Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to “write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.” The corresponding GoodRead’s Author’s Quote for the A to Z Challenge, begins with the letter I. Thanks toNEEKNERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menageriewho provided the wonderfully creepy photograph.
“If I’d been born a ghoul, I think I would’ve killed people. I just happened to be born a human. That’s the only reason why I’m allowed to live a moral life.” ― Sui Ishida
I knew her as a little girl,
Though others thought her odd.
She had that “something” about her,
People either loved or abhorred.
At first, I thought, she was enormously strange,
But her quirks endeared me to her.
She protected me from those cruel girls,
One smile from her, they stumbled away on their heels.
She had shocking violet hair on one side,
She was never quite a blond.
Always experimenting with new looks,
Trying to glean from her appearance,
Who she was inside herself.
Her eyes a brilliant cornflower blue glimmered,
When some person made her enraged.
Her friends all knew some stupid student,
Would soon regret their actions;
She only had to smile.
And some bullies face turned violet, rouge, or primrose.
My friend was odd but lively,
Never afraid to do anything.
Dragging me along, to be a part of her drama.
Of her wicked practical jokes,
Others whispered she was a bit ‘Tim Burton,’
Calling her the ‘corpse bride.’
But she would always smile,
In a way that scared many,
Who never knew the truth about her —
She was passionate, kind, and loyal.
If you could get past her walls, her insecurities,
She was most lovely and grew to be a beauty.
Her hair still half-purple — it was her thing.
How we knew her for her.
Her terrifying smile gleamed,
She could now afford braces,
For teeth that had scared everyone.
And when the braces disappeared,
Her teeth stood in straight white rows.
Her grim frown had turned forever upside down,
She was no longer that weird girl.
Though there was still ‘something’ about her;
Strange became a talent, something sought after,
When she transformed into a swan.
She became a cut diamond, no longer rough, she was —
Tallia anxiously glanced at Teegan who was asleep on her waiting area couch. She was sure Teegan would be angry at her for drugging his coffee, but Tallia didn’t feel she had a choice. Something was off about Teegan and the darkness surrounding him and Tallia didn’t want to make his potion rashly; there could be dire consequences.
She had found one ingredient which was odd, scrawled off to the side of the ingredients and directions for the potion for Teegan in her Aunt Willow’s tome. Apparently, the potion required a giant gold fish. Tallia wasn’t sure why Teegan’s potion would require the gold fish, but it was something she would have to leave the store to buy.
Teegan had told her if he drank his potion the darkness surrounding him, the shadow that caused a sensitive magically inclined person such as Tallia to hurt and feel pain, would leave for a long time. How long was a long time? And how old was Teegan really? To her he looked about thirty-five.
If he was as old as she thought he might be, she knew he might understand the sleeping drought in his coffee, knowing Tallia as a magic shop owner, had to be wary if Teegan’s potion involved dark magic. Tallia had no way of knowing how long he would be asleep from the drought. She had tried calling Jude, the owner of The Black Coven magic store numerous times on his cell.
Jude must be having a brisk business at his store because he or his assistant, never picked-up the store phone either. Jude was about eighty-years-old as best as she could guess. But his family magic shop dated back to the Middle Ages. He had to know something about Teegan and the potion.
Tallia checked on Teegan one more time, she hoped he’d be out another two hours at least. She needed to leave the store buy the giant goldfish as well as visit Jude. Something inside her told Tallia it was vital she gathered as much information she could get on Teegan and his potion before she set about making it.
She drove her Vespa to The Black Coven first. It was located in an ancient, rundown part of town dating back to the 1400’s. But those who needed to visit Jude’s magic shop, knew how to find it. As Tallia’s own magic shop had been with Aunt Willow, Jude’s place was also a hole in the wall.
The streets were narrow here and Tallia knew her Vespa would be more inconspicuous, as well as, she would be able to travel down narrow streets she couldn’t maneuver with her car. There was a bit of parking lot a block down from The Black Coven. Tallia parked, leaving her Vespa in a parking space.
She walked down to the ancient magic shop, opening the creaky old wooden door and removed her side-bag. She had placed her Aunt’s great tome in her bag. She turned the book to the correct page, listing ingredients and directions to make Teegan’s potion in the script Tallia did not recognize.
