Love Everyone, man…

Before I started working on “Paul Writes” again a couple months back, I was doing a Hippie kind of blog to try and promote the lofty idea of loving everyone. I can’t decide if I want to continue with that blog, so I thought I’d guest post it here to see if anyone is interested in this kind of thing. Love you guys!

Neo Hippie Me

Like the header on the blog implies, every one is welcome here and all are safe. I don’t care what walk of life you come from or how far down the path you have come, you are my brother or sister. It doesn’t matter your race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever other tag Society can place on you to make you feel different, here in the hippie world we are all the same and are all equals.

It took me some time to understand that. Before getting in touch with the real me, the person I always wanted to be, I believed in a different style of equality, and it’s the same one society seems to encourage. Equal, but separate. Equal, until I don’t agree with you. And that is not the way to be, peeps. We have to look at everyone with open eyes. No preconceived notions…

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 Orchard House Part 31: Under The Apple Trees

Note: Hello Friday! Today, as we prepare to enter the weekend, we celebrate with a post that is a little bit longer than usual. This part relays a little back story involving the house, and as such, to break it up into two posts would disrupt the flow of the story. Still, I hope you enjoy the read and have a great weekend. see you tomorrow with more!

If you are new to the story, or just need to backtrack, click the link below to access the main page and table of contents. Thanks!

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Part 31: Under The Apple Trees

Summer was in the kitchen, having finished her bath and gotten ready to go to the orchard store. She flashed me a smile, but she knew something had happened. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I called my brother.”

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me. “How did it go?”

“Well, it got some things off my chest, but it’s one of those things where you wish you would have said more.”

“I know what you mean.”

I nodded. I knew she felt the same way about talking to her father.

“Did you tell him when you’re coming back?”

I hesitated. Now wasn’t the time to tell her I wasn’t going back home. “No, not really, “ I replied. I flashed her a smile and reached for her hand.. “You ready to go?”

She leaned to me and gave me a kiss on my waiting lips. “Yeah, I’m ready.” She looked at her bags by the door. “But I haven’t taken these up yet.”

“It’s okay; you can do it when we come back.”

“You’re not scared I’m going to try and leave?”

I stopped. “Should I be?”

She smiled. “Nope.”

Hand in hand we stepped out the door onto the back porch. Closing the door behind us, we stepped into the sun and went down the path through the orchard, as if we were following the yellow brick road to Oz.

No matter how many times I walked through the orchard, with or without Summer, I was always amazed of how peaceful it was to me. Out here on this apple farm it seemed I was worlds away from the life I had lived, worlds away from anything I had expected to be. Some would probably say it’s just a farm, just a normal walk among apple and peach trees, nothing special about it at all. But I was learning it was very special indeed. It wasn’t just the fact you didn’t hear the sound of horns and traffic, or the shouts of people arguing in all the apartments around you. It wasn’t just the fact the air was cleaner, more natural, or that the sky looked bluer with bleach white clouds racing across the sky. No, it was more than those things. It was the knowing that this was the kind of life you always wanted – carefree, simple, slow paced, no concern for tomorrow, just this moment of walking through God’s beautiful acre. Summer made it even better. Not only was this the kind of living I always wanted, but unknown to me, this was the kind of girl I wanted – down to earth, beautiful inside and out, with a way to make sun shine out of the darkest clouds that could ever hover overhead. Spirited, compassionate, smart, easy to talk to and even easier to fall for. Maybe this isn’t the right way to say it, but Summer was everything Ashley wasn’t. The latter was one of those girls that when you were with her she had a way of making you feel you were the most important thing in the universe. But when you were away from her you weren’t sure, or maybe you didn’t even think about it. It was only after she ditched me at the altar that I began to think of her and all the things she had been and all the things she hadn’t. Ashley was pure city girl. Trendy restaurants, parties to be seen at, expensive designer clothes, hundred dollar hairdressers. She wouldn’t have been caught dead tubing on a river, sitting on a porch and watching a sunset, or even walking through an apple orchard on the way to a little country store that didn’t have a latte machine.

I looked over at Summer as we walked among the rows of trees down the dirt path. I didn’t have to do much to please her. She didn’t need to have expensive things or be seen by all the important people. It was enough for her to be walking hand in hand with me on a beautiful clear morning without a care for what the day would bring, other than that I would be there to share it with her. I couldn’t imagine Summer as the kind of girl that on the way to her wedding would decide the groom wasn’t good enough; she would have already known that. She would have known the depths of her heart and how much her husband-to-be meant to her. Ashley’s problem was she didn’t know what she wanted because she didn’t have a mind of her own. Too concerned about what everyone else thought or wanted for her, I don’t believe she ever took the time to ask herself what truly made her happy. She would never do anything out of pure love, or even out of wanting to be loved. As long as it kept up appearances, any relationship, close or distant, was good enough for her. Now, with summer’s hand in mine, for the first time I felt happy I had been left to stand at the altar. I know I would never have been this happy walking beside Ashley, and my life with her would never have been my own. Happiness, love, contentment, peace – it would have all been pretend with her. But not with Summer.

I stopped. We were almost at the store. “Summer,” I said, turning her towards me. “I want you to know how happy I am right now this very instant.”

She smiled and it lit up her whole face. “I am happy too, Matthew. There’s nowhere else I would rather be than here with you under the apple trees.”

Technically speaking, we weren’t under the trees, but one look in her beautiful brown eyes told me what she was thinking. She moved into my arms and kissed me soft on the lips. If a man could melt in the morning sun, I would have been a puddle. She took my hand and led me off the path until we were, in fact, under an apple tree. She eased me down onto the ground, tenderly pulling me on top of her. Slowly and ever so sweetly, we kissed and touched each other’s faces, so lost in each other we didn’t hear the approaching truck until it had passed by on the path we had just left. We could hear a few giggles as it went by, and I thought I heard one member of our rolling audience exclaim, “Tipo con suerte!”

It was twenty minutes later that we made it to the store. After the Latino workers had driven by in their truck, we had lay there together curled up under the tree. Staring into each other’s faces, we didn’t say much of anything. There was no need to. We both knew what we were feeling, even if we were still too scared to put it into words. Instead, our conversation was held with the eyes and lips, until we knew we had to get going to the store again.

Helen was working the register at the front of the store, and being Friday it was a little busier than usual. Still, the older woman spotted us from behind the counter and gave us a nod and smile as she waited on her customers. Summer wandered down an aisle made up of baskets of apples. Each basket held a different variety, and as I came up alongside her and asked her what she was looking for, she wistfully smiled.

“Just trying to determine which type of apple tree we were making out under.”

