Friday, April 27, 2018
Cordel walked into Arlyn’s apartment and handed her a tea. They had been working together for over a month and Arlyn was finishing up with her fact gathering portion of her ghost writing. It would take her a month to six weeks to write the book, another month for edits and usually that was it. The life of a ghostwriter was faster than that of a traditional author. Less room for creative differences and more of a “you’re the boss” type of mentality.
“We should go outside,” said Cordel. “It’s beautiful out there.”
“There’s a nice little gazebo in the courtyard,” said Arlyn. “We could go there.”
“And leave your cave?” Cordel joked.
Arlyn laughed. The more that they had worked together and gotten to know each other the more he had teased her. “Even we hermits need vitamin D on occasion. Also it’s our last interview day, so let’s make it special.”
“I don’t want it to end,” said Cordel.
“Of course you don’t,” teased Arlyn. “You love talking about yourself. Though I have to admit you’re a pretty interesting guy. Come on let’s go outside.”
She gathered her tea, phone, and notebook and walked towards her patio. She could hear Cordel following her. She was fairly certain when he said he hadn’t wanted it to end, that he meant them seeing each other every day. If she were being honest she would admit that she would miss him, and more than just a little.
Shaking the thought away, she went out onto her patio and then through the patio gate that led to the courtyard.
Cordel let out a low whistle. “You mean to tell me that you’ve been hiding this gem from me when the whole time we could’ve been working out here. This is beautiful.”
Arlyn looked around the courtyard and couldn’t help but agree with Cordel. Bright colored flowers and dark green shrubs outlined the courtyard, that also boasted several large trees creating an abundance of shade over the luscious green grass. A crystal clear pool sat at the far corner of the courtyard, which Arlyn used just about every day, but in the center sat a large white gazebo surrounded by orange and yellow trumpet vines growing up the sides.
“The moment I saw this courtyard I knew this was the place for me,” said Arlyn, as she walked across the grass towards the gazebo. “The pool is always maintained, which allows me to continue my exercise schedule and I’m pretty sure the owner was a horticulturalist in a past life. She just seems to know what will grow where and how to keep it thriving. I, on the other hand, have a black thumb up to my elbow.”
“Not true,” said Cordel. “You kept the honeysuckle I gave you alive.”
Arlyn knew she was blushing as she remembered going to sleep with the small bud behind her ear, hoping to dream of Cordel as her true love … and she had. She not only dreamt of him, but of the perfect life they had together. In the dream, he had shown her a whole new world and she had shown him that it was okay to be still. They were very much opposites, but found their rhythm.
She felt her cheeks grow hotter as Cordel snapped her out of her day dream. “Sorry, I was just lost in thought for a minute.”
“About the honeysuckle?” asked Cordel.
She nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I have been able to keep it alive. It’s a small miracle and I guess I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until now.”
Sitting at the patio table under the gazebo she was thankful for the cool breeze. Hopefully, it would help to ease the redness from her face and the thoughts of living happily ever after with Cordel. She had had a silly dream and that was all. The real world didn’t work that way, dreams seemed to lose all complications and reality wouldn’t let die.
“Shall we begin?” she asked as Cordel sat down.
He nodded and they began the final interview. Roughly three hours later, Arlyn closed her notebook and turned off her phone’s audio recorder. “That is it.”
“Interview portion of the Mr. Adventure pageant is over huh? Did I win the crown?” teased Cordel.
“If by crown you mean best seller, I’d hate to jinx it, but you’ve got a solid shot,” said Arlyn. “I’ve written a lot of books and this one has me more intrigued than most. You’ve lived an interesting life chasing big foot, Cordel Foster.”
“How long until you send the book to Molly?” asked Cordel.
“I’ve been writing this whole time, so I think I can get the rest of the rough draft to her in a couple of weeks,” answered Arlyn. “It’ll take her and the copy editor about a month to go through it. If they have anything that needs clarification they’ll let me know and I’ll let you know, but for the most part, our work is done… well until it comes out and then you’ll have to work the system to market it.”
