Ch. 6 – An Old Relationship

Here is Chapter 6: An Old Relationship of my paranormal romance, A Quiet Moment, for your perusal. I hope everyone is doing all right during this difficult time. And hopefully my writing might bring you a distraction in some small way. Peace to all. 🙂

An Old Relationship:

Chapter 6

It was nearly three in the afternoon, and she knew this because Claire’s very odd ceramic typewriter clock on the wall of The Quest’s staff room told her this. In fact, it gave a curious little bell sound, fashioned to emulate, she assumed, the bell on a typewriter when it hit the end of a line. It made this curious noise upon every hour. To say it was irritating to her on this day seemed just too mild and ineffectual a statement. If she felt there was some way, she could accomplish it without dire ramifications, she would climb up on the ladder that she’d spied in one of the closets, prying the thing off the wall and letting it drop to splatter into thousands of ceramic pieces. During the hour and a half, she’d been here Aimee had concocted various scenarios to accommodate her fondest wish. One of the most plausible was that of an earthquake. There had been mild tremors in the area on very rare occasions. And the fact that no one else would have noticed it might be explained away, possibly, maybe, or not.

There wasn’t much on the screen before her. She’d thought it would help her if she could get the art gallery piece out of the way. Of course, Joan’s pictures weren’t downloaded yet, but in truth she didn’t really need them. The images were still clear as crystal in her mind as were the details of the evening that she’d successfully made a debacle out of. How to ruin a potentially delightful evening with an intriguing, handsome, creative man — why just be Aimee Marston, that’s enough.

She sighed and closed her eyes. Yep that was plenty.

She’d slept late, about ten when she awoke. It was a strange sleep, heavy and dark. And she woke up feeling as though she hadn’t rested at all. She thought about trying to meditate to clear out some of the cobwebs, but she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to analyze what she was feeling, instead she went for a long walk. The air was still frosty, and the ground crackled with ice that was just beginning to thaw. Deliberately she did not reflect, instead she tried to calm her mind. In fact, she hadn’t allowed herself to think about the previous evening at all. That was until now.

She breathed deeply, closed her eyes, and reluctantly allowed the impressions to come, the ones that she had diligently held back all day. She recalled his expression when he’d left her. It contained a million things, some so subtle they were unidentifiable others not so: disappointment perhaps, frustration with her most definitely, and something, although well contained in his expression, that she had felt in his hands, in his lips, in his body when he’d kissed her. There was desire, profound, powerful, a maelstrom of it. He wanted her in a way that scared the life out of her, exactly why she wasn’t sure. She wasn’t naïve, or completely inexperienced with men. But it went beyond that. He needed something from her, way beyond the physical, and she had no concrete idea what that could be.

She opened her eyes. Again, she felt shaky inside. It was clear that she couldn’t puzzle this out on her own. She needed Iris. It was also clear that she had to get off the fence, either end whatever this was and not see Jacob Wyss again or let go a bit and see where it led.

She heard a door swinging open somewhere and a heavy tap of, oh no, boots, probably high heeled black boots. Hoping that they would go away, she kept her head bent, but they stopped in front of her desk

“Well, well, look what the cat dragged in.”

Joan stood there, towering over her, hands on her hips, wearing her black, leather jacket and a pair of rather snug blue jeans. “I didn’t expect you in here today,” she grinned. “Thought you might have had a late night.”

This was so much what she needed today. “I wanted to get some work done.”

Ignoring the hint, but what else was new, Joan dragged a nearby wooden chair, padded with a purple tapestry cushioning at the top, next to Aimee. “So, tell me everything. Did he just take you home or were there other activities?”

“You don’t really expect me to give you an extended account of my evening, do you?”

She shook her blonde curls, “No, just the highlights. Did he kiss you goodnight?”

“What are you in high school?”

She sighed, “You know you are really a stick in the mud. You go off with this really hot guy and leave me by my lonesome, and you won’t give me a hint of what happened.”

She frowned, “I’ll pass it along to him that you think he’s a hot guy.”

“So, you’re seeing him again.”

“Did I say that?”

“Okay fine, whatever.” She clicked her sort of lavender colored nails on the desk in frustration. “Tell me one thing. Do you like him?”

Aimee looked at her a bit blankly. What a simple question. Maybe it was that simple if she wanted it to be. “Yes,” she said very calmly. “I like him very much.”

He’d slept late that morning, feeling unusually overtired. In fact, most of his body wanted to just keep sleeping, but he forced himself to get up. A brief call from Bob Sanders again congratulating him on a great show helped sharpen his very dull mind. And of course, although Bob was discreet, he did ask how the rest of his evening went. And he gave little indication beyond fine.