Then she called out, “Hello Jude, are you there? It’s Tallia, Willow’s niece. I’m sure you felt me coming. Was there a reason you didn’t pick up the phone? Or have you guys been extremely busy today?”
Tallia received no answer. She gazed around the dusty store, it appeared empty.”Um, Jude’s assistant, Aspen, are you here? We’ve never meant, but last time I talked to Jude, he’d said he hired you to take over from him?”
Again Tallia received no reply. She walked around the magic shop. The Black Coven was a mishmash of magical items all stored on old stone and wooden shelves in no particular order or thought to design.
Powerful and dangerous items were among those items which were standard, and pretty harmless magical items. She saw crystal balls, different statues, and a wall with ingredients for potions and spells kept in jars.
She was shocked to see certain items used only for dark sorcery. These items frightened Tallia. She could sense there blackness in her mind. They were much worse than the darkness which followed Teegan — at least she thought so.
Jude had always been grandfatherly to Tallia. She had meant him many times as grew-up. He often had coffee with her Great-Aunt and Aunt. She wondered why he wasn’t answering her. Tallia walked up to the counter where a 1950’s cash register sat in dust. There was a bell and Tallia dinged it a few times.
Eventually, a man about the same age as Teegan came out. He looked Tallia over and before she could say anything he held up his hand.
“We knew you were coming Tallia. It’s alright. Jude hasn’t been well lately and he’s in the hospital. For his age, he has done well until now. It’s why he hired me to handle things. I’m one of his great-grandsons, I’m. . .”
“You’re Aspen. I know, Jude told me about you last time I saw him a few months ago. He attended my shop’s re-opening. I run Fairy Dust.”
“Yes, Jude told me about you. You rang his cell, but he has trouble talking right now my Aunt told me. He had a stroke. I’m sorry I was busy when you called out in here. From what I can glean from you, you’re dealing with some sort of darkness from a client and you need some advice,” Aspen said.
Tallia nodded, “Poor Jude, that’s awful. I’m sorry for your family.” She put the tome in front of Aspen and waited as he read and reread the potion procedure and ingredients.
“These seem to be pretty normal ingredients, except for the large goldfish. But maybe the potion requires it’s life force? I’m not sure what to tell you Tallia. What’s Teegan like?”
Tallia couldn’t help but blush thinking about Teegan.”He’s demanding but seems to be understanding enough. I thought he was about your age, when he first came to my shop. I could feel the shadow emanating from him. It made me sick, especially when he came back the second time.”
“The second time?”
“Well I pretended I was sick the first day, even though he did give me a headache. I went home for the afternoon and I hoped he’d go somewhere else. But the next day he was back. He told me he was old. My Aunt and Great Aunt made him his potion before. He was able to stop me from feeling ill, from hurting me, by chanting a few words,” Tallia said.
“I’m not sure what I’m dealing with, will the potion truly make Teegan well? Will it make such evil leave him?”
Aspen was paying attention to Tallia’s words carefully. She noticed he was concentrating. He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had auburn hair and bright green eyes. He was tall but not as tall as Teegan. He was attractive but more in a nice guy way. Teegan was definitively what women would call a bad boy.
“Well,” Aspen said,”I think your Teegan is cursed. That’s why he needs the potion, quite badly I’m afraid. You really should hurry back and make it for him. We’ve an extra goldfish around here somewhere, we must.”
“Cursed, cursed by what or whom?”
“It’s hard to say Tallia. Jude would know more I think. Even so I believe Teegan is much older than Jude by hundreds of years. I’ve heard whispers of Teegan. He must have done something terrible in the past would be my guess. Something awful enough to warrant being cursed to live so long and to require a potion.”
Tallia sighed, letting out her breath.
“I have a feeling if he doesn’t get this tonic, he’ll be a resistant foe to deal with Tallia. There’s a reason he takes it. I doubt he wants to be who he is when he’s dark. He wants to be normal and this potion allows him to be.”
“You know all this?” Tallia questioned. “How did you know?”
Aspen smiled mysteriously, “There’s things I’ve heard Tallia. Also, I can read through you, what you felt around Teegan. I can feel his presence too, so could Jude; he’s a powerful guy. Go back and make his potion quickly. He’ll be awake soon.”
