I’m anti frantic today which is a wonderful, that man at the department store was really laying on the apple butter; I almost went ape, I’ma married woman you know. At least the ankle-biters are all in school now and I don’t have to deal with their bashears, but I need to beatfeet so I can meet the ladies at church, we’re having some used clothing sale of clothing in good condition to raise bread for the homeless. Some reporter from the paper is here too writing a book and he took my picture by the Reverand’s truck; I wish he’d beatfeet, I’m a busy woman.
Please see Fifties Web here, for all definitions of the fifty’s slang terms used (in bold).
Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer,Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dogRay. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’sfavorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).
1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?
My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).
I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.
The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.
2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?
I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.
I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.
“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell
3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?
I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.
Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray.He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.
Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well, I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.
” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.
Ray is also hugely inspiring.He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself.I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.
There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two active projects at the moment:
My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?All profits from this book go to theHumane Societywhom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it.Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.
My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina andOtherStories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.
I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.
“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell
You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?
I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.
If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexistin every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.
My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!
10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?
Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.
Book Writing– I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry.Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago.Who Said I was up forAdoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.
“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world becausedog loversexist in everycountry. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’sHumane Society.” – Colin Chappell
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?
I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need torelate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write… write… write.
Be honest to yourself.
Write… write… write.
Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.
Write… write… write.
If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.
Write… write… write.
If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!
“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?
I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.
I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations.Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.
14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?
I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking.Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!
15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:
Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.
If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!
Nina counted to ten in her head before telling Talise what she had already told her about John before; he wasn’t the same person he used to be.
” Talise,” Nina said, “people change. John is repentant for his past. He doesn’t use woman anymore. He has only dated women who want to date him and he likes, in the past few years.Some relationships aren’t meant to be. He loved and lost his first girlfriend when he was twenty-five. John said the wrong words, as he sometimes does. He lost Tia forever and she disappeared. But he has paid for his mistakes with Tia everyday of his life.” Nina smiled meaningfully at Talise. “John and I make each other happy Talise. Every person deserves to be happy at least some of their life. All humans make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Better to enjoy life while we are able.”
Talise laughed darkly.” You think you and John are meant to be? Malcolm tells me you’ve only known each other not even a week at best.”
” I’m taking my relationship with John day by day. Our relationship has blossomed quickly. It’s none of your business actually. I’ve told you way more then I should have, but I feel bad for you because your stuck at a place in your life which was obviously a difficult time for you. But I believe it would be best for you to move on.” Nina cautioned Talise.
“I feel something life changing with John. I have never felt like this for any guy I’ve dated before, even when the relationship lasted a year or more. John feels the same as I do for him, for me.”
Talise flushed in anger. She was frustrated with Nina and upset Nina was ignoring her heartfelt advice.” Just leave,” Talise shouted at Nina. The people around Nina looked at Talise curiously when she shouted. Talise’s eyes were a stormy green and she looked murderous.
Nina glanced at the large door of the warehouse which remained open when the weather wasn’t too cold at the market. She smelled the distinctive scent of rain before it began to drop outside. It was noisy and harsh against the warehouse made from metal sheeting.
Nina moved away from Talise and closer to the entrance to see outside. The sky was taking on a blackish- purple hue. The wind was blowing against the building with bursts of intense noise and outside a storm awoke. Hard pebbles of hail clanged against the warehouse of the market. A few men struggled to close the metal doors to keep out the wind, hail, and rain.
Nina searched for John amidst the dismayed crowd. She spotted John and he was yelling at Talise. ” Tia is that you?” he asked with surprise and distress. “After all these years? You’ve finally come back to see me? To ruin my life more!” John loathed Tia for what she had done to him. Living a life where everyday something dreadful or sad happened was harsh.
John was a meter away from Nina in the crowded market but she could see he was transfixed by Talise. He was staring at Talise with a mixture of emotions on his face, his hands gripping his hair. She could see the expressions on John’s face as he went through the emotions of regret, pain, anger, and abborance.
