25. How Was Last Night For You: A Soul and a Sacrifice.


Please read Chapter 24 here.

Chapter 25: A Soul and a Sacrifice

John watched in horror as Talise swam towards him and Jordan in the Sirene Lake. John felt incredibly weak. He had been swimming all night and his energy to remain upright and hang onto the lifesaver, was fading fast. John and Jordan watched the evil sea witch Talise, finally come to bewitch or kill John.

John knew Talise would fight Jordan for the dagger as well. He was grateful Jordan had arrived from his sail boat the Faith, with Jasper and Rianne. Jordan and Jasper had saved John from drowning, throwing out the lifesaver for him to float on. Jordan with his own lifesaver and life jacket, had swam out to aid John. Jordan had promised his older brother to drive the  black dagger through Talise’s heart as John knew, he wouldn’t be able to do it himself.

John had to hold back the tears from his eyes. His eyes glazed over as he saw before him the most awful sight he had ever seen, Nina’s body floating lightly in the water as Talise rose before them in her malevolence. She had further aged, but she had fortitude behind her haggered appearance.

Added to Talise’s terrible appearance was sharp teeth which John knew had recently bitten Nina. He glanced at Nina’s shoulder. Gleaming red bite marks with blood and a black tar like substance oozed out of the marks. Talise had bit Nina and poisoned her; she had killed Nina with her vile venom.

“You have my dagger,” Talise told Jordan angerily. She attempted to swipe it from Jordan’s grasp but Jordan was quicker than Talise. He was full of energy and adrenaline. Jordan swung the dagger at Talise, marking her face with a long jagged cut. Talise screamed, a terrible moaning sound. “Enough,” she shouted, her voice gravelly and hoarse.

Pausing before them, Talise smiled in-genuinely at John. He looked into her clouded green eyes and saw not evil, but tiredness and exhaustion. The same feelings were mirrored in John’s eyes. Talise held out her withered hands in a seemingly peaceful gesture.

“I want to make a deal,” she said quietly. Talise stared at John. Jordan and John looked back and forth at each other. Could she be trusted?

“What kind of deal Talise?” John asked. “You’ve killed Nina. How can I trust you? How can I ever make any deal with you? I loath you!”

“Nina is still with us,” Talise murmered. Her voice was hoarse and small. It had no power.”If Nina doesn’t receive help soon, she’ll pass on. Right now she is only dreaming. The poison makes victims lethargic before they die.” Talise explained.

“What kind of deal?” Jordan demanded again. Talise frowned at him, touching the cut on her cheek. It was bleeding down the side of her face grotesquely.

Talise reached her hand out towards the black dagger chanting words under her breathe. A large stone floated out from the dagger, pausing in mid air in front of Talise. She manipulated the stone with her magic until it became a clear globe, appearing as if it were made of gleaming Crystal. The globe held a stunning emerald green light. The light was fluid, vivid and iridescent.

Talise sighed staring at Nina and then at John. She looked at Jordan and was about to speak when a giant tear dropped from her eye, landing in the Sirene. John and Jordan were surprised but suspicious.

“Get this over with Talise. You have Nina, now take me,” John said not caring for his life, now that he believed Nina would not be in it. Talise was lying as she usually did, John thought.

Talise gave John a half-smile. It did not hold the malice her most recent smiles had lately. John thought Talise’s smile was almost a sign of her attempting to fix the damage she caused. But he did not trust her, not for one minute.

” I have a deal to make with both of you. One deal for Jordan and deal for John.” Talise said with purpose. She turned towards John in the water.

“John, Nina is dying. I told her you could never break the curse. The truth is, I don’t know if you can. That magic is beyond me or what knowledge my Grandmother or the dark sea witch I stole this dagger from had. You can sacrifice yourself for Nina, I have no known antidote for the poison. I don’t know if you’ll survive. Even sea witches know little about death and resurrection.” Talise admitted to John soberly.

She peered at John through her muddied-eyes, appearing as if she was genuinely offering John a reasonable solution.”What is your answer John? You need to hurry and decide. Nina is leaving this life quickly. The poison is a powerful magic of it’s own. I cannot make any deal with you after I have made a deal with Jordan for the dagger.”

“Yes,” John said no hesitation. “I would freely sacrifice my life for Nina’s life.” Jordan looked at John in shock.

“There has to be some other way John. You can’t . . .you can’t leave your family for Nina. You could meet someone else someday. There is so much left for you in life yet . . . ” Jordan said begging John to reconsider.

John shook his head at Jordan, reaching up to grasp his brother’s upper arm. “This isn’t the end necessarily, Jordan. It’s always been my fate to sacrifice myself for the woman I love. You know this. It’s the only way to break the curse. I’m tired of being cursed Jordan. I never should have lied to you about my feelings for Talise all those years-ago.”

Jordan tried to say more but looking at John he knew his older brother’s decision was final.

John gazed up at Talise. “Please, Talise. Uncurse me. Break the spell. My life for Nina’s life. I have to say, I never thought you’d let me out of your curse.”

Talise looked at John waspishly. “It’s not so much I’m letting you free. As I told you, I don’t know how this works. I know only you are making the sacrifice required with real love behind the sacrifice. A curse is magic beyond me, beyond any witch once it is cast.” Talise chastised.

“It’s not that I want to save you or Nina, or not save you both. It’s more something Nina said. Maybe, I can start again? Maybe, there is a way out for me? A path out of this darkness I’ve cast myself into, becoming evil.” Talise shook her head. “I don’t know . . .” She stared at the lusterous emerald globe floating before her, before closing her eyes.