“But . . .”
“Tallia, such as you and many other magically inclined people, I have a sixth-sense. That’s how I know these things.You have one too, although less developed. It’s telling you to go back to Fairy Dust and hurry.”
Her blue eyes became huge and Tallia nodded mutely. Aspen handed Tallia a bag with the giant goldfish.”On the house,” he said with a grin. She wondered how they had this giant goldfish just lying around. It wasn’t a typical magical ingredient.
Tallia called back to Aspen lightly,”Stop by come check-out my store some time; have coffee.” He walked her to the door and Tallia stuffed the tome back in her side bag.
“I’d like that,” Aspen said grinning. He winked at Tallia as she left. She was deep in thought and was surprised to find herself getting onto her Vespa, placing the fish on the back of it.
She told herself to payattention and hurriedly drove back to Fairy Dust. Tallia too felt she needed to make Teegan his potion and fast. She prayed he wouldn’t be angry with her or worse. With such darkness within him, she didn’t want to be an object of Teegan’s wrath.
Tallia heard the chime as the door to her small magic shop opened. She was usually alerted to a customer’s presence ahead of time. She could feel them before they chose to come inside her store and browse. She could especially feel them when they came to her shop with a purpose.
She brushed back her hair, dyed a light purple-hue of grey as was fashionable. Although, she wasn’t much older than her mid-twenties, her business did well. There was always a a demand for certain products she sold. Her Aunt Willow had run this shop for years before her untimely death.
Tallia had kept the name of the shop: Fairy Dust. She had, however, remodeled the shop Aunt Willow had left her to run. She made the shop modern and inviting, but retained its sense of the mystical. She loved her Aunt, but she also loved that the shop was no longer a hole in the wall.
Tallia’s store at first glance, catered to those who were browsing for small treasures or jewelry. Knickknack items which were more magic themed souvenirs or memorabilia, than actual magic.
But hidden among the knickknacks were items which could be powerful if used correctly. The items in the restricted section in the back of the store were more powerful than the ones placed out in the open.
The magical items placed here and there upfront were for decor purposes and to let certain customers know what kind of shop Fairy Dust truly was. Only her regulars were allowed in the back with permission.They knew exactly what they were searching for and how dangerous certain magical ingredients and objects could be.
A man called out to Tallia in the shop after she let him browse around for ten-minutes; she waited to see what the man wanted. The fact she had not felt him coming alarmed her.
“Hello is anyone there?” the man asked.
Tallie smiled at the man. He had bright green eyes and dark hair. He was quite attractive, she thought. Then a shadow was caste over her mind. The man appeared harmless enough, but she knew there was some kind of darkness in him.
She held onto the cross hanging from her throat for a moment. It was a protective piece of jewelry and it also confirmed her feelings there was something odd about this man being here. The darkness followed him around and it unnerved Tallia who was starting to experience a headache.
“I’m sorry sir, I’ve had such a busy morning and I need to take a lunch break and go pick up some food. Is there anyway you could come back after lunch?” Tallia attempted to look as if she was faint from hunger.
The man sighed.”I really need your help. It’s not something that can wait.”
“I’m so sorry,” Tallia replied, coming out from behind her cash register.” I need to leave. I can’t wait for food. My blood sugar is too low,” she lied.
The man appeared exasperated. “Alright, I’ll be back in an hour and a half. He handed Tallia his business card. “You will be back right?”
“Of course, Teegan,” she said peering at his business card, “One needs to make a living, don’t they?”
Teegan Foster smiled at this and left out the front door. Tallia could feel the shadow lessening quickly as he walked away from her shop. She decided she would indeed close the store for today.
She hoped this might encourage him to visit another magic shop in the city, where they were more experienced dealing with darker magic. She didn’t want to deal with whatever Teegan Foster’s problem was, unless she had no other choice.
Tallia wrote a quick sign saying she had become ill and would be closed for the rest of the day. She wrote the number of another magic shop on the sign which was close by, for an customers needing emergency supplies. She tapped the sign on the shop’s front door.
The following day Tallia returned to work refreshed. Some of her regulars had come to the store this morning. She chatted with them as she helped them find correct items for spells and potions.
