Chapter 31. How Was Last Night For You: Almost Peaceful Endings


Please Read Chapter 30 here..

Chapter 31: Almost Peaceful Endings

Nina was for the most part, contented. She happily sat beside John while his family enjoyed the dinner Nina and Rianne had cooked. They sat around John’s massive rectangular table in the open concept dining room where the atmosphere was peaceful and laid back.

There was laughter and gratefulness obvious in the eyes of everyone present. Topics flowed from John’s sudden return on the day of his funeral, to explaining the situation to all John’s numerous friends and relatives who had been planning to attend the funeral, which had been called off.

“Oh, well. Will tell them something,” Edith remarked.”It’s not unheard of to have someone who’s missing, come home alive. I have to say, John’s timing was pretty perfect.” Edith and everyone laughed, imagining how certain quirky relatives would take the news.

Jasper and Jordan filled John in on what had been happening with Mergers and Robert told Jordan about his latest challenges as a professor. Robert was noticeably more animated than Nina had seen him in months.

Edith couldn’t stop the tears from leaking out of her eyes.”We should take a cruise vacation,” she remarked. ” All of us and Rianne, Nina, and that girl you’re seeing Jordan. It would so much fun and be a wonderful way to celebrate John’s new life. Our lives free of curses.”

There was silence around the table as everyone smiled at Edith. Nina could tell no one was much into the idea but she doubted anyone had much choice.

“That sounds nice Edith,” Nina said politely, “I’ve never been on a cruise before. We’re you thinking about somewhere hot like the Caribbean?”

“Oh, that would be perfect. It’s so relaxing there and Sam and Eric would have so much fun. There’s so much for kids to do there.” Jasper still had a fake smile on his face and when Edith looked at him for approval he nodded, but nothing else.

“I think boys, your mother has the right idea. I’ll look into booking a Carribean Cruise  and be in touch soon. We should do that cruise before the Christmas Season.” Robert remarked, giving finality to the idea.

Nina gazed up and John feeling trapped, he patted her hand. “It will be fine,” he whispered to her.

“I know,” Nina said. “It’s only I was hoping to go somewhere hot with you. Just the two of us.”

John considered Nina’s words glancing at his excited Mom before whispering back in Nina’s ear: “I don’t think we have much of a choice concerning the family cruise.You’re in the family so you’re stuck like the rest of us. But I think we can very much take our own vacation too. A tour of Italy?” John suggested, tucking a piece of white blond hair behind Nina’s ear.

Nina noticed how Rianne and Jasper never met each other’s eyes as they small talked beside her and encouraged John’s nephews to  eat their food.

John on the other hand, kept his hand on Nina’s back almost the entire time they were eating, smiling at her warmly and kissing her cheek when she didn’t expect it.

She glanced at Jordan. He appeared the exact opposite of John’s healthy complexion. Jordan appeared wan and sickly. She noticed dark shadows underneath his eyes. Nina also realized Jordan hadn’t brought his girlfriend Carissa, he had been seeing her for as long as Jasper had been seeing Rianne.

“Where’s your girl Carissa?” John asked Jordan. Nina smiled minutely, her and John often thought a like.

“Oh, I broke it off about a month ago. There was too much going on at work and with you missing.” Jordan’s tone was curt, almost rude.

“You haven’t been able to get the ring off?” Nina asked Jordan who scowled at his left hand.

“Doesn’t matter what I or anyone else tries, we can’t get the ring off. I had a couple of jewelers try to cut the ring but it doesn’t work. I thought the ring was merely silver but I think it must have some kind of magic spell on it because it’s impossible to remove.”

Nina knew that night in the Sirene had been difficult for Jordan to come to terms with. She hadn’t said anything to him about Talise being alive and she knew John had kept that part secret from his family.

“I wonder if Talise’s soul is really underneath that emerald she placed in the ring?” John said aloud.

Jordan glared at John darkly.”It’s a regular emerald. Talise had no soul because mermaids don’t have souls, even if she was a sea witch.”

