Archive | April 2015

Snowed – Part 46

snowed cover image for blogIn an unexpected revelation, Ma admits she pampered Gabe and pushed Michael. She felt that Gabe needed the extra boost because he was nowhere near as intelligent and talented as his brother. She remarks on the fact that Mike has flourished and Gabe hasn’t.

“No, Ma. It’s this place. If I lived back home, I’d be miserable too. Out here, I can breathe easy. I can live my life without the crazy pace of the City. There are some things I miss, but it not so many. Maybe if Gabe moved? He could look for another job, less stressful.”

She nodded, then shook her head. “Livia would never. . . .”

“Maybe she’s miserable too? I mean, four kids in five years? I’d be outta my mind. And she’s not working, so maybe she’s bored?”

“How did you get to be so insightful?”

“It’s the beer,” I said, saluting her with a wink. “I wax philosophical when I drink.” It occurred to me I hadn’t seen Chester for awhile, so I asked. Not so much to change the subject, as to satisfy my curiosity.

“He went to lie down for awhile. He’s pretty tired from the drive.” She blushed a deep, dark red.

“Yeah. . . . That’s it.”

“Don’t start with me, Mikey.”

“Never, Ma. So, are you happy?”

Her dark eyes glittered and she smiled so big. I never saw such a big smile on her face.

“I never was so happy. I loved your father, Mikey, don’t ever think I didn’t. But there’s something about Chester. . . .”

“He’s a good man, for sure.”

“Do you really like him?”

She sounded so hopeful, I had to smile.

“I do.”

Her smile got even bigger. “I’m so glad! I was so scared you wouldn’t like him!”

“Why wouldn’t I like him?”

Her eyes teared up and I felt my heart fall somewhere near my feet.

“I know you think what happened between your father and me was my fault. We grew apart, and I regret that so much. But it wasn’t just me, Mikey. He was having an affair.”

She held up her hand to stop me from talking. I couldn’t have said a word at that point. I was too stunned.

“He had women for years. Maybe it was my fault, going along, closing my eyes. I don’t know. But when he left us, it nearly killed me. Then when he died. . . . I felt responsible. But it wasn’t my fault. I always suspected his girlfriend killed him, but I couldn’t prove it.”

“What?”

“Poison.”

I was too shocked to continue. “Oh, my God! Did the police. . .? Didn’t anyone ever. . .?”

“They couldn’t find a thing. They said it was his heart. He never had a bad heart, Mikey. So when I heard you had all those women. . . .”

“That was a fluke, believe me. Usually, I’m a one woman man, totally.”

“Anyway,” she would not be dissuaded, no matter what. “When I heard that, I got concerned. Then the paint—I panicked.”

“I’m not my father,” I told her flatly. “I’m fine.”

“Not every woman takes sex lightly,” she said calmly. “Some take it real serious. You have to know that, Michael. Sometimes we get in over our heads without meaning to, without realizing. I don’t want you hurt. I don’t want you killed by some crazy woman. I saw what that word was. I know this wasn’t a something random and not kids.”

“Are you psychic too?”

That took some explaining, which I did. I told her about my conversation with Sally.

“I knew I liked that girl. She’s right. You be careful.”

“I will, Ma. I promise.”

“Good. That’s good. Now, it’s time to call Chester and get Sarena up. Dinner will be ready by the time Steve gets back. Then we’ll get Jesse and Angie and eat!”

From that point on, the day grew fast paced. I did my best to keep out of the way, but Ma kept dragging me into the kitchen to open jars or find cooking utensils she couldn’t locate. Sarena kept feeding me bites of food and I thought I was in heaven. I’ve never had a woman make a fuss over me like she did. Her ex-husband was a lowlife prick if he couldn’t see what an amazing woman she was.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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Snowed – Part 45

snowed cover image for blogFor some reason, Jesse told Mike’s mother about all the female company, particularly Mystery Date. His mother his considerably upset with him and starts fussing. She calls him a whore and is about to embark on a regular tirade. Mike does his best to ignore her so he won’t say something mean.

“Are you listening to me?”

“I’ll listen when you’ve got something to say other than name calling. I was drunk, horny, been without for awhile. It’s a hell of a cocktail with testosterone, Ma. But you wouldn’t know about that, being without testicles. If it makes you feel any better, she came onto me.”