She swapped stories with them and they laughed at the happenings in each other’s lives. Many of them had known Tallia since she was as a small girl at the shop; her Aunt had raised her.
Sometime later, Tallia’s head started to throb. She clutched the cross around her neck, feeling the dark shadow around a certain someone drawing closer.
Her regulars had left long ago. She was all alone as she sat down on a stool behind the counter. A green-eyed and sharply dressed Teegan Foster came in the door and stopped abruptly in front of Tallia had the cash register. She instantly felt his darkness clouding her mind and making her dizzy.
“Are you feeling better?” Teegan asked her.
Tallia nodded.”I’m fine, I’ll be fine,” she murmured.
Teegan frowned, “I’m sorry, you don’t look well. That’s my fault, here.” She saw him whisper something and the shadow faded and her pain lessened.
“What, what can I help you with Mr. Foster?” Tallia asked, her voice unsteady.
“It’s just Teegan, Tallia. I need a particular potion. Your Aunt Willow was the only one who could make it for me, and her mother before her. I’m positive you know how to make the potion too. She must have mentioned me at sometime; I’m a long time customer.”
“You don’t look so old?”
“I’m older than I appear, much older. But you might not understand such magic yet.”
He came closer to her and stroked her cheek gently.”It’s okay Tallia. The potion I get here, it takes the darkness away for a long time. The pain you feel, the potion will ensure it doesn’t come from me again ever.”
Tallia nodded mutely. When Teegan, touched her, she felt a jolt which was beyond magic. She was attracted to him, more than she would like to admit. But she didn’t trust him.
Instead of looking at Teegan, she stepped away and brought out her Aunt’s old tome from a small room behind the front counter. It was a volume full of customers, spells, and potions from the past two centuries.
Tallia eventually found a page for Teegan, explaining everything she had to do to make his potion. It wasn’t a difficult potion to make and the ingredients seemed normal, she noticed with surprise.
She wondered why Teegan needed it so badly. She also saw the writing of the spell was neither her Aunt’s or her Great-Aunt’s writing. It was a script she had never noticed in this tome before. A woman with skilled and flowing handwriting had first written down this potions recipe.
“It will be an hour or so,” Tallia told Teegan. ” I’m sorry, you’ll be waiting so long. You could’ve called the store and I would’ve made it early this morning.”
“Um, I think you would’ve refused me. You would’ve went home again. Am I right Tallia?”
She flushed. “I wasn’t well, Teegan. Honestly.”
“Sure you weren’t,” he said. His smile was dazzling and he had dimples.
“I’ll wait here for the potion. You’ve a comfortable waiting area in the front there. I can sit and read the news on my phone.”
Tallia peered at her modern but cozy waiting are in front of the store’s large window,” Suite yourself, do you want something to drink?”
“A coffee please, with some milk,” Teegan said.
“One moment,” Tallia replied, feeling uneasy about him.
Although he seemed nice, she wondered what happened if Teegan didn’t receive his potion. What could be worse than the shadow surrounding him? She also wondered how old he really was? Was this potion what kept him from aging? She shook her head at the thought. It wasn’t possible, was it?
Magic often surprised Tallia but not trusting Teegan, she put a bit of sleeping drought and blended it with his milk and coffee. She might require more time than an hour to make this potion.
She wanted to call another magic shop she knew had been around for far longer than she wanted to know. Her Aunt’s store had been relatively a new magic shop, despite it being in the family for generations.
Tallia felt the owner of the ancient store The Black Coven, a man a much older than herself named Jude, might have records what this potion her Aunt made for Teegan actually did. Surely, someone else of his kind had used it as well.
She served Teegan his coffee and he caught her blue-eyes and held them. She felt herself flush. He drank about half the coffee and set in down. He smiled at Tallia, thanking her and meeting her eyes again.
She went to the back of the store to start gathering ingredients. When Tallia came back out front fifteen-minutes later, Teegan was fast asleep. She sighed, trying to calm the hammering of her chest. She felt a bit guilty. Ignoring her guilt, she went to call Jude, hoping he would enlighten her on Teegan’s mysterious potion.
