23. How Was Last Night For You: Rianne’s Mugged and Nina Disappears.


Please read Chapter 22 here.

Chapter 23:  Rianne’s Mugged and Nina  Disappears.

Rianne’s head ached badly, and so did her once broken arm. She had been lying on it for what felt like forever. The more Rianne tried to escape the tiredness that plagued her, the deeper she fell into nightmares

Rianne dreamed Nina had a fish tale. She dreamed Jasper and herself were visiting Nina on a beach. Nina kept the lower half of her body beneath the waves and refused to come any closer to shore. Behind Rianne, Jasper regarded Sam and Eric playing in the sand. They were building sand castles as Rianne had shown them how to do properly.

Sam and Eric adored Auntie Nina and wanted her to come play in the sand too, but Nina only smiled at John’s nephews sadly; she waved her hands at them blowing both boys air kisses which they pretended to catch with their hands. Rianne reached out for Nina but her hands only grasped lake water. Her best friend and childhood pal, swam away into the Sirene Lake, a mermaids tale flicking behind her.

Rianne recalled Nina had always stood up for her since the time they first met in primary school. Nina was the girl who despite being shorter and smaller, beat-up other girls for pushing Rianne around on the playground and calling Rianne names. Rianne had grown tall and sturdy, but not until high school when she began to workout and play basketball. Rianne had been nearly fifteen-years-old before she began to grow into maturity.

Rianne wrinkled her nose. It smelt like Chinese food in her dream, Chinese food that was stale. Something wet dripped on Rianne’s face and she abruptly awoke. A homeless man leaned over Rianne, his water bottle in hand. His weathered face showed concern.

“Lady, are you okay? Sorry about pouring water on you, but you looked passed-out and I didn’t know another way to wake you without involving the police. We’re you mugged? ”

Rianne gazed up at the man from the sidewalk where she lay on her bad arm. She forced her body into a more upright position and realized her savior could badly use some help of his own. His shoes had holes, his clothes dusty, ragged, and tattered.The man carried an old backpack and his face was covered with a straggly grey beard. Rianne tried to thank the man, but no words came out of her mouth. She was relieved this homeless man was no foe.

“There’s a bump, a red goose egg on your forehead. It looks as though someone knocked you out and robbed you.” The homeless man said to Rianne.

Rianne groaned and rose to her feet hanging onto the homeless man for balance. She felt dizzy but not all that bad considering the bump she saw on her forehead in her reflection on the glass of the Chinese food place. Rianne checked the time on her watch which hadn’t been stolen. It was early morning, around 1:00 am; how long had she been passed-out?

After a while, Rianne was able to walk without help leaning on the homelessman or the window of the Chinese restaurant. Rianne smiled at the man in gratitude.

“Thank you for waking me up and ensuring I’m alright,”  she told the homeless man with sincerity. Rianne’s voice sounded groggy. The man grinned, showing teeth that needed dental work she knew he couldn’t afford. “I wish I could give you something, some money for helping me, but my purse is gone. It’s lime colored, you would see it if it was here.” The man chuckled.

” Someone stole your purse when they knocked you out. I’ve seen it occur before. It happens to quite a few woman at night. Maybe buy a cheaper purse next time. I’m betting your purse was designer.” The homeless man said knowingly.

Then he looked at the bags of food  by Rianne’s feet and smiled. “Can I have your food?” Rianne looked at the man confused at first. “Your Chinese food, it’s probably still okay to eat. I felt the bag, it’s kind of warm yet.”

“Are you sure it might be dangerous to eat now?” Rianne asked the man. He smiled at her again.

” For me it’s fine, I’m used to eating food with recent expiration dates,” the homeless man said chuckling again. Rianne slowly, picked up the food with her good arm and gave it to the man. She was sorry that stale Chinese food was all she had to give.

“My watch,” Rianne said suddenly, “you could take it and pawn it. It’s worth a lot. I received it from my Mom for my twenty-first birthday?” She held out her precious watch to the man. He took it placed it in her hand and closed Rianne’s fingers around it, shaking his head. The man observed Rianne closely.

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay, Lady?” Rianne nodded slowly.