Talise began chanting archaic words. She put her arms in the air and drew the seawater to her. It formed a upside down dome around them, frothing, and rising. Nina’s body, nearly dead, rose into the whirls of water. The pink flush of the sky in sunrise, formed above them. The words Talise said brought John towards her. Raising him up in the water and sky as she chanted.

“Curse be undone. Price has been paid. Sacrifice has been given, sins atoned.” Talise yelled in her throaty dark voice now powerful and echoing across the Sirene Lake.

John felt the power of Talise’s words running through him. Then, he saw Nina’s eyes opening across from him as they both floated in mid-air with water surrounding them. Nina reached out to John and they clasped hands. John smiled at Nina.

“We’re doing it, we’re breaking my curse. Thank you Nina. I love you.” John told Nina. He gazed at her, drinking in the sight of Nina breathing, appearing healthy, and enchanting.

John memorized Nina’s beautiful pale blue-eyes, her soft creamy skin, her white blond hair, so blond even plastered wet to her head. “John?” Nina asked him. “You’re here. You’re alright. I was in this place, it was so beautiful with so many colours. I was sleeping and I’ve never felt so fantastic after I’ve slept. It was if I never felt any pain, as if everything was perfect. Except you . . . I had to come back for you.”

Nina sighed happily and smiled at John as they floated and Talise continued to chant archaic words. “I’ll miss you,” John murmered to Nina. His fatigued sapphire eyes were closing and he felt a peaceful sleepiness similar to the feeling Nina had told him about. Lethargy overwhelmed John’s body.”So many glorious colours, Nina.” John said in a sigh. He gazed at Nina one last time before closing his sapphire eyes and letting sleep take him into bright wondrous colours.


Nina blinked. She found herself hanging onto John’s lifesaver in the Sirene. Jordan was next to her holding Talise’s dagger hanging onto his own flotation device. Jordan was staring angerily at Talise who swam in front of them. Jordan was ready to thrust the dagger through Talise’s heart.

“Where’s John?” Nina asked Jordan confused. “I was sleeping after Talise bit me, then I saw John and he said his curse was broken. But where is he? Did he die as Talise said he would?” Jordan looked at Nina sadly. He didn’t have to say a word. From Jordan’s expression, Nina knew John had sacrificed himself for her.

Nina began to cry in earnest, then she noticed the beautiful glowing emerald ball floating mid-air and in front of the sorry figure of Talise. Something strange had happened to Talise. She no longer looked wrinkled, aged, and terrifying. She didn’t have her pointy teeth. She appeared to be only a little older then Nina. Her arm where Nina had dug her fingernails in was bleeding profusely and so was a deep cut on her face.

Talised looked at Nina with her slightly glazed, emerald green eyes. She looked to be wearing a lusterous green bikini but in the water Nina could actually see a matching fish tail. “You’re a mermaid.” Nina said. “I never saw your tail before, the waves and water hid it well. What happened Talise? Why are you young again? Where’s John?”

“I broke the curse Nina,” Talise whispered. “I’m extremely weak and have little of my magic left. I need to do one more thing. I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything for John. I tried. I told him before he sacrificed his life for you, curses once made are a magic beyond any witch. I didn’t know if he would die when I told you earlier he would. I’m not sure he is dead . . . I don’t know what happened to him. He’s not here anymore, that’s all I know.” Talise drooped in the water exhausted.

She raised a finger towards the glowing green ball in front of her. “Jordan, you and I have a deal to make. One last exchange. This glowing orb is my soul. It’s yours for the dagger.”

“What are you going to do with this dagger Talise?” Jordan asked. He was shaking he was so angry at Talise for John’s death.

Talise opened her mouth and smiled at him. The smile was a funny smile. One Nina had never seen on Talise before. “Here my soul, take it Jordan.”

The transparent globe hovered over to Jordan. He put the dagger in his hand grasping the lifesaver and reached for the globe. It sealed itself on his Jordan’s hand, forming a silver ring with a beautiful emerald, on Jordan’s middle finger. The emerald was priceless and as the light of sunshine touched it, Nina saw something liquid move beneath the emerald stone. She thought the liquid must actually be Talise’s soul. Jordan was in awe of the ring.

“What does this mean Talise?” Jordan spat out. He gazed back to John’s sailing boat and waved to Jasper and Rianne on board. They were anxiously watching Nina, Jordan, and Talise. They couldn’t tell everything that was going on. Jordan wouldn’t let Jasper come out to help them because he had Sam and Eric to think about. Jasper had refused to let Rianne come out, Talise had already broken her arm.

Talise sighed, her body beginning to float more than stay upright in the water. She didn’t answer Jordan. Jordan didn’t trust Talise and Nina knew it. She was going to tell him that the situation was fine. To let Talise go, but she was too late.

Jordan used the lifesaver to bounce off of and lunged at Talise. He grabbed her head by her wavy blond hair piercing her clear emerald eyes with his electric blue; he thought the emerald on his hand was the same colour as Talise’s striking eyes.

“Don’t Jordan . ..” Nina cried out. “It’s okay, she isn’t a threat anymore. She . . .”

John raised the dagger above Talise who gasped even in her weakness.” Do it,” she told Jordan. He gazed at her now beautiful face and torso, struck by her loveliness, her natural beauty. “Do it Jordan. Avenge John. End this. Don’t look at my beauty, it’s how John fell for me. Sea witches we’re both light and dark magic and they’re will always be darkness in me . . .” Talise regarded Jordan and waited for the dagger to strike.

