For Chapter 1 of the story go to the highlighted link!
Chapter 2: The Morning After and Brunch
Nina awoke after sleeping and buried her fingers in her messy hair. Why, why do I drink so much? She thought. Nina’s head was pounding. She began to think about the night before. She thought about the subtle warning her body exhibited about John. And she remembered the vicious fight at The Manhattan, the poor person who was stabbed, and the woman who had grabbed onto Nina’s ankle from the water. Why had this woman claimed someone had pushed her into the water from her boat then decided to change her story? Did she truly see another woman in the water? Was that who pushed her in?
Last night, Nina hadn’t doubted John in the end. He had been the perfect gentlemen to her. But there was an odd, careless, and resigned feeling to John. He had told Nina that it was only the full moon that made these odd events occur. John reminded Nina of the moon. Perhaps, it called to John like a beacon last night. There had been a bit of crazy in his eyes when he looked at the moon. At the same time, there was the gentle and practical side Nina had experienced of John.
He had helped Nina home and made her laugh. He told her about growing up in Adare in the suburbs playing in the leaves in Fall when he was young with his brother’s, Jasper and Jordan. They had a tree house his father Jack built. John’s Mom Edith would call the boys inside for hot chocolate with whipped cream when they were lucky. As boys, the three men wrestled and tried to hurt each other. Jasper usually won because he was the the tallest and biggest but Jordan caught up to him, as did John.
John had also said he ran his own company with his brother’s called Mergers. They were a Publishing Company and ran the business over people who edited books, magazines, and decided which manuscripts were good and which were not. Nina had thought John had a fascinating job. She might like to work in the publishing field or be a writer. Nina was an assistant in marketing for an accounting firm called Wilus. Although, marketing had been what Nina wanted to go into in University, it didn’t quite fulfill the excitement Nina craved. Nina thought writing would be exciting. She craved a creative outlet of some kind. It had never bothered her until now, but she thought she might sit down and write something when she wasn’t busy. Only to see if she could still write anything of consequence.
Last night had been exciting! Nina believed there were certain things that could not be explained by reason. There were powers in this world both good and evil. Nina prayed for the people who had been hurt last night. She secretly believed all people had some good in them. She was meeting John for lunch on Sunday. She thought he had a lot of good to him, even though behind his eyes such as dark shadows, secrets hid.
It wasn’t just the fact that John had piercing bright blue eye’s; a sculpted physique; an open boyish face with a wide smile; and kissable lips. It wasn’t because she liked John a lot, that he had cared for her so well the night before, and they had slept together. But she felt as if she knew John. Despite the fact Nina couldn’t put her finger on what was off about John, she believed his goodness out weighed the shadow of doubt that she and the events of last night had cast upon him.
First, Nina had to eat something even though her stomach felt queasy from getting plastered. Maybe, she would have a glass of orange juice, the electrolytes would help her hangover. Then she would call her bestfriend, Rianne and they would go shopping together. Nina needed to find the perfect lunch time outfit for John. Nothing too over the top, maybe just a nice shirt to go with her dark jeans and her new pair of svelte black heels. She would also like Rianne’s opinion on what happened the other night with John. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation.
The next day Nina met John at a modern restaurant overlooking the water that rippled and shimmered in the middle of the city. The restaurant was called The Hour Glass and was quite popular with a few locations in Adare. The sun cast John in a bright light which was ironic considering Nina knew John was no angel. It shone and reflected on the frame of sleek designer navy glasses that only made John’s eyes bluer. His mouth curved in a sly grin and he quickly got up to kiss Nina on the cheek as she greeted John at their table. John pulled out a comfortable red chair for Nina to sit in. She sat down grinning at John’s pleasant manners still feeling the imprint of his lips on her cheek.
The Hour Glass was comfortable and stylish. Black chairs and tables with deep-red upholstered seats covered a dining room and patio. Modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling inside where they sat and a sleek rectangular slate grey tiled fountain with shooting water springs was the center piece for the entire restaurant.
At supper The Hour Glass was a fashionable and romantic place to eat dinner with music that wasn’t too loud. But at night it became more of a bar. Especially in the warmer season, a windowed wall would open up and the patio was a prime location to be. It had a round slate tiled fountain and modern street lamps sitting amidst metal patio furniture. There were red cushions on the chairs and on booths for groups and lone couples to sit at. The booths were the best seats on the patio.
Nina sat inside with John as it was becoming Winter. Rain outside often became sleet. Nina ordered a ginger ale and orange juice to calm her stomach. John ordered a beer. He sipped his drink lazily and turned his bright eyes on Nina who wore a turquoise blouse made from silk with her jeans and heels. John played with the chain around his neck, as Nina examined his appearance. A fitted navy jacket and dark fitted jeans, suited him. John rolled his beer bottle between his hands on the table and grinned at Nina:
” I was worried you wouldn’t come. After all, you don’t know me that well and last night was scary for you.” Nina opened her lips then closed them sipping her orange juice and ginger ale.
