Fiction, My Thoughts, Novel - First Draft -"How Was Last Night For You.", Relationship, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Chapter 30. How Was Last Night For You: Explanations and More Trouble.


Please read Chapter 29 here:

Chapter 30: Explanations and More Trouble

Nina and Rianne stood in the kitchen preparing a mid-afternoon supper for John’s family.

“What are you cooking?” Rianne asked

” Marinated vegetables and baby potatoes. I’ve got a couple salads I’m working on, a Kale salad and a Chinese Noodle Salad.What kind of chicken did you decide to make?”

“Oh, uh spinach and goat cheese. The goat cheese hides the spinach. It’s tasty, and Sam and Eric don’t notice the spinach in it.”

Nina and Rianne heard Edith gasp in the living room and they turned to observe John from the kitchen island, explaining to Edith, Robert, and his brothers, where he had been the  last four-months.

Nina had decided John needed to be alone with his family when he told them what occurred. She wasn’t entirely sure what parts of his experiences, John wanted to share  and which parts he was keeping to himself. She would ask him tomorrow when they were alone.

Nina filled Rianne in on John’s experiences, speaking quietly, her voice not much above a whisper as they chopped fruit for dessert. She knew Rianne would hear about what John said from Jasper on the ride home.

Jasper had brought his two small sons with him and Rianne. Sam and Eric excitedly, hugged their Uncle John when they arrived, nearly catching Uncle John and Aunt Nina half-naked. Nina and John had been quick to adjust their clothes and appear decent. It had been difficult given the time they had been apart.


 

“We thought you was never coming back.” Sam told John. “Grandma said you went to heaven but Rianne said Grandma didn’t know. She said you were coming back soon. Right Rianne?”

“Yes, Sam. And I was right wasn’t I? Uncle John is home.” Sam nodded enthusiastically unwilling to let go of his Uncle. His little arms clung to John’s neck and played with the silver chain John wore.

“How come you were gone?” Eric asked. He was the younger brother.

“I was sleeping Eric. I was so so tired. When I woke up I was on a beach and I met a man who helped me come home. Then, this morning I saw your Auntie Nina and she was so pretty and happy to see me. I’ve never seen her so pleased.” John said trying to keep his story simple.

“Did you get the witch?” Sam asked John. John looked at Jasper wondering what he should say.

Jasper chimed in: “She wasn’t a witch, only a bad woman. But she’s gone right?” Jasper asked staring at John who nodded encouragingly.

“Let’s go play in the living room with your trucks. While you play, I can tell the grown-ups what happened in detail.” John said cheerfully, he glanced back at Nina tiredly. She knew from his expression he wanted to relax and be alone with her.

Nina, however,knew John’s family needed an explanation. They needed to know why it seemed he had come back to life after dying. They needed to see John was alive and touch him for themselves.

Jasper coaxed Sam to let go of his Uncle John and play with a new construction truck with Eric on the living room floor. Edith hugged John hard and kissed both his cheeks. Hear head barely reached the middle of John’s chest.

“Nina and Jordan kept saying you’d be back. I didn’t believe them. I thought they’d only a wing and a prayer. But you’re here and you look amazing. You’ve a healthy tan and you appear more rested than I have seen you in years. Does this mean your curse is broken and you can be together with Nina now? Will your curse ever effect our family again?” Edith asked, hope in her voice.

“Please Mom, everyone, sit down.” John’s family surrounded him as he sat on a couch. Nina heard John say, “Yes, the curse is broken. It’s why I’m back. As in fairy tales, well almost, Nina and I get to be together now and they’ll be more horrible events occurring in my life or yours.” Edith squealed and John’s Dad, Robert patted him on the back cheerfully.

“Good news son. Very good news. We need to hear the whole story. Everything from the night you left on Jordan’s motor boat to go find the dagger in Talise’s cave. We’ve heard what happened from Nina and Jordan. We need to hear your version now and why you let us think you were dead.”

John appeared shocked: “I didn’t have much choice in the matter, Dad . . .”

Nina returned to chopping fruit in the kitchen. Pulling out an ice cream cake to sit and thaw a bit for dessert. She tuned out John and his family, having heard and talked about that awful night with Talise in the Sirene too often in the last few months.

John’s return from the in-between place of life and death had been Nina’s and John’s conversation topic all day and Nina was sure John’s family wouldn’t be able to stop talking about what happened to John for many months to come.


Rianne put her chicken into cook in a second oven in John and Nina’s kitchen.