“Okay,” said Cordel, with a smile. “So dinner at my place in two weeks.”
It wasn’t a question, Arlyn noted. “What?”
“We agreed to keep it professional until the book was out of our hands,” explained Cordel. “In two weeks, you’ll be finished with the rough draft and unless they need some context clarified the editors will handle the rest, correct?”
“That is usually how ghost writing works,” said Arlyn. “I don’t have a lot of pull in the final project, but I’ve never had to fight for a change or lack of one either. Molly is a great editor.”
“So, dinner in two weeks, my place.”
“I don’t think so,” said Arlyn. The truth was she really wanted to say yes. It had been beyond hard for her to not think of their kisses every time he came over and even harder not to beg for more. Those kisses had released something in Arlyn that made her crave more, but like her craving for carbs she had stifled it with work opposed to carrots.
“Why not?” asked Cordel. “We’ve spent just about every day for the past six weeks getting to know each other. Though it was my interview, we had conversations, some of the best conversations I’ve had in a long time, Arlyn. I want to get to know you better. I want to show you things and share future stories.”
“So call me,” said Arlyn with a shrug. “We can still be friends.”
Cordel stood. “I don’t want to be just friends and as nonchalant as you’re pretending to be, I don’t think you do either. That kiss meant something to me. Your lips on mine is what I’ve been holding on to in order to keep it professional.”
Arlyn stood. “That doesn’t even make sense.”
“Does this?” Cordel reached over, grabbed Arlyn around the waste and pulled her into a passionate kiss.
Arlyn felt herself sinking into Cordel’s arms as she embraced the kiss. Her lips caressed his as he pulled her tighter. The wind seemed to dance around them as they both surrendered into each other, as if the wait was finally over and now they could be free.
Arlyn shook her head as she backed away from the kiss and turned around. She wasn’t free. She couldn’t be with Cordel, she was shackled to her routine and if she broke those shackles then only embarrassment and heart ache would follow. The shackles kept her safe.
“Arlyn?” Cordel said softly.
She turned and started to gather her stuff. “You need to go.”
“Arlyn,” he said again, “just stop and look at me.”
“I’ll have Molly let you know when the book is ready for you to read and approve.” She started towards her apartment. “You can go through that breezeway and gate over there, it’ll be faster getting back to your car.”
She hurried towards her apartment and could hear Cordel walking behind her. She turned and stared him down.
He held up his hands in a peaceful gesture. “I left my phone on your table. I just need to get it.”
“Okay,” said Arlyn, relenting.
She walked through her patio and into her apartment. As she sat her stuff on the table she realized there was no cell phone sitting there.
“Don’t be mad,” said Cordel as he closed the patio door. “I just wanted to talk to you and I didn’t think this conversation needed to be had in the courtyard surrounded by your neighbors. I know how much you need your privacy.”
“There’s really nothing to talk about,” said Arlyn.
“I think there is,” said Cordel. “We have a connection. We have kept it platonic all this time, during the interview, but it was still there. We respected the business relationship, and yet that desire is still there. I felt it, Arlyn. Just now when we kissed. It wasn’t my imagination that you kissed me back … that you desire me too. Why can’t we see where this goes?”
“Molly has already lined up my next book,” said Arlyn quickly. She didn’t know that to be fact, usually Molly told her nothing until she was done with her current project so the voices of the people didn’t get mixed up in her head. Most often than not, Molly kept Arlyn busy with one project after another.
“People work and have relationships all the time,” said Cordel. “That’s a crap excuse and you know it. So why not give us a chance?”
“Because I’m not most people,” she snapped back. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
“Are you okay?” asked Cordel, concern dripping on every word. “Do you need to sit down?”
“I need you to leave,” said Arlyn, gripping the back of the couch.
