom had become a bloody battle field. Not one of those men had stood a chance. He hadn’t wanted to kill them, but what choice had they left him? Why in God’s name had the wretched wizard cursed him in the first place? He hadn’t been that evil had he?
He sighed getting back in his still warm bath among the carnage, bathing himself clean of blood before changing his clothes. Teegan snuck out the window and with his wits about him, entered into the forest he knew well.
Hours later, he found himself surrounded again by monks from the local monastery. He laughed, but at the same time, definitely did not want to kill men of the cloth.
“Please let me go,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt any of you. Especially since you’re holy men. Leave me in peace and you’ll never see me again.”
A priest appeared from among the monks. His face lined but his stature regal. “Teegan of the forest, I know a greatdeal about you. I’m Father Matthews. I know you were cursed to live a long life, to suffer. I know what you initially did to invoke your curse. I’m not here to turn you in for coins to the Earl, I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me, why?”
“Because Teegan,” Father Matthew’s replied, ” More killing or trying to kill you, only results in more death. Also, I have a bit of insight into the souls of men and I can see, yours is shredded from your deeds. You will never be able to stop the monster inside alone. But I know someone, a woman of blessed magic who can.”
Teegan rolled his eyes but Father Matthews continued talking.”I have spoken with Hazal and we both feel, she can help you. As long as you drink her potion twice a year withher, she says you will not turn evil when your temper ignites, when you’re unable to harness the beast inside you. We can help Teegan, please let us.”
“I don’t want, I don’t need some witches help,” Teegan sputtered indignantly.
“She’s not any witch and not pureevil as the Wizard who cursed you. He was a ‘Wizard Demon,’ and know one wants to find him after dealing with the fall-out of the curse he gave you. You don’t have much choice Teegan. You need to retreat with Hazal and her clan, they will help you.”
“But if you don’t,” Father Matthews said ominously, “We will end your life right now and we know how to do it. If you choose to meet Hazel, I will bring you to her and once you’ve worked with her for a while, you can go about your life. As long as you always find Hazel and her femaledescendants, to take your potion twice a year, you’re a free man.”
Teegan nodded his understanding at Father Matthews. He gazed around him at the monks in their sack clothe, with torches lit. He peered confused at the priest who instead of trying to hurt him, wanted to help Teegan with his curse. No one was kind to Teegan, not since he’d been human.
He felt the priest was a good man in his heart, trying to help Teegan for Teegan’s sake and everyone Teegan came upon, so he didn’t hurt them unknowingly. Father Matthews promised him what he had always wanted to be able to do, to live his life without the darkness, the shadowy curse which made him a monster.
“Alright Father,” Teegan said. “I will come with you. But promise me this woman Hazel, she will not harm me? Or kill me, herself?”
“I promise and she will say the same.”
Teegan followed Father Matthews back to the monastery. He hoped no one found him before he saw Hazal. He would have to start over in the new world he thought, perhaps, convince this Hazel to come with him if she was pretty? But for now, the monestary was the safest place for Teegan to rest. As he fell asleep, he wondered about this witch, could her potion actuallycontrol his curse?
Sighing he dreamt of a woman with hazel eyes and a soft touch. When he awoke he found himself not in the monestsry, but asleep in a tranquil room in a comfortable bed as those of nobility slept on. The room was ornately decorated and sighing, thinking it was all a dream, Teegan faded back into sleep.
When he awoke again, and the sunlight was pouring into the lavish room, Teegan arose from the softest bed he’d ever slept on. It was plush with furs and woven sheets. He longingly gazed back, wishing he could sleep forever away, but he realized he was here to receive help from the gifted witch of blessed magic named Hazel.
Her family lived well, he thought to himself. He wondered again why, the priest would save someone as terrible as him. Teegan had murdered and hurt so many people when the beast overtook him, especially in the beginning of his cursed life, when he had no control at all. The priest knew what Teegan had initially done to be cursed. Teegan thought back to that day ages ago, almost two-hundred-years.
Back then, he’d only been around twenty-five winters, he wasn’t exactly sure. He’d grown up spoiled, a son of the aristocracy. A future Lord and Vassal, yet he hadn’t known enough to value his position. He hadn’t cared much but for mead, women, and fun.
No women ever caught his attention long. He imagined he had a few bastards here and there among the village lasses and the barmaids. Then there were the maids and courtesans.
There had been a lovely one with dark black hair and blue-eyes. Eyes such a stormy blue, he felt he was drowning in them the first time he saw Eleanor’s eyes. But everyone knew Eleanor was off-limits. She was the Earl’s personal and most current favourite mistress.
But Eleanor had beguiled Teegan as a young man. She was a seasoned suductress and she drew him in.
“Such a handsome man as yourself, all alone in the Earl’s court? I’ve noticed you’ve stopped bringing the servant girls and other courtesans to your bed? The Earl prefers his vassals to be properly taken care of, is something the matter?” Eleanor had asked him, fluttering her lashes and rubbing his arm.
“No Madam, nothing is wrong. But I’m not interested in those women because they’re all the same after a while. I have in my eyes the picture of the most elegant and graceful women in the land and no other woman compares with her beauty or kind manner,” Teegan told Eleanor, who laughed.
“Ah, so is the son, of the Lord of the Forests, in love then?”
“He thinks perhaps, but he is waiting to see what the woman he longs for says to his request. He cannot touch her, but desperately wants to be with her. He would defy all authority to have her. Do you know who she is Eleanor?”
Teegan must have shown he was a tad nervous. He’d never had to proposition a woman before. He’d known what a dangerous situation he was getting himself and his family into, but the price was more than he’d ever dreamed.
Eleanor laughed again,”You play a complicated and deadly game young Teegan. You wouldn’t be the only person defying an Earl or the wretched wizard who follows him around. You’d best consider some other courtesan. Then you will not be killed or worse for touching me. Then again, I like a guy who lives a bit dangerously. Shall we go for a walk in plane sight, so no one thinks we’re doing anything wrong?”