“John’s place is beautiful Nina. Right on the beach. I have to say it was no hardship visiting you here when you feared John wouldn’t come back. Even though I had to do the grocery shopping and the cooking to make sure you ate at first, it was worth it to walk down the beach and watch movies on a giant cinema-like room downstairs.”

Nina put her hand on Rianne’s arm and squeezed it gently,”I’m sorry I was such a pain. I know I was miserable to be around for months on end. Something inside me always told me to keep having faith and believing. I’m still shocked to be able to say this, but I was right; John came home.”

“It sounded like he had to learn a few vital lessons first,” Rianne remarked. “From what you told me, it was John who didn’t have faith the curse would be broken. He couldn’t come home to you  unless he believed their was benevolent magic working to break the curse so you too could be a couple and live a normal life.”

“Yeah, it’s exactly what John told me Norman said to him. I can’t believe Norman was the homeless guy who saved you.”

“Me neither,” said Rianne. “But I think we had God looking out for us. Or He had someone keeping watch over us all in Norman. It’s nice to know someone up there cares what goes on in our lives.”

“So, what’s new with you and Jasper?” Nina remarked changing the subject. Rianne sighed gazing at Nina with sad chocolate brown eyes. They reminded Nina of the eyes of a lab dog begging.

“It’s, it’s okay – only, when John was missing, it was hard on us. Especially with Sam and Eric. You know how all three Eric brothers are close and have always been. When Jasper thought John was dead, it was as if a piece of himself died with John.”

“I don’t know how to explain it well, but Jasper’s been cold. Really cold. He didn’t want me to come over often. Partly, why I ended up staying with you so much was because Jasper didn’t want me there. And I would go home and there would be this yawning emptiness in my condo. I couldn’t bear it.” Rianne said softly. She wasn’t a crier but Nina knew her friend was near the point of tears..

“I loved it when you came over Ri. I wish you would’ve said something about was happening between you and Jasper. I love you and care about you and I want you to tell me what’s wrong even when I’m not in the best of places myself.” Nina said quietly.

“I know you didn’t want to burden me, but it would’ve helped me keep my mind off John, listening to you and finding a way to help Jasper open-up to you. And I think you would’ve felt much better too, not keeping this trapped inside.”

“Shhhh” Rianne said suddenly. Jasper was staring at Rianne while her and Nina talked and the chicken baked.

“He can’t hear us,” Nina said.

“I think he knows what I’m talking to you about.”

” How could he know. Besides, John’s back now. Things will become better between Jasper and you too because he won’t be mourning his brother’s death.” Nina remarked confidently.

“Maybe,” Rianne said unconvinced.” Death is a tricky subject with Jasper. His first wife, Sam and Eric’s mom, died of cancer a few years ago. I don’t know if he’s ready for a serious relationship with another woman yet. I thought so but now, I’m not so sure.”

“But it’s been five-years or so hasn’t it?”

“I don’t know he won’t talk about his wife, not at all. I know his boys come first and before that night with Talise, we were practically living together. We were seeing how the boys liked it if I lived with them.” Rianne said, tears starting to fall without her being aware of them.

“Now, I wouldn’t even consider sleeping over at Jasper’s house. It feels as if there’s this big angry river between Jasper and I and I don’t know how to jump over it or swim through it. I miss playing with Sam and Eric so much.”

“It will work out Rianne. It will get better, I know it will.” Nina said encouragingly. Rianne sighed, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand and checking the chicken in the oven cooking.

Nina sighed. John and her might have at last found happiness together. But it seemed those closest to them, weren’t happy at all. Nina felt awful Rianne hadn’t thought she could share her problems with Jasper with her, the past few months. She had been too consumed with thoughts of  John and too selfish to be a reliable friend to Rianne.

Nina hugged Rianne after she had taken the chicken out of the oven to let it cool a few moments.

“I’ll help you get through this Rianne. You’re my best friend and I’d do anything for you. You’ve helped me so much since I’ve met John and suffered too much for it. You can stay with John and I as long as you want.” Rianne smiled.

“Won’t John mind?”

Nina laughed, “he doesn’t have a choice, but he doesn’t know that yet.”

Rianne smiled but Nina could tell her smile was forced. She studied Rianne for a moment as she transferred the chicken into a serving dish. Rianne wasn’t saying a great deal of what was going on between her and Jasper, and Nina knew it.

Please Read Chapter 31 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Fiction, My Thoughts, Novel - First Draft -"How Was Last Night For You.", Relationship, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

28. How Was Last Night For You: Greater Truths


Please read Chapter 27 here.

