Photo Challenge:  Fiction – That Could Still Be Us #amwriting #fiction #relationship 


Thanks to NEEKNERAJ for hosting MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge this week. 

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Credit: NEEKNERAJ

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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 more than 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. 

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“That Could Still Be Us” – Keith Urban 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.   

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Letting Him Get Away.


It was along time before I had my first ‘real’ relationship. I went on Plenty Of a Fish, because my friend had met her husband on that site. My ex-boyfriend,  was not like the other men I talked to. He didn’t ask me what my job was or about sex. He asked me about my religion. He was Muslim and wanted to date a nice girl with morals, ethics, and who was close to her family. I was reluctant to date him because my ex’s religion is Islam and I grew up with Christianity. But I had never dated anyone longterm before. My ex-boyfriend was attractive and fun so I began dating him. 

My ex worked up North, where all the people who worked in the oil field, lived in camps. My ex worked three weeks on and one week off. I saw him once a week when he was home My ex was accepting of my condition. He didn’t mind that I lived with a mental illness which caused me fatigue and limited how long I could be out with him. He was quiet to begin with but later he opened up to me.

Our relationship functioned for awhile. My health improved so we were going out three times a week when he was here. Often, my ex would take an extra week off. My ex was gentle and he listened well. He gave good advice. But there were some issues in our relationship that became apparent.

The biggest issue was my ex staying in contact while working up North. Eventually, we were texting once or twice a day and I would call him every couple of weeks. It took three years to get to this point and a lot of hardwork on my end. When my ex was home we were together a lot. But I had to be diligent about making ‘talking’ and ‘getting to know each other better’ happen. 

My ex would also come back from work and go on a trip without telling me where he was going. Suddenly, there was no way for me to talk to him, sometimes for two-weeks. I learned he was seeing friends or had gone off on a road trip for awhile with his cousin. At first, I worried a great deal when all communication was cut-off. I often thought early on, he had decided not see me anymore. He accused me of seeing other guys in the beginning.

Ramadan was an extremely difficult time for our relationship. For the first couple of years we were together, my ex went to Saskatchewan to do his fasting with friends. Almost the entirety of June and July would pass and I barely was able talk or contact my ex because the cell reception wasn’t good. He was scarcely able to use Internet and he never tried to phone me. Although, I attempted to phone him. 

It was along time before my ex talked to me during Ramadan and an even longer time before he would go out with me in the daytime. Males can’t touch a woman they’re not married to during Ramadan before sunset. Muslims also spend a great deal of time reading the Quran in the day. I had no problem with my ex practising his faith during Ramadan, it was the fact he barely paid attention to me. Later, when my health became worse it was a challenge to see him at night anytime before 11:00 pm. It also took my ex an eternity to meet my family. He was scared of my Dad. He met my Mom a couple of times but not my Dad until the fourth year we were dating. 

The issue that finished us was me. I didn’t find the relationship to be fulfilling, I never felt secure. When I didn’t hear from him for awhile or he wouldn’t listen to me, I would break up with him because I couldn’t handle it. I broke up four more times with my ex because I felt he was ignoring me and he wasn’t giving time to our relationship. I didn’t hear anything from him for a month one time. He wanted to get married but he valued all the activities he wanted to do above his time with me. My family is also special to me and so was my ex becoming apart of my family, which he never attempted.

I went the last nine months without breaking up with him. He wanted to get married. I went to a friend’s wedding at her church. She was walked down the aisle by her Dad and her husband and she made their vows before God. 

At this point, I knew something was wrong with my ex’s and my relationship big time. I wanted to be like my friend and walk down the church aisle when I married. I believed in a Jesus who wasn’t merely a prophet but God’s Son. If I ever had kids, I wanted them brought up with The Bible and Jesus’ promise of salvation.

My ex hadn’t even told his Muslim family back home about me, even though Muslims are allowed to marry Christian girls. I knew his cousin because he lived with him and had been introduced to the odd friend of my ex’s at the bar. But after four years, I had no idea who most of his good friends were. Some of our problems were due to my health. I became worse for awhile and it became too much to date him often because he usually wanted to get together at night. 