“I just want the real reason you aren’t giving us a shot and then I’ll go,” said Cordel. He gave her a small smile and held up three fingers, “Boy Scout promise.”
“You really want the real reason?” asked Arlyn with a sigh, feeling her body growing tired. She needed him to leave. She needed to lay down. So she would have to tell him the truth. It was the only way.
“Yes,” said Cordel.
“We can’t be in a relationship because we are from two different worlds,” she started. “As I said, I’m a normal person. I depend on schedules and routine, where you … well you’re off traveling the world. You’re constantly on an adventure, whether you’re searching the rain forest or whether you’re at a fancy gala. There is never a dull moment in your life, where I thrive on them.”
“Our lives are different,” said Cordel. “That’s not an excuse to refuse to see where our lives together might work.”
“You will grow bored with me,” said Arlyn. “I can’t travel with you. I can’t go to parties with you. I can’t be with you the way you need someone to be with you. I’ll have to say no and you’ll start to resent it, then it will get ugly. So let’s just avoid all of that, shall we?”
Cordel rubbed his hand over his face. “Is that what you really think?”
“That is what I know,” said Arlyn.
Cordel shook his head. “After all this time, do you really think that little of me? That I would be unsympathetic to your needs and just throw you away because you aren’t tending to mine?”
Arlyn’s heart sank. She wanted to run into his arms and tell him no, that she knew him better than that. That he would never just throw her away, but she knew if she went there then he wouldn’t leave.
“Yes,” she said, her head high. “That’s what you do right? You forget I had to do a lot of research on you. I watched you show up with woman after woman, never staying with one very long. You used them, then once you were done, they were no longer in the picture. Well, you might be able to use those other women, but not me. I’m not going there.” She smirked. “But hey, I’m sure with the way you play the field, you’ll have someone else in your sights within the hour.”
She walked to the door and opened it. Cordel stared at her, mouth open, and she knew she had said the right thing to get him to leave.
She was right, without another word, he walked right out of the door.
Arlyn felt her whole body heave with despair. Her heart screamed at her to go into the hallway and beg for his forgiveness, to give him a chance, but her mind made her stay put. It hurt now, but she had done the right thing.Arlyn took deep breaths trying to steady her nerves. She wasn’t going to let him get to her, this had been her choice. She raised her head and took two steps toward the table. Her body seized, refusing to move. The last thing she remembered was falling towards the table and the grotesque sound of skull hitting connecting with a solid surface, before everything went black.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
“Is Cordel coming over today?” asked Molly as she looked at her watch.
“He said he’d be running a little late,” said Arlyn, “but yes, he’ll be here.”
Molly cocked her head. “Oh, so off schedule?”
“Gave me time to have tea with you didn’t it,” said Arlyn with a wink.
“Touché. How’s the book coming?” asked Molly.
“I’m really getting to know him,” said Arlyn, and she couldn’t help but smile.
“What is this?” asked Molly, pointing at Arlyn and waving her finger around as if to trace her face. “What is happening here?”
Arlyn shrugged. “Are you asking me as my boss or my friend?”
Molly twisted her mouth. “I’m going to go with friend first, but with a hint of boss.”
“We kissed last night,” said Arlyn with a giggle. “He came over with a movie and I fell asleep in his lap. I woke and he was caressing my hair, and then we kissed.”
Molly nodded slowly but didn’t smile.
“Don’t worry, it won’t affect my work,” assured Arlyn. “We are both professionals and the book will be done on time.”
“Oh honey,” said Molly, “I’m not worried about the book. I’m worried about your heart.”
“My heart?” Arlyn shook her head. “My heart is happy.”
“Of course it is,” said Molly. “Cordel is a handsome man and even though I’ve seen him have some jerk moments, I believe he’s a good guy, but hun.”
“What?” Arlyn could hear the snap in her voice. She wanted her friend to be happy for her, but Molly seemed anything but.
“Don’t be mad with me,” said Molly. “I’m just trying to be a voice of reason and this is strictly your friend talking here. The boss went to the next room to hyperventilate the minute you said you kissed a client.”