It was late in the afternoon before he began to get anything meaningful done. Of course, first on the agenda was cleaning up the fragments of Talia’s broken mug he’d shattered the night before. He had artfully managed to get the pieces spread out in all sorts of random directions that were unpredictable. Sooner or later he was positive one would end up in his foot. And then the next thing he did was throw out the rest of the set. It was past time he’d decided to start to get rid of these little reminders of the past.

He was caught up in such activities when the phone rang just after four.

“Hello.” He answered with distraction.

“Jacob.”

“Yeah.” He was in the kitchen, so he sunk down onto one of Talia’s stools, a little stunned at the voice on the other end of the line.

“It’s Aimee.”

He scratched his head. He didn’t remember giving her his number. “I know.”

“Are you all right?”

“Just moving slow today.”

There was quiet. She was nervous. He could feel it. “Well I was actually just looking at some of the pictures that Joan took. They came out great. I think you’ll be pleased.”

“So, you’re at work.”

“I came in this afternoon to get some things done. And, I—” There was a definite hesitation.

He asked pointedly, “What’s the matter Aimee?”

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry for acting so out of it last night.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Well I am worrying about it because I like spending time with you. And if you still want to see me on Tuesday.”

He smiled a bit, pleased and puzzled at the turn around. “Yes, I do.”

“Then so do I. That’s all I wanted to say.”

“I’m glad you called Aimee.”

“Me too, I’ll let you get back to things.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Okay, bye.”

And she hung up. He breathed a sigh of relief. Okay maybe things weren’t so grim after all. And so, with a bit more focus, he headed back to his task of clearing away debris from the past.

It’s complicated.

She waited for clarification, but there was none.

Iris was sitting in the large wicker chair at the foot of her bed. It was on very rare occasions that she came to Aimee, rare, but not unheard of.

Aimee had awoken or, so she thought still in a dreamlike state to find Iris waiting for her dressed in a long blue somewhat iridescent gown. Experience had taught her that this would indeed be remembered with an unreal quality. She had come to the conclusion long ago that many people receive such spiritual visitations but disregard them as imagination or dreams.

She waited for a few seconds then spoke again, “So then you think I made the right choice, with him I mean.”

I believe you’ve already begun to realize that it’s a very old relationship.

“I’ve had glimpses of another time.”

There were many other times.

She was sitting up in her bed, and she tucked her knees in more closely to her chest. Being like this reminded her so much of when she was a small girl and Iris first made contact with her. No matter how old she was, she would always feel childlike in the presence of this very wise woman.

What’s important is that you’ve made a decision here Lily. Now you must move forward.

“I sense he wants something from me. Needs me for some reason.”

He needs you for many reasons, on many levels. His spirit is at a crossroads. Your meeting was not chance. You’ve sensed how strong he is.

“I’ve sensed a great deal of power within him.”

Power that is not funneled in proper directions can become a dangerous thing. It can be destructive, or it can be used by others for their own purposes.

“So, you think he’s in trouble?”

I think your hands will be full for a while. But Lily, don’t expect things to be easy. Change can be a difficult and terrifying thing at times.

“That’s comforting.”

Her lovely face curved into a sympathetic smile, I’m here to bring you the truth.

“Yes, I do want the truth. Then I have something to work with.”

Then I must warn you. There are unresolved things between the two of you that weigh on your spirits.

“Can you tell me what?”

Her eyes were luminescent in the dark. It’s inside you. You just must find a way to unlock it all. Sleep now and you will see things in your dreams.

She lay back down in the bed and closed her eyes feeling a current drawing her away somewhere.

It was autumn. He was sure of it because the leaves on the hillside were golden, sort of yellow perhaps, but more on the side of gold. But the other colors weren’t there at all, just gold beneath his boots, his favorite hiking boots and the long-sleeved blue shirt that his mother had bought him on her trip to Italy. It’s an artist’s shirt she had said, but he hadn’t worn it. He’d kept its box on the shelf in his bedroom closet. He was saving it for something, and then it had become forgotten. But now he was wearing it with an old pair of blue jeans, paint splattered. The pair he’d thrown out. They were back, but he didn’t question it. He was cognizant enough to know that this was a dream.

There was one tree on this hill, one tree with what else golden-looking pears hanging from it. Not apples, pears, vaguely he wondered if he should be looking for a serpent entwined in the branches. In the distance, he could see the mountains, but they were far away, and he was tired. His chest hurt terribly. Through the shirt he could see the wounds had begun to bleed again and stain that lovely shirt his mother had brought from Italy. Perhaps that was why he hadn’t worn it before. He knew this would happen.

He heard a rustling behind him and turned slowly. She was standing there. This was her first appearance in his dreams. Although he had thought of her often enough that it was surprising, she hadn’t popped in earlier — still wearing that same purple dress that she had at the opening. “You’re in the wrong color,” he said. “Gold is the color of the day.”

