JESSICA-chapter 6

JESSICA-chapter 6

A Chapter by spice78

Chapter 6

 

 

 

“What do you think?” Andrew asked, as he helped me into his automobile. His eyes were filled with pride and admiration for his loud and obnoxious form of transportation. The car was painted a glossy, brilliant white, the seats were made of superb red leather, and there was no roof, it opened up overhead.

“It’s very fancy,” I replied simply.

“My father bought it brand new just last year. It’s a 1910 Cadillac…” He continued to rattle off engine specifics, horse power, and something about its mileage, but I was at a total loss, so I merely listened without trying to understand.

The ride to Andrew’s was stimulating. The opportunities to travel in such high style were isolated occasions. My father was of the opinion that motor cars were too ostentatious, and chose never to invest in one. Apparently Andrew doesn’t lack financially or suffer from averse feelings of boastfulness.

 Traveling faster than we would’ve by buggy, the wind was refreshing on my overheated body�"a prickling sensation spread up my arms and down my spine as the sweat drops evaporated. His home was quite a ways out of town, and once it came into view, I found it to be extraordinary. Green grass spread endlessly for miles, and there were many trees all along the property. His red brick three-story home looked more like a castle, with two white pillars framing the large front white door. There were yellow and red roses, and a few pink colored flowers too, that adorned the whole area. Witnessing its beautiful, ordered display, I couldn’t help but smile in appreciation.

His home was attractive, yet it lacked a sense of warmth�"appearing almost unlivable, or as if it hadn’t been lived in, too elegant to touch. Panic unexpectedly spread through me. What if my impression of the exterior of his home was a reflection on its occupants? What if I wasn’t good enough for their Andrew?

Quite suddenly I felt insignificant; not a position I’m familiar with. I can only imagine how all my suitors must have felt in attempting my hand. I had easily turned them away, without a second glance, and regret how harsh and insensitive I’ve been.

 If Mary had been up to coming, I'm sure my nerves would be considerably diminished. Having taken Bridget out for a long ride, and finding a friend to talk to back at the hotel, Mary was too exhausted by the time she made it back to the room.

With the driver in the front seat, Andrew sat immediately next to me in the back. The seat was very small and provided a very cozy arrangement, but I was unsure of his intentions. Did he want to be this close to me, or was he merely showing off his lovely car and it was just a coincidence that the space was impossibly tight�"or was it both? Either way, I was unnervingly near my new friend. With our arms pressed together, the heat generated there rapidly accelerated the pace of my heart. Braving a glance in such intimate quarters, I slowly inched my face toward his, raising my eyes a fraction at a time, only to discover him staring back down at me. I blushed and quickly averted my eyes back to the house in view.

We began slowing to a stop.

In my fleeting look I observed him smiling at me appreciatively, but not likely just for the hope of meeting my gaze; his eyes shifted ever so slightly in such a direction and back, that I chided myself for wearing one of Mary’s dresses. It was light pink, of course it was pink, and one that I had admired for some time, but upon dawning it felt a little over exposed. Not only was it short sleeved, but the square necked bodice fit a little more snuggly�"and wore a little lower�"on me, than it did on Mary. Apparently Andrew noticed. Now I wish I could find a hole to crawl into or a time machine to take me back to the room to change. Anything but be trapped here in this ridiculous position. Thankfully I at least wore my hair up�"one less thing for them to judge me on: it was twisted to the side, with two pearl combs set on either side of it, and a few wispy curls framed my face.

As the motor car came to a halt in front of the house, the driver hopped out while leaving the engine running; he held my door for me, went around to do the same for Andrew, and then jumped back in to assume his previous pose. He then drove the car around to position it somewhere else on the side of the house.

Andrew escorted me through his modernly furnished home. The polished bronze-colored wood sparkled in the entryway, and gold framed artistic paintings�"all of the same size and all placed at a specific matching height�"adorned the walls. The walls themselves were covered with the same type and shade of wood as the floor, but only came half-way up the wall. The paint that covered the top part of the wall was a shade a little lighter than mint green.

We walked past a few doors then made a right into a sitting room, or library, rather, and upon our entrance an older gentleman stood and smiled; likely Andrew’s father. His full head of glistening silver hair matched his well-kept mustache, and his dark grey suit was the same color as his shoes�"which appeared to shine from extreme polishing. The manner in which his wardrobe appeared led me to believe he not only wore his clothes meticulously, but they were from the finest designers. His smile was slightly encouraging, one or two butterflies might’ve fled me. I didn’t realize his average height until Andrew was next to him shaking his hand. He was probably only a tad taller than me, for Andrew towered over him by several inches.

“Uh hum,” grunted a voice.

Not having the opportunity to be introduced to the older gentleman yet, I now realized, as I flashed my head towards the sound, that supposedly his mother wanted the immediate attention. Andrew turned just as I had, and seemed just as surprised as I that she was there. He quickly walked over to her and bent to embrace her; she remained in her high-back, deep-purple chair. “Mother!” Andrew exclaimed. His sincere love for her was unmistakable in his voice.