Talise sauntered around her table of scarves to John and whispered something in John’s ear. Her actions were flirtatious and she touched John as a lover who knew him well. Nina felt the first stings of jealousy beginning to threaten but John’s manner towards Tia was stone cold. John wasn’t about to forgive Tia for all the suffering he, his family, and old girlfriends had endured. John backed up from Tia with revulsion and he looked for Nina fearful for her safety. When he saw Nina he realized she had observed his reunion with Tia, short for Talise.
“Stay away from that woman Nina,” John said rushing to Nina and sternly gripping her upper arms.”She’s a witch, a sea witch. I can’t believe it. After all this time . . .Tia is back, and you’re wearing one of her scarves!” John’s words were incensed and loud. He had to be loud to be heard over the storm battering the warehouse. John’s temper was making it difficult for him not to be irritated with Nina. The words flew out of Nina’s mouth as she tried to explain to John she was on his side.
” I didn’t know Talise was Tia. I meant her at the fundraiser yesterday. Talise told me she’s dating Malcolm, an editor at Mergers. It’s her friends scarves and she’s only filling in. I hope the vendor of the scarves booth is actually a friend. I hope Tia didn’t hurt the woman so she could be here to tell me to stop seeing you.” Nina said fervently.
“Tia keeps warning me away from you John. She told me bits about her relationship with you. She said you threw her away. I didn’t understand why I saw her at the fundraiser and here today, but I do now. If Talise is Tia, she hates you John. Time has only made her deteste you more.”Nina was talking so fast she had hardly breathed.
“You saw her at the fundraiser?” John said horrified. ” I knew she was there. But whenever I tried to get a look at her she turned away. She’s trying to reach me through you. Please don’t speak or be with her again alone Nina. Never, she’s cunning and desperate.” John warned.
“She hates you John. But at the same time, I think she wants you back. She is jealous of me, I can tell.”
“Of course Tia is jealous,” John raged. “She only wants for me to suffer. To live without another woman’s love until I die. I’m not going to do that. You and I, we have something together. Leave Talise or Tia to her schemes.” John was passionate as he spoke. Nina glanced behind her to see the beautiful Talise waving at Nina with a smirk on her face. Talise was probably gloating because Nina hadn’t figured out she was John’s first love Tia. Nina had even told Talise about Talise’s own past. Tia disappeared eerily into the crowd.
“What did Tia say to you John, when she was whispering. I saw her talking to you?” John grimaced and looked at his feet. He started to talk but couldn’t complete his words. He tried again with a look of frustration and sorrow in his bright blue eyes:
“She says my heart or yours, Nina. I don’t know what she means yet, but I think Tia has a violent streak. She wants revenge and she wants me back. Errrr….last night I had a nightmare. Tia was in it and she said to me the same phrase she whispered to me a few moments ago.” Nina gasped.
“Why is she still so angry at you John. You’ve suffered so much. How can she be so malevolent? Does she literally want my heart out of my chest?”
John nodded grimacing. He held Nina in his arms and stood behind her. He kissed the crown of her head. “I won’t let her hurt you,” John murmured over and over again, soothing Nina and himself. The storm raged on outside.
Without warning, the roof of the aluminum warehouse started to lift with a powerful gust of wind. The wind was blowing produce, goods, booths, and tables around the inside of the warehouse. The people at the market were left to huddle low to the ground and attempt to avoid debris the wind had picked-up. Many people sported cuts, bruises, and even broken bones. Nina glanced at John as smaller objects streamed around them. John had been gripping a couple of their bags full of produce in his hands, his knuckles white with anger as they crouched on the floor.
Abruptly, the table of scarves blew over. Scarves fluttered everywhere like displaced butterflies and the table was caught in another giant gust of wind. Everyone caught in the warehouse crouched low, their hands shielding their faces. Nina dove with her bags to the ground with John, when they were almost hit by a former fruit booth.
Nina looked around her hoping the worst was over. With fear in her pale blue eyes, she observed the table from the scarves making a pathway right for her before she could think to move. The table bashed Nina in the side of her head and landed on the cement floor. Nina was stunned and felt blood oozing from an open wound. She felt a searing pain as she lay on the floor miserably, her hand trying to stop the bleeding in her blond hair.