Nina tried to tread lightly. “In the original The Little Mermaid, mermaids don’t have souls but supernatural beings in Adare as we have seen with Talise, are significantly different than how fairy tales portray them.”

“I saw Talise take out her soul in a big shiny orb and place it on your finger in the ring. I’m absolutely sure her souls in there, Jordan. I know you don’t want to believe it, but it’s true.” Nina said cautiously.

Jordan frowned at Nina.” Whatever. It’s not as if  Talise’s soul has a body.The Sirene swallowed her supernatural corpse, that magic I do believe in.”

Nina gazed up at John who was staring at the beer he held in his hand. John’s sapphire eyes met Nina’s eyes.

She leaned up to whisper in John’s ear: “You have to tell him today about her, the sooner the better.” John nodded at Nina stroking her cheek with back of his hand. Nina caught John’s hand and held it to her cheek.


When dinner was over, Edith insisted on clearing the table since Rianne and Nina had cooked. Clean-up wouldn’t be difficult as most dishes could go in the dish washer or be left to soak until tomorrow when Nina and John could get to them.

Jordan was staring at Nina and she felt out of sorts because his dark gaze was angry and festering.”What is it?” Nina asked him.

“What were you and John whispering about?”

“Just stuff. Love stuff,” Nina lied smiling at Jordan convincingly.

“I have to see what your Mom’s up to in the kitchen.” She said rising from her chair at the supper table.” I don’t want her to spend her time here cleaning. She should be enjoying herself as should you,” Nina remarked regarding Jordan pointedly.

He gave Nina a tight smile and nodded. She gazed at John encouragingly as she left him alone at the table with Jordan. John’s dining room , kitchen, and livingroom were open concept, so Nina thought she might be able to hear bits of John’s conversation with Jordan.

“Jordan we need to talk. There’s more about Talise I haven’t told you.” John said soberly. Nina heard Jordan swear and John gave her a worried glance as he came into the kitchen briefly, to grab a couple of beers chilling in the freezer.

John opened up both beers and placed one in front of Jordan at the dining table. He sat in a chair next to Jordan and turned to face him. John’s sapphire eyes bored into his brother’s dark brown eyes and he started talking too quietly for Nina to hear. She knew John was delivering Norman’s message about Talise as gently as possible.


 

Twenty-minutes later, Nina was having wine with Rianne and Edith leaning against the kitchen island. They were all laughing about something Rianne had said when Jordan strode angrily through the kitchen nearly knocking Rianne and Nina over.

Jordan appeared bitter. He shoved Nina out of his way trying to escape out the front door.

“Hey, watch where you’re going Jordan. You almost knocked Nina over.” John said sharply.

Jordan glared daggers at John and Nina.

“I mean it Jordan. Leave Nina out of this, don’t even look at her that way ever again. She’s my girl, show her some respect.” John warned.

Jordan turned around and stared at John enraged: ” You bastard. Talise was your problem and she almost killed you. You couldn’t get rid of her and know she’s my issue suddenly, because some guy named Norman said so? It’s your fault and Nina’s fault, I have to deal with Talise. I want nothing to do with Talise and with either of you. I despise that I have no choice where Talise is concerned.” Jordan shouted, slamming the front door on his way out of the house.

The front door was slammed with such force, the wine glasses on the kitchen island skittered. Robert arose carefully, from the floor where he was playing with his grandsons.

“John, he doesn’t mean it. He’s been a hurt, angry, and bitter man since he thought Talise killed you. The thought of dealing with Talise himself, is understandably troubling for him since he believes he already stabbed her through the heart with the dagger.” Robert said reasonably.

Nina peered at John. “Your Dad knows?”

“Yes,” John said turning away from his Dad,”Mom and Jasper don’t know though. Did you tell Rianne?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have.” Nina said quietly.

“I knew you would,” John said with a smirk,” But Rianne’s not going to tell Jasper right?”

