Category Archives: Relationships

One-Liner Wednesday

This is somewhat true for me. I’m still missing my mom 11 years on, and she was definitely someone I “had,” a huge part of my life, but otherwise… yeah. It’s pretty easy for me to dump material possessions as I downsize (again) for moving. But it was difficult for me to let the “soul mate” dream go. I’ve never had a soul mate, which may seem ironic for a romance writer, so when my 20-year marriage ended, I became more determined than ever to find this person. It took 5 years of increasingly frustrating and depressing situations for me to realize I had to let the dream go for my own mental and emotional health. I talk about this a lot because it helps me reinforce it to myself. I just today posted in comments to 2 blogs how much happier I am without the wings of this dream beating in my brain.

But it was a struggle to lug the thing to the trash bin and leave it there.

~*~

One-Liner Wednesday

Image found on Google

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Hello, It’s Me

As Rory continues to amass his dossiers on us, I for one am happy to provide loads of juicy info for his future blackmail schemes. How about you?

Secret agents

1. What makes you laugh, as in really laugh hard?

Unexpected humor is the best. I love to be caught off-guard by someone making a wordplay in the middle of a conversation. That just cracks me up, especially if it pulls in a layered reference to a past event. I can be moved to tears by verbal silliness. One thing I particularly enjoy (though it isn’t spontaneous) is parody. When I watched this video the other day for the first time, I was literally LMAO!

2. What makes you really angry?

What doesn’t? That would be a shorter list. Idiots who blow through red lights and go way over the speed limit. Tailgaters. People who abuse children and pets. Racism and antisemitism. Leaf blowers. Litterbugs. Any repetitive beeping sound wtfff shut up!!!

People who refuse to take responsibility for their own feelings. Blamers, whiners, and bullies. Sulkers and pouters. But also those who scream endlessly. Stalkers. Narcissists. Compulsive liars. Yes, I could have just said men on dating sites. 🙄

3. Who knows you the best?

My daughters probably know me best of all, but no one knows the real me. There’s a blogger (inactive now) whom I’ve never met in person, but when we were hanging out online she was great at understanding what I meant. I sometimes write obscurely and she would translate for the masses. (I’m better at writing clearly than I used to be.) My ex-husband also could translate my thoughts for me way back when. It’s nice to feel understood, without having to explain 27 different ways before someone goes “oh I see,” and then you wonder if they’re just being polite. These two somehow tapped into the way my mind worked regarding conceptual thought, and that was very cool.

But that’s just one aspect of a person, how they think about concepts. It’s important, granted, but there are other things, needs, values, dreams, goals, humor, etc. I used to be more “branded” with stuff like cupcakes and shoes and favorite novels and ways of expressing myself, so that it was easier for people to predict what I might say. But I became too bored with all that, even if it’s ideal for an online presence. Some people know a few facets of me well, and a few (my daughters) know many… but there are some no one knows, maybe not even me.

Eye behind camera lens with chess pieces

~*~

Rory’s Question Fun Directory

Rory’s Really You S1G3

Images from Happy Color and Pixabay

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Doggie Dreams

Stream of consciousness Saturday

Once I had a dream of dogs and they were frightening, a whole pack, about to attack and kill me, circling around. It was mixed in with driving and my ex… I posted about it, I think, but we aren’t supposed to go look things up in our SOCS. Yesterday or the day before I dreamt of dogs again. It’s not a theme that recurs (npi) frequently, so it’s significant, imo. I don’t dream about cats either. Animals simply don’t inhabit much real estate in my dreamland. Anyway, I did look up the meaning of doggie dreams, not that I necessarily believe in any of that woo. Supposedly, dogs represent fidelity, loyalty, protection, and self-defense. But those would be nice dogs… my old dream wasn’t about nice dogs and my recent dream was about two huge, scary dogs jumping on me, one at a time, putting their paws on my shoulders, and staring into my eyes. Each time, I was sure I would die. Their owner, a mean horrible man I don’t know, stood to the side and did nothing. But the dogs didn’t hurt me, despite the fact that he didn’t call them off. I was terrified though.

The dream interpretation site said that a dog in a dream could be a self-protective emotional barrier, so maybe the doggies that put their paws on my shoulders weren’t dangerous. They could have been guarding me from something. The man may have been irrelevant. There were two dogs. One was brown, which may mean I feel out of control wrt to a relationship or may be starting a new one. And the other doggo was white, symbolizing friendship and happiness. I guess this doggie dream was a much better dream than the first one, where the dogs were aggressive and chasing me ~ symbolizing anger with my ex. Even though these last two doggos were huge and put their paws on me, there was no actual threat.

