Tale Weavers Prompt: Poem – Octelle – “Story Line Wrote”


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this weeks prompt — Paper Back Writer:

” What is your great novel/novella/collection of short/flash fiction/poetry/ pulp paperback/graphic novel? Of course, you don’t have to write it, just write about it.

Weave any sort of tale;  in the abstract or concrete; as you or a character of yours; being accepted for publication; editing process; book tours – remember you ‘just wanna be a paperback writer.'”


paperbackwriter
Credit: http://www.revolutions5.com

I’m still working on a novel called: How Was Last Night For You? I’m editing it in second draft. Still a lot of work to do and haven’t had the time to work on it lately. This Octelle poem illustrates the story line roughly:


She wants love, but it keeps slipping,

Through her fingers, the Sirene dripping.

She’s a regular girl, too kind,

Believes in people and magic finds —

In her paranormal world sound,

Curses, mermaids, sea witch found.

Nina narrator, life gripping,

Focus and ire of a mer-witch.


John wasn’t smart at twenty-five,

Lied about girl, she cursed him live.

Where ever he wondered,

Strange events encountered.

People got hurt, women injured.

No love; witch’s wrath incurred.

Sees Nina drinking Flirtinie,

Sparks, passion, between them ignite.


A mermaid she is, sea witch too,

She’s experienced pain, heart broke through —

Victorian romance; cad —

He’d a mistress, kids they had.

Clued in after his death –cried,

Traveled, came home to new guy.

Adare never changed, men still lie.

No broken girl now -she’s Talise.


Characters wrote, story occurs,

Talise hates Nina — it’s inferred.

She cursed John left his soul burnt,

She wants John back, she’s a flirt.

Evil, she’ll never gain him through,

Her magic; Nina loves John true.

Witch’s wrath, all will suffer –die?

No one can say; writer yet edits.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

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


Please read Chapter 22 here.

Chapter 23:  Rianne’s Mugged and Nina  Disappears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Read Chapter 24 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

21. How Was Last Night for You: The Pain of Heartbreak


Please read Chapter 20 here.

Chapter 21: The Pain of Heartbreak.

It had been a week since Nina had had her awful fight with John at his parent’s home. John had chosen to end his and Nina’s relationship. He had told Nina it was for her safety. He didn’t want to be responsible for her death.

No one at the Eric’s house had seen the driver of the red pick-up truck who had twice, attempted to run Nina down. They had all been certain, Talise or someone she bewitched, had been responsible.

Thank goodness Jordan (John’s youngest brother) had saved Nina from becoming road-kill. Nina was frightened of what Talise was capable of concerning her and John. Nina had announced to John’s entire family at dinner that she loved John and wasn’t going to let him suffer from a sea witch’s wrath alone.

John’s family, Rianne, and Nina, were certain Talise (the sea witch who cursed John) had become evil in her jealousy over Nina and hatred of John, who refused to be with Talise again.

John had wanted to save Nina from Talise’s threat to stab Nina through her heart, by finding the cursed dagger Talise wanted to use on Nina. What was problematic was that John had only seen the dagger in a nightmare and the rest of the information they had come up with on the dagger, was purely fairy-tale or Adare folklore.

The red pick-up truck incident pushed John into panick mode. One moment Nina and he were lovers fighting Talise together, and the next moment John told Nina she was safer without him. Nina thought this was absurd because even though John’s curse had been noticeably absent for three-months, John alone protected Nina from his curse because he loved and cared for her.

Nina’s heart and mind were struggling  to come to terms and understand John’s decision to break-up with her after what the two of them had been through. Perhaps, John had only thought he loved Nina? Maybe he only wanted to break his curse so badly, Nina was someone he was using as a means to an end?

Nina’s doubt made her think back to her former longterm boyfriend Max who had used Nina and destroyed her heart and self-confidence with verbal abuse and manipulation. Was John no better then Max? Had John been playing Nina this entire time? But Nina didn’t care about Max because of John. She felt strongly about John, that his feelings towards her were true.

Yet, John had abandoned Nina onhis parents lawn while Nina wept. Rianne and Jasper had driven her home and Rianne had been staying with Nina since.

Rianne was especially worried about Nina and what Jasper’s jerk brother was doing to Nina. Rianne remembered Nina with Max, she knew her friend could not go through such heart-break again and still be a woman who believed the best about most everyone she met. Perhaps, Nina’s rose-coloured glasses had already been broken?

Nina was working again at Wilus after an extended absence due to her concussion. Each day dragged and Nina spent an eternity thinking about John and what he was doing. Nina developed a habit of checking her phone every couple of minutes to see if John text messaged or called her. He never did.


 

Rianne and Nina were watching She’s All That, when Rianne caught Nina robotically checking her phone for the thousandth time and got up to take Nina’s iPhone away from her. Rianne placed the phone in her own purse, so Nina couldn’t take the phone back easily.

Laney was coming down the stairs in She’s All That with her new dress, hair, and makeup, on the TV screen; but Nina’s eyes were glued to Rianne’s Kate Spade lime purse.

“Nina,” Rianne exclaimed, “this is your favourite part in the movie when Laney comes down the stairs with her ‘new look’ to show to Zack for the party. You love it when she trips. You think it’s hilarious and realistic.” Nina made a little puff of air with her mouth, narrowing her eyes at Rianne.

“I like it because Laney is Cinderella, but a modern Cinderella. She already had all this beauty inside her and Zack’s sister and the dress, only help make her beauty blossom. The Prince, Zack, already adores Laney. And who doesn’t love Freddie Prince Junior from back-in-the-day.” Nina told Rianne. But as bees to flowers, Nina’s eyes were drawn back to Rianne’s lime purse.

“Who purchases a lime Kate Spade bag at full price? You could have had pink, light blue, navy, white, or even classic black and you chose to pay eight-hundred-dollars for a lime Kate Spade bag. I would be embarrassed to say I paid hundreds for a purse that colour.” Nina remarked, grinning snidely at Rianne.

Rianne smiled not fooled by Nina’s rude comment. She began to sort through her lime purse, fixing her lipstick, powdering her face, and spraying herself with a sample of perfume. She grinned at Nina pulling out Nina’s iPhone and shaking her head. “Nope, he didn’t call or text you Nina. John still hasn’t answered any of the two-hundred messages you left him on voicemail or by text.”

Nina frowned at Rianne: “Give that back you crazy whore. I want my phone now!”Rianne gave Nina another huge smile and zipped her lime purse up with Nina’s phone inside.

“Nope,” Rianne said.” Call me any name you want but you’re not getting your phone back until tomorrow morning. It’s not healthy for you to check it every two-minutes.”

“When he’s ready, John will call you. He loves you Nina. He’ll be back. He’s just scared for you and it doesn’t seem like he has had a woman he’s been afraid for before. He’s not dealing with you almost being killed again well. He doesn’t want you to die and frankly, I don’t want you to die either.” Rianne remarked.

Nina sighed and scrubbed her face with her palms. Tears started falling out of the corner of her eyes, trailing down soft cheeks bare of makeup. “Rianne…” Nina choked out, “I really need my phone. What if I miss his call?” Nina barely heard Rianne’s sound advice and concern. Nina was having her own pity party, as she had been all week.

“He won’t call tonight anyways.” Rianne said, “John went to find Talise’s dagger tonight, in her special cave.”

“What?” Nina asked sniffling, “You’re only telling me this now? Did John go alone?”

Rianne looked sympathetically at Nina, “Yeah, John won’t let anyone else be hurt by Talise. Especially, if she’s using dark magic, which we’re ninety-nine percent sure she is using.” Tears kept trailing down Nina’s cheeks and Nina started to sob in earnest.

