The House

I pretty much crapped out at the end of this story. It was actually several different posts but I’m just going to make it one on here. I’ve been tempted for a few years to actually go back and finish it in a better way but whatever muse I had at that time has fled in despair. Read at your own risk.

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Darkness spread all around. Trees blowing back and forth, not letting one ounce of light from the full moon touch the ground. She awoke on the dank ground, no memory of how she got there or where there was. Only a faint glow in the distance could she see as she stood up. She turned around to get a better look at her surroundings but before deciding what to do, someone jumped out of the bushes. The tall man reeked of sweat and something else she couldn’t place until she saw the dagger. It glowed with an eerie dark red as the blood dripped down to the forest floor.

The only thought that coursed through her mind was “Run! Run for your life!” She turned and dashed out into the night. The wind whipped around her as she ran. Branches, seeming to have a mind of their own, grabbed at her scratching at her face and ripping holes into her clothes. Even as she thought she might pass out from exhaustion, she found she had more left in her to run. Breathe and run, don’t look back. As she rounded a mighty tree, she tripped over a protruding root, falling straight to the ground. She could hear the rustling of grass and leaves as the monster came running up. Frozen in terror, she curled herself up between the root and the trunk of the tree. She thought she was done for, could swear that that man or monster would find her. A brief second later, he burst out of the trees, fire blazing in his eyes, right hand tightened convulsively around the hilt of the dagger, and his breath coming in ragged short bursts. He was searching for her, hunting her. The sound of a snapping twig spurred him on even as only a few feet away she lay, scared witless.

Now with him searching after some animal, only the sound of rustling branches, the occasional owl, and her slight whimpers could be heard. What Hell had she woken up in? Was her family there or were they at home searching for her? Scared, cold, and now truly exhausted from her marathon for life, she fell into a deep restless sleep.

Life went on around the sleeping woman, the sun climbed up on his daily journey across the sky casting rays down through the canopy. Birds twittered and chirped. Animals scurried about on daily missions and play but nothing in the light of day could wake her. Darkness still surrounded her sleeping form.

Above the canopy, in the sunlight, rolling hills covered in the lush trees of the forest, a lone giant shone above the rest, offering shelter to all who sought it. Birds flew in and out of it limbs, squirrels chased after each other stopping only to eat the occasional nut. The tree housed many forms of life, never turning any in need away.

Just past the helpful giant, a lonely dilapidated house sat in a clearing. In its early years the house would have been deemed grand and ahead of it time, now it had holes in the roof, broken windows, and was falling apart at the seams. The middle and grandest section of the house was standing up to the rigors of time. Someone had been caring for the house after all.

As twilight fell across the land and ominous glow flickered to life next to a second floor window. Moments later a solitary figure stood in front of the light source at the window, seemingly staring out into the gloom starting to encompass the land. The figure seemed to be waiting, waiting for someone or something yet to come in the darkness.

Once again she awoke to darkness. Was night eternal here or had she slept out the day? What am I to do? Where am I to go? While contemplating her unfortunate situation, she was unaware of the man behind her. The hoot of a nearby owl brought her back to reality only to be faced with her worst nightmare, blood dripping onto her shoulder. Not again, she thought as she looked up to a deliriously and psychotically happy face of the monster in a man’s skin.

Just like in her worst nightmare, when she tried to scream no sound came out. He lunged for her as she tried to flee causing her to stumble back to Earth. He tried to pin her to the ground but as her hands flailed about on the ground, her right hand brushed across a rock. She stilled in that moment to look up at her would be killer. She learned all she needed to know about him in that split second she looked at his face. A would be handsome face if it weren’t leering at her as if her head were about to be the next one mounted on his wall. As he slammed down the dagger, his mouth cracked into a maniacal smile.

She never thought time could actually slow down, but now it came close to stopping. She wanted to get him off of her and ruin that smile that was being burned into her mind. Just as time had slowed down, it could also speed up. What happened next, she didn’t even realize until it was over. Her right hand brought up the rock and firmly connected it to his jaw. His movement faltered and instead of slashing into her neck, he buried the dagger into her shoulder. As he tried to regain his hold over her, she smacked him upside the head with the rock, succeeding in knocking him off of her. He only had enough time to rip the dagger out of her before she got up and ran.

This time she saw the glow and ran towards it in hope that somewhere in this Hell there might be someone who could help her. Angel or not, she hoped there was. Jumping over roots and dodging branches she neared the clearing. Blood now flowed freely from her wound but she didn’t have time to stop and bandage it.