Sometimes a dog is just a dog. 💖

Adorable golden retriever puppy

~*~

Images credits Shelley Krupa and Diane K.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

More About Meeee

It me bitmoji

Rory continues his Really You game with a second round of questions today…

1. Do you hoard clutter or constantly de-clutter?

As Melanie noted, clutter and hoarding are two separate things, though of course one can be a hoarder with a cluttered house. My mother, forex, was extremely neat and clean, and her homes were always free of dust and clutter, but she did hoard some weird stuff in the back of the closets. Some men I’ve known have been messy with a lot of clutter around, but I wouldn’t call them hoarders. They’re just too busy or lazy to clean up. I’ve also known messy hoarders who would literally freak out at the idea of tossing away any of their precious garbage. Ughhh. Impossible to date these people. Can’t even imagine what would happen if two of ’em ended up together… 😱

As far as me, I am neither a clutterer nor a hoarder ~ in fact, I’m notorious for throwing things away. That’s how I relieve stress. Delete delete delete! Ahhhh… Right now, I’m in the process of moving and have tossed a ton of things away and also have donated some stuff to Goodwill. It makes me feel fantastic to lighten up! I only wish I could afford to dump everything and start over completely! Well, not everything. I do have some sentimental attachment to photo albums and books, etc. But clothing and furniture and useless knickknacks bought on a whim? Meh.

Love empty clean space…

Empty clean room hardwood floor

2. Do you enjoy cooking – if so what is your ‘special dish’  and if not what is the dish you wish you could create?

This is a complicated question. I loved cooking when I was young, but it was also a form of control for me. I wanted to know exactly what I was eating and how much in order to count calories. Later, I lightened up about that, but at the same time became more adept in estimating the calories in restaurant foods (pro-tip: always higher than you imagine), plus there are a zillion guides and charts now. I was happy to cook for my family and figure out ways to create meals we could all enjoy. I never forced anyone to eat anything they disliked cuz I hate when people do that to me.

But now I’m alone. It’s not fun to cook for myself and have to clean up a sink full of dishes after. I dislike buying in quantities I know will go to waste, eat the same meal 5 times, or freeze it in blobs. Occasionally, I’ll make something for a potluck, but with so many people now vegan or gluten-free or paleo… meh. It’s just easier to stop at the store for a fruit bowl or whatever. I keep careful track of my finances, and I’m not spending more now that I’ve quit bothering to cook for myself.

When I was dating (barf), I thought it would be romantic to cook with someone, but things never progressed to that point. I kept running into these man-babies who were looking to be coddled and nurtured by having someone prepare hot meals for them when they came over. Welp… I work full-time same as they do. I am totally not into slaving away over a stove for some dude while he watches the game. It’s not 1950, hello!

June Cleavage costume cherry pie

3. What are we likely to find in your condiment cupboard?

I just threw everything away! 🤣🤣🤣

~*~

Rory’s Question Fun Directory

Image credit to the Bitmoji app, Google, and Amazon.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Kevin’s Tangled Saga [fiction 1721]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Lexi was trying to figure out how to get a ride to find Dan, who might have become stranded or injured on the way to Otter Village.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know
Moonlight
Who Needs Drama?
Entanglement
Dan Drives North
Geolocation
Lexi Needs A Ride]

Coffee shop

“Please stop thanking me.” Kevin smiled at Lexi as they waited for the to-go coffees she insisted on paying for. “This is what friends do. And…” he whispered in her ear, “I hope by now we’re more than just friends.”

Blushing, Lexi felt the warmth of his words permeate across all her nerve endings. “We definitely are. At least I’m not asking you to help me bury a body.”

He rolled his eyes and hugged her. “Not yet! With you, there’s never a dull moment.”

The java jockey yelled out Lexi’s name even though they were the only customers in the downtown Coffee Shop at 9pm. Kevin and Lexi fixed up their coffees and returned to his car. After buckling up, Lexi unlocked her phone and showed him the coordinates that Nick had texted to her earlier.

Kevin plugged them into his GPS. “One hundred eighty-eight miles. Three hours and thirty-five minutes. Let’s crank up the tunes!” He handed her his phone with the music app open.

“Ugh, what’s all this Rush and Metallica?” Lexi frowned as she scrolled through his playlists. Who knew sweet Kevin had such horrible taste in music?

“Sorry. Those are my workout jams.” He pulled onto the freeway. “Keep going. There are some mellow oldies in there.”

Lexi selected a Beatles mix. “This is nice. Takes me way back. My dad is a huge fan.”

“Mine too. Though my mom is more of a country fan.”

“I love country!” Lexi said. “Vicky and I saw Blake Shelton last year in Dallas on his Freaks tour and he was incredible!”

Kevin looked at her. “Country music, huh? I have a feeling we’re going to learn a lot of interesting things about each other tonight.”

