The 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 precarious 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.
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.”
“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.”
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 gown, 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.