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Concerto Part 8: Into the Storm

It’s time for another instalment of my online serial, Concerto. Once again the Muse has broadsided me with events I had not foreseen. I LOVE writing! Enjoy Into the Storm, and if you’ve missed any of the previous episodes or if you’d just like to start at the beginning, follow the links below this instalment to the the story so far.

 

 

Concerto Part 8 Into the Storm

I paced the cottage a couple more times, running my fingers along the keyboard, stroking the pianist’s clothes on the chez lounge, looking over my shoulder as I did so, half expecting him to walk in on me. When he didn’t, I settled onto the seat and pulled the white shirt to my face, to my nose, breathing in the scent of the storm, of the man, of his passion and feeling the anxious flight of butterflies in my stomach along with the heavy ache of desire below.

While the rain didn’t lessened, the wind had picked up enough to clear the mist. Dawn faded to anemic daylight, and the viewpoint above the sea became visible. My landlady had told me the manor house once stood there. Now little remained but the foundations and a bit of tumbled down wall — only the few stones that were left after the rest were, no doubt, plundered over time and taken for other more practical dwellings. The broad stone chimney still stood in stark relief against the cast iron sky, a silent reminder of what had been, a keeper of secrets and stories lost in the past.

And then I saw him. It had to be him. There was no one else here but the two of us, and the storm was the perfect deterrent to any lost tourists who might wander in by accident. I was sure the cow-path of a road was completely impassable in this weather without an off-road vehicle. A great gust of wind made my heart stop as he was driven to his knees too close to the edge of the cliff for my comfort. I yelled out for him to be careful, even knowing full well that he couldn’t hear me.

The thought of the lone chimney, the ruined manor house, the overwhelming sense of isolation the storm had brought with, made me suddenly desperate for his company, desperate to not be alone, and above all desperate to have him safely back in the cottage. I all but ran to the French doors, slipping into my worse-for-wear sandals and, as an afterthought, grabbing up one of the throws for a little extra protection from the wind and rain. They were wool, after all.

Seeing the storm through the windows of the cottage and flinging myself into it were two very different things. The wind howled in my face taking my breath away and making my eyes stream. The horizontal rain was icy and needle-like against my face. I put my head down and trudged, all but bent double, toward the viewpoint, only looking up long enough to make sure I was going the right way. I hadn’t gone far before the slip and slide of the wet ground and the pressure of my body snapped the strap on one sandal. My foot slipped sideways and I went sprawling onto the slick rock to keep from twisting my ankle. It was a sure sign that I should turn around and go back, that I should wait for the pianist in the cottage. But there was something in the way he shoved his way back to his feet, fists clenched, back stiff, shoulders rigid; there was something in the way he gazed out at the empty sea that pushed me on. I took only a few more steps before I gave up and just ditched the sandals entirely. By that time I was walking on rock, and what short grass the thin, nutrient-poor soil could support.

Twice I called out to him, but the wind only blew my words back in my face. It was as I reached the foundation of the manor house and all but fell against the chimney that I realized he was naked. “What are you doing? You’ll die of exposure.” I yelled, lunging toward him, only too late realizing just how close to the edge of the cliff he stood. With a twist of his torso he scooped me up, redirected my momentum, and sent us both tumbling to the ground in the shadow of the chimney, both grunting hard from the impact.

“Do you have any idea how dangerous that was,” I spoke between desperate gasps for breath, “what a risk you took? What the hell were you thinking?”

“It’s not your business what I was thinking, nor is it your business to follow me.” Even in the storm, his voice was cold, distant. I went still beneath him, and the tremor that passed up my spine had little to do with the in climate weather. He searched my face with hard, dark eyes. His expression was one I could not define, and yet one that made me ache in a different way, as though I were once again isolated, once again the only one on this lonely stretch of coast. Then he all but collapsed on top of me and bundled me to him. With a startled sense of shock, I realized he wasn’t shuddering from the cold, his body was racked with sobs, the kind of sobs that accompany deep, hopeless loss. I could do little but hold him to me and stroke his back as the rain came down in sheets and the mist descended again.

Alarmed by the returning fog, and not knowing what else to do, I drew him close and all but yelled to be heard above the roar of the waves. “You can’t be out here like this. You’ll get hypothermia. Come back to the cottage, I’ll build a fire, you can take a hot bath.” He didn’t fight me as I wriggled out from under him and offered him my hand. As he stumbled to his feet, I draped the wool tartan around his shoulders, for all the good it would do, but it made me feel better.

As I turned back toward the cottages, I suddenly realized just how dire our situation was. I could see nothing. The landscape had been swallowed in a blanket of grey. Then the wind went deadly still. Mist swirled heavy and smothering around us. There was no trail visible on the bare rock and thin grass. “I don’t know if I can find the way back,” I said, turning toward  him.