“Okay,” said Arlyn. “I’ll listen.”
“Cordel Foster is a known playboy,” said Molly. “I know you don’t watch television, but I do. He’s never seen with the same girl at events covered by the media. He’s never been known to have a steady girlfriend. He just kind of plays the field.”
“Molly, we just kissed,” argued Arlyn. “I’m not looking to walk the red carpet with him.”
“That’s the other thing, Arlyn,” said Molly. “He lives a life that is very much in the public eye and you are very much the opposite. He has to go to premiers and red carpet events. It is expected of him by his studio and producers. He has to remain popular and he has to continue to do his show, which means he travels a lot. You’ll hardly ever see him and that’s why I’m afraid for you heart.”
Arlyn laughed awkwardly. “Molly you’re acting like we’re about to get married. We just kissed. Why don’t you hold off and getting the divorce papers ready for now.”
She got up and took her mug to the sink. As she rinsed it out she thought about what Molly had said. Maybe getting into a relationship with Cordel wasn’t the smartest move, at least not until the book was finished. By then he might not even want to kiss her any longer, after he found out how boring she was. Her heart ached at the thought, but Molly was right. She couldn’t get carried away with Cordel Foster.
“Good morning, beautiful,” said Cordel as Arlyn opened the door to apartment to let him in. “I’m afraid I’ve been a bad boy. I brought donuts.”
Arlyn smiled. “I’ve already eaten, but have at it.”
“Are you sure you won’t be tempted by me eating this yummy ring of heavenly fried dough, slathered in icing?”
“I’m not even sure how you can eat that after all the Chinese food and popcorn we ate yesterday,” said Arlyn.
“Well,” said Cordel walking to the table. “It takes a lot of carbs to keep this machine going, as long as I’m not being insensitive to your cravings …”
“No,” said Arlyn with a shake of her head. “I’m a narcoleptic, not an addict. Your donut consumption is not insensitive in the slightest.”
“Okay,” said Cordel taking out a chocolate covered donut and sitting at the table to eat it. “Where do we start today boss?”
Arlyn handed him a napkin. “I think we’ll start by clearing the air.”
“I like the air,” said Cordel, “it smells like fried heaven.”
“We’ve established you like donuts,” said Arlyn, taking the seat across from him. “I would like to talk about last night and the kissing.”
He gave her a smile. “We could talk about it or we could do it again. I vote for the latter.”
“Cordel,” she said, “we can’t. That was very unprofessional of me last night. I crossed a line by agreeing to the movie marathon and then again with kissing you. We need to make sure this book comes first and, well, a tryst would be a distraction from that.”
“A tryst huh?” Cordel shook his head as he laughed softly.
“You know what I mean,” said Arlyn. “We need to remain professional.”
“Until we are done with the book,” said Cordel.
“In general,” said Arlyn, “after this book comes out, you’ll be busy promoting it and your new season. So we just keep it casual and professional, forget last night happened, and make this book a success.”
“Okay,” said Cordel, finishing his donut. “You’ve got a point, but I would like to change it up just a bit.”
“How so?” asked Arlyn.
“Instead of a broad no tryst agreement, I think we should, as you said, finish this book without any hanky panky.”
“Hanky panky, huh?” Now it was Arlyn’s turn to laugh softly.
“You get to use tryst, I get to use hanky panky.”
“Okay,” continued Cordel. “So no hanky panky, until the book is out of our hands.”
“Which could be up to a year,” said Arlyn. “I know they’d like it to be out in six months, but stuff happens.”
“I know how it works,” said Cordel, “my change is that we keep an open mind. We the book is not a factor we just see where this takes us.”
Arlyn sighed. She knew the relationship couldn’t take them anywhere. He would be off traveling the world and she would still be in her apartment, following her routine, watching him eat donuts, when she wanted nothing more than to devour one herself. He would be going to galas, balls, and making public appearances, while she sat in the shadows working on another book for another client. They lived in two different worlds.