I smiled back and kissed on the cheek. “Do you want me to ask Helen?” I asked.

“You better not,” Summer hissed under her breath.

“Well, hey there, couple who are not a couple,” Helen said, approaching us from across the store. “How goes it today?”

“Pretty good,“ I said. “We are just out enjoying the orchard on a Friday morning.”

Helen looked at Summer with one eyebrow raised. “Watch this one girl, I detect friskiness in his voice.”

Summer laughed. “Oh he’s that, alright.”

The woman laughed at this and rolled her eyes in my direction. “I don’t know what it is, but this country air is sometimes charged with tomfoolery.” She shrugged. “But that’s okay, if it wasn’t for that, I imagine most of us wouldn’t be here, now would we?”

I didn’t know if she meant frisky behavior brought us all into the world or whether the reason we were here was to get frisky ourselves. Either way, she may not have been too far off the mark. “I’ll just grab us a soda,” I told Summer and made my way to the drink cooler.

As I walked off I heard Helen whisper low, “I think I embarrassed the poor fella.”

I grabbed two drinks out of the cooler and came back over to them. Summer must have broached the subject of paying to stay on an extra couple days. Helen was shaking her head.

“No doing,“ she was saying. “I told Matthew earlier that it was double occupancy, so couples can stay under one price, and since he has already paid up…”

“But we’re not a couple,” Summer interrupted.

“Yes, that’s exactly what he said too.” She smiled at us both. “He was serious about it then, but you’re not now. So keep your money and have fun at Orchard House.”

“Okay then,” she uncomfortably replied. “Well, thank you.”

“It’s not like you are the first two who tried to deny their feelings up there,” Helen said. She looked at us closely as if waiting for us to protest, but Summer and I just cast glances at each other as if to silently ask , is this what it is?

“I guess you didn’t know,“ Helen went on. “Orchard House has a way of bringing people together no matter where they came from or how they was brought up. In fact, my mother met my father there. It wasn’t for rent then. She lived there with her parents, her older sister, and a younger brother. It was a regular farmhouse then, my grandparents had started the orchard and it was young in those days. Her younger brother Sammy was in the war. This was about ’42 or ’43, and he came home with this buddy of his, a fella he called Gunboats. Now right away, they fixed that blonde hair, blue eyed soldier boy up with the older sister, Jessica, but the one that boy really had the eye for was my mother, Hope.”

Helen stopped long enough to make sure there weren’t any customers that needed waiting on and then continued with her story. “Now, Gunboats was staying at Orchard House while the boys were on leave, and it always seemed to everyone, even my grandparents, that he was going to end up proposing to Jessica before they had to go back to England and the war. Problem was, Jessica was the lady type, and prim and proper, all dolled up all the time. She wouldn’t let no boy see her without her being perfectly presentable, if you know what I mean. So, in all the times she made Gunboats wait to see her, he entertained himself by making conversation with Hope, who was to most the tomboy type. She didn’t dress up for nobody, didn’t doll herself up, and was more content going outside and climbing a tree than going to dances.“

She cast a look at Summer to say she knew which girl she was more like.

“Needless to say, Gunboats fell so hard for Hope, he ended up proposing to her instead. Of course, that didn’t settle with the doll of the family, and in an effort to get him to change his mind, my grandparents told him he could marry Jessica now or wait until the war was over and marry Hope.”

The bell over the door jingled, and a couple customers came in. Helen waved to them and then turned back to us. “Care to guess what Gunboats did?”

Neither of us knew what to say, we were so wrapped up in the story of her parents, so she answered for us.

“He went and bought a ring for Hope. She wouldn’t wear it though. Said she didn’t want the pain of having him, and then losing him in that awful war. When he asked her to at least be his girl, she wouldn’t do that either. She told him they could be friends while he was away, and if he came back they could court. So, he took that ring he bought, put it on a chain around his neck, and promised her both the ring and he would come back.”

Summer smiled, and I have to admit it was a nice story, but unfortunately she wasn’t going to finish it. Customers were up at her counter.

“Tell you what,” she said. “Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you the rest.” We both gave her a look of disappointment. We wanted the rest now. “I’ll tell you this much. The ring came back before the body did.”

Helen sauntered off to wait on her customers and Summer gave me this sad look that said she wasn’t looking forward to how the story ended anymore. “I thought it was going to be a pretty love story,“ she said.

“Yeah me too. Come on, let’s get in line and pay for these.” We went up to the counter, and after a few minutes Helen was ringing us up. She looked at our said faces.

“Oh don’t have them long faces, you two. Orchard house is about living and loving, not dying and losing. Just do me a favor, tonight when you’re up there, think of Gunboats sleeping on a cot set out in the living room. Around the corner down the hall, Jessica waiting for him to wise up and marry her before the war killed him. And upstairs, Hope, wanting that boy more than anything but not wanting to endure losing him. I think sometimes the fear of losing someone keeps us from loving them. Hope knew that. The house up there knew that. But Gunboats didn’t. He left Orchard House thinking that girl didn’t love him, and it took two years before the house drug him back. But that’s a tale for another time.”

“Tomorrow?” Summer asked.

“You bet. Just come see me and I’ll dish the rest.” She smiled. “But before you go, let me give you a piece of advice just in case you get busy and don’t come back for the rest of the story. Don’t either one of you be a Gunboats, thinking the other don’t care. Because you know as well as I do, you can say you’re not a couple, but Orchard house knows you are.”

She winked and sent us on with our change, a smile, and that damn story of hers bouncing around in our heads.

Part 32: A Portrait and Pizza

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Vampire Boys Of Summer: Chapter 24


Chapter 24: Haru’s Room & Mother’s Alone

We were still lying on the porch deck, Haru over top of me, his dreamy, dark eyes peering into my own, when I heard someone coming up the porch steps.

“Hmm, looks like someone forgot to sweep off the porch this evening,” a deep voice said. “I’ll need to fire the maid for sure.”

Haru grinned and turned his head to the intruder of our privacy. “Hello Uncle,” he said.

I was a little embarrassed and tried to hide my face. Mr. Tomoko laughed.

“No need to hide, young lady. I know who you are. He won’t shut up about you no matter how much I plead him to stop.” He leaned down towards us and grinned. In his arms, he held two bags of groceries. “I would ask you two to help me with these, but I can see you’re otherwise busy. Well, never mind, stay prostrate as you like. The air is probably livelier down there anyway.”

As he opened the back door and went inside, he shook his head and muttered something mirthful to himself. Haru shook his head, too.

“Tomoko has a certain sense of humor. It may take you awhile to get used to it.”

