Coffee & Naughty Thoughts

Author Linda Bolton - Writer, Blogger

Month: August 2011

Into the Darkness

There’s no light. No stars, no headlights, no glow from storefronts. Just darkness. Black, inky gloom swallowing up everything in its midst. No sound, no breeze. I walk along and not even my footsteps echo. I’m alone.

A small twinkle flashes in the distance. The air is thick, heavy.  My breathing is labored but I trudge on. Something grabs my arm. It pulls me back. The darkness engulfs me, weighs on me like lead. I panic, fighting for air, escape. I scream a silent scream. There’s no one to hear it. I struggle but the bonds only tighten. The small light twinkles teasingly at me. It taunts me.

My struggle becomes frantic. Fear of never escaping feels like a reality. The darkness presses in. The light winks at me. I’m exhausted and my struggles lessen. The grip of gloom loosens. I wiggle free of the bonds. Once again steps are made in the direction of the flash. Like sloshing through muddy water, thick with sludge, I drag on. Desperation forcing me to continue.

After all energy is spent, my last breath is used to touch the light. Warmth, brightness.  My feet are suddenly light. My breaths are even and full. A bird chirps, a dog barks.  I feel a breeze on my face. My spirit is lifted and my soul is light. A rainbow kisses the sky.

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Can a Realist Become a Romantic

If the knight in shining armor doesn’t exist, what does? Do the moonlit walks and candlelit dinners? Or are those just in the movies? Do men really whisper sweet nothings or is that just in books? Is there really sexual tension or do most couples jump into a physical relationship so quickly that there is no tension?

Think about how sexual relationships on television have changed. Remember the days when couples slept in separate beds? Those days are gone and so has our imagination.  Even during prime time scenes are very explicit.  So, how does that fit into our view of romance?

For realists, romance is dead.  We all have busy lives and are lucky to be able to sit down to have dinner, much less light candles and have a glass of wine.  A quickie is the norm. Romance is for the big screen and novels; a fantasy best left to the imagination.

For romantics, its alive and well.  The slightest touch or softest breath can stir up desire. A look or smile can cause the heart to skip a beat.  Intimacy starts with holding hands and a slight kiss.  Sexual tension is meant to build. Time and place are considered just as important as the act itself.

Which category do you fit in? Realist? Romantic? Is a romance novel or a movie an aphrodisiac? Is there time for romance in the 21st century? Can you be converted?