Teegan had agreed and Eleanor had been a wonderfully skilled storyteller, entertaining him, but never touching him, making it seem as if they were keeping each other company, while she waited for the Earl to call for her.
Then, Eleanor had pretended to fall and while Teegan aided Eleanor in righting herself, she whispered: “Meet me at the gamekeepers cottage, tomorrow night.”
Teegan had agreed and they had made love madly there for hours when the Earl and his consort, walked in on Teegan and Eleanor. Eleanor pleaded and was instantly forgiven, the Earl adored her so much. She did nothing to try and save Teegan, saying the whole idea was his fault.
“I’m only a woman, how could I resist him, he charms all the women where ever he goes,” she told the Earl.
He kissed Eleanor, “I forgive you, my love. You couldn’t help yourself. My Wizard will deal with this scoundrel. He’ll make Lord Teegan sorry.”
Then the Earl and Eleanor left the cottage and it was only half-naked Teegan and the evil Wizard. The old man cracked his fingers, his dark eyes eating into Teegan’s soul. Teegan was terrified . . .
Then someone was shaking him awake.
“Teegan,” a melodic and gentle voice said. “Teegan wake-up, we need to have your potion now.”
He mumbled something than yelled. When he was finally awake, a woman with auburn hair, milky skin, and vibrant green eyes was staring at Teegan appearing worried. She brushed the hair back from his face and rocked him as the edges of his nightmare faded.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for Friday’s music prompt, “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” by Rod Stewart. The song is loosely used in part three. Warning Part Three contains Adult Content.
“I Don’t Want To Talk About It” – Rod Stewart
Tallia drove back to Fairy Dust as fast as her Vespa would take her without losing the giant fish off the Vespa’s back compartment. She was feeling afraid because she knew Teegan would be nearly awake, but felt certain he would be in enough of a fog she would have time to make the potion he required. She prayed the tonic took his darkness away, the shadow that stalked him. But at the same time Tallia knew, the shadow was Teegan.
The presence of darkness lurked as Tallia quietly opened the back door, slipping inside her shop. She set the goldfish in his bag, down on a countertop and stood for a moment blinking tiredly. It was the middle of the afternoon and a wave of fatigue overwhelmed her. She had been up late thinking about Teegan, what he could have possibly done hundreds of years ago to be cursed so wickedly. She was thinking about him in other ways too, Tallia realized blushing.
She wasn’t sure what she’d do if Teegan knew she’d drugged him, what he’d say or do. She didn’t know how much in control Teegan was of his darkness right now. The wisest thing Tallia could do was make him his potion whenever he needed it, whatever kind of potion it was. She thought about the wisdom Teegan hopefully acquired in his centuries alive. Would it make him extra understanding?
Then again, she could be wrong. Some people never learned their lessons despite experience. Yet Tallia was sure, in Teegan’s startling green eyes had been knowledge of dark deeds and lessons learned with difficulty. The blackness in his gaze almost had the affect of repelling Tallia at first.
At the same time, his emerald eyes were seductive and drew her too Teegan. No matter his real age, he appeared to be in his thirties. He was ridiculously good looking in the truest sense. She could smell his particular pleasing scent from where she leaned against the counter in the back of her store. Where she put together potions and caste spells for magical items customer’s required.
Perhaps, it was her heightened sense of smell which brought to life Teegan’s addictive scent, or maybe her memories were more vivid due to her attraction to him.
Tallia jumped when a voice whispered in her ear.
“Where’d you go? How come my potion’s not made? I need it now Tallia,” he whispered.
“Yep, I’m awake, thanks for the nap by the way. Did you find out what you needed too? I see you got the giant gold fish. You’re worried about me and the shadow around me which makes you sick. You went and talked to Jude. He’s been around over a century. Old for most humans, but not as old as me, Tallia.”
“I didn’t talk to Jude, he’s in the hospital because he had a stroke and isn’t doing well,” Tallia sad with sadness.” I talked to his great-grandson Aspen. He run’s the store now I guess. He said you were cursed, that you did something terrible. That’s why you’ve so much darkness. How do you make it go away Teegan? What happens if you don’t take this potion?”
Tallia felt warm and comfortable and realized Teegan had moved to hold her from behind, his arms crossed against her stomach. Teegan’s head suddenly lay against hers and she could feel him sigh as if he could finally relax. Tallia had never been so near to Teegan, she felt dizzy in good way. It felt wonderful to be held so gently, though she wondered if Teegan realized he had moved to comfort her.
Moments later, Tallia felt Teegan’s lips firmly on the side of her neck, traveling up under her ear and sucking gently on her earlobe. His lips moved back down her neck to the v-neck of her sweater. He kissed her over her heart and Tallia shivered when his lips traced her neck, went over her chin, and landed on her lips. Her heart was racing, she felt hot and cold all over.
Teegan bit her lip gently, seeking access to her mouth. His tongue met hears with need. Tallia couldn’t think, could only feel. Her connection with Teegan was something new to her. This sense of knowing him and recognizing him, beyond the physical sense. In her mind, she could feel him encouraging her to relax.
“I’ll take care of you,” he whispered.
Teegan kissed Tallia until she was breathless, his hands massaging her stomach, sides, and hips. His hand moved up to squeezing her breast over her sweater and short coat. She moaned when he broke off his the kiss leaving Tallia wanting. He breathed in the crook of her neck, his hand not moving, but not leaving either. It seemed as if hours had passed but it had only been minutes.
Teegan collected himself and moved a distance from Tallia as he spoke: “Tallia, I can’t. I want to, but I shouldn’t have done that; it confused you. I need you to make my potion nowplease. You’re the only one who can do it. It has to be one of your bloodline. And if you don’t I’ll turn evil. I’ll be a curse myself, a terrible man. I’ve done such evil because I’m cursed, or was before your gifted ancestor came up with this potion. It’s the only way to keep me from turning, Tallia. You and I, we’re tied together because of your ancestor. You remind me of her,” Teegan remarked.
