Ch. 15 – An Unexpected Corner

I hope all is well with everyone. I have just posted Ch. 15: An Unexpected Corner of my paranormal romance, A Quiet Moment. The end is in sight. There are only a handful of chapters left to go. I hope you are enjoying the novel and are keeping well and safe. Peace to All.

An Unexpected Corner:

Chapter 15

Frances Sanders strummed her fingers lightly but dispiritedly on the white tablecloth of the table that she’d reserved early this morning. Her husband quietly sipped a scotch. It was one that he’d ordered once he’d gotten the phone call that their dinner companions were going to be delayed. She glanced across to him, frowning, “They’re not coming, are they?”

He shrugged, “Oh I doubt that. Jacob’s very straightforward. If they weren’t coming, he’d just say so.”

“You think this was a bad idea, don’t you?”

“Well what you have to understand darling is that when you play God, sometimes people don’t follow your schedule.”

She reached over, grabbing the glass out of his hand and taking a rather large sip, he thought, for such a polished lady. “I wasn’t playing God. I just thought this would be nice. Now, I’m not so sure. And I’m hungry.”

“I’m sure they won’t shoot us if we order an appetizer without them.”

“Do you think it would be rude?”

“Probably, but so is keeping your dinner companions waiting. So, we’ll call it a draw.”

She picked up the menu that the waiter had deposited in front of her at their arrival. “What do you want?”

“Anything but the little baby octopus thing.”

She wrinkled her very classy nose, “Yeah, I hate that stuff. Oh, they have fried mushrooms, or fried cheese, or fried eggplant.”

“Fried everything huh, sounds very artery clogging.”

“Well, we’re celebrating tonight. Even, if it’s just you and me.” And then as she glanced up from her reading, her eyes caught a blur of color moving toward them. She put down the menu as they approached.

Jacob came up to the table smiling. The first thing she noted was that they were holding hands and seemed very cozy together. “Giving up on us, so soon?”

Frances smiled broadly, rising from the table just seconds after Bob had. If they were anything, they were well-mannered. “Well, I couldn’t help it. I was hungry.” She turned to Aimee, who she had to say looked a bit calmer than she had at their earlier meeting. “You two are just in time to help us pick out a terribly unhealthy appetizer from the menu.”

Jacob laughed, “Oh, I didn’t know there was another kind.”

As he helped his companion take off her coat, Aimee commented, “I hope we didn’t keep you too long.”

And they both assured her that it was not the case at all.

She was not thinking, and it was a novel feeling. Quite usually, she was interpreting, strategizing, analyzing a mile a minute. But right now, she was just relaxing. Not really even considering the possibility that she might be plummeting off a cliff somehow, that all her plans might be flying out the window. Just now, she was quietly trusting some other force to sort out the particulars, while she enjoyed the moment.

Jacob too seemed in a better mood, laughing, talking, feeling completely at ease. She found him somehow contagious. Rarely feeling at ease anywhere, his presence was like a safe cocoon for her to lean against. And of course, they were drinking champagne and that could definitely have been a factor.

Bob turned to her in his very jovial way, “Well Aimee, I have to say Frances and I are pleased that our friend here has found someone so charming to keep company with. But I’ve got to say, I’ve known this guy for awhile and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how any woman could put up with his moodiness.”

She laughed, wondering distractedly how anyone could interpret Jacob as moody. Her experience of him was that he was extremely level-headed, even in very tense circumstances. “Well, I’ve been accused of being moody myself, so maybe he’s just met his match.”

Impulsively, Jacob grabbed her hand and kissed it in front of everyone. She was surprised and a bit embarrassed by the ridiculous little butterfly fluttering that it sent through her stomach “Well, from your viewpoint Bob anything outside of the box is probably considered moody.” Jacob retorted pointedly.

Frances waved her hand, “Enough gentlemen, before this turns into a brawl. So, what’s the opinion on the restaurant? I need to know whether to put it into my address book or not.”

“I think it’s very good,” Aimee offered, although she hadn’t really thought about the food much.

Frances concurred, “You know, so do I. It’s just a bit different, which I hate to say is rare around here.”

Aimee nodded, then suddenly felt an unexpected chill traverse her spine. She straightened up a bit. Jacob glanced over to her smiling, but his eyes were questioning. He’d felt it too. She took a sip of her iced tea, which had been brought after the four finished the bottle of champagne. Either the sensation would pass or grow stronger. She sincerely hoped that it was nothing. She was enjoying herself tonight and really wanted no intrusion. But as was often the case, this was not to be.

“I want to be clear on this Aimee. Your gifts are not resistance against physical calamity.”