“Arlyn?” Cordel cocked his head.
“Fine,” she said. “I’ll keep an open mind. Most likely you’ll grow sick of me during this interview and it won’t even be a factor.”
“Oh, I’m already planning our first date,” said Cordel.
Arlyn tapped her watch. “It’s time to work, so keep your promise.”
Cordel held up his Boy Scout salute, “I promise.”
They spent the rest of the day talking about Cordel and his early life as an adventurer. They had agreed that even though parts of his childhood would be mixed in, the main story was about his current life and how he made his adventures in cryptozoololgy a resounding television success.
“So I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Arlyn. “We made excellent progress today. Thank you for staying focused.”
She opened the door and was surprised to see Cordel’s driver standing outside of it a bouquet of flowers in his hand.
“Thank you,” said Cordel as he took the flowers. “I’ll be right down.”
He handed the bouquet to Arlyn as a sweet aroma filled the air coming from the small white trumpets. He pulled one delicately from the group and intertwined it in Arlyn’s hair. “These are for you. Their honeysuckles, my mother used to grow them. You can actually take this bouquet and start your own vine back there on your patio.”
“Thank you,” said Arlyn, “but you really shouldn’t have. This isn’t exactly professional.”
“Just a little symbol of my appreciate of you,” said Cordel. He stepped out the door and then turned abruptly. “Oh and there may or may not be a folklore that those who wear the honeysuckle flowers will dream of their true love.”
He gave her a wink, before walking down the hallway.Arlyn shook her head and then reached up to take the flower out of her hair. She stopped herself, smiled, and went to go take her nap, wondering if she would dream of Cordel.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Dream On ~ Part 9 will be up April 24th, because today we are celebrating the launch of Jennifer McMurrain's collection of Anna's Legacy novellas:
This is the first time these stories are available as a collection and in paperback. Anna’s Legacy novellas are written specifically for the Anna’s Legacy blog, in the spirit of fun, fantasy, magic, and love. Anna’s Legacy is a non-profit dedicated to bringing gifts of joy and laughter to people dealing with illness and difficult times. 25% of all proceeds from this book will go to Anna's Legacy.
Can angels fall?
Does Fey exist?
Do some loves last multiple lifetimes?
Will a mirror save a kingdom?
Welcome to the land of fantasy, fairy tales, and magic. Join Jennifer McMurrain as she weaves tales of magic and fantasy in four separate novellas. Let your heart fall in love with angels in Heart of an Angel. Help your spirit find the magic that is within us all in Birdsong. Make yourself believe in a love that will never die in The Divine Heart, and see that things are not always what they appear in The Looking Glass.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
“We made some really good progress,” said Arlyn as she walked Cordel to the door. “I think those embarrassing stories are just what this book needs.” She gave him a wink.
“I do have veto rights,” he joked back, “and you’ve signed a nondisclosure, so my secrets are legally safe with you.”
Arlyn laughed. “Any big plans for tonight?”
Cordel shrugged as she opened the door. “I’m feeling like an Indiana Jones marathon is in the works for me.”
“Fun,” said Arlyn, “enjoy, I’ve never watched them.”
Cordel stopped in his tracks. “What?”
“I don’t watch a lot of movies,” admitted Arlyn. “I hardly ever get through them without falling asleep.”
“These aren’t just movies,” countered Cordel. “They’re history! They’re action! They’re romance! They’re iconic!”
“Well you enjoy,” said Arlyn. “See you tomorrow.”
“Tell me your schedule for tonight,” said Cordel.
Arlyn gave him a side look, but answered anyway. “Nap, answer e-mails, eat a light dinner, work, read, and then bed. Why?”
“How long is your nap?” asked Cordel.
“About ninety minutes,” answered Arlyn. “Why?”
Cordel shrugged. “I just don’t want to be ignorant.”