After he stood, she finally spoke, “Andrew, my dear, this must be Jessica.” All the while speaking to him, her eyes remained on me�"observing or judging, I couldn’t decide.

“Yes. Jessica, I’d like you to meet my mother, Vivian,” Andrew introduced us.

“Hello, it’s nice to meet you,” I mechanically spoke. Words expressed repetitively gratefully flowed from my mouth, for my mind appeared to be elsewhere.

Vivian had her husband’s matching grey hair�"it was drawn up into a voluminous, puffy bun, with some white and mint green feathers protruding�"and her eyes were a tad darker blue than Andrew’s. A dazzling pair of diamond earrings sparkled at her ears, and a gold necklace wore about her neck, but it wore too low for me to see the object on the end of it. Whether or not it was low on purpose, I didn’t know, but if it was a matching diamond you’d think it would be displayed properly. As my eyes further absorbed the appalling appearance of this woman, I, of course, found her to be wearing a coordinating mint-green satin dress.

The feathers were the first thing to draw me back to my vision, but the dress just confirmed that tonight was the night. Her splendid gown was about to be ruined. I can’t honestly recall what the others were wearing in my vision, for the attention was directly on her. I wonder if I was wearing this very pink dress. Having an up-close view of it in the pretense would’ve definitely proved helpful.

Mrs. Davis had asked me something. Her attentive gaze was expectant, her almost smile now an even line; her impatience was clearly evident. Everyone quietly waited for my response. I have no idea what she said. I’ve been too consumed again with how to solve this offensive situation. What can I do or say?

All right, calm down, I commanded myself. Everything is going to be fine. I’ll think of something.

“Pardon me?” I simply replied, hoping she’d repeat herself. This time I would concentrate on what she was saying.

“I was just curious if you play the piano? I haven’t heard it played for quite some time, and would love to hear a song or two. You see, my dear sweet Kate played for me almost every day, and was married off. I love and miss the sound of the ivories.” Mrs. Davis spoke rather slowly, carefully, as if she was in a stupor of thought. Not unlike myself from a moment earlier.

“Yes, actually, I do. Playing brings me great joy, and I’d be delighted to share a few of my favorites,” I replied rather eagerly. I was grateful I had enough sense to hear what she said the second time, and felt a little more at ease to be able to accommodate them with one of my talents. Anything I could do to put me in their favor the better.

After being introduced to Warren, Andrew walked ahead of me and guided me to the piano.

The room was rather large, with an innumerable amount of books covering many shelves. The four matching towering purple chairs surrounded the fire place, and a black baby grand piano sat towards one end of the room. I took position there, and began to play a classical melody.

Both his parents sat next to each other, but Andrew remained by my side. His mother seemed a little happier; her barely-smile turned up even further, and she began to softly sway. Occasionally my glance drifted to Andrew, my years of practice didn’t require my full attention to the keys, and his pronounced admiration for me was plainly visible in his tender eyes and caring smile.

After I finished my piano playing, a maid entered to announce supper ready. As we proceeded to the dining room, a familiar anxiety began to creep from my stomach outward; it was a slithering venomous panic that now tightly gripped my throat. My pulse throbbed in my ears, and I feared I’d begin to shake at any moment.

What was I to do?

We were now at the entrance to the dining room.

I immediately blurted out the first thought that came to mind. “Would you excuse me for a moment, I need to freshen up�"”

 The sharp turn of Vivian’s head flashed me an expression of intolerance and brought me up short. “Nonsense. You look well enough. Can you manage until after supper; I don’t want to eat my dinner cold.” Vivian spoke so matter-of-factly, there was no room for argument.

“Certainly…I’ll manage,” I stammered.

The knot in my stomach grew even tighter. She just ruined my first opportunity to replace the pitcher.

After being seated, I expected an allowance of at least a few minutes to come up with another plan, but one of the maids entered straightaway and began to swiftly approach Mrs. Davis. She was carrying a pitcher, the very one I’d seen in my vision.

I stood abruptly and spoke, “Would you mind terribly if I got a drink right quick.” My outstretched glass hovered�"did my breathy voice sound convincing? “The exhilarating open car ride, combined with the exertion from playing the piano, has left me parched.”

The maid stopped and thankfully held the pitcher with both hands as she looked at me, then again at Mrs. Davis. Confusion rooted her, she resembled a terrified statue, as she waited for instructions.

“It’s grape juice, if that is your preference,” Mrs. Davis replied; hoping, no doubt, that it wasn’t.

“Yes, please.” I continued to appear desperate as I maintained my panting tone.

She waved the maid towards me, so I sat down. A calmness washed over me, yet my heart sped right on�"pump, pump, pump�"in anticipation of the disaster.