“You need to tell me the entire story. This isn’t fair Teegan. Of course, I’ll make the potion. But my Aunt never told me any of this. The cancer took her a way in so little time. I need more answers from you,” Tallia pleaded.
“I don’t want to talk about it Tallia. Make the potion. You’re breaking my heart here,” Teegan said rolling his eyes.
“What if I don’t?”
“I’ll be evil, as I’ve said and as I’m sure Aspen told you. I’ll hurt you, probably kill you, and I don’t want to do that. If I kill you, I’ll be evil forever — until someone kills me. You’re the last in your line. Make the potion, Tallia, we could be happy.”
“Tallia, make it now! You know I’m not trying to deceive you. You can feel it.”
“Yes, you’re right. I do feel you’re being genuine. I’ll make it as fast I can.”
Tallia gathered all the ingredients she had laid out earlier and brought them to an extremely large mixing bowl. She measured all the ingredients into the bowl quickly and accurately, barely thinking. She followed the directions in Aunt Willow’s tome and chanted the right words when she needed to say them. Pouring out the water of the giant gold fish’s bag in a sink, she slid the giant flopping gold fish into her bowl. With wide eyes she watched the potion simmer and turn scarlet.
Aspen had been right, the goldfish was a sacrifice of life. Although a mouse or anything small would’ve done the job, but her ancestor’s writing said the giant goldfish was preferred. Tallia strained the chunks of ingredients from the mixture; the goldfish had disintegrated.
Tallia pulled a beer stein out of her cupboard to Teegan’s surprise. She poured half of the scarlet liquid into the earthen beer stein. Teegan had been watching Tallia create the potion the entire time. He hadn’t said anything, only watched her, familiar with her actions. He’d probably watched her Aunt Willow and her Great-Aunt do the same. And many of Tallia’s ancestors, if she could believe his story.
She turned around from the giant bowl and found Teegan beside her, leaning against the counter studying her. His hand moved, pushing her light purple-grey hair behind her ear. He was so much taller than her, Tallia thought.
Teegan smiled when she offered him the beer stein.”Where’s yours?”he asked her.
“Where’s my what?”
“Yourhalf of the potion? You have to drink it with me,” Teegan told her.
Tallia was about to protest but he was gazing at her in a particular way. She noticed the pain usually hidden in his eyes present. She felt it through herbeing and it softened her heart; her protests crumbled.
” I wish I wasn’t so intuitive, Teegan. You do really need me to drink your tonic with you? Do you promise I’ll be okay?”
“I promise. Your Aunt, she was always fine. You’ll find it invigorating actually,” he said.
Tallia nodded reading what Teegan had told her in the tome beside her on the counter. How did she miss that direction? Peeringup she noticed him pouring her a beer stein of the remaining liquid. She took the potion from him, grimacing because she knew the ingredients in it. She tasted a bit of the potion, testing the flavour. It tasted like cinnamon and a woodsy red wine. How could that be?
“Bottoms up?” Teegan said holding up his stein.
Talia clinked her stein with his, “Slainte,” she said.
Teegan’s potion was easy going down. Tallia could feel a lightness, as if her cares were floating free. She felt energy, Teegan was right. His potion did feel invigorating. Her mind felt intensely perceptive as well. Swallowing the remenants of the liquid she saw Teegan had already finished his.
“Better, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s amazing stuff,” she said peering everywhere, everything around her was completelycrystal clear. Her early fatigue was gone. Tallia noticed Teegan’s dark circles had faded. He appeared younger, his few wrinkles smoothed out. He was gazing at her again in certain way, and she knew from the flicker in his green-eyes what he wanted. Tallia felt almost drunk, except the potion made everything feel real.
She laughed aloud and Teegan frowned,”What?”
“No you’re not getting that from me,” she said.
“It wasn’t difficult to get a kiss and more from you before. You like me. I can tell, I like you too,” Teegan said, eyes darkening and meeting her own.
“No,” Tallia said laughing again. “You have to earn it. Take me out. Tell me about yourself and my ancestors. Did you sleep with one of my great- great – female relatives?”
“Don’t you feel like you’re burning up inside? I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t . . .” he said approaching Tallia, following her as if she were prey. “I slept with the first of your ancestors I knew, she was my . . . my woman, for a while. But she died and we never had a child.”
Tallia backed away from Teegan smiling, wary but turnedon at the same time. He was irresistible and Tallia found herself trapped against a wall. She laughed more as Teegan stripped off his shirt and unbuckled his belt. Her mouth ran dry seeing his finely sculpted body. He grinned and grabbed both her hands, holding her hands above her head. Tallia whimpered and Teegan chuckled.
“I’m not, I’m not a one night type of girl and you’re . . . you smell so good. But you’ve lived so much longer than me, what could you possibly see in me,” she murmured.
“You’re not one night Tallia. I was thinking many many and I see you’re beautiful and gifted; you’re also intelligent.You didn’t immediately trust me.”
“Okay . . .” Tallia began but Teegan’s lips roughly met hers and she gasped as his tongue invaded sliding against hers. His hands were everywhere beneath her shirt and bralette. Then her shirt and bralette were gone and his mouth was there and she couldn’t contain her cries. “Oh no . . .”
He removed his mouth breathing hard, “Stop?”
“Oh please no!” Tallia said.
He chuckled and continued loving her with his mouth. “Teegan . . .” she whispered, feeling her body melt into his.
He pulled off the rest of her clothes, kissing her slightly round stomach and turning her around to kiss Tallia all over back and to her surprise, over her hips and bottom. His fingers found her center and rubbed below, circling her sweet spot, his thumb pressing against her.
“Please please. . .”
Teegan kissed her bottom again and turned her around so his head was level with Tallia’s belly button. He kissed her stomach before thrusting two fingers into her core, she shook and nearly screamed. It hurt but it was okay because the pleasure of his fingers going in and out of her was intense. She wailed when his fingers took her over the edge.
He kissed her, his lips and tongue centered on her core. The sensations Tallia felt were indescribable. Teegan was teasing her, he knew she need to come again but wasn’t letting her; he was making her wait for him. Teegan removed the rest of his clothes and gently lifted Tallia’s body onto the counter. He pushed both his fingers inside her again, adding a third.