She looked up at Dominick from the soda bottle that she’d just unscrewed. “What does that mean?”

He glanced with disparagement at the bottle in her hand. “One case is from ill health, not taking care of yourself,” he added with emphasis, “and another is from actual physical dangers.”

Feeling suddenly self-conscious, she placed the bottle beside her on the stone bench where she was seated. She didn’t feel comfortable now drinking it in front of him but was quite certain that she would do so later. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in the summer, and they were in a park. He liked to spend, what he called, their lessons together at times in the outdoors. He’d suggested a nice walk in the park since the weather was temperate today, a rare occurrence in July. “Physical dangers?” she inquired.

“Those intent on doing physical harm, you see, we truly can’t begin to interpret or be judgmental of another’s path. Spirits make choices for their own personal evolvement, which from certain perspectives might seem unfathomable.”

She sighed with frustration, “Sorry, you’ve lost me. I’m very smart for my age but am still only fifteen.”

He smiled indulgently, “More concrete, my dear? Someone might choose to be a burglar, a terrorist, a murderer, or a victim of any of these.”

Her eyes widened, “What, someone might choose that?”

He shrugged, “All major events in one’s life are not by chance. They are clearly plotted, charted before birth if you will. Of course, there are dark entities in the world bent on chaos and destruction, but there are also spirits that choose very difficult and sometimes costly paths. But there are lessons to be learned there—lessons that might seem intolerably harsh from your viewpoint. But then again, you still see through the social morays of your upbringing. But think about it. What else could explain the profound contrasts of living conditions throughout the world? You think this is all by chance, by luck? Please, it’s all carefully designed—each choice filled with its own advantages and disadvantages — none clearly visible to the naked eye.”

She shook her head. “It’s so hard to imagine.”

“You must leave what you think you know somewhere else. For you, in a very pragmatic sense, there are limits to what you can do. You can’t save someone from their path. You can’t save someone from their appointed time to die. Sometimes, you just have to get out of the way.”

“That doesn’t sound easy.”

“Unfortunately, my child, I didn’t say that any of this would be easy.”

She shivered. A distinct darkness had fallen on the evening. Jacob grabbed her hand and held it tightly, but she was only vaguely aware of it. There are particular things that accompany a violent act. One is a profound loss of energy. Another is a darkness, almost shroud like heaviness to the aura, and lastly, there is a feeling of hollowness, profound despair that is nearly intolerable within the human frame. The perpetrator here was no dark entity, or it would not be possible for these conditions to exist. Actual pain rippled up through her, laced with acute nausea. She didn’t want to know the specifics, the who or even what. Something terrible had been done. How awful and terrible for them to now be so alienated from their spirituality.

Even Frances’ smile seemed to have dimmed a bit. Everyone living could feel intense spiritual changes around them to a certain degree, whether they acknowledged it or not. “Do you all want to go somewhere and get dessert?” Frances asked a little hesitantly.

Jacob glanced briefly at Aimee, “Not for me.” Looking at his watch, he commented. “I hate to say but would you guys mind cutting this short? I have a ton of work to catch up on tomorrow.”

Bob nodded, “Actually me too, and I am stuffed to capacity.”

Jacob made a movement for the check that had been brought earlier, but then Bob had already taken it. “This is our treat since Frances orchestrated this.”

As they quietly gathered their things to leave, Aimee worked hard to shrug off the suffocating emotions that were covering her. “I really enjoyed this evening. I’m very glad you invited me.” Frances responded with a warm goodbye hug for her and then Jacob. As they left, Aimee worked very hard not to look directly at faces in the restaurant. There was nothing to be done here. She knew that clearly.

As they walked out into the night air, she breathed in deeply as though she were surfacing for air. Jacob said nothing but kept his arm tightly around her. He didn’t stop walking, until they were some blocks away and merely yards from his SUV.

Finally, he spoke with a distinct hollowness in his voice, “Should we have done something?”

She looked at him with some surprise, impulsively reaching out to touch his face. Abruptly, she pulled her hand back as though she’d been burned. “You saw it, didn’t you?”

His eyes looked hard to her in the semi-darkness, “I’m a novice. Evidently, I made a mistake.” It had taken a toll. She could feel it all over him. “I mean the police or anything?”

She looked at him sadly, wondering for perhaps the first time if she’d done a great disservice to him by coming into his life. “There’s no point. This one’s not running.”

And then without another word, he opened the car door for her.