The maid let one of her hands go to grasp my glass upon pouring its contents, and then as the pitcher, or maid, malfunctioned, out poured the exasperating fountain of purple liquid. The gasping came naturally, instinctually�"the juice was cold and wet. After I acknowledged the maid and I were the only two to get doused�"knowing what was coming, I quickly stood up to block Andrew from being tainted�"my brain heard the shatter of the glass pitcher crack on the marble flooring

I was grateful, at least, that Mrs. Davis was spared.

How could I have been so careless and ignorant in borrowing Mary’s dress? I knew there was the possibility of tonight being the very night the dreadful event would transpire, but I suppose my initial plan played out better in my mind than actuality. No one was supposed to get drenched at all.

The unfortunate dear maid was chided for several minutes, and Andrew couldn’t have looked more distraught that I was ruined. The guilt and sorrow he expressed both verbally and physically, almost made me feel the same. I hated to see him feel responsible.

After drying off, cleaning up, and changing into a gown they provided, I rejoined them for dinner. The gown was one Kate had left behind, and although she was a lot more petite than I, in more ways than one, I accomplished squeezing myself into it. I draped a shawl over my shoulders for added concealment and comfort.

“So, tell me, Jessica, what line of business is your father in?” Mr. Davis inquired.

Mr. Davis was all business; his mannerisms were direct and proficient. His question seemed both concerning and curious, but his eyes held boredom and monotony. Oh, and obviously he wasn’t informed on the status of my family.

Andrew’s mother leaned over and partly covered her mouth to likely whisper the facts Andrew was privy to share with her before my arrival. I patiently waited for my turn to speak.

“Forgive me, I didn’t know. Neither Andrew nor Mrs. Davis has had the opportunity to enlighten me about the specifics of your situation. Are you here alone, or do you have any other family?” he asked. His apology seemed mechanical and empty; he seemed more irritated at being made a fool of then actually sorry for my loss.

“I’m here with my sister. We’re staying at a hotel in town. That’s where I met Andrew, at a dance held there the other night,” I explained, ignoring the previous awkwardness.

“Are you planning on staying a while, or just passing through?” Mr. Davis continued.

“We are undecided at the moment. We checked in almost a week and a half ago, and have met several friendly people.”

“Well, we’re glad to have you in our home, and wish you the best with your endeavors. If you need any financial assistance, be sure to stop by the bank. We’ll take good care of you.”

I appreciated his offer and I’m sure he would be very obliging if I needed his services. The distant way he held himself appeared almost self-protective, but there was a charisma about him that drew you in and probably played a key role in his success.

When we were half-way through our main course, Mrs. Davis questioned, “Jessica, you play the piano quite lovely. Do you have any other talents you’re proud of?” Though she was talking to me, she had a hard time keeping her eyes off of her son. Her admiration for him was clear as she leaned over to pat Andrew’s hand for the third time in last few minutes.

She seemed to be warming up to me, though; maybe she didn’t function properly on an empty stomach. She looked at me now with a generous smile and raised eyebrows as she anticipated my response. Maybe she thought I looked like her daughter in her dress, and that was the cause for the change. Either way, I was grateful not to be scowled at any longer.

“Not too many to boast about. Back home I enjoyed being involved in the community and finding ways to give back to the less fortunate. We actually turned our residence into an orphanage before we left. Not that it’s a talent at all, but I also adore reading. Andrew mentioned you’re an avid reader, maybe we could exchange a few favorites,” I replied.

I really missed doing community work and the lazy opportunities to sit and read. My mind began to drift back to Georgia, and I wondered how the orphanage was faring. I think I’ll send a letter inquiring as much, now that we were at a location where we could receive a response in return. At least I hope we’ll be here for a while.

I was additionally curious as to how my dear old friend and neighbor Mr. Taylor was doing in the incredible heat of the Arizona dessert, and instantly felt a twinge of sadness at the possibility of never being able obtain an answer.

“Community work, how benevolent. I do love to read. You’re more than welcome to borrow any selection of your choice from our library. I imagine your options have been limited with your means of traveling,” said Mrs. Davis.

“Andrew, how’s the Taylor project coming along?” Mr. Davis casually interjected.

“Fine�"” Andrew started to reply, but was rudely, and unexpectedly, interrupted.

“No. I will not have business discussed over dinner. Not when we have a guest. Now you two behave,” Mrs. Davis quickly stated, cutting short their almost conversation.

Taylor? Could there possibly be relations here to my dear neighbor after all?

I know our hotel manager is a Taylor, maybe he’s involved with the project. I would’ve been perfectly happy to sit back and listen to the details of that conversation.

 Obviously Mrs. Davis doesn’t want to discuss business, so I’ll simply have to find another opportunity to inquire about them. Why is everything about her, her, her, anyway? Her mannerisms are such that she expects everything to go her way. Granted talk of business is rather inappropriate over dinner, especially with company present, but ever since I’d entered her home it seems as if she’s constantly striving to be at the center of everyone’s attention. Including the way she was dressed. We were all clothed in our dinner best, but her attire was a little ostentatious. Her abruptness was extremely offensive. Either she was blind to her own imperfections, or she had a distorted view of propriety.