“I’ve never . . .” she whispered suddenly shy.
“At your age? I’m flattered, no one values that these days,” Teegan whispered.
Tallia flushed, “Well it’s complicated. It’s gone but, I never had sex.”
“What do you mean?” Teegan asked stopping. His voice sounded grim.
“Don’t stop, don’t,” Tallia begged.
“Okay, but I will kill whoever did it to you,” he promised.
Tallia believed Teegan, he appeared dead serious even though they were having sex.”It’s fine,” she mumbled. “It was a university party. I was too drunk and fell asleep and he was there sometime. When I woke up he was gone and I hurt,” Tallia admitted anxious for Teegan to continue loving her.
“Are you okay, are . . .”
“Please don’t, don’t stop. Please I need you.”
Teegan nodded, understanding. “You’ve got me,” he replied.He guided himself to her entrance and gently pushed inside.
“Good, more.” Tallia said gripping his sides until Teegan was completely inside her. It stung and hurt but it was also the best feeling she could imagine when he began to move. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he whispered dirty things in her ear, all the things he wanted to do to her.
She felt his rhythm increase and her own body released again, more powerfully this time. She felt the final pushes of him in her body as he came. Teegan breathed heavily, holding Tallia and kissing her forehead.
Then, Tallia was crying, amazed tears were falling down her face. But Teegan gently hushed her and kissed her tears. It was hard for her to believe Teegan could ever be an evil monster. Tallia needed to know more about his past, when he was ready to tell her; she hoped it was soon.
Tallia anxiously glanced at Teegan who was asleep on her waiting area couch. She was sure Teegan would be angry at her for drugging his coffee, but Tallia didn’t feel she had a choice. Something was off about Teegan and the darkness surrounding him and Tallia didn’t want to make his potion rashly; there could be dire consequences.
She had found one ingredient which was odd, scrawled off to the side of the ingredients and directions for the potion for Teegan in her Aunt Willow’s tome. Apparently, the potion required a giant gold fish. Tallia wasn’t sure why Teegan’s potion would require the gold fish, but it was something she would have to leave the store to buy.
Teegan had told her if he drank his potion the darkness surrounding him, the shadow that caused a sensitive magically inclined person such as Tallia to hurt and feel pain, would leave for a long time. How long was a long time? And how old was Teegan really? To her he looked about thirty-five.
If he was as old as she thought he might be, she knew he might understand the sleeping drought in his coffee, knowing Tallia as a magic shop owner, had to be wary if Teegan’s potion involved dark magic. Tallia had no way of knowing how long he would be asleep from the drought. She had tried calling Jude, the owner of The Black Coven magic store numerous times on his cell.
Jude must be having a brisk business at his store because he or his assistant, never picked-up the store phone either. Jude was about eighty-years-old as best as she could guess. But his family magic shop dated back to the Middle Ages. He had to know something about Teegan and the potion.
Tallia checked on Teegan one more time, she hoped he’d be out another two hours at least. She needed to leave the store buy the giant goldfish as well as visit Jude. Something inside her told Tallia it was vital she gathered as much information she could get on Teegan and his potion before she set about making it.
She drove her Vespa to The Black Coven first. It was located in an ancient, rundown part of town dating back to the 1400’s. But those who needed to visit Jude’s magic shop, knew how to find it. As Tallia’s own magic shop had been with Aunt Willow, Jude’s place was also a hole in the wall.
The streets were narrow here and Tallia knew her Vespa would be more inconspicuous, as well as, she would be able to travel down narrow streets she couldn’t maneuver with her car. There was a bit of parking lot a block down from The Black Coven. Tallia parked, leaving her Vespa in a parking space.
She walked down to the ancient magic shop, opening the creaky old wooden door and removed her side-bag. She had placed her Aunt’s great tome in her bag. She turned the book to the correct page, listing ingredients and directions to make Teegan’s potion in the script Tallia did not recognize.
Then she called out, “Hello Jude, are you there? It’s Tallia, Willow’s niece. I’m sure you felt me coming. Was there a reason you didn’t pick up the phone? Or have you guys been extremely busy today?”
Tallia received no answer. She gazed around the dusty store, it appeared empty.”Um, Jude’s assistant, Aspen, are you here? We’ve never meant, but last time I talked to Jude, he’d said he hired you to take over from him?”
Again Tallia received no reply. She walked around the magic shop. The Black Coven was a mishmash of magical items all stored on old stone and wooden shelves in no particular order or thought to design.
Powerful and dangerous items were among those items which were standard, and pretty harmless magical items. She saw crystal balls, different statues, and a wall with ingredients for potions and spells kept in jars.
She was shocked to see certain items used only for dark sorcery. These items frightened Tallia. She could sense there blackness in her mind. They were much worse than the darkness which followed Teegan — at least she thought so.
Jude had always been grandfatherly to Tallia. She had meant him many times as grew-up. He often had coffee with her Great-Aunt and Aunt. She wondered why he wasn’t answering her. Tallia walked up to the counter where a 1950’s cash register sat in dust. There was a bell and Tallia dinged it a few times.
Eventually, a man about the same age as Teegan came out. He looked Tallia over and before she could say anything he held up his hand.
“We knew you were coming Tallia. It’s alright. Jude hasn’t been well lately and he’s in the hospital. For his age, he has done well until now. It’s why he hired me to handle things. I’m one of his great-grandsons, I’m. . .”
“You’re Aspen. I know, Jude told me about you last time I saw him a few months ago. He attended my shop’s re-opening. I run Fairy Dust.”
“Yes, Jude told me about you. You rang his cell, but he has trouble talking right now my Aunt told me. He had a stroke. I’m sorry I was busy when you called out in here. From what I can glean from you, you’re dealing with some sort of darkness from a client and you need some advice,” Aspen said.
