Friday, April 29, 2011

Chapter fourteen, page three

Once Jane realized her blunder of confessing to seeing Quinn’s contract with Dean, her face coloured brightly.  She covered her mouth with her hand.  “Sorry.  I know that its confidential information and I could lose my job for talking about it.”  She rambled on about proper business etiquette and oaths of confidentiality until Quinn and I pounced on her.


“What did you do with my file?”  Quinn urged her as he held her by the shoulder.

She began back pedalling with a ferocious spirit.  “I didn’t do anything to your file.  I only did what I was told to do.  I didn’t even read it Quinn.  I swear.”

Stepping in with a gentler manner than Quinn, I probed for more information.  “Please Jane, Quinn is in some trouble and Dean is involved.  We had no idea you were working for him.  That is not why we came tonight.  Can you give us a hint of what you were doing with the file?”

“Who are you again?”  Jane’s eyes yielded to distrust and suspicion. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chapter fourteen, page two

As we drove to Jane and Andrew’s party our conversation turned serious.  Thankfully it was a much safer topic than Mitch.  We discussed the possibilities of what Dean wanted from Quinn now that Dean had his money.  Although Quinn did not tell me much about his dealings with Dean, he mentioned they had a business contract involving his bakery property.  

After twenty minutes of conversation and twenty-four hours of chaotic mishaps, we could not add all the pieces together.  There was no clarity or explanation to latch on to.  There must still be a missing piece to our puzzle.  Perhaps Jane can provide it.

When we arrived at the apartment building, a whole new wave of anxious feelings filled me.  These were Quinn’s friends.  And who exactly am I?  How will he introduce my presence?

“Are you alright?”  He asked as he reached for my hand exiting the elevator.


Quinn saw right through my phony answer, I think.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chapter fourteen, page one

Within minutes of pulling my curls into a coherent mass,  I heard the hotel door close.  With each heartbeat a footstep closed the distance between us.  When I opened the bathroom door my Prince Charming stood at the bedroom doorway leaning against its frame.  

This time when he saw me his eyes didn’t dance and swirl with desire.  I told my heart that was a good thing.  Only a soft, sweet smile altered his mouth that soon led a revolution all the way up to his eyes where a vibrant twinkle crept into his eyes.

“You look ‘magnifique’.”  He shook his head gently as he breathed in deep.  “May I escort you to a party tonight?”

“Yes.  I would like that.  Sorry if this wasn’t what you were hoping for.”  I indicated my ‘less than party’ outfit.

He held out his hand to me.  “I have to admit the emotions I feel now are nothing like the ones I had earlier.”

“Oh.”  I tried to hide the disappointment from my voice as I stared at his offered hand with trepidation.  I told my heart to be prepared for this.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chapter thirteen, Page three

Minutes past.  Maybe lots of them.  There was no relevance of time as I sat on the edge of my hotel bed. 

Quinn had left and I needed to stumble to the bathroom and get ready for the dinner party.  Except, I didn’t want to go anymore. 

Even though Dean wouldn’t be there I still didn’t want to go. 

Thankfully a stronger part of me stepped forward.  Quinn needed my help.  The dinner party could possibly be the  key to unlocking this mystery.  Jane’s party was the first vision I had received for Quinn.  I stumbled into the moist bathroom with his masculine scent lingering in the air.

Hanging in the same spot where I had hung his new clothes earlier was a beautiful red party dress.  I closed my eyes allowing the emotions I felt wearing it earlier creep over me.  What do I do with these feelings God?  Am I allowed to have them?  I know Mitch is gone and he is never coming back.  I do know that.  Tell me please God ... are my feelings for Quinn real or are they planted so I will help him? 

Behind my closed eyelids, I felt heat flush my face.  Help him?  Have I helped him or have I made everything worse?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chapter thirteen, page two

My feet found their way to the bed in front of me.  I sat as a motionless prisoner to the facts.  My words, my actions and my very presence seemed to make Quinn’s life worse.
Despite that, I could not deny that look in his eyes.  There was no misinterpreting his words on the hood of his car.  Or the smile he offered to me numerous times.  He didn’t want me to leave.

God if you put me in this situation than I am counting on you getting me out.  Was I going to break this man’s heart, or mine in six days when I leave for home?  I tried to imagine again that perfect smile disappearing from his face and a look of broken heartedness overtaking him.  Only I couldn’t.  Somehow even in our most precarious situations his smile had never gone far.  I had seen angry for sure, when he saw all his possessions destroyed.  I had seen compassion in him whenever he looked at me.  In fact, I had seen hope when he visited Anna.  However I had not seen him broken-hearted.   