And then the world fell away. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Even to this day when I think back on the occasion, I can never be sure what was real and what was from the fall. I must have stepped in a hole. I yelped and went tumbling backward, but not before I glimpsed the manor house, towering up behind us, lights gleaming golden through the many windows, smoke wafting from the enormous chimney, and in the calm, I heard piano music wafting from an open window.

 

If you’ve missed an episode of Concerto, here are the links.

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

Concerto Part 4: Writing and Waiting

Concerto Part 5: A Duet in a Storm

Concerto Part 6: Remember How it Feels

Concerto Part 7: Unsettled

 

Concerto Chapter 7

It’s time for Part 7 of my online serial, Concerto. Some of you may remember a few years ago I blogged about a wonderful trip Mr. Grace and I made into the Scottish Highlands and onto the Isle of Skye with my sister. The remote place we stayed at while we were on Skye was an inspiration, the place was as mysterious as it was wild – itself a work in progress being built from the ruins of the stables of a long-gone manor house. This story is inspired by that place and by my love for classical piano, or piano music of any type for that matter.

 

I’m not sure how long the story will be, but I’m happy to share the first two instalments with you lovelies. Be sure to check in for further instalments as they unfold. Remember it is a work in progress, so please be gentle with me. I hope you enjoy.

 

If you’ve missed any of the previous instalments of Concerto, just follow the links below.

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

Concerto Part 4: Writing and Waiting

Concerto Part 5: A Duet in a Storm

Concerto Part 6: Remember How it Feels

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7 Unsettled

I couldn’t have imagined how intimately connected his music had rendered us until we made love. Nor had I any idea how truly ravenous we both were for a connection, even if it were nothing more than a touch from something outside ourselves. Though I had thought isolation and solitude was exactly what I needed to get my head in the right place, I realized, as he took me again on the Aubusson carpet by the piano, that isolation was, instead, my problem. It was contact I needed, it was interaction, passion, something to make my pulse race rather than make me feel more deadened inside. And making my pulse race was exactly what my pianist excelled at, as he poured himself into me again. When we finished shuddering out our release, he gently rolled me on my stomach and kissed and caressed the rug burns across my stinging bottom and hips.

 

Like a large cat, he licked and nuzzled the red marks, kissing and cupping and gently palming me open to make sure he hadn’t missed any of my wounds. By that time I was well on my way to a new set of rug burns on my knees and elbows, as I writhed and moaned and lifted my bum closer to his face … not unlike a cat in my own efforts. Without missing a lick, he reached, with a long powerful arm, to pull a couple of pillows from the sofa, which he then arranged under my belly, raising my hips so that his hands were free to touch and tweak and open each fold, each wet swell of me, now in far more need than my rug-burnt arse. In the meantime, he tongued, and suckled and licked until my mind was nothing but a heated haze of pleasure. I forgot my own name. I forgot my very existence except for how it related to his touch, his mouth, his fingertips finding in me my need as easily as he found a melody on the keyboard.

He was ready for me again, in no time, positioning himself with care for my tender bottom. I was far less concerned about my butt than I was about getting him back inside me. The ache and the urge that came from lingering so close to the boundary between soaring bliss and heart-stopping, free falling orgasm had bloomed to near desperation. His teasing thrust and withdraw, thrust and withdraw had me white knuckling the edge of the carpet, and mewling like a hungry kitten as he mantled me. He fisted my hair around strong fingers, holding me immobile while he wriggled a free hand down to thumb and stroke my nipples. And when they had gone pebble hard to his touch, he slid his hand over my belly and between my thighs to where my clit mirrored that hardness in pleasure very near pain.

 

“Please … Please, just do it,” I begged in a breathless voice. “Just finish it!”

 

“Oh my dear,” there was a growl of a laugh at the back of his throat. He brushed my ear with parted lips and nipped my earlobe. “I can’t finish it. It’s only just beginning.” Then he pushed up in me so hard that I screamed, at least I think I screamed. Agony or ecstasy, I didn’t know which, and it didn’t matter. One thrust, two, then three and the world exploded in shards of red and gold and bruised dark purple behind my closed eyes. He circled my waist tightly with both arms and roared out his conquest, opening the deepest parts of my emptiness to flood them with excruciating, delicious release and still more hunger, so very much hunger. And then I was plummeting, endlessly plummeting into the trough of the wave, as without breaking the connection, he rolled onto his side and pulled me into a spoon position. “Just the beginning,” he gasped. “Just the beginning.” Those were the last words I heard as I lost consciousness.

 

I awoke to the banging of the open French doors, in danger of shattering their windows in the wind. I was naked and bundled on the sofa in several of the tartan throws. I shoved to my feet and pulled one of them around me toga style as I stumbled to the patio to wrestle the doors shut, losing the tartan in my struggle. When at last I’d managed the doors, I was drenched and shivering. The fire in the hearth had burned to embers, and the cottage was deathly silent, in spite of the storm that still raged outside. The ticking of an ancient clock on the mantle was disturbingly loud, and I realized I’d never heard the sound of silence in this room. This space had always been awash in music or the emotions it elicited, or in the sounds of sex. Silence felt strangely out of place.