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Perfect Chapter 5

Chapter 5
The flight from Dallas to New York was never ending. Alex told Mattie she just had to get away but didn’t tell her to where or with whom.  Kathleen, her confidant at work, was the only one who knew her true destination.  Alex was looking forward to the trip until she boarded the plane, then she began to feel foolish.  She knew Derek paid for the flight but what was she expecting from this? A mind-numbing good time, an escape from reality? Sure! But was that realistic? Shouldn’t she just try, like other widows, to deal with the loss and move on?  Was it fair for her to have this extra time to live in a dream?  Was she just postponing the inevitable? 
Once she disembarked at JFK and she saw Derek waiting for her at the end of the ramp she didn’t care if she was foolish.  He made her feel giddy, something she hadn’t felt in years. He washed reality away and let her live in the moment; a moment defined by them, not reality. She didn’t care what anyone thought and she banished the dread she had earlier. She was going to enjoy this trip!
Derek had on a baseball cap and sunglasses trying to blend in the crowd.  As he and Alex travelled through the airport a few cameras flashed in her peripheral vision.  Alex tried not to look around. Derek had arranged for them to be ushered onto the awaiting flight to be out of the crowds. He sat next to the window to avoid being seen.   
The flight to London was 8 hours.  Two hours into the the trip, once her and Derek had caught up with what each other had done over the last four years, the reality of why she was taking this trip hit her.  Alex, sitting in her plush first class seating, began to cry.  She just couldn’t control it.  She had no real explanation of it, it just happened.  Derek didn’t try to stop it.  He seemed to know what was going on inside her and just held her.  He didn’t ask any questions, just let her get it out.  
Once the tears dried up Alex apologized to Derek,“I’m sorry.  I don’t know what came over me.”
“Its ok.  I’m sure this isn’t the last of it.  You’ve had a rough time.  I’m here for you, what ever you need.  A shoulder, tissue, hug….never apologize.  I didn’t expect this to be a bunch of fun and laughter.  I thought you might need someone to just lean on.” Derek’s eyes were full of understanding and warmth.  
Alex was very glad she took this trip.  At home she feigned cheerfulness to keep everyone from saying “I’m sorry” all the time.  That drove her the craziest!  Why were they sorry?  They weren’t the ones driving the car that hit them! No, the drunk woman was in jail.  Probably not long enough and eventually she would be out again to kill someone else. Alex began to feel she could show whatever emotion gripped her without guilt. Derek made her feel at ease.  
Once in London they headed for Derek’s home on the north side in the borough of Barnett.  The house was a brick two-story.  It was warm and inviting, with rich burgundy and browns decorating every room; definitely masculine with no feminine touches.  It was tasteful and handsome. Any  rumors of women living with Derek were dispelled by his decor.  They stayed there two days while Alex recovered from jet lag.  The temperature in London was chilly but sunny most of the time and Alex relaxed in Derek’s garden enjoying the blooming flowers. Derek was very attentive and catered to Alex as she gathered her strength for their upcoming travels.
On the highway to Glasgow, Derek’s favorite place in Scotland, Alex enjoyed the beautiful countryside.  After being in Texas where the flora can go from grass to desert within a hundred miles, seeing continuous fields and mountains lush with green vegetation was a pleasant surprise.  The color was a bright contrast to the dreary sky. It was overcast and occasionally drizzled lightly.  The air was cool and crisp.      
Once in Glasgow they spent hours walking the streets as Derek showed Alex some of his favorite sights.  He was excited to show her his old stomping grounds. That first afternoon they walked along Buchanan Street looking at the Edwardian architecture housing modern art galleries and shops and spent time at the Lighthouse on Mitchell Street, walking up the 135 steps to view the city from the top.  They passed back through Buchanan Street at night, the blue streets lights illuminating the shop fronts.  Alex had never been out of North America and marveled at the centuries old building designs. 
The next afternoon they strolled to Sauchiehall Street to relax at the Willow Tea Room.  Alex was in awe. The outside was white and black, a  modern design, especially compared to the Victorian style buildings surrounding it.  They were shown to a room in the back, a bit darker than the front, with a cozy fireplace.  Old photos of Charles Mackintosh, the building designer, and Kate Cranston, the original owner, lined the walls giving the place a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  They enjoyed tea and talked about actors Derek had worked with.  
Sauchiehall Street was a busy place.  There was a large concert hall and shops from end to end.  At one corner Derek and Alex passed a group of bagpipe players in kelts performing traditional Scottish music.  In an area farther down a street band with a drummer, two guitar players and a saxophonist were playing a more modern tune.  There was something for everyone.  
Every place they went Alex experienced something new; a sight, a smell, a taste.  Even the weather was unique to her; all four seasons could be experienced in one day.  Scotland was irresistible in every way.  Derek had become irresistible too.  Every look and touch from him made her senses tingle.  