She was standing next to his tree. Maybe she was the serpent. “You’re bleeding,” she said.

His hand went to his shirt. It was sticky, getting worse. “Yeah, I know. I don’t know how to stop it. It’s a real pain.”

She walked to him, crunching through those golden leaves. And softly reaching out, put her hand on his chest where it was the worst. Her hand was warm. “This will help for a little while.” Those green eyes were very serious. Why was she taking this so seriously? It was just a dream.

He grasped her hand, just as he’d done at her apartment. “Why did you lie to me?”

Her eyes widened with fear, “I didn’t know how to tell you the truth.”

He held the hand tightly, too tightly he thought. “It’s important you don’t do it again.”

“I know, but I’m afraid,” and she looked that way to him.

He looked down. His shirt was normal again, “You fixed it.”

She shook her head, “It’s not permanent. But you can rest now.”

He’d bought the house before he and Talia were married. So, there was never a question of his possession of it. Once he settled in this area, he knew he had to live next to the mountains. That was its selling point for him. It was either the water or the mountains, and as it was the mountains at that time seemed like the best option. The house itself was rustic in nature, almost blending into the woods around it. The style was fine, but what had sold him on it, he had to admit, was something most would find a bit odd — its basement. In the area basements were as basic and expected as attics were in every other part of the country. But this one resembled an entire finished story beneath the house. Not at all like a cave as some basements tended to be but filled with light from its windows and the French doors leading out into the sloping backyard. The rest of the house was inconsequential to him compared to this room. This room fully belonged to him. It was where he painted. During their five years of marriage, Talia seldom set foot down here, leaving its maintenance, its décor, and its sole possession, to him. He had even set up a futon against one wall for those late nights when he was possessed to work. The creative spirit, he’d found, had to be indulged and exploited when it was present, because it could not be forced to appear when it had fled.

He had spent most of the day here. He checked his watch, because he hadn’t placed any clocks in the room. When he wanted to be free of its time would not be an issue for him. But just now he did have a reason to keep track of the hours. It was almost four. He would work a few more hours and then call Aimee, solidifying plans for tomorrow. Things were progressing nicely there, and he hoped smoothly for a change. He was pleased.

And with this last thought another came quickly on its heels. Distantly he heard a sound somewhere, but then dismissed it. Living near the woods wasn’t as quiet as one might think. There was always movement and rustling here and there. He continued pouring his focus into his canvas, deeply involved in his creation, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of color pass by a window. And then moments later came a shattering rapping on the outside door of his studio. He stood stunned for a moment grabbing a nearby rag to wipe his hands. Moving to the door, he could begin to make out the figure through the glass, but had a difficult time accepting what he saw. Slowly, he unlocked and opened the door still in a bit of disbelief.

“Good lord, don’t you ever answer your phone or your door for that matter?”

Grinning, he was still in a bit of shock, “I’ve been working. I didn’t know you were coming.”

She aggressively yanked him down, smothering him in a big hug, “I know, I know things worked out at the last minute. I couldn’t make it for the opening, but we can still celebrate.”

She was beaming at him, dressed in some sort of loud yellow and blue jacket. She did like her primary colors, and her golden, grey hair bouncier than he remembered it. But there she was on his doorstep exuding that effervescent energy that defined her. “Yeah okay Mom, come in.”

As Mary Wyss stepped in the room, her brown eyes narrowed a bit as she sized him up but still looked happy. She brushed him off a bit, flecks of dried paint flying everywhere. “You look good, but different. Is something going on with you?”

Yep she certainly didn’t waste time. “Well according to Bob, the opening was a great success.” He glanced outside. “How did you get here?”

She continued to look him over carefully as though she were examining an interesting bug under a microscope. “I rented a car at the airport. You know I need wheels while I’m here.”

He frowned, “I could have picked you up Mom.” He had learned long ago that it was pointless to encroach on his mother’s independence, even if it was kindly meant.

Predictably, she shrugged off his comment, “There wasn’t time for all that.” Again, she looked at him critically. “Something is going on with you. You look, I don’t know, more awake.”

“Hmm, what an interesting compliment.” He glanced back at the canvas that was screaming at him for a few more touches.

She tapped him on the shoulder. “I’ll go upstairs and settle in, while you finish up with whatever you need to finish with.” She was much too attuned to things. Giving him a quick kiss, she headed for the stairs leading upstairs.

He yelled after her, “Leave your stuff in the car. I’ll get it in a few minutes.” He breathed deeply, okay now things weren’t moving quite as smoothly. He had just barely convinced Aimee to see him again, now his mother was in the mix. Was this good or catastrophic? Maybe it would be interesting to find out.