“They’re not getting along right now. She doesn’t tell Jasper what I tell her in privacy. Not at this point anyways.” Nina whispered back to John.

She stroked his stubble with her hand running her hand through his long, slightly curling dark hair.

“You need a haircut John,” Nina said smiling and raising her voice to include the rest of John’s family who had gathered in the living room.

“He does, doesn’t he?” Edith said and the conversation continued to flow, despite Jordan’s abrupt departure. It was almost 9:30 pm when everyone else went home.

Sam and Eric were grumpy and needed to be put to bed so Jasper and Rianne left. Nina noticed standing at the front door, Rianne went home in her own car. She was going to stay in her condo tonight but pack a suitcase and stay at John and Nina’s house starting the next day.

John’s parents made there goodbye’s as well, smiling contentedly at both John and Nina and hugging them, before driving home.


Later, Nina lay beside John in their bed. They had made love but were too tired to move after a crazy day. John promised to make it up to her the next day. Nina fell asleep for a couple of hours, but kept waking-up.

Beside her John stirred.”So, what now?” John asked Nina groggily, in the dark of their bedroom. She was snuggled in close to John in bed.

“I don’t know. I can’t stop thinking about everything that’s happened today. My mind doesn’t want to shut itself off.”

“Mine neither,” John said his voice gravelly from sleep.”I wonder if things are going to be difficult again or if we’ll actually be able to have a normal life? I know what Norman said but I’m helping Jordan. I know Talise best, after all.”

“Jordan’s a big boy John. Maybe, you have to let him deal with it as best as he can. I’m not saying don’t help, all I’m saying is let him decide. As a youngest brother, I’m sure he  often felt he didn’t get to make the choices he wanted.”

John grunted. “I’m not likely to let him deal with Talise alone. As if she’ll ever be safe to be with magic or no magic. She’s a terrible person/mermaid whatever she is now.”

“For cursing you and for putting us and your family through all she did, I absolutely agree. But if Norman says she’ll be Jordan’s girl, like I’m yours, I’m wondering if Talise has had to significantly change.”

“In the end of that night, she did do the right thing. She didn’t go through with her evil plan. She broke your curse and let Jordan kill her. I’m not her biggest fan but we might have to give her a chance because of Norman. If she’s out their in the Sirene that is . . .” Nina whispered.

John laughed and turned over to gaze at Nina and stroke the dip of her naked waist.” You always see the best in everything, in every situation. I’m so lucky to have you Nina. I’m in love with you. Let’s begin our real normal life now.”

Nina nodded leaning on her arm stroking John’s well defined bicep and then his face. “I’m  in love with you too. Let’s start our new life now.”

Though they were both worn out, Nina and John found hidden reserves of energy as skin slid against heated skin and lips met with passion and a hum of unending connection. Hen they were blissfully content, Nina smiled softly, tranquility overcoming every ounce of worry she felt.

Even in sleep,  Nina’s hand remained on John’s cooling skin, touching his chest and covering his heart.

Fin


 

XOXO Thanks for following!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

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20. How Was Last Night For You: John’s Confrontation with Talise


Please read Chapter 19 here.

Chapter 20: John’s Confrontation with Talise.

John carefully crept along the beach to Talise’s cave, concealed by more stone edifices, until he reached the shrouded entrance. Thoughts of the past week’s nightmares were fresh in John’s mind. He shouldn’t have thought about his dreams. The fact that John’s nightmares could be a glimpse of reality, weighed heavy on his mind. However, John knew he was of no benefit to Nina or himself, trapped in the tendrils of his recent dreams.

John slowly crept into the cave. He couldn’t see anything and had no choice but to turn on his flashlight. He pushed buttons blindly with his thumb until a portion of the cave was revealed in a circle of light. John was relieved when there appeared to be no one in the cave. Talise wasn’t here tonight.