They drove in silence, which at this point he felt was best. Maybe this wasn’t going to work at all. All their evenings seemed to end this way, started out well, then ended disastrous. He didn’t know what to do with it. He couldn’t seem to detach, only felt white, hot anger pouring through him. So much so that he was quite amazed, he wasn’t driving the car right off the road. He hadn’t even looked at her, since they’d gotten in the car. He’d take her home, and then he’d go get drunk somewhere. That seemed a reasonable solution, and it might even blot some of the images out of his head.

It was stupid, truly stupid to think he could so effortlessly glide into her world without mishap. What was clear as crystal to him now, was that he didn’t belong there at all. He couldn’t see some screwed up kid get out of control, murder his girlfriend in a momentary fit of rage, clean up, and walk into work as though nothing had happened. He didn’t have Aimee’s empathetic gifts. He couldn’t see into the crazy bastard’s heart. He could only clearly see the obvious horror in his victim’s eyes.

He pulled into her parking lot and then cut the engine. He had to get control. His hands were trembling with rage. Finally, he looked over to her. Her eyes were wide in the darkness. “Look Aimee, I need to get going.”

She responded very quietly, “I want you to come inside.” She put her hand on top of his, one of the two that were still firmly digging into the steering wheel. “I know how upset you are.”

“Well,” he sighed shakily, “I need to find a way to deal with this. And it might just involve massive amounts of violence. So, I really don’t want you around, just now.”

Her hand tightened on his, “Please, come inside for awhile, please Jacob.” There was a real pleading in her voice, a real desperateness that he had not heard before.

He stared at her rawly, not disguising the naked emotions that were roaring through him. He truly expected it to frighten her. “I think it’s a mistake.”

But she was unshakable, “Okay, then we make a mistake.” He sat there frozen with his hands still on the wheel. But she wasn’t letting go. Finally, truly exhausted, he nodded, giving into her will.

She was afraid. She was afraid to be with him right now, but more afraid to let him go out on his own. The raw, uncontrolled emotion was absolutely boiling out of him, like a volcano that was due to explode any moment. She should have taken time to tell him to be wary. That delving into other people’s lives, other people’s traumas, was a dangerous business. It could scar you as deeply as it had them, if you were unprotected. She had learned that at a very young age with Rose. But her gifts had not come upon her so quickly and with such force. Jacob would surpass her. She knew that. That was, if he survived the evolution.

They walked quietly into her apartment. His face was stony, and he wasn’t seeing what was before him. She was sure he continued to re witness the horror of what he had stumbled upon. She put her coat on the chair and then offered to take his. He gave it to her distractedly, still blindly standing in the middle of her den. And then, she wrapped her arms around him and whispered in his ear. “Jacob, you have to find a way to let this go.”

He was glassy eyed, “What if I go kill the son of a bitch?”

She had to be the calm one now. Quietly, she replied, “Then you’ll go to jail. No one gets away with anything. There are prices paid that we never see. It’s the way of the universe. Killing someone is truly like murdering yourself. There are unfathomable consequences.”

He stared down at the floor, “I don’t know if I can deal with this stuff, Aimee.”

She sighed deeply, leaning against him. “I know. It would be nice to resign and go back to a so-called normal life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, or I would have done it a long time ago.”

“Really, would you have?” He sounded a bit surprised.

She shrugged, “I thought about it, tried it from time to time. It just didn’t work. It’s sort of like getting on a train. You can’t make it go backwards. You just have to learn to protect yourself, so you can function and live your life too.”

His voice was deep, “So, that was what frightened you so much Saturday. Your control of things was gone.”

It was still a sore spot, but she deliberately put it aside for him. “I guess so.” She was leaning against his chest, against his heart, so that she could hear it beating. “It reminded me too much of the early days.”

“I can’t seem to get the images out of my head.”

“It’s fresh. Give it a little time. It will fade. I promise.”

She felt his hand on her back, and then it was moving, up and down her spine almost desperately, but sending currents of warmth that were spreading throughout her body. She knew there were dangers, having him here now in this state of mind. The usual cautiousness was gone. “Jacob,” she whispered in an attempt to calm him, but when she looked up to him, his mouth swept down on hers in a torrent of need, absolute mindless need.

The passion that she felt coursing through him was unchecked, unleashed, and she felt helpless against it. He whispered against her mouth, “I need you, Aimee,” and didn’t wait for her response, just continued to kiss her, pulling her with purpose down to the sofa. She held onto him tightly, now in complete acceptance of where he was taking her.

She woke from a heavy sleep. Her room was dimly lit with the morning light filtered heavily by the blinds. Beside her, the clock read 9:10 A.M., and the place next to her in the bed was empty. She shivered, pulling the bedspread more tightly around her body. Distractedly, she realized that most of her clothes were still in the den. Last night, warmth had not been a problem, but now in the brighter light of day, warmth and clearer thinking would definitely be factors that might just cast a different sort of clarity on things.