The piece on Jacob’s collection was finished, and she was nervous. She had emailed it off to Claire nearly an hour before with recommendations on which of Joan’s pictures to feature. It had been difficult, more than was anticipated. She’d struggled with it most of the day. She was walking a tenuous line of keeping the writing interesting, but also keeping an objective, impersonal stance within this piece. Jacob’s painting in some respects had become entwined with her emotions in a way that was difficult to detach from. But she’d done it and was satisfied, she thought.

It was nearly seven. She was ruffling through some pages of editing that she needed to get out by tomorrow for her other job at the publishing house. Again, she glanced at the clock. This was irritating now. She was waiting for him to call. The dream that she’d had of him last night was still vivid in her mind, although she had not unraveled all its significance.

Rrrrrnng, she nearly jumped. The phone had startled her. Reaching over, she picked it up quite confident of who it was. “Hello.”

“Aimee.”

An instinctive smile, “Yes.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“No, I was just finishing up some work.” There was a hesitation. Something was amiss she could feel it. “Jacob?”

“Well, I had an unexpected surprise.”

“Good surprise or bad one?”

“Oh good, it just makes things a bit complicated. My Mom dropped in. She’s going to be with me for about a week.”

Her heart tugged a bit, maybe jealousy. Family was a wonderful thing. “That’s great.”

“Yeah, it is actually. I haven’t seen her for a while.” He sounded a bit cheered at her reaction.

“Look, don’t worry about Tuesday. We can do it another time. You should spend time with your Mom.”

There again was a slight pause. “Well actually, I had an idea about that if you’re game for it.”

A little uneasiness now, “What’s your idea?”

“How about we make it the three of us? We can go out to eat and visit a few other places she wants to see. She thinks my house is much too cut off from civilization anyway.”

He’d caught her off guard a bit. She hadn’t expected this but then again, he had a habit of catching her off guard. “Jacob that sounds lovely, but I really don’t want to intrude.”

“Aimee, we would both would enjoy it. And with the little I’ve told her about you she really wants to meet you. I’m not trying to put you on the spot, but I’d really like this.” She swallowed, an odd nervousness creeping in. “Still there?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m here. All right, if you’re sure this is what you want.”

“Very sure, how about we pick you up at six?”

“Okay, that’s fine.”

“Good night then.”

“Good night.” And she gingerly ended the call, wondering. Now she was meeting his mother, what an interesting chain of events.

Jacob turned to find his mother’s eyes on him from across the den. She was standing near the window, a cup of coffee in her hands. She was definitely a coffee drinker. That was where he’d gotten it from. She smiled, “Is it a go?”

“Yeah, now look Mom I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.” He sat down on the sofa feeling a bit like he was ten years old and trying to talk his mother out of something that she was set on. “Aimee and I really just met. It’s not like we’ve been dating at all, in fact this would’ve been our first date and now.”

“And now she’s meeting your Mom, kind of putting the cart before the horse.”

She was smiling but looking at him strangely in that knowing way that unnerved him. “Well, let’s just keep low key, okay. Nothing too heavy.”

She sipped her coffee. “Spooks easily, does she?”

“No, I do.”

She walked over and lightly tapped him on the shoulder, “Yes, you do my darling. Now get over it. When did you say her birthday was?”

“I don’t know.”

“I hope she’s a water sign. That’s probably the best match for you. Talia was an earth sign. Bad match, together you made—”

“I know mud.”

“Well, I guess if you look at in a basic sense, yes.” And then she was moving again. “Well let me call your sister and check in. Did I tell you the baby was cutting teeth already?”

“No,” he grinned dubiously. “But that will make eating much easier.”

“Yes, it will, my pragmatist.”

Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Klebert

Jacob Wyss is caught in a rut, in fact on the verge of being engulfed by it. After an excruciating and disillusioning divorce, his life as an artist in a sleepy-college town at the foot of the Appalachian mountains has become quiet, routine, and maddening in its predictability. One wintry day, his deep restlessness drives him out in precarious conditions to a largely empty bookstore nearly devoid of another living soul, nearly.

Aimee Marston isn’t like everyone else. On the surface, she lives a sedate life working as a feature writer for a small local newspaper in addition to several other editorial jobs to help make ends meet. But just beneath, her existence is largely not her own. She is a sensitive, an empathetic psychic, guided by her calling to use her gifts to help others. Unfortunately, as a result, her secretiveness has made her defensive, protective of herself, and prevented her from having much of a life of her own.

A psychic call for help sends Aimee out on a freezing January morning where her destiny and Jacob’s collide sending both their lives spiraling onto an unexpected and often disturbing track. Two lonely souls connect, not by accident, but by design. Theirs is the intersection of two spiritual paths, two lovers who must struggle to overcome the phantoms of a past life, as well as the challenges of their own inner demons to carve out an extraordinary future together.

Further chapters of A Quiet Moment

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