“1.conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination;odd and remarkable; bizarre; grotesque:fantastic rock formations; fantastic designs.2.fanciful or capricious, as persons or their ideas or actions:We never know what that fantastic creature will say next.3.imaginary or groundless in not being based on reality; foolish orirrational:fantastic fears.4.extravagantly fanciful; marvelous.5.incredibly great or extreme; exorbitant:to spend fantastic sums of money.6.highly unrealistic or impractical; outlandish:a fantastic scheme to make a million dollars betting on horse races.7.Informal. extraordinarily good:a fantastic musical.”
Unrestrained, beauty of the game,
Uncontained, no limits are found.
Unrestrained, freedom without shame.
Uncontained, leaping with no sound.
Undetained, words flowing amaze.
Undenied creativity —
Unconceived all the possibilities,
Undenied art — ingenuity.
Art, there is no limits, no bounds,
Start, nothing ventured is the same.
Art, bizarre and odd, they surround.
Start, with words; imagination reigns.
Impart advice: “Do What You Like.”
Dart here, there –no right way exists.
Art, the forms of imagination,
Dart, the fantasticalpersists.
” A Lento consists of two quatrains with a fixed rhyme scheme of abcb, defe as the second and forth lines of each stanza must rhyme. To take it a step further, but not required, try rhyming the first and third lines as well as the second and forth lines of each stanza in this rhyming pattern: abab, cdcd. The fun part of this poem is thrown in here as all the FIRST words of each verse should rhyme. There is no fixed syllable structure to the Lento, but keeping a good, flowing rhythm is recommended.”
“So why exactly did you choose Loddington House Hotel, Uncle? The shipyard view is not a nice one.”
“I like the view.” Chad’s Uncle Sam mumbled.
“Errr, I guess it grows on you . . . What’s that you’re peering at through your binoculars? I think people would be creeped out if they saw a guy looking through his hotel window with those.”
“Well, I’m not a peeping-Tom. It’s the surveillance van. It arrived when we got here exactly and only leaves when we leave.” Uncle Sam muttered.
“Well we’ve hardly left at all. I thought you wanted to come with me to see the University I’m going to be attending. You know, like my Dad would’ve done had he been here.”
“Chad, there are bigger things going on. The same people who killed your Dad are watching us. What I don’t know, is why?”
“Your Dad was in the Marines Chad; it must have to do with him. But what do they want nineteen-years-later? And what are they trying to accomplish by not hiding their van in plain sight?” Uncle Sam wondered.
Chad’s eyes went wide; his face went pale. He had a feeling their troubles were only beginning.
Gia sat in her fourth floor apartment on the balcony. She looked regretfully at her swollen ankle, then down at the street below.The inhabitants of Dawson Street were a collectively an interesting bunch. Like the apartments which were ramshackle and colourful, so the inhabitants were artsy, brilliant, but a bit odd.
Gia wasn’t even surprised when she saw a mini hippy vehicle painted in multicolored flowers pull up across the street. She watched a grey-haired man get out of the car. Later, she saw him across the street at the balcony across from hers, talking to a man she knew named Ralph. The grey-haired man and Ralph tussled. Suddenly, Ralph was pushed off his balcony and landed on the street on his head.
Gia covered her mouth in horror as she saw what took place. Then she realized the guy with the grey-hair was staring at her. Gia raced to lock her door and to call the police. But the man who killed Ralph arrived first.
For Chapter 1 of the story go to the highlighted link!
Chapter 2: The Morning After and Brunch
Nina awoke after sleeping and buried her fingers in her messy hair. Why, why do I drink so much? She thought. Nina’s head was pounding. She began to think about the night before. She thought about the subtle warning her body exhibited about John. And she remembered the vicious fight at TheManhattan, the poor person who was stabbed, and the woman who had grabbed onto Nina’s ankle from the water. Why had this woman claimed someone had pushed her into the water from her boat then decided to change her story? Did she truly see another woman in the water? Was that who pushed her in?
Last night, Nina hadn’t doubted John in the end. He had been the perfect gentlemen to her. But there was an odd, careless, and resigned feeling to John. He had told Nina that it was only the full moon that made these odd events occur. John reminded Nina of the moon. Perhaps, it called to John like a beacon last night. There had been a bit of crazy in his eyes when he looked at the moon. At the same time, there was the gentle and practical side Nina had experienced of John.