“I’m a tad dizzy and my head hurts but I’m alright. I need to get back to my friend. I told her I’d be back with food hours ago. She’ll be worried.”

The homeless man thanked Rianne for the food after Rianne had reassured him she didn’t need to go to a near by medical clinic.

Rianne thanked the man again, for caring enough to wake her up and they parted ways. She wished there was a way to help him more, to give the homeless man something better then old Chinese food. But he seemed happy and declined to give Rianne any information so she could find him again and give him money.


 

She walked as fast as she could, back to Nina’s condo building, passing The Manhattan which was full of people having a good time before last call.

Rianne didn’t have her key, but luckily a neighbour was coming out the door and recognized Rianne as Nina’s friend. Delighted to see her and asking Rianne about the bump on her head, the kindly woman waved Rianne through the condo door entrance.

Rianne rode the elevator up to Nina’s condo on the seventeenth floor. She had a sick feeling in her stomach, as if something was wrong. Not only had Rianne been mugged two blocks from Nina’s condo, but she had had a weird dream about Nina being a mermaid.

Rianne contemplated her dream, wondering why she remembered it with such clarity. The dream about Nina being a mermaid seemed awfully coincidental considering curses, magic, and sea witches had become real to Rianne in the past few months. She pondered if her dream was as John’s dreams, a premonition of what could be.

Rianne’s head was pounding out a study rhythm when she entered the condo. Nina’s front door had opened without Rianne having a key. Rianne prayed this meant Nina was home safe. Instead, when Rianne walked into the condo she could immediately tell the condo was empty; something wasn’t right.

A messy scrawled note from Nina read that Nina was staying at Heather’s tonight. Nina hated staying at Heather’s place. Heather was a nice lady, but lately, she had had a lot of male company. Company Nina more then a few times, had run into as they were half-naked. Heather would later tell Nina: ” Oh he’s no one.” But Nina had preferred not to stay over at her Mom’s after running into her Mothers various lovers.

All these thoughts sprang to Rianne’s mind in an instant. She needed to talk to Jasper but she didn’t think she had a phone. Nina had no landline, only her cell and Nina’s cell was in Rianne’s purse. Amazingly, Rianne found her own cell half-charged in her pocket. It’s lime leather cover matched her stolen purse.

Rianne sat down at Nina’s kitchen table. Her arms were suddenly wet, there was water all over Nina’s table from a water pitcher. But the pitcher wasn’t leaking so how did the water get there?

Rianne dialed Jasper on her phone; her head throbbed painfully.

” Jasper, sorry to wake you but it’s me. I was mugged on the street picking-up Chinese food for Nina and I. It should’ve taken me fifteen-minutes but someone knocked me out. I have this horrible bump on my head.They took my purse. When I arrived back to Nina’s condo, her door was unlocked and she isn’t here. Her condo is empty.” Rianne said as quickly as she could manage.

” Huh, what?”  Jasper said sleepily but concerned, “Are you okay? Do you need to go to a hospital? You could have a concussion you know. Did Nina leave a note? Maybe give her a call on her phone?”

“Her phone was in my purse Jasper. I took it away from her because she kept looking at her phone to see if John had answered her messages to him. I was so stupid. I shouldn’t have taken it from her.” Rianne said.

“And there was this note. It was really weird it was on the kitchen table which was sopping wet. There is water all over the table and that is unlike Nina to leave water all over her table. The water pitcher wasn’t even broken.” Rianne was getting tears in her eyes. She was usually self-contained.

” What did the note say Ri?” Jasper asked her gently.

“It said she was staying at her Mom’s tonight. But Nina hates staying at her Mom’s house. She would’ve told me if she was going to be sleeping there earlier. I called Heather’s cell but she’s not answering. I’ve left several messages. What if Talise has Nina? What if she took Nina away and wants to kill her like John said?” Rianne was full-out crying now.

“What do we Jasper?” Rianne said fatigued.”John is out at Talise’s cave and Nina is mysteriously gone from her condo. Somethings wrong Jasper.”

“Call Heather again right now,” Jasper ordered Rianne. “I’ll be over soon. Maybe, I can reach John on his phone. He should be back from the cave by now, depending how things went. I should’ve never let him go alone, but he insisted. . .”