Although I do have to say she has nothing but high regards for her son. She can hardly take her eyes off of Andrew and continues to stroke his hand every other minute. And her critical eyes on me seemed to appraise my worthiness of him. Her dainty smile was still appropriately in place, but it was her eyes that gave her away. Did she think any woman was worthy of her Andrew? I was also very curious if she was just as loving with her daughter�"did she maybe miss Kate, and the previous affections she bestowed upon her were now being directed to him?

The father, on the other hand, was barely graced with a couple glances throughout the entire time of my visit from his attention-seeking wife. He didn’t seem to mind either. Maybe it was something he was used to, being last in line for her affections. No man should ever be shelved in such a manner, especially one as respectable as Mr. Davis. In all honesty, I don’t know him at all, but he seems decent enough. I know children take a special place in one’s heart�"I can only imagine what that will be like�"but one’s spouse should come first and be of utmost importance. The man I marry will know how important he is to me. I make a vow here and now to show my future husband the respect and devotion he deserves, whoever he may be.

With my future husband on my mind, I glanced up at Andrew. He and his mother were talking; he seemed sincere and kind. I imagine he will make a great husband, maybe even mine.

“You know, Andrew, you have been managing the bank with real professionalism for some time now. I’m proud of you son. I think once we close the deal we were previously discussing, I might retire and let you take over the reins. My father told me a bit of advice that you’d be wise to adhere to, a life lesson really we can all put into practice. He said, sometimes sacrifices need to be made so that there can be progress. Most anything in this life we attain is achieved through giving up some things in order to gain others,” said Mr. Davis. He ended his speech in a mock toast as he raised his glass to the air before he took a sip.

“Yes, yes, Andrew has been doing very well,” Mrs. Davis quickly agreed, then added, “He needs to keep some balance, though. Marriage should be his top priority right now. I need grandchildren.” She added another hand pat to Andrew, as if to confirm her small piece of wisdom was just as important as her husbands.

“Mother, please. Don’t embarrass me. Besides, Kate will most likely have you a grandchild soon enough,” said Andrew; his head bowed and shook. He then leaned in to whisper in my direction, “Don’t mind her.”

The dinner was fantastic, and conversation, adequate. Lemon cookies were served for dessert; they were very tasty, even refreshing, and perfectly moist.

Andrew escorted me home in his automobile.

“I’m sorry about your dress, I’ll have it sent over as soon as it’s laundered,” Andrew softly spoke, while trying to turn sideways to look at me. The cramped seating area didn’t allow much room for adjustments. His face still held remorse for the earlier mishap, as if looking at my dress was a constant reminder.

“Don’t worry about it. Accidents happen,” I responded simply, keeping my eyes innocent, and adding a small smile to persuade him of my indifference.

Accidents did tend to happen, more often than not, around me; the one who knows and is always trying to intervene.

The corners at his mouth slowly turned up, and a glimmer of light reached his eyes. “My parents seemed to think you’re quite remarkable, as I knew they would. You play the piano with exceptional grace and would put my sister to shame.”

I didn’t know what to think about that. I didn’t want to put anyone to shame, especially his sister. I hoped to merely impress them with a simple talent, not cause a rivalry with an unknown sibling of his. Who knew if I’d ever meet her anyway.

The weather was ideal; though it was warm, a faint breeze happily swept through the air. The moon was big and bright with a few scattered clouds, and the black night beheld a few flickering stars.

Euphoric feelings snuck to the forefront of my mind. I could get used to traveling with the wind in my hair and being beside such a bright star as Andrew. I would undoubtedly be entertained with endless, captivating conversation.

We finally made it to the front of my hotel, and the car came to a stop. With the engine still idling, Andrew stepped out to hold the door for me, and then held my hand with his other as I wriggled out of the problematic contraption.

He continued to hold my hand as we stood together, and now grasped my other hand as well. His eyes melted into mine�"they were kind, yet beseeching. The subtle light from the gas lamps danced in waves in his reflection, and I was dazzled; he was mesmerizing. My heart started to thump faster, my palms heated from his touch. My gloves had been a light pink, to match my previous gown, so I hadn’t replaced them upon preparing to leave�"they didn’t coordinate with my borrowed blue dress and white shall. If my palms begin sweating, I think I might have to tear away in humiliation. 

“Thank you for honoring me with your company this evening. I enjoyed being with you immensely. I look forward to seeing you again soon… hopefully without any further tragedies.” Andrew spoke with a twinkle in his sparkly eyes; his generous grin unveiled his perfect gleaming teeth. He’s so beautiful!

“I’d like that. I really did have a pleasant evening. Your parents are very nice, and the meal was superb.”

He then released my left hand to reach up and caress my cheek. He cupped the entire left side of my face and and began to stroke the round of my cheek with his thumb in a feather light motion. His hands were soft, velvety.

“Do you know how intoxicating you are?” he whispered fervently; as if my mere presence was shaking his control.

I inhaled sharply then forgot to breathe.

I hope he didn’t expect a response, for my mind was befuddled.