She got to her feet and quickly yanked her heavy chenille robe from the closet, wrapping it tightly about her. But she was still shivering. She would have to dress and soon. She allowed her feelings to expand throughout the apartment. He had left, evidently earlier that morning. She still sensed tumultuous emotions. Evidently, what had occurred last night had not vanquished the demons that had driven him into her arms.

A nervousness and probably a blush swept over her at the memories. The intense emotions, sensations that he had elicited from her, still were leaving her feeling completely out of balance. She had no idea how she’d gotten to this place. Only a day ago, she was contemplating leaving the area and this man behind her with it. But now, everything had changed. It would take more than a little time to sort this out. Doors had opened within her, and perhaps some had closed. But what they had done was establish an intense powerful bond, one whose ramifications she had no way of foreseeing.

She grabbed some clothing and headed to the bathroom to try to pull herself together. Sooner or later, she would have a visitor. If everything else was uncertain, this was not.

There had been dreams last night. When he did sleep, it was not restful. The old dreams came and took dominion. There was fear, anxiety, walls of fire, and then her calming — the eyes, the skin that soothed the raging emotions within his mind. She was like an anesthesia to the tumultuous raging in his mind. And then there was quiet, blackness.

Jacob had awoken early. Aimee was still asleep beside him. His mind couldn’t quite put together what had happened last night. Somewhere, he had stepped on a fast train of madness that didn’t slow, just pulled anything in the vicinity within its tornado.

He looked at the sleeping form beside him, having no idea how she would feel about things when she awoke. Of course, he had thought about being with her, about making love to her, but nothing in his wildest imaginings told him that things would unfold in this manner. Complicated didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

He had to regain control, somehow. One thing at a time was the only way to deal with this situation.

Quietly, he got out of the bed, determined not to wake her. He thought about scribbling a note of some kind but rejected that thought. He didn’t intend to be gone long. And there was nothing he wanted to say to her, that the written word would be sufficient for.

He dressed quickly, collected her keys from the table in the front room, and left. Outside, the day seemed brighter, perhaps bright enough to clear away some of the mists that had settled in.

It was nearly ten, and she was piddling around her kitchen nervously, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The morning had brought a whole torrent of emotions. One indeed would be the disapproving face of her mother, which she swept away with a mental broom, which she only brought out for such occasions. Then was the face of her grandmother, not disapproving nor approving, just there but being unable to interpret, she swept that away too. Then she wondered, if indeed he was returning or if perhaps, in some awkward, inexperienced clumsy way, she had made him run for the hills. But that she found less than likely. She remembered his face last night, the things he whispered to her, the tenderness, all of it that again was making her blush from head to toe. She really had to get hold. This wasn’t the reaction of a somewhat sophisticated thirty-year-old woman. She sighed deeply, wondering indeed, how adults had a regular conversation after such an intimate night.

She dunked her teabag rather half hap hazardously in the cup, trying to make it steep just a bit faster. And then, she heard her front door open, and her heart clutched. It flashed into her mind suddenly that he’d taken her keys. Last night, when they came in, she’d left them on the table by the candles.

He walked into her kitchen. Their eyes met, and immediately the nervousness surged up again. She smiled a bit tentatively, “I’d thought you’d gone.”

He looked a little tired, eyes a bit red, and the rest of him ruffled looking. He hadn’t been home. He was in the same clothes as last night. Rather solemnly, he said, “I had to clear my head.”

She nodded, “Did it help?”

He sighed, “I went back to the restaurant. They serve breakfast, did you know?”

She shook her head, “So you had breakfast?”

He rubbed his eyes, “No, well, I had coffee. But there was a commotion. Evidently, late last night they had an arrest, the kid.”

She nodded, feeling a bit relieved at the news, “Very quickly.”

“Apparently, the body was found right away, and well, the trail was pretty clear, just like you said.”

He didn’t seem as relieved as she felt, but then again, she hadn’t witnessed his vision. “I’m sorry Jacob. I mean for you and all of this. I didn’t mean to bring this into your life.”

His eyes softened a bit, “All you’ve brought into my life is wonder, sheer wonder.” His words brought the blush that had been hovering all morning back to life. She glanced down at her tea. It looked as dark as it could, so she took out the bag.

“Well,” she murmured. “So, you’re feeling better about things?”

She was still looking down, putting sugar in her tea, doing everything to avoid his stare right at that moment. But as was his direct way, he had moved in right next to her. He was very close now that she could feel his breath as he spoke. “So, how are you this morning?”