John circled the cave, tensely gripping the flashlight. He was searching for any unusual items Talise might have hidden in the cave. Perhaps a magic orb such as the one Nina’s soul was enclosed in, in John’s nightmare. But there was no sphere or dagger concealed in the cave. Not that John could see much in relative blackness, with only the small circular light of his flashlight.

Instantly, John felt his spine tingle in fear. He spotted a smoldering fire, recently extinguished by the caves entrance and he froze. A small arm encircled his body and cold lips kissed his neck. Heinous laughter filled John’s ears and the cave was cast in brilliant light, much stronger than the flashlight provided.

John turned around into blinding light to find Talise standing behind him. She had dark purple stains beneath her eyes and she seemed to have aged. There were strands of white throughout her blond mane; however, she still held a compelling and terrible beauty.

Talise looked up at John and smiled wickedly. John perceived that the old Tia, the girl he once knew, had disappeared. The seawitch that stood before him was someone else entirely. A dark and desperate creature.

“So you remembered where my cave was, did you John?” Talise asked. Her voice was harsh and gravelly; she snickered at John.”Why would you come here John?” Talise asked. “This is my place. My haven from the world. Why invade my personal space, unless you are looking for something…” Talise laughed again, a cruel sound.

” I was looking for you Talise,” John said raising his voice to be heard in the cave. “We need to settle this. You need to uncurse me. I’ve suffered as you wished for nearly ten-years Talise, isn’t that enough for you?” John pleaded with Talise. She simply smiled, an infuriating smile.

“No John, ten-years of suffering is only the beginning for you…” Talise said spitefully.

“I never meant to hurt you Tia,” John reasoned.”I was twenty-five-years-old and I’m not akin to a mermaid or a sea witch. I didn’t have years of experience behind me. I should have told my brothers, my family, how I actually felt about you. I loved you Tia. You were my first love.” John admitted.

“First love, eh?” Talise cackled, “but not your only love. You were never committed enough in our relationship John. You were too busy building Mergers. You never truly loved me; otherwise, we would’ve been married. Anything to do with ‘us,’ was never your main focus. You are worse then Ethan was…” Tia muttered, half to herself.

” Who’s Ethan?” John asked.

“In the Victorian Age, Ethan was my husband. We couldn’t have any children because I’m unable to have children. When Ethan died, my two nephews (who were as sons to us) told me Ethan had been having an affair with another woman, for many years of our marriage.” Talise said, tears brimming in her bloodshot eyes.

“They said….my nephews said, Ethan didn’t love his mistress. He only wanted a lineage, children who had his blood. He had eight children with his mistress bitch…I loved him more than I loved anyone. . .” Sorrow laced Talise’s voice.

“I couldn’t do anything to Ethan because he was dead, even his mistress was dead. I have a great deal of vengeance to wreak John. You will pay for your own sins, you will pay for Nina’s stupidity, and you will pay for Ethan’s affair because he isn’t alive to pay.” Talise shouted.

John was appalled by Talise’s hatred.” Nina or I, have no control or fault over what Ethan chose to do over one-hundred-years-ago. We weren’t alive then. Stay away from Nina, Talise. Touch her and you’ll regret it.” John grated and Talise cackled.

“I wanted you to be with me John. I was going to appear to you and tell you ten-years anguish under my curse was enough. You were supposed to take me back and love me again. I imagined we could have a life together. We could’ve adopted children, as Ethan and I adopted his nephews. But, Nina . . . she worked her way into your heart. You love her, I can see it in your eyes when you tell me to stay away from her.” Talise raged, perplexed.

” Because you love Nina, I’m going to stab her with this . . .” Talise said picking up a thin particularly, sharp dagger.” I received this dagger from a friend who was retiring,” Talise murmured smiling murderously.” Well, actually I killed her. She was an old seawitch, at the end of a terrible dark reign. It was my turn to embrace my darkness, to be the most feared seawitch in the Sirene. I traded my soul for this John, and you’ll never find my soul. It was taken from me by the dark powers that be.” Talise said a crazed laugh escaping her throat.