 

“Hello?” I called into the quiet, painfully aware once again, that I didn’t even know the pianist’s name. What had seemed irrelevant in the thrall of the music, and in the heat of our passion, seemed essential now.

 

The towel from last night still lay where I’d thrown it across the back of the chair. I dried myself with it, then gently cleaned the remains of our lovemaking from between my trembling thighs, the enthusiasm of our passion having made me sore in places that had not been exercised for a long while. My sweats were spread across two ladder-back chairs in front of the hearth. I slipped quickly in them, noting that they were still warm from the last of the fire. Then I tiptoed barefoot down the hall. The bathroom was tiled in jade green. The antique claw foot tub made me think perhaps this cottage was the landlady’s nod to a honeymoon suite before the money ran out. The room was empty and silent except for the drip, drip of the Fawcett in the sink.

 

The door to the master suite stood open showcasing a room much larger than the one in my own cottage. The large four-poster bed, which only added to the feel of a honeymoon suite, had not been slept in. A lushly upholstered chez lounge stood in one corner by the window looking out onto the sea – or would have been, if the mist hadn’t obscured the view. It was carelessly strewn with the clothing the pianist had been wearing.

Outside there was just enough light in the still-raging storm to confirm that dawn was breaking grey and thick. “Hello?” I called again, to no response. I discovered the kitchen dusty and unfinished. There were paint cans and throws strewn on the floor. A single burner camp stove sat on a makeshift table of plywood across two saw-horses. There was an enamel coffee pot and a hodgepodge of plastic plates and cups and cutlery. The unfinished pantry was stuffed with power tools and carpentry supplies.

 

I made another slow pass through the cottage wondering if I’d miss something, but feeling more and more unsettled with each step. I squinted out each window scanning the horizon as best I could in the storm, but there was no one. The place was silent. I was alone, and pianist was nowhere to be seen.

 

Concerto: Part 4

It’s time for the 4th episode of Concerto, my WIP unfolding in serial form right here on my blog. For a burned out writer, a holiday in a remote cottage on the Isle of Sky involves a mysterious man, a little night music and a struggle to discern what’s real and what is just  imagination.

 

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

 

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

 

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

 

 

Concerto: Chapter 4 Writing and Waiting

I scrolled down through the open doc on the computer screen, the one I didn’t remember writing. It was a detailed account of everything that had happened until the point at which I had tripped on the patio of the cottage at the end of the stable yard and, in doing so, disturbed the man at the piano. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to make sure I documented everything that had happened the past night, or at least as best I could. I doubted I’d ever find words for the experience of sharing the man’s music, what it had done to me, what it had done to both of us. But I had to try. I didn’t want to forget what it had felt like, how it had moved me. So I wrote.

 

As is often the case when I write, the flood gates opened and what poured forth on the page was far more detailed and had much more depth than what I actually had in mind when I sat down to write. I remembered more clearly the way the music rode the waves of the storm, the way it anticipated the rage of the wind and the moments of calm. Somehow what the man had played felt like a way of making sense of everything, of the storm, the sea, of my doubts, my longings, of his need to share what he had created. That need was something I had not really thought of, certainly hadn’t understood until he settled me in my bed. Of course every artist, every writer, wants to share the end result of their efforts, but I had never really considered that just maybe that creation could not be fully experienced by its creator unless it was shared.

 

By the time I finished, the kettle had grown cold, the fire burned low and my body had become stiff from sitting so long. It had been ages since I’d gotten so lost in my work, since my work had felt like anything other than a slog through heavy mud. Rubbing my hands together, I rose and put more wood on the fire. The rain pelted the slate roof, and the wind whistled through the cracks between the windows and their ill-fitting frames. In the kitchen, I clicked on the kettle again and found the Nescafe on the tea tray, not wanting to take time to make proper coffee. While I waited, I chafed my arms and stared out the window. A heavy fog had descended and the cottage at the end of the stable yard was now not visible at all. I fantasized about taking coffee and the coveted packet of shortbread across the cobbles to my neighbor and thanking him for last night, a thing not possible in this weather. When the kettle clicked off, I held my breath and listened, frustrated by the howl of the storm, but even between heavy gusts, I heard no music wafting through the thick air. A glance at the clock on the kitchen wall told me it was just past noon. The growling of my stomach reminded me that I’d had nothing to eat since yesterday evening. I tore into a package of croissants and ate one while I made the coffee. Then I returned to the lounge, determined to let the man rest. I figured he was exhausted.