Nervous fluttering again, she had to get control. “I’m all right. I slept pretty hard though. I didn’t even hear you leave.”

“So, are you planning on looking at me again this morning Aimee?” She immediately glanced up at him. There was something sparkling in his eyes that spoke of things that seemed a slight bit shocking in the morning light.

“I suppose.”

He nodded, “Glad to hear it, and something else I was wondering.”

“What’s that?”

“Are we going to talk about the pink elephant in the room?”

He was smiling a bit, not teasing really, but gently nudging her into relaxing. “Which one, there seems to be a few lurking about?” Her voice had gotten very low, almost a throaty whisper, because he was so close to her now.

He touched a lock of her hair that had come loose from the barrette that she had pulled her hair back with that morning. “I wanted to make sure that you’re all right. That I didn’t hurt you last night.”

She glanced down, the embarrassment sort of exploded on her face. But he would have none of it. He tipped her chin upward. “No hiding.”

She frowned, “Why does this seem so strange to talk about?”

“Because it’s so personal, so important, I suppose.”

“I think you must have thought it strange, well that someone of my age hadn’t—” She let her voice trail off, not terribly sure she wanted to finish it.

He was still staring at her intently, as though puzzling out something in his mind. “Actually, not really, I sort of suspected, call it a hunch.”

That particular declaration did surprise her. “You did? And last night that didn’t make you rethink, well I mean.”

“Truthfully, I wasn’t thinking much last night. But it wouldn’t have stopped me. I hope that doesn’t upset you. It wasn’t a question of if, but when.”

She frowned, “Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?”

“I didn’t mean it all in a superficial way. You and I have always felt like an inevitability to me. I hope that doesn’t upset you.”

“I’m not upset.” She hesitated, “To be honest, I haven’t sorted out how I feel.”

He nodded, “That’s fair. The dust hasn’t really settled yet. But I’d like to ask something else.”

“What’s that?”

“Can I have something to eat? I’m starving.”

She laughed, “Well I do make a mean piece of toast.”

He nodded, “Sounds intriguing.”

She was nervous, so he kept things light and superficial. It wasn’t the time to talk about the things that were swirling around in his head. Modern culture was casual about such intimacies, but that was entirely separate from what he was feeling. Something had been sealed between them, something profound, and now it was time to make plans.

In reality, they hadn’t known each other for very long, but they had covered more ground in their time together than even he could yet completely absorb. There simply was just nothing in his realm of experience to compare this with. On the way back from the restaurant, he’d made several clear decisions in his mind. Psychic complications aside, he was completely and totally in love with Aimee and wanted her in his life, every day, morning, noon and night. What happened between them last night, had only solidified this in his mind. Since he wasn’t one who believed there was on iota of value in the culturally popular practice of “living together,” they would have to get married. For him, it was decided. Now the issue was whether or not he could swing her around to his way of thinking.

He was sitting on her couch, eating what was actually a very good piece of raisin toast. She brought in what he immediately identified as a steaming mug of coffee and set it down on the table in front of him. He grinned, as he picked up the mug, “I thought you were an abstainer.”

She shrugged, as she sat down beside him, “I told you that you were rubbing off on me.”

He finished off his last piece of toast. “This is really good.”

“Maybe, you’re just hungry.”

“Well, I am, but it’s still good.”

She leaned back and put her feet up on the coffee table. She was relaxing now. He could feel it in his skin. He reached out and put his hand on her knee, and she glanced at him with wide green eyes that absolutely entranced him, so he kissed her, immediately feeling the fires from the night before resurfacing. But he pulled back, must have a clear mind right now. “So, what are your plans today?”

Her eyes sort of fluttered a bit, evidently her mind was elsewhere. “I have some work to catch up on, but nothing specific.”

He nodded, sipping his coffee, thinking about certain piles of ad work that he had to finish and send off. But today, he wanted her close to him. “I have some things to finish too, back at the house.” She smiled and nodded, saying nothing. “But I’ve got to tell you Aimee, I’d like to be near you today.” He grabbed her hand quite certain of what she was thinking. Although he couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend time, things needed to settle a bit. “I mean, I just want to be around you. You could bring your stuff and work out at the house.” He smiled, “I’ll take you out for pizza. There’s actually a good place around there.”

She was looking down at her hand that he was still holding, hesitantly. He was afraid if he let her go now, she’d puzzle things out in some strange way and bolt again. “I feel very confused right now.”

“Yeah, I know.” He grinned, “So trust me, I think time together is more important than time apart.”

She stared at him, calmly for a moment. “All right, I have to get my things together.”

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.

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