Then without planting the thought there myself I saw a vision of him standing outside in his new clothes crying.  No ... weeping.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just when I thought I made some headway ...

Hello folks,

For those of you who read my 'Is anyone out there afraid of the dark?' post - here is another point of view to consider.  Possibly.

A found a post today by a well-known Christian agent, Steve Laube.  It is titled, God gave me this blog post.  It is about how often the publishing world hears the phrase, "God told me to write this ...".  Check it out if you are interested.

If that doesn't convince you, why not try Rachelle Gardner, another Christian agent I have referred to before. She has her own slant on what makes an agent cringe and shake violently.  God told me to write this blog.

I have decided just in case someone of publishing importance shall find my meager blog that I will recant my "I didn't write this - God did" stance and join the legions of believing and aspiring authors out there.

Instead I will say ...

I wrote these pieces of fiction but God inspired me to try.

Chapter thirteen, page one

Quinn had one eye watching me and the other eye watching his own movements.  Finally his hands stilled and his arms slowly fell to his side.

“Tell me something, Cherie.”

I nodded.

“What sort of images are you entertaining at this moment?”

The mirror in front of me would not conceal my blush.  I stammered for the right words.

He turned around and smiled deeply.  “Are those sins too?”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chapter twelve, page three

A comfortable silence followed us as we walked to my hotel room to clean up for the dinner party.  While we rode the elevator, Quinn’s phone buzzed.  As he answered it and rattled on in French to someone, I paid no attention.  There still was a battle waging in my head for what to believe.  My mind definitely wasn’t in the same place as my heart. 

Thirty-six hours ago and a continent away I was a barely-breathing, depressed widow convinced life needed to pass me by.  That without Mitch there was no reason to be happy or experience the rest of my life.  I had hoped and planned to experience it all with him.  Now look at me.  I am opening the doors to an amazing penthouse suite in Paris.  There is a devilishly handsome man at my hip that is interesting in me.  Instead of revelling in that, I am chastising myself for my own wayward thoughts about him.

Quinn hung up his cell phone.  “That was the detective.  He needs me to come down to the station for some questions and paperwork.  It seems that Dean is still trying to organize his bail, so we are set for the dinner party.  Would you mind if I quickly clean up and then head there?”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is anyone out there afraid of the dark?

I just finished reading the book, Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander.  If you haven’t discovered her as a writer yet, I offer my wholehearted recommendation.  She writes historical fiction if that is your fancy.

Her story tells of a young doctor and a young widow who learn the lesson in faith of taking risks.  That – (if I could steal a line from the end of her book) – faith’s first steps are “often taken neck-deep in fear”.   The interesting and compelling aspect of the hero character is that he is afraid of the dark.  Not a childhood fear of monsters under his bed but a grown man’s desperation.  

If you plan on reading the story I urge you to jump ahead to the next paragraph ... NOW!  (Spoiler Alert!)  His fear is natural and explainable and even excusable.  He has every reason to be afraid of the dark.  He was buried alive.  However, even though God allowed that experience in his life and saved him from it does not mean God expects him to carry that fear around.

If God doesn’t want His children walking through this life grasping fear in fist-fulls around our heart, then why do we?  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chapter twelve. page two

I stepped out of the change room wearing my capris and blouse which all seemed so drab after my previous options.  Quinn was back in his chair.  Only his relaxed, easy going posture was replaced with a man hunched over his lap holding his head.  He stood as soon as he heard me. 

“Cathie, please forgive me.”

“There is nothing for me to forgive you for.”  I said as I marched out passed him and headed for the mall entrance.

He grabbed onto me and swung me around again.  “Then what just happened?”

I closed my eyes tight, hoping to wish away the awkwardness.  “It’s me Quinn.  You did nothing wrong.  There are just some things I would rather avoid.”  Again, I wiggled out of his grasp and walked away.

By the time I was out of the store I realized he was not with me.  I turned to find him walking several paces behind me.

He held up his index finger to me, wordlessly asking for me to wait.  I nodded and he bolted back to the store counter.  The woman handed him a credit card and a slip of paper.  Suddenly it dawned on me that he had purchased something.  I felt fairly confident that it wasn’t the socks he had wanted earlier.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chapter twelve, page one

Quinn's voice caught me amidst my travels down memory lane.  “Are you alright, Cherie?”

“Yes.  Sorry if I am taking too long.”  I stepped into the full red dress and pulled it up over my hips.

“I was beginning to worry you might not show me anymore outfits.”  I could hear his smile through his words.

Although his words were registering in my head, my thoughts were consumed by what my eyes were seeing.  The red dress fit me perfectly.  It had a v-neckline and the bodice criss-crossed in the front making it easy to fasten solo.  I stood frozen in front of the mirror.  The image in the mirror was captivating even me. 