“It’s not your fault Jasper. John’s headstrong, especially where Talise is concerned. I’ll try calling Heather again but I don’t think she’s picking up the phone. Maybe she’s out with one of her boyfriends? Come quick and bring ice for my head.” Jasper sighed. She could tell he was exasperated with the entire situation.

” A homeless guy woke me up in time Jasper.” Rianne said trying to stop him for worrying. ” I’ll be okay. It’s Nina I’m worried about.”

“Alright, stay there at Nina’s don’t move.” Jasper told Rianne. “I’ll buy you a new purse and we’ll figure out where Nina is…What did the homeless guy say? I hope Nina is safe, John’s going to kill me. ..”

” Hurry Jasper, don’t worry about the purse right now. I love you.” Rianne told Jasper, hanging up on him before she started to bawl. Rianne didn’t say anything to Jasper, but she knew she was the person supposed to be watching Nina for John. This was her fault, Rianne told herself sternly.

Her head hurt painfully. She got up from the table and took two Advil from Nina’s medicine cupboard. Rianne changed out of her sweater with wet sleeves from the pool of water on Nina’s table, before soaking up the water with paper towel.

Exhausted and frustrated that Jasper was taking so long getting to Nina’s Condo, Rianne lay on Nina’s soft suede couch. She drifted in and out of a sleep of nightmares, none as clear as the one she had when she was unconscious earlier. Rianne knew she shouldn’t be sleeping after being hit on her head so hard, but she couldn’t help it; she passed out.

Suddenly, Rianne awoke. She heard the door knob turn on Nina’s front door and it startled her. The room was dark except for a lamp Rianne had turned on earlier. She arose carefully, and went to meet Jasper at the condo door. He hugged Rianne hard when he saw her, towering over her and giving her security.

” Are you okay? You shouldn’t be sleeping with a bump like that on your head.” Jasper shouted at Rianne. She glimpsed past Jasper’s shoulder and was relieved to see he hadn’t come alone, he had brought Jordan with him.

“Thank God your both here,” Rianne said tears sliding down her freckled cheeks. “I’m worried about Nina, we need to find her. Did you hear from John, either of you?”

“I talked to him briefly,” Jordan said curtly. He was trying to not upset Rianne and she could tell.

“Sit down both of you,” she commanded, “are Sam and Eric alright?” Rianne asked Jasper, slamming the front door and sitting beside Jasper.

“Yep,” Jasper said his arm around Rianne as he gently felt the bump on her head and reached down to a grocery bag for an ice pack. The ice stung Rianne’s bump but after a minute or two her head felt better. Jasper continued:

“Mom is watching the boys. They’ll be okay. Super thrilled to have Grandma take them for swim lessons tomorrow. How are you feeling Ri? That bump is nasty. I want Mom to look at it tomorrow.” Jasper seemed to be stalling and Rianne who was usually calm began to panic. She looked at Jordan:

” What did John say? Does he know where Nina is? Is she with him?” Jordan looked uncomfortable but began to talk anyways.

“John’s phone wasn’t working too well. Too much water got in it. He ran into Talise on her piece of paradise. She tried to trap him in the cave, but he managed to steal her dagger. She took my boat to shore and she was coming after Nina. But um, John injured Talise when they fought for the dagger, it effected her magic; she’s not as strong as she was and her barrier trapping John in the cave broke. John had to swim to shore. . . he’s so afraid for Nina. Then, John’s phone went dead . . .” Jordan let out a breath.

Rianne’s eyes were as big as saucers. “No, Talise can’t have gotten to land so fast could she Jordan?”

Jordan swallowed afraid. “John was at the harbor when I called him. We need to go there, I think. If Talise has Nina, that’s the first place she’ll be. And we need to find John, he must be exhausted and freezing.”

” I agree,” Jasper said. His voice was firm and he looked angry as Rianne had never seen him before.

“Let’s go guys,” Rianne said, “Damn it, my keys were in my purse.”

“You hurt your head,” Jasper said tenderly, ” I’ll drive.”