“What if something happens? How could John do something so stupid? Something is going to happen to him I know it. I haven’t talked to him or seen him in a week. That’s a long time you know.” Rianne rolled her eyes.

“I’ve been here with you all week Nina or at work, so I haven’t been able to see Jasper or the boys at all. I talked to Sam and Isaac and they’re both scared I’m not coming back. They’re only five and three -years-old you know, they need structure and routine.” Rianne told Nina, silencing her sobs.

“I’m so sorry Rianne. I don’t mean to be selfish with you. Go out with Jasper and go see Sam and Isaac, tell them you’re only visiting Auntie Nina for a few more days.”

” That would be so good Nina, but I’m supposed to help keep you safe too, so you’d have to come with me to Jasper’s place.” Rianne told Nina and Nina nodded her consent.

“Tomorrow we’ll go see Jasper, Sam and Eric. I’ll babysit for a few hours so you and Jasper can catch-up.” Rianne smiled at Nina gratefully.

“As well, don’t panic but Edith told me John’s curse has returned. It caused some car accidents after the dinner last week. Since then, his curse been acting up powerfully… making up for lost time I guess. John hasn’t had a moment of peace all week, Edith told me. . . ” Nina’s eyes started to tear up again.

” I should be with him. I have to help him break this curse and defeat Talise. If he leaves me . . . If he doesn’t return . . . I don’t know what I’ll do. John’s my guy, curse or not. I don’t want to be without him in my life,” Nina admitted.

Rubbing her face while she cried had made Nina’s face red along with her eyes. Rianne studied Nina with concern:

“Eventually, I’m hoping, and John’s family is hoping, you and John can work-out your relationship. For now you need to get up, shower, and start putting effort into yourself again. The Nina I know hates not wearing makeup and styling her hair. The Nina I know, doesn’t sulk for days, she starts living life again because she believes there are better times ahead.” Rianne brushed Nina’s hair out of her eyes and gazed at Nina, conveying her message with her eyes and voice. She was serious and practical as usual.

“I’m heading out to buy Chinese food for supper. You haven’t been eating Nina, so we need ‘substantial’ food, ” Rianne said grabbing her lime purse, her jacket, and heading for the condo’s door.

“You need to eat more your losing your curves. It’s not healthy for you to wallow in tears so long. You’re the most positive person I’ve ever known. You’ve had your week my friend, but it’s time to start living again. Your still in danger from Talise and you can’t let down your guard.”

” I’ll be fifteen minutes Nina, then we can eat Chinese food until we’re stuffed. After, let’s watch another old movie. How about a couple of scary ones? Let’s watch both I Know What You Did Last Summer movies.” Rianne declared, smiling after her talk with Nina. Scary movies were Rianne’s favourite movie genre.

Nina felt shell-shocked. She wanted to remain laying on the couch. But she needed a shower and Nina knew Rianne was right about everything else too.

Nina needed to pull herself together. That was the best way she could win John back and guard against Talise. She could not let her self wallow in selfish self-pity as her break-up with Max had caused her to do for months. She was over that stage, and she would get over this one.

Nonetheless, Nina was extremely worried about John going after Talise’s dagger alone. Nina didn’t trust Talise’s intentions for her or John. But she got up off the coach to put her face on. ‘Fake it until you make it,’ the saying goes.

Nina took her time showering and shaved, putting a conditioning mask in her hair, and a mud mask on her face. She dressed in comfortable PJ’s, a soft tank top with pajama bottoms. The pajama set was navy blue and Nina loved blue about as much as she loved pink.

She felt a lot better after her shower. Nina felt refreshed and like a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She felt like herself again and knew in her heart she would be alright. Nina was certain she would be with John again soon.

She began the process of blow-drying her thick white blond hair. It was only half-dry when Nina heard the buzzer for the door downstairs at the condo building front entrance. She had been waiting for Rianne but wondered briefly why Rianne didn’t use her key when she buzzed Rianne into the building.

Nina noticed Rianne had been gone about an hour longer then the fifteen-minutes she had said and Rianne was always on time. Nina supposed the Chinese place was busy due to people eating late on Friday night in front of the TV. She felt uneasy about Rianne being gone so long. And she didn’t have her iPhone to ask Rianne where she was.

Nina went to unlock her door when she heard Rianne fiddling with the door knob. She gasped when it was not Rianne who met her, but a horribly aged Talise.

White strands stood out in Talise’s  wavy golden-blond hair. Talise had wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. In a short-time, she had gone from appearing in her early-twenties to appearing harshly older. Talise smiled at Nina and laughed, pushing the doorway open forcefully.

” You and I have business, dear,” Talise said. Her voice was throaty and dark.

Nina cringed at Talise  and Talise threw Nina back on the couch using magic harnessed from water in a flower vase.

Talise slammed and locked the door behind her, keeping Nina trapped inside her Condo with an unpredictable and unstable dark sea witch.

Please Read Chapter 22 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.

16. How Was Last Night For You: Talise’s Past and Future Plans.


Read Chapter 15 here.

Chapter 16: Talise’s Past  and Future Plans.

“I’m sorry to tell you this Auntie, but Ethan had a mistress whom he had eight children with,” Edgar told Talise. The news broke Talise and she wept.

” I have always loved Ethan deeply,” Talise told her nephews, ” I never questioned his ardor and his faithfulness. I’m certain Ethan loved me as much as I had loved him.”Simon was more sympathetic to Talise’s situation.

” It had nothing to do with you Auntie, not at all. Uncle Ethan told us he did not love his mistress, only the children he had with her. He didn’t feel right not carrying on his father’s legacy. He wanted a legacy of his own, (besides us). Those children are his immortality.” Simon begged Talise to understand.

” The children of Ethan’s mistress are bastards” Talise told Simon and Edgar. Both men shrugged and appeared uncomfortable.

“It’s the 1900’s now, Auntie. Uncle Ethan’s children will have a good chance to do well in life. He made sure they inherited from his shipping company. Some of them work for us. Don’t worry Edgar and I are the one’s who Uncle Ethan passed the company down to,” Simon said to Talise trying to calm her down.

“And of course, Auntie, Uncle Ethan left a third of his fortune to you his beloved wife. You are well taken care of Auntie Talise. We will make sure you want for nothing,” Edgar said trying to placate Talise.

Ethan had resembled many men Talise had heard about from her women friend’s gossip;  he had a second family on the side. Talise was angry with her nephews. She was enraged they hadn’t told her about Ethan’s mistress sooner. Edgar had tried to hide the fact he was laughing at her. He thought she was only acting as a silly old woman. As if Auntie Talise had any say in what Uncle Ethan did, Edgar thought. As he thought about his own wife.

Simon admitted to Talise,”we didn’t want to hurt you Auntie and neither did Uncle Ethan. You were his first and only love always. Ethan wasn’t perfect Auntie, I’m sorry.” Simon looked ashen. Talise had patted and kissed her nephews as she left them for the last time. She felt mostly responsible for Ethan’s decision to have a mistress so he could have have children. Talise couldn’t bear Ethan any children, so Ethan had looked elsewhere.


 

Talise faded away from her old life as Ethan’s widow when she transformed back into a beautiful young woman. She traveled the world, returning to the Sirene, having lived a human lifetime, and another lifetime experiencing the wonders of many lands.

She viewed the world disparagingly. She had seen the poverty of children, the world’s factories where people laboured endlessly, people’s wastefulness and destruction of the environment, and she had acquired a vast knowledge of men.

Talise never felt more than a passing affection for any man, next to Ethan. Throughout her long life she valued her magic and what she could do with it. She tried her best to help people in need but so many people needed a great deal of help. Talise didn’t have the power, nor did she care for spending her life bettering the world as Coralia — her Grandmother — had hoped Talise would.