Mostly, I needed a fresh start. I needed to develop myself as a person on my own. I needed freedom. It was hard letting go of my ex but the religion issue finally pushed me over the edge. My family is extremely Christian and I couldn’t deal with relatives who didn’t think our relationship was right, when I wasn’t into my ex anymore. I wanted a guy who involved himself in my family, friends, and life — who could relate to my lifestyle.

I’m busy in my single life. My ex was a good boyfriend but he was not the guy for me. In a relationship, when it is the right relationship, you want to be with the other person exceedingly. You want to be with the other person so much because you love them and can work together to build a life sharing similar values. I wanted freedom and a chance to see what the world outside of “us” offered; for this reason my ex is my ex.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved. 

14. How Was Last Night For You: A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery


Chapter 13 can be read here.

Chapter 14:  A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery

While Nina slept, John called Nina’s Mother Heather Avlon. Heather was worried about Nina, but she tried to be polite talking to John on the phone.

“Oh, you’re Nina’s friend John Eric. Was she with you when she received her concussion? I heard about that storm on the News. They said it only took place near the Sirene downtown. I can come and take care of Nina in the morning John. I’ll let you get back to your life, you must have work Monday.” Heather said.

John cleared his throat. “Actually Ms. Avlon I will be staying close to Nina while she heals. If you can spell me off around 9:00 am I could use some sleep. I’ll be back around 5:00 pm. You should know, Nina is special to me and as long as she is okay with it, I’m  going to have her stay with at my house while she heals.”

“And who are you mister?” Asked Heather warily. “Nina didn’t tell me you are her boyfriend. She told me you guys were only dating right now.”

“Well I am her boyfriend. It’s only been over a week I know but it’s been an amazing experience.I want her to come stay with me. I need to keep her safe. I have this crazy ex who’s after me and I’d feel better if Nina was where I could keep an eye on her. I own my own company so it’s no problem for me to work from home.”

” I don’t know John. She’s barely mentioned you before. And I don’t know  I want my daughter involved with your ex if she is not well. Nina will have to decide as long as the concussion hasn’t effects her decision making skills.”

“I promise I’ll take good care of Nina. I have a housekeeper and she cooks and cleans. Nina won’t have to worry about any of that. She can be comfortable at my place while she recovers. And she’ll be safe…”

” Okay John. We will see in a few days.”

” Thank you Ms. Avlon.”

” Truthfully John , I own a salon and I can’t leave work long. So many of my estheticians and hair dressers have the flu currently. All at the same time so I’m a bit understaffed.”

“Sorry to hear that. You’re okay coming in the day tomorrow?”

” Yes, it will be okay for Sunday. I hope your ex doesn’t cause to many problems John. Nina deserves the best. My girl, she’s a sweetheart. Don’t take advantage of her. She sees the best in everyone and sometimes she doesn’t see a problem until it’s too late.” Heather warned John. ” I hope your not a problem in her life John.”

“I will give Nina nothing less then my absolute best. I care for her a great deal, even though we’ve only been together a short time. Nina’s my girl too.” John assured Heather.


 

John sat by Nina’s bed and watched her sleep the rest of the night. Sometime later he fell asleep. He remembered the nurses taking Nina to receive her CT and an X-Ray in the early morning. Doctor Kenner told him as suspected, Nina’s concussion was minor. The head wound looked worse then it was.

John felt uneasy with life right now. Not only was he worried about the usual terrible events which always occurred his life, but he was frightened about what Tia was going to do to Nina and him. Nina would be in the hospital a few days and then John would take her home while Nina recovered. Both to ensure Nina didn’t have a worse concussion than Doctor Kenner thought and because John was the best defense Nina had against Tia.