All three of them ran down the stairs as it was faster then taking the elevator. They sped off in Jasper’s car towards the harbor, to the Sirene. All of them were afraid of what had become of John and Nina.

Please Read Chapter 24 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

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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.

13. How Was Last Night For You: Injuries and Memories


Read Chapter 12 here.

Chapter 13: Injuries and Memories.

John was searching for Nina beneath debris inside the farmer’s market. He was worried about Nina and he couldn’t find her. He had lost her and their bags when they had dived for the floor as a booth had blown towards them.

John could see other people searching for friends or family in the warehouse. He watched a grey-haired man aid some other men caught underneath a table. Everyone at the farmer’s market was injured someway. The worst were broken limbs and large abrasions. John hoped Nina had escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. John’s breathing stopped for a moment when he saw a soft pile of pink fabric out of the corner of his eye.

Nina was lying on the cement floor of the warehouse her right hand covered in blood. John carefully removed the items that had landed on top of Nina from the wind. He removed the bags with some of her purchases from her slack hand. John gently shook Nina. When she didn’t wake up he realized Nina was unconscious.

John ran his hand gently through Nina’s hair and was startled when his hand came out dripping blood. He grimaced at the awful wound Nina had acquired on her head. She was going to need stitches and John wouldn’t doubt it if she had a concussion. He unwound the the pink scarf around her neck gently and pressed the scarf to Nina’s head injury. The scarf was ruined but hopefully it would stop the remaining bleeding.

Oddly enough, the storm had only affected a small area of Adare, close to Sirene Lake. It didn’t surprise John. He was sure Tia drew her power from the water as a sea witch. She was the one who had caused Nina’s head injury he thought hatefully.  John grabbed Samsung and called 911. Ambulances were no doubt in the area assisting people from the market because the paramedics were helping Nina in a flash.

John watched worriedly as Nina was put onto a stretcher. A brace was put around her neck and the paramedics put bandages on Nina’s head wound. John gathered Nina’s bags and rode in the ambulance saying he was Nina’s fiancé so he could accompany her to the hospital. On the way, John found Nina’s phone in her purse and called Jasper to help Rianne bring some of Nina’s clothes and toiletries to the Adare General Hospital.

John told Jasper Nina had hurt her head. Then he mentioned that Tia had returned. Jasper was aghast.

“After all this time?” Jasper wondered.

“Yes Tia’s back Jasper and she’s vengeful. She wants me, but she wants to hurt me too. She’s nothing like the sweet girl I used to know. Who laughed and partied with us years ago.” John said.

“The best way she can hurt me is through Nina. Tia’s jealous of her. I’m positive it was Tia who hurt Nina drawing power from the water of the Sirene for the storm. Nina said Tia was at the fundraiser last night dating a guy named Malcolm, one of our editors from Mergers. Tia called herself Talise. Nina ran into her at the farmer’s market today too.  Tia hurt Nina on purpose today.”

“Are you sure John?”

“Yes, Jasper. She told me ‘my heart or Nina’s’ I don’t think she could be much clearer. I think she wants one of our hearts literally.”

John ended the call as the ambulance pulled up to emergency. The wait in emergency was painfully long and Nina remained unconscious the entire time. Doctor Kenner eventually examined Nina’s head and said she would be out for awhile. Nina had a nasty gash on her scalp and the doctor stitched up the wound carefully. Doctor Kenner noted that Nina would need three or four weeks to heal from what he thought was a mild concussion.  Dr Kenner ordered  a CT scan and x-ray to be sure of Nina’s condition.

John set Nina’s shopping bags down by the window sill in her hospital room. He saw there were some different spices in one bag and a beat up apple pie in the other. He was starving and managing to procure a plastic fork,  John ate half the pie. It was delicious, and was well worth the necklace he bought Nina. John had never bought a woman such a personal gift before, except Tia. He remembered having bought her a bracelet with an opal stone. Tia’s favourite colour was teal. She had been ecstatic when John given her the bracelet years ago.


 

“John it’s gorgeous. It reminds me of the ocean and the waves.” A young Tia had said to him admiring her wrist. “You have good taste.”

