If a painting in the home of your perfect man reflects your dreams of doom, do you run, or do you dare to embrace love?
While Lizetta lives a life of compassion, childhood bullying over a few extra pounds have caused this sparky woman to lose sight of the beauty of her soul. Jensen’s recent past is filled with substance abuse, shady morals, and loose women. A brutal wake up call forced him to find his way back to the gentle soul he once was; however, there are some whose futures depend on the return of the demon.
Souls can heal, but how long can they fight the forces that seek to destroy them? If one of those forces is the person who shattered your self-image, and she is determined to take down the one you love, could you still believe that everyone deserves a second chance?
The moment I get home from work and step inside my apartment there is company on my tail—company with sweet breath that tickles my ear and reminds my body that it is male. “There you are. I missed you.” Usually when Laura does this, it’s a seductive whisper. Now she sounds like the Grim Reaper who has come to stake claim.
I sigh. “We've been through this already.”
I knew by the tone of the text she sent this morning that she’d soon pop in for a romp. It ain’t gonna happen, which is why I responded with a firm, “No, we are done.”
Laura strolls her way into my apartment as if I have rolled out the red carpet. Etta immediately comes to attention. Why can't I shove Laura out the door like an intelligent person would? There is a difference between being a gentleman and being a doormat. I don't mind becoming a bit of a wuss when it comes to Lizetta, but with this girl? No way.
“You mean the same game you and I have played for the last year? Every time you stop taking my calls it’s only to build the tension. I don’t mind you toying with me, but this go around lasting two months is pretty ridiculous.”
I never should have slept with her after I bailed out. The brain inside my dick that overrules my sanity needs to be lobotomized. It took forever for her to give me a break after that. It finally seemed to be working, too. The last time Laura called was the same day her brother, Larry, tried to get me to come back to the band, again. Coincidence? Probably not. A few hours later I reached my ninetieth day of sobriety. With the exception of the text I got when Lizetta and I were on our first date two weeks ago, I took the few weeks of quiet that followed as congratulations from God for making it. It’s been insanity ever since.
Hey, God. Thanks for nothing.
Laura also makes me bitchy as hell.
“It’s not a game, Laura.” I was always serious when I said no. It's just that she can be rather persuasive in changing my mind.
She leans back on the sofa with one boot resting on it. Combat boots? What happened to heels? Given what she had started experimenting with when I left, this is a bad sign. Her skirt exposes the fact that she's not wearing any underwear. I hate when she does that.
Actually, I wouldn't exactly call it hate.
Why does everything with this woman have to be so challenging? Can’t she just be normal?
No, with the hell she has been through I suppose this is normal enough. I can’t think about it, or I’ll want to help her. She turns my compassion around and makes me defenseless. She doesn’t want sobriety; she wants love. She wants someone to swoop her up in a grand gesture of devotion. I can’t give her that. I won’t risk my sobriety for her, no matter how much she is hurting my heart.
Etta snarls at Laura, reminding me that I’m not supposed to feel for the woman. The spitefulness Laura brings out in me nearly has me hoping that Etta’s raised ears and tail mean she will turn vicious. I don’t want Laura harmed, but she’s exasperating. My head feels like it is going to explode, so I rest it against the wall and point to the door. “Laura. Please.”
She slides down farther, thus sending her skirt up, just in case I missed the obvious. To ensure that her message is sent she tugs down her tank top. It’s not a display of modesty like it is with Lizetta, but more an act of exposure since the neckline stretches down past where her bra should be. Sweet Lord. She may not have any class, but memories of those boobs come rushing back. How I’d love to—
Man, I know Lizetta and I have only had a few dates, but even if Laura weren’t such a skank, I couldn’t go there. I'm just trying to do something right in my life. It seems to be working, because not long ago I would already have been down to business.
I toss my keys on the coffee table—despite knowing I should keep them at the ready to use as a weapon. I’m not getting my ass, or any other part of my body, near that sofa, so I squat beside her. Laura may have serious issues, but that doesn't mean she can't be reasonable and that I should not try to be decent to her.
“Look. That reply I sent was serious. We are done. Please respect that and wish me happiness, just like I wish you.”
She stands like she is going to leave. Instead, she tromps up to Etta and looks down on her. “Where did this come from?”
Scratch what I thought about being a decent human. I’ve always known that Laura is more of a bitch than I want to admit. She's proving me right. “That’s Etta. I adopted her.”
She stares straight at Etta and snickers. “You? You adopted a dog?”
“Why are you so surprised?” Etta, honey, if you rip her a new one, I promise not to think ill of you.
Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane's 150-year old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun's crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock n' roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing.
Forbidden Flower Trailer