With all his anger and loathing, Jordan raised the dagger and plunged it through Talise’s heart. She screamed in pain and writhed as the dagger went through her chest. ” Thank you for the trade, Jordan.” Talise whispered so quietly Nina could barely hear her speak.

Jordan regarded the dagger sticking out of Talise’s lifeless body. Blood poured out from her wound into the waters of the Sirene. A fixed half-smile was on Talise’s lifeless face. Jordan closed her bright emerald eyes and pulled the dagger from her body.

The dagger had transformed, it was no longer a black instrument of wicked magic. It had turned a shiney silver. A lapis luzila trail of stones were inlayed in the hilt of the dagger and ancient symbols were etched in the blade of the dagger.

“It’s not evil anymore,” Nina shouted surprised. She shocked herself with the strength of her own voice. “Talise wasn’t either but she wanted you to kill her because she wanted to atone. She gave you her soul Jordan. I’m not sure why exactly but she saw something in you.  . .” Nina remarked.

Nina glanced at herself. She had no bruises or bite marks. She was full of energy and life. Then she remembered John was probably dead. Was he really? She wondered. Talise said there was power in a curse beyond the witch. Maybe somehow John was alive?

“Do you think John is alive somewhere?” Nina asked Jordan bluntly. He looked at her briefly. Jordan was staring at emerald ring on his hand. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn’t come off. Jordan let his breathe out through his teeth and shook his head at Nina. She swore he wiped a tear from the edge of his dark blue eye.

They both stared at the body of Talise. A beautiful mermaid sea witch, who had passed on, after becoming and overcoming great evil within her.

“She had a long life at least,” Nina remarked. “In the end, she made the right choice. It took her a long time to do it, but she did do it.” Nina rambled convinced Talise was redeemable. Jordan was so angry still and Nina grabbed Jordan’s hand with the ring on it, holding the dagger.

“I told Talise she could get her soul back, that she had hope. She said it was too late for her. Maybe, in the end she wanted a clear conscience facing death. I think she thought their may have been hope for to live a normal life.” Nina remarked.

“She’s an evil bitch. I don’t care how pretty she looked before I stabbed her. She had it coming for everything she has done. She is responsible for all the agony John experienced through his curse,  everything my family went through. Talise gave you a concussion and almost killed you with her poisonous venom. She cursed John and so is responsible for his death, for him trading his life for yours. I can never get my brother back Nina. How do I explain this to Mom and Dad? How do I tell Jasper and Rianne?”

“I think you should wait a while first,” Nina said. She didn’t know why she said it, but she felt something on the edges of her mind.

“Why?” Jordan spit out.

“I have a feeling . . .I can’t explain.” Nina remarked.

Jordan and Nina watched Talise’s body flow away from them, both of them breathing the freshness and warmth of the morning air. In a sudden movement, the sea bubbled around Talise’s corpse and took it down underwater, into the Sirene’s heart; it was Talise’s burial.

Nina realized Jasper was towing her in on the lifesaver. A half an hour or so later, Jasper and Nina were huddled together on John’s sail boat, recounting the events of the night and morning, to Rianne and Jasper. They were both stunned by Jordan and Nina’s shortened explanations. There were somethings neither Jordan or Nina wanted to talk about yet.

Nina knew she should be crying but all she felt was numb. She hung onto a possibility. It was all she had.

Please Read Chapter 26 here.


©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.

22. How Was Last Night For You: Talise Bewitches Nina.


Please read Chapter 21 here.

Chapter 22: Talise Bewitches Nina.

Nina felt the coldness of the water handcuffs Talise had fitted around Nina’s wrists when she caused Nina to fly back and land on couch.

Handcuffs made out of water were a curious sensation. They felt wet and dripped water onto Nina’s hands. Yet when Nina pushed her wrists against the watercuffs and attempted to twist out of them, the watercuffs bit into her skin sharply as metal handcuffs would do.

Nina was seated on her suede dove-grey couch with her hands and arms bent awkwardly behind her back. Talise was seated on the other end of Nina’s couch. She seemed lost in her thoughts and Talise’s clouded eyes combined with her haggish appearance were terrifying. Talise possessed the demeanor of someone curse and otherworldly.

Nina couldn’t believe Talise had ever been an enchanting youthful woman wearing a sea green gown at the Mergers fundraiser Nina had attended with John. Nina feared Talise because she was certain Talise would murder her and do so painfully.

A small part of Nina couldn’t help but feel sorry for Talise and what she had become. There was no concrete explanation for how Talise could’ve aged exceedingly in a short time. Powerful and demonic sorcery had to have physically altered Talise and blackened her heart. A heart, Nina thought, which had attempted to warn Nina away from John months earlier. What feelings of rage and jealousy had John and Nina created in Talise?  Why would Talise give-up– her youth, her beauty,  especially her soul — to have vengeance.

” Talise, what happened to you?” Nina ventured to ask Talise, ” What do you want with me? You should be happy. John broke-up with me last week.” Nina lifted her pale blue eyes to Talise’s cloudy green ones. Nina hoped Talise could relate to Nina and in doing so, not hurt her. Talise grinned at Nina darkly. Amazingly, her teeth were still perfect, though the lips surrounding Talise’s mouth were wrinkled.

” Yes, Nina. I know John left you. I made Malcolm — you remember him, he works for John? Anyways, Malcolm was supposed to run you down in a stolen truck or injure you terribly. I was giving you a way out, an easier exit out from John’s life. This is no longer the case.”

Talise threw back her thick wavy hair like a young girl, but the stripes of white in her hair gave her age away. ” Must have been painful for you, Nina. Spending all week thinking about John, yearning for him.” Talise’s voice was raspy and she cackled at Nina’s expense. Talise expressed little sympathy for Nina.