” I saw it and knew you would like it. It was in Tiffany’s.” John remarked, his hands tangled in Tia’s blond waves.

“Tiffany’s wow, it must have been expensive John. I love it. And I love being here on the beach with a bonfire and only us. No one for you to do business with. No brothers for you to rough house with and meet clients with. Just us, when we get married promise we’ll go to Greece, somewhere the water is santorini blue. . .”

“Oh, umm,” John said nervously. “I have a heaping pile of work to do for the next while and building Mergers right now is exceptionally important to my brother’s and I. It’s our dream you know. We’ll have to wait awhile. We can always have a good time as we are. I don’t need a piece of paper to say we’re a sure thing. We don’t need to be married yet.”

Tia sighed sadly, “If you say so John. In a year or two right?” Tia said holding up her bracelet and looking adorable.

John kissed her wrist, “Sounds about right, Tia.” He kissed her slowly by the bonfire.


 

It wasn’t long after Tia cursed John because Tia thought John was using her. Despite searching the lake for her in his sailing boat and inquiring about her from Tia’s old friends, John hadn’t seen Tia in eight years. When John saw Tia at the market she looked almost the same. Her skin was smooth and dewy and her hair was a sun-kissed blond. Only, her personality was colder. She was devious. She wasn’t an innocent girl anymore. John had helped cause her Tia to become hateful what she was today — vengeful. He felt guilty, despite how irate Tia made him feel for the curse she had caste on John.

John clasped the less expensive but beautiful pearl on the gold necklace he’d bought for Nina. The necklace lay around her neck as she slept. When he bought it for Nina he knew it was a gift for Nina which had more meaning to him then Tia’s expensive bracelet. He wanted Nina to be his ‘beloved’ as the charm on the necklace read. He wanted to do better with Nina and work was no longer such an interference in his life. He had enough money that he could take time off when he needed. In that moment, John realized he wanted a future with Nina. If he had it his way — a lifetime.


 

Rianne and Jasper arrived when visiting hours were almost over. Rianne wasn’t looking to well with her arm in a cast and sling. She was in pain but tried to be cheerful with Jasper at her side. Jasper had helped Rianne gather some clothes and personal items Nina would require in hospital for a few days. Rianne kissed Nina’s cheek and she brought home Nina’s spices from the market. John had finished the pie refusing to leave Nina before she woke up.

Nina awoke from unconsciousness later in the night. She was groggy as he took her hand and kissed her cheek.”John… is that you? I couldn’t find you. I looked but you were gone and this table it hit me and then my head was bleeding.”

“It’s okay Nina,” John said “I called an ambulance and you’re in a hospital room now. Doctor Kenner has ordered a CT scan and an x-ray but he thinks you should be yourself in a few weeks if you’re careful. You have a little concussion, that’s all.”

“Oh” Nina said softly,”I don’t feel good at all…so queasy.” John quickly grabbed a bedpan and Nina threw up. She wiped her mouth with some Kleenex John gave her.

“It’s going to take some time for you to heal Nina, take it slow, honey.” Nina smiled at the endearment and weakly brushed John’s hand with hers before letting her hand drop and resting back in bed.

“I intend to…” Nina whispered. She was going to sleep again when she mumbled, “Call my Mom. Call Heather –”

John sighed. Talking to Nina’s Mother for the first time to tell her Nina’s injured, great…

Please Read Chapter 14 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

1. How Was Last Night For You – The Beginnning


Chapter 1: The Beginning

“How Was Last Night For You.”

She had never seen John in her life before last night. But from the moment he and Nina spotted each other at The Manhattan Martini Bar, Nina had felt an invisible pull between them. Something about John made Nina feel breathless, excited, and terrified all at once. When he approached her with a unique pick up line it had made her smile. ” Of all your beautiful curves, your smile is my favourite,” he had whispered to her. John had bought her a cosmopolitan and they had started to chat. Nina and John had small-talked about the weather and how they liked living in Adare.

The next moment a fight broke out across from their table. Two men were wrestling. One head butted the other in the stomach while the other one punched the first guys neck and back. The men continued to fight. John had put a protective arm around her and led her away from the fight to another small table where they continued their conversation keeping an eye on the fight as it became increasingly violent and bloody.