Lexi picked up her coffee and sipped it. “Yeah… and speaking of that, weren’t you going to tell me more about yourself, Mr. Mysterious?”

“I was, but I thought we agreed that would happen tomorrow on our beach picnic.”

“We’ve got three hours to kill now.”

“True.” Kevin grinned at her in the dark. “I will confess my last name isn’t Mysterious. It’s actually Caruso.”

“I already knew that! It’s on the business card you gave me the day we met.” She put her coffee back in the cup-holder. “You were going to tell me why you left Chicago.”

He sighed. “All right. Let’s start at the beginning then. I come from a big Italian family, just like in the movies. Not a mob movie!”

Big family

Lexie laughed. “I hope not!”

“Just big and close and in each other’s face all the time.” Kevin drank some coffee. “I have three older sisters. Then my dad was excited to have a son he could mold into a mini-him. I always knew I was destined to major in business and take over his property management company. He made that clear. He was always proud of my achievements as long as they aligned with his goals.”

“I bet. Not so great for you though?” Lexi only had the one sister, whom she loved dearly, but even they’d had their tense moments. She watched the expressions on Kevin’s face as he talked about his past and saw both love and pain as he discussed his family.

“It had positives. I knew there were always people around to care about me and support me.” Kevin glanced at her. “Like you and Vicky, I imagine, just a lot more of them.”

“Right. But we were always free to pursue our own interests. Our parents didn’t pressure us.” Lexi knew she’d led a relatively charmed life until her marriage fell apart. “It’s hard to accept heartbreak when you’ve only seen people acting good and loving.”

“True. Isn’t that ironic? A stable, happy life doesn’t necessarily prepare us for adversity.” Kevin hummed along to the next song for a minute. Then he said, “I never questioned this system though. I was a sheep, baaaa.”

Sheep

Lexi laughed. “Until…?”

“Until Emily.” He grimaced. “Need a rest stop?”

“No.” She checked the time. “Maybe in an hour, when we’re closer. Who is Emily?”

“My ex-fiancée. And now married to my former best friend.”

“Yikes.” Impulsively, Lexi reached for his hand. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks. It really sucks. And there’s a lot more to it. She’s a family friend, naturally. From the neighborhood. Her parents owned a store there. Everyone was so happy for us, and then her parents got killed in a car wreck. A kid lost control on the ice and slammed into them. That was almost two years ago now. Emily blamed herself because they were on their way to pick her up from the airport. I should have canceled my meeting and gone to get her. It was a bad day, even for a Chicago winter.”

“Oh no! Oh, my God. How horrible.”

“It was. Devastating. We were all in shock. Emily took it the worst, of course. She got more and more depressed as the months passed. We put off the wedding because she didn’t feel like planning anything. She never returned to work and watched TV at her grandparents’ house all day and night. Then she told me she didn’t want kids because she couldn’t bear it if something happened to them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. She accused me of not being supportive, of only wanting her to, quote, pop out babies, unquote. Which is not true.”

“Of course not!” Lexi rushed to his defense. “But that’s a big commitment to make for a lifetime when you’re grieving…”

Kevin nodded. “The thing was… after that big fight, I began to question if I did love her or was just doing what was expected of me. Being a good boy. Majoring in business. Working for my dad. Dating the nice girl from the neighborhood. On and on. Did I even want this life that had been mapped out for me by other people?”

Lexi squeezed his hand, so sad for his pain, yet so glad he was with her right now. She made a mental note to tell him that later.

“Anyway,” he continued. “Before I had a chance to sort that all out in my own head, Emily slept with my best friend. She didn’t make a secret of it either. Everyone saw her drunk and throwing herself at him at a local bar.”

Lexi shook her head. “Not much of a best friend if he couldn’t say no. She might have been acting crazy with grief and despair, finally coming back to the world. She might have hoped he’d say no.”

“Maybe.” Kevin shrugged. “But he didn’t. I ended it with her the next day and felt relief, until my family began hounding me nonstop. They were angry with me. With me! They thought I should forgive her. Just pretend it didn’t happen and keep going with the wedding plans.”

“Okay, now that’s crazy,” Lexi said, annoyed with these people she’d never met.

“Right?” He laughed. “What a joy to get an amen on that. Thank you! I thought I was going out of my mind. But the real truth was… I wasn’t even that angry with Emily for sleeping with Scott. It only made me see I didn’t care enough. But I couldn’t say that.”

“Haha, what a dilemma!” Lexi finished her coffee. “I can’t marry her, but not because I’m mad that she cheated on me, but because her cheating made me realize I don’t love her.”

“Shouldn’t I have been at least a little jealous?”

“At least!”

“If you slept with someone else, I’d really be pissed off, and we haven’t even had a real first date yet!”

Lexi turned to gape at him. “Wait, what?”