John wasn’t sure if Tia meant she wanted John to love her or whether she wanted to stab him in the heart. He deduced Tia literally wanted Nina’s heart out of her chest. What a crazy Bitch. How could Tia have ever been the girl he loved as a young man. When would she strike? How was John supposed to protect Nina from not only the horrid events that occurred in his life and the powers of a wrathful Sea Witch?

For now, John watched Nina sleep. She was entrancing and beautiful as she slept. Even though John new Nina wouldn’t agree him. He was glad the concussion hadn’t been worse. John’s Nina was a strong girl — one of the many reasons he was attracted to her so deeply. If any woman could survive John’s curse and a witch such as Tia, it would be Nina.

John stroked Nina’s cheek gently when she began to mutter in her sleep. He hoped she wasn’t having nightmares.


 

Two days later with Heather’s permission, John brought Nina home with him to his house on the beach of Sirene Lake. He asked Heather to gather more clothes, toiletries, and items Nina had asked for. John asked Rianne who Nina’s boss was at work and looked up his number on Nina’s phone. Nina’s boss in marketing was understanding and wished her a speedy recovery. Later, Wilus’  marketing department sent an arrangement of Gerber Daisies for Nina. There was some forms Nina would have to fill out for short-term disability. John also filled a prescription for Nina for Tylenol 3.

He knew  Nina was strong but she appeared so fragile to him as he helped her in the door. Despite insisting she was feeling fine, Nina was dizzy and still felt a bit nauseous. She rested in John’s bed

—–

After three weeks, Nina had her boss at Wilus, send her some work so she could start catching up in order to return to work soon. Nina had become bored and restless even though Nina and John constantly shared ideas, talked about things they had in common, and shared their personal likes. They talked about the things couples talk about when they are first together. Favourite colours, movies, books, their friends, and John learned about Nina’s family.

Heather Avlon had raised Nina a single mother, and opened up her own salon in Adare. Neither Nina nor Heather had heard from Nina’s Dad in years. He was a lawyer on Wall Street. The last time they had seen him was when Nina was about six-years-old. John already wasn’t a fan of Nina’s Dad.

Some of the time John had to do work from his office and have meetings through conference calls. Nina grew sick of watching movies and social networking with old friends. Rianne came to visit her some nights and John was relieved Rianne’s arm was healing well. John felt guilty about the injury. Four weeks passed and Nina began to insist that she needed to return home and get organized to return to work. She was feeling better.

John and Nina had been close the entire time Nina was on sick-leave. John was always watching Nina as he did business by her, ate with her, watched a movie, or played video games with her. They went for walks and Nina came with him to the gym after healing for four weeks. Nina insisted she needed to workout again and that she was putting on weight. John disagreed but she came with him so he didn’t felt sure nothing bad would happen to her. His usual feelings of awful events occurring had been absent lately and so had the events themselves. Doctor Kenner said the wound on Nina’s head had healed well and since Nina felt no concussion symptoms he declared her healthy.

When Nina was first at his home healing, John had to leave her at times to run an important errand or handle the odd emergency at Mergers. Jasper and Jordan had been helping him with his work load. He left Nina home with the housekeeper or Rianne. When he left Nina, it was always in the back of John’s mind that Tia could show up at his front door. John knew the situation with Tia had to be resolved eventually. He dreaded when that day came.


 

Three months passed and Nina was back to work full time and living in her condo downtown sporadically. John and Nina were back and fourth at each other’s homes for several days at a time.

John was driving himself crazy thinking about Tia and what plans she had. Nothing terrible  had happened since Nina’s concussion. John had told his younger brother Jordan about Tia’s return. Jasper had somehow been able to communicate the entire Grimm fairy tale to Rianne (what Nina had not told her.) Rianne had had a lot of questions for Nina and John when she and Jasper came over for supper to Nina’s one Friday night.


 

Watching TV with John the next afternoon,  Nina decide they should all go out for dinner and dancing the following Saturday, including Jordan and his latest girl.

“Please let’s go out John?” Nina begged. “It’s been so long since I’ve danced and Rianne’s arm is better too. I haven’t even had a chance to talk with your brother Jordan since the fundraiser.I think he might have a lot of juicy details on you,” Nina half joked with John.