Could he see what he was doing to me? Controlling the scarlet color prone to emblazon my cheeks seemed impossible, and he left me speechless with very little effort, yet he still thought I was intoxicating?

With my cheek now inflamed, all my energy rushed my heart. Could he hear my heart pulsing? Was my chest heaving in response to his touch, giving away his influence on me? My insides now churned as they filled with an intense fire. His eyes held mine as he looked at me, but it was almost as if he was seeing through me, seeking understanding of my soul.

Then slowly, so very slowly, he leaned down. And as both his hands gradually slid up to grasp the upper part of my arms, he gave them a gentle, yet urgent squeeze, while simultaneously his soft lips brushed my already warmed cheek.

As he straightened, both his hands glided back down my arms to return to their original position in mine. He smelled delicious; his fragrance lingered, and roused unfamiliar sensations in me. He added a quick kiss to my left hand, and then turned to get into his waiting car.

I again stood there like an imbecile; a besotted and dazed cloud, unable to float along or remember my purpose. I watched as his car traveled down the main street and out of sight. He didn’t look back, thankfully, but probably because he didn’t need to. I’m sure he knew I’d still be standing here, immovable by his touch.

Once feeling returned to my legs, I moved them up to my room.

It was half-past nine, and Mary was already undressed and ready for bed.

“What on earth are you wearing?” exclaimed Mary.

It was very apparent that the ensemble I had on was not fitted for me. There was almost a foot of exposure around my ankles, and the upper part of my body overflowed the petite fraction-of-a-dress. I was glad to finally be able to get rid of it.

Upon viewing her astonished expression, I actually started to laugh. The previous electrifying sensations from being with Andrew lingered within me, and coupled with her exasperated reply, proved to be too much. I spun on my toes, dropped onto my bed�"landing on my back�"and continued to laugh as spasms spread throughout my body.

After several minutes, the calm returned, and I rolled on my side to face my sister.

“Have you gone mad?” she squealed. “What happened to you?”

“Remember my most recent vision I told you about?” She nodded, so I continued, “Well, it wasn’t resolved quite like I planned.” I sat up; a fresh bout of guilt reminded me I’d borrowed her lovely dress. “I’m sorry I borrowed your dress, they promised to have it cleaned and returned promptly.” I braced myself for her wrath.

You ended up being the juice casualty?” Her face exaggerated into an even more astonished expression.

I head motioned yes.

She went on, “Jess, sometimes I wish I were in your shoes�"to have the privilege of seeing things before they happen�"and other times I’m incredibly grateful not knowing. You poor thing. Don’t worry about the dress; I’m sure it will be fine. If not, I’ll just go buy another. You know me, I love to shop. Besides the trauma with my dress, how did everything go? Is his family decent?”

We then proceeded to chat for a good hour about the details of the evening. She wanted a minute description of his mannerisms and facial expressions, and she hung on my every word. Her enthusiasm matched, if not surpassed, my own. I thought it was truly remarkable that she could be so happy for me and share in my merriment. I felt rather blissful. The fresh memory of Andrew’s touch remained the central focus of my thoughts; his warm soft hands gently stroking my face, his soft lips caressing my cheek. How does one go to sleep after such an evening as this? My emotions were on high alert; they stretched and ached with an unknown need.

He wasn’t exactly what I’d been looking for, and was in many ways quite like every other man back home; proper, rich, and slightly proud, but not in a diminishing way. Yet he has created the impression that he is incomparable�"incredibly unique in an almost indescribable way. He was angelic, mesmerizing�"a perfect gentleman. He was courteous, attentive, understanding, foreword…and I was his choice, the favored one he was bestowing endearments upon! I couldn’t help but swallow hard at the notion. I felt privileged�"honored�"that he sought my attentions. I wonder when we’ll see each other again.

I recall now, that I forgot to inquire about the prospect of the land and auto transaction. Although I’m not quite sure how it’s relevant to me, regardless, I had a vision about it, and instinctually want to investigate. Andrew also mentioned the Taylor’s over dinner. I’m extremely disappointed in myself for not having enough sense to at least ask about one of the issues during our ride home. Oh, I hate it when the clues pile up on me and dominate any untroubled space left in my mind. It can be so tiresome. I will simply have to find another opportunity to see him, get him alone, and try to discreetly ascertain some answers.

##

Birds sang sweetly, a few clouds floated silently across the bright, light blue sky, and as I stood in the middle of the park atop a small cobble-stoned arched bridge, I waited for the sun. It was on the verge of spreading it’s warmth upon the earth once more. I don’t typically get up early enough to rise before the sun, but my body was anxious and I woke earlier than usual. I dressed quickly and quietly�"my spirits felt too free to pin up any part of my unmanageable curls�"and being careful not to disturb Mary or anyone else, I crept down the stairs.

I began walking north to clear my head.

On one of our quests to find my mystery Mark fellow, I noticed a park about a block down from our hotel and a little farther back from the road on the left.