Chapter 28: Greater Truths

John stared up at Norman speechless.”You’re glad I asked? Because  you’re making this whole process difficult for me. I want to go home and I don’t need any universal truths right now. Since I’m not dead, let me live.”

Norman’s smile got even bigger. His face crinkling and creasing from lines the sun had etched.

“It’s usually about something bigger then our lives, or even the lives of people we care about. Often, I find it’s about faith.” John was perplexed but interested in what Norman meant.

“What kind of faith? You mean spiritual? I have that. I grew up Anglican. God got me through a lot of awful situations. I mean, with being cursed for ten-years, I had to believe there was a better place out there and a reason I was enduring what I was.”

Norman’s brown eyes twinkled.”Yes, God was with you before you were cursed and during. But you’re missing something, the bigger picture.”

“What should I see?” John exclaimed frustrated. He was at the point with Norman where he wanted to punch Norman for being so mysterious.However, Norman was John’s ticket home, so he dealt with his frustration.

John rolled the muscles in his shoulders, cracking his neck trying to workout the strain spreading through his body. It was the first time he’d felt the aches of being human outside the cottage, on the beach, in-between life and death.

Norman steepled his hands on the patio table and the setting sun made his eyes seem alight with fire. “‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it.’ It’s John 1:5 from the New Testament. Do you remember what came before it?”

John thought back to memorizing Bible verses as a youth in church. “I believe: ‘In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.'” John shrugged looking at Norman, wondering what he meant asking John to recall these exact verses.

“You know this, I know.” Norman said seriously, ” But there’s a specific reason I’m asking you this John. Not to waste your time as you think. Many people would think this was a grand vacation place and be quite happy to remain for some time. But I’m trying to get you to understand something significant.” Norman revealed shaking his head at John’s obtuseness.

“Your girlfriend Nina believes you will come back to her because she believes in magic. She quoted Louise Carroll to Rianne recently, saying: people want magical solutions in life but then, they don’t believe in magic.”

“Trust me Norman. I believe in magic. Talise cursed me and I lived through it. I sacrificed myself and now I’m here and you yourself are a kind of magic as you’ve told me. I’m a believer. Otherwise, how else would you know something Nina and Rianne discussed not long ago? How would you know thoughts I think in my head?” John said glancing at Norman for confirmation before continuing.

“I do wish you’d stay out of my head though. Give me the privacy of my own thoughts, Norman.”

“I can’t help that John. You might as well force yourself to stop thinking and feeling, which would be the easier solution.” Norman said.

“I don’t like this, you’re grating on my nerves Norman. What is it you’re trying to tell me about magic and faith? I don’t have time to sit here having philosophical discussions.” John said grumpily.

He was feeling tired and outside an orange and pink sunset was disintegrating into ink black. John could hear the tide, reaching in farther on the shore as a shadow of a crescent moon was revealed.

“You have time John. All the time in the world. I’m here to help you learn,” Norman said in a fatherly manner.”Nina has faith in you and believes good magic will bring you back. She also believes God wouldn’t take you from her at this time, after all you two went through.”

“I can’t speak for God, but I do know if Nina has faith in you, you should have more faith in yourself and your situation. Magic is a gift from a higher power –from God. You have to have faith there is benevolent magic along with the malevolent magic you experienced with Talise. As with many things in life there is both light and darkness.” Norman explained.

“So I should have faith in God, magic, and in things working out?”

“Yes, you should. But you don’t have faith, it’s why you’re here. You didn’t believe the curse would actually give you a happy ending and you didn’t believe your prayers would be answered. You didn’t believe a girl such as Nina, could truly be yours.” Norman’s voice was soft but accusatory.

“Do you know why I asked you about John 1:5, John?”

“I think you are telling me the bad, the darkness doesn’t win. In the end light overtakes it.” John said hesitantly.

“And?”

“I have to believe it. I didn’t remain in the Sirene Lake alive with Nina because I didn’t believe in magic as a gift from a God, a good God. I didn’t even believe a God I’ve had faith in all these years I was cursed, could save my life in the end. All I saw was Talise misusing her gift, not the light.” John said understanding Norman at last.

“Nicely done John. I didn’t think you’d ever see that bigger picture I was talking about. Light always overcomes the darkness, remember that. It’s the reason I’m here, why I’m helping you. Nina is also a light in your life, you are meant to take care of her and to take care of each other.”

“That’s it?” John asked, “You’ve been building up to this for hours?” John was confused again.

“You have faith and your prayers have been answered. You get to live your life to the fullest with Nina and your family. Remember they’re blessings, gifts. Take care of that girl John.” John looked at Norman who smiled at him, his face creasing as always.