He had helped Nina home and made her laugh. He told her about growing up in Adare in the suburbs playing in the leaves in Fall when he was young with his brother’s, Jasper and Jordan. They had a tree house his father Jack built. John’s Mom Edith would call the boys inside for hot chocolate with whipped cream when they were lucky. As boys, the three men wrestled and tried to hurt each other. Jasper usually won because he was the the tallest and biggest but Jordan caught up to him, as did John.
John had also said he ran his own company with his brother’s called Mergers. They were a Publishing Company and ran the business over people who edited books, magazines, and decided which manuscripts were good and which were not. Nina had thought John had a fascinating job. She might like to work in the publishing field or be a writer. Nina was an assistant in marketing for an accounting firm called Wilus. Although, marketing had been what Nina wanted to go into in University, it didn’t quite fulfill the excitement Nina craved. Nina thought writing would be exciting. She craved a creative outlet of some kind. It had never bothered her until now, but she thought she might sit down and write something when she wasn’t busy. Only to see if she could still write anything of consequence.
Last night had been exciting! Nina believed there were certain things that could not be explained by reason. There were powers in this world both good and evil. Nina prayed for the people who had been hurt last night. She secretly believed all people had some good in them. She was meeting John for lunch on Sunday. She thought he had a lot of good to him, even though behind his eyes such as dark shadows, secrets hid.
It wasn’t just the fact that John had piercing bright blue eye’s; a sculpted physique; an open boyish face with a wide smile; and kissable lips. It wasn’t because she liked John a lot, that he had cared for her so well the night before, and they had slept together. But she felt as if she knew John. Despite the fact Nina couldn’t put her finger on what was off about John, she believed his goodness out weighed the shadow of doubt that she and the events of last night had cast upon him.
First, Nina had to eat something even though her stomach felt queasy from getting plastered. Maybe, she would have a glass of orange juice, the electrolytes would help her hangover. Then she would call her bestfriend, Rianne and they would go shopping together. Nina needed to find the perfect lunch time outfit for John. Nothing too over the top, maybe just a nice shirt to go with her dark jeans and her new pair of svelte black heels. She would also like Rianne’s opinion on what happened the other night with John. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation.
The next day Nina met John at a modern restaurant overlooking the water that rippled and shimmered in the middle of the city. The restaurant was called The Hour Glass and was quite popular with a few locations in Adare. The sun cast John in a bright light which was ironic considering Nina knew John was no angel. It shone and reflected on the frame of sleek designer navy glasses that only made John’s eyes bluer. His mouth curved in a sly grin and he quickly got up to kiss Nina on the cheek as she greeted John at their table. John pulled out a comfortable red chair for Nina to sit in. She sat down grinning at John’s pleasant manners still feeling the imprint of his lips on her cheek.
The Hour Glass was comfortable and stylish. Black chairs and tables with deep-red upholstered seats covered a dining room and patio. Modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling inside where they sat and a sleek rectangular slate grey tiled fountain with shooting water springs was the center piece for the entire restaurant.
At supper The Hour Glass was a fashionable and romantic place to eat dinner with music that wasn’t too loud. But at night it became more of a bar. Especially in the warmer season, a windowed wall would open up and the patio was a prime location to be. It had a round slate tiled fountain and modern street lamps sitting amidst metal patio furniture. There were red cushions on the chairs and on booths for groups and lone couples to sit at. The booths were the best seats on the patio.
Nina sat inside with John as it was becoming Winter. Rain outside often became sleet. Nina ordered a ginger ale and orange juice to calm her stomach. John ordered a beer. He sipped his drink lazily and turned his bright eyes on Nina who wore a turquoise blouse made from silk with her jeans and heels. John played with the chain around his neck, as Nina examined his appearance. A fitted navy jacket and dark fitted jeans, suited him. John rolled his beer bottle between his hands on the table and grinned at Nina:
” I was worried you wouldn’t come. After all, you don’t know me that well and last night was scary for you.” Nina opened her lips then closed them sipping her orange juice and ginger ale.