 

I’d only just settled in to write again, when I noticed what looked like a self-published paperback in pride of place on the coffee table. “Cliff Down Lodge Reclaimed.” I flipped through the pages sipping my coffee and munching on another croissant. The book was mostly photos with captions, before and after shots of how the present owners had found the place and what they had done to make the stable cottages inhabitable. There was a brief history, but not really much more detail than what my landlady had told me on the ride over. What really drew my attention was the last three pages of the book. They were full of images taken from battered daguerreotype photos. Sadly none of them were of the stables. Most were of the lodge itself perched precariously on the cliffs above the sea, with its heart stopping view. I recognized the gatehouse as one of the last piles of rubble we had passed on the rough ride into the cottages. From the look of the photos, there must have been nothing left of the main house.

 

The rest of the images were of the interior, of the entrance hall, the formal dining room, a morning room. But the photo that drew my attention was of the music room. It was not particularly large, wood floors covered in rich carpets, heavy chandelier hanging from the ceiling, walls a mix of dark wood and heavy tapestries. In one corner there was a concert harp. But it was the grand piano at the center of the space that drew my attention. Perhaps it was simply the past night’s adventure that colored my perception, but to me, it was obvious that the piano was by far the most important part of the room. But then if the lord of the manor had daughters, they more than likely would have all played, as would have his wife. Or perhaps I simply watched too many period dramas.

 

I was about to set the book aside and make more coffee when I noticed the images on the last page of the book, all of pen and ink drawings. One of those was done in the music room of a dark haired man at the piano. And though it was difficult to tell from a print of an old drawing, the pianist, who sat poised to play, looked very much like the man in the cottage at the end of the stable yard. I laughed at my active imagination. I could easily see a story coming from this, though a rather predictable one I feared. I put the book down and went to get coffee.

 

As I refilled the kettle, the music began again, and even in the pouring rain, I couldn’t resist its pull. In an instant, I was out the door. In another instant, I was drenched to the skin, a condition I didn’t notice as I strained to hear the music against the wind. I only became aware of my waterlogged state when I slipped inside the French doors without so much as a knock and stood savoring the music as I dripped on the wood floor. My pianist gave only a quirk of what might have been a smile and kept on playing. While he said nothing, somehow I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the music was an invitation especially for me.

 

The Psychology of Dreams Final Episode

Psychology-of-Dreams-cover12985576_1537272663241009_8777292825525497968_nThe End is at hand! Welcome to the final instalment of The Psychology of Dreams 101, in which the truth is revealed at last, and with it, a return to reality. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Psych of Dreams, as well as the other serials that have appeared on my blog. Summer is not truly upon us, so I’m giving serial writing a break, but some stories just lend themselves to being revealed slowly — story foreplay, if you will. When that time comes, when the story is right for A Hopeful Romantic, I’ll happily let the muse have her way. In the meantime have a fantastic summer with lots of hot reading on beaches, in cars, in hotel rooms, during lunch breaks … oh, just anywhere will do when the book is good.

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Blurb:

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

If you missed episode 16, find it here.

 

 

Chapter 17 Awakening

“This can’t be right. Al this can’t be right.” But Al was gone. Leah spoke into the windy darkness on the roof of the high rise. “It’s not me. I’m not supposed to be here. It’s not my dream. Al? Al, it’s not my fucking dream!” She swallowed back her last words with a startled cry teetering and flailing wildly to keep from going over the edge of the building. The flutter of the wind gave way to a high-pitched hum that hurt her ears. As vertigo overwhelmed her, she flat out screamed and fell backward on her ass, blessedly away from the edge. The fall jarred the breath from her lungs and the world spun before her eyes and went dark. From somewhere far off she could hear voices, concerned voices, and she was suddenly desperate for Al’s company. Why had she not wanted to share the dream with him? At least when they’d been here together, even with Dr. Clyde’s untimely interruptions, she’d not been alone. Oh there were people in the city. There were cars moving on the streets below, there were horns honking, but it was no more real than anything else in the dream. Without Al or Dr. Clyde she really was alone, alone inside her head.

She tried to stand, but the vertigo was back in spades and the pounding in her skull made her feel as though she’d hit her head instead of her ass when she fell. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe through the pain, but when she opened them again, she lay right on the edge of the roof with one leg dangling over into emptiness. “Oh God!” This time she rolled and kept rolling until her back pressed up tight against one of the HVAC units, where she lay shivering. For a long moment all she did was shiver and breathe, but she kept her eyes open and kept her focus on the edge of the building. As her breathing calmed, she could swear she heard voices again, voices that sounded desperate, frantic.