A subtle breeze ruffled a few strands of my hair and tickled my neck and face.  Then I noticed the tall bright green grass that covered the earth as far as I could see, gently sway.

As the light finally peeked over the tops of the trees, the sun’s rays danced upon the leaves and stretched out across the water of the small crisp stream that ran under my bridge. Once the warm, fresh new light descended upon me, like a bakers warm hand shaking that of a strangers cold morning one, a wave of surreal pleasure spread throughout my body and sent shivers to the very tips of my toes. This moment right here, right now, was contentment. It was a beautiful day indeed.

The earth’s diverse and impeccable beauty, the sun’s radiance, and my father’s last words, warmed my core. Peace swelled within me. ‘…guide you to your disciple’ was the expression my father had shared. My disciple. He was meant for me. Having had my father’s words repeated in my dreams last night, along with the usual vision of the man in the black hat, I am resolved to pursue finding him and will not allow any more distractions to deter me.

Thankfully it wasn’t raining, and hopefully the clouds will remain waterless the rest of the day until I find this supposed disciple.

Yesterday was Sunday, and it was a grand day to be able to remember God and attend a service. Mary and I met lots of people, whose names I don’t recall, but I did notice Andrew; he introduced Mary to his parents. Everyone was very friendly. After church we mostly stayed indoors and relaxed; we read some and took a needed nap.

I finally began journeying back towards the hotel, but chose to continue farther south in search of a bakery. I wish I’d paid more attention the many times I’d traveled up and down main street, to know where exactly I should go�"or if there was one at all. I passed a bookstore, the post office, and the dress shop where I acquired the dress…I was now wearing.

I didn’t realize I had donned the white frock until now, and suddenly stopped to pause at the possibility of the hidden, unconscious meaning. Maybe today really was going to be special. Maybe I would finally get to meet Mark. The thought brought a smile to my lips and accelerated my stride.

Continuing southward, I arrived at the corner where Andrew’s bank was. He would be opening within the hour, and I secretly hoped he’d show early, happen upon my passing, and talk to me. I peered in the window only to find darkness, no movement, but the whole arrangement inside the building looked very familiar. My vision. It was this very bank in my vision. Now I definitely need to meet up with Andrew and get some answers.

I then turned back to the walk in front of me, and while glancing up towards the signs, at last found a bakery; just two shops down and across the street.

It was still quiet this morning, only a few early risers meandered about the streets. One gentleman was brushing down his horse, another older one leaned against a light post smoking his pipe, and a little boy stood on a stool washing windows. The older gentleman nodded in my direction, so I smiled and politely waved in return.

As I opened the door to the bakery, the gentle heat from the ovens had smoldered all the delicious scents of the diverse breads, into thick, scrumptious, tantalizing air. It enveloped my senses and left my mouth watering and my stomach aching for a morsel.

Upon entrance, a bell rang that was tied to the inside handle, and within seconds a woman appeared. She was rather short and stout, her cheeks flushed red from the heat, and her hair was an untamed fire. The disorderly orangish-red frizzy ringlets were trying their darnedest to escape the bun she attempted to control it in. The white apron she wore over her tan dress was covered in flour, and, as a matter of fact, a good majority of her was covered in flour.

“Hello, good morning to you,” the sweet lady spoke; her smile was genuine and inviting.

“Hello,” I replied.

“You’re up rather early this morning. We don’t get our usual’s in for another hour yet.”

“Yes, I’ve been up for quite some time and am famished. I’ve been walking a lot.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place to fill your belly. We’ve got the tastiest breads you’ll find. Most of the display has been filled, but there are a couple trays in the back were still working on. If you don’t see what you’d like here, let me know, and it will take just a few minutes to get the others out,” she rambled on apologetically, and unnecessarily. I could easily find something out of the large assortment before me.

She actually seemed a little put out; she was wringing her hands, and her eyes twitched about the store anxiously. Now that I understood her schedule, I think she wanted to get back to her routine before her regulars did show up.

I quickly began scanning the glass display for something appealing. There were beautifully twisted tarts with a berry filling; colorful fruit cake that practically oozed moisture; tasty-looking doughnuts dusted lightly with fine sugar; bright-orange cake slices topped with white frosting; and then…finally. The enticing, airy light dough that melts in your mouth, stuffed with a decadent crème that oddly brings blissful feelings to one’s mind upon consumption�"crème puffs. I ordered several, and a few of Mary’s favorites, and went on my way. I didn’t want to wait until reaching the hotel to calm my growling insides, so I dared devour at least one while I walked. It was divine; still slightly warm, and perfectly soft and sweet. Yum!

I tiptoed through the door, not wanting to wake Mary if she was still sleeping�"and, of course, she was. After setting the goodies on the table, I grabbed some paper and a pen and began a note:

 

My dearest Mary,

Enjoy the delicacies I picked up this morning. I saw the raspberry tarts and thought of you. I’m going to set out and try to find Mark. Stay safe, and keep my purse with you. I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Probably later tonight if all goes well.