It was an unusual scene for such a posh place, two men in designer suites going at it as if the fight was all that mattered. Jason, the manager of the Martini bar had called the cops and she wondered with increasing worry when they would show up. Some men had tried to unsuccessfully break the two fighting up with disastrous results. They had found themselves thrown out of the fighting circle and on to their asses, noses bloodied and ribs throbbing from a stray punch. The fight was getting too much to watch. Nina glanced up at John who wasn’t at all worried. He reassured Nina that the situation would be fine but she could not ignore the gasps, shouts, and groans of the other people at the bar as the two men fought like bears ready to maul each other to death.

Nina looked up at John with worried delicate pale-blue eyes. She did not know him well. But John had been perfectly amiable and flirtatious towards Nina. She felt John was distracted; however, and not by the fight.Nina had come out alone that night, to the little Martini Bar The Manhattan, underneath her condo building.

She had jumped in the shower after work, washing, then drying her almost white blond hair and carefully putting on sexy natural looking makeup: mascara, concealer, pink blush, and gloss. Nina chose a short classic black dress, the fabric hugging her curvy size ten pear-shaped figure. The dress draped in the back, revealed her soft white and shapely back. Nina was petite so gorgeous pink heels that completed the outfit were a must.

Nina’s group of friends had all been busy that night and she had  wanted to do something, anything, just to relax and forget a day at work where she had had to hustle. She was not sure why she spent so much time getting ready; she just had had a feeling about tonight, a premonition perhaps, that she needed to look smashing.

Then there had been John with those startling sapphire eyes, dark hair curling at his collar, and boyish handsome face. He was taller than her 5’6″ by a lot and he was nice offering to buy her a drink, sharing pleasant conversation with her, and making her laugh. But as the cops finally showed up, bursting through The Manhattan’s doors, Nina felt there was something off about John. He had not been one of the many men who attempted to intervene in the fight. He had watched the event as if it were perfectly normal as if he expected there to be a fight. John had almost seemed to be bored by it.

The cops who had come in numbers, with sirens, and with yelling, efficiently stopped the fight. Both fighters had swollen eyes that were black and blue and noses that were busted and bent. The men said nothing as they were separated and were shoved off into separate waiting police cruisers. They looked at each other with gleaming eyes full of malice and one of the men was jerked back painfully as he spit at the other man.

The noise in the bar gentled to a hum of excited voices out on a Friday night. The police were talking to witnesses, some people who had been at the bar near the fight, the bartenders, and waitresses dressed in tight black dresses and stiletto pumps. Nina looked up at John who was watching her closely. “Wow” she said, “that was brutal. I thought the police were never going to come. And did you see that fight so violent so….”

“Vicious” John replied quietly.

“But you weren’t worried at all?” Nina asked John.

“Not really” he shrugged “Boys will be boys, besides I would have kept you safe” he smiled. She half smiled back but found it hard to stay cheerful.

“Yeah, but you never thought to stop it with some of the other bigger men. I mean you must be 6’2″ or so and you look like you workout?”

“Why thank you,” John grinned but said seriously,” I knew the cops would have it handled, stuff happens at bars all the time, even this one. Given the nature of the fight I thought it unwise to interfere and leave you here alone.”

“I guess” Nina said distractedly wondering about John. There was something about him that just did not sit right with her. Yet at the same time she felt attracted to him and as if she didn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Want another drink?” She deliberated. “Nina?” John said quietly in her ear.

She shrugged “Sure I guess, a vodka water lime.”

“Let’s make it a double!” He grinned at her going to the bar but coming back empty handed. “Bar’s closing down, something to do with the fight.”

Nina nodded “I should….”

“Come on the night is young. Let’s go for a walk, go find somewhere else to enjoy?” John asked with a mischievous look in his eyes. Nina considered John’s request briefly. Was she safe going off with him? She still felt their was something a bit off about John. But there it was again, an invisible thread of attraction between them. She could feel the connection blooming between her and John when she caught him staring at her.