“Was it the blonde from the picture?”

“No.”

“Michael.”

“Ma. . . .”

My phone rang. Thank God. I picked up abruptly, almost yelling.

“Yeah?” There was a pause.

“Mike?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s Sally.”

“Oh, sorry. What’s up, Sal?”

“Steve’s on the way back. I said I’d call. Can you talk a minute?”

“Sure.” I walked outside in the cold, leaving my mother to fume and sputter. “What’s up, Sally?”

“I had another feeling a little while ago. Something happened, didn’t it?”

I told her about the paintball attack and the word it spelled.

“You’ve done something to make her angry,” she said in a horrified tone. “Mike, be careful. This is not a stable woman. She’s furious with you.”

“It’s just paintballs on the house. . . .”

“Just be careful. A woman like this is dark, chaotic. You watch your back, okay?”

“Sure. Yeah. Thanks, Sally.”

“Your mom will calm down,” she assured me.

“How did you know she was upset?”

She giggled, and I could picture her tossing her hair out of her face. “Mike, Jesse told her about last weekend. She’s bound to be upset with you. Any mother would be. Especially now that you’re obviously interested in Sarena. You have to understand how a woman thinks.”

“Maybe she needs to understand how a man thinks for once. Which I was trying to explain.”

“I don’t think any woman can ever fully understand that. Men are so complicated.”

“No, see, there’s the error in that thinking. We’re not. Complex is not in the picture. Food, sex, violence. . . . Satisfy one, the others vie for priority—and sex will win just about every time. Add alcohol to that mix. . . .”

“I get it,” she laughed loudly at me. Her tone turned serious again. “Okay. Just be on the lookout, okay?”

“I will. Thanks, Sally.”

“Got to take care of you, Mikey. You and Sarena, you’re family now.”

I swallowed hard. That was the first time I’d ever been part of any family other than the dysfunctional one I’d left behind me.

“Thanks, Sally. That means a lot to me.”

“Tell Sarena I don’t look good in blue,” she said.

“Blue? What?”

“Bridesmaid dresses. Pink is much more my color.” With a saucy laugh, she hung up.

Ma was puttering around in my kitchen when I went back in. She was furious, giving me the silent treatment. What she doesn’t realize is, that never really got to me. I liked the quiet. I was past caring what she thought of my behavior. Truth was, I wasn’t all that proud of myself, but I didn’t think it required name calling.

Silently, she brought me a beer and a coaster, taking away the empty one without a word. I touched her hand.

“Thanks, Ma.”

She didn’t say a word, but smiled at me, patting my arm. When she’d rinsed the bottle and put it in the recycling bin, she came back and sat across from me.

“I’m sorry I called you a whore,” she said quietly. “That wasn’t right.” I started to speak, but she held up her hand. “Misunderstandings start from not saying things. I know you always thought I played favorites with you and Gabe. But the truth is, I knew he’d never make anything of himself, always in your shadow, if I didn’t do something. I maybe helped too much, played him up more than I should. But you were always so strong, and he never was. He has a good job, a wife. . . .” She shrugged. Ma doesn’t like Livia anymore than I do. “A big home, and kids, and he’s the most miserable man on Earth. I see you, a small place, a not so great job, but you’re so happy. You don’t have kids, or a wife, but such joy. I wonder where I went wrong. Did I push too much?”

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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I Love Dialogue! from Checkmate

I love dialogue doodle bannerI’m especially pleased with this book. In 2009, I finished my NaNoWriMo novel, The Ninja Tattoo, early and got an idea for another book. I started on it Thanksgiving afternoon and finished it in four days. In addition to my NaNo novel, I wrote Checkmate, another 54,066 word novel. I’m pretty proud of that and I’m pretty proud of the book, too.

Dane Berry is a body building chess champion. He meets Milla Cochran on an elevator at a hotel where they are both staying. There is an immediate connection and they both know it’s a matter of timing before they get together. Unfortunately, right after that, things get crazy and there have already been a couple attempts on Dane’s life. With the help of the local police and a friendly FBI agent, Milla and Dane are trying to figure out who’s trying to kill him and why. This excerpt takes place right after Milla confesses, over the phone, that she’s ready to make love to Dane. Cam is one of his bodyguards.