John looked at the dagger Talise held in her hand. It was tarnished silver with red jewels on the hilt, it looked dangerous. Talise grasped the dagger in her small hands, hands that had appeared to have aged too. There were tiny wrinkles and visible blue veins, on the skin of Talise’s hands. In the harsh light, John could see wrinkles around Talise’s eyes and mouth. Part of her youth was a price Talise had paid to become a demonic seawitch, John thought.

“Please,” John begged Talise.” I will do whatever you want Tia. Just leave Nina out of our feud. I should’ve kept away from her, I understand that now. But Talise, you and I can still be together. We can have a lifetime together such as you and Ethan had. I will always be faithful to you. I won’t hurt you like I did before, or like Ethan did.” John said softly, cajolingly. He watched as a tiny smile appear on Talise’s lips, bringing back an echo of her youthful glow. But then Talise opened her mouth and laughed, a crazed unstable sound.

“Nice try John,” Talise uttered darkly. “But it’s too late for our ‘happily ever after.’ I told you Nina’s heart or yours .  .  and you didn’t decide which heart you wanted to give-up. But I know you love Nina, so I know you cannot give me your heart freely. And it’s too late for me because I’ve made my choice. I’ve turned…dark and now I’m going to thrust this dagger through Nina’s heart, and I’m going to take her soul.” Talise said chillingly. She sounded disgustingly cheerful about her decision. “Don’t worry John I’ll be back for your heart. I have special plans for you…”

John’s mind raced back to the nightmares he had been thinking about before entering Talise’s secret cave. He had been right, to his horror, the nightmares were a forebodence to what could happen to Nina and John. John’s nightmare was coming true. He should’ve known before coming here, he knew his dreams could be premonitions of terrible events.

John watched Talise closely, waiting for a moment when he could attack her and steal the dagger. He pictured ramming the dagger through Talise’s demonic heart. At the same time, he felt a twinge of guilt. It made John sad to think about the girl, Tia. But now John had to think about the woman he loved forever. He chose Nina over Talise, he always would.

“I know your plans Tia because I have dreamt about them. You want to bewitch me so I have no free will. You want to force me to watch as you murder Nina.” John said, watching Talise and waiting for the right moment. Talise looked surprised at John’s admission.

“I’ve never given you any nightmares John, except for the one where I asked you to choose Nina’s heart or your own. Your dreams are a sign of your own guilt, your imagination running wild. You’re at fault for the position you and Nina are in. Now it’s too late.” Talise yelled turning to face the crystal mirror on the cave wall as it came to life like a television screen. To his amazement, John could see Nina, home at her condo. She was waving goodbye to Rianne. His body tensed, Nina wasn’t safe alone.

“Here John,” Talise said. ” You can watch me bewitch Nina in the looking glass.Watch me take Nina out to the Sirene and thrust my dagger through her heart. No one will find her body. I’ll bring you back her soul when I come to take your heart, to take your free will. Just as in your dream . . . I’m coming for Nina and there is nothing you can do to stop me John.”

Talise closed her clouded green eyes and began to chant a spell, holding the dagger between her hands, as if she were praying to the devil. John seized the moment to jump Talise and wrestle the dagger from her hands. Talise screamed as John fought her. As in his dreams, Talise was abnormally physically strong.

John’s hands grasped the hilt of the dagger after several minutes struggling. He finally, threw Talise to the ground. She had stopped chanting and was fighting John’s hold on the dagger in earnest on her knees. Talise grasped the edge of dagger’s hilt. But John’s grip was stronger, he was too determined to keep the dagger.

Talise’s eyes filled with loathing and fear as John thrust the dagger at her chest.Talise rolled away and  John stabbed Talise in the arm and stumbled. He watched dirty red blood flow from her wound. A filmy red mess stained the floor of the cave, visible in the bright light Talise had first cast.

“Arggg….” Talise shouted. She chanted words under her breath quickly. The wound healed slightly, but still bled. “I’m going to kill Nina,” Talise remarked coldly, her voice weaker. “I can still drown her, even if I can’t stab her heart or take her soul.” She cackled with glee.