“Al?” She pulled herself to her feet and looked around. “Dr. Clyde?” There was no response, and there was no way down off the roof that she could see. It was a quick look — only for a second. It was little more than a glance, really, but when she looked back, she was once again standing with her toes curled over the edge of the roof. Her hair blew in her face from the returning wind, and the high-pitched hum was now nearly deafening. “Oh God! Oh Christ! Oh Shit!” She could barely hear her own voice over the humming. She scrambled back from the roof’s edge again until the HVAC unit stopped her retreat with a sharp edge gouging her hip. Only this time, fuck if it didn’t seem that the unit was closer to the edge of the roof. “It’s a dream! It’s a goddamned dream!” She yelled, keeping her eyes glued to ledge and the void beyond. “Al!” She screamed. “Al I don’t want to be here! I’m not Diana. I don’t want to die. I want to wake up!” Even as she gasped for breath, she blinked, and the HVAC unit was closer to the ledge still. Her toes were only centimeters away from the abyss, and the high-pitched hum became louder, drowning out the sound of her cries for help. As she pressed back hard against the unyielding metal of the HVAC, as the ledge between her and the endless drop below shrank still further, a sudden pain exploded in her chest as though she had been hit in the sternum by a baseball bat. As she doubled over with a breathless grunt, she found herself face to face with the darkness below. “I’m not Diana.” Though there was no breath to speak, her lips formed the words over and over again, and they became a mantra in her head as she tore two fingernails in her efforts to heave herself up onto the top of the HVAC unit to safety. “I’m not Diana, I’m not Diana, I’m not Diana.” The words in her head were drown out by the hum, and even as she climbed on top of her Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020precarious perch, another sharp blow in the chest crumpled her. “It’s just a dream, only a dream, just a dream. I’m not Diana. It’s just a dream. I’m not –” Another sharp pain between her breasts stopped even the mental mantra and the HVAC itself had narrowed to an edge of metal no wider than a gymnast’s balance beam. Despair set in as another blow, and then another came, and her world between the sharp, rhythmic blows to her chest existed only on the shrinking metal beam of safety and in the hum, which had drown out all other sound. “Al, I don’t want to die,” she whispered. “I want to wake up safe and sound in my own bed. Al, please, come and get me.” Somehow, she didn’t know how it had happened, but she found herself standing with nothing behind her and nothing in front of her but the void. The wind whipped around her body, the hum was louder than a siren in her ears. The metal edge on which she stood now cut into her feet and there was no place else to go. “This is a dream. It’s only a dream,” she whispered, then as the next blow came, the one she knew she couldn’t stand against, she closed her eyes tightly and prayed to wake up. The last thing she heard before she fell was voices, lots of distressed voiced and someone was calling her name.

 

“Leah? Leah, can you hear me?”

She opened eyes that felt like they had been filled with sand. As she blinked back tears, she could just make out a face leaning close to her, and there was a warm hand gripping hers.

“Hey there. You’re back.”

She blinked again and looked up at Al. Blessedly she woke in a bed. There was no balance beam- HVAC, no dark city, no bottomless abyss for her to fall into. The room around her was dim and cool, and unfamiliar. Her efforts to sit up, to get as from the dream world as possible, resulted in a bright flash of pain and a wave of nausea.

“Oh no you don’t, not just yet.” Al eased her back down onto the pillow. “You’ve got a concussion. You’re going to feel pretty rough for a while, so best lie back and rest.”

In spite of the buck and spin of the room, Leah refused to close her eyes, or to let go of Al’s hand. When she was sure she wasn’t going to throw up, or worse yet, find herself once again on the ledge of the high rise, she licked parched lips and found her voice. “A concussion? What happened, where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital,” came another voice.

“Dr. Clyde?”

The two men looked at each other then Dr. Clyde smiled down at her. Instead of his dapper suit, he was dressed in rumpled green scrubs. “I am indeed, though I don’t know how you knew that since you’ve been unconscious for our entire visit. I’m the ER physician in charge, and I was enjoying a rare quiet night until you showed up.”

“Then you’re not a psychiatrist?”

He chuckled softly. “Not so far as I know, though I did give it some thought back in med school,” he said. “The mind is so fascinating and complex.”

A bit too complex for her liking at the moment, she thought, then she asked, “What happened?”

“You were mugged,” Al replied, still holding onto her hand. “The guy was trying to take your bag, and you wouldn’t let him have it. You would have had the bastard sorted in spades if the strap on your bag hadn’t broke. You got the bag, but lost your footing, fell backward and hit your head on the curb.”

“If your professor here hadn’t shown up when he did,” Dr. Clyde interjected, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Al offered her a modest blush “The mugger was doubled over from pain you’d inflicted on his more delicate parts. I saw you go down. By the time I got to you, you were unresponsive. I call an ambulance and the police. Then I rode with you to the hospital.” He gave her hand a convulsive squeeze. “ I don’t mind saying I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

“And the mugger?” She asked.

“Turns out the guy was wanted for breaking and entering and several other crimes. Anyway, he’s in jail, now,” Al replied.

“Next time,” Dr. Clyde shooed Al aside, then leaned in to check her pupils with a pin light, “let the thief have the bag. There can’t possibly be anything in it that’s worth your life.”

“Then I’m not dreaming this? The hospital and all, I mean.” She knew even as she spoke that she wasn’t. And she knew exactly why she had not given up her bag to the thief. It held her dream journal, and she wasn’t about to let the bastard take it from her. What it contained was too important to her. She’d kneed him hard in the balls and jerked back against the strap of the bag. That was the last thing she remembered. And yet, somehow remembering her mugging was way less traumatic than what she had just experienced in the dream world. Her attention was drawn back to the conversation between the two men.