I smiled. “It’s okay. I like it. Should we go help?”

Haru got up from his prone position and helped me to my feet. “He probably doesn’t need it, but we can be civil. What I wanted to show you is inside anyway.”

In the kitchen, Uncle Tomoko had set the bags on the dining table. Coming through the back door, we both proceeded to unload the groceries so he could put them up. From the looks of things, everything had its place. Tomoko ran a tight, organized kitchen.

“Do you really have a maid?”

The older man laughed. “Miss Williams, no maid would be able to take our brand of madness for long. But don’t think we haven’t considered it. You interested?”

I had to laugh. “I can’t even keep my own room clean.”

“Well then. Looks like you and Haru are a perfect match, because his room looks like a cyclone touched down.”

“You’re just too much of a clean freak, uncle,” Haru jibed.

“There is nothing wrong with order. Everything has its place in the world, and that should reflect itself in the home as well.”

“Okay, I get it,” Haru said, “I’ll go clean my room.” He turned to me. “You want to help?”

I smiled. “Sure, why not?” In that moment, I felt like we were typical teenagers, rather than a centuries old vampire and his human girlfriend.

We left Tomoko in the kitchen and moved through the house. If I was expecting sparse furnishings, I was wrong. It could have been a show house, one of those places you find in homes magazines. It reminded me of a trip around the world with stops in Egypt, France, England, and of course, Japan. Everywhere you looked, there was something representing a different country. This was not a gothic vampire house, this was a suburban castle of a world traveler.

We went up the main staircase, a twisting set of steps whose balustrade was decorated in black and gold silk ribbons. My hand tried to grasp the railing, but slipped on the slick material.

“Sorry,” he said. “Left overs from our housewarming party.”

I wanted to ask him where all the party goers had come from if they had just moved in. And why had the Trumps been there, yet the girl next door hadn’t been invited.

As always, he seemed to know where my thoughts lie. “I’m sorry we didn’t invite your family,” he said. “We’d been told you were vampire hunters. That wasn’t quite the atmosphere my uncles wanted.”

I understood. Yes, it kind of hurt, but I would have done the same thing in his shoes, not knowing who I really was at that point.

“If we had the party today, you’d be at the top of the list, trust me.”

“And the Trumps?”

He smirked. “Oh well, it was Ryo who wanted them to come. He saw them outside Amanda’s house when we arrived in town. They got the first invite, even before a party was even planned.”

I tried not to be jealous. The idea of him at the same party with The Trumps was enough to make me glad Chi had broken Amanda’s nose.

“Hey, you’re here with me now, not them.”

He kissed me on the cheek, and we paused outside his bedroom door.

“You’re my girl, Nora. No one else. Just you.”

And then he opened the door.

His room wasn’t at all what I expected. If I was thinking it would be painted black with pinups of Vampirella, Bloodrayne, or Alice Cullen I was mistaken. And it didn’t have the appearance of a teenage boy’s room, either. At first glance, it looked more like a template for a hotel room. Sparse and generic, it held a bed, dresser, mirror on the wall, and a small, open closet. A divider ran through the back half of the room, separating it from a toilet and shower. The simple furnishings helped remind me that though he had the look of a teenage boy, Haru had lived hundreds of years. I imagine having to follow the latest, ever changing trends for that long would get old. Trying to keep up with what kids found popular would be maddening, so instead he had settled for a room that reflected none of those flighty things.

He did, however, have a wall mounted television, under which sat a shelf of DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs. A quick perusal gave me insight to his various interests and likes. As he had already told me, he had the Suspiria movie, in several editions, as well as other Italian horror films. I hadn’t heard of any of them, but the covers looked quite terrifying. On the American side of things, he had foregone Twilight and Vampire Diaries for American Horror Story and the original Dark Shadows, a black and white TV show dad had gotten me hooked on when I was little. From Japan, he had a small collection of ghost story movies, like Ringu and Ju-On. Despite his apparent love of horror, which endeared me to him even more, a few movies in his collection looked out of place: The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink. When I raised an eyebrow and looked at him, he just shrugged and said, “Ducky should have got the girl.”

I didn’t see any computers or laptops around, and the only decorations on the wall were two framed photographs, one of a creepy looking forest, the other of a woman in white sleeping on top of a mausoleum. There were no rock and roll posters, girly pinups, or any other things a young man would have in his room. There wasn’t even a stereo, as far as I could tell, though I did notice a small clock radio on an end table at his bedside.

The bed was small, made for only a single occupant, and I imagined if I ever slept over here, one of us would have to sleep on top of the other. I didn’t mind such a thought, and almost told him so, but decided to keep it to myself until the time came.

We ordered in pizza, and I used Haru’s cell to call Angela. She didn’t answer, but I figured she didn’t recognize the number. If I’d used mine, she might not have answered either after our argument the night before.

My boyfriend was sympathetic. “I’ll go over and check on her in a minute. That’s if she is even with Ryo.”

I smiled and gave him a quick kiss. “Okay, thank you. I won’t lie. I’m still worried, even though you said he wouldn’t turn her.”

“I know. It will be okay.” He put his hands on my hips. “Come here.”

I let him draw me close. As his lips met mine, I swore I heard singing from somewhere in the house. The lilting voice seemed to be butchering an Adele song in wonderful ways. It was a nice serenade, and with Haru’s mouth on mine, my fingers fumbling with the removal of his shirt, we fell back on the bed. I half expected an explosion of roses to erupt from the mattress, as Rolling In The Deep became Tearing Up The Sheets.

An hour later, we lay in bed, the covers tossed about us, clothes laying on the floor. He cradled me in one arm. His free hand played with my hair, as if he were fascinated with every strand on my head. He leaned close and breathed me in. He sighed as if he had just caught a whiff of grandma’s freshly baked Christmas cookies. I had to smile. It was wonderful having a boy make over me like this. All the little moments a girl dreams of, all the things she wishes a boy to be, it was right here in this bed, where space was so tight the only thing keeping me on the mattress was Haru’s strong arm around me.

“This is perfect,” I whispered.

“Yes, it is,” he agreed, nibbling at my ear. “Is it wrong that I want you all the time?”

“No, it’s not,” I answered with confidence. After all, I had been asking myself the same thing. We had been making love like a brush fire out of control. Our lovemaking was intense and often, as if today was all we had. I think we both knew we would have to slow it down soon, but right now it was fresh, exciting, and we were so insatiable for each other we couldn’t stand it. To not be able to touch Haru, or to feel his body next to mine, was now my biggest fear. I wanted him all the time and was not ashamed.

“I just want to make sure this isn’t too much, too soon, too fast. I love you and don’t want to chase you away.”