More importantly, Talise wanted to be loved again. She didn’t want to feel she wasn’t woman enough because she could not have children. Thankfully, for Talise the modern world had arrived.

It was more than a hundred years since Ethan and her life with him in the Victorian age. It was the twenty-second century and woman were not required to have children in order to be judged a good wife or to be valuable in society. Feminism had arrived in the 1960’s and it was now 2008.

The city of Adare had grown in that time. The city become a booming metropolis only next to it’s rival city in British Columbia, Vancouver. The same beach Talise had met Ethan on  still existed, belonging to the owner’s of gigantic designer houses. Talise frequented the beach on her return to Adare. To her joy and relief, she had seen John Eric one day as she lay on a towel sunbathing. Talise’s lush body was in a sea green bikini, no repulsive wool bathing dress that she loathed.

“Well what have we here? A gorgeous woman sunbathing alone on the beach. I can’t have that,” John had said to Talise grinning.

“Well you could keep me company?” Talise had flirted with John, removing her sunglasses to flutter her eyelashes and showcase her jewel green eyes. John had looked stunned for a moment.

“What’s your name, beautiful girl?” John asked Talise. “My friends call me Tia, Tia Shell” Talise said arising and posing in her swimsuit as John shook her well-manicured hand seconds too long.

“I’m John Eric” John had told Talise. “Would you like to come up to my house for lunch? I’ve got some beer, wine, or I can make us some margaritas. I have some comfy furniture we can lie out on on the porch.” Talise had smiled at John and shaking off  the sand from her towel, followed John to his designer home where they had drank margaritas all afternoon and fallen into bed together.

Talise had an apartment of her own then and a job at a clothing boutique. She had many human friends and her mermaid friends in the Sirene. Twenty-five-year old John reminded her of Ethan but she had thought John’s face more honest. Because he was younger, she had thought John more malleable than Ethan. John was also a man from a different time in history, where many men did not mind if a woman took charge.

How wrong Talise was concerning John. John was enthralled with Talise and he was generous and exuberant in bed. But John had dreams for his career and was building a business. He loved Talise but had not considered her wife material. He couldn’t admit to his own brothers that he loved Talise. She had hated John for his betrayal as she hated the part of Ethan that had betrayed her. However, this time Talise could do something about being betrayed by a man she loved — she cursed John in a brooding rage.


 

Talise had not expected John to ever break the curse. She observed his life through the looking glass in her cave. Sometimes, she followed John and was near him when awful events occurred around him. Talise ensured these events kept happening. She wanted John to live his life regretting what he had done to Talise and always wishing he’d been wiser.

However, Talise had not expected for John to find a woman who could potentially end the curse. She had planned to return to John when he had come across Nina. Talise loved John still. She didn’t know why she loved John other then that he reminded her painfully of Ethan. She had hoped John would jump at the chance to have ‘Tia’ back. She dreamed John would apologize to her after all the suffering he had endured.

Instead, Talise found John enraptured and in love with a human woman called Nina. Talise had not despised Nina at first. She had sought Nina out attempting to save an unknowing woman from John’s curse. Talise hadn’t thought John would truly care about another woman within a week. Talise wasn’t pleased John was protecting Nina from his curse’s consequences, from Talise’s powerful magic.

Nina had refused to believe Talise’s warnings about John. Nina had become the competition and ended up preventing Talise from taking John back. She was destroying eight-years of Talise’s well-laid plans.

Nina had something Talise had never had, a sweetness and a powerful connection to John Talise had always hungered for. Ethan had been the only one Talise had felt this connection with. Talise had told herself she experienced the same connection with John. But when John had seen Talise at the farmer’s market he was truly appalled. He hated Talise for the curse she had cast on him. John was drawn to and cared for Nina and was protecting her with all his might.

Talise was furious with Nina for her interference, in Talise’s dreams. Talise wanted Nina dead. Talise had hoped a strong wind and a table to Nina’s head would do the trick. It hadn’t work and Talise had faded out of John and Nina’s life while she thought about how to deal with John’s new whore.

After consulting with sea witches who were into darker more dangerous magic, Talise decided she would kill Nina and she would take John’s heart. She would keep John’s heart in her secret cave in a clam. Without his heart, John would do what Talise desired him to do. She would control John and John would be Talise’s slave. For months, Talise had been stewing in her rage.

She had let John think his curse might be broken by not having horrible events occur as they had the past eight-years. Talise had waited until Nina healed. A hurricane was most dangerous when one thought they were safe, but really they were only in the eye of the storm. This metaphor applied to Talise who hadn’t even begun to take revenge on John and Nina. Talise felt this tremendous rage which had been brewing inside her for over two-hundred years. John was going to suffer for Ethan’s sins too, and Talise felt no pity for him.

Through the looking glass Talise saw Nina and John watching TV. She heard Nina’s plan to go out next Saturday, to gather her friend Rianne, and John’s brothers, to try to stop Talise — how quaint of Nina.

Talise was tired of loving men, who couldn’t be trusted. Ethan and John were both not faithful. It was hard for Talise to hold back tears of hurt and anger when she thought about them, especially Ethan.

Talise’s reaction to John would be different then her reaction to Ethan because John was still alive. Talise transformed her magic into something increasingly dominating, dark, and destructive. Talise became exactly what Coralia, her Grandmother, would have disavowed. She became an evil sea witch who would murder Nina and control John the rest of his life.

Please Read Chapter 17 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

15. How Was Last Night For You: Talise’s Past – The Beginning


Please read Chapter 14 here.

Chapter 15: Talise’s Past – The Beginning

Talise was fuming. She had never been this infuriated in her entire life, which was more than twice as long as any human had lived. John Eric caused Talise excessive aggravation.

Talise’s Grandmother Coralia, a powerful sea witch had taught tiny Talise how to use her magic. Coralia had told Talise when she was a child:

“Talise my pearl, you need to learn to control your temper. You need to remember what is important in life: Faith in the Creator and the love of family and friends.” Talise would roll her eyes at Coralia but Talise’s Grandmother would ignore her.

“Talise you need to use your powers to help people, mermaids and humans alike. And never ever let your heart become so disturbed that you turn to the use of black magic. There is no going back from black magic Talise” Coralia warned. “It takes a sea witch over and she can never go back once she is evil.”

Talise hadn’t liked her Grandmother much. Coralia passed away after a lengthy life of five-hundred- twelve human years-old. The other sea witches had placed Coralia in an underwater cave — a mermaid tomb. Talise had become a practicing sea witch when Coralia died, having been trained to replace her Grandmother.

When Talise became a sea witch she wanted nothing to do with the life of a mermaid in Sirene Lake. She swam to the surface of the Sirene, to the cave she had found where the looking glass existed. She gazed upon the humans walking through the fascinating and compelling city of Adare. She had never walked among humans before, Coralia never would have allowed Talise to be among humans yet. Talise was only seventeen-years-old, but perceptive for her age.

Talise peered at the humans from the Sirene, bemused by Victorian women in their heavy dark dresses covering every ounce of their skin. What woman wanted to hide her skin, her enticing shoulders and cleavage, Talise wondered. She could not relate to these women, so called “angels of the house,” they were supposed to be the moral center of the Victorian family. Talise observed the Victorian men in their dark wool suits and hats, who were more often than not, immoral and deeply flawed.

The tremendously overdressed humans came to the beaches in strange bathing suites. The woman sunbathed and played in the water with their children. Strange bathing machines were brought out in the water so women could change into their bathing suits, without being seen by men. It afforded women some amount of privacy.

Talise tried to blend in, sitting in the sand on a blanket wearing an uncomfortable Victorian bathing suit. The outfit was made of wool, worn over bloomers, and had a sailor collar. But people wondered why a young girl of her age was unaccompanied, where was her chaperone?