Slowly I smoothed the dress against my body curves, turning slightly to view the other angles.  ‘I don’t know if you can see this Mitch, but I would take your breath away.  You’d love this dress on me.’

Slowly I filled my lungs with fresh new air and opened the change room door.  This time Quinn was sitting on a comfy high-armed chair.

I was certain as he watched me exit from the small change room he was struggling for breath as I had been earlier.  His eyes closed as his mouth curved into a smile.  He let out a soft moan before opening his eyes.  “Cherie ...” he whispered.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My chapters are wacky!

Hello folks!  I am interrupting the story for a moment to let you know that the chapter and page breaks no longer suit the flow of the novel.  Sorry about that.

I set it up in the beginning to make one day's reading quota to be about the same each time.  Now that we are twelve chapters in to the story my formula is off.  However we shall continue on and hedge forward no matter.

Just wanted you to know that I know that they are wacky!

Monday, April 11, 2011

chapter eleven, page three

As the door of the change room clicked behind me, the hum-drum flavour to my emotions left.  There hanging before my eyes were several beautiful dresses.  The first dress I saw was a deep mauve colour.  The spaghetti straps were studded with rhinestones.  The front of the dress was gathered in a couple of spots along the front of the dress giving the illusions of diamond shapes.  The other dress hanging behind it was a bright ruby red with tiny white and yellow flowers scattered over it.  I reached for its flowing skirt to see it better. 

Go upstairs and put on the red one Cathie.

Without any warning Mitch’s words assaulted me.  I closed my eyes and he was standing in front of me with his dress pants, collared shirt and tie.  I took a deep breath.

Then Quinn’s voice broke open my image as he spoke in French to the female attendant.  I began to remove my blouse when the black sexy number from the window slid over the top of my change room door.

“You never guess what the nice lady chose for you to try next.”  He spoke with a sultry lilt.

“No thank you”, I said as I slipped on the mauve dress.  It was silk lined and felt smooth sliding up over my hips and into place.  The zipper was high in the back which made it nearly impossible to do by myself.  I wondered if they invented women’s dresses like that on purpose.  I do not recall any men’s clothing that has zippers in the back in hard to reach places.  It’s a conspiracy.

I casually opened the change room door to see Quinn perched against the wall once again looking like a first-place prize.  He jumped towards me with his mouth gaping open. 

“You look fantastic.”

I attempted to slow his approach with my hands, only he wasn’t focused on my hands obviously.  He enclosed me into his arms and began to waltz me around the tiny space between the mirror and the change room.

“Quinn, stop please.  I am not even fully done up.”

His dance step paused.  Then his penetrating look sunk deep within my eyes.  I saw a twinkle in his eyes as the florescent lights bounced off their caramel colour.  His hand slid upwards on my back until it was hovering over of my open zipper.

“I would help you out with that Cherie, but might I suggest you try on the ...”

I shoved him back a step or two.  “I already told you I am not wearing the black dress!”

Instead of shock covering his face, he slowly looked down at the ground.  A tiny dimple caressed his cheek.  “I was actually hoping you would try the red one on.  This dress doesn’t have enough sway to it when you dance with me.”

Embarrassed, I crawled back into my little changing den and quickly removed the mauve dress.  As I gazed upon the red dress hanging off the satin hanger I was immediately transported back to my home in Canada.
‘Cathie, you need to stop worrying about these things and leave them to me.’  Mitch said as he fiddled with his tie.
‘I’m trying to leave them with you but you aren’t doing anything about it.’ I snapped back.
‘How do you know I am not doing anything about it?  Just because you don’t see it, Love, doesn't mean it isn’t happening.’  Mitch gave me his winning grin, which only fuelled my anger more.
Just as I opened my mouth to give him another dose of my wisdom, he stepped towards me.  He had me backed up against the counter top in our kitchen.  I was his prisoner.  His tall stature lowered slightly so he could whisper against my neck.  ‘Let’s not think about money issues anymore tonight.  I have plans for you Mrs. Bellamy.’  
He straightened up and looked me square in the eyes.  ‘Now go upstairs and dig your red party dress out from your closet.  It is your job to put it on and get ready.  We are going out for an evening of fine food and friends.  There will be no more worrying.  Now go!  The sooner you get the dress on, the sooner I can take it off later.’

NEXT PAGE is here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chapter eleven, page two

“I remember the summer after Anna was born.  I was going to turn six that August.”  Quinn spoke quietly amidst the hustle of people around us.

“Once school was let out I had to spend my days outside with my father.  I am not sure if it was his idea or my mum’s, but I had no options.  Anna stayed in to be coddled and enjoyed by my mum and I was cast outdoors to be harassed and chided by my father.