“Mmm … kay,” Arlyn said slowly. “Thanks I guess. See you tomorrow.”
She closed the door and walked over to the couch smiling. It had been a great afternoon with Cordel. She couldn’t remember the last time she had just sat and gotten to know someone like that, much less let them get to know her.
She yawn and smiled as she laid down on the couch. As she drifted off to sleep, she swam in the gray blue eyes of Cordel Foster.
Arlyn woke from her nap feeling refreshed and ready for the evening. After getting a glass of water she sat down and started to answer e-mails. She had just finished her e-mail to Molly, assuring her friend and boss, that everything was all right, both with her health and the book. She also let Molly know that she had told Cordel of her condition and thanked her for keeping it confidential.
She hit send as a knock came at the front door. Furrowing her brow, she walked to the door. She wasn’t expecting anyone, but her mood lightened when she figured it was probably Molly coming to check on her after work.
Opening the door, she was surprised to see Cordel. He stood smiling on her doorstep with his hands behind his back.
“Did you forget something?” asked Arlyn.
“I did not,” said Cordel, entering her apartment without invitation, careful to keep his back away from her and his hands hidden. “I am here to remedy a wrong.”
She closed the door. “Cordel you’ve already apologized for the earlier. We don’t need to rehash it.”
“Oh no,” said Cordel. “Not that wrong, this one.”
He pulled his arms from behind his displaying two DVDs. One read, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, the other said, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. “Do you have a DVD player? I’ve got one in the car and the driver will bring it up if you don’t. Do you know how hard it is to find a place that rents DVD players? No one needs them anymore, everyone just streams movies now. Such a waste.”
Arlyn cocked her head. “I do have a DVD player, but I believe I made it clear that I don’t watch a lot of movies, especially movie marathons, because I usually fall asleep and that takes the fun out of it.”
“That will not apply to these,” said Owen as he walked over to her TV and opened to the cabinet under it to find the DVD player. “You’ll be on the edge of your seat, and when you have to sleep, we’ll stop. You didn’t say what time you went to bed, so I thought we could at least get the first one in and maybe the second.”
“You’re messing with my schedule,” she said.
“You said, ‘nap, e-mail, eat, work, read, sleep’ right?”
“Okay, have you finished all the e-mails that can’t wait until morning?”
“I have,” admitted Arlyn.
“So that leaves eat.” He pulled two folded bags of microwave popcorn from his back pockets. “You said light dinner, so we eat popcorn for dinner while the movie plays. Schedule intact.”
“Then work,” said Arlyn.
“Indiana Jones was one of my biggest influences as a child. I really wanted to be him, except for the professor part. I would never want to be stuck in a classroom if I could be out in the field. Unfortunately, for Indie, he had to teach in order to afford his adventures. I’m lucky enough to have a T.V. studio pay for mine. My point is, watching Indiana Jones movies is getting to know me better, it’s getting to know where some of my motivation came from when getting into my field of cryptozoology.”
Arlyn sighed. “And the reading?”
“When you’re reading to read, I’ll just turn on the subtitles,” he said as he turned the TV on.
“So you’ve thought of everything,” said Arlyn.
“Even you turning me out and breaking my heart,” said Cordel, as he gave his heart a pat and pouted his lips.
Her heart panged at his last three words as her eyes were drawn to his luscious lips, causing her to lick her own.
“Please, say you’ll watch what you can,” said Cordel. “It’ll mean a lot to me to share these with you.”
“Fine,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “I’ll watch, but I make no promises to stay awake.”
“Great! I’ll go pop the popcorn,” said Cordel as he pushed play. “You sit and watch, I’ve seen this part a million times. It’s so exciting.”
Arlyn sat down on the couch as the movie started with the pre-credits. Cordel practically sang with joy as he put the popcorn in the microwave. Before she knew it, he was sitting next to her with a big bowl of popcorn.
“Scooch in and get some of this popcorn,” he said. “You can’t watch Indie without popcorn and you do have to maintain your schedule.”