Men made light of the situation because Talise was so plump and elegantly built. The ideal womanly shape for the era. Young men made passes at her in  eloquent language. Woman looked on her as if she was a trollope. But Talise didn’t mind. She could cause a bitter mother to tumble into the waves, or  even fall naked out of her bathing machine. Talise could cause a chaperone to embarrass themselves and the fragile girls they watched. Chaperone’s and girls in their care knew Talise was more enchanting than, any Victorian girl who lived in Adare.

Mermaids such as Talise came inland to mate and to fall in love. They needed to find a man who carried superior genes for their young. Talise was hopeful that in finding love she could find a completeness she hadn’t found in her family of mermaids or sea witches. Talise had always been called that ‘odd girl of Coralia’s’ growing up. Talise was the girl who made selfish decisions and got into trouble, despite having an adored Grandmother of a sea witch.

The beliefs of other mermaids and sea witches regarding Talise’s behaviour, injured Talise’s young heart sorely. Talise went to her cave where the looking glass was or swam into Adare as often as possible. Her goal was to have a human life on land. To live the dream girls in the Victorian age strived for — to become a wife, a mother, and have a family. Talise wandered the beach of Adare, waiting patiently for an ideal mate in various hideous bathing dresses.

Walking in the waves as the tide came in and out one day, Talise met her first love Ethan. Ethan was handsome and wildly fun. Talise hadn’t even thought twice about sleeping with him over and over again. Ethan married her and introduced Talise to society in a grand wedding ceremony. But Talise never gave birth to any children. There was no little girl (who was actually a mermaid) to pass on the skills Coralia had taught Talise. There was no boys for Ethan, to carry on his lineage.

Talise had loved Ethan with her whole-heart. She learned to be the perfect wife, hostess, and lover. When they never had any children, Ethan was sad.

“It’s not your fault, Talise. I understand. The Lord, does not care for us to have children.”

“Are you sure Ethan,” Talise asked. “I could go to a different Doctor. We could see if we are doing something wrong?”

“Nonsense.” Ethan replied.”But I have decided since my brother Simon has passed away, we should take on raising his two sons, Simon Junior and Edgar. They will be excellent heirs for my shipping business and will give you the children we aren’t able to have.” Talise kissed Ethan for his generosity and good thinking.

Talise silently employed her magic to help her family and to make their lives more comfortable. She healed the boys when they were sick and made sorry those who would harm her family through gossip or otherwise. Their debts were always mysteriously paid off and the boys wanted for nothing. Ethan’s shipping firm was absurdly successful.

But Talise did not know why she was barren. She was afraid to go back and acquire the help of a more powerful sea witch in the Sirene lake to find out why she couldn’t become pregnant. She thought Ethan might have been the reason — but of course, she would never told him what she believed.

Talise allowed her body to age with Ethan. But even at eighty, she looked mistakenly young. When Ethan died at the age of eighty-three. Talise mourned him wretchedly for years. But when the boys were in their late fifties, Talise used her increasingly powerful magic and stopped aging. She transformed her body back to her appearance as a youth. She watched in the mirror in her cave, as her beauty and juvenescence returned. When transformed, Talise appeared as if she had only aged four years, if one could tell.

But Talise had been unprepared for the information she learned from her and Ethan’s nephews after he died, before Talise had become a young woman again. Talise had discovered it was her who could not physically be a mother to a child. Ethan had had an affair throughout his life and had children.

Please Read Chapter 16 here.


 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

14. How Was Last Night For You: A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery


Chapter 13 can be read here.

Chapter 14:  A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery

While Nina slept, John called Nina’s Mother Heather Avlon. Heather was worried about Nina, but she tried to be polite talking to John on the phone.

“Oh, you’re Nina’s friend John Eric. Was she with you when she received her concussion? I heard about that storm on the News. They said it only took place near the Sirene downtown. I can come and take care of Nina in the morning John. I’ll let you get back to your life, you must have work Monday.” Heather said.

John cleared his throat. “Actually Ms. Avlon I will be staying close to Nina while she heals. If you can spell me off around 9:00 am I could use some sleep. I’ll be back around 5:00 pm. You should know, Nina is special to me and as long as she is okay with it, I’m  going to have her stay with at my house while she heals.”

“And who are you mister?” Asked Heather warily. “Nina didn’t tell me you are her boyfriend. She told me you guys were only dating right now.”

“Well I am her boyfriend. It’s only been over a week I know but it’s been an amazing experience.I want her to come stay with me. I need to keep her safe. I have this crazy ex who’s after me and I’d feel better if Nina was where I could keep an eye on her. I own my own company so it’s no problem for me to work from home.”

” I don’t know John. She’s barely mentioned you before. And I don’t know  I want my daughter involved with your ex if she is not well. Nina will have to decide as long as the concussion hasn’t effects her decision making skills.”

“I promise I’ll take good care of Nina. I have a housekeeper and she cooks and cleans. Nina won’t have to worry about any of that. She can be comfortable at my place while she recovers. And she’ll be safe…”

” Okay John. We will see in a few days.”

” Thank you Ms. Avlon.”

” Truthfully John , I own a salon and I can’t leave work long. So many of my estheticians and hair dressers have the flu currently. All at the same time so I’m a bit understaffed.”

“Sorry to hear that. You’re okay coming in the day tomorrow?”

” Yes, it will be okay for Sunday. I hope your ex doesn’t cause to many problems John. Nina deserves the best. My girl, she’s a sweetheart. Don’t take advantage of her. She sees the best in everyone and sometimes she doesn’t see a problem until it’s too late.” Heather warned John. ” I hope your not a problem in her life John.”

“I will give Nina nothing less then my absolute best. I care for her a great deal, even though we’ve only been together a short time. Nina’s my girl too.” John assured Heather.


 

John sat by Nina’s bed and watched her sleep the rest of the night. Sometime later he fell asleep. He remembered the nurses taking Nina to receive her CT and an X-Ray in the early morning. Doctor Kenner told him as suspected, Nina’s concussion was minor. The head wound looked worse then it was.

John felt uneasy with life right now. Not only was he worried about the usual terrible events which always occurred his life, but he was frightened about what Tia was going to do to Nina and him. Nina would be in the hospital a few days and then John would take her home while Nina recovered. Both to ensure Nina didn’t have a worse concussion than Doctor Kenner thought and because John was the best defense Nina had against Tia.

John wasn’t sure if Tia meant she wanted John to love her or whether she wanted to stab him in the heart. He deduced Tia literally wanted Nina’s heart out of her chest. What a crazy Bitch. How could Tia have ever been the girl he loved as a young man. When would she strike? How was John supposed to protect Nina from not only the horrid events that occurred in his life and the powers of a wrathful Sea Witch?

For now, John watched Nina sleep. She was entrancing and beautiful as she slept. Even though John new Nina wouldn’t agree him. He was glad the concussion hadn’t been worse. John’s Nina was a strong girl — one of the many reasons he was attracted to her so deeply. If any woman could survive John’s curse and a witch such as Tia, it would be Nina.

John stroked Nina’s cheek gently when she began to mutter in her sleep. He hoped she wasn’t having nightmares.


 

Two days later with Heather’s permission, John brought Nina home with him to his house on the beach of Sirene Lake. He asked Heather to gather more clothes, toiletries, and items Nina had asked for. John asked Rianne who Nina’s boss was at work and looked up his number on Nina’s phone. Nina’s boss in marketing was understanding and wished her a speedy recovery. Later, Wilus’  marketing department sent an arrangement of Gerber Daisies for Nina. There was some forms Nina would have to fill out for short-term disability. John also filled a prescription for Nina for Tylenol 3.