“You couldn’t chase me off if you tried. I would stalk you.”

He laughed. “My stalker. I like that.”

I kissed him and threw my bare leg over his thighs. I lay my head on his chest and breathed in his scent. I was going to hate going back to school tomorrow. It was the last week until summer break, but I really didn’t….

A loud knock on the door startled me from my contentment and thoughts. Disappointed at the interruption, it got worse when the person didn’t wait for an answer but just barged on in.

Chinatsu was dressed all in black. Tight fitting spandex and high turtleneck. Hair pinned back. She looked like a ninja assassin in a Marvel comic book. She didn’t seem surprised to find us in bed together, but instead got straight to the point for her interruption.

“We have a problem.”

Haru sat up, while I remained under the covers. “What’s wrong?”

She looked at me, then back at him. “I’m not sure this is a public matter. If we could speak in private.”

“You can speak in front of Nora.”

“Are you sure?”

This was the first time Chi had seemed to be wary of involving me in their world, and Haru looked to me for confirmation of trust, as well. I nodded to reassure him it wouldn’t be spread beyond the room.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Haru replied. “Go ahead.”

“Okay.” She didn’t seem comfortable of this, but she came out with it anyway. “There’s been a vampire attack.”

“Here in Chelsea Valley?”

“The custodian at the high school was the first victim it looks like. Happened last night sometime. Trail of bodies through town, heading out to the highway and beyond. We don’t know how far the trail leads. Luhan sent me back for you and Ryo. We don’t know how many we’re dealing with.”

“How many bodies so far?”

“Seven. I’m sure there’s more. No apparent connections. Looks pretty random. Just people in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Haru got out of bed. His state of undress didn’t faze Chi.

“I’ll wait outside,“ she said. She stepped back through the doorway and then stopped. “I know parting is such sweet sorrow, but make it a quick goodbye.”

When she was gone, I came out from under the covers. Haru was almost dressed by the time my feet touched the floor. “You can stay here if you like,” he said. “You’ll be protected under this roof.”

“Can I go with you? Maybe I can help identify…”

“It’s too dangerous. You need to stay here until we know what’s going on.”

I knew there was no point in arguing, no matter how bad I wanted to be part of their clan. The truth of the matter was that I’m human. I would be a distraction and a liability. My fear alone would alter the playing field.

“What about mom? She’ll be by herself.”

“You can bring her over here, “ he answered.

“She’ll want to know why.”

“You can’t tell her. If she won’t come, let my uncles know. They can keep a watch on the house.”

I nodded. “Okay.”

He stepped towards me and I threw myself into his arms. “Please be careful. I just found you.”

“And I found you, love.”

His kiss was soft and tender that my worried brain told me this could be our last kiss ever.

“There will be many more,” he whispered, as if he were in my head seeing all those fears. “I am forever and always yours. I will always return from the hunt.”

“Is that what this is?”

He shook his head. “No. This isn’t a hunt. It’s something else. I’m just not sure what.”

“Be safe.”

He smiled and kissed me again. “I will.” And then he was out the door, leaving me standing there , fearing for not only his safety, but my own.

I sat in his room for a little bit, perched on the edge of his bed, debating on what to do. I knew I couldn’t follow them; there was no way I’d be able to keep up. But to stay here holed up inside the vampire’s suburban fortress wasn’t much of an option either. Not while mom was next door alone and unprotected. I still had dad’s vampire slaying kit in my closet if I needed it, but mom would be clueless how to react in the event of a bloodsucker home invasion.

I looked around Haru’s room. Once he had gone it seemed devoid of anything, like a blank canvas in which the painter forgot how to even mix the paints. It was as if Haru had been the very thing that brought life to the bleak surroundings, and without him it was more like a crypt than a bedroom. The stifling atmosphere was too much, so I got up and left the room.

The rest of the house seemed just as lonely. I could still hear singing coming from somewhere within the house, but it was softer now. There was no sign of the vampire uncles, but I didn’t feel I was alone. They were here somewhere. I thought of calling out a goodbye to let them know I was leaving, but I figured they already knew, so I left by the back door and crossed the yard towards my house.

I looked across the street to the Winston house. All looked quiet over there. I assumed Ryo had taken off with Haru and Chi, and so now the house looked the way it used to in the days before Mrs. Winston was turned into a vampire. It was crazy how so much had changed in just a short amount of time. The vampire boys had arrived, and with them had come a whole new world. Before, my worries had been about being bullied, passing grades, and what new rumors about me were being spread. Now my head was filled with new, different series of worries. Were we under a vampire attack? How long would I have with Haru before he moved on or I wasted away from age? What was mom going to think when she found out not only was I having sex, but I was having it with a vampire?

With that thought, my mind returned to home and mother. She was by herself, and somewhere vampires were killing people. I had to get in there and be ready to protect my family if need be. It would be the thing my father would do if he were here. And since he was locked up, it was up to me to step up and be the ‘man’ of the house.

I walked up the porch and opened the front door. It was quiet in the house, which was not that unusual, as mom preferred silence when she was drinking, cooking dinner, or trying to sleep. She didn’t watch television much, but did keep the stereo turned on in the living room. Usually it was just set on a local radio station and turned down low as a whisper, but now there was dead silence.

I walked into the kitchen. “Mom,” I called out, thinking that was where she would be, but the room was empty. A half eaten plate of food sat on the counter, as well as an empty glass. I bent down and took a whiff. Rum and Coke.

I left the kitchen and went back out into the hallway. I hesitated at the stairs, figuring what I would find if I went up to her room. Mom passed out on her bed, or drinking in the tub, most likely. I took a deep breath and started up the steps. That’s when I heard it. A quiet sobbing underneath the silence. Was mom crying? Had she gotten so drunk now it was time for a sobfest? She wasn’t one who got that way much when drinking, but I had seen it on occasion after an argument with myself or dad.

On the landing, I paused. The sobbing wasn’t right. It was louder now, going from sniffles and sad moans to a loud anguished wail, as if someone was being tortured to their very soul. I bolted down the hallway. For a brief moment, I considered stopping at my room to retrieve the stake from the vampire slaying kit, but there wasn’t time. The cacophony of pain was increasing, and if there was an enemy vampire in my mom’s room I was going to have to take it on bare handed.

I burst into the room. Mom was on her bed, her face red, tears streaming down her face. I cast my gaze back and forth across the length of the room, looking for the invader, but I saw no one. Perhaps he had fled, scared off by footsteps or her screaming.

“Where is he?” I cried out, running to my mom’s side to protect her in case the vampire charged from the shadows.