“I’m a smart woman Nina. I have over two-hundred-years of life experience on John and you. I had my true love Ethan once, back in the Victorian Era. I couldn’t have children so we adopted Ethan’s two nephews. When Ethan died, my nephew Simon admitted Ethan had a mistress all through-out our marriage. Simon told me Ethan said I was his only love but Ethan wanted offspring of his own. He had eight — eight children with this whore. And I couldn’t do a thing to him or his mistress who had both died peacefully in their sleep at an old age. I know how it is to be hurt by the man you love Nina.”

“I know John too. I loved him deeply, not as much as I loved Ethan but enough, we could’ve built a life together. Being in John’s life has only harmed you Nina. John may have hastened your death by refusing to give you up in time.” Talise told Nina crossing her legs and smiling absurdly. The wrinkles in Talise’s face deepened grotesquely when Talise smiled. She did not appear merely old as humans appeared, but their was a disgustingness, a monstrosity about Talise.

” I know you believe what you and John have is special. I think it’s different than what I had with him. I loved John but he didn’t love me back, it is clear now in my mind, he was only using me for sex. He loves you more than me and can’t accept he’s chosen you when he could’ve had me.” Talise’s gravelly voice said harshly.

” You think John left you but you know better Nina. You’re aware he only broke-up with you to protect you from me? He didn’t want you to be physically injured again, especially after your concussion. I had hoped it would be more than a minor concussion when I directed a table hit your head during the storm I created at the Farmer’s Market. I had hoped your concussion would force John to never want to see you again.” Talise grasped hold of Nina’s wrist. She leaned in to frighten Nina with appearance. Talise’s muddy eyes were gloating dangerously.

“John miscalculated with me Nina. He’s caught in my cave, trapped by a kind of force-field spell. In my cave is a looking glass where John can watch what I do to you. I told him I was intending to bewitch you and drown you, but my new plan but I’m thinking of will cause John and yourself a great deal more suffering. Letting you both die would be too easy. John has my dagger, but I have you. He’s not going to be able get here in time to stop what I have planned for you Nina.” Talise’s grating voice cackled.

Nina couldn’t believe she was caught in a deadly situation with Talise. Why hadn’t she looked through the door to see who was there before she let Talise in her condo? Where was Rianne? Did Talise hurt her?

Additionally, John was stuck in some deserted cave. He should have brought someone with him, but he hadn’t. And he couldn’t help Nina. She doubted John could have saved her from Talise, had he been here with Nina and Talise. Talise’s magic was  disturbing and powerful sorcery, even if John had the dagger that could kill Talise.

Talise’s body shimmered with magic and it’s soul sucking presence made Nina’s hair stand on end. Talise had zoned out, whispering words under breath and holding her arm with her hand. Nina noticed a spot or two of red on Talise’s hand. What if John had been able to injure Talise with the dagger and Talise’s wound wouldn’t heal? Nina filed this significant detail away in her mind to use later.

Talise snapped out of her trance and grinned at Nina as if they were friends.She wanted to harm Nina but was thoroughly nonchalant about the situation. “Why are you stuck on John Talise?” Nina blurted out, “If he hurt you so much by telling his brothers he didn’t love you, that you weren’t a good wife for a professional businessman, why would you want to be with him? You cursed him and he’s suffered for ten-years. You could let him suffer more.” Nina exclaimed convincingly.

“There is a minute chance that John can break your curse. To do so he would have to sacrifice himself for me. So isn’t you endangering my life, only giving John a chance to save me? To break the curse?” Nina questioned Talise overtly. Talise grinned maniacally seeing exactly what Nina was attempting to accomplish.

” John can try to save you all he wants. There is no way  I’ll let that happen. To escape my cave John would have to break through the barrier and swim far in the cold Sirene Lake at night. John’s not as young as he use to be,” Talise said.

“Besides if John does sacrifice himself for you, I’ve no issue with him then because he’ll be dead Nina. It’s the beauty of a curse, it’s difficult to make your way around them and live.” Nina couldn’t get over  Talise’s honeyed voice had altered with each word from her lizard like lips.

“I told John, Nina, that I was going to bewitch you and drown you in the Sirene Lake. I could do that now and no one would be able to stop me. But I’ve been thinking . . . What if I don’t kill you for now? What if I turn you into a mermaid, not a sea witch mermaid such as me, but a mermaid such as the other girls in the Sirene?” Talise wondered aloud.

” John and you would be separated forever and I wouldn’t allow him near you to break the curse should the opportunity arise. I’m rather keen on bewitching John permanently.  fI what him to do whatever I say whenever I feel like I need him to do something. Sometimes he could do as he pleases but he would always know at any minute, I control him much. He would be much as a servant to me, with little free will or control over his life.” Talise mused.

“And I’m going to get my dagger back . . . you never know when I might need to stab either on of you, so the other one complies.” Nina’s breath caught in her throat but she pretended to be amused by Talise’s schemes.

“That’s your plan? After all these months you’ve had to come up with a scheme and you want to separate John and I by giving me a fish tale and bewitching John?” Nina asked Talise and giggled. Talise looked at Nina angrily backhanding her across the face with her wrinkled hand. Nina had forgotten how strong Talise’s body was despite her appearance to be otherwise. A welt developed across Nina’s left cheek. It stung, “agh…” Nina proclaimed in pain. “You hurt me . . .”