He knew  Nina was strong but she appeared so fragile to him as he helped her in the door. Despite insisting she was feeling fine, Nina was dizzy and still felt a bit nauseous. She rested in John’s bed

—–

After three weeks, Nina had her boss at Wilus, send her some work so she could start catching up in order to return to work soon. Nina had become bored and restless even though Nina and John constantly shared ideas, talked about things they had in common, and shared their personal likes. They talked about the things couples talk about when they are first together. Favourite colours, movies, books, their friends, and John learned about Nina’s family.

Heather Avlon had raised Nina a single mother, and opened up her own salon in Adare. Neither Nina nor Heather had heard from Nina’s Dad in years. He was a lawyer on Wall Street. The last time they had seen him was when Nina was about six-years-old. John already wasn’t a fan of Nina’s Dad.

Some of the time John had to do work from his office and have meetings through conference calls. Nina grew sick of watching movies and social networking with old friends. Rianne came to visit her some nights and John was relieved Rianne’s arm was healing well. John felt guilty about the injury. Four weeks passed and Nina began to insist that she needed to return home and get organized to return to work. She was feeling better.

John and Nina had been close the entire time Nina was on sick-leave. John was always watching Nina as he did business by her, ate with her, watched a movie, or played video games with her. They went for walks and Nina came with him to the gym after healing for four weeks. Nina insisted she needed to workout again and that she was putting on weight. John disagreed but she came with him so he didn’t felt sure nothing bad would happen to her. His usual feelings of awful events occurring had been absent lately and so had the events themselves. Doctor Kenner said the wound on Nina’s head had healed well and since Nina felt no concussion symptoms he declared her healthy.

When Nina was first at his home healing, John had to leave her at times to run an important errand or handle the odd emergency at Mergers. Jasper and Jordan had been helping him with his work load. He left Nina home with the housekeeper or Rianne. When he left Nina, it was always in the back of John’s mind that Tia could show up at his front door. John knew the situation with Tia had to be resolved eventually. He dreaded when that day came.


 

Three months passed and Nina was back to work full time and living in her condo downtown sporadically. John and Nina were back and fourth at each other’s homes for several days at a time.

John was driving himself crazy thinking about Tia and what plans she had. Nothing terrible  had happened since Nina’s concussion. John had told his younger brother Jordan about Tia’s return. Jasper had somehow been able to communicate the entire Grimm fairy tale to Rianne (what Nina had not told her.) Rianne had had a lot of questions for Nina and John when she and Jasper came over for supper to Nina’s one Friday night.


 

Watching TV with John the next afternoon,  Nina decide they should all go out for dinner and dancing the following Saturday, including Jordan and his latest girl.

“Please let’s go out John?” Nina begged. “It’s been so long since I’ve danced and Rianne’s arm is better too. I haven’t even had a chance to talk with your brother Jordan since the fundraiser.I think he might have a lot of juicy details on you,” Nina half joked with John.

“I think we could all use a night on the town.” Nina proclaimed. ” Not to mention we all need to figure out this situation with Tia. She hasn’t shown her face in months. But she must be up to something. She doesn’t have you, your heart, or mine.”

” I feel like it’s love with you . . .I know it’s going to be John. Well it probably is already,” Nina admitted blushing. “But will it be enough to break Tia’s spell? Does the curse mean you have to sacrifice your life? You can’t die on me.”

John sighed and kissed Nina’s bared shoulder. He was worried about his curse and Tia’s plans enough for the both of them. He also knew he needed the help of family and friends to solve this dilemma. His Dad was a professor in folklore he wondered if he might be able to help John and Nina with the crux of the curse.

The problem was it takes time to fall in love with someone. John was absolutely sure by this point Nina was the one who would break through his curse.  He felt for her the way he did about no other woman ever, not even Tia. Nina was his light in a world which was often dark and depraved. John was afraid of the sacrifice his curse meant —  John’s life. John grimaced. He would give it if meant keeping Nina alive and well. He couldn’t imagine life without her after three months of dating her.

“Yeah. Let’s go out next Saturday if you want Nina, of course.” John said mildly.” You check with Rianne and Jasper and I’ll talk to Jordan tomorrow at work. I’m the best brother to talk to anyways, your missing nothing with my younger sibling,” John told Nina about Jordan. “I have no more secrets to hide from you.”

Nina smiled and snuggled into John. John played nervously with the silver chain around his neck.” I don’t know about Tia, Nina.” He pushed his hands through his own hair.” It’s been weeks since something awful has happened around me. You dropped and shattered my wine glasses and wasted a good bottle of wine, but I don’t think it counts compared to what usually happens around me.”

” I guess we’ll see this week and next Saturday. I haven’t felt as if any terrible event was going to occur. That’s a new feeling. Oddly, it worries me. But I haven’t had another nightmare about Tia either. Life has been the best I can remember it being.”John admitted, “I’m afraid for it to end.” Nina combed his hair back in place with her fingers and kissed the top of John’s head in agreement.

John felt Nina relax again under his arm and against his side on the couch as they watched Vancouver play hockey against Phoenix. After the second period ended, Nina lifted her head and kissed John’s lips softly.

“I’m going to bed John, to take a shower first. Are you going to join me when the games finished?” Nina whispered silkily in John’s ear.

She smiled seductively at John as she brushed passed him on her way to his bedroom. Nina must be the girl for him, John thought. She was sexy in her sweatpants and his favourite soft T-shirt. He wondered for a moment why woman had such an inclination for wearing their boyfriend’s clothes. He had wanted to wear his cherished T-shirt today but then John thought about Nina wearing no bra under his thin shirt and his perspective on the subject had changed.

He heard the shower running and thought about Nina taking off her clothes. John’s breathing increased. He saw Vancouver was still in the lead. Five minutes to go and they held a healthy four-point lead. John prayed to God, Vancouver did not suddenly, start losing because he stopped watching. He rushed to join Nina, hockey forgotten.

John pulled off his clothes and joined Nina in the double shower. He pressed her against him feeling her slick soft curves. He growled and began touching Nina anywhere h could reach. John had stayed away from Nina while she was healing the first four weeks before they had started having sex again. John had been trying to be gentle with Nina ever since. John was still afraid (despite the fact Doctor Kenner assured Nina she was well) he might hurt Nina’s head wound, all to Nina’s frustration.

John’s desire for Nina was stronger then his desire to be careful of her head that night. John was fierce and passionate as he loved Nina in the shower and in his bed; Nina was overjoyed. The rush of the maddening attraction between John and Nina was as powerful as ever. When John was almost asleep, he inched his leg over Nina’s leg. The tiny movement and touch of his skin on Nina’s petal soft skin, gave John comfort.

Please Read Chapter 15 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

12. How Was Last Night For You: The Sea Witch Revealed.


 

Read Chapter 11 here.

Chapter 12: The Sea Witch Revealed.

Nina counted to ten in her head before telling Talise what she had already told her about John before; he wasn’t the same person he used to be.

” Talise,” Nina said, “people change. John is repentant for his past. He doesn’t use woman anymore. He has only dated women who want to date him and he likes, in the past few years.Some relationships aren’t meant to be. He loved and lost his first girlfriend when he was twenty-five. John said the wrong words, as he sometimes does. He lost Tia forever and she disappeared. But he has paid for his mistakes with Tia everyday of his life.” Nina smiled meaningfully at Talise. “John and I make each other happy Talise. Every person deserves to be happy at least some of their life. All humans make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Better to enjoy life while we are able.”

Talise laughed darkly.” You think you and John are meant to be? Malcolm tells me you’ve only known each other not even a week at best.”

” I’m taking my relationship with John day by day. Our relationship has blossomed quickly. It’s none of your business actually. I’ve told you way more then I should have, but I feel bad for you because your stuck at a place in your life which was obviously a difficult time for you. But I believe it would be best for you to move on.” Nina cautioned Talise.