Dane was in agony. Milla had just admitted to him that she wanted him to make love to her and he couldn’t act on it. Balling his pillow up, he threw it across the room.

“Dammit!” He tried to control his volume, but realized too late that he hadn’t.

There was a knock at the door. Cam peered around the edge of the door. “You okay?”

“My life sucks, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“Could be worse,” Cam said, stepping into the room. “You could be laid up in the hospital, or dead. Of the three choices, I think you’ve got the best one.”

“Yeah, you have a point. And I have the worst case of blue balls I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’ve gone longer than this, what’s wrong with me?”

“You want the perfect woman and you can’t have her yet. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Time to break out your two best friends,” he held up his hands. “Thing One and Thing Two. Open a bottle of Jim Beam and party.”

“You have a unique way of putting it.”

“It’s not a bad thing, you know. Lots of guys indulge on a regular basis.”

“Yeah, well. . . . Does it make me a pathetic loser?”

“No, man, cause it’s gonna happen. You’re only a pathetic loser if that’s the extent of your sex life and always has been. Look at Wronski, dude. He’s what, a year older than you?”

“Three.”

“Okay, so Wronski. He’s not even in the game anymore. Poor guy’s probably never been laid a single day in his life, and he’s playing solo soccer every night so his balls don’t turn to concrete.”

“Such a nice way of putting it. Thanks for reminding me why we don’t have heart to hearts very often.”

“Look, kid, I know you miss Grady. You and him have a connection that the rest of us don’t have. And that’s okay. It isn’t always good to get too close to the client. But I consider you like family. My advice, free of charge, whisk that girl off to a wedding chapel, have a nice meal, then go home and fuck all night.”

“Thanks, Cam. That’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard.”

“Don’t get smart-assed, kid. It doesn’t suit you.”

“I’m serious, dammit. But what kind of a life am I inviting her into right now? Am I doing her a favor to marry the girl and leave her a widow? Could you?”

“No, Dane. I couldn’t and I know you can’t either. But this won’t last forever. Then you can take care of business. Get some sleep.”

“I’m gonna try.” Dane lay down, flinging an arm across his eyes.

“Night, Dane.”

“Night, Cam.”

Cam left, turning out the light and shutting the door behind him. Dane knew he and the others would sleep in shifts, having one awake at all times. He felt like a heel keeping them from a full night’s sleep.

“I swear,” he promised himself. “When this is over, we all go on vacation. They can go anywhere they want and I’m going to take Milla to the Bahamas or Puerto Rico, somewhere lush and tropical.” And fuck her brains out, his Id added with a leer.

Being careful not to yell again, he lay on his bed trying to sleep, but it eluded him. Attempting to bore himself to sleep, he reviewed chess moves in his mind. Picturing three different boards, he made moves and counter moves automatically, trying to stump himself.

Concentrating on one board, he started to see a pattern emerge that he hadn’t even considered before. He was playing white, the black taking on a menacing aspect in his mind. For some reason, his mind had applied faces to the pieces. He saw himself as the white knight. Milla’s face graced the white queen and his father’s the bishop. Across the board, glowering at him, Angus McInnis’ face was on the black king piece. The anonymous gunman was a rook. They were advancing slowly toward him, leaving him no place to retreat. The faces on the other pieces were hidden in shadow, but the face on the black queen kept flickering at him as if he should know something that escaped him. Sitting up, he broke out in a cold sweat.

“That’s it!” He couldn’t explain how he knew, but it was finally becoming clear.

Lying back down, he snuggled under the blankets, suddenly cold. This was why they were trying to kill him, he was sure. But how could he prove it? And how could he make anyone, even those closest to him, believe it? Allowing the chess pieces to make their moves, he watched the board carefully, formulating a strategy.

© Dellani Oakes 2015

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Snowed – Part 43

Dellani Oakes

snowed cover image for blogSteve drops Mike at his apartment before taking the sisters back home. Ma suggests, rather strongly, that he get some rest. He admits he’d far rather nap with Sarena, but his mother makes the conversation uncomfortable, telling him to think of something other than sex.

“Go get a nap,” Ma chided. “A real one, with actual sleeping. When you’re in a better frame of mind, we’ll talk. We’re going over to clean and change bed linens at Molly’s. Then we’ll visit Jesse.”