Their room in the Alamo Guest House was spacious and cozy, a Victorian bed and breakfast. The large fireplace was warm and inviting.  They had requested one of the suites with an extra large tub for two.  The owners made them feel welcome and part of their family.  Even their cat was charming.  The hospitality was unlike anything Alex had experienced.  She wasn’t well travelled and her only experience with hotels was Motel 6 on the rare occasion Josh took her anywhere.   
The Alamo was on the west end of Glasgow, in the arts district, overlooking the Kelvingrove Park.  The view was magnificent. The park was lush with nature, plants and wildlife.  After dinner Derek and Alex strolled through the tranquil park.  They walked past victorian statues, the Kelvin River and the center fountain, dedicated to Robert Stewart who brought fresh water to Glasgow many years ago.
The instant they arrived in Glasgow all the feelings of gloom Alex had been harboring melted away.  In the mornings she woke blissful and at peace. Derek’s slightest touch caused her to burn with desire.  Every fiber of her being was consumed by him every morning and night.  She was never too tired and he was always willing to oblige. Each climax stronger than the last, each feeling as though their last breath lay in the other’s chest. Their passion for one another’s touch grew with each passing day.  Derek had never felt such a connection to anyone.  Alex was lost in her desire. 
After exploring Glasgow’s art galleries from the west to the south side, the couple ventured to Edinburgh.  It was only a one hour drive through rich farmland and rolling hills.  They passed the M8 Church in Salsburg, Kirk of Schott’s Parish Church, built in 1450.  It was repaired and rededicated in 2007 and a very popular landmark in Scotland.  The countryside along their route was lush and bursting with life.  Alex never realized how much she had been missing, not just from never traveling but in her everyday existence.  She now had a fire in her, as if opening her eyes for the first time. 
Derek reveled in watching Alex’s reactions.  Very few people he met enjoyed the things he did.  He had a couple friends he’d known for years that loved to travel, see amazing things, live on the edge, but none of them were women.  Alex was open to anything.  She saw great beauty in the smallest parts of nature as well as marveled at the grandeur sights.   
Once in Edinburgh the Ceilidh Festival would be one of Alex’s favorite memories, filled with Celtic culture from bagpipes to dancing.  The festival boasted of its homegrown talent.  The music and dance displayed traditional as well as more modern forms. There were choirs and bands with open sessions that visitors could join.  There was poetry reading and music dedicated to Robert Burns, the beloved national poet of Scotland.   Derek took pleasure in sharing his culture with Alex.  She danced to the music, tasted haggis and listened intently to the storytellers with their tales of Celtic fairies and folklore.  Derek tried to interpret for her but she shushed him, enjoying the accents when she couldn’t understand the words. She was like a child on her first outing. Until they were alone. 
Derek was amazed at their voraciousness. He found a new thrill each time they came together and their passion only seemed to grow.  They had to be careful on their outings into the city, for if they touched each other their lust took over. On their second day in Edinburgh, Derek had taken Alex to  Prince Street Gardens.  They had a lovely view of the park and Edinburgh Castle from their room at the Caledonia Hotel. As they walked through the park, admiring the  the statues and scenery, they stopped at the Ross Bandstand, admiring the view of Edinburg Castle.  Derek stood behind Alex, his arms around her waist, telling her some of Edinburgh history.   She leaned back on him as his breath warmed her neck.  As he spoke his voice became low and hoarse, his body heating up next to hers, his hands began to wander over her, slowly, steadily. Derek backed up to lean on something solid to keep his balance. Before they realized what they were doing they were in a grove of trees, groping each other like teens. 
Derek and Alex realized then that they needed to be careful in public.  With paparazzi always on the prowl all they needed was to be arrested in Scotland for lewd behavior.  The tabloids would have a field day. They limited their physical contact to holding hands and an arm over her shoulder or around her waist.  Anything more and they just couldn’t control themselves.
Derek was recognized in Scotland even more so than in the States.  He was putting Scotland back on the map as a major tourist attraction, visitors hoping to experience a “Derek Dunbar” type Scotsman. The paparazzi were not as forward as in the US, thankfully.  They stayed at a distance but cameras were clicking around them periodically throughout their visit. Derek hoped unsavory press would not follow Alex home. 
Derek took Alex to East Lothian to see the rolling countryside, golden beaches and the cliffs along the shore.  They stopped at Tantallon Castle on the Firth of Forth.  It’s castle lay in ruins but they were able to climb the staircase and view the breathtaking coastline. They could see Bass Rock Island, made of volcanic rock, and its lighthouse.  The island was uninhabited but for the gannets that nested there.  Alex watched their white and black bodies, pointed wings and long bills sore in the air and dive into the water where they hunted for prey.   
After Edinburgh it was back to London and a flight to reality.  They spent one night, their last night, in Derek’s house in London.  Their passion was at its peak, their lust uncontrollable.  In the afterglow, Alex felt Derek’s touch like fingerprints at a crime scene, lingering on her body.  She hoped to still have that feeling after she returned home.  
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Perfect Chapter 4