“I think we could all use a night on the town.” Nina proclaimed. ” Not to mention we all need to figure out this situation with Tia. She hasn’t shown her face in months. But she must be up to something. She doesn’t have you, your heart, or mine.”

” I feel like it’s love with you . . .I know it’s going to be John. Well it probably is already,” Nina admitted blushing. “But will it be enough to break Tia’s spell? Does the curse mean you have to sacrifice your life? You can’t die on me.”

John sighed and kissed Nina’s bared shoulder. He was worried about his curse and Tia’s plans enough for the both of them. He also knew he needed the help of family and friends to solve this dilemma. His Dad was a professor in folklore he wondered if he might be able to help John and Nina with the crux of the curse.

The problem was it takes time to fall in love with someone. John was absolutely sure by this point Nina was the one who would break through his curse.  He felt for her the way he did about no other woman ever, not even Tia. Nina was his light in a world which was often dark and depraved. John was afraid of the sacrifice his curse meant —  John’s life. John grimaced. He would give it if meant keeping Nina alive and well. He couldn’t imagine life without her after three months of dating her.

“Yeah. Let’s go out next Saturday if you want Nina, of course.” John said mildly.” You check with Rianne and Jasper and I’ll talk to Jordan tomorrow at work. I’m the best brother to talk to anyways, your missing nothing with my younger sibling,” John told Nina about Jordan. “I have no more secrets to hide from you.”

Nina smiled and snuggled into John. John played nervously with the silver chain around his neck.” I don’t know about Tia, Nina.” He pushed his hands through his own hair.” It’s been weeks since something awful has happened around me. You dropped and shattered my wine glasses and wasted a good bottle of wine, but I don’t think it counts compared to what usually happens around me.”

” I guess we’ll see this week and next Saturday. I haven’t felt as if any terrible event was going to occur. That’s a new feeling. Oddly, it worries me. But I haven’t had another nightmare about Tia either. Life has been the best I can remember it being.”John admitted, “I’m afraid for it to end.” Nina combed his hair back in place with her fingers and kissed the top of John’s head in agreement.

John felt Nina relax again under his arm and against his side on the couch as they watched Vancouver play hockey against Phoenix. After the second period ended, Nina lifted her head and kissed John’s lips softly.

“I’m going to bed John, to take a shower first. Are you going to join me when the games finished?” Nina whispered silkily in John’s ear.

She smiled seductively at John as she brushed passed him on her way to his bedroom. Nina must be the girl for him, John thought. She was sexy in her sweatpants and his favourite soft T-shirt. He wondered for a moment why woman had such an inclination for wearing their boyfriend’s clothes. He had wanted to wear his cherished T-shirt today but then John thought about Nina wearing no bra under his thin shirt and his perspective on the subject had changed.

He heard the shower running and thought about Nina taking off her clothes. John’s breathing increased. He saw Vancouver was still in the lead. Five minutes to go and they held a healthy four-point lead. John prayed to God, Vancouver did not suddenly, start losing because he stopped watching. He rushed to join Nina, hockey forgotten.

John pulled off his clothes and joined Nina in the double shower. He pressed her against him feeling her slick soft curves. He growled and began touching Nina anywhere h could reach. John had stayed away from Nina while she was healing the first four weeks before they had started having sex again. John had been trying to be gentle with Nina ever since. John was still afraid (despite the fact Doctor Kenner assured Nina she was well) he might hurt Nina’s head wound, all to Nina’s frustration.

John’s desire for Nina was stronger then his desire to be careful of her head that night. John was fierce and passionate as he loved Nina in the shower and in his bed; Nina was overjoyed. The rush of the maddening attraction between John and Nina was as powerful as ever. When John was almost asleep, he inched his leg over Nina’s leg. The tiny movement and touch of his skin on Nina’s petal soft skin, gave John comfort.

Please Read Chapter 15 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.