“Faith, belief? It’s that big?” John asked.

“Faith can move mountains, you know that.”

“When can I go? Can I go home now?” John asked Norman. He was agitated. The darkness of the night reminded him he needed to sleep. The ocean waves hitting the shore lulled him until John’s eyes were weighted down with exhaustion.

“I should clean-up,” John mumbled sleepily.

“It’s done.” Norman said. John opened his eyes a bit to see Norman standing before him and motioning John into the cottage through the patio door.

“I don’t often get to sleep in a warm, comfortable bed John. Tonight I’ll sleep in a guest room. I think you need to sleep too, your energy is drained from the curse yet. You need to rest up for home.”

“Home? Sleep?”

“Yes, time for bed.” Norman said pointing John towards his bedroom and heading towards a guest room.

John opened his heavy eyes for a moment to look at Norman who waved. John mumbled some indistinctive words. He felt as if he were drugged, but it was only a wave of fatigue.

With difficulty, John undressed and climbed into a warm bed. A fan blew overhead, spreading cool air across John’s torso. He slept for what felt like an eternity, immersed in fantastic and splendorous colours.

Night turned to morning while John slept.


 

Today was Saturday. Nina dreaded this day more than any day she had experienced in a long time. It was worse then the day her father her Mother and Nina when she was a preteen. She knew she wouldn’t hear from her father ever again that day. But inside her being, she believed she’d still see John.

Nina stared at her haggard, washed out appearance in the bathroom mirror. She had barely slept, thinking about having to attend John’s funeral. Couldn’t she skip it? She didn’t believe John was dead after all. But she knew how much her attendance meant  to the Eric’s.

Looking at her iPhone, Nina realized it was only 8:30 am. The funeral didn’t start until 11:00 am. Nina was relieved she could go out for a walk down the beach before she got ready  for the funeral. John had been kind when he willed her his house, Nina loved the beach that ringed the Sirene Lake.

Washing her face and applying a bit of concealer to her under eye circles, Nina put on her yoga pants, a purple yoga top, and a warm fleecy hoody. The Fall weather made the beach down by the lake colder then it had been in spring, when Nina had been forced into the Sirene by Talise. But it was still a beautiful place to walk down whatever the time of year.

Grabbing a bottle of water from the pantry, Nina made her way to beach. The morning sky was blue and pleasant. Even by the Sirene’s shores, there was merely a gentle breeze. The sun beat down on Nina as she walked through the sand, it would be a decent day for John’s funeral at least.

The sky felt too bright for Nina’s mood and she put her hand up to guard her eyes from the invading sunlight. The sunlight was glaring and Nina thought, purposefully trying to lift her dour mood.

Nina walked quickly thinking about how she would deal with the funeral. A dark thought crossed her mind, what if John actually was dead? But she immediately brushed the thought aside.

Nina couldn’t not believe, John would come home. She didn’t know when he’d arrive, but he wouldn’t leave her like this to suffer. The curse had been broken so justly, Nina should get to spend her life with John. But was life just?

John hadn’t always been a stellar guy. He had been a horrible womanizer and used many women purely for sex. He had been a playboy, which had caused his curse initially. But Nina thought, John had tried to become a better person. With Nina he was himself and he wasn’t running from the reality of his life. Together, Nina and John made a great team.

Tears of regret and from missing John, flowed down Nina’s cheek. She knelt down in the sand and jumped when she felt a cool hand on her shoulder, brushing her neck because she had put her blond hair in a ponytail for her walk.

Nina gasped and stared back at a man behind her. Her eyes lit with unashamed love. She couldn’t believe John was behind her.

Nina screamed and jumped into John’s arms. Kissing every inch of his face. Tears ran down her cheeks and she thought she saw tears on John’s face too. She shrieked in shear joy.

Finally, John stilled Nina and held her in his arms kissing her forehead. ” Is it you? Is it you John?” Nina exclaimed.

“It’s me Nina. I couldn’t stay away.” Nina backed up from John, her eyes examining every inch of him from his tanned skin to his sapphire eyes aglow with mirth. His dark hair having grown and not been cut in months, was a wavy mess.

“Where have you been?” Nina asked John, suddenly angry at him. “You made me wait so long. Four-months is forever when you think someone’s dead. How could you do that to your Mom and I?” John appeared regretful.

“I wanted to come home. I did. I don’t know how to tell you this but I was stuck. I was asleep in radiant colours of every shade and texture for a long time. Then, I was on this picturesque beach with a homeless guy named Norman. He told me I had no faith and that was why I was stuck at the beach inbetween life and death.”