“Leah is in my Psychology of Dreams class,” Al explained to the doctor. “One of my more conscientious students, in fact. Adult education,” he clarified.

“I see,” Clyde said. “You could well have dreaming while you were unconscious. There certainly did seem to be a lot of brain activity in the EEG, but you’re definitely not dreaming now, and I would imagine that enormous headache will convince you of that real soon.” He looked down at his watch. “I’ve got to go, but Dr. Diana will be in to check you in a little while. We’re keeping you in for observation. When someone gives us the kind of scare you did, it’s just standard procedure.”

“What kind of scare?” Leah asked.

Al grabbed her hand again and held on tight.

The doctor cleared his throat. “Leah, we can discuss this later.”

Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_b            “Now,” she said. “Tell me now because after the dreams I’ve had, I don’t want any more surprises.”

He studied her for a minute, as though he could tell by looking if she were ready for what he had to say. That did little to calm her racing pulse. At last he heaved a sigh. “You flat-lined twice in the ambulance and once when you arrived at the hospital. We thought we’d have to do emergency surgery, if you survived. I’d already called in Dr. Diana. She’s the surgeon on shift. And then, you miraculously stabilized, almost like nothing had ever happened – other than the huge goose egg at the base of your skull, that is. Brain activity seemed to indicate you were doing some serious dreaming, which was a bit unusual, but sometimes certain brain functions can be stimulated in strange ways. The point is,” he laid a hand against her forehead, “you’re fine now, and as soon as Dr. Diana gives you the all clear, you’re free to go.”

Dr. Clyde said his good-byes and they both watched as he left, then Al turned back to her, offering her an encouraging smile. But before he could say anything, she had to ask. “Did you know Dr. Clyde before?”

He shook his head. “Never met the man until you were mugged.”

“Dr. Diana?”

“Nope. Why?”

She shook her head. “Nothing. It’s just that they were in the dream I was having.”

“Not a good dream, I’d take it, from the way you were crying out just before you woke up.”

“Definitely not a good one.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked smoothing the hair away from her cheek.

She shook her head. “I’ll write about it in the journal, when I’m up to it. For now, I’m just happy it was only a dream. It was so real.”

They sat together in silence for a long moment, then he pulled her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers. “Leah, how much do you remember of what happened?”

“I remember the mugging,” she said.

His smile slipped. “Then you don’t remember that you were waiting for me?”

The queasy feeling in her stomach brought on by the concussion was suddenly overruled by a free fall of butterflies as the memories came rushing back. “I was waiting because you had a meeting in your office with a student. We were going for lunch together. We’ve been doing that for several weeks now. I remember.”

“And you remember I told you we couldn’t be together properly until the class was finished, because –”

“Because you didn’t date your students, yes, I remember, and I remember the discussions we had about –”

“Our dream journals, yes.” He blushed hard, then settled one ass-cheek on the edge of the bed closer to her, “and our mutual attraction in the dream world.”

She eased herself into a sitting position, and this time she managed it without dizziness or nausea as the butterflies gave way to something a lot more intriguing in parts farther south than her belly. “I remember we were counting the days until we could actually …” It was her turn to blush. “Until we could actually be together.”

He massaged the back of her hand with his thumb. “I’ll admit our … courtship through the dream journals has been one of the hottest, and certainly the most unconventional, things that’s ever happened to me, but I’ll also admit, I’m anxious to do more than just write about it and talk about it.” He leaned in and brushed a kiss across her lips, and she responded with a dart of her tongue, just a tiny one, just enough to make him catch his breath and moan against her lips. “They’ve been seriously good dreams, Leah, but I want us to enjoy the waking world together now, so hurry up and get better so we can get you out of here. You’re beautiful when you dream.” His breath was warm and humid as he whispered against her ear, and it made her squirm beneath the blanket. He had written that comment multiple times in the margins of her journal next to particularly sexy dreams. “On my desk, at that campground up on Mount Hood, damn woman, even in Eddie’s Diner. When you get out of here, when the class is over, I want to stop masturbating in the shower to thoughts of your dream journal and see how many of those dreams we can make reality.” He kissed her again, this time his tongue joined the party, just as she remembered that the dream about him masturbating in the shower – that was his dream, and in it she not only saw him, but she joined him. As their kiss heated up the memories of the dreams they’d shared became muscle memory sizzling along her nerve endings and settling at the tips of her nipples and in the slickening swell at her core. They were the real dreams, not the ones that had been corrupted and distorted into nightmares from her injuries, but like they’d been when she woke up and frantically wrote them down the first time, when they had rendered her unable to do even that much until after she masturbated for relief. And she remembered reading Al’s dreams about her. God, she’d masturbated to thoughts of those dreams often enough. She recalled their first shared lunch together, hunched over a table in the back of Eddie’s Diner, speaking between barely parted lips, shocked that both their dreams had turned so erotic and so completely to what their unconscious minds would love to do to each other. Their breathless discussions in the secluded corner at Eddies had become a courtship, which had evolved into extended, filthy foreplay, intimations of what would come when the class ended and she was no longer his student. The waiting, the anticipation as they shared their dreams, had been the hottest sexual experience Leah had ever had.