Talise fled the cave and John tried to follow her, but an invisible magical force stopped him. Tia looked back at John and she smiled, an evil gleam in her dull green eyes. “This will hold you, John. The spell will last long enough for me to drown Nina.” Talise said darkly.

“Remember to watch the looking glass John, watch me kill the woman you love.” Then Talise was gone and John heard nothing but strange echoes in the cave until he heard the engine of the motor boat purring.

John swore and pushed against the magical shield, multiple times, and he couldn’t break through the magic. He had the dagger, but Talise would be at Nina’s condo soon. John had no phone signal in the cave and he wanted to kick himself for his own stupidity.

He shouldn’t have come here alone. John should have brought Jordan with him when he borrowed Jordan’s motor boat. John yelled helplessly, letting off some of his frustration. He turned around to punch the cave wall, and the looking glass crackled and shattered beneath his fist which had struck it dead centre.

John watched in awe as the crystal mirror splintered into hundreds of pieces. He saw the magic field at the cave entrance shimmering purple. To John’s surprise, he was able to dive out of the cave into the sand. His hand hurt awfully and was bleeding, cut in several places from the broken looking glass crystals.John didn’t have time to access and care for his wound. He needed to swim quickly if he had any hope of reaching Nina and hindering Talise’s threat.

In the back of his mind, John thought he might be able to finally break the curse and save Nina. He would sacrifice his life for Nina’s. It didn’t matter much to John if he survived, unless he could spend his life with her. His ray of hope, his favourite lazy Sunday afternoon with popcorn and Netflix.

What mattered most to John was Nina’s survival. There was a painful uneasy feeling in John’s stomach. It made him think he might already be too late. He concentrated on his hand which stung terribly as he swam in the Sirene, hoping to reach the shore fast.

Please Read Chapter 21 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

18. How Was Last Night For You: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart


Please read Chapter 17 here.

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart.

“What do we do Dad?” John said, throwing his hands up in the air. “I feel trapped. Who knows if I can protect Nina still? I don’t think I can give her up. I can’t live alone with my curse when I know Nina and I have this possibility of a bright future together.” Jack nodded thoughtfully at what John said.

” Sea witches are an interesting kind of witch. Even the good ones harness a sort of grey magic, not light and dark as we assume. Sea witches know it takes both light and dark magic to harness the power of the wind, water, and the creatures within it. Tia as we saw, drew her power from the Sirene Lake when she cursed John initially. She also did this when she caused the storm that gave Nina her head injury. But, Tia can also draw power from items such as shells or driftwood, things that come from the sea.” Jack said to the rapt table listening.

” What I wonder about is the dagger John saw Tia with in his dream. I think that item has vital significance. If it can be used to hurt John or Nina, I’m quite sure it can be used to hurt Tia. She would need to consort with powerful dark witches to get a weapon such as the dagger. They’re has always been tales about mermaids and sea witches in the Sirene, as long as there has been an Adare. My Grandfather used to tell me some of them when I was small.” Jack mused.

” We need that dagger,” Jordan said pounding his fist on the table.

“But how?”Nina remarked. Robert leaned towards Nina.

“Well, I think an obvious first place to explore, is the true version of the little mermaid. The Brother’s Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson version. I recall a dagger in both versions of the story. The little mermaid is given a dagger by her sisters who sell their hair to the sea witch so the little mermaid can stab her beloved, the Prince, and become a mermaid again. They do this because the little mermaid only has a limited time to be with the prince, to make him fall in love with her, and the little mermaid is failing. ”

” There is also a specific story about a dagger in Adare folklore. A sea witch used a dagger to kill her husband and family, when she found out he had slept with another woman. This sea witch became the first sea witch in the Sirene lake to use dark magic, to not harness any magic of the light. They say this sea witch was so evil, she took sailors on ships mercilessly to their deaths and kept their souls in a jar so they could not go to heaven.”