“I thought I knew how mean my father was, until I saw firsthand how he treated the sheep.  There were times when it made me feel better; that at least he didn’t love them more than me.  But most of the time I just hated him.”

Quinn looked at me shamefaced.  I reached my hand over to join it with his as he mangled his fingers together in a mass.  He accepted my fingers and gently caressed them.

“You aren’t going to like the rest of my story, Cherie.”

“Not everyone had the privilege of a storybook childhood, Quinn.  I don’t judge you.”

He squeezed my hand and continued on with his story.  “Later that summer, our neighbour Mr. Petheridge, was found dead in his barn.  Apparently he had a heart attack and no one knew.  His wife was accustomed to him wandering off to the local pub sometimes and not telling her so she didn’t think anything of it when he wasn’t at dinner.  She found him the next day.”  Quinn released my hand and cupped his head into his shaky hands. 

Scooting over closer on the bench, I wrapped my arms around him for comfort but he pushed me away.
“Cathie, you don’t understand.  I was not sad for my neighbour.  I was six years old; I could have cared less about him.  All I wanted was for my father to die the same way.  I prayed that God would let him die outside in the cold all alone.  I prayed and hoped for it.”

Naturally I was shocked by his admission.  I struggled not to show it and condemn him for his honesty.

“I prayed for it every day for a year or more.  I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t listen.  My father was a mean man.  He treated us all with contempt.  Even my mum.  I always figured God didn’t respond because my father was so horrible that even God, himself, didn’t want him.”  As Quinn lifted his face to see me, there was a tear clinging to the edge of his right eye.  When he blinked it lost its hold and slid down the tip of his cheek.  He wiped it away furiously.

Standing and offering me his hand, he flicked his strong emotions off and replaced them with a smile.  “God doesn’t love everybody Cathie.”  A large sigh caused Quinn’s chest to rise and fall chasing out anymore pain that was lingering.  “He only wants the good people in heaven with him.  That is why he took my mum instead of my father.  That’s also why he'll take Anna but he won't take me.”

I couldn’t take his outstretched hand.  It would mean my acceptance that this conversation was over.  “Quinn, I –“.

He squatted in front of me.  His eyes twinkled with residual moisture.  His smile was soft and sweet.  “Let’s go find you a dress just for fun.”  He pulled me up to standing against his chest.  “Then tonight when we are alone,” he glanced in both directions at the crowds passing by.  “Then I will tell you everything else you want to know.”  He shook his head ever so slightly.  “Not here.  Okay?”

How could I refuse him?  “Okay.”

He spun around on his heels and nearly skipped in through the doors of the ladies wear store.  Unfortunately my feet were not as exuberant.  A young woman with a golden name tag greeted him almost instantly.  They exchanged words in French and then Quinn turned to me.  Together they watched me while he chatted on about something I could not hear. 

My progress still had not reached the store entrance.  The reluctance weighing my heart finally came out in a prayer.  ‘Lord, now would be a good time for another vision.  I know there is little chance Dean would be shopping in this mall, but perhaps you have a bomb I need to diffuse or even rescue a child from a runaway escalator?’

“Are you going to stand out there talking to yourself all afternoon?”  Quinn’s joyful wink and smile were irresistible to my weakened emotions.  I shook my head and walked right into his awaiting embrace.  He grabbed my hand and led me towards the changing area at the back of the store.

The clerk approached me with several pieces thrown across her arm.  “I assume you are an American size eight?”

“Um, yes, I am.  But you don’t have to find the clothes for me.”  I was a little worried about what she had hanging over her arm, but at first glance I didn’t see any black silk tea towels.

She winked at Quinn and then spoke to me.  “The gentleman suggested a few ‘modest’ dresses to start with.”

I turned to Quinn who was grinning like a school boy.  “He did, did he?” I said.

His hand snaked its way around my waist.  “Cherie, I may not agree with everything you say, but I am paying attention.”  He winked and I melted.

NEXT PAGE is here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chapter eleven, page one

Once Quinn had his purchases wrapped and ready to go we left the store and headed further down the mall.
“Do you have more shopping to do?”  I asked.

“I need to find some socks and pants, but then I wanted to find you a cocktail dress as well.”

“Nooo!  I have my own clothes.  And unless the hotel went up in flames you are not buying me a dress.”

He stopped in his tracks and looked at me intently.  “You haven’t even seen it yet.”

“You already know what you want?”

The corners of his mouth tipped up in a crooked way.  “Please allow me to show you my idea before you reject it.”  He grabbed my hand within his and began to pull me along behind him.

“Quinn, I don’t like this idea.  I have clothes.”