As she passed into the clearing, the moonlight shimmered down onto the house giving her an even more unsteady feeling. This house is like something you’d see in a Stephen King movie…Creepy, she thought. A crash and scream of pain behind her forced her to move to the house in search of help. That last jog had worn her out, or was it from blood loss, she wasn’t sure. She’d reached the porch steps when heard him again behind her. She whirled around to see him bounding down the hill towards her.

“Peachy, I’ve pissed off Psycho-Boy. This day…week just keeps getting better and better,” she muttered.

Whether she had had any doubts about the condition of the porch and its steps, all that mattered now was the possible safety waiting for her inside the house. She knocked on the door rather hard but no one answered, no sounds came from the inside at all. Just as she was about to knock again lightning flashed through the night sky. This really was not her day. She banged on the door once more only to have the door crack open under her hand. Without thinking she hurried in and shoved the door closed. Locks snapped into place, safety at last! She turned around, back now against the closed door, she got a good look at the entrance to the house.

Candlesticks illuminated the entrance, giving the walls an ominous display of shadows dancing across them. Someone had definitely been stating to restore the house to it’s former glory. Tools, wood, and drywall were stacked all around the entrance. Unopened cans of paint were stacked against the wall to the right of the door. Off to the left, a bare hallway grew into the darkness making it seem never-ending. To the right of the hallway, a grand staircase arose, the rail of which was broken and rotten in areas. The steps had been saved, restored making access to the second floor possible. As if the staircases were sandwiched on top of each other with only broken railing to prevent a fall, one staircase beckoned you to the upper levels of the house, another rickety poor-excuse for a staircase led to the bowels of the house. Past the staircases, a doorway loomed off past the candlelight in the shadows. The wood and drywall lay directly in front of the doorway making it impossible to access the room beyond.

Leaning against the door, she looked upward and pondered her next step, “I definitely need to get away from this door. Toward Heaven, Hell, or dark mystery?” She took one hesitant step forward down the entryway step only to jump and fall forward as a loud resounding thud and scream came from behind the front door. Unsure whether the door or it’s lock would hold, she made her decision the way a child would…

“Ink, Ink, you stink. Dark mystery here I come.”

Another thud accompanied by wood cracking was the last thing she heard from the entrance as she barreled off into the darkness. She ran down the hall checking door after door, room after room for a place she could hide or someone who would help her. No luck, she only found dust covered floors, moth eaten curtains, and the occasional table. As she neared the west end of the hall she found the hallway didn’t end there. It switched course to the south, and at the end of the hallway there was a faint flickering light. The rooms in the south hall held the same dusty floors and holey curtains she had seen in every room prior. But there at the true end of the hallway, the flickering light under the door and through the keyhole gave her hope. Hope of rescue and an end to her nightmare.

Slowly her hand went to the handle then stopped. Her conscience was nagging at her, the first time she had heard it in the nightmare she resided. She decided against just opening the door and instead bent over and peered through the keyhole. Light, that flickering light was on a table, it was another candle. This room seemed devoid of dust, at least as much as she could see of it. Books, there were books on the table as well and in the bookshelf behind it. Very old books by the look of it. Curiosity and her conscience somewhat satisfied, she stood and opened the door. There wasn’t just one table, there were six, lined evenly along each side, like in a class room. The bookshelves were all built into the walls and up to the ceiling all brimming with books. Some books were even covering the tables, permanently, the shelves were so full there was nowhere to replace them. On one wall the bookcase surrounded a fireplace that seemed to be missing it’s crowning glory. A picture, of a family or the owners of the house, one had been removed not long ago. The spot around where the picture had been was faded making the wall and the fireplace seem lonely and sad. In front of the fireplace, two chairs and ottomans invited you so lounge and read.

She could just see herself in front of a roaring fire, in her chair relaxing with a good book. Falling asleep with the book in her arms and not a care in the world. Awaking to a blanket covering her, and arms surrounding her as she was being carried off to bed. His caring voice lulling her back to sleep, back to her world of Fantasy of the heroes and villains she read about in her books and him, she’d always dream about him.