Sincerely,

Jessica

 

After finishing off my letter, I set it on the table next to the bag of treats.

I then promptly inhaled one more sweet puff, and downed a few swigs of water.

I glanced in the mirror, thinking I should do something with my impossible hair, but after several failed attempts at pinning it up�"either the wind was to blame for the knotted mess, or my trembling hands�"I conceded. How does one prepare for a day like today?

I brushed a soft golden brown shade on my eye lids, gently dusted a matching color across my cheeks, and dabbed some gloss on my lips, they were already plenty pink. Some small, simple silver hoops quaintly decorated my ears, and a couple dabs of vanilla scented perfume completed my efforts at being presentable.

A nervous, excited energy began growing within me. I murmured a quick prayer that I’d be able to find him, and left.

 

With my note in one hand, that had penned directions as to Mark’s whereabouts, and Caleb’s reigns in another, I proceeded down a street just a few blocks farther north than the park, and was heading west. Saddling Caleb took a little longer than I planned; I brushed his whole coat once over, and combed through his mane and tail. He looked magnificent as usual, and a twinkle in his eye and a bounce in his step showed his gratitude. Having checked the time before I left, it was around eleven o’clock.

##

After retracing my steps for the fifth time, I finally stopped to reassess my situation.

It was simple, really, I was lost.

I pulled out my watch to check the time; it was now closer to three in the afternoon. I waited for the shock of that fact to register in my mind, bring me to tears, or compel me to re-mount and fly madly back to the hotel, but no, nothing.

Feeling utterly exhausted and starved, I decided my physical well-being must take priority. Drink, eat, stay alive. I took a sip of water from my canteen, and with it still pretty cold, and incredibly refreshing, I swallowed an even bigger gulp�"but was careful not to drink it all; my confidence wavered regarding the duration of my journey. I wasn’t too hopeless, though. I had a compass, and knew that east would probably bring me back to my hotel. But I wasn’t about to give up. I brought an apple, thankfully, and began eating it as I stood under a huge shade tree. My back was sore; I stretched this way and that to loosen up the tension.

I was thankful it wasn’t raining. If today was undoubtedly the day my vision was supposed to come to pass, then the weather was being agreeable. Almost too agreeable; I was sweating profusely. Only a couple clouds scattered across the great, wide blue sky. I now regretted not taking the time to put my massive mound of hair up properly. With it hanging heavily across my back, sticky and clingy, it only added more warmth to my already agitated, inflamed body.

I pulled out my handkerchief to dab at my face and neck. I gave Caleb a drink, the other half of my apple, and a few handfuls of oats. As I rubbed his neck, I sang him a song. It was nice being out here, just the two us. Peaceful. Just me and my Caleb.

Having put off the inevitable long enough, I turned to my saddle to collect the pieces of the puzzle. For the last several hours, I had simply been trying to follow the penned directions to find my destination. I now removed my map and compass to aid in the instructions. Even though I pride myself in being able to read other’s directions quite proficiently, I’m never too proud that I’m not prepared for the small possibility that I might fail.

I settled on the grass, laid out my map and found North with my compass, then adjusted my map accordingly. After close inspection, I finally found my city and the name of the main road going through town, Flores Street. I then turned to my directions for the hundredth time today. They read:

 

From the park off Flores Street, go west until you find a dead pine between three others, set apart on the side of the road on the right; at this point, take the road to the left

Once you see the fence, go west

Pass over the San Pedro Creek

At the big boulder head North

 

Now that I have found the creek on my map, hopefully my destination will be easier to find. I will just be sure to hold onto my compass and be more diligent at reading and following the directions.

Being completely overwhelmed still, I laid back on the grass and rested my eyes for a moment.

Well, what was supposed to be a moment of rest turned into too many. The blazing sun was sitting a lot lower in the sky by now, and pure panic had me swiftly saddled and headed back to my main road to start over.

I eventually found the park, and turned right around.

Strictly holding my compass and directions as best I could, while still managing the reigns, I headed west. After finding the dead pine tree and going down the road to the left, it all seemed very familiar; I know I’ve come this way already. Once I saw the fence, I headed west again, and realized I had gone every other way but west, previously. This must have been my point of disorientation.

The wind began to blow with a new found energy, it felt nice. My skin tingled as the sweat vanished from my body, and my hair gratefully dried out from being whipped around wildly�"I was such a mess.

Having passed over San Pedro Creek, I realized again why I was confused earlier. There was another smaller creek in the opposite, or rather some other, direction. This one was broader and deeper.

I finally reached the huge boulder, which I had never seen before either, which too was a good sign, and headed north.

The road began a slight incline, and it was obvious his home was either on, or over, the hill. After the road leveled out, I heard them before I saw them. Cows.

The view was fantastic, awe inspiring!