Tallia nodded, “Poor Jude, that’s awful. I’m sorry for your family.” She put the tome in front of Aspen and waited as he read and reread the potion procedure and ingredients.
“These seem to be pretty normal ingredients, except for the large goldfish. But maybe the potion requires it’s life force? I’m not sure what to tell you Tallia. What’s Teegan like?”
Tallia couldn’t help but blush thinking about Teegan.”He’s demanding but seems to be understanding enough. I thought he was about your age, when he first came to my shop. I could feel the shadow emanating from him. It made me sick, especially when he came back the second time.”
“The second time?”
“Well I pretended I was sick the first day, even though he did give me a headache. I went home for the afternoon and I hoped he’d go somewhere else. But the next day he was back. He told me he was old. My Aunt and Great Aunt made him his potion before. He was able to stop me from feeling ill, from hurting me, by chanting a few words,” Tallia said.
“I’m not sure what I’m dealing with, will the potion truly make Teegan well? Will it make such evil leave him?”
Aspen was paying attention to Tallia’s words carefully. She noticed he was concentrating. He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had auburn hair and bright green eyes. He was tall but not as tall as Teegan. He was attractive but more in a nice guy way. Teegan was definitively what women would call a bad boy.
“Well,” Aspen said,”I think your Teegan is cursed. That’s why he needs the potion, quite badly I’m afraid. You really should hurry back and make it for him. We’ve an extra goldfish around here somewhere, we must.”
“Cursed, cursed by what or whom?”
“It’s hard to say Tallia. Jude would know more I think. Even so I believe Teegan is much older than Jude by hundreds of years. I’ve heard whispers of Teegan. He must have done something terrible in the past would be my guess. Something awful enough to warrant being cursed to live so long and to require a potion.”
Tallia sighed, letting out her breath.
“I have a feeling if he doesn’t get this tonic, he’ll be a resistant foe to deal with Tallia. There’s a reason he takes it. I doubt he wants to be who he is when he’s dark. He wants to be normal and this potion allows him to be.”
“You know all this?” Tallia questioned. “How did you know?”
Aspen smiled mysteriously, “There’s things I’ve heard Tallia. Also, I can read through you, what you felt around Teegan. I can feel his presence too, so could Jude; he’s a powerful guy. Go back and make his potion quickly. He’ll be awake soon.”
“But . . .”
“Tallia, such as you and many other magically inclined people, I have a sixth-sense. That’s how I know these things.You have one too, although less developed. It’s telling you to go back to Fairy Dust and hurry.”
Her blue eyes became huge and Tallia nodded mutely. Aspen handed Tallia a bag with the giant goldfish.”On the house,” he said with a grin. She wondered how they had this giant goldfish just lying around. It wasn’t a typical magical ingredient.
Tallia called back to Aspen lightly,”Stop by come check-out my store some time; have coffee.” He walked her to the door and Tallia stuffed the tome back in her side bag.
“I’d like that,” Aspen said grinning. He winked at Tallia as she left. She was deep in thought and was surprised to find herself getting onto her Vespa, placing the fish on the back of it.
She told herself to payattention and hurriedly drove back to Fairy Dust. Tallia too felt she needed to make Teegan his potion and fast. She prayed he wouldn’t be angry with her or worse. With such darkness within him, she didn’t want to be an object of Teegan’s wrath.
” I don’t believe in fairies,” Lilly told her school mate Emily. “Magic isn’t real and fairies are magic.”
“You’re weird,” Emily said. “I know fairies are magic and they’re real. My best friend is a fairy named Fern and the reason you can’t see Fern is because you don’t believe in magic. If you said you believed in magic, you could meet Fern and we could play with him in the land of the fairies.”
Lilly snorted. ” I don’t believe in fairies; I told you.”
Emily was alarmed. “Don’t say you don’t believe in fairies. If you keep saying it Fern will die and Fern’s family will curse you for killing him.”
Lilly laughed and snidely remarked: ” I don’t believe in fairies; I hope Fern dies. Fairies are make believe and I don’t believe in fairies.” She smiled triumphantly when Emily broke into tears.
“You wicked girl, you killed Fern! I can’t help you now. Fern’s family will never rest until you are cursed.”
“Yeah right, Emily your such a baby . . .” Lilly stopped mid-sentence. She felt stinging sensations all over her body. If she wasn’t so sure magic didn’t exist, she would’ve sworn tiny fairies were stinging her with their wands.
Suddenly, Lilly and Emily shrunk until they were both fairy-sized. Lilly was angry at Emily and went to attack her but fairies of every colour protected Emily.
Lilly spotted a dead green fairy lying on the ground. She thought it must be Fern so she started kicking his body. All the fairies gasped audibly.
A green fairy whose appearance was like Fern’s, approached Lilly. “Lilly Thomas, you have been sentenced to life as a fern for the killing of the fairy Fern.” Lilly laughed not believing a word the green fairy said.
Then, she screamed, but it was too late. Lilly became a plant; a common garden fern.
The fairies returned Emily to the size of a human, leaving her with a new fairy friend and caretaker named Willow.
The first thing Emily and Willow did was stomp on Lilly the fern.
And finally, our prompt (optional, as always)! Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing!
Please see NaPoWriMo for more information. A Vallinella has a rhyme scheme of aba aba aba aba aba abba.
On an acre of land behind my Grandparents acreage and Church, was a decrepit house. My Grandpa swore it was deserted.
One day when my Grandparents were both napping inside, I crept towards the decrepit house behind our land.
I tiptoed slowly to the door of the ramshackle house and the door creaked loudly as I opened it. I saw a fireplace burning and in the corner a dirty bed with worn blankets. I noticed off to the side an ancient brass stove. It was hot when I touched it burning my finger.
Suddenly, I bumped into a filthy old woman with pale eyes. She smiled at me with menace.” Just what I needed” she said, “God has granted me new life, he has given me you. I needed the heart of a young girl so I could be young again.”
I began to cry and back away but the old woman, a witch, was behind me fast. I felt myself falling into a deep sleep. But I could see what was happening to my body. The witch reached in my chest and pulled out my glimmering heart and pressed it into her own chest.