“I must being going nuts, or delusional, that seemed to be too real.” She said aloud breaking the silence that invaded a comfortable room. Shaking her head in hopes to clear her mind she realized that there was no other way out of the room except the way she came. She headed back toward the door and looked out into the hall, the flickering light blinked off of something at the end of the hall. It was him, the monster had found her. His scream echoed down the hall, her gut instinct was to shut the door but it wouldn’t budge. While muttering curse words at the old oak door she kept pulling it trying to get it to close.

“Come on you piece of…shut, please shut. Grr…Your mother was a chunk of Balsa now close!!” After insulting the door one last time, the hinges finally allowed it to close. Just in time for his arm came crashing through as she attempted to slam it shut. He screamed and slashed at her, knife in hand while trying to break the door down. She slammed her body weight against the door causing him drop the knife. He tried ramming the door but she held her own against him. His hand was trying to grab anything it could and eventually grabbed a hold of her hair. He yanked and pulled until she screamed, her conscience yelled at her and she did once again as it told. She turned as much as she could and bit down as hard as she could into his arm. He released his hold on her and pulled back through the door, howling in anger and she closed and locked it behind her.He was trying to break down the door, she could hear his banging, but then all of a sudden it stopped. Deciding to take the silence over constant pounding she went back to her search for a way out.

Trying to abate the growing despair and headache she scanned the room once more. Tables, books, chairs and…a fireplace, a thought struck her as her neared it. She’d heard all kinds of stories about how the owner’s would build hidden passageways into old houses. She had no idea if this house had that as well but it was worth a shot. It was an oak and marble fireplace complete with two sconces in the walls above the mantelpiece. She’d seen it in movies and hoped her instinct to be right. She was on her tipp toes trying to grab a hold of the right sconce, as she got a firm grip she turned it to the left then to the right hoping it would open a passageway. Nothing, she almost tripped and fell trying to reach the next sconce, once again grabbing hold and turning it, this time the back of the fireplace opened revealing just what she’d hoped for…a way out.

Unlike the hallway, the passageway wasn’t dark. Candles lighted her way down old circular stone stairs. Looking around the opening she found the latch to close the fireplace/passage door. There would be no way for him to get her now she hoped, so long as he didn’t find the hidden passage.

The passage smelled of mold and old dead things she’d rather just not know about. Carefully walking down the stairs she heard the sound of the monster breaking into the Library and growling in frustration but she headed on down, down into Hell as she thought it to be. Thankfully she made it down the steps without slipping and falling on the cold wet stone steps. The passage way ended abruptly without a landing, just another step. The latch opened the doorway only half way but thankfully enough for her to get through.

The first thing she noticed was the smell, it assaulted her senses enough to make her eyes water. The smell of rotten old moldy things was so pungent that had she had anything to eat it would no longer be residing in her stomach. She pulled her tee-shirt up around her nose and mouth in hopes that it would help but to no avail. Her eyes were watering so much that she could barely see in front of her. She grabbed a candle from the passageway before making her way out into Hell.

Darkness and stench, the light from the candle didn’t give off much for her to really see around her. She walked hesitantly forward, shuffling her feet making sure she wouldn’t trip over anything. Unfortunately for her, her left foot became caught on something and down she went. The candle flew a few feet in front of her. The flame flickered but did not go out. What she saw in front of her would have brought up her stomach contents again. A corpse…no it had been long since it had been a corpse, it was merely a pile of bones covered in a woman’s clothes, a dress. The dress was moth eaten but had not decomposed along with the body, someone must have dressed the bones. That thought was disturbing enough without the smell accompanying it.

She had to move, the emanating point for the smell was too close. She grabbed for the candle once again only to have her hand grabbed a hold of by someone. She pulled back, clambered backward trying to get away but the grip was still there pulling her forward. She got up and pulled backward unable to scream, unable to breathe from the stinging in her lungs from the smell. It was burning her, killing her and she could do nothing but try to pull herself away from whoever it was. She could feel her mind fading; herself fading as the lack of air took hold, as darkness once again encompassed her.

She gasped for breath as she awoke. Her lungs were still stinging but not quite as painfully. Her body was warm and yet sore. Why was her left arm so sore? No matter how hard she tried her eyes wouldn’t open. Which was just fine by her, she was very comfortable and still sleepy. She could smell jasmine all around her. She loved that smell. Ever since she’d come in contact with a jasmine plant when she was little she’d always worn that fragrance. It always made her feel warm inside. Where was that smell coming from? It seemed to even have permeated her pillow. Her pillow? This wasn’t her pillow, where was she and why was she in someone else’s bed?