“Sure, sounds good.” Nina decided. She did not often go off alone and felt a bit nervous walking off somewhere with this near stranger. Usually, if she met guys at a bar it was with a friend or two. The thought comforted her but she felt drawn to John. She trusted him oddly enough, to some degree.

John draped Nina’s jacket over her shoulders and took her hand. They began walking down the block Nina lived on past other condo buildings, stores, and the occasional pub. John wasn’t interested into going into any place so she continued to walk with him, although her feet ached in her slim pink pumps. The heels were not that high but were not met for long walks past the Downtown to the Harbor of Adare, where bells dinged and she could hear water sloshing against the large white fishing and sailing boats. They had barely said a word to each other except for John asking her if she was okay occasionally. She nodded and they continued their walk past the Harbor to a further section of Downtown Adare.

Nina finally had to break the silence. “So you grew up here?”

“Yeah my parents still live here and like I said earlier, I own a publishing company with my two brothers Jasper and Jordan.” John grinned, ” I have great fun with my brothers, most of the time.”

” I bet,” Nina laughed. “Do you fish like most everyone around here?”

“Yeah, I love it. My Dad used to take my brothers and I out fishing when we were young. Taught us how to catch the best trout and how to gut and clean them. I’m more into sailing now, but my oldest brother Jasper goes with his two little boys sometimes. Their a bit young yet to fish but they like being with their Dad. Sometimes I go along.”

” Yuck” Nina said wrinkling her nose, “I hate fish. The way they smell, how they taste. It makes me throw up.”

“I’ll remember that,” John said, “No fish. I usually sail anyways. Only fish now and then makes good eats,” John teased.

Nina was distracted when she heard sirens again and was aghast to find police cars pulling up all over the block they were walking on. A group of paramedics carried a stretcher out in front of them and she heard whispers of a knife attack. She saw the evidence, bags of bloodied clothing, and a knife being carried out in a plastic bags by investigators.

Nina looked at John who shook his head and shrugged apologetically, “bad night” he murmured, “let’s get away from this scene, are you doing all alright?” Nina looked at John than up to the bright white orb of the moon dancing in the sky. It burned through the night sky as some beacon of hope then, a dark cloud moved to dance over it, partially hiding the moon’s revealing brilliance.

“I’m okay John. It’s just Adare, the city tonight is a bit scary. It kind of feels like the fight at the bar happening and this knife attack are more then just coincidence.”

John looked up at the moon and bit his lip. “Ah, full moon” he said” that explains everything” and he seemed satisfied with his answer. “Really are you fine, Nina?” Because I can help you get a cab or walk you home if you really want.” She breathed out carefully not so much afraid as flustered by John’s nearness.

“Like I said, it’s only that having a massive fight and encountering a stab victim on the same night is a lot to take in. Maybe we should head back to The Manhattan, I live right above there.” John looked at her thoughtfully and took her hand. They turned around walking back along the Harbor. Nina turned her head to look at the full moon again. “It’s so pretty but ominous” she breathed. John smiled, a gorgeous smile, much like the moon himself.

“Yes it is pretty, you’re pretty, and you don’t have to worry I’ll get you home. People just go a little peculiar on nights when there is a full moon, it’s scientifically proven. All the crazies come out.”

“Interesting theory” she wondered aloud,” what other kinds of weird things happen?”

“Oh, we’ll I guess anything out of the ordinary you could think of.”

“Hmm” Nina said, “that doesn’t make me feel better. But I do feel safe with you John.” He smiled at her. Nina continued to walk by the lake wrapping her white coat tightly around her body.

It was then something wrapped itself around Nina’s pink shoe and pulled! She screamed. John quickly came to her aid and pulled her away from the edge of wooden walkway at the Harbor. But a cold white hand, hung on to her ankle, and John pulled Nina and a cold shivering mess of a woman out from the Harbor water. “Oh my God” Nina stammered at the woman, “What happened to you? Are you okay? Are you hurt? How did you end up in the lake.Did you fall in?” Nina felt panicked.