The storm passed away as fast as it had arrived. The roof sat awkwardly half-back in place on walls of the warehouse. Nina lay on the floor beneath her bags including John’s apple pie. She tried not to cry and held her head as she sat up feeling nauseous and sick. She felt dizzy as she attempted to locate John. This time, he hadn’t been able to protect her. But Nina had a feeling this event was more a product of Tia’s rage and not a product of John’s curse. Nina hurt everywhere and her eyes kept closing without her being able to stop them. Nina felt herself sliding back to the floor. She faded into unconsciousness.
Nina sat beside John as representatives from both Habitat for Humanity and the Children’s Reading program from Mergers, both gave speeches thanking the company and it’s CEO’s (Jasper, John, and Jordan) for holding this fundraiser. The crowd was assured the money raised by the Silent Auction and ticket sales, would be put to good use.
Dessert was a lavish affair. Tables were set up with tartes, cakes, pies, squares, cookies, and fruit. Many of the cakes and squares were chocolate. Nina looked from the Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes to the German Chocolate Cake. She wasn’t sure which dessert should join the fruit on her plate. She asked John’s opinion.
John patted her back and said to her: ” You have as much dessert as you like. Splurge and have both desserts if you want. Tonight doesn’t count.” Nina looked at John dubiously and shook her head.
“You’re not good for my waistline John.” He patted her tummy fondly in response.
“Okay, tonight and only tonight — I am going to have a Chocolate Ganache Cupcake and German Chocolate Cake. I wish the pieces were smaller.” Nina muttered and filled her plate. John filled his plate with a few desserts and they went back to their table.
While John was in a discussion with a Board Member about one of the well known authors Mergers worked with, Nina devoured her fruit and both chocolate desserts. She felt full afterwards. Then Nina felt guilty because Rianne was at the Medicenter having her broken arm x-rayed, while Nina could eat all the chocolate she dreamed of. At least Rianne was with Jasper.
Nina wondered if anything permanent would happen with Jasper and Rianne. Rianne found few men who could appreciate her drive to have her company someday. Jasper also had two little boys. Rianne had never wanted kids. She had grown up an only child and didn’t mind being alone. Nina had seen pictures of Jasper’s sons though and they were adorable.
Nina blinked and looked up to see John staring at her. “You ate all the chocolate?” John said. “I didn’t even get one bite.”
“You had your own,” Nina told John. “My relationship with chocolate is separate from you and I.”
John smiled,”I’ll try to remember that,” he said and wiped a bit of chocolate off her cheek then he grimaced. “Nina” he said quietly, “you’ve got some chocolate icing on your dress.” Nina frowned as John pointed to the icing on the middle of her chest.
“Damn, it’s a new dress too. I better go to the washroom and see if I can clean some of the chocolate out and make it less noticeable.”
John grinned widely.” It makes me notice a very noticeable place. I don’t mind having my eyes drawn there.” Nina looked at him aghast.
“It looks horrible! I hope it comes out.”
” You are beautiful Nina. Despite everything I’ve told you and that has happened, you’re here with me tonight. You even got my brother Jasper interested in a woman again. Rianne’s a first since his wife died. You’re amazing.”
Nina smiled and catching John’s hand before she left, went to remove the chocolate stain off her dress. She was falling for John hard and fast. It was no wonder so many women had slept with him if this is how he treated them when they were together. But maybe, Nina was special to John and he was her John, just as he had called her his Nina.
Dubiously, Nina looked at her dress. Maybe a bit of soap and water would help her. She would try a wet wipe first.
In the Lady’s washroom were charming details of eighteenth-century decor. Nina headed for the twenty-first century sinks and ran straight into a young woman with funky jade coloured glasses’ frames.
The young woman was taller than Nina but had the same white blond hair. The young woman’s hair was wavy. Big jewel green eyes stared back at Nina from a pretty face. The young woman cleared her throat and waited for Nina to move out of her way. Nina looked at the young woman again. She couldn’t recall if she’d seen her before but she seemed a bit familiar. The young woman had money it was clear. She was dressed in a silky blue-green ombré dress which swept the floor. Definitely a couture piece.