” John, was it a one night stand?” she blurted out “I’ve never done one of those before. I’m not that kind of girl, but I don’t think you would have invited me here if that’s all you think it is. I kind of thought we shared a bit of something last night. I think we’re attracted to each other a lot. I mean, you acted as if you were such a gentlemen. You protected me and I liked being with you last night at my place. I would really like to see you some more.” Nina said wistfully. It was hard to meet men and John was really hot. John enamored Nina and he knew it. But she wasn’t clear if John felt the same way about her. John’s eyes pierced Nina and crinkled up in the corners as he smiled.
” You’re a good girl Nina and I had a lot of fun with you last night, all night. I would like to see you again but I’m a busy guy and I’m not sure you should be hanging around someone like me. You’re five or six years younger than I and I don’t know if you’re looking for the same thing I am. And you don’t know what kind of man I am Nina. I haven’t always been the nicest guy, in fact, often I’m the mean guy, the guy who’ll take you home and forget about you the next day. Starting what you want would be different for me…” John cleared his throat and looked away. Nina caught a soft smile still on his lips as he observed her.
” Well”, said Nina bemused ” I wasn’t asking to get married or even for a relationship. I was asking to see where this can go. I don’t meet guys I like often. I would like to see where the situation between us could go? Also, I had questions, you know about last night. Trouble just seemed to follow you and I around John. Why do you think that was?” Nina looked at John worried she’d gone too far and sighed in relief when John picked up the conversation. The waiter returned to take their food orders and Nina ordered a club sandwich and salad.
“I’d be willing to date you Nina, if that’s what you are looking for. I like you a lot. You’re different then my usual type,” John pondered. “But I can’t promise more and have to warn you about me. Trouble follows me like a curse Nina. That’s why I can’t commit to anything more. Bad things happen all around me. You don’t believe me but something is going to happen in this restaurant today. I know it is . . . ” John covered his head as if in pain.
On que, the large chandelier at The Hour Glass dropped to the dark wood floor of the restaurant in a loud clash of glass and steel. The restaurant was fairly empty for a Sunday but families were there having brunch and enjoying the sunshine let in through the patio windows. Children let out frightened cries and adults held them back in fear and gawked as the light fell. Servers rushed to the scene of the accident and Nina rose up out of her chair to look while John sat calmly and stared at his hands. The restaurant manager came running, in awe at the chandelier covering the floor, no doubt thinking about lawsuits. Luckily, no one was hurt by stray pieces when the light fell.
” I don’t want bad things to happen but around me they do… I get this feeling when there about to occur.” John said sadly. Nina looked at him wide eyed and slightly afraid. He took her hand as she sat back down in her padded chair. ” I could never hurt you Nina, some people I can keep safe. Other, times I’m a walking nightmare. It’s not so bad most of the time, really.” John murmured his last sentence sadly as if he was sure he’d lost Nina already.
” I don’t know” Nina whispered “This is strange but I believe that strange things can happen in life and that they do. I don’t think everything that occurs in our lives is explainable, or always has an answer. I don’t believe you’re an evil person. Can you make those bad events stop happening John? Can you ever escape calamity?” Nina cleared her throat and gripped John’s hand tightly.
” There are ways, Nina” John said softly. ” There are ways, but for now lets just eat our food…” Nina looked at the people examining the chandelier’s remains.
“I’m not hungry” Nina grimaced noticing John’s mostly empty plate.” John stuck three twenties on the table, stood, and took Nina’s hand.
” Let’s walk, I live close by” he said casually, ” I thought maybe you could come over and we could talk, in private you know. I think you might believe me if I tell you”
“Believe what? Why all these events occurring around you? Around us? I think I’m freaking out a bit right now.”
“It will be okay Nina, I’m pretty sure I can keep you safe from these events. I think you’re the first woman I cared about in…well a long time. I know it’s fast but I need to tell you something that will probably seem unbelievable and ‘Brother’s Grimm’ to you. I need to tell you how I became this way. Maybe, you can help me get out of it.”
Nina closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay, you can tell me. I don’t know what I’ll believe but after all these events, an explanation would be nice.” Nina left her car parked in the parking lot of The Hour Glass and let John lead her up the sidewalk a few blocks into the fancy houses lining the waterfront of Adare. John walked with her to his own house to the front door. Nina felt apprehensive. She concentrated on the boats sailing by in the Sirene Lake on the waterfront. A lone fish leaped and sparkled in the grey-blue water.