Last week I started sharing my short story “Goin’ Down” that I’d submitted to the World Unknown Review but wasn’t accepted. Good things were said about it in the rejection letter, though. This week, I have the second scene for you.
“Where are we going?” I didn’t like having the blindfold over my eyes, but Justin promised he had a surprise for me. He hadn’t thought to surprise me since our early days of dating. I didn’t think he knew how anymore.
“If I told you, that would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?”
This was a surprise in itself. I’d spent the last couple weeks doing everything I could think of to bring us back to what we’d been before. He ate my home-cooked dinners without a word, barely spoke to me when I sat next to him while we watched TV, and turned away from my advances. I had started consulting with a divorce lawyer. I told myself I’d go through with it if he didn’t agree to marriage counseling.
Now, suddenly he was attentive, taking me for a surprise picnic lunch. I didn’t know what to make of it.
This was the spontaneous man I’d married. I should probably be thankful something was bringing him back to me.
“We’re almost there,” he told me.
I wish I knew where ‘there’ was. We seemed to have come a long way from home for a lunch. Or he had taken a winding, twisting way to confuse me. Why would he have done that?
Not a lot of this made sense, but I kept telling myself he had a sweet surprise in store for me. None of the rest of it mattered.
I went where he led me, trusting him. Just like I always had. When I stumbled, he caught me. He guided me around trees and other obstacles. I felt the brush of them as we passed. He wouldn’t let me get hurt.
“Stay right here,” he said before stepping away from me.
I tried to listen to him, I wanted to. I wanted to trust him. But, I couldn’t see anything, I only heard the wind…no that wasn’t the wind. It was water rushing over rocks. Where had he brought me? My stomach tightened at being so close to water. It had to be a large stream or river, a lake wouldn’t make that noise.
“Justin,” I called out to him when I still didn’t hear him returning. He didn’t answer me. Where had he gone? He wouldn’t have left me out here. Would he? No, of course he wouldn’t. He loved me, and I trusted him. I called out again but still nothing.
I reached up for the blindfold, needing to see where I was. I didn’t want to trip over something and fall into the water. My chest tightened. I’d been having the dream more often. In the morning, I’d find Justin sleeping on the couch. I guess he had gotten tired of waking me from it.
Just as I tried to get at the knot at the back of my head, Justin’s hand covered mine. “I said to stay where you were. That meant leaving the blindfold alone as well.”
“I was scared. You weren’t answering me. It was like you just disappeared.”
“Really, Heather. You do realize how ridiculous that sounds, don’t you?”
I heard the teasing in his voice and tried to laugh at myself. He knew how I felt around the water. “I was scared, Justin,” I said again. “Why would you do that?”
“I wanted you to trust me. You used to trust me, Heather.”
I didn’t see how manipulating my fears would get that to happen.
“I was going to take the blindfold off while we ate. Since you failed my test, I think I should leave it on as punishment.”
My heart quickened, but not in the way I would have liked. We’d never played these games before, and I was sure I didn’t want to start now. “Justin,” I started, but he took my hand and led me away.
“Come with me. I have a blanket spread out here with our lunch.” He guided me over and down onto it. “You will learn to trust me, Heather,” he whispered in my ear.
How was I supposed to when none of this felt right? He pulled away from me, and I couldn’t feel anything but the ground beneath me. The grass poked my legs through the blanket. I heard the water behind us, and it left me tense. He wouldn’t have us sitting close enough I fell over into the water. Would he?
No, of course not. Things had been tense between us, but he still loved me. He was just trying to spice things up.
When I did, he set the edge of a glass to my lips. The taste of the wine burst across my tongue then he took it away again. “You don’t want to drink too much, too fast. I know what a light head you have for wine.”
Something about his words struck me wrong, but none of it was false. I could only handle small amounts of wine or any other alcohol. And only when I’d had some food with it. I hoped he had more than wine in his basket.
He murmured something. No, he was humming. Doing this for me must really make him happy. That was good. Why did it send a cold shiver down the center of my back?
What is going on? should she trust that strange feeling she has? What is going to happen next? Well, you’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
In the meantime, I have a new release out today. Healing the Heart is the follow-up to my first book, Duty to Protect. If you were wondering about Garren’s ex-fiancée, Melanie, this is her story. I hope you’ll enjoy it if you check it out.