Friday, May 11, 2018
One year later
Arlyn mingled through the crowd, making sure to keep her breathing steady and her eyes on either Molly or Cordel. They had both teamed up to insure she came to the book launch. It had taken a little longer than the publishing house wanted to release the book. Cordel had insisted they wait until Arlyn was healthy enough to finish the book and Molly had threatened to quit and take her entire client list with her if they didn’t adhere to Cordel’s demands.
The publishing house had agreed to push the release day back and even covered Arlyn’s hospital bill that wasn’t covered by her insurance. They knew making Arlyn happy was the surest way to make Cordel happy.
She stood by Molly and scanned the crowd for Cordel. Once she found him, she was surprised to find that he was looking at her. Of everyone in the crowded room, he acted as if he saw only her and as she looked at him, she felt as if he were the only one in the room. He had made good on his promise to be patient and in turn she had ventured more and more out of her comfort zone. She wasn’t traveling the world with him, but he had opened the world up to her none-the-less. He was showing her what living was like, instead of just existing.
She gave him a small finger wave, as his assistant, Hillary, ushered him onto the stage.
“Good evening, everyone,” he said. “We’ve heard from the publishing house and fantastic my editor, Molly O’Hanaghan, so I guess it’s my turn to get up here and talk, something we all know I love to do.”
The crowd chuckled.
“When the studio came to me asking if I wanted to write a memoir of sorts, I laughed. I was surprised they knew I could put two words together, much less write a book. I jumped at the chance, or I guess I should say, my ego did.”
Another round of laughter.
“And I knew exactly who I wanted to write it with. Now, it’s common knowledge that I had help. Most of us in the business do, no matter what the others say. I, however, am humble enough to admit it.”
As the crowd laughed again, Arlyn looked at Molly. “You don’t think he’s going to pull me on stage or say my name do you?”
She could feel her nerves racing around in her belly.
“He can’t,” said Molly, “he signed a nondisclosure, remember.”
“Do you really think that’ll stop him?”
“Now, I can’t say this person’s name. I’m legally obligated to keep it a secret or I would shout it from the rooftops. I couldn’t have done it without them. This person not only found me on the page, but they helped me see the world in a different light. That it is okay to be still and appreciate the bliss of not having to run anywhere. This person has made me understand the world from a completely different angle, and I am a better person for it.” He held up his glass of champagne. “So let us salute those who got me this far, my parents, God bless them for not strangling me during my teens, the publishing house, The Voyage Channel, my staff and crew, Hillary, my fantastic assistant, Molly, and those people who have helped me all along the way become what I am, especially the one that I can’t name.” He looked right at Arlyn. “To you I say thank you and I love you.”
The crowd drank and applauded as Cordel stepped off the stage. Hillary handed him a book as he made his way to Arlyn.
“Great speech,” she said. “Thank you for not mentioning me.”
“I knew you wouldn’t want it,” said Cordel as he kissed her on the cheek. “But I did get you a book.”
He held up a copy of his memoir.
“I have that book,” she said. “It’s a best seller, all serious book owners need one on their shelf.”
“You might have a book, but you don’t have this one,” said Cordel. “It’s a signed copy. Go ahead, read the inscription.”
Arlyn took the book and flipped it open to the title page:
My dearest Arlyn,
I hope you will continue this grand adventure with me for the rest of our lives? Will you marry me?
Tears of joy swam in Arlyn’s eyes as she closed the book and nodded. Cordel wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight. She worried she might go into cataplexy, because she had never been so happy, but she also knew if she fell, he would catch her.
Note from the author:
Thank you so much for taking this journey with me. I appreciate you all understanding that this is a rough draft. Thank you for ignoring my typos, grammar mistakes, and other errors. Dream On will now go through my quality control of content edits, copy edits, and Beta edits. The story will change, it always does, so I hope when the e-book becomes available you will take this journey with me again. A writer is nothing without readers, I couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Arlyn woke to the sounds of a beeping machine and looked directly into the gray blue eyes of Cordel Foster. At first she thought she was dreaming, that he had put the honeysuckle back in her hair and that she was living her best dream.
He grabbed her hand, letting her know that it was not a dream, but very much real. She looked around and realized she was in the hospital.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I was a jerk again and you went into cataplexy and banged your head pretty good,” explained Cordel.
“How did I get here?” she wondered. “I remember you leaving.”
“I did,” admitted Cordel, “then I came back and I might have kicked in your door.”
“What?” Arlyn tried to sit up, but her head spun.
“Whoa,” said Cordel in a soft voice. “You’ve got a nasty gash and a concussion. Don’t worry about the door, I called someone to fix it right after the ambulance left. Your apartment is fine, so just concentrate on getting better.”
“You really came back?” asked Arlyn. Her head was still swimming, but now it was swimming her feelings for Cordel. “After I said those mean things, you came back?”
“I realized you were saying them to get me to go away, just as you said I would,” said Cordel. “I fell right into your trap, for a minute anyway.” He chuckled softly. “But I’m not falling for it again. First, I’m sorry I got you so worked up. It’s going to take me a while to learn how to deal with our disagreements, but I hope you’ll be patient with me.”
“Cordel we can’t,” said Arlyn.
“Yes, we can,” said Cordel, “if any two people can make this work, it’s us. Look, I’m not saying there won’t be problems, and ours may be a little more complicated than the average relationship, but I’m not willing to give up so easily. I’ve faced down poltergeists, sea monsters, and even big foot, so if you think I’m going to be scared off by a relationship that needs a little work, you don’t know me at all.”