“I’m so sorry.” Nina said moving out the woman’s way, “I got chocolate on my dress and I’m trying to get it off before anyone else notices the big stain on my chest.”
The woman smiled. Her voice was youthful and melodic. “Oh it’s no problem, hon. I’ve had my share of beauty mishaps too. Try not to make the stain any bigger or it will really show up. Such a shame your dress looks fab on you. I hope it doesn’t stain for good, you’ll have to dry clean it tomorrow.”
Nina removed a wet wipe from her purse and began to work the chocolate stain from her hot pink dress. “Yeah, I will have to dry clean it for sure. This icing must have been loaded with cocoa it’s not coming out well. Oh, and thanks for the compliment I love your dress, especially the ombré.”
The woman smiled girlishly.” Everyone says I look good in this colour. Malcolm my boyfriend says I look hot and sophisticated.”
“You can’t be more then twenty-five. I should think.” Nina said making the woman laugh.
“I’m twenty-three-years old, although people often think I’m older. I must look wise. Would you like me to help you get that stain out?”
Nina who was bent over the sink smiled. “That would be awesome. Nothing I do seems to work.” The young woman rubbed at the stain and murmured something under her breath. Nina looked down and the chocolate stain was gone.”How did you do that?”
The woman smiled. “It’s my secret. My Grandmother taught me how to battle laundry stains. Let’s say with a little magic anything can be done.”
Nina thought what the young woman said was terribly funny considering John’s situation. She was half ready to get the woman to use her magic to reverse John’s curse.
Nina and the woman left the washroom together. Nina put a hand out when the young woman started to walk away, “Do I know you from somewhere? Do you work for a company that deals with Wilus Accounting or are you in Marketing? Maybe you know the guy I’m seeing, John Eric. He’s a CEO of Mergers.” The young woman’s face went pale.
“Pretty sexy, I’m glad you didn’t choose the black dress. Hot pink is definitely your colour Nina.” Rianne said.
Nina looked at herself in a tall mirror in her bedroom. The elegant cocktail dress had straps which hung on her arms revealing her shapely shoulders and the top of her back and chest.The hot pink dress was silky and tight. It was brilliant against her white blond hair and fair skin.
“I like your dress Rianne.” Nina said.” It’s cute. Different from all the business apparel you often wear to events such as this one.” Rianne grinned.
” Yeah. I never thought about wearing bright teal before. But it goes nicely with my hair. You’ll be happy. I even bought a pair of nice tall high heels to go along with my dress.” Rianne’s open-toed heels were silver with sequins covering them. The heel was four inches high. Nina loved them. She showed Rianne her own high heels which were made of black lace.
“Why didn’t you let John pick us up?” Rianne asked Nina. “Yeah that’s right,” I overheard your phone conversation with him. “It’s your third date you should let him be the gentlemen while you still can.”
Nina laughed and shrugged. ” I guess I’m nervous something will happen again tonight. The Odds are… I only hope the fall-out isn’t too bad. I told John you and I were doing girl stuff. You know, masks and manicures. So, it made sense for us to go together.”
“Yeah I know,” Rianne said exasperated, “I don’t understand why though. ” You said you care for him a lot. So why wouldn’t you let him give you a ride?”
” It’s nothing,” Nina said, “I thought it could be fun for the two of us to hang out. I’m there with John, but I’m there with you too. We’re a team. You’re my bestfriend and I just need you there with me to convince me I’m doing the right thing with John.”
“I see,” Rianne said. She looked skeptical of Nina’s excuse.”Well, better finish your makeup Nina and stop waving your mascara wand at me. I think the cab is here.”
When Nina and Rianne walked into the Skyline Club Golf and Country House they were awed to see the room was decorated in strings of lights. There were many round tables adorned it pearly white table cloths. They were encircled by chairs in white and pearl seat covers. The tables had glass center-pieces with pretty orchids. Candles floated around the orchids in water. The colour for the event was purple so there were purple cloth napkins and purple balloons everywhere. The Country House was an exceptionally old building which had been restored to its eighteenth-century glory. The architectural highlights with the decorations were beautiful.