“I feel something life changing with John. I have never felt like this for any guy I’ve dated before, even when the relationship lasted a year or more. John feels the same as I do for him, for me.”

Talise flushed in anger. She was frustrated with Nina and upset Nina was ignoring her heartfelt advice.” Just leave,” Talise shouted at Nina. The people around Nina looked at Talise curiously when she shouted. Talise’s eyes were a stormy green and she looked murderous.

Nina glanced at the large door of the warehouse which remained open when the weather wasn’t too cold at the market. She smelled the distinctive scent of rain before it began to drop outside. It was noisy and harsh against the warehouse made from metal sheeting.

Nina moved away from Talise and closer to the entrance to see outside. The sky was taking on a blackish- purple hue. The wind was blowing against the building with bursts of intense noise and outside a storm awoke. Hard pebbles of hail clanged against the warehouse of the market. A few men struggled to close the metal doors to keep out the wind, hail, and rain.

Nina searched for John amidst the dismayed crowd. She spotted John and he was yelling at Talise. ” Tia is that you?” he asked with surprise and distress. “After all these years? You’ve finally come back to see me? To ruin my life more!” John loathed Tia for what she had done to him. Living a life where everyday something dreadful or sad happened was harsh.

John was a meter away from Nina in the crowded market but she could see he was transfixed by Talise. He was staring at Talise with a mixture of emotions on his face, his hands gripping his hair. She could see the expressions on John’s face as he went through the emotions of regret, pain, anger, and abborance.

Talise sauntered around her table of scarves to John and whispered something in John’s ear. Her actions were flirtatious and she touched John as a lover who knew him well. Nina felt the first stings of jealousy beginning to threaten but John’s manner towards Tia was stone cold. John wasn’t about to forgive Tia for all the suffering he, his family, and old girlfriends had endured. John backed up from Tia with revulsion and he looked for Nina fearful for her safety. When he saw Nina he realized she had observed his reunion with Tia, short for Talise.

“Stay away from that woman Nina,” John said  rushing to Nina and sternly gripping her upper arms.”She’s a witch, a sea witch. I can’t believe it. After all this time . . .Tia is back, and you’re wearing one of her scarves!” John’s words were incensed and loud. He had to be loud to be heard over the storm battering the warehouse. John’s temper was making it difficult for him not to be irritated with Nina. The words flew out of Nina’s mouth as she tried to explain to John she was on his side.

” I didn’t know Talise was Tia. I meant her at the fundraiser yesterday. Talise told me she’s dating Malcolm,  an editor at Mergers. It’s her friends scarves and  she’s only filling in. I hope the vendor of the scarves booth is actually a friend. I hope Tia didn’t hurt the woman so she could be here to tell me to stop seeing you.” Nina said fervently.

“Tia keeps warning me away from you John. She told me bits about her relationship with you. She said you threw her away. I didn’t understand why I saw her at the fundraiser and here today, but I do now. If  Talise is Tia, she hates you John. Time has only made her deteste you more.”Nina was talking so fast she had hardly breathed.

“You saw her at the fundraiser?” John said horrified. ” I knew she was there. But whenever I tried to get a look at her she turned away. She’s trying to reach me through you. Please don’t speak or be with her again alone Nina. Never, she’s cunning and desperate.” John warned.

“She hates you John. But at the same time, I think she wants you back. She is jealous of me, I can tell.”

“Of course Tia is jealous,” John raged. “She only wants for me to suffer. To live without another woman’s love until I die. I’m not going to do that. You and I, we have something together. Leave Talise or Tia to her schemes.” John was passionate as he spoke. Nina glanced behind her to see the beautiful Talise waving at Nina with a smirk on her face. Talise was probably gloating because Nina hadn’t figured out she was John’s first love Tia. Nina had even told Talise about Talise’s own past. Tia disappeared eerily into the crowd.

“What did Tia say to you John, when she was whispering. I saw her talking to you?” John grimaced and looked at his feet. He started to talk but couldn’t complete his words. He tried again with a look of frustration and sorrow in his bright blue eyes:

“She says my heart or yours, Nina. I don’t know what she means yet, but I think Tia has a violent streak. She wants revenge and she wants me back. Errrr….last night I had a nightmare. Tia was in it and she said to me the same phrase she whispered to me a few moments ago.” Nina gasped.

“Why is she still so angry at you John. You’ve suffered so much. How can she be so malevolent? Does she literally want my heart out of my chest?”

John nodded grimacing. He held Nina in his arms and stood behind her. He kissed the crown of her head. “I won’t let her hurt you,” John murmured over and over again, soothing Nina and himself. The storm raged on outside.

Without warning, the roof of the aluminum warehouse started to lift with a powerful gust of wind. The wind was blowing produce, goods, booths, and tables around the inside of the warehouse. The people at the market were left to huddle low to the ground and attempt to avoid debris the wind had picked-up. Many people sported cuts, bruises, and even broken bones. Nina glanced at John as smaller objects streamed around them. John had been gripping a couple of their bags full of produce in his hands, his knuckles white with anger as they crouched on the floor.

Abruptly, the table of scarves blew over. Scarves fluttered everywhere like displaced butterflies and the table was caught in another giant gust of wind. Everyone caught in the warehouse crouched low, their hands shielding their faces. Nina dove with her bags to the ground with John, when they were almost hit by a former fruit booth.

Nina looked around her hoping the worst was over. With fear in her pale blue eyes, she observed the table from the scarves making a pathway right for her before she could think to move. The table bashed Nina in the side of her head and landed on the cement floor. Nina was stunned and felt blood oozing from an open wound. She felt a searing pain as she lay on the floor miserably, her hand trying to stop the bleeding in her blond hair.

The storm passed away as fast as it had arrived. The roof sat awkwardly half-back in place on walls of the warehouse. Nina lay on the floor beneath her bags including John’s apple pie. She tried not to cry and held her head as she sat up feeling nauseous and sick. She felt dizzy as she attempted to locate John. This time, he hadn’t been able to protect her. But Nina had a feeling this event was more a product of Tia’s rage and not a product of John’s curse.  Nina hurt everywhere and her eyes kept closing without her being able to stop them. Nina felt herself sliding back to the floor. She faded into unconsciousness.

Please Read Chapter 13 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

10. How Was Last Night For You – Waking Up and John’s Nightmare


 

Read Chapter 9 here.

Chapter 10: Waking Up at John’s House and The Nightmare

Nina awoke from a deep sleep. She was incredibly comfortable and spread out across the bed.  She didn’t think she’d moved at all after she’d showered and gone to sleep. Remembering she was sleeping with John, Nina grinned and turned to look at him.

John appeared young and carefree as he slept.The slight laugh lines around his eyes weren’t as deep and the dark circles beneath his eyes were gone. His skin was smooth except where there was stubble. Nina had never seen John with a five o’clock shadow. Nina knew John kept up a pristine appearance for work and to look as if he had his life together. Sometimes clothes and other people’s perceptions of John’s careful grooming helped to keep people from finding out why certain events happened when John was in the vicinity.

Nina reached tentatively for John’s face and she stroked his whiskered cheek. She yawned and fell back on her pillows deciding she needed more sleep. Nina drifted and soon surrendered to her dreams.

—–

The sun was in John’s eyes. It was annoying. He always kept the roman shade closed in his bedroom. The housekeeper must have put the blind up. Life left John with little but fires he had to keep putting out so he needed all the sleep he could get.

John felt Nina before he dreamed about her. The sensation of her hand stroking his stubbled cheek. He was afraid for her and thought he should tell her to go home before she ended up in the hospital; but to do that felt like an even worse idea.