The shivering mess of a woman began to cry. ” Somebody pushed me in” she wailed, ” I was standing at the rail of the boat after having dinner with my husband and then I was looking back waving at Thomas and these hands just grabbed me and hulled me over the side of our boat.” The cold wet woman had long auburn hair and shivered as John gave her his coat. She wrapped herself in the coat gratefully and Nina stood their transfixed as the woman told her story, frightened green eyes hazy with cold. “Then I called for help but no one heard me so I swam to the edge of the Harbor here. The water is so cold and I barely made it, then I saw your pink shoe and grabbed on.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Nina bent down to the woman. “ We should call the police John,” Nina said. John retrieved his Samsung phone from his pants pocket and began to dial.

“No, no, no” cried the woman suddenly, changing her mind,”it must have just been my imagination. I probably just fell. But I was sure there was this girl in the water. But I think I was tired and seeing things.” John and Nina looked at one another not knowing what to believe. It was strange, this woman changing her story and becoming all nervous, as if she was afraid of someone or something.

“But a doctor?” suggested John you could have hurt yourself and not known it.” The woman stood shakily and then more steadily.

“I’m fine really thanks…” The dripping wet woman hiked up her wet skirt and ran down the dock dropping John’s now soaked coat and headed for a boat with lights on. She turned around  and waved.John and Nina were left standing on the dock unsure of what to do as they heard the woman’s bare wet feet hit the dock in the distance.

John pulled himself together first, shook his head and went to retrieve his jacket. ” I wonder . . .” he said to himself thoughtfully, then shook his head as if what he thought couldn’t be true.

The light on the boat the woman had ran to went out and John grabbed Nina’s hand. They half walked and half ran all the way to her condo. John walked Nina up to her condo and feeling brave, after everything she had witnessed that night Nina invited him in. “What was that?” she asked John. What a night! A bar fight, a stabbing, and a woman who nearly drowned. And what was that she said about seeing some girl in the water?Do you think she was imagining things.” Nina took out a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Rye. They did a few shots to calm themselves down and began to talk again.

” It will alright Nina it was just one awful night and a full moon. We’re fine. No one is going to hurt us.” He kissed her forehead as if she were a child and preceded to make her laugh by telling her stories about growing up in his family with a Dad who was a Professor of Fairy Tales and Folklore, and a stay-at- home Mom who was a nurse again. Nina told him about her own childhood. About her divorced Mom, Heather, a Cosmetician, and her Dad the Wall Street Lawyer who they never heard from.

It was 3:00 am when Nina drunkenly, sauntered to the bedroom. John followed a dazed grin on his face. She never did things like this but tonight she felt adrenaline from the night rushing through her and just maybe, it was the full moon.

Nina felt her dress fall to the floor and John kissing and biting his way down her neck, before they both fell on to the bed half-dressed. Things became fuzzy after that. They had made love and fallen asleep but when she woke up the next afternoon it was to the ringtone on her iPhone “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce.

“How was Last Night for you?” The voice said on her phone as she pinched her eyes together and rubbed her left temple as a hangover set in.

“Um, interesting…” She croaked.

John laughed, “yes, it was” he said.

“How’d you get my number?” She asked John confused. “Oh, you gave it to me last night” he laughed “and this is me giving you my number.”

“Oh thanks,” Nina croaked trying to sound awake.”You left early.”

“No, thank you” he beamed through the phone “ I had a meeting. I just didn’t want you to forget me after all we had to drink and all that happened last night.” Thinking fuzzily back to last night Nina groaned:

“I wouldn’t forget you, believe me. It was just all so weird all the violence and that woman grabbing my shoe.”

“I like full moons,” John murmured,”unusual things happen.”

“Unusual is right.” Nina lay gratefully back on her soft bed.

“You, you were unusual, unexpected” he said softly.

“So were you,” Nina countered.

“I never thought I’d have a chance when you walked in but then….”

Nina sighed, “well that’s a full moon you. Strange things happen.” she commented wryly thinking about the palpable attraction she shared with John.

Nina planned lunch with John for Sunday afternoon. He did not seem so weird to her this morning, after their conversation late into the evening. Nina considered last night and shook her head in disbelief. When she thought of John and his handsome face she smiled. Then, she settled back against her pillows for a few hours more sleep. What a night.

Please read Chapter 2 here.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.