Arlyn shush him as she shifted her position to where she was leaning into him, with her hand in the bowl. She practically held her breath as Indiana Jones replaced the gold skull with a bag of sand and then squealed when the boulder started to chase him.
Cordel had been right. The movie was turning out to be great and she could see why he said she would be at the edge of her seat. She saw him watching her out of the corner of her eye and turned her head to face him.
“I thought you wanted to watch the movie,” she said.
“I’m finding watching you watch the movie is just as entertaining,” said Cordel.
She knew she was blushing and looked for a way to change the subject. “Eyes on the screen pal, you’re distracting me from the movie you wanted me to watch.”
He chuckled but did as she asked. She leaned into him to reach the popcorn bowl and was met with the salty scent of the popcorn mixed in with Cordel’s scent. He reminded her of the beach, a bit of coconut with a hint of sea air. She couldn’t help but find it refreshing.
She shook the thought away and concentrated on the movie. He was her client and they were already walking a fine line between colleagues and friends, by watching the movie together. There was nothing wrong with being his friend as long as she kept it platonic.
Arlyn woke up feeling somewhat disoriented. She knew was in her apartment and Indiana Jones was still on the screen. He and Marion were being led by the Nazis to some place in the desert, but the angle was weird as was her pillow.
It was then that she realized she had fallen asleep in Cordel’s lap. Embarrassment flooded her body, she knew it had been a mistake to try and watch a movie. It was against her routine, but just as she was about to burst up and out of his lap, she felt his fingers gently caressing her hair.
Arlyn closed her eyes and let his gentle caress take over her senses. The sweet, simple movement of his fingers intertwining with her hair made her want to curl up into his lap. She opened her eyes slowly as she realized how lonely she had been.
In high school dating wasn’t really an option for her. She felt too big and too self-conscious about her narcolepsy to even try to find a boyfriend. She didn’t go to football games, parties, or dances. In fact, she barely tolerated group projects, much less crowds. She was excused from all speaking assignments and gym class after suffering what her teachers thought was a seizure during a speech assignment. Though she wasn’t yet diagnosed with narcolepsy, her doctors thought the “seizures” were caused by stress.
It wasn’t until her junior year at college, when she had another cataplexic episode that her professor recognized the symptom and that it wasn’t a seizure. His daughter had narcolepsy and he encouraged Arlyn to go to a specialist, which she did.
Her final years of college had been spent getting her Masters in English and sticking to her rigorous schedule. Even while dropping the weight and getting noticed by men, she wasn’t interested. She shook her head gently, not it wasn’t that she wasn’t interested it was that she was afraid.
“You awake?” Cordel askes softly as he stopped caressing her hair and paused the movie.
She turned and looked at him, but didn’t rise. “Yes.”
“Good,” said Cordel, “this is the best part. I was afraid you were going to miss it.”
His voice was still soft, his eyes gentle as he looked at her. Her eyes fell to his soft lips and she knew she wanted to kiss him. He made her feel brave and she didn’t want another moment to pass being afraid. He gently brushed her hair from her face as she leaned up, placed her hands behind his neck and kissed him.
To her surprise he didn’t back away, but folded his arms around her back, bringing her closer and drinking in her kiss deeper. She broke the kiss and leaned back a little, her arms still locked around his neck and his arms remaining put around her back. “You’re right, that was the best part.”
“Truer words have never been spoken,” he whispered as he leaned down and kissed her again. She shifted her body so that she sat on his lap, taking the burden of her weight from his arms.
“Don’t,” he whispered through their kiss.
She paused and leaned back. “Don’t what?”
“I can carry you,” said Cordel. “You don’t have to worry about carrying yourself.”It was a simple sentence but to Arlyn it meant so much. She had been alone for her entire life, she didn’t know what it was like to be carried by someone else. She placed her head on his shoulder and let him hug her tightly as he whispered. “I got you.”