Mom looked up at me, horror and devastation in her eyes. “He’s dead.”

“Who’s dead?”

Before she answered I knew. There was no vampire in her room. Her wails had not been born of physical pain, but the deepest emotional loss.

“Your father,” she cried. “Your father is dead.”

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Orchard House Part 30: Slow Down, Tiger

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Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Part 30: Slow Down Tiger

Back in the house it seemed different. The air of dread that hung over us both that morning had dissipated, replaced by a reprieve that would allow us to relax and find ourselves, and indeed each other, in all the turmoil that our lives had been. We closed the door behind us, and as she sat on one of the stools around the kitchen island, I poured us both a cup of coffee. “Would you do me a favor?” I asked as I set her cup in front of her.

“Yeah sure.”

“Get those bags away from the door and back up to your room.”

She followed my gaze to where her packed bags had sat by the kitchen door.

“In fact,” I said, “unpack them so I know you’re really going to stay.” I sat down beside her with my cup and took a sip.

“Okay,” she replied, with a little smile. “Would you do me a favor, too?”

“Yeah sure, anything.”

“Shut up.” She leaned towards me and planted a kiss firm on my lips. I closed my eyes. This was so wonderful. If I’d known her kisses tasted this heavenly I would have shut up the first moment I met her.

“You know I can’t let you pay my way though,” she said after we parted for breathing exercises.

I sighed. “Well, in actuality you don’t have to. And neither do I. According to Helen at the store, the price I paid to stay was for double occupancy. So you could just stay as my guest and nobody owes anyone anything.”

She seemed to think about that one for a minute. “That may be so, but I should still offer to pay them.” She looked at me with a teasing smile. “That way you’ll know I’m staying for sure.”

I smiled. “I’m really glad you decided to stick around, Summer. “

She put her hand on top of mine. “I’m glad you wanted me to. No one has ever tried to get me to stay when I get that flight feeling in me. They just let me go and don’t try to convince me otherwise. It really means something to me that you are….well, different than anyone else.”

I squeezed her hand and leaned close to her. “I have a feeling,“ I said. “A feeling that the both of us have needed someone to be honest with us. And that’s one thing I promise you right here, I will always be honest. You can count on me; I’m not going to let you down or make you regret your decision to stay.”

She placed her lips soft against mine and we closed our eyes. The kiss was wonderful, sending butterflies through my stomach and making me dizzy with the need to hold her and kiss her for the rest of our days here. When we parted, she smacked her lips together as if she had just put on some chap stick.

Smiling, she said, “Now that sir, was very nice indeed.”

I grinned and touched her cheek with my hand. She leaned her head into my open palm, and I found myself gazing into her beautiful brown eyes.

“If you only knew what I was thinking,” I said.

“You’re thinking that you want to kiss me again,” she replied.

Without another word, I lifted her from her stool and set her over in my lap. I wrapped my arms around her, enveloping her like a cocoon, and she in turn straddled me, wrapping arms and legs about me, two lovers desperately trying to be one. Her mouth full upon mine, lips parted and tongues darting, I rose, carrying her across the room, her legs and arms still wrapped around me, until we reached the hallway where we collapsed against the wall. Pleasantly pinned, her hands groped my back, and I found my hands sliding down her backside, as well. She grabbed my butt, giving it a loving squeeze, and I pressed myself against her, placing her back to the wall. I could feel her breasts pushing against my chest and our breaths grew louder and ragged, mouths devouring each other, hands exploring bodies through our clothes. And then just as suddenly as it had begun, it ended. She dropped her legs from around me and let them touch the floor. Gently and without much force, she separated herself from me, her breathing still hard as she took a deep breath.

“Give me a minute, tiger,” she said. “This is moving pretty fast now.”

“I’m sorry,“ I said. “I…I couldn’t help…”

She put her hand to my lips to hush me. “I know, I couldn’t help myself either. I really am enjoying this…but let’s just take it easy for now, ok?”

“Okay.”

I took a breath too, and she gave me a reassuring smile to let me know I had done nothing wrong. She was just not used to things going so fast. After all, just minutes ago she was prepared to leave, and now we were making out in the hallway like there would never be a tomorrow. In this day and age it may not have been unusual for a relationship to get heated and go to the next level in twelve hours, but I don’t think either of us were emotionally prepared for that. Perhaps our flesh and passions were, but we needed to take a time out and think about this. She was afraid of being hurt someday soon by yours truly and I was…Well, I needed to get some things out of my system before I could let my heart completely open and allow my desire for Summer to soar free.

She ran her fingers through her hair and straightened up her clothes, before letting out a long sigh. “I think what I need is a bath, and then I should go on down to the store and pay Helen for my extended stay.”

“I’ll go with you,” I said. She looked up at me with a look on her face that said she wasn’t ready for communal bathing. I laughed. “I meant I’d go with you to the store.”

The shocked look left her face, and with a little embarrassment, returned my smile to me. “Oh, okay. Guess you can tell where my mind is at.” She looked away so I couldn’t see the red growing on her cheeks. “Yeah, well okay, bath time,” she stammered.

“I’ll be in my room. Just give me a shout when you’re ready to go.” I leaned towards her and kissed her on the cheek. “See you in a bit.” Then I headed to my room and the task I had been avoiding ever since I had arrived at Orchard House.

I sat down at the writing desk and looked at my cellphone laying there. I wasn’t real anxious to do it, but I knew I had to call my brother and get all this over with. I hit the speed dial and waited for it to connect. “Hello Eric,” I said, when he picked up on his end.

“Matthew!” he shouted in my ear. “Man, I have been worried sick about you! Where the hell did you take off to in such a hurry?”

My leaving hadn’t been that big of a hurry, but I didn’t want to start off the conversation with a disagreement. We would get to that soon enough. “I needed to get away for a little while, brother. Clear my head and just go for a drive.”

There was silence on the line. I knew he was trying to work it out in his head if I was talking about getting away from him or Ashley. “Long drive,“ he finally replied.

“Yeah,” I said.

“So, did it work?”

“No, not really,” I quietly answered. I figured why sound happy; let him feel guilty awhile.

“Look Matthew, I’m sorry about the talking to Ashley thing. I know I should have told you, and I was wrong. I know you feel I betrayed you…”

“You have no idea how I feel. And neither does she.”

He sighed. “Maybe not, but I’m still sorry.”

“I needed you, Eric. I needed for you to stand up for your little brother. You stood up when I got picked on in school. You stood up for me when I was in the hospital last year. But when it comes to a woman, you won’t stand up for me at all. You just took her side without asking how I was holding up or how I felt.”

“All I did was talk to her,” he reasoned.