Al all but pulled her up off the bed into his embrace, one hand cupping a bare ass cheek beneath her hospital f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6agown, and the lip lock was deep and thrusting with the promise of things to come. She was just beginning to wonder if they could get away with at least a little mutual masturbation before their privacy was interrupted. The answer was a definite no.

“Get a room you two, this is a hospital. I can’t have my patients getting overheated and having a relapse.”

To Leah’s surprise Al took his time and ended the kiss with a nip of her lower lip as he eased her carefully back onto the pillow and tucked the blanket around her. Then they both looked up to see a middle-aged woman smiling at them. Her dishwater blonde hair was swept back in a no-nonsense chignon and the nametag on her scrubs read Dr. Phyllis Diana.

“Oh don’t you worry, Dr. Diana,” Al said with a proprietary squeeze of Leah’s shoulder, “just as soon as you release this lovely woman, I thoroughly intend to get a room. And I intend to keep her there for, oh a week or two at least.”

The doctor offered a teasing chuckle. “Well, in that case, I think my patient has every incentive for a speedy recovery.”

As Dr. Diana checked her pulse and then her reactions and reflexes, Leah was very sure she would make a miraculously fast recovery, though she hoped Al would keep her in bed once she got out of the hospital. She was sure the man had healing techniques that had not yet been properly researched, and she was more than willing to be his guinea pig.

 

The End

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Episode 15

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Welcome to the next instalment of The Psychology of Dreams 101, in which Leah tries to stay awake.

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

 

If you missed episode 14, find it here.

 

 

 

Chapter 15 Staying Awake

“Dream with you one last time? Are you crazy?” The chair went over backward as Leah pushed away from him and edged toward the door shaking her head wildly. “Wasn’t that enough?” She nodded to his dream journal. “Do you really want to end up like Diana and Doctor Clyde? I sure as hell don’t. I couldn’t get out, Al. I couldn’t get out of the goddamned dream until I killed you and Doctor Clyde. What will I have to do to get out of it this time?”

“Leah, listen to me, it won’t be like that — ”

“No! Al, I’m sorry but I can’t. I just can’t.” She threw the door open and fled leaving her dream journal where it had fallen. The damn thing had caused her more grief that she could have ever imagined. She hoped to God she never saw it again.

She drove around the city for a long trying to clear her head, trying to get the thought of what she and Al might do if they dreamed together out of her mind. If it was good, it would be really good, probably deliciously filthy sex. But even great sex wasn’t worth the risk of what could happen if things went bad. Lost in her thoughts as she was, she hadn’t noticed that she’d turned onto US 26 and was now heading up over Mount Hood. Jer stomach summersaulted as she realized she was going to the campground where Al had taken her, that she was going there almost on instinct. For a second she was terrified that this was something Al and Doctor Clyde were forcing her into, and she was still dreaming. But it was broad daylight. The sun was shining, and she was wide-awake. She was certain she was awake.

She pulled into the campground where they had been together in the dream. It seemed so normal in the sunlight. She got out of the car and walked to the place where they had nearly made love. In spite of the nightmarish turn of events, she still tingled at the thought of what could have happened if the dream had been like her fantasies of Al, the ones she’d masturbated to at night alone in her bed. But it hadn’t. For a long time she sat on the grass and listened to the sound of the water flowing over the rocks. Then she got back into her car and drove to Eddie’s Diner.

When she arrived, the lunch crowd had long gone, and there were only a few stragglers dotted throughout the cheerful space serviced by one lone waitress – not the one who had been working in the dream. There were no familiar faces, nor did she expect there to be. She sat in the same booth she’d been in with Al and ordered a Diet Coke and a burger basket, which she ate for courage as much as anything. Once she’d eaten, she’d go back to the Adult Education building and withdraw from the class. She hated the thought of not seeing Al anymore, but there was no way in hell she was going to dream with him, and he didn’t strike her as a man who would take no for an answer – not after all that had happened. By the time she’d finished the last of her fries and paid, she’d made up her mind that she’d just call the administration office, then she didn’t have to go back at all. That was better still, and it took a lot less courage.

Back home, the first thing she did was withdraw from the class, sighting personal reasons. It didn’t take long, then she said a little prayer to all the gods she could think of that she’d never dream again. She didn’t want to dwell on Al, on all of the delicious places her fantasies had led her during her few weeks in the class. She didn’t want to think about where things might have gone if the damn dream hadn’t gotten in the way. But more than anything, she didn’t want to dream ever again.