” John, was it a one night stand?” she blurted out “I’ve never done one of those before. I’m not that kind of girl, but I don’t think you would have invited me here if that’s all you think it is. I kind of thought we shared a bit of something last night. I think we’re attracted to each other a lot. I mean, you acted as if you were such a gentlemen. You protected me and I liked being with you last night at my place. I would really like to see you some more.” Nina said wistfully. It was hard to meet men and John was really hot. John enamored Nina and he knew it. But she wasn’t clear if John felt the same way about her. John’s eyes pierced Nina and crinkled up in the corners as he smiled.
” You’re a good girl Nina and I had a lot of fun with you last night, all night. I would like to see you again but I’m a busy guy and I’m not sure you should be hanging around someone like me. You’re five or six years younger than I and I don’t know if you’re looking for the same thing I am. And you don’t know what kind of man I am Nina. I haven’t always been the nicest guy, in fact, often I’m the mean guy, the guy who’ll take you home and forget about you the next day. Starting what you want would be different for me…” John cleared his throat and looked away. Nina caught a soft smile still on his lips as he observed her.
” Well”, said Nina bemused ” I wasn’t asking to get married or even for a relationship. I was asking to see where this can go. I don’t meet guys I like often. I would like to see where the situation between us could go? Also, I had questions, you know about last night. Trouble just seemed to follow you and I around John. Why do you think that was?” Nina looked at John worried she’d gone too far and sighed in relief when John picked up the conversation. The waiter returned to take their food orders and Nina ordered a club sandwich and salad.
“I’d be willing to date you Nina, if that’s what you are looking for. I like you a lot. You’re different then my usual type,” John pondered. “But I can’t promise more and have to warn you about me. Trouble follows me like a curse Nina. That’s why I can’t commit to anything more. Bad things happen all around me. You don’t believe me but something is going to happen in this restaurant today. I know it is . . . ” John covered his head as if in pain.
On que, the large chandelier at The Hour Glass dropped to the dark wood floor of the restaurant in a loud clash of glass and steel. The restaurant was fairly empty for a Sunday but families were there having brunch and enjoying the sunshine let in through the patio windows. Children let out frightened cries and adults held them back in fear and gawked as the light fell. Servers rushed to the scene of the accident and Nina rose up out of her chair to look while John sat calmly and stared at his hands. The restaurant manager came running, in awe at the chandelier covering the floor, no doubt thinking about lawsuits. Luckily, no one was hurt by stray pieces when the light fell.
” I don’t want bad things to happen but around me they do… I get this feeling when there about to occur.” John said sadly. Nina looked at him wide eyed and slightly afraid. He took her hand as she sat back down in her padded chair. ” I could never hurt you Nina, some people I can keep safe. Other, times I’m a walking nightmare. It’s not so bad most of the time, really.” John murmured his last sentence sadly as if he was sure he’d lost Nina already.
” I don’t know” Nina whispered “This is strange but I believe that strange things can happen in life and that they do. I don’t think everything that occurs in our lives is explainable, or always has an answer. I don’t believe you’re an evil person. Can you make those bad events stop happening John? Can you ever escape calamity?” Nina cleared her throat and gripped John’s hand tightly.
” There are ways, Nina” John said softly. ” There are ways, but for now lets just eat our food…” Nina looked at the people examining the chandelier’s remains.
“I’m not hungry” Nina grimaced noticing John’s mostly empty plate.” John stuck three twenties on the table, stood, and took Nina’s hand.
” Let’s walk, I live close by” he said casually, ” I thought maybe you could come over and we could talk, in private you know. I think you might believe me if I tell you”
“Believe what? Why all these events occurring around you? Around us? I think I’m freaking out a bit right now.”
“It will be okay Nina, I’m pretty sure I can keep you safe from these events. I think you’re the first woman I cared about in…well a long time. I know it’s fast but I need to tell you something that will probably seem unbelievable and ‘Brother’s Grimm’ to you. I need to tell you how I became this way. Maybe, you can help me get out of it.”
Nina closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay, you can tell me. I don’t know what I’ll believe but after all these events, an explanation would be nice.” Nina left her car parked in the parking lot of The Hour Glass and let John lead her up the sidewalk a few blocks into the fancy houses lining the waterfront of Adare. John walked with her to his own house to the front door. Nina felt apprehensive. She concentrated on the boats sailing by in the Sirene Lake on the waterfront. A lone fish leaped and sparkled in the grey-blue water.
Please read Chapter 3 here.
©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.