When her eyes snapped open and she sat upright in the bed, everything came rushing back. The monster, the trees, the pain in her pain was because of him. The House and the hell that was it’s basement. She gasped and looked around. Someone had grabbed a hold of her wrist and she passed out from that eye watering smell. Who was that? Where, what, who? Question after question flooded into her mind, causing her to fall back to the bed. She turned to look at the flame on the table next to her, despair seeping into her mind. She choked back tears and concentrated on the flame as it danced left and right on top of the candle. No she would beat this, beat whoever was trying to kill her. She was not going to let him win and she definitely wasn’t going to lie on the bed anymore.

She tried to pull herself up but proceeded to get dizzy. Shortly before she fell to the floor, she swayed backward and fell back to the bed. Lack of food and blood loss, dangerous combination but she didn’t want to stay and find out who grabbed her wrist and yet she was curious.

Footsteps echoed down the hall to where she was. Time to decide: run, hide, or wait and see. Fight or flight. They were close to the door now and flight won over but shortly before she could run, a wave of dizziness pulled her to the floor. Hinges creaked as the door opened so she did the only thing she could, she carefully and quietly slid under the bed.

The door smacked the wall with a dull thud. All she could see of the person in the doorway were his shoes. Emerald green and white ratty tennis shoes walked over to the table in the middle of the room so the wearer could place whatever was being carried down on the top. Her eyes never left those shoes all the while they were moving, and they were too close for her liking. Sliding as quietly as she could, she moved closer to the door. Before she could even get halfway, the man waltzed back and closed the only means of escape. As the shoes moved closer to the bed she slid back towards the side she had just come from. He was far too close. The shoes stopped at the edge of the bed closest to the door and whoever it was sat down on the bed and moved around. The last thing she expected was for a hand to reach under the bed for her. He held on to her tightly and just as the next hand grabbed onto the bedding she pulled back and bit down on him. She moved so fast out from under the bed that she hadn’t even realized she was out until she was sliding up the wall and over to the door. He moved for her again, grabbing hold of her waist and holding her up against the door. She could hear her scream this time but also a soft voice echoing in her ears.

“Whoa. Hey. Easy angel, it’s okay now.”

Her hand hurriedly covered the handle on the door hoping that she could still get out but his hand covered hers. She stilled, silent tears were running down her cheeks. She felt the coolness of the wood against her forehead and his voice whispering in her ear.

“Easy angel, I promise I won’t hurt you.”

She couldn’t pull away from him this time, he was too strong or she too weak. He held her upright as lightheadedness swept over her again. Slowly he turned her around to face him. Trying to get away from him, she pushed herself back against the door keeping her eyes closed.

“Come on open your eyes…Please look at me.”

A hand came up and gently pulled her chin upward, “Please Baby, look at me.” He said wiping away her tears.

“I don’t know you and don’t call me baby,” she chocked out.

He chuckled. “You never did like being called baby. And you’re wrong, you do know me. At least you did. Please open your eyes?”

The pain in her arm came back ten fold causing her to groan and scrunch up her face. The moment he saw she was in pain he carefully picked her up and moved her back to his bed again. When she felt the comfort of the mattress she opened her eyes only to be greeted by candlelight and a hazy image of the man standing over her.

“Here take this, it’ll help with the pain. I’m going to change da gage…”

When his voice faded she thought she was in a Charlie Brown special, for all she heard was ‘Wa wa wa’ from him but she felt two tablets against her lips. She took them and the water, hoping that the pain would end.

She could only feel pain and cold hands on her shoulder as she slid back into darkness. Either way the pain would end, whether she was dead or those really were painkiller, it didn’t matter to her.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d been out but thankfully she remembered everything this time. She had no idea what to do. He mind was completely devoid of answers but that didn’t matter right now. All that mattered was getting out of this hot room.

She jumped when she felt coolness on her forehead and trails of water going down the sides of her face. The cool washrag on her head felt so good she let out a slight moan as it was pulled away from her.

“Shh…it’s okay. You’re shoulder is infected and you have a fever,” he said in quiet and caring whispers before she felt the coolness on her head again.

She said, “Oh really, ya think? Nice deductions skills there Sparky,” before her head could catch up with her mouth. Even though she’d intended it to sound more sarcastic, it came out in more of a hoarse whisper but he still laughed.

“Here, take a drink. It’ll help your throat.”