Chapter 4
Alex’s plane left New York at 11am.  Derek had left with the early dawn.  He’d given her a feathery kiss and disappeared. She had barely felt him go. 
As Alex walked through the airport it was as though New York had just been a dream.  Alex went back to her life, to her routine; New York was a faint memory.  Alex never told anyone about her experience with Derek Dunbar.
One year later, April 16th, Alex received a text message:
How’s my fantasy woman?
Alex didn’t know the number but she knew it had to be Derek.  She’d never mentioned anything about fantasies with anyone but Derek. She had thought about that night with him often but figured she would never hear from him again. She answered back:
Doing ok my fantasy man
Alex saved the number in her phone – Derek D.
The next year, April 16, Alex received another text: 
How’s my fantasy woman?
She answered back:
Ok, how’s my fantasy man?
Alex received a response back:
Busy as shit!
Alex knew it was definitely Derek.
The following year Alex received the same text.  She responded the same and the response back was: 
Busy as shit and I’m bloody tired!
In February of the next year tragedy struck Alex’s family.  Josh and Alex were on their way home from a friend’s and a car going the wrong way on the tollway hit them head on.  The driver was drunk driving the wrong way on the access road and entered the tollway through and exit ramp. The accident was horrific.  The cars were mangled; the drunk driver dead on impact. Josh died on the way to the hospital. Alex had a severe concussion, broken ribs from the seat belt, burns on her arms from the airbag and was in a comma.  The police used their cell phones to find relatives’ numbers.  
By the next morning family had gathered at the doors of the ICU to check on Alex. She still had not regained consciousness and the doctors were not sure if she would.  The rest of her injuries were cuts and bruises, all minor.  Waiting for Alex to awaken was what the doctor’s worried about the most. They were not sure what damage had been done. 
On the second day in ICU a stranger arrived at Alex’s bedside.  Alex and the stranger were alone in her room.  He wore a baseball cap, sunglasses and baggy clothes.  Only the nurses saw him enter and leave two hours later.  No one paid attention to him. The next day he was in the room when Alex finally awoke.  
Things were blurry and when they came into focus Alex was confused.  It took a minute for her to realize where she was.  She looked around and saw Derek at her bedside.  She thought she was hallucinating. 
“Derek?” came out as a whisper. 
Derek looked up. “Alex! You’re awake!”
Alex saw the concern on his face.  She must look a sight! 
“What happened?”  Alex was trying to remember the last few days.  Something about a dinner party….
“You were in a car wreck,” Derek’s look was despondent.
“Josh?”
Derek shook his head. Not meeting her eyes he said in a whisper, “He didn’t make it”.  Derek could tell the news wasn’t registering with Alex.
 Alex saw tears in Derek’s eyes.  He was sad for her.  Alex was confused.
“Derek, why are you here?” 
“The police went through your phone and called everyone with a D for a last name looking for relatives.  When I got the call I told them I was your cousin so I could find out what happened.  When they said you were in a coma I came right away.  You’re my fantasy woman.  I had to come.” 
It was too much for Alex to take in.  She plunged back into unconsciousness. 
The next morning Alex was back in reality, Mattie sitting at her bedside. Mattie barely spoke, just sat holding her hand. She remembered seeing Derek but since no one mentioned him she thought she might have dreamt it. Other relatives wandered in and out, discussing plans for Josh’s funeral.  Alex let her mother-in-law and Josh’s brother take care of the arrangements.  She didn’t want deal with any of it. 
Within a week Alex was in a regular room.  The doctor told her she would probably go home in a couple of days.  Each day Derek came to visit, dressed inconspicuously, able to blend in, morning and evening.  He sat at her bedside, cheering her up with his quirky humor.  As friends came in and out of her room none ran into Derek.  Alex never mentioned to anyone he was there, afraid he would disappear.  He was her only distraction from reality, a reality she didn’t want to be in. 