By the time she’d cancelled the class, she still had hours before bedtime, so she settled in front of her computer with coffee and a Snickers bar. She never came to the end of her work. That was just the way of things, but she was more than a little surprised to find that, while there was the usual avalanche waiting for her, it was nothing out of the ordinary, nothing she didn’t face every morning when she settled into her desk for the day.

It did something to her head to think that while it felt like she’d been away for ages, it had only been one night. She’d woken up in the morning just like she always did. She wasn’t Rip Van Winkle who had slept for twenty years while the world around her went on. She wasn’t sleeping beauty sleeping forever until the handsome prince could kiss her awake. She wasn’t Diana, who had stayed in the dream and died in a coma. She was just someone who’d had the hell scared out of her from the craziest nightmare in the history of nightmares. That was all, just insane nightmares. She tried not to think about how the whole debacle in the dream world ended up in Al’s dream journal instead of her own. She tried not to think about the implications of the two of them dreaming together. She knew he must be excited about the possibilities, but she most certainly was not.

For the first time, she was thankful for the heavy workload, thankful that there was no way she would get it finished. As bedtime came, she decided she wasn’t sleepy and that she would work another hour. She made coffee and kept at the computer. Another hour past, then two. She ordered a pizza from the all-night place that had just opened up the road. By the time it arrived, she was no longer working, but had settled down on the sofa to watch a movie before she went to bed. One movie turned into a marathon and when her alarm went off at 7:00, she was just watching the last of The Truth About Dogs and Cats. She was still not sleepy, she convinced herself. She had lots to do. She showered and went grocery shopping, then she cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom. While she was at it, she vacuumed the whole house. No, she was definitely not sleepy. It was a good time to take advantage of all the energy and do the things she’d been putting off.

By evening, the house was spotless, the laundry clean and folded, the larder full to overflowing and the car was washed and detailed. She’d even cleaned out her closet. She slouched on the sofa listlessly channel surfing with the remote in one hand and a half-drank Diet Coke in the other. Sleep was inevitable, and even as she longed for it, she dreaded it. If she dozed on the couch with the TV on maybe she wouldn’t dream, maybe she wouldn’t get comfortable enough to go to that unwanted place – with or without Al. Still, no matter how uncomfortable she made herself, she couldn’t keep from nodding off, then jerking back into consciousness with her heart pounding in her chest as she drank more caffeine and doubled her efforts with the remote. It happened once, then again, and then the third time, it was the ringing of the doorbell that dragged her back to consciousness with a little yelp of surprise. Feeling muzzy-headed from lack of sleep and her body’s efforts to force the issue, she stumbled to the door before she considered who it might be, a mistake she regretted when she saw it was Al.

“They told me in admin that you’d dropped the class.”

When she only nodded, he sucked a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “Leah, please don’t shut me out. Just listen for a second.”

“I’m not dreaming with you and that’s that.” She turned away from the open door, and he followed her in, shutting it behind him.

“Then make love with me.”

She whirled to face him unable to do more than offer a couple of fish gasps before he closed on her, took her into his arms and kissed her softly enough not to feel threatening, hard enough, insistent enough, to get her body’s full attention.

“Al I –”

He kissed her again, this time with just a flick of his tongue. “Sh! Don’t talk, just listen. Haven’t we both wanted each other almost from the beginning? I mean the dream we shared wasn’t all about Derrick and Diana, some of it was about our attraction to each other, about us never quite being able to connect because he kept interrupting us – Derrick’s I mean. He kept insisting that neither of us would get any satisfaction, any relief until we were punished.” He curled a finger under her chin and forced her to meet his gaze. “I think we’ve both been punished more than enough, don’t you?”

“It was a dream, Al. You said it yourself, Doctor Clyde is dead.” She laid a hand on his chest, pretty sure she should have pushed him away, but instead she just left it there next to the pounding of his heart.

“Maybe so. Maybe I did think I deserved to be punished on some unconscious level, maybe I projected my feelings of guilt onto you. I don’t know. What I do know is that this dream, because it belonged to both of us, is way too complex to analyze by the book. Besides dream symbols often have more than one meaning.” He kissed her again and f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6apulled her close enough that she could feel his erection. “I’ve been punished. You’ve been punished, and we both know that the reason we agreed to endure Derrick’s hypnosis was because we were horny as hell and not getting any relief. I think we can remedy that now, don’t you?”

Suddenly she was wide-awake. Leah had to admit she wanted Al in the worst way. It was her crush on him that had caused her to enroll in his class in the first place. But she’d certainly gotten way more than she’d ever bargained for. Even that went out of her head as he slid his hands up under her t-shirt and down into the waistband of her sweat pants to cup her ass cheeks in a large calloused caress. Wide-awake! She was definitely wide-awake! She was worse that a teenager where sex was concerned. She got it so seldom, and on those days when she was particularly horny, she was pretty damn good at keeping sex for one going as long as her fantasies held out, and that was awhile. Many of those fantasies, she reminded herself, were about Al. Oh yes! She could stay awake for this.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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