He reached around and helped her get a sip but she accidentally inhaled the water instead. She had to sit up straight and felt like coughing out a lung. She felt like she had been coughing for what seemed like an eternity before it subsided and she finally opened her eyes to look at the room around her.

His bedroom looked as if it had just been painted. Blue painter’s tape still lined the trim around the windows and the door. Paint cans sat in the corner with the brushes and rollers. The table in the center of the room had a few books along with gauze, a candle and a couple plates. Only crumbs of the meal remained on one plate while the other had a sandwich sliced from corner to corner. Diagonally, just the way she liked. How did he know how she liked her sandwiches? Did she really know him like he said?

His snapping fingers brought her back. Now she could see him. He wasn’t blurry this time. The first thing she noticed was his eyes. She could get lost in his eyes. Could? She was lost in his eyes. Deep, rich green and she could swear they were peering into her heart, her soul. No matter how many clothes she wore she’d still be naked under his gaze.

She tore her eyes away from his and took the rest of him in. He had a weeks worth of stubble. It was all she could do to not run her fingers over the brown and reds hairs or his lips. Those lips…her mind instantly went to the gutter at the sight. Her left eyebrow arched up as her mind took up permanent residence in Gutterville and her lips cracked into a wry smile. Hips lips were moving but she couldn’t hear any sounds. Before she could no longer control the urge to touch him she moved on. His hair was the same brown and red as his beard. It was in slight careless curls around his face. Not long enough to get into his eyes. Just long enough to make hands yearn to run through them, to see if they were as soft as they seemed. He had well built, square shoulders that led to a muscular chest and strong arms, which were currently wrapped around her.

“Angel, you’re breathing a little fast, are you okay?”

She was in the arms of Apollo, or was it Adonis, hell yeah she was okay!

“Uh…I’m just peachy.”

“You haven’t heard a single word I’ve said, have you?” He said as he smiled at her.

“Nope, sorry. Umm…can you start again?”

“I said, as soon as this storm lets up I’ll take you into town to get your shoulder looked at. Your fever isn’t that bad but I don’t want you to get out of this bed unless absolutely necessary. Okay?”

“okay.” She was acting like a teenager with raging hormones. Wait a minute, she thought as she shook her head to clear out the dirty images residing there. “Wait! No, not okay. What if Psycho-boy finds me in here? I’ll be dead for sure! We, I…I have to leave…” Her rant was stopped by two fingers on her lips. It was all she could do to not look at his hands. Her last thought when she saw his hands were, “Gutterville…Here I come again!”

“Calm down. I won’t let anyone hurt you. Now who’s Psycho-boy?”

“He’s the reason for the stab wound in my shoulder. Of course I think he might have been going for my neck but…I woke up in the forest and he’s been chasing me. He’s been trying to kill me!”

“You were in the forest? So that’s where you ran off to two days ago,” He said only to be met by a blank stare. “We had a fight about moving out here. You slapped me then took off. I expected to find you in the library but…” He let out a long deep sigh before continuing. “Then I thought you left in your car since it wasn’t in the drive any longer. Any idea what happened before you woke up in the forest?”

“I don’t have a clue; I don’t remember anything before then. What was the fight about?”

“I…You wanted to leave after hearing that women were being killed in the county. I didn’t want to since we paid a…Well; we should both be without arms and legs after closing on the house. I should have listened to you, you were right if your shoulder is any indication. I guess I really should learn to listen to you, you’re always right.”

She couldn’t help it, but he way his face scrunched up when he said she was right, she couldn’t help but giggle.

“Hey no giggling,” He teased before laughing with her.

As their laughter died down, there was a comfortable silence between them. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Neither one of them had heard him sneak up until he burst through the door going straight for her. Apollo tackled him to the floor while she slid across and off the other side of the bed and kept moving until she hit to wall. She was so scared she couldn’t even scream.

Psycho-boy stood up only to be sent through the table and back to the floor by Apollo’s right hook. Psycho-boy only had one mission on his mind: killing her. He had no sooner pulled himself up again before Apollo attacked him again all the while yelling. He was yelling at her.

“Run Angel! I’ll take care of him, just get out of here!”

So she ran. Jumped up onto and scooted over the bed and out the door. She could hear them fighting as she ran as fast as she could down the hall, leaning against the wall as she needed. Down the staircase, into the entrance and out what was left of the front door.