“Well, I would.” He looked at her. “Why? Are you planning to?”

“No.” She felt all warm and smiley from his strange comment. “Not at all.”

Sexy redhead

“Good.” Kevin kissed her hand. “Oh, to finish the sad saga… Emily stayed with Scott, got pregnant, and married him. I attended their wedding as did everyone I knew since I was born.”

“Eek, awkward.”

“The awkwardness was only beginning. My sisters badgered me constantly about how that could have been me, and they told me so, I should have waited, forgiven her, on and on… one of them literally told me I had deprived our parents of a grandchild with Emily.” Kevin glanced at Lexi. “Can you believe this insanity?”

She blew out a breath, trying to see it from their point of view. “From all that you’ve said, I have to think that they were just being honest. They probably assumed you loved Emily and had given up without a fight, and in their annoying way were counseling you not to do that again. You didn’t actually tell them you never loved her and were just going along with other people’s dreams, did you?”

“You’re right. I didn’t say that. I wouldn’t have.”

“It seems unnecessarily hurtful.”

“Yes. Let them believe I’m an idiot instead.” They both laughed.

“Siblings tend to think they know best for us,” Lexi said. “I am guilty of a bit of this.”

That’s very kind and diplomatic of you.” He nodded. “I’m going to try to look at it that way. I haven’t broken off all contact with them, but it’s minimal, and I know they’re hurt by my abrupt departure. And to be fair, all three of them apologized in a group chat recently for being so hard on me, begging me to come home this Christmas.”

“Aww, see… they still love and care about you!” Lexi was glad the sisters finally came around for Kevin, even if late.

“Yeah, though I could have used their support at the time.” He shook his head. “I hung around for a while after the wedding and baby, but then I… found a headhunter and she got me the hotel manager job out here.”

“I can’t say I’m sorry about that,” Lexi said softly. “I don’t know what I would have done without you tonight. I’m so glad you’re here.”

“Me too.” Kevin checked the map. “We’re getting close. There’s a rest stop in five miles. It’s almost midnight.”

“I hope… I don’t know what I’m hoping,” she confessed. “That we find him or not.”

“I know what you mean.”

Dark deserted road

[to be continued]

~*~

Image credit Pexels and Pixabay.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Lexi Needs A Ride [fiction 1195]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Vicky informed Lexi of Dan’s intent to drive to Otter Village and how he seemed to have disappeared along the way.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know
Moonlight
Who Needs Drama?
Entanglement
Dan Drives North
Geolocation]

For the first time since she’d moved to Otter Village, Lexi regretted giving up her car. She’d had a cool metallic blue Mazda with the personalized plate BLUWAVE. It had not been her intent to be political, only whimsical, and after Jim’s infamous death, the plate made her easily recognizable to those who liked to snap her picture. As soon as she’d arranged for accommodation here, she sold the car and her furniture, booked a flight, and ubered to Carolyn’s. When she needed a ride, there were Uber drivers here, though you could wait a half-hour or more, unlike the city where one would pop up two seconds after you texted.

Uber app

Tonight, after Vicky’s call informing her that Dan had apparently disappeared en route to Otter Village, Lexi really wished she had her own car available. She felt trapped, having to rely on Ubers or the kindness of people like Carolyn to drop her off when she wasn’t feeling well. She paced across the porch, trying to decide what to do.

Her first impulse was to call Kevin, but no. Their romance was only just starting and it wasn’t right to impose upon him. They had already planned a fun event tomorrow and she didn’t want to ruin everything with a Saturday night drama. This ongoing Dan problem had nothing to do with Kevin. She needed to deal with Dan and make him understand that she’d tried to help Jim, but he hadn’t wanted help. She’d already told Dan that at the funeral, but he’d tuned her out that afternoon. She didn’t blame him; grief did strange things to your brain. Yet, she hadn’t wanted to restart the discussion again either.

Cemetery flowers

Lexi stayed outside a few minutes longer, worrying about Dan… stranded? Hurt? The victim of a crime? Where was he now? What had happened to him? Finally the cold was too much and Lexi went inside, grateful for the warmth of the boarding house. She hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so she wandered into the kitchen.

Peering into the fridge, she wished Carolyn hadn’t left for the weekend. Her landlady would probably be willing to help look for Dan. She was a very kind person. Lexi shut the fridge, deciding she wasn’t hungry after all. She went into the great room where the TV droned… an old James Bond movie was playing.

“Hey Lexi,” said a guy on the sofa. It was Mike, the newest resident. “Whassup?”

Lexi forced herself to sit on the opposite end of the sofa, even though her nerves were still jumping. “Mm nothing. Was wondering if maybe I could get a ride…”

“Now? I’m a bit wasted.” He grinned. “How about in the morning? In the meantime, I’ve got a fine selection of party favors in my room, if you’d like to join me. When the landlady’s away, the cats will play. Isn’t that what they say?”