“Excellent! It was supposed to hurt,” Talise grated. “You need to learn to respect your elders. Yes, you’ll get a fish tale and I will bewitch John and control him. It’s either that or I could keep you hidden until I gain my dagger back and stab you through the heart. I’ve been frightening John with images of that scenario in his dreams.Which do you prefer Nina?” Talise challenged.”Once you’re a mermaid, I’ll ensure John only glimpses you, enough to bring back painful memories. I’ll tease and antagonize both of you. Ethan betrayed me and I couldn’t have my revenge but against John, I will have my way.”

Talise had been standing in front of Nina when she slapped her. She gazed down on Nina, smiling suspiciously. Nina attempted to speak to tell Talise off, but when she opened her mouth to speak, her voice wouldn’t come out. She looked at Talise in fear. Her hands hurt behind her back and she fought her watercuffs observing Talise chanting a spell. Talise instantly, grabbed Nina’s head grasping Nina’s thick blond hair to keep Nina in place.Talise forced Nina to look into her magnetic muddied orbs which hypnotized Nina and made Nina feel weak and lost.

Without realizing what was happening to herself, Nina’s body began moving without Nina controlling it. Nina stood up and slid her feet into a pair of flats. Talise had no need to restrain Nina now, so the watercuffs disappeared and Nina grabbed her purse and keys. She had no control over any of her body movements. It was if the essence of who was Nina, was trapped inside Nina’s mind. She could think her own thoughts but not express them verbally or physically.

Talise wanted it to appear as if Nina had left her condo to stay with her mother. She had Nina write a fake note to Rianne, telling her where she was supposedly going. How Talise knew about Nina’s mother Heather, Nina didn’t know. She also wondered how she knew Rianne was staying with Nina. She felt panic rise up inside her, afraid for her Mom and for her best friend.

Nina’s body accepted the actions Talise commanded of her and she couldn’t even say anything to Talise to convince her not to make her into a mermaid because Nina couldn’t speak her mind.”Are you ready to go now Nina?” Talise asked Nina. She tried to shake her head but instead Nina heard herself saying: “Yes, I can drive us to the harbour as you asked Talise.” Talise smiled at Nina and patted her arm.

“Fantastic Nina. We’re going to be great friends,  you’ll see. Mermaids have a greater lifespan then humans by hundreds of years. Plus, you’ll young for most of your life.Once John has died, maybe I will allow you to go on land and find a new man. Mermaids go to land to have children. When John is gone, it will be us girls.” Talise remarked. She sounded nice as if she were trying to be friendly, but Nina knew better.

Inwardly, Nina shuddered at Talise’s words, but she couldn’t halt her body from walking down to the parking garage with Talise behind her. Nina settled into the driver side of her black SUV and drove Talise and herself to the harbour in Adare. Nina had to park the car a few blocks away to Talise’s displeasure, but Nina had no control over finding empty parking spots either.

Nina and Talise trudged the few blocks to the harbour. Talise’s haggard face scowling darkly in the night. Nina fought and struggled inside herself to regain control of her limbs, her voice, and actions. But her mind became exhausted trying to fight Talise’s dark sorcery. She couldn’t fight the bewitchment spell.

Talise and Nina walked out to the harbour to the docks where many wealthy people tied their boats. Nina hadn’t been here since the first night she met John. Talise told Nina: “Time to get to know your new home in the Sirene Nina. Jump in and swim around for a while. It’s time to learn what it’s like to have fish tale.” Nina’s body jumped in the water of the Sirene Lake. Nina was scared because it was a dark outside, only a crescent sliver was apparent in the sky. Little orbs of light along the harbour were the only available lights and they didn’t cast their glow far. Nina hadn’t realized how far the jump to the water was from the dock.

The water was cold and refreshing. Nina had been sweating since Talise bewitched her, out of fear. She observed herself swimming back and forth in the Sirene under where Talise stood. Talise had her eyes closed and was beginning to cast the spell that would turn Nina into a mermaid.

In her mind, Nina focused on controlling her limbs, trying to make them swim back to the harbour dock away from Talise. Nina was planning to hide among the boats. She knew the black night would aid her in hiding from Talise, at least until Talise jumped in and found her. Maybe Nina could climb up the ladder of somebody’s boat?

In a strange but magnificent moment, Nina regained control of her body which was still swimming in the water back and forth by Talise. Talise had begun to utter archaic words in a loud gravelly voice. Nina ducked under the water and tried to swim towards the boats tied to the dock. She wasn’t an experienced swimmer but she would have done her last swim teacher proud, making her way through the Sirene Lake’s waves as quietly as possible.

On the dock, Talise eyes were glowing a pulsing and pure emerald green. The lake responded to Talise’s archaic mutteringings and Nina felt the Sirene’s waves become choppy, increasing her difficulty as Nina was swimming.

The sky was turning cloudy in the darkness of the night, Nina believed the darkness was the only thing keeping her from being turned into a mermaid. Hiding behind the hull of a sail boat, Nina peered out at Talise, easily hearing her loud disembodied grating voice in the silence of the night.

In an instant, a pair of arms reached around Nina’s body in the Sirene and pulled her close. Nina screamed, but a man’s hand covered her mouth. Her scream had been small and insignificant beneath the sounds of the water lapping against the sail boat she was by and Talise’s avid chanting of her spell. Nina tried to break free of the arms surround her, but they held her even tighter. Tears spilt down Nina’s smooth cheeks as Nina awaited her fate in the Sirene.

Please Read Chapter 23 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

19. How Was Last Night For You: Talise’s Cave and John’s Nightmare


Please read Chapter 18 here.

Chapter 19: Talise’s Cave and John’s Nightmare.