Giant trees were everywhere, with trunks as wide as I was tall, and branches that spread out and up forever. Nestled between a few of such trees, was a beautiful all white two story home with a matching white swing hanging on the front porch�"which appeared to possibly wrap all the way around the home. The plentiful cows were caged in a massive corral, and about a dozen or so chickens ran about aimlessly. The horses were corralled separately and circled about excitedly neighing at each other. The tall, healthy green grass that blanketed their land waved gently in the breeze; I could imagine it waving at me, welcoming me.

There were no other homes for miles that I could see; they must have around twenty acres to themselves. Beautiful wildflowers grew randomly in bunches here and there, and their simplicity was natural, wholesome. As I continued to walk Caleb around their grounds, I noticed a huge garden set a little farther back. Its greenery overflowed in height, with colorful, flourishing vegetables; the rainbow of flavors tempted my eager taste buds. There were many fruit trees too. Though the fruit was sparse, a few stragglers identified them as orange, possibly grapefruit, pear, and pecan. The blossoms that covered them looked like fluffy white popcorn, and the wind drove their light, sweet smelling, intoxicating fragrance into my lungs. I deeply inhaled their perfume, and was filled with sheer delight. More evidence that spring was here.

The whole area appeared heavenly, just like in my dreams�"an exact replica.

It looked homey, too, like love was shared there and no matter who you were you would feel welcomed in their home.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through the front door or continue to circle around. I stopped, and simply sat and marveled at the whole scene.

I finally decided to at least round the house once, then approach the front door respectfully.

After making it around a small shed, a loud pounding noise shrilled through the air. My eyes flashed about in search of the source. There was the fire… and then there was the man.

Mark.

IT-WAS-HIM!�"the thought, words that formed in my mind and rested on the tip of my tongue, was distinct and precise. He really did exist.

The blood in my veins instantly shivered with a fierce excitement, while my mind and heart seemed to warm into fresh honey�"full of a sweetness too unfathomable to describe. He looked every bit like a man should, appearing right out of our Creator's oven�"baked to perfection.

I froze. I forgot to breathe. A small moment of eternity seemed to hold me still as I sat beholding the exquisite, and at times illusive, creature.   

Luckily my heart didn’t stop beating. It actually began pulsing rapidly, so rapidly I feared the bones protecting the said thumping organ would soon crack. 

He was perfect, a mirror image of the man in my dreams. Many thoughts and emotions associated with this man suddenly overwhelmed me and replayed through my mind quickly from the beginning.

I know all my visions come true, why do I ever doubt myself? But my father spoke of this man as well, how could he have known? Or was there no connection, only the one my mind conveniently put there, possibly hoping to solve both mysteries at once? Who was this man, and why wasn’t he married? Or maybe he was a married, spiritual leader, only meant to advise me on my way of life. I think I will continue to remain hopeful that he’s unattached. Did he somehow know about me; was he possibly waiting for me too?

Oh how my patience has been stretched to its utmost elasticity waiting to meet this extraordinary man, and he’s right before my ever grateful eyes, close enough to touch.

Atop this magnificent human being was, of course, his distinguishing black hat. His white shirt fit taut over his strong, wide shoulders, his muscles flexed under the force he put into his forgery, and his arms rippled with tension and strength. As he shifted and turned I noticed his fitted blue jeans gave a generous view of his appealing backside, and there was an obvious line of perspiration that traveled down the center of his back.

All of a sudden Caleb started twitching his head back and forth while grunting loudly�" he was impatient for my attention. Once I noticed what troubled him�"I had gripped his reigns too tight and twisted his poor head firm to one side�"I immediately righted my wrong. After loosening my grip, I patted his neck soothingly and spoke a few reassuring endearments to him.

In that small moment, the whisper thin wind suddenly seemed all too loud as I realized the hammering had stopped.

The hammering from Mark, anyway, my heart still thumped out of control.

I slowly pulled my gaze from my horse to bravely face my disciple.

He slowly began walking towards me with his brows knit�"curiosity likely propelled

him. His walk was relaxed, easy, and he was definitely tall. He removed his hat, ran his fingers through his tousled, wavy black hair, then replaced it.

I carefully dismounted, adjusted my sultry dress, and casually raked my own fingers through my matted mess; I decided to keep my hat in hand for the moment.

Mark. The man who’s possessed my thoughts day and night for six months, was real and was coming towards me.

What would he think of me? Was I the sort of woman he would want? I wonder if he’d be willing to help me.

He seemed fairly sure of himself.

He stopped merely a few feet from me and finally smiled�"his breathtaking, perfect, charismatic smile. His warm, golden-pools-of-honey eyes made my knees weak. The tension or energy between us was so strong I feared we would be welded together in an instant.

“Hello,” he said.

 



© 2013 spice78


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You have a good concept, but your narrative is a little stilted, especially in your word choice. I'd be careful not to use overly large words that wouldn't fit the character relating the story, and to make sure that you know what's essential and what isn't.

Posted 11 Years Ago



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Added on May 21, 2013
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Author

spice78
spice78

pittsburgh, PA



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I love to read and write. more..

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TEN TEN

A Chapter by spice78


Jessica Jessica

A Book by spice78