“As even sea witches have limited lives, the sea witch passed the dagger down to a younger sea witch who practiced the black arts, and so on. I think this dagger is like the dagger in the little mermaid, powerful enough to kill someone you love but also the sea witch herself. The tale also says, there is a price for using dark magic. The sea witches own soul. Find Tia’s hide out, where she goes to feel safe. Find her soul and get the dagger from her. Or else she’ll be using it on you my son John, and your dear Nina.”
“That’s like looking for a needle in a haystack?” Nina said aghast. “But if the dagger is powerful it can kill Talise, she might keep it close to her…” Nina looked at John as he stared off into space, eyes glazed over.

“John” Edith said, “Are you okay?” John shook his head and his eyes returned to normal. ” I was only thinking, there was a cave Tia took me to a couple of times years ago. It was her favourite place. Inside there was this giant mirror made out of natural crystals. I think if I can find it, that is where Tia would be hiding something so important as her soul. Maybe, even the dagger itself.”


 

After, they had discussed Talise, conversation turned to lighter topics. John, Jasper, and Jordan talked about business matters with their Dad regarding Mergers. Nina, Rianne, and Carissa, told Edith more about themselves and how they met their respective Eric brother.

Edith seemed to warm up to Carissa more, when Carissa talked about wanting to be a stay at home when she settled down and have children. Carissa was an extremely pretty woman with her dark skin and almond brown eyes. Nina could see why Jordan would be attracted to such a vibrant girl.

Robert talked more about his work teaching at Adare University in English. He complained about how terrible the grammar of his students was becoming these days –both spoken and written. Edith laughed at him and talked about her job as a Pediatric nurse. It was clear she loved children.

Despite feeling under-dressed, Nina quickly forgot about her outfit and became immersed in conversation. Rianne and Nina caught up on what they had been doing with John and Jasper respectively.

” I really wanted to go out with all you guys and have a fun night out,” Nina told Rianne quietly. ” Not that this wasn’t fun and enlightening. We need to discover all we can about Talise, sea witches, and the dagger Jack talked about. However, a night out dancing is something we haven’t done in forever.” Nina said with excitement.” We could even do just a girl’s night.”

“Yeah, that would be fun.” Rianne agreed. “I get out sometimes with Jasper, but a lot of time we do stuff that includes his two sons, as it should be. You have to meet them sometime soon. They are the cutest boys. Definitely, typical little boys. But they are going to be great adults one day if their Dad is any indication.”

“Oh you like him so bad,” Nina told Rianne.

“Don’t I know it.” Rianne replied.


 

As they all left the Eric’s beautiful historic home around 1:oo am, Nina felt extremely supported by John’s family. She felt Edith and Jack’s approval both with Nina’s and John’s relationship, and dealing with Talise — a dangerous threat to Nina and John.

Nina wasn’t convinced finding Tia’s cave would help them find Tia’s soul or the dagger. She thought luring Talise out with the dagger, might work better. But Nina supposed it didn’t hurt to check Talise’s special cave first. Besides, what did a soul look like anyways? How would they know if they had Talise’s soul? Was it in a jar like the dark witch in Adare folklore did to those sailor’s souls?

On her way to John’s black car, Nina tripped in her periwinkle patent heels. One shoe went flying out into the street. Nina cursed under her breathe. John was busy talking to his Dad so he didn’t see Nina fall. Nina arose carefully, attempting to preserve some of her dignity in a short skirt.She brushed the still wet blades of grass from her outfit and she removed her other periwinkle heel and went out onto the street in her barefeet to retrieve her other shoe.

Before Nina could stand up straight, she heard John yelling. Jordan grabbed her hand and pulled her hard against him. Nina realized she had just missed being run over by a speeding huge red truck.

“Oh my God, John?” Nina yelled.

“I’ve got her,” Jordan said to John.

The windows of the red truck had been blacked out so no one on the Eric’s front drive saw who was inside the vehicle. There hadn’t been time to write down a license plate number.”Nina, Jordan” are you alright “Edith cried.