Instantly, I could see she was both terrible and magnificently gorgeose. She kissed my face, “Dear one,” she murmured and my body disappeared into thin air. She had a cursed beauty.
I awoke suddenly. I was in a tranquil place. My Great Grandmother, Molly, was brushing my hair.” She’ll kill again,” I murmered. Molly looked at me and grabbed my chubby cheeks in her hand.
“Anna, she will receive her punishment in the end. Remember she is darkness, and light always drives out the darkness.”
John carried and half stumbled as he brought Nina to his bedroom. He brought her body against his on the king size bed. John kissed Nina’ s face — her cheeks, her eyelids, her lips, were spared no expense. He stroked her back and slowly lifted her turquoise blouse from her body, over her head and murmered ” beautiful . . .” He continued to kiss her and his hands roamed freely over Nina’s soft naked skin. John’s hand slid down Nina’s stomach and she moaned as he popped the button on her jeans. She felt feverish as he lazily moved the zipper of her jeans down.
John flicked open the back of Nina’s bra and slid her panties down. She worked on the buttons of his shirt and undid his jeans. Nina began to think about what John had told her earlier.Sea witches? And then she wondered if she was the only woman in his life, in his bed. But he had told her he was careful about the woman he went out with. Should she just go with the flow, consequences be damned? Nina wished she could do nothing but feel John’s hands as they caressed her waist and breasts but the cogs in her mind kept turning.
She kept thinking about everything John has said until a pleasurable haze began to invade her senses. John kissed her naked back and she thought, she could be a woman he loved. She was falling for him hard and fast like the Drop of Doom at the summer fair. Could she love him? Would he sacrifice everything for her, even himself? She barely knew John. This was officially there second date. Didn’t she have a rule about sleeping with men, not before she loved them or trusted them. She had a vision of her ex -Tyler and him cheating on her the entire time they were together. But her desire for John was making thinking difficult.
John sucked on her nipples and Nina cried out in pleasure. She put her arms around John and threw back her head. She stroked his arms, backs, and biceps. His lips returned to ravage her delicate throat and before she knew it he was kissing his way down her body until he reached her center. A glorious feeling built up inside her with the movements of his tongue. Pleasure rained down upon her in and a shaking heavenly languor fell over her.
John kissed his way up Nina’s stomach until he was inside of her and began to move at a pace that Nina found electrifying. She could feel herself building again. A wonderful feeling of release and pleasure gripped Nina’s whole body again. Soon John was following behind her orgasms with is own release. He rolled to his side and they both tried to catch their breath.
When John had cooled down a bit he pulled Nina into his neck and stroked her back as they faced one another in bed. Nina was so tired and she drifted asleep with satisfaction. My Nina . . ” John said. When did she become his Nina. John’s face relaxed becoming youthful in sleep and the couple quieted to the repetitive rhythm of breathing in the night.
Talise was picking up sea shells by the cave with the looking glass, hidden behind some large rocks at Lake Sirene. Her family had lived in Adare for generations. For hundreds of years the women in her family had been witches. Mermaids who rose from the the lake and wondered around among the people of Adare without anyone knowing who they truly were.
Not all mermaids were sea witches. But Talise was a special kind of mermaid and had lived a long life compared to most humans. Life had been hard on Talise since she lost her first love decades ago. She had wanted to settle down again and have a family. She had wanted to blend in with the humans. But the man she loved above any man alive had betrayed her. He had only been using her for sex, for her looks. Her green eyes darkened in anger when she thought of John. She had been with many men in the past eight years. Trying to find one who made her feel like she had felt with John. But no man compared to him, to their relationship.
She had hated him so much. But she desperately wanted him back. Perhaps, John and her could start over. Maybe he could fall in love and sacrifice for her and break the curse. She might be able to arrange that seeing as she was the sea witch who cast the curse in the first place.
Talise went into the cave where the looking glass hung. The mirror was made of natural reflective crystals on part of the cave’s stone walls. Talise looked in the mirror and she saw John with Nina again. She had tried to put an end to Nina using that woman who had grabbed on to Nina’s shoe. Talise had tried to drown Nina then. Apparently, she had forgotten when John truly cared for a woman, he could protect them. He could intercede and stop the bad things which occurred from effecting a woman he cared for. Maybe John was falling in love with Nina?
Talise laughed at this. It had only been a few days. There was no way John loved Nina and Nina loved John. John wasn’t one to fall in love easily. He was probably into Nina for the same reasons he had been with Talise– the woman he knew as Tia.
Slowly, Talise drifted out of the cave where the looking glass was. She made her way back into the sea and began to swim. Her legs turned into a fishes tail and she swam to the harbor at Sirene Lake where all the boats docked. She rose from the water a glorious beautiful woman. Her green eyes beguiling and mysterious. The men and their fishing boats couldn’t quite believe what they saw. Lucky, she had the magic to make it appear as if she had clothes on.
Talise was going to meet Nina, to warn her away from John. She was going to catch up with John later too. Either he would be with Talise and love her as he used to or he would suffer the consequences of choosing Nina. Talise smiled. She had been so naive when she had first loved John. She wasn’t naive anymore.
Monday meant work for Nina. More files to file, more reports to write, more market research, and lucky for her lunch with Rianne at their favorite local Mexican Restaurant The Chili Burrito. Nina worked close to home. Work at Wilus was only fifteen minutes away from her condo. Her gym was close to work too. She didn’t love her job but she loved to be busy. Despite her determined faith in John and other people, Nina new she was often blind to other people’s faults. She was a gentle soul and graceful woman.
But the puzzle that was John Eric, was an intriguing one and Nina did not understand how John could live with the kind of events that happened everyday in his life. An unfortunate event occurred and John seemed to take it all in stride. Sometimes he was even a bit callous, as if he didn’t care much that another bad event was about to occur.