John had borrowed a motor boat from his brother Jordan, who enjoyed taking the boat out fishing. He had considered asking Jordan to come with him, but he hadn’t wanted to risk his younger brother’s life. John had his sailing boat but it wasn’t inconspicuous enough for him to take out to Tia’s hallowed cave.

An immense moon hung in the night sky, as if it were a giant orb of white gold. John recalled the full moon when he had first meant Nina. He thought about Nina always, without meaning to think of her.

It had only been a week since John had last seen Nina, at his parents house,  and he missed Nina exceptionally. During her time healing from her concussion, John and Nina had been inseparable. John felt a sickening in his stomach when he recalled how he had left Nina, crying and begging him not to end their relationship.

But stronger than the misery John felt missing Nina, was the fear he perceived for Nina’s life. John had snapped when Nina was almost mowed down by a giant red pickup truck, surely Tia’s doing. He had taken the only action he could think of without exploding in rage, frustration, and  animosity concerning Tia; John left Nina hurting.

John had realized the best way for him to keep Nina safe from Tia, was for him to keep his distance from her. Especially since Tia was after Nina, and wanted her heart. Maybe now, Tia would take John’s heart. It wasn’t as if John had much of a heart left after being cursed to have horrific events occur around him for ten-years, and after letting Nina go.

On the way home from parents house,  John experienced a ‘feeling’ he hadn’t sensed it a while. A horrific event was about to occur. Two vehicles behind John’s Mercedes collided and were in a serious car accident. John had called 911 immediately and the Adare Fire Department had had to bring in the ‘jaws of life’ to cut a critically injured man out of his smashed white Corolla. John had given a witness statement and stopped to assist at the wreckage. He knew that he was the one whose curse was responsible for the severely injured people and their destroyed vehicles.

John’s curse had returned and the fact further enraged John, who was already in a dangerous  mood due to Nina’s near accident. He had gone home and worked the hell out of a punching bag and pulled out his favourite luxury vodka.

Nina was the most precious person to John, he loved her. He hadn’t admitted it to her but it was true. He knew it inside. John had asked Rianne and his family to keep on eye on Nina after his fight. Even if having his family in Nina’s life was weird when Nina and John weren’t speaking. Rianne was at Nina’s condo tonight while John was out, searching for Tia’s soul or the dagger that she carried.

Jordan’s motor boat puttered along the Sirene Lake, it wasn’t exceedingly noisy, so John had some stealth approaching Tia’s cave. The night was clear and the moonlight lit John’s path. He was guiding the boat along some stone edifices when he came to the hidden piece of white beach and cave, Tia’s sanctuary.

Tia and John had come here years ago, to make love and enjoy each other’s company. Tia had insisted John and her come here to relax and be together. Presently, in the chilly night air, the former haven of white sand seemed forbidding. John brought the motor boat as close to the beach as he could. He dropped anchor, stepping out into the freezing water, grazing his thighs. No matter, John had worn a black wetsuit for his mission.

John carried a flashlight with him, but he didn’t turn the flashlight on. He was waiting to see if Tia might be here. In the past, John knew, Tia slept in her cave. She didn’t seem to feel the cold as human’s did. She came to her secret place when she was angry or hurt, so there was a substantial chance, Tia was here.

He should stop calling her Tia, John thought. The young girl John knew as Tia no longer existed. Talise was the name of the seawitch, the horrible bitch who tried have Nina run down and had given Nina a serious concussion.

Warily, John tiptoed through the white sand in his bare feet, heading for Talise’s cave with the fantastic crystal mirror, Tia’s looking glass she called it. As he crept, John recalled the dreams he had been having of Talise lately. In these dreams he felt as if he was stuck in quicksand. He could not make his own body move. He had no control, as Talise dragged Nina out into the deepest part of the Sirene Lake where Nina was murdered.


 

” John, help me!” Nina screamed to John in his nightmare.” Why won’t you move? Talise is trying to drown me and I can’t get free. Talise’s magic has made her strong.”

In his nightmare, Talise would laugh maniacally at John, while forcing Nina into more treacherous depths.

” You can do nothing, John,” Talise would say, her voice gravely and low. “Nina your heart is mine! No one will find you in the middle of the Sirene Lake, no one can save you from my cursed dagger. Going through your heart, the dagger will be sharp and painful Nina. I will kill you slowly, to take your soul. The ritual requires me to do so. And I don’t mind at all . . .” Talise raged.

“It’s your fault Nina. You should’ve stayed far away from John. I warned you he was not for you. John’s mine. I merely wanted him to suffer before I came back to him. We are meant to be… but you changed fate. Now John loves you and I’ve been forced to bewitch him. John can only do what I order him to do — he has no free will. He’s going to watch from the shallow water, while I kill you and steal your soul.” In the nightmare, Talise was evil. She had become a depraved shadow of her former self.

John would try with all his might to move his body, to stop Talise. But always, the same event occurred in his dream. John regarded Talise in abhorrence and loathing as she stabbed his beloved through her heart. Talise took her time, drawing out Nina’s suffering. Tears flowed down John’s cheeks as Nina languished in agony, begging for Talise to kill her faster.

Then, the life would perceptibly flicker out of Nina’s pale blue eyes. John could always see this detail well. John would feel as if he was holding Nina as he cried witnessing deep red blood, Nina’s life force, seeping out of her body into the Sirene Lake.

Talise would chant an ancient language, while John wept with fury, experiencing a sharp pain in his own chest, at Nina’s death. Then a luminous glowing  orb would float above Nina’s body. Nina’s soul would arise and come to rest in a special container Talise held in her hand. John was traumatized. He could see the details of the container well. It was a clear, round, sphere, materialized of magic.