Ugh! That’s not what they said! Lexi felt utterly disgusted, though she usually didn’t care what the other housemates did. Calm down, she admonished herself, this isn’t Mike’s fault. “I’ll pass,” she said. “I have to go out.”

“Bummer,” he said, turning his attention back to the screen, where Bond had begun to play cards with a bad guy.

Lexi left the room and went upstairs to her own. She pulled up her Uber app and was just about to request a ride to the airport, in hopes of renting a car and abandoning her promise to Vicky and Nick, when her phone buzzed with a call from Kevin.

“Hi! How are you?” Too late, she realized her voice was jittery and over-bright.

Kevin laughed. “Good! You sure sound peppy for having worked all day. I’m tired, I confess, but I did sneak in a five-mile run before sunset.”

“Nice! I should do that.”

“We’ll get plenty of exercise tomorrow on our beach walk,” he said. “It’s supposed to be another gorgeous day. Cool but sunny. We could have a picnic…”

“Sounds fantastic!”

“Lexi, is everything okay? You seem a little on edge.”

She didn’t want to lie. “Oh, the usual. Haha, you know. My sister! All that.”

“Hmm.” Kevin paused, the silence making Lexi more nervous. Finally, he continued, “Did your sister call with more news about Dan today?”

“Yes.” Lexi sighed and picked up the otter beanie baby on her night table. It was still as adorable as the day Kevin gave it to her at the festival, back when they were friends “light,” before their kiss, before she’d begun confiding in him.

Beanie baby otter

“And?” Kevin prompted. “You can tell me, Lexi. I really will understand. I know it’s not your fault this stuff happened. I too have had…”

“What?” She eagerly seized on that morsel. “What brought you here, Kevin? Why did you leave Chicago?”

“Whoa,” he said. “Actually, I’d like to tell you about all that, even though I won’t be doing myself any favors. It’s not a pretty picture of me, but fair is fair, since you’ve been honest with me. How about tomorrow though, in person?”

“Sure.” Lexi sat on the edge of her bed, still holding the otter. “But for now, I have to go. Want to meet here at noon?”

“Sounds good, but… what happened with Dan?”

“You’re so persistent! Are you sure you’re not a reporter?”

“Just tell me. I’m starting to imagine awful things.”

“It is awful.” She stood up and began pacing again. “He was driving up here and, well, vanished.”

“What do you mean vanished?”

“Vicky said he called her Friday, implying he was coming up here to talk to me. Then in the middle of the night she got a missed call from him with a garbled message like he was in trouble. He won’t pick up now or return texts from her or Nick. Nick traced the last call to coordinates about two hundred miles south of here, but his car GPS was still moving back to the city.”

“He could have changed his mind.”

“Right, but that message…” Lexi shook her head. “No, I think he got in some kind of trouble.”

“I can see why you’re concerned, but isn’t it more logical to assume he lost his phone and turned around?” Kevin sounded so sensible and comforting.

Lexi didn’t want to argue. “Yes, Kevin, that would be more logical.”

“Soooo, you’re going to get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you at noon? We can stop at the market for picnic goodies on the way to the beach.”

“I’m going to get an Uber to the airport and rent a car to go look for Dan,” she told him. “But the rest of your plan sounds perfect.”

“You can’t do that, Lexi.”

Immediately irritated at being told what she couldn’t do, Lexi said, “And why not?”

“Because rental car places are all closed by now.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. How could she possibly sleep tonight or enjoy herself with Kevin tomorrow when Dan might be lying injured on the road somewhere? “Okay, thanks.”

“I’ll be there in ten minutes to help you go look for that idiot,” Kevin said and clicked off.

Dark deserted road

[to be continued]

~*~

Image credits Pexels, Pixabay, and Google.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Ancient Writer [fiction 450]

She had nothing better to do, so she went with the others to the book signing. The nurse said it would be only a short walk from the bus stop to the bookstore, but it was windy, which exacerbated the chill. By the time they stepped inside, she was too cold and achy to care about a book, even one written by a famous writer.

“Aren’t you buying one?” her friend asked. “Jim Warren will sign it himself!”

She picked up a copy from the stack and stood in line with the others. At least it was pot pie day. That would warm her up. She smiled thinking of the delicious flaky crust and bubbling chicken and veggies tucked inside. Hopefully it would be ready as soon as they returned from this outing.

“You have a beautiful smile.”

She realized she was at the front and it was her turn to pay and have the book signed. The writer was old, much more ancient than he had appeared in the flyer she’d received. His face was a map of lines, and when he smiled they radiated out to the ends of the earth and beyond. His hair was a puff of snow, haloing his head. But his eyes! They glittered like aquamarine jewels, as if an ocean bubbled beneath his skin.