“You don’t get it. What if Liza took herself and the boys and left you, then I started talking to her immediately afterwards and didn’t tell you. Wouldn’t that hurt?”

“I’d be furious,” he admitted.

“Then maybe you can understand why I don’t want to come back anytime soon.”

“What are you going to do, Matthew? Stay on your getaway from life forever?”

I didn’t care much for his sarcastic tone, but I didn’t say anything in response and he seemed to understand.

“This is like the hospital, isn’t it?” he said. “Look, bro, none of this is your fault. Mom and dad wasn’t your fault. You and Ash wasn’t your fault. It’s just everything has its season, and when that season ends, you either wait for it to come around again or you leave it behind and get on with the next season.”

“That’s exactly what I’ve done. Because I’ve learned that my time with Ashley was a season cold as winter. But I’ve discovered there’s nothing like Summer.” At this point the ideal thing would have been to hang up on him or tell him about Summer herself, but I didn’t. “I don’t want to fight with you, Eric. I just called to let you know it’s okay, I’m over it.”

“Okay, good,” he replied.

“But I don’t think I’ll see you again, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I won’t be coming back.”

“What made you decide that? Me? Ashley?”

“From the moment I left, that was my intention,” I answered.

“Where are you going then, if not back home?”

I took a deep breath. “I don’t know where this particular journey ends, but I’m ready to let everything go. Mom and dad, Ashley, you.”

“Listen, Matthew…”

“No, you listen to me for once. We were happy brothers. Inseparable. We took every journey together. But you can’t go on this journey with me.”

“Where are you?” he asked. “Please, tell me where you are.”

“Tell Ashley I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean, you’re sorry?”

“That she could never take the time just to talk to me and say how she was feeling. “

“Okay, I’ll tell her you’re sorry.”

“Not like that Eric. I’m sorry for her. That she’ll never love anyone , nor ever be happy, because she can’t be honest about her feelings. It’s sad, but she’ll always be haunted by the one that she threw away.”

“What are you planning, Matthew?”

“Orchard House and the heart of everything.”

“What?”

“That’s where I’m staying, and that’s what I’m planning. See you, brother.”

I hung up on him. I set the cellphone down on the desk top. My hands were shaking. Not because of nervousness, but from anger. Calling my brother should have made me feel better, but all it did was upset me more. It made me think of what I had originally set out to do when I first pulled in the driveway of Orchard House. I felt a tear well up in my eye, but I wasn’t going to cry over this anymore. I wouldn’t waste another tear on anyone. No one but Summer. I looked in the mirror to make sure my composure would be okay when I faced her. After the conversation with my brother, I was convinced only one thing would make me feel better, and I could hear her in the kitchen. I faked a smile at my reflection and went out into the hall.

Part 31: Under The Apple Trees

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 29: Fortunes And The Truth

click the link below to start from the beginning or catch up on other chapters

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Part 29: Fortunes And The Truth

The Artist’s Village was across from Orchard House. Right beside a rolling creek lay several wooden buildings, all with porches and awnings. Hand painted signs decorated each one, signifying which artist or craftsman set up shop there. At the first, handmade jewelry was laid out on the porch railing. Across the bottom of the awning, a few dozen brightly colored dream catchers spun, trying to catch the sun more than dreams. We stopped and spoke to the woman who was set up here. It was the very same one who crafted the jewelry we had seen on display at the Italian restaurant in town. After perusing a few of her pieces and engaging in small talk, we moved on to the next little building.             Here, an older man was sitting on the steps, telling an audience of three how the local Native Americans who once graced the area made their own knives. He was deeply engaged in showing them how they used flint to shape the arrowheads, and was in the process of making one himself as he talked. I found this fascinating, but it wasn’t why we had come to the village, so we moved on.

The next was the shop of an old woman selling hand carved walking sticks ornately designed with scenes of deer, bear, and even buffalo, which I doubt were ever this far east. The intricate carvings must have taken large amounts of time to create, which accounted for the large price tag as well.

At the very last building we discovered the fortune teller. Her shop was surrounded by little stone cairns she had made from rocks drug up from the creek bed. A sign hung over the awning declaring “Fortunes Divined”, and the woman who stood there at the railing as if expecting us fit the bill of wandering gypsy. Hair wrapped up in a colorful bandana and wearing a dress so long it dragged the earth, beaded necklaces around her throat, she looked like something out of an old novel getting ready to warn us not to go to Dracula’s castle. She greeted us with a smile.

“Ah, the couple from the house,” she said.

It was easy for her to know this. After all, we were staying right across the street, and had just walked down its long driveway to the village, but the way she said it made it seem as if she were indeed expecting us.

“We’re looking to have our fortunes read.” I replied.

Now she frowned. “I don’t read fortunes.”

I was confused. “You don’t? Your sign says fortunes divined.”

“I do divine fortunes, but not as in palm reading or tarot cards, or giving vague predictions about tall dark strangers. I help others divine their fortunes, mostly in the form of finding things they have lost. Have you lost something?”

“Yes,” Summer answered. “But I don’t want it back.”

The fortune teller looked to me for a different answer. “Yeah, I lost something too,” I said, “but like her I don’t think I want it back.”

She smiled, and when she spoke her reply sounded like a doctor gently trying to tell a patient whatever they have is terminal. “Both of you should consider this. Often, lost things have a way of coming back to you. Now you can be as you say and refuse to accept it back, but remember, some things lose themselves just so you will come looking for them again.”

Great, we not only had a gypsy who didn’t tell fortunes, but she also talked so cryptic it could take weeks to decipher her meaning. So I cut to the chase. “What do you mean?”

She looked at me as if it was obvious and I was only embarrassing myself. “You lost someone you believed you loved. You are almost over this person, but something remains, some little piece of you that craves to know what was lost. If anything.”

I glanced over at Summer. She looked a bit put out, as if all this time I had been harboring a secret desire to call up Ashley and beg her to come back. Before I could tell her that was preposterous, the fortune teller fixed her with her gaze. “And you, young lady, are in the same boat. Someone you believed you could love disappointed you, and yet you still long to know why they could not love you. It is a man of course, but not necessarily this one.”

She smiled at me, as if to secretly say, ‘I’m setting this up for you, son. Don’t blow it.’

Summer smiled as gracious as she could, but I could tell the woman’s words were hitting her close to the belt. “That’s correct. But I’m not going to waste time on that particular disappointment anymore. So in this case, I guess it’s best to stay lost.”

“But what if that person could change, or perhaps he is quite not what he seems? Would recovering what was lost mean something then?”

“I suppose,” Summer answered. “But that’s not likely.”