Talise would laugh maniacally watching John grieve. John remembered in his nightmare, the feeling of himself dying inside as Nina’s corpse, white and stiff , floated by Talise in the Sirene. John didn’t understand why his his nightmare felt so life-like.

Inside John experienced immense sorrow and rage against Talise. But he had no control over his free will. When Talise called for him to join her deeper in the Sirene Lake’s water, John obediently swam out to her. Talise gave John Nina’s soul, brilliant in the magic orb. In his nightmare he recalled thinking, it was his last piece of Nina. Talise smirked as John grasped the sphere and hid it in his pocket sadly.

John tred water in the Sirene Lake, while Talise appeared to float effortlessly. When Talise tried to kiss him, more tears leaked out of John’s eyes. He was crying for Nina and could not stop. But John didn’t make a sound as Talise demanded he kiss her. He did so with ardor, even though it wasn’t ardor he felt for Talise, only disgust and loathing.

John had woken every night that past week, since Nina was nearly hit by the red truck, sweating profusely with tears running down his stubbled cheeks. The nightmare drained John and he had a feeling, this dream could become reality if he did not stop Talise. Nina could die and John would be doomed to live a life, a slave to Talise’s desires. John involuntarily shivered.

Please Read Chapter 20 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.

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


Chapter 13 can be read here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” Thank you Ms. Avlon.”

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

—–

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Read Chapter 15 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

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


Read Chapter 12 here.

Chapter 13: Injuries and Memories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“After all this time?” Jasper wondered.

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

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

“Are you sure John?”

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Read Chapter 14 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

2. How Was Last Night For You – The Morning After and Brunch


For Chapter 1 of the story go to the highlighted link!

Chapter 2: The Morning After and Brunch

Nina awoke after sleeping and buried her fingers in her messy hair. Why, why do I drink so much? She thought. Nina’s head was pounding. She began to think about the night before. She thought about the subtle warning her body exhibited about John. And she remembered the vicious fight at The Manhattan, the poor person who was stabbed, and the woman who had grabbed onto Nina’s ankle from the water. Why had this woman claimed someone had pushed her into the water from her boat then decided to change her story? Did she truly see another woman in the water? Was that who pushed her in?

Last night,  Nina hadn’t doubted John in the end. He had been the perfect gentlemen to her. But there was an odd, careless, and resigned feeling to John. He had told Nina that it was only the full moon that made these odd events occur. John reminded Nina of the moon. Perhaps, it called to John like a beacon last night. There had been a bit of crazy in his eyes when he looked at the moon. At the same time, there was the gentle and practical side Nina had experienced of John.

He had helped Nina home and made her laugh. He told her about growing up in Adare in the suburbs playing in the leaves in Fall when he was young with his brother’s, Jasper and Jordan. They had a tree house his father Jack built. John’s Mom Edith would call the boys inside for hot chocolate with whipped cream when they were lucky. As boys, the three men  wrestled and tried to hurt each other. Jasper usually won because he was the the tallest and biggest but Jordan caught up to him, as did John.

John had also said he ran his own company with his brother’s called Mergers. They were a Publishing Company and ran the business over people who edited books, magazines, and decided which manuscripts were good and which were not. Nina had thought John had a fascinating job. She might like to work in the publishing field or be a writer. Nina was an assistant in marketing for an accounting firm called Wilus. Although, marketing had been what Nina wanted to go into in University, it didn’t quite fulfill the excitement Nina craved. Nina thought writing would be exciting. She craved a creative outlet of some kind. It had never bothered her until now, but she thought she might sit down and write something when she wasn’t busy. Only to see if she could still write anything of consequence.

Last night had been exciting! Nina believed  there were certain things that could not be explained by reason. There were powers in this world both good and evil. Nina prayed for the people who had been hurt last night. She secretly believed all people had some good in them. She was meeting John for lunch on Sunday. She thought he had a lot of good to him, even though behind his eyes such as dark shadows, secrets hid.

It wasn’t just the fact that John had piercing bright blue eye’s; a sculpted physique; an open boyish face with a wide smile; and kissable lips. It wasn’t because she liked John a lot, that he had cared for her so well the night before, and they had slept together. But she felt as if she knew John. Despite the fact Nina couldn’t put her finger on what was off about John, she believed his goodness out weighed the shadow of doubt that she and the events of last night had cast upon him.

First, Nina had to eat something even though her stomach felt queasy from getting plastered. Maybe, she would have a glass of orange juice, the electrolytes would help her hangover. Then she would call her bestfriend, Rianne and they would go shopping together. Nina needed to find the perfect lunch time outfit for John. Nothing  too over the top, maybe just a nice shirt to go with her dark jeans and her new pair of svelte black heels. She would also like Rianne’s opinion on what happened the other night with John. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation.

——-

The next day Nina met John at a modern restaurant overlooking the water that rippled and shimmered in the middle of the city. The restaurant was called The Hour Glass and was quite popular with a few locations in Adare. The sun cast John in a bright light which was ironic considering Nina knew John was no angel. It shone and reflected on the frame of sleek designer navy glasses that only made John’s eyes bluer. His mouth curved in a sly grin and he quickly got up to kiss Nina on the cheek as she greeted John at their table. John pulled out a comfortable red chair for Nina to sit in. She sat down grinning at John’s pleasant manners still feeling the imprint of his lips on her cheek.

The Hour Glass was comfortable and stylish. Black chairs and tables with deep-red upholstered seats covered a dining room and patio. Modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling inside where they sat and a sleek rectangular slate grey tiled fountain with shooting water springs was the center piece for the entire restaurant.