Nina’s touch was special. John could feel the magnetic pull they felt with each other. His Nina. He dreamed of her soft long blond hair and cherub pink lips. He dreamed of her beautiful curves, her hips, her stomach, her breasts, and it made him want her. John dreamt Nina and he were sitting out in front of his house on the beach, sitting in anorak chairs.

The tide from the lake went in and out on the shore and was a soothing rhythm as he held Nina’s hand and stroked it. He wasn’t worried, he wasn’t afraid. Nothing problematic was going to happen. He enjoyed serenity for seconds.

Then the sky grew dark and the thunder clouds rolled in. Nina was begging him not to go into Sirene Lake. John kept telling her he had to go. And it was if his worst fears had come to life when Tia emerged from the water — gorgeous but deadly. A sea witch in a dress of blue and green scales. She had a dagger in her hand and she came close to his face brushing his cheek with hers and whispered: ‘your heart for hers.’

Tia was looking at Nina and telling him to choose. John wanted to save Nina. He chose her, but Tia only laughed and dragged John into the water. When she could swim with her mermaid’s tale, Tia drove the dagger through John’s heart. He could feel the pain so acute and agonizing.

John could hear Nina crying, wadding into Sirene Lake after him. And Tia was laughing malevolently and swimming further into the lake with John’s bleeding body where no one would see him again. Nina followed Tia and John. He realized Tia was leading Nina into deeper waters, where Nina could not swim. She was to die as well. John felt a pain stronger than Tia’s dagger to his heart, a searing pain that wouldn’t end. John blacked out.


John awoke from his nightmare in a cold sweat. He felt his heart beat rapidly where he was sure he had been stabbed or was having some kind of heart episode. But John’s heartbeat slowed and all he could feel with his hand was his bare chest, no bloody wound. John breathed deeply, realizing he had been holding his breath as he dreamt Tia had pulled him into the lake to drown him as he died from a stab wound. She had been attempting to drown Nina too. It took John a few minutes to realize he had only been experiencing a horrific nightmare.

John looked beside him and saw Nina was stretched across three-quarters of his king sized bed. He had been huddled in the last quarter of the bed she had left him. John thought he should be annoyed by Nina hogging his bed but he wasn’t. Nina was too cute to annoy him right now.

She looked peaceful as she slept. He knew Nina was about twenty-nine or thirty but she looked twenty-three with her face bare of makeup and her beautiful hair tangled about her head. Nina’s body was warm where it touched his. John sidled closer to Nina and stroked her pale hair away from her face. He kept stroking her cheek as he kissed her closed lips gently. He kissed her eyelids and the corner of her lips. John kissed her cheeks and began to trail wet kisses down her neck. He reached for the blue dress shirt of his Nina slept in, and began to unbutton the shirt.

Nina sighed in her sleep and her eyes flew open when he gently bit the place her shoulder and neck met. She opened her grey-blue eyes and smiled at him sleepily.

“Good morning.” John said “Funny I should find you in my bed. I think I’ll have to do something about that.”

Nina giggled and stretched her arms above her head. ” Way to take advantage of a poor defenceless woman. I wasn’t sure you’d take the bate,” Nina murmured. Her morning voice was croaky.

“How could I resist,” John mumbled kissing Nina where buttons had once covered her skin.He kissed Nina’s heart thinking back to his nightmare which he remembered so vividly:  ‘Your heart or hers.’ Tia had said.

John had an inkling Tia might be making him a visit in person sooner or later. Such as he felt a terrible event which was going to occur around him, John felt sure Tia was coming to check up on him as she had threatened years ago. She’d be watching John, Tia had said. Last night if he was honest, he could have sworn he saw her a couple times at the fundraiser. He thought he was seeing things. Had Tia finally returned? He felt a pang of sorrow for the love he once felt for Tia. But after all she had put John through, all the suffering and broken relationships, he felt little but anger and bitterness towards Tia now. If she was here again it would be because of Nina, and Nina he was sure he could protect.

“John,” Nina asked him sitting up, “are you okay?”

“Fine. Great,” John said realizing he had stopped kissing Nina abruptly and was looking through her. He smiled at her rubbed her cheek. The situation needed to be remedied. He forgot about Tia for the moment. John’s life was full of Nina for the present. A spark was growing within him for her, a spark no past love could compare with. Whether John’s dream was a warning or not, he would protect Nina. He would keep her safe. Nina and John had only known each other over a week and he cared for her so much already. For now he would show her how he felt giving praise to her body and through it, her heart.


 

Nina sat on a barstool in John’s kitchen. She was eating scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, and hash browns. She knew she was going to pay for all the calories she’d been ingesting this weekend when she went to the gym next week. Tiredly, she regretted she’d have to increase her cardio.

John and Nina hadn’t returned to John’s house until 2:00 am in the morning. At 4:00 am they’d showered and went to bed. As she ate breakfast in the afternoon, Nina went over the night’s events. The biggest aspects being meeting the strange young woman named Talise who said she had been a woman John had thrown away. Talise’s friend had loved John and John had forgot about her as well. Nina also thought about the fire. The smoke and fire damage which occurred to the beautiful venue the fundraiser had been held in and potential fatalities which might have occurred.

John sat on the stool beside Nina wearing sweatpants and nothing more. He devoured his breakfast while reading the Adare Gazette. He looked up at Nina now and then with a contented look on his face before reading the paper again. Nina spied a small story in the gazette about the fire at the Country club. She noticed John skipped over it with his eyes and pulled out the sports section.

” Edmonton won last night.” John muttered. “I’m kind of shocked. They’ve been winning quite a bit lately. I wonder if they’ll be playoff contenders.”

” Of course they will.” Nina chirped, “McDavid’s back.” John chuckled.

“Anything you want to do today Nina,” John asked.

“Well it would be fun to veg but I had planned on trying to go to the Farmer’s market downtown before it closes at 4:00 pm. It’s Winter so it’s inside this huge building and not outside, but it’s still pretty good. It’s 2 pm we could still make it .”

“Alright, I suppose that will be fun.” John said.  She could tell John wasn’t much thrilled by the idea of going to the Farmer’s Market but Nina wanted to do coupley things with John and get to know him better, even if he didn’t always like what they were doing. Nina laid her head against John’s shoulder. She had finished eating and was content.

“You’ll like it. Fresh food. I will cook you a great supper,” Nina reassured John.

He smiled, “Okay deal.” But Nina could tell something was bothering John and he wasn’t saying what it was. As he had been when they were kissing in bed, John was distracted. Nina wished she knew by what.

Please Read Chapter 11 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

4. How Was Last Night For You – A Sea Witch’s Curse


To read Chapter 3 please go here.

Chapter 4: A Sea Witches Curse

John played with the thin silver chain around his neck nervously. He appeared to be preparing himself to say what he needed to Nina:

” When I was twenty-five ” said John, ” I was stupid, reckless, and I didn’t care for anyone but myself and what I wanted. What I wanted was girls and to pursue my dream of owning a publishing company with my two brothers. I had a trust fund from my Grandpa, he was well off. I didn’t worry about where I would find the money. But for entertainment and fun I slept with too… too many girl to count.” John sputtered.

“I slept with strippers, I slept with hookers. I slept with girls I liked and I slept with girls I didn’t like. It didn’t matter I only wanted sex. It felt good, still does. I didn’t want the responsibility of girlfriend, I had enough on my plate.” John’s looked ashamed.

“I was working a lot and celebrating life when I wasn’t. I couldn’t tell you the number of women a wealthy man like me has been with. I haven’t completely improved but I’m better, since my experiences with Tia. She was my first serious girlfriend. My brothers and I, we used to party so hard. I would drink until I passed out — happens now and then still. But I don’t spend all my free time getting laid.” John looked imploringly at Nina still fidgeting with his neck chain.