“I won’t sleep that long,” I said, yawning. But I suspected I would sleep until woken.

My mother left, Sarena lingered for a minute.

“Sleep,” she told me. “You’ll need all your strength for tonight.”

I chuckled, pulling her to me. “You didn’t get anymore sleep than I did.”

“I had a nap. And I wasn’t working quite as hard as you were.” She ran her fingers up and…

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Snowed – Part 44

snowed cover image for blogMike gets woken from his nap by some sort of strange noise. He hasn’t made it out of bed when Sarena and his mother come over from Jesse’s apartment, pounding on his door. They tell him the apartment building’s been vandalized and he calls the police.

“Mike? Mike!” Sarena spoke sharply. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry. Got woken up when I was pretty sound asleep. Haven’t had my coffee yet.”

“We’ve done all we can, Mr. Reuben,” the cop told me. “All I can do is give you a copy for the insurance and file it. No fingerprints, no clues. On this frozen ground, what footprints would show?”

I nodded, thanking him. “Want a coffee to go?”

He thanked me, but left without the coffee. I called the agency who handled the apartment complex, left a message and faxed them the file from the police. Nothing else could be done, not even clean up, until the insurance agent came to look it over. Since it was Sunday, it was pretty doubtful that was gonna happen soon.

“At least it wasn’t worse,” Ma said over her coffee. “It could of been real bad had that been a real gun.”

I shuddered, not wanting to think about it. “Yeah, well. . . . If the kids egg the house tonight, what’s gonna show?”

“They’re doing Halloween tonight?” Ma rolled her eyes. “On a Sunday?”

I shrugged. “It was the only night with a clear forecast. Maybe it will cut down on the number. I don’t have candy, but Molly said to hand hers out. I should go get it.”

I gave each woman a kiss, with various degrees of intimacy, and went to get Molly’s candy. Her place was spotless. Not that Molly’s a slob either, but I could see that having Sarena around was going to come in handy, for more reasons than one. If the woman could cook too, I was gonna be set—and spoiled—for life. I grabbed the candy and the bowl she’d set aside for it, and headed back to my place.

The damage looked worse from a distance. I hadn’t noticed before, but the multicolored splats spelled a word. Six feet high, on the wall facing the street, it said “DICK”. I had to laugh. What else was I gonna do? I wondered if the cop had noticed and been too nice to say or if he hadn’t seen it either. All I could think was whoever did it had pretty good control of the gun for it to look anything like a word. Me, I’d have stuck to random splats.

The coffee things were washed and put up when I got back, so I took out a beer. My mother made a face as I popped it open on the edge of the counter. I saluted her with the bottle, then laid it on my forehead. The damp cold felt good. After a moment, her hand followed the bottle.

“Mikey, are you okay? You look sick.”

“I’m okay, Ma. Too much excitement, not enough sleep.”

“You’ve had a busy week since your birthday.” She nodded, pursing her lips as she turned abruptly away from me.

I narrowed my eyes, trying not to frown. “What?”

“Jesse told us about your mysterious woman. And then the girl and the girl’s mother. . . .” Fortunately for me, Jesse didn’t know about Shelly too.

“Nothing happened with the girl,” I emphasized heatedly.

Not like it was her business, but I wanted her to know that in addition to my other sexual exploits, I hadn’t added pedophile.

“I’m just saying. . . .”

I hate when she starts sentences like that. It always leads to trouble and generally yelling. I love my mother, but sometimes. . . .

“Where’s Sarena?”

“Lying down. She’s tired too, you know.”

“I know. I’m not the one who’s kept her busy cleaning all day.”

“No, you’re the one kept her up all night.”

“Ma, we kept each other up all night. What, specifically, has you pissed off? And is this a conversation I have any chance of understanding? Cause I’m tired too. As you pointed out, it’s been a busy week.”

“I want to know about this woman,” she said pointedly.

“Why? Does it matter? It was a one night thing. We were both too drunk to think straight. It was a great night, but she left before I woke up in the morning. I got no idea who she even is.”

“Michael Aaron Reuben! I didn’t raise you to be a whore!”

I drained my beer. There was no way I was even gonna hold my own in this conversation. Instead of trying, I grabbed another beer and walked away before I said something horrible to her.

© Dellani Oakes 2014

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