At supper The Hour Glass was a fashionable and romantic place to eat dinner with music that wasn’t too loud. But at night it became more of a bar. Especially in the warmer season, a windowed wall would open up and the patio was a prime location to be. It had a round slate tiled fountain and modern street lamps sitting amidst metal patio furniture. There were red cushions on the chairs and on booths for groups and lone couples to sit at. The booths were the best seats on the patio.

Nina sat inside with John as it was becoming Winter. Rain outside often became sleet.  Nina ordered a ginger ale and orange juice to calm her stomach. John ordered a beer. He sipped his drink lazily and turned his bright eyes on Nina who wore a turquoise blouse made from silk with her jeans and heels. John played with the chain around his neck, as Nina examined his appearance. A fitted navy jacket and dark fitted jeans, suited him. John rolled his beer bottle between his hands on the table and grinned at Nina:

” I was worried you wouldn’t come. After all, you don’t know me that well and last night was scary for you.” Nina opened her lips then closed them sipping her orange juice and ginger ale.

” John, was it a one night stand?” she blurted out “I’ve never done one of those before. I’m not that kind of girl, but I don’t think you would have invited me here if that’s all you think it is. I kind of thought we shared a bit of something last night. I think we’re attracted to each other a lot.  I mean, you acted as if you were such a gentlemen. You protected me and I liked being with you last night at my place. I would really like to see you some more.” Nina said wistfully. It was hard to meet men and John was really hot. John enamored Nina and he knew it. But she wasn’t clear if John felt the same way about her. John’s eyes pierced Nina and crinkled up in the corners as he smiled.

” You’re a good girl Nina and I had a lot of fun with you last night, all night. I would like to see you again but I’m a busy guy and I’m not sure you should be hanging around someone like me. You’re five or six years younger than I and I don’t know if you’re looking for the same thing I am. And you don’t know what kind of man I am Nina.  I haven’t always been the nicest guy, in fact, often I’m the mean guy, the guy who’ll  take you home and forget about you the next day. Starting what you want would be different for me…” John cleared his throat and looked away. Nina caught a soft smile still on his lips as he observed her.

” Well”, said Nina bemused ” I wasn’t asking to get married or even for a relationship. I was asking to see where this can go. I don’t meet guys I like often. I would like to see where the situation between us could go? Also, I had questions, you know about last night. Trouble just seemed to follow you and I around John. Why do you think that was?” Nina looked at John worried she’d gone too far and sighed in relief when John picked up the conversation. The waiter returned to take their food orders and Nina ordered a club sandwich and salad.

“I’d be willing to date you Nina, if that’s what you are looking for. I like you a lot. You’re different then my usual type,” John pondered. “But I can’t promise more and have to warn you about me. Trouble follows me like a curse Nina. That’s why I can’t commit to anything more. Bad things happen all around me. You don’t believe me but something is going to happen in this restaurant today. I know it is . . . ” John covered his head as if in pain.

On que, the large chandelier at The Hour Glass dropped to the dark wood floor of the restaurant  in a loud clash of glass and steel. The restaurant was fairly empty for a Sunday but families were there having brunch and enjoying the sunshine let in through the patio windows. Children let out frightened cries and adults held them back in fear and gawked as the light fell. Servers rushed to the scene of the accident and Nina rose up out of her chair to look while John sat calmly and stared at his hands. The restaurant manager came running, in awe at the chandelier covering the floor, no doubt thinking about lawsuits. Luckily, no one was hurt by stray pieces when the light fell.

” I don’t want bad things to happen but around me they do… I get this feeling when there about to occur.” John said sadly. Nina looked at him wide eyed and slightly afraid. He took her hand as she sat back down in her padded chair. ” I could never hurt you Nina, some people I can keep safe. Other, times I’m a walking nightmare. It’s not so bad most of the time, really.” John murmured his last sentence sadly as if he was sure he’d lost Nina already.

” I don’t know” Nina whispered “This is strange but I believe that strange things can happen in life and that they do. I don’t think everything that occurs in our lives is explainable, or always has an answer. I don’t believe you’re an evil person. Can you make those bad events stop happening John? Can you ever escape calamity?” Nina cleared her throat and gripped John’s hand tightly.

” There are ways, Nina” John said softly. ” There are ways, but for now lets just eat our food…” Nina looked at the people examining the chandelier’s remains.

“I’m not hungry” Nina grimaced noticing John’s mostly empty plate.” John stuck three twenties on the table, stood, and took Nina’s hand.

” Let’s walk, I live close by” he said casually, ” I thought maybe you could come over and we could talk, in private you know. I think you might believe me if I tell you”

“Believe what? Why all these events occurring around you? Around us? I think I’m freaking out a bit right now.”

“It will be okay Nina, I’m pretty sure I can keep you safe from these events. I think you’re the first woman I cared about in…well a long time. I know it’s fast but I need to tell you something that will probably seem unbelievable and ‘Brother’s Grimm’ to you. I need to tell you how I became this way. Maybe, you can help me get out of it.”

Nina closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay, you can tell me. I don’t know what I’ll believe but after all these events, an explanation would be nice.” Nina  left her car parked in the parking lot of The Hour Glass and let John lead her up the sidewalk a few blocks into the fancy houses lining the waterfront of Adare. John walked with her to his own house to the front door. Nina felt apprehensive. She concentrated on the  boats sailing by in the Sirene Lake on the waterfront. A lone fish leaped and sparkled in the grey-blue water.

Please read Chapter 3 here.

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