“Thank you,” she said, handing her credit card to the bored-looking cashier.

“To whom shall I dedicate this book?” the ancient writer asked.

“To Daisy.” She felt herself blush for the first time in thirty years as he studied her face and repeated her name. When he handed the book back, their fingertips touched briefly.

On the bus ride home, she opened the jacket to see what he wrote. She turned in her seat so no one else could see.

Dearest Daisy, you have brightened up my morning with your lovely smile. Let’s meet again in these pages and have a wonderful adventure. Yours, James

Daisy skipped lunch and went straight to her room to begin reading the book. Within a few pages, his words swirled her through the mists of her imagination to the beach of his dreams. She was young and beautiful with long golden hair and a body that had no pains. Her pillow was sugary sand; waves of aquamarine flowed over her like a blanket. When a villain materialized from the rocks, a hero galloped out of the clouds on a steed made of fire. He swept her away to the ends of the earth and beyond.

“I hoped I would find you here,” she said.

“Our adventure is just beginning,” he told her. And he kissed her as they headed into the wind.

~*~

Sadje’s What Do You See 3

Image credit to Google via Sadje

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Glow [flash 341]

Golden glowing sunrise with a pink and lavender sky

“Let’s use the darker shades now to layer our sky,” Anita instructed. “We want to get a sense of the deep lavender hues of the waning night, and then we’ll put the bright light of the golden sun last.”

She stood back to admire her painting in progress–her best one yet. She was really nailing this Glow series. But then she glanced over at Michael, who seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty. Poor guy. He didn’t seem to be focused. She walked over to help him.

“Hey, honey. That’s a really good start.” Anita swirled her own brush through his pink mixture. “Let’s just brighten up your sky a bit here and here, okay?”

He was so non-responsive. But that was the trouble with guys like Michael. You gave and you gave and they didn’t care at all. They acted like you should worship them or something. The hell with that!

“Now look, sweetie. You’ve got way too much chocolate brown there for the tree. For heaven’s sake!” Anita began painting over Michael’s tree with conviction. “I’ll fix it. It’s always my job to fix things, isn’t it?”

She stepped back to view his canvas. Much better. “What do you think?” She nudged his shoulder and he toppled off the chair and onto the floor.

“Dammit!” Anita was annoyed. Now she’d have to take time away from painting to get Michael situated properly in the chair again, which wasn’t easy given how stiff he’d become already. She bent down to pull him up and noticed that he’d begun to smell.

Painting class was officially over. Anita picked up her finished canvas and her unused paints and put them in her truck. She doused the studio with gasoline and tossed a flaming rag through the window before driving away. As she headed for the freeway, she saw the glow of the burning building bathe the early morning sky.

She really didn’t cope well with rejection. Hopefully the next man wouldn’t be such a jerk.

~*~

The Daily Echo

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Geolocation [fiction 1185]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Dan was heading north from the city toward Otter Village, but had stopped for gas and a late dinner at the halfway point. While at dinner, he’d met a pretty woman named Angela.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know
Moonlight
Who Needs Drama?
Entanglement
Dan Drives North]

Mystical ocean

Lexi slowly drifted up from a warm foggy slumber in which she was on a boat with Kevin floating in a lovely clear ocean. She could see all the way to the bottom where people had normal lives, driving cars and going to work… work! Crap, it was Saturday and she was slated to be in the store for the entire day. She dragged her still aching body out of bed and took a hot shower, which helped a little. What had possessed her to ride her bike like such a maniac?

She grabbed her purse and gingerly walked downstairs. Found her orange juice in the fridge behind the soda. Stretched in front of the patio doors. Finally, she took a deep breath and checked her phone, expecting another stressful message from Vicky, but thank goodness–no. There was a message however, and it was from Kevin.

Hi Lexi, sorry to text so late. I bet you’re asleep… hope so. I wanted to call you earlier in the evening, but my thoughts are such a jumble. Anyway, it’s been an exhausting day, but I have been thinking about you. Thanks again for the delicious cookies. They were a welcome treat this afternoon. If you’re free Sunday, maybe we can check out the beach in the daytime… for comparison purposes?

Lexi smiled as she reread the message. It wasn’t the most ardent one she’d ever received, for sure. Most men would have referenced the kissing over the cookies, but perhaps Kevin thought she wouldn’t like to talk about kissing over text. Or maybe he was trying to keep things light. Then again, he wanted to see her Sunday. And he had said he was smitten with her…

Good morning! she texted back. It was nice to wake up to a message from you. I think that comparing the beach in the day to the night is a very important scientific project and I’m happy to participate. Have a good day at work. She added a smiley face but not any hearts. No need to spook him.