“I’m careful with the woman I date now. I can’t ever date any woman too long or she starts to notice all the bad situations occurring around us are more then a coincidence. Sometimes, I have dated a woman and she gets hurt. O-one or two, women I saw ended up in hospital for broken bones. But Nina you’re different. I care about you. . . I can protect you. I think.”

Nina almost choked on her green tea. She had expected that John was a womanizer, had been trying not to care. But she felt perturbed John had told her that he slept with so many women. Some of these woman thought he cared about them. But he never cared. Thinking back to the night they slept together, Nina was glad they were safe. She looked at John his face was ashen and he was fiddling with his neck chain again. John’s eyes still appeared to have dark circles around them. He perceived all the terrible thoughts Nina might think of him.

John lifted his hand haltingly as if to touch Nina then placed it gently on her knee. ” I’m sorry” he whispered ” I wasn’t a good guy. I’m still not. But I’m getting better. But you need to know this part of me good or bad. Please . . . ” Nina nodded and John continued his tale of woe .

“O-one day I met this girl, Tia. She was beautiful, an angel. Absolutely lovely. I was into her right away. She looked something like you with beautiful blond hair. But her hair was wavy and her eyes green. She had your gorgeous figure and had the best laugh in the whole world. . . We had so much fun being together. She was barely twenty-years-old when I met her. We were together for two years. I -I wanted to marry her but the whole business of Mergers got in the way of Tia and I.” John paused. He appeared sad to Nina and regretful.

” I loved Tia. But she was needy, always wanted to be with me, and do everything with me. My brothers and I had meetings and were acquiring companies. Magazines, newspapers, smaller publishing companies for Mergers. Tia didn’t understand why I couldn’t spend more time with her. I had to work it was important to me. I wasn’t going to only rely on my Trust Fund. I couldn’t let my brother’s down or myself.”

“One day Tia walks into Jordan’s penthouse. I told her to come and chill with us. Jasper’s wife Jennifer was still alive then and was making snacks in Jordan’s kitchen. Tia overheard Jordan say to me, ‘ so are you actually serious about this Tia chick. I mean she’s hot but she’s so young, do you really think she can represent you at business functions? She never came across to me as the right type for the public eye. She’s more of a free-spirit, not a wife.’

“Tia was a party girl. Her and I were well suited that way. But I knew she could be serious too. She could play the part of a businessmen’s wife. I had no doubt. She would have made a fun and impish little wife. But Jasper agreed with Jordan. ‘She has a lot of growing up to do. She’s only twenty -one or two right? We can’t party as much as we used to we have to be professionals and be more discreet who we’re seen with. Tia’s beautiful but didn’t you say you were only with her because she was good in bed and hot?’

“It was what I had told my brothers stupidly even though it wasn’t the truth. And I didn’t know Tia heard all this until she tells me to come and meet her on my boat that evening. I didn’t think she’d even come over to Jordan’s penthouse.”

“Tia and I went downstairs to the cabin of my boat that night and made love all night. I felt guilty about what I let my brothers believe. Tia was an angel. And I felt something was up with her. I didn’t know what but even though she was fierce and passionate with me in bed, when I tried to talk to her she was distant with me.”

” In the morning I awoke and Tia was standing at the end of the bed looking at me with sorrow in her eyes. I asked her if she was okay and she became furious. ‘l loved you, you know.’ she screamed. I told her I love her too. But Tia looked heartbroken and I knew somehow she was their when my brothers and I were talking. The room began to glow brightly:

” ‘ I heard everything Jasper said you told them about me. You were using me for sex.’ Tia shrieks. The cabin bedroom is so bright now I can barely see anything but Tia’s eyes glowing fluorescent green and her beautiful blond hair flowing out behind her. Her voice sounded malicious.

“Tia said: ‘ I curse you. I curse you until the day you find true love and sacrifice yourself for the woman you love. It won’t be easy for a woman to love you. I curse you to have horrible events occur all around you. Events which will hurt woman you try to be with. If you care for a woman again you can protect her, but only then. Caring for a woman will not break the curse only you sacrificing yourself for true love will undo the horrible events you will have to live through each day. I wan’t you to feel how I feel know, ashamed and guilty.”

” ‘How can you curse me?’ I asked her. She told me she was a powerful sea witch.”

” ‘I’ll be watching you closely, John’ she shrieked ‘ I hope you fail and never love again. I hope you die heartbroken like me.'”

” Tia ran up the stairs out of the cabin bedroom and above deck. I chased her but she dived into the sea and swam away. You know, I swear I could see her in the distance swimming away a bright green tail flipping in the water as she swam farther and farther away.” John admitted this last part about Tia with trepidation. He kept glancing at Nina waiting for her to laugh at him. But Nina saw how seriously he believed what he said.

” Tia is a sea, is a sea witch,” John stuttered. “My own family barely believe me but they experience all the unusual events happening around me often.  Jasper and Jordan blame themselves for their part. They know the events that occur around me are a result of Tia.”

” I went looking for her. Perhaps, that is why I love sailing so much. But I have never seen or heard from Tia again. It’s as if she never existed. Her friends don’t know what happened to her and they say she didn’t have any family they knew of. I never meant her family. Tia wouldn’t talk about them. She said she’ll be watching me. Tia said she hopes I never fall in love and only suffer. She’s out there still . . .”

“I loved her. And all the sufferring and bad events those are my punishment for not standing up to my brothers and telling them I loved her. Now, no women can be around me long without noticing accidents happening often, or suffering through these accidents. I’m cursed Nina and that is the truth. John’s sapphire eyes looked haunted.

“But you could be different Nina. The chandelier this afternoon, a piece of flying debris was going to hurt you and I stopped it from happening. I said in my head: ‘you’re not going to hurt her’ and you were fine. It has never worked like that before. Usually, I suddenly see what’s going to occur and it happens. I can’t stop it.

” And the first night we met, the woman at the harbor was going to pull you into the water. You were going to drown because you can’t swim well. I knew it in an instant, so I intervened so you wouldn’t fall in. I can stop bad things from happening to you Nina. I think; I know it means I care for you. You and I could be different. We could break the curse. Maybe, you would try to be with me and get to know me more. Maybe, one day, you’ll love me?”

John hung is head appearing worn out from his explanation. Nina ran her fingers through his soft brown hair as one might do with a child. She looked at John with  determination. From the first time she saw John, she had felt electricity between them. Now she felt affection as well. Curse or no curse. She would not give up on John.

Perhaps, Nina could break the spell and free John. If his explanation was real — his story of Tia as a sea witch –then he was living one giant horrible Grimm’s fairy tale. However, Nina was afraid Tia might come back. What would happen then? She said she’d be watching John.  Nina thought a woman whose heart was broken would as Tia’s was, would want to start again. But maybe she was still vengeful eight-years later?

Nina had seen the horrible incidents that occurred around John and it made sense to her in an odd way, that John was cursed. And if he could protect her, because he cared enough for her, maybe one day Nina could love John? She didn’t understand how he could sacrifice for her but maybe they’d get there…

Nina put her arms around John and gently kissed his neck. Even though he was probably  a womanizer, had been an even worse womanizer, she ached for him and his lost love all because he could not admit to his own brothers that he loved Tia. All because Tia had overheard the wrong conversation.

Nina nuzzled into John’s neck. He smelt wonderful. She identified the scent as  ‘Light Blue’ for men, a fresh scent of sea breeze. John’s breathing was quickening and Nina knew he needed her when he lifted his head up and looked into her eyes with desire. She knew his arms lifting her into him were no dream. Nina’s eyelashes fell against John’s cheek. Lips exploring her face and kissing her the same place she’d kissed his neck were welcome. Nina’s skin flushed as his lips meant hers and his tongue caressed hers. She held onto John. Nina was his lifeline.

Please read Chapter 5 here.

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