Nina gasped again. “Are you okay? I don’t know if you hit your head or if what you’re saying is the truth. Given our experiences in the past I think I believe you. I remember being stuck in colours like you describe myself. You saved me from them and then you disappeared.” Nina looked heartbroken as the memory came to her.

“I know,” John said sorrowfully. “I couldn’t help being gone for four-months since Talise broke the curse with us. I had no control. I wasn’t awake for most of it, I don’t think.” John grasped Nina’s arms and held her close.

“I missed you so much. I didn’t even know my own name, but I knew you.” John whispered to Nina, his forehead against hers.

The kiss began gently, exploratory. As if they were learning each other’s lips once again. Nina sighed and John deepened the kiss, his arms pulling her against him with force. Nina let herself melt into John, kissing him back, tongues sliding against each other and sparks igniting between them. Nina pulled back, tears unknown falling from her eyes.

John kissed the tears away and made his way back to Nina’s lips, exploring her mouth again. “I missed this so much,” John said heatedly.

Nina kissed John for what felt like forever until she couldn’t any longer because reality was intruding in her thoughts. She carefully pulled away from John’s arms and mouth, feeling woozy from lust and love. She stood a moment, catching her breath, lips swollen.

“Today’s Saturday John, today’s supposed to be your funeral.” Nina said frowning. “I told them you’d come back but time passed and your family needed to move on. We have to call them now.”

“Yeah you’re right. Norman told me today was my funeral. I think I should stop it, before it gets too far,” John remarked, ” I can’t wait to see everyone.”

Nina gazed up at John. “For a dead man you look amazing. You seem so full of vitality, joyeux de vivre. Why are you’re wearing beach clothes again? It’s Autumn here you know. How exactly did you manage to find me here?”

“I came from a beautiful cottage on a beach. The beach stretched for miles and I was all alone until Norman came. I went to sleep last night and when I woke up I was walking the surf of the Sirene in Adare and I knew I was close to home when I saw you walking. It’s the only explanation I can give you truthfully.” John told Nina.

Nina smiled softly, “I was a wreck without you. At least you willed me the house and I got to stay near your things. I want to hear all about this beach you were on with Norman. I have the feeling you’re telling me half the story.”

“Would I do that?” John teased.

“Ha, I think you say as little as you can at times.”

“Only trying to stay on your good side,” John said laughing.

“I’m glad I willed you the house. It’s our home and I’ll tell you all about Norman later. He saved Rianne from Malcolm you know?”

“Yeah, Jasper got footage from the Chinese food place. It showed Malcolm knocking her out against a wall. Jasper and Rianne weren’t able to find any sign of the homeless man in Adare.” Nina remarked.

“He was with me I guess. It’s not the only form he takes he told me. I’m not sure what he means by that, but he isn’t always a homeless man.”

“I think I should call my family now,” John said stroking Nina’s cheeks. “I wish we could be alone for a while first, but I doubt that will happen.” Nina smiled holding John’s hands against her cheeks.

“You’re not cursed anymore,” she exclaimed laughing joyfully, hugging and kissing John on the lips hard.

John grinned, “So this is happily ever after I guess?”

Nina smiled. “No, it’s the beginning of real life. Of our life. No magic . . .”

John’s smile slid off his face for a second, “I’m not so sure Nina. I think there will always be magic in our lives. If not magic, Talise.” Nina looked horrified.

“Norman told me. He said Talise was Jordan’s problem now.”

“But why? How did she survive? Jordan stabbed Talise through the heart with her dagger. The dagger changed appearance and the Sirene engulfed her body. Jordan has this ring .. .”

“I know all about it Nina. Norman filled me in. He also told me it’s Jordan’s path to take. Talise sees something in him, like you saw in me when we met.” John explained.

” Jordan hates her. He’ll never forgive Talise.” Nina remarked.

“She’s redeemable, Norman said. She’s not a sea witch anymore. Talise is only a mermaid and Jordan has her soul beneath the emerald in his ring.”

“Wow,” Nina said shocked.”I didn’t see that coming. Plot twist.”

John nodded in agreement with Nina’s exclamation,  kissing her hairline.”If you have your cell, I need to call Mom and Dad. What times the funeral?”

“It’s an hour-and-a-half away John,” Nina said checking the time on her phone and handing it to him worriedly. John clasped her hand in his before taking the phone and dialling his Mom’s cell.

He stood on the beach, listening to Nina’s phone dialing for what seemed like ages.

Please Read Chapter 29 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.