She ran through puddles against the wind and rain. The wind was chilling her to the bone but she kept running down the lane. She finally fell to the ground breathing so hard she thought she’d pass out.

Thunder and lighting, why hadn’t she heard them while she was in the house? Footsteps, someone was coming near her. She tried to get up but his hand held her down. Her hands went everywhere, scratching and clawing, trying to get him away. Then he was shaking her and calling out her name.

“Chloe! Chloe, wake up! It’s just a dream!”

Her eyes snapped open and her hand stopped scratching.

She was awake; it had only been a dream. “What, oh man that was too real.”

“Jeez Angel you scared the living daylights out of me. Not to mention scratched me all to hell. I take it back, I like short nails! Youch.”

She didn’t even hear him talking. It was a dream? It was so damned real.

“Earth to Chloe? Angel, you okay?”

She looked around the room as she tried to get her breathing under control for what seemed like the fiftieth time that day. It was their room in their house. The four post bed was the same as it had been in the dream. Heel, the room was practically the same as in the dream, except the unpacked boxes and light fixtures instead of candles. The painter’s tape and paint buckets were all there. She had planned on painting the next day seeing as how her husband had decided on distracting her, making painting impossible. Not that she had minded. The whole move had been a pain in the ass. It almost drove her to pull out several chunks of her hair. It was over now thankfully. They just had to put the finishing touches on the house. Most of the trim, paint and then they could finally unpack. But thanks to her husband’s distractions she forgot all of it. All the headaches and wrestling with family members over the move. It had been just wonderful to just relax in their house.

“Yoohoo…Anyone in there? Come on Chloe snap out of it.”

“What? Sorry, I’m okay. You were right; it was just a bad dream.”

“What did you say? Did you just say I was right?” She smacked him playfully in the arm.

“Smartass.”

“Yes, my ass is rather smart isn’t it?” She just glared at him. “So, that must have been pretty scary to have you screaming in your sleep. What happened?”

She had been going over everything that happened in her dream and after about fifteen minutes, he busted out laughing.

“What the Hell do you find so funny?”

He couldn’t stop laughing and she was starting to get worried that he’d get hurt from laughing so hard but he finally calmed down and explained. “Oh come on, you don’t see all the ties between yesterday and your dream?”

“Uh, no, care to elaborate?”

“Ok, first of all we live by a forest now and you tripped over that log when you went on a walk. You were reading that book where a guy killed a bunch of women and had there heads on his wall. Why you’d want to read books like that is still beyond me.”

She started to understand where he was going with this and couldn’t believe how right he was, he was never going to let her live this down if she said that though. “Jeez, and that house was a little too much like Rose Red. I should have known,” she moaned.

“Which we watched while eating dinner,” he reminded her.

Her hand went to rub her shoulder remembering the pain in her dream.

“Yeah about your shoulder, I blame your cat for that one. You fell asleep downstairs in the chair reading. While I was carrying you into the room she ran out in front of me and I kinda knocked your shoulder into the door frame. You must have seriously been out because you only groaned and slept on.” He laughed, “Sorry though.”

“Well, I know that you were in it, Apollo,” She laughed.

“I think you mean Adonis.”

“Whatever, you know what I mean.”

“And it’s raining cats and dogs outside, so there’s your storm. As for everything else, I told you not to have so much sugar before bed. Always gives you nightmares.”

“You’re right, but the only thing that really scared me was seeing your raggedy ass tennis shoes.” Chloe said rather fast.

“Hey! Those are comfortable and I’ve had them for eight years. Nice try by the way but I heard you say I was right, for the second time tonight.”

“Damn, I was hoping you’d miss that.”

“Not a chance, besides it’s not often I get to be right.”

“Quit gloating.”

“I think I’m going to gloat a little while longer. Think I could get it in writing?” He teased.

“No way, and let you show everyone that I can be wrong? I think not!”

“What if I promise I’ll only show our family…”

“I’ll think about it…”

“…and friends, coworkers, the guy on the corner..”

“If it gets you to shut up and kiss me, I’ll even write down that you were right about the I-29 exit.”

“Hmm…sounds like a deal.”

As hips lips brushed against hers, her eyebrow arched just like in the dream and she once again took up residence in Gutterville, current population: two.

Dream Chloe was right. No matter what books she read, what those heroes did to entice her imagination, she would always dream of him. He was her knight in ripped T-shirts, holey blue jeans and one pair of ratty emerald green tennis shoes.

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