Enchanting redhead

“Need a ride?” Carolyn asked. “I can drop you at your shop. I’m headed that way, up to Driftwood Drive and then the freeway.”

Lexi had just slipped on her jacket and was unhappily contemplating the three miles to work. Normally she’d easily walk or bike them, but today her muscles were still sore. “Thank you so much,” she said to Carolyn. “I really appreciate it.”

“Sure.” Carolyn beeped open the doors of her SUV. “I didn’t think you’d want to walk, given your marathon exercise session yesterday.”

Lexi laughed as she fastened her seatbelt. “That was a little crazy!”

The older woman slipped on her shades. “I hope everything is going okay for you here, Lexi. I like having you as a tenant.”

“Aw, thanks.” Lexi smiled at her landlady. “I know I haven’t been super social, but I do enjoy living in Otter Village. My job is going well, and I’m slowly making a few friends.”

Carolyn shrugged. “Not everyone is a big extrovert and that’s cool. As long as you’re happy. If you ever have a problem in the house or with another tenant, you can talk to me.”

Lexi wasn’t sure why Carolyn was saying this. “Everyone seems nice. So far anyway.”

“With men and women in close quarters, something always comes up.” Carolyn made a left onto souvenir row. “No pun intended!”

“Hah, I know what you mean.” Lexi figured there had been past incidences of flirting and unwanted advances at the rooming house.

Carolyn pulled up right in front of the Otter Emporium. “Glad we had a chance to chat.”

“Me too! And thanks again.” Lexi nodded toward the door. “Perfect timing. My boss is just opening up.”

Sales were brisk and Lexi was on her feet almost the whole day. She gave in and took Advil on her lunch break. “I think I’m going to indulge myself and call for a ride home,” she said to a coworker, who nodded in sympathy as they refolded tee shirts.

Calling Ubet

As Lexi thanked the driver, she felt her phone vibrate with a call. Butterflies swirled in her tummy at the thought of planning tomorrow’s beach date with Kevin.

“Hey there,” Lexi said as she walked up the path to the front door.

“Hey yourself,” came her sister’s voice. “Why do you sound so… flirty?”

“Me… flirty?” Lexi felt her face grow hot in the dark. “Vicky, I assure you that was not flirtatious at all!”

“Mm sure. Okay. Listen, there’s something weird.”

Lexi rolled her eyes and her good mood dissolved. She loved talking to Vicky, but lately it was always distressing. “Don’t tell me it’s about Dan again.”

“You know how he said he wanted to talk to you and Nick told him not to, but Dan didn’t act like he was paying attention to Nick’s advice?”

Feeling all her energy dissipate at once, Lexi sat down on the bench beside the front door. “Yeah.”

Blonde talking

“Well… at around three in the morning I got a missed call from him. You know he’s called me a lot, texted me, et cetera. Mostly he pesters me for your info, but other times just rambles on.”

Wishing Vicky would get to the point, Lexi said, “Yes, you’ve told me that he’s a pain. Shouldn’t you just block him?”

“Maybe, but then I wouldn’t know what he’s up to. But listen, this missed call was really strange.”

“Why? Besides it happening in the middle of the night, you mean?” Lexi was so cold. Even though she wore long pants and a jacket, the ocean breeze began to give her chills down to her bones.

“Something recorded. Moans. Or words we couldn’t understand. Sort of like a butt dial, except it sounded like it was outdoors. Then a man clearly said ‘Angela,’ but it was not Dan. Nothing after that.”

“Freaky!” Lexi agreed. “But couldn’t Dan have lost his phone?”

“How would someone have unlocked it just enough to leave a message like that? In any case, Nick had it pinged. The message was sent about two hundred thirty miles south of you. Then Nick had Dan’s car geolocated. It was pinged at the same location, but now is headed back to the city.”

Lexi began shivering uncontrollably. “What does it mean, Vicky? Is Dan…?” No. She just couldn’t say the word. First Jim. Now Dan. It was too horrible. “Can’t Nick send some cops out to look for him?”

“Nick doesn’t have that kind of power. The police department is short-handed as it is. Plus it’s not even in the city.”

“Give me the geolocation.”

“Why? You’re not going to go looking for him by yourself.”

“I’ll get help. I promise.” Lexi gripped the phone. “What if he’s lying on the side of the road injured somewhere?”

“Hang on…” Vicky said something to Nick, Lexi assumed. “Okay, Nick is texting it to you, but you have to swear that you won’t go driving off alone tonight like a nut.”

Lexi’s promised through chattering teeth. “I won’t go alone.”