A sea witch had cursed John. A sea witch he had been in love with, who dived into the sea, never to be seen again. There was such a Brothers Grimm quality to what John had told Nina that she scarce believed what John said. She thought of the little mermaid who had lost her voice to the sea witch for a pair of legs that always hurt her to walk on. But John had not been innocent as the little mermaid had been, so his existence because of the curse was much worse.
Nina needed to discuss John’s strange tale with her bestfriend since high school. Rianne worked in an office close by as an accountant. Nina needed to discuss the entire situation with Rianne’s logical mind.
At 11:45 am, Nina scrambled to have most of the work she needed to have done before lunch and headed out fifteen minutes early, hoping to stretch her hour lunch into an hour and a half with Rianne.
Rianne arrived all smiles and elegance. Nina saw her brunette curls as she came in the front door. Rianne’s deep brown eyes caught Nina’s eyes from a round pretty face. Rianne was six-inches taller than Nina. She bent down to hug Nina’s petite curvy frame and squeezed her tightly. “So how’d it go with John?” Rianne asked slyly as she skipped hellos and cut right to the chase. Nina looked up at Rianne, eyes alight and she smiled.
” It’s going fantastic, it’s going really well. . .it’s only, I’m not quite sure about him. He’s handsome, funny, has a good job, but he has a lot of baggage. Crazy baggage. Things you could hardly believe. Remember I told you how bad stuff seemed to happen around us that first night we meant, well it happened again at the restaurant. The chandelier dropped and shattered!” Nina paused for emphasis and to take a breath. “And John had this wonderful, unbelievable, and eerie tale to tell me about his life about why he thinks he’s cursed. I just don’t know what to think . . .” Rianne laughed.
” Hmm… he does seem a bit odd. But just breathe and tell me the rest slowly. You’re talking about everything so fast. I know your excited and confused but we won’t find any solutions to your problems with John that way,” Rianne announced practically.
Nina studied the menu while she thought of where to begin with yesterday’s date with John. The waitress came by and both Rianne and Nina ordered chicken tacos and strawberry margaritas. They chatted about random things until the waitress brought their food and then Rianne looked at Nina expectedly. Nina bit her lower lip thinking where to begin.
Nina told Rianne about the lunch her and John shared and repeated the odd bit about the chandelier falling inside the restaurant. She told Rianne how John had known the chandelier was going to fall and then told her he was cursed by a sea witch who was his ex from eight years ago. For this reason, bad events occurred all around John. Nina told Rianne she and John cared a lot about one another quickly and also that the caring protected Nina from becoming hurt by the bad events. Some of John’s past such girlfriends weren’t so lucky.
Nina finished discussing with Rianne the details two women talk about in regards to men — how hot he was and how nice he was to Nina in bed. How well he treated Nina. Also, how he had asked her on another date, to a work function, and Nina needed something to wear. Nina also begged Rianne to come with her to John’s work function.
” Will you please come. I would feel so much better if you were with me Rianne.”
“I’m not sure. I have a lot of work to do Nina.”
“Oh come on he has brothers and if he is hot I’m sure his brother’s will be too. And good catches. They all have Trust Funds.” Rianne laughed and agreed to come to John’s work event with Nina.
“Okay, Nina. I’m most interested to meet John and his brothers.” She laughed.
Then Rianne brought the conversation back to Nina’s relationship with John. Rianne had held her hands over her mouth the whole time Nina talked to her. She gasped at the appropriate times and squealed just a little when Nina told her she was going out with John again. Then she gathered herself together and gave her usual logical advice.
“Nina I hate to say this but maybe this guy John has a bit of a complex and only thinks bad things happen around him or to him all the time. Your eventful nights with him could have just been flukes. I mean you were only out with him two times.” Rianne cleared her throat, ” it seems to me that someone being cursed in real life, isn’t logical. Magic isn’t real. His ex-girlfriend cursed him. It doesn’t actually mean he is. . . The whole story he gave you is a bit out there Nina. I mean maybe it could be true but probably not. I think he’s hiding stuff from you. And he doesn’t want to tell you the truth. Either that or he’s delusional.” Rianne took a few bites of her chicken taco and Nina and her ate in thoughtful silence.
” Your such a pragmatist,” Nina complained to Rianne, ” I think there is a lot of truth to what he told me. I mean, you didn’t see him when he told me about Tia. He was shaking and looked deathly ill. He really believes what happened to him and the terrifying ordeals he goes through today are because he is cursed. And because I was with him both days, I’m more inclined to believe him then to doubt him.”
Rianne sighed. ” Your such a dreamer Nina, he was probably trying to get you into bed. I’m glad both times have been fantastic and all but do you really want to get into a relationship of any kind with this guy if what he says is true. You could become seriously hurt and not just your heart, I mean physically. John may know when an accident is about to happen but you don’t. It doesn’t make sense he could save you all the time even if he cares for you. I’m sure he’s meant other women he’s cared about before.” Nina looked at Rianne shocked.
“Aren’t you happy for me Rianne? You know how hard it is to find a good guy in Adare. Well, mostly good guy. But he wants to date me and likes me for me. He trusts me. He’s interesting, charismatic, and mysterious! I like him a lot.”
Rianne sighed and finished off her chicken Taco. ” I hope you know what you’re doing Nina. You’re my best friend and I’m only looking out for you from some lunatic. You have such a good heart and you always see the best in people. You forget to see the worst. But if you say he’s a good guy, I believe there must be something about him you trust. Just be careful and bring mace with you when you go out.” Rianne said laughing. She snorted which made Nina laugh as well.
” Let’s talk about something else” Nina said finally getting herself under control. Let’s talk about you Rianne. Any new man in your life?”
Rianne laughed.” Yeah right, I’m a boring accountant and I don’t meet fanciful fairy tale princes who are cursed. I have my CA to work on.” The pair of women continued talking for another half an hour before Nina had to walk the two blocks back to work.
Nina felt better after talking to Rianne. She knew she had to be careful with John and she felt grounded. Nothing like Rianne to bring out the practical side in her. Nina checked her watch and double timed it back to the office.