The gypsy nodded and then cast her eyes on me. “And you darlin’, if the one you lost could change, would you wish to find her again?”

I hesitated just an instant, but it was long enough for Summer to notice. “No, I wish her to stay lost.”

The woman smiled at both of us and gave a slight bow, more for effect than any courtesy I imagine. “Then you have no need of my services. I believe you both know what you want. You just don’t know how to get there, or what to do with it once you have it.” She sighed. “But it will come to you in time. Fate always gets her way like that.”

The walk back up the drive seemed longer than the walk down. And it wasn’t because we were going uphill either. It was because of what I dreaded lying in wait once we arrived at the house. My hope had been this fortune teller would encourage Summer that something wonderful could be waiting in the wings for her instead of cryptic predictions about her father and my ex. I don’t think it helped out my cause any.

“Well, I guess that didn’t really give us any answers,” I ventured, as we trudged up the gravel drive.

“She was nice though,” Summer added, though I think there may have been some sarcasm intended there. “She was trying to hit on you, you know.”

I snickered. “Yeah, right.”

“Batting her eyelashes and calling you darling. Fishing to find out if you’d take Ashley back or if she had a chance. I could have smacked her if I hadn’t been afraid she’d put a hex on me.”

I laughed. “She wasn’t hitting on me. She was just being nice.”

“Yeah, nice, sure. Your mother was nice. This woman was..ooh, I’ll take me some of that.”

I shook my head, embarrassed. I don’t believe any girl had ever thought of me like that. “You’re nuts, “ I said.

“Maybe so,“ she agreed. “But she was checking you and your rack out.”

I stopped in the drive way. “What? I got a rack?”

“A nice one too, I might add,” she answered, matter-of-factly.

I thought I would die laughing if she hadn’t looked so serious about it. “Now see, this is why I love your company,” I admitted. “You make me laugh and smile like I haven’t in ages. And even when I say something that hurts your feelings I still find myself craving to be around you.”

“Craving? Oh, am I chocolate now?” she teased.

“Sweeter.”

I started walking again, and she kept the pace with me. The laughter was over now though. We were drawing alongside her car in the drive. It was just a short walk around the corner to the back door where her bags waited. I didn’t know what else to say, what else I could do, to convince her to stay. The only thing I had left was honesty.

“Look Summer, I don’t know what’s happening between us. I don’t know what to call this that I feel.” We both stopped at the porch steps. “All I know is when I’m with you, I feel good. About myself. About the world around me. About you. And to even imagine you being gone makes me feel lost. Even more lost than…” I couldn’t finish the sentence, I couldn’t even look at her for fear she would know how scared I was. “Well, regardless, all I’m asking is if you feel the same way, or even a shade of what I feel.. Please stay. We can take these few days and figure things out together. If you needed me to be there when you faced your father, then I need you here to face..Well, whatever’s next for me.”

I heard her take a breath. I dared a glance at her face to see how she might be looking at me, and realized she too was staring down at the gravel, unable to look in my eye.

“Matthew, you know I like you. I really do. But I am scared. Absolutely terrified of my feelings. And of yours. I don’t know what this is either. I feel it, but it scares me. And I do want to run. I want to hide away where no hurt can come to me. My defense has always been to run when I find myself getting close to someone. But if I’m going to stay, I’m going to need you to keep me from running.” She finally looked up into my face and I noticed the look in her eyes was desperate, pleading. “I’m going to need you to make me stay.”

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“I don’t know.”

We stood in silence for a moment and then I stepped towards her. I opened my arms and she came into them like a prodigal returning home after a long absence. I wrapped my arms around her and pressed my lips to her ear. “Don’t run,” I whispered.

My lips grazed her cheek and I felt her sob against me, her body quietly shaking in my embrace. I kissed her cheek and spoke a quiet “shhh” in her ear. I felt her clutch me as if it were the last time she would ever do so, and then she pulled away. With her arm she wiped the tears from her eyes and looked at me with a new sense of resolve. I wasn’t sure what she was resolved to do, though. I felt I had only one more shot at convincing her, if that. I didn’t want her to go. If I knew only one thing in my life, this was it. More than anything, I wanted her here with me.

“I’m not one for begging, Summer,” I told her. “But I’m begging you now. Please stay.”

She looked up in my face, and her gaze was one of someone whose mind was almost made up, one way or another. “If you had known she wasn’t going to show for the wedding, would you have called her and begged her to show up anyway?”

The question threw me off, but I knew she wanted an answer, and only the truth would do. “I don’t want Ashley back,“ I answered.

“That’s not what I’m asking.”

I hung my head for a second, and then looked right back at her, my eyes meeting hers with the truth. “Yes, if I had known, I would have begged her.”

At first I thought she was going to cry again, for her lip trembled just slightly, before showing me the warm smile I knew her for. “Then, I’ll stay,” she said.

I took her back into my arms and held her so tight that if she changed her mind she wouldn’t be able to run, not even in place. We stood there like that, two statues of flesh and blood, perfectly molded in place. With her breath in my ear, and my kisses upon her cheek, her lips came seeking mine in a tenderness that said things our own voices could not: I need you.

Part 30: Slow Down, Tiger

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 28: What If’s

Before we begin with today’s post, I want to thank you for following and reading this little novel of mine in this ongoing daily format. If you are new to the story or just need to play catch up, click on the link below to go to the Orchard House main page. There you will find a table of contents that will allow you to go back to the beginning, or any previous part in the story. Keep in mind , each part is 2000 words or less, allowing you to read as time and schedule allows. Again, thank you for visiting Orchard House. I hope you will enjoy your stay.

Orchard House Main Page

Part 28: What If’s

There are many things that go unspoken by new couples. Perhaps they just assume the other knows how they feel, and so they don’t take the moment to confess their fears and worries about the relationship. But in my mind later that night, I pondered if the relationship would even survive past tomorrow. Summer had retired to her room and the sleep she said she needed for whatever tomorrow would bring. I knew she meant the fact that she would be leaving, even though she hadn’t quite told me so.

After our dance and night of kissing, the bed I lay in seemed very lonely. You don’t think of these things much when you have no one. It isn’t until the experience of that first kiss, that first taste of longing and desire, does the bed reveal itself as empty. I lay there wondering what it would be like to sleep at Summer’s side, to feel her breathing form resting against me, to watch her peaceful countenance as she slept and sweetly dreamed. To see her smile in her sleep would be one of life’s greatest pleasures, I imagined.

When sleep did come, it was at first filled with pleasant dreams of the orchard, blues music in the night, and Summer’s sweet peach kisses on my lips, but soon they turned to more dreadful things, such as packed bags, sad goodbyes, and the disappearing tail lights of her car as she went back home.