The day before her release from the hospital two of Alex’s co-workers came to visit as Derek was leaving.  Kathleen knew about the text messages he had sent to Alex. Kathleen had been the only one Alex had finally confided in the year before.  
“Was that…?” Kathleen’s eyes were wide.  Monica, too busy staring at the male nurse in the lobby, had not even noticed the guy leaving Alex’s room.
Alex made a face at Kathleen, the “shhh, don’t say anything” look.  Kathleen changed the subject, discussing work and what Alex had missed.   It was a secret between them. 
The next afternoon Alex was released from the hospital.  Her family members were all there to help her home.  Alex noticed Derek had not come by and wondered if she’d hear from him again.  He had been such a comfort to her. 
Late that evening she received a text:
Glad you were released.  Didn’t want to be in the way.  I’ll keep in touch.
Alex was pleased he thought of her and returned the text:
You made me feel so much better
A few days later was Josh’s funeral.  His favorite music played and wonderful things were said about him. People Alex didn’t even know hugged her and shook her hand. It was surreal.  Alex couldn’t believe she was alone.  She hadn’t really been alone in twenty-four years. Over half her life she’d been married.  Even with the long hours Josh worked she knew she was never alone.  Mattie was rarely home and had been mostly moved out for the last couple of years, coming home to do laundry or have an occasional meal.  The house was very quiet.
Between the hospital stay and the funeral, Alex had missed three weeks of work.  She was ready to return to her routine.  Or so she thought.  The first day back was overwhelming and Alex had a hard time keeping up.  She knew it would take her a couple of days to get back in the swing of things. Coming home in the evenings was toughest.  So quiet, so deserted.  Mattie tried coming by often but it didn’t help. 
Derek sent texts every couple of days.  Those were Alex’s bright spots. Derek called at the end of her first week back to work. 
“Hey there! How’s my fantasy woman?” Derek’s voice was light and cheery.  He sounded so relaxed. Hearing his voice warmed her from head to toe.  She could hardly believe he seemed to really care about her.
“Ok, I guess.  It’s been a rough week.” Alex didn’t mean to sound so pathetic but she had tried so hard to be up and cheerful all week.  Now she was crashing and Derek seemed to understand. His tone invited her to let go, be herself. 
“Maybe you shouldn’t have gone back to work so soon?”  Derek’s concern was welcomed.
“Sitting around the house is worse!” Alex didn’t know what she should be feeling.  This was all new ground for her.  She tried acting like nothing happened but by the end of the day she was so emotionally exhausted.  She’d try to go to sleep but only tossed and turned.  Her dreams were flashes of her past with Josh – arguing, yelling, no pleasant moments. The week had been grueling. 
“What about getting away for awhile?” Derek asked.  
Alex didn’t know where she would go but the thought was inviting.
“Where would I go?  I don’t really want to be alone.”  Alex like the idea of getting away from everyone but the thought of being alone in a new place didn’t sound any better than being home alone.
“Well, Scotland is beautiful this time of year.  I have some free time coming up.  We could spend a couple weeks seeing the countryside.  Scotland is very therapeutic.” 
Derek wanted to take her away for awhile. Was he serious?  The thought was irresistible.  She wanted to go. Would work give her more time off? She had to try.  
“Really?  You want me to go with you? I don’t know if work would give me more time off.” Alex loved the idea.
Alex told her boss she needed more time away and they gladly gave her time off.  Derek made the travel arrangements.  They would meet up in New York and travel together from there.

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