John’s work fundraiser was Thursday and it was only Monday. It was going to be the longest week ever. The event was a cocktail affair, a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, a charity that built houses for people who couldn’t afford them. In return, the person worked on the house and later would pay the mortgage. Merger’s fundraiser also supported children and helping them learn to read in the community.
Nina thought the fundraiser would be fun and was excited to be by John’s side. She was curious to meet his brothers. She wasn’t entirely a fan of them right now but they might grow on her. Maybe one of them would be nice, single, and good for Rianne. Nina chuckled, and sat down at her desk.
The next day dragged as did most of the week. She talked to John a few times on the phone and texted him, but that was all. The day before the event she went out to find an evening cocktail dress in her budget. If she didn’t find a dress she had a couple choices at home that might work. But she wanted a new and stunning dress. Her Mom, Heather, had always told her to look her best, even if she felt nervous at an event or party. You could look put together even though you might not feel it.
Nina felt herself growing tense. But she quickly let her tension go as she worked out at the gym on Wednesday night. ‘Whatever,’ Nina thought. It was only a work thing for John, no biggie. And Rianne would be there with her. Nina couldn’t help but feel scared about what might happen at the fundraiser. Would another bad event occur or could John and Nina be together and simply be a normal couple.
John held Nina’s hand as he opened the door to his grand house. A white sparkling stone face on the outside of the house glittered in the sunlight. Nina walked into the entrance and she felt the slick expensive wood floors. She saw a large living area with comfortable grey couches that bounced when she pushed her hand against their solidness. The living room had light blue accents but was mostly masculine with its light grey furniture and dark charcoal walls. Nina spied two comfortable wing-backed chairs facing a slate fireplace. A thin TV glistened black over top of the mantel. It was a fitting piece for a single man’s domain.
A soft blue-grey sky through walls of windows was transparent over most of the living room and kitchen. Below she saw a well manicured backyard with a large patio and stone pathways. The windows inside spread past a granite bar with four stools, into a kitchen with pristine white cupboards and a butcher block counter top. John seemed to have only the best appliances in his kitchen including a wine fridge and a second oven. There was also a Tassimo instant coffee maker. Nina smiled because she had the exact same one. Nina could smell the delicate but heavenly scent of chocolate chip cookies in the air. She wondered who baked them, a housekeeper?
Nina removed her shoes and John beckoned her to one of the soft grey coaches. They were made of the softest dove coloured suede leather. Nina bounced awkwardly on the sofa before becoming settled. John’s main floor was huge and open concept. Nina felt quite small in the great room. Though walls that were windows enhanced the feeling the space had of being open, it was a dreary day outside and little sun shone in the house.
John felt as if he needed to explain his problems to Nina. But she wasn’t quite ready for whatever fantastical story John had to tell her. The whole situation felt unbelievable to Nina. It felt like a Dark Brother’s Grimm fairy tale come to life.
When John had taken off his jacket and removed his watch, he sat beside Nina on the couch and smiled at her a bit nervously. Nina looked over at the Tassimo Coffee Maker, “do you think I could have a tea John? I’m kind of craving something warm right now.”
“Oh yeah, sure what kind would you like?”
“Green tea or Chi, if you have it.”
“Yeah, I have green tea. I’ll get you one and make myself a coffee too.” John braced his hands on his legs and got up. His tall body brushed Nina as he went into the kitchen and she shivered at the contact. She saw John grin as he passed her. He felt it too.
” Can I get some honey in that tea, John please.”
“Yeah I have honey. Do you want milk?”
“No, I’m fine with honey thanks. I need something a bit sweet.” John touched her arm tentatively when he sat down and handed her her tea. Nina took a small sip and placed her tea on a coaster on a coffee table in front of her and John. John set his coffee down as well. He appeared apprehensive and kept looking at his feet. It was a different side of him Nina thought. So far, he had only been confident and sometimes brash.
John put his arms around Nina’s shoulder and stroked her gently. “Nina, would you like to here my story . . . would you like to know why I am cursed?” He wouldn’t look Nina in the eye when he asked her this. Perhaps, it was because is story was fantastical. He took a drink of his coffee and swallowed slowly while Nina waited for John to say whatever it was he had to say.
Nina was a kind person and she felt sorry for John. She moved closer to him on the couch and felt the now familiar pull of herself towards him. For John to trust her with something like this in his history was a huge deal. ” Are you sure you want to tell me, I mean you don’t know me that well John.” Nina looked at John with huge soft-blue eyes.
John starred back and said:” I’ve never trusted anyone more than my own family to know the story of how I became cursed, Nina.” John took a deep breathe in, ” the fact that you might believe I am cursed to begin with, demonstrates to me I can tell you the facts without you freaking out or thinking I’m crazy.”
” Well, I might freak out,” Nina admitted. But John barely heard her.
“I need to tell you this Nina, I need to tell you because I think, the way I feel about you already, well I think you can help.” John looked at Nina with hope in his bright eyes His knuckles were white and his forehead wrinkled in consternation. ” I need to tell you my story because other people suffer because of me Nina. Other people get hurt and it drives me insane. I need to share my burden if you can help. Is that too much of me to ask of you? I’m no good, but your still here anyways.”
Nina gulped down her tea and burned her mouth. She held her hand to her lips. Her throat felt raw. Her voice was small as she admitted to John she’d like to hear his story. ” I feel like I’ve been waiting to hear your story since the night we first meant.” Nina said, “so please tell me and don’t leave me in suspense.” She noticed John had a bit of a tremor in his hands as he took her right hand into his own. She felt fireworks and sense of foreboding when John touched her. But she needed to hear why he was cursed if she continue any kind of relationship with the inauspicious John.
John smiled at Nina and looked down at the floor. Nina looked at his face and noticed how tired and weary John looked. She decided to have pity on him even though his ‘curse’ story was a bit unbelievable. John looked at Nina with piercing eyes and with a ragged voice began to tell her his story. He halted several times to check Nina’s reactions. At times he looked ashamed and other times he looked as if what he was telling Nina hurt him.
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 TheManhattan, 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.