I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. It roused me up from sleep like someone screaming in my ear. I checked my cell to see who was calling. It was my brother. I didn’t answer it. I still wasn’t ready to talk to him. I had bigger worries now that I was awake. I looked out my bedroom to the driveway. Summer’s car was still there. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Getting dressed, I feared what I would find once I walked out the room. With just the slightest hesitation, I made my way out into the hall. I glanced up the stairs and noticed Summer’s bedroom door was open. I went around the hallway and to the living room. Looking to my right into the kitchen, I saw her bags sitting by the backdoor and my face fell.

“Matthew,” I heard her say, and I walked towards the sound of her voice. She was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. “I have to talk to you.”

I didn’t even bother with fixing myself any coffee. I was already wide awake and a bundle of wired nerves. I sat down across from her and looked into her face. It was evident she had been crying.

“You okay?” I asked.

“No, not really.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I have to go.”

I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but there was something on my mind I had to know. “What about last night?”

“It was beautiful,” she replied.

I nodded. “You don’t have to go. You can stay.”

“I only paid for three nights.”

“I’ll pay for the next four,” I suggested.

“I can’t let you do that.”

“Why not?”

She sighed heavily. “Matthew, I know you want to help, and being here with you has been so nice. I will always be grateful for how you helped me with my dad, and all the wonderful times we’ve had, but I have to go.”

“To tie up things with your mom’s estate?”

“Yes.”

“Can I come see you?”

She mustered a smile. “I would like that.”

“So would I. Summer, I don’t want you to go.”

“I know you don’t. And part of me doesn’t want to. But I have to just get away and clear my head for a while. Decide what to do.”

“About us?”

She hung her head and didn’t answer.

“What is wrong with us?”

“What?”

“You act like something is wrong with us. That we shouldn’t be here together or something.”

“Matthew, it isn’t like that. Please don’t make this any harder than it has to be.”

“It doesn’t have to be hard at all. Don’t you want to stay?”

She hesitated, and I could see her eyes starting to well up with tears again. “No,“ she said.

I couldn’t believe what I just heard, not after all we had been through together. “I see,” I stammered. “Well then..” I got up from the table. “I guess you better go then.”

“Yes,” she said with a slight tremble to her voice. “Matthew, please try to understand..”

“Oh, I understand,” I said, turning on her.

“No you don’t. I wish you could know the turmoil inside me.”

“You’re not the only one, Summer. I was in turmoil too before you came, but you brought me peace. You made me see things different, made me open my heart and take a chance. But now I feel you won’t take a chance.”

“I can’t,” she murmured. “I can’t take a chance only for you to get tired of me, or for you to go back to Ashley.”

“I don’t want Ashley. It will be a cold day in hell…”

“You say that now, but what about tomorrow?”

“Yeah, what about tomorrow? Better yet, what about today? Whatever happened with living day by day? You are making judgments against me before I have even done anything. You are just assuming one day I will do you wrong.”

“You will.”

“No,“ I said firmly. “I won’t.”

“How do you know you won’t?”

“How do you know I will?” I countered.

She had no answer for that, but still I could see there was nothing I could do. She was leaving whether I wanted her to stay or not.

“Look, Summer. Last night to me was the most beautiful thing I could ever have experienced, and you to me are the most amazing, beautiful woman I have ever met. And now, just when I’m getting to know you, to get close to you, you want to run.”

I stepped right up to her and put my hands lightly on her shoulders.

“When are you going to stop running? I’m not your father. I’m not any ex you may have had. I’m me, and though I know I’m not much, I am honest with you and I feel we have a shot at something amazing. Now if you want to go, then I can’t stop you. But know that as you do, you are leaving behind a man who is ready to throw all caution to the wind and leap into the unknown with you.”

“Why do you have to make this so difficult?”

“Because I am difficult,” I replied with a smile.

“Oh Matty,” she said, reaching for me. She wrapped her arms around me and clung to me tightly, resting her head on my shoulder. “I’m so scared.”

“I’m scared too,” I confessed.

“What if we don’t make it?”

“What if we do?”

“What if we grow tired of each other?”

“What if we don’t?”

“What if my baggage becomes too much to bear?”

“Then I will bear it with you.”

“What if…”

I took her head in my hands, my palms lying flat against her cheek and made her look into my eyes so there could be no mistaking me.

“Summer, stop the what ifs. Why are you trying to convince yourself things won’t work between us? Why can’t you just put a little trust and faith in what we have?”

“What do we have?”

“We have each other and all the possibilities for a wonderful forever together. If we both want it. Do you want it?”

She had tears streaming down her cheek. “Yes. Yes I want it.”

I took her back into my arms, kissing her forehead. “Then stay,” I said.

I could tell by how rigid her body was against me that she was torn. I knew she wanted to stay. But another part of her wanted to bolt. Just like she did in the orchard. If she bolted this time however, it would be in her car, and I didn’t think she would be returning at nightfall.

“Summer, I know, just from the past few days that we have a connection. Despite our different backgrounds, our age gap, and our past sorrows, we have something special. I know you can feel it. “

“Yes,” she whispered low.

“Look, you don’t have to leave right at this instant, do you? Even if you want to leave today , you don’t have to go immediately. Would you just stay a little longer?”

“I know what you’re trying to do. To prolong this and make it harder for me to go.”

“Yes I am,” I said.

“At least you are honest.”

“Yes. Would you go somewhere with me, Summer?”

She hesitated a moment, unsure of what I wanted from her.

“I saw something from the bedroom window when I got up and I’d like for us to check it out together. Who knows, maybe it will give us the answers to what troubles us both.”

She finally looked at me. “Okay I’ll bite. What is it?”

“A fortune teller.”

“Excuse me?”

I laughed at the expression on her face. “At the artist’s village. They are set up this morning. There’s a sign out there that says fortunes divined. So, let’s go get divined.”

At first she seemed like she was going to back down, but she relented. “Oh what can it hurt? Never had my fortune told.”

“Me neither. But I did get a crush on the fortune teller at the fair when I was fourteen.”

To this, she laughed. “I can almost imagine it,” she said.

I smiled and held out my hand. “Consider this your wild and spontaneous thing for today.”

Part 29: Fortunes And The Truth

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Apple picks up “Resurrection Diaries” & you should too 

Resurrection Diaries has come to the itunes store at the ridiculous price of FREE.  This is so awesome.  First Amazon,  now apple. So whether you are about the kindle or ibooks,  you can download my first book for free.  Hope you’ll go check it out 🙂 

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