Tears started to fall on her cheeks. She wanted so desperately to believe him, but her mind kept telling her to let him go. She could never give him what he wanted.
“I know you’re scared,” said Cordel, “and that’s okay. It’s like a roller coaster, terrifying, yet thrilling. You can’t help but keep getting on and the more you ride it, the more you realize the fun you’re having and you forget to be scared.”
“I’ve never been on a roller coaster,” said Arlyn, with a small smile.
“Then you’re in for a treat,” said Cordel, with a smile of his own. “Arlyn, don’t let fear stand in our way here. I know you have to be brave every day of your life because of your narcolepsy, let me be brave with you. Let us try.”
“Cordel,” she whispered as she took her free hand gently caressed his face. “I’m so glad you came back and not just because you got me to the hospital. I feel like you’re saving me from myself, as if you’re the hero I never knew I needed.”
She leaned in and he kissed her gently.
“Are you ready for this adventure?” she whispered softly as they broke from their embrace.“It’ll be the greatest one I will ever go on,” answered Cordel.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Cordel paced back and forth in the hallway. His mind races with everything Arlyn had said and all he can see is red. She had no idea what she was doing to him or to herself.
“Well if that’s the way she wants it, okay,” he said to himself as she stormed down the hallway and out of the apartment complex. “She gets what she wants, just like always. She thinks I’m some kind of playboy, that I’ll just throw her out with the empty beer bottles and donut boxes when I’m ‘finished’ with her. I mean, how dare she think that of me. I’ve never given her any reason to believe that. Her loss.”
He got into his car and slammed the door.
“Where to Mr. Foster?” asked the driver. “Home?”
“I don’t know,” said Cordel. “Just give me a sec.”
“Yes, sir,” said the driver.
Cordel sat back in the seat and chewed on his thumbnail, a bad habit he had quit years ago. Arlyn was driving him crazy but as much as he wanted to, he couldn’t help but feel like leaving was a mistake. He had never felt about anyone the way he felt about her and they had done nothing but talk, aside for a few kisses, which lingered in mind for weeks.
“Everything okay, Mr. Foster?” asked the driver.
“Not really?” said Cordel. “Just another moment, please.”
“Take your time, sir.”
Cordel thought about the excuses she had given. Some of them were crap, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that this was more about her and less about him. She had said something mean to get him to leave … and he had. He had done the one thing she said he would do. He got upset instead of bored, but the end result was the same. He had left.
She had hurt him before he could hurt her. Something she knew he was going to do, and he did. He had to go back and show her that he wasn’t going to run when things got hard. That even though there might be some distance between them when he was filming, he wouldn’t just forget about her. They owed it to each other to see where things went. She cared about him, he knew it, and if she wasn’t going to protect herself, then he was going to protect the both of them.
He got out of the car and hurried back to the apartment. He knocked on the door.
“Arlyn, it’s me,” he said, making sure his voice was steady and not full of the anger he had felt before. “I know you don’t want to see me right now, but I’m hoping you’ll listen through the door as I say what I need to say, then I hope you open it … open up to the possibility of us.”
He took a deep breath. “These weeks with you have been some of the best times of my life. I didn’t need to travel an ocean or explore an abandoned island, I just needed to be with you. Even though we just talked, it felt right to me, you know? I felt as if a piece of me that I didn’t know I was missing had been found.” He laughed softly. “I know I sound crazy, but even though we never went out or did all the traditional couple things, I think I’m falling in love with you.”
The words came out of his mouth, surprising himself. Did he really think he was falling in love with her? The door remained closed and he felt his heart ache at the thought she might not open it, that she might be so stubborn that she let him leave.
He knocked again. “Arlyn, please give us a chance. We’ll take it slow. Please, don’t give up on this, not when we’ve barely begun.”
He waited but heard nothing. Leaning his head against the door, he fought the urge to cry. He wasn’t a crier, even when he broke his arm in the third grade he didn’t cry and now here this woman was breaking his heart. “I just want to love you.”
Picking up his head, he sighed. She wasn’t going to open the door. She had decided it was over and that was that. He took a couple of steps down the hallway and then stopped, her voice ringing through his head.
“I can’t guarantee there won’t be,” Arlyn had said when speaking about her cataplexy, “but it is usually brought on by sudden, strong emotions, like a laughing fit, fear, anger, or stress.”
Fear raced through his body. It was possible Arlyn wasn’t answering the door because she had gone into a cataplexic state. He raced back to the door and knocked harder.
“Arlyn, open the door,” he demanded. “Just so I know you’re okay and then I’ll go away. I promise. I just need to know that you aren’t hurt.”
He banged on the door again. “Arlyn, if you don’t answer I swear to God I’ll break this door down. I just need to know you’re okay.”
Adrenaline raced through his body as he took a step back. “Move away from the door if you’re there, because I’m kicking it in.”
He took a step forward and then kicked the door with all his might. The apartment door was no match for the force behind the fear. As the door swung open, he saw Arlyn’s feet first. He gasped as he saw her lying on the floor, blood pooling on the floor by her head.
His mind raced as he ran to her. “Arlyn? Arlyn? Wake up, honey. Come on, wake up.”
Her eyes fluttered but she didn’t wake. Cordel didn’t know if she couldn’t wake up due to the narcolepsy, or if it was due to her head injury.He dialed 911 on his cell and quickly told the 911 operator the address and what had happened. Keeping the phone to his ear, he kissed Arlyn’s cheek, and prayed he wasn’t too late.