“Fine Mom, Jordan said waving at Edith and giving Carissa a quick thumbs up. Nina’s okay too, thank God,” Jordan replied with a worried look in his brown eyes.

John was at Nina’s side instantly, checking for injuries. Nina had escaped harm for the most part. She had only scraped her leg on the curb when Jordan pulled her away from the truck’s pathway. “John,” Nina asked, “was that a terrible event or was the Tia using her magic?”

John swallowed. His face was pale and he looked worse then Nina or Jordan whom had nearly been run-over. “I didn’t feel anything happening. It just happened. It had to be Tia using her dark magic. Unless, I can’t tell when horrific events occur anymore?” John sounded tired.

“John are you okay?” Nina asked, standing before John and placing her hands on his shoulders. John wouldn’t look at Nina. “I think,” he said quietly, ” I think we shouldn’t be together Nina. You keep getting hurt, or almost hurt because of me. I love you, I can’t risk you being killed because of me.”

” I love you too,” Nina said hugging John and kissing his cheek. But she didn’t feel him kissing or hugging her back. “It’s okay John, I’m fine. We’ll get through it John.”

John shook his head. “No Nina, I mean it. We’re over. Even if I suffer from the curse the rest of my life. I can’t stand the thought of you dead or hating me. Tia hates me, look what it did to her.”

“I’m not Tia,  John. I’m not going to start hating you because we have to work extra-hard to be content in life. I choose you and whatever we need to get through to be together.” Nina exclaimed fervently to John.

“No,” said John glum and emotionless. He turned to look at his parents and brothers who were speechless and then looked back at Nina.”We’re done Nina.I’m sorry. I should have let you go long before this. Before the farmer’s market.”

“John?” Nina said. Her voice sounded wobbly and and she was attempting not to cry. She put her hand on John’s arm to pull him back but John avoided Nina’s touch.

“Your letting Talise win John,” Jasper told his younger brother. John said nothing. He got into his Mercedes, and drove away leaving everyone standing in the Eric’s front drive.

Tears threatened Nina’s eyes and she felt numb. Rianne immediately hugged Nina and brushed the tears from the edges of Nina’s eyes with her thumb. John’s parents apologized to Nina profusely for their son’s reaction and said they would try to talk to him. Edith told Nina, she liked Nina and hoped that her and John would reconcile. Jack looked unsure about the situation.

“Maybe, it’s a blessing in disguise” Robert said.”Maybe, John needs to break the curse on his own and face off against Tia. Then, he can see Nina again, when it’s safe.”

“He needs me Jack,” Nina cried. ” I’m part of this whole crazy equation of a curse and events.” Jack looked at her with pity.

Jasper drove Nina home and Riane stayed with her that night. They said nothing as they got into Nina’s apartment. “I’m going to bed, Rianne.” Nina said hoarsely.

“It’s fine Nina. Go ahead do what you need to do. I’ll be here. I’m in the guest room if you need anything.”

“Okay, Thanks.” Nina replied.

Nina didn’t even bother taking her makeup off. She climbed into bed and tossed and turned in an exhausting sleep. She dreamed of sea witches and daggers. Nina was trying to get the dagger from Talise in her dreams, but Talise always ended up killing Nina. Talise would stab Nina in her in the heart with the dagger, while she laughed. John watched blankly, doing nothing to stop Talise. It was as if John wasn’t, even John. No matter how much Nina called for him to aid her, John did nothing. Repeatedly, Nina dreamed she was dying.

Please Read Chapter 19 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

8. How Was Last Night For You: A Strange Woman


Read chapter 7 here.

Chapter 8: The Stranger and a Fire.

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.

Please Read Chapter 9 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

6. How Was Last Night For You: The Fundraiser


Read Chapter 5 here.

Chapter 6: The Fundraiser

“How do I look Rianne?” Nina asked her friend.

“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.

Please Read Chapter 7 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.