There was also a photobooth in one corner where a person could take pictures with silly props and your friends. Nina and Rianne went there first and did their best at making funny faces. They laughed when the pictures came out of the booth . A podium was setup for speeches and a live band performed popular and well loved songs on a stage. People were in groups talking to each other.
Nina looked for John but she couldn’t find him so Rianne and her went to the bar and ordered some red wine. Rianne and Nina chatted a bit about the venue and the Silent Auction Fundraiser for awhile before Nina finally spotted John looking sharp and talking with an older gentlemen. John looked up and spotted Nina staring at him. He waved to her and smiled.
John shook the man’s hand he was talking to and walked over to Nina and Rianne. He hugged Nina hard and kissed her on the cheek before smiling at Rianne and offerring his hand. ” You must be the famous Rianne,” John said. “I heard about you from Nina. You two have been friends a long time. Do you still play volleyball?” John asked slyly. Rianne’s face went red as Nina shook her head in exasperation.
” Don’t ask her that,” she swatted John.
Rianne smiled. “You told him that Nina? You told him I lost my shirt and bra in a volleyball brawl in eleventh grade?”
“I didn’t mean to mention it,” Nina said. She felt remorseful but it had been such a funny event, even though it embarrassed Rianne.
“Rianne started to laugh.” She had a big laugh that people noticed. “Yeah” she said smiling at John. “It was the most embarrassing game ever. But I kicked that chick’s ass. She never gave me sass again.” John was laughing now too.
A tall handsome man a few feet away nodded at John and John jerked his chin telling the man to come over. The man resembled John so Nina figured that it was one of his brothers. “This is my oldest brother Jasper. Jasper my girl Nina and her friend Rianne.”
Jasper’s eyes went big when John called Nina ‘my girl.’ But he quickly tried to hide his reaction. His brown eyes went even bigger when he saw Rianne. He smiled at her flirtatiously. John rolled his eyes.
“Rianne.What a beautiful name. How are you enjoying our fundraiser?”
” Well the decorating is very nice and umm . . . the auction items are great. Should raise a lot of money for Habitat for Humanity and for the kid’s reading program. . . ” Rianne was staring at Jasper, and Jasper at Rianne. Jasper’s face broke into a genuinely happy grin.
” I see your wine glass is empty Rianne. Would you like some more to drink?” Rianne nodded smiling at Jasper her eyes alight. Jasper and Rianne walked away to the bar leaving John and Nina speechless. Rianne winked at Nina from the bar.
“Rianne doesn’t generally do that you know. She’s really picky.” Nina said.
“So is Jasper,” said John. “But she better be careful. Jasper has two young boys and they come first in his life.” Nina looked at John running a hand down his cheek and sighed.
” She’s my best friend John, and she knows what she is doing. I’m pretty sure your brother does too. They only met each other so let’s see how things go tonight first.”
John sighed. ” It’s only that she could be another person who could get hurt because of the curse. I didn’t think about that you know. Important people in your life could be hurt by me. You’re not the only one in danger Nina.”
“I told Rianne about you. She thinks you are delusional or that you’re hiding something from me. But she has never experienced the bad things I’ve seen happen around you.”
“She’s a smart woman. Nina you are lucky to have her as your friend. She’s only looking out for you. What if me caring about you isn’t enough? What if you get injured seriously.”
” It’s going to be okay John. I can feel it. Sometimes you have to believe the best is going to happen. And I believe in the best for us and our friends and family.”
John kissed the side of Nina’s face. ” You look stunning by the way. I want to take you back to my house right now, but I can’t. Want to come meet some people with me?”
“Yeah for sure.” Nina said. She went around the room with John while he networked and introduced her to his clients and associates. There were many writers,editors, advertisers, and shareholders from Mergers, all who blurred together after Nina had been introduced to so many people.
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.