Dark road

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©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Waves [fiction 900]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Sura’s cousin Nami delivered the news that Miko had died a strange death and Sura should return to Liana at once.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan
A Cup of Tea?
Liana’s House
Strange News]

Colorful huts

Waves of pain came hour after hour, until she didn’t know when day turned to night. She became too weak to follow directions and decided that it was time to die. Pleased to join her family in the land beyond, Liana relaxed into a light rest. When she opened her eyes, Sura was there again, though she had already gone. Soft words. Cool hands…

“Where is…” Liana whispered, but she was too exhausted to finish her words.

“Shhhh,” Sura said, and the pains surged again. But this time Sura helped her and the baby finally came.

“It’s a boy!” Sura helped Liana hold him, placing pillows around them.

Liana gazed at the tiny face, the sparkling dark eyes. “Don’t let them…”

Mommy touching baby’s fingers

“We’ll help you,” Sura whispered. “She’s not the Queen’s nurse. She’s Miko’s aunt. And he died. You’ll have to act grief-stricken.”

“Who helps?” Liana glanced at the door.

“I put a sleeping herb in her juice.” Sura smiled. “You taught me well. But she will wake soon. And as much as she would like to cause trouble, she leaves for Miko’s funeral. You and I will journey to the Royal Hall, to show your baby to the Queen. My cousin Nami will join us.”

Liana closed her eyes. This was too much information, too overwhelming. And Sura seemed to understand. After she helped the baby start to nurse, she left the room.

She returned with bread, fruit, and juice for Liana. “Eat and rest. Don’t worry about anything else right now.”

Liana nodded and tried to relax while feeding her infant. She marveled at the strange sensation and the softness of his skin. He was so precious! A wave of love and protectiveness rose in her. She would not allow any harm to come to him!

“So, the babe is finally here.” Adoka stood next to Liana’s bed. “Boy or girl?”

Liana abruptly woke from her doze. Where was Sura? “Boy.”

“He looks healthy.” Adoka stared down at them. “But Miko was a healthy, strong warrior and died two sunsets past.”

“Miko’s dead?” Liana created a picture of her beloved Ken in her mind and her eyes filled with tears. “How could that happen?”

The older woman kept her gaze fastened on Liana’s face, as if to measure her every reaction. “It’s a mystery. Apparently he was here, with you, and headed to the Royal Hall. He took the short route through the monkey jungle. It is full of dangers.”

Little monkey in jungle

“What kind of dangers?” Liana asked, though she knew perfectly well nothing in the jungle had killed Miko.

Adoka shrugged. “The blue tree snake. One bite can kill a man in three minutes. There is the honey spring. It tempts the thirsty with sweet cold water, but it is poisoned. Then there is the sucking sand that grabs your feet and swallows you like a sea monster.”

“How horrible!” Liana shuddered. “But Miko would know to avoid these things, wouldn’t he?”

“If his mind was filled with thoughts of a bride,” Adoka sneered, “he might not have been paying attention.”

“Yes,” Liana sniffled. “I feel responsible. We spoke of marriage. Miko was not sure the Queen would agree since my baby is under the protection of the gods. He was conceived in a storm, by the storm itself, you know.”

Adoka rolled her eyes. “So I have heard. The Queen loves her stories of the gods and their interference with our lives. I believe humans interfere with each other’s lives more often than not. Even hastening their ends in some cases.”

Liana pretended not to understand. “Of course. Like in battle. Miko was a great and powerful warrior. What a terrible loss this is for our island family! The Queen will be distraught.”

“The Queen.” Adoka’s lips twisted. “Yes, she will be told of all that has happened.”

“I shall never love another man!” Liana burst out passionately. “He was my true heart. I am devastated by this loss and shall devote my life to my child and my Queen and nothing else.”

Sura rushed into the room. “What is it? I was gathering herbs and heard yelling.”

“My nephew Miko is dead,” Adoka said. “He and Liana were to be married. You know he was here because he gave you the news of your father. Then he left for the Royal Hall and became violently ill in the monkey jungle.”

“How terrible,” Sura said, embracing the older woman. “What a huge loss. I’m so sorry for your family.”

Adoka hugged her. “Thank you. I was very proud of him.”

“What about me?” Liana cried. “He was to be my husband! He said he’d care for my storm baby same as his own!” A true wave of grief crashed over her as she said these words for her lost love Ken, the man who would never meet his son, their future incinerated by the volcano, her heart in ashes with her real home and family. And yet… here was family with a new baby.

“Oh, you poor girl!” Sura ran to the bed to comfort Liana, kissing the top of her head. “You’ve been through so much. But you must stay strong for the baby.”

Liana nodded and sniffled. “He is my life.”

“What will you name him?” Adoka asked.

Pressing her face to her baby’s head and inhaling his powdery scent like a drug, Liana murmured, “Kenzi.”

Bird flying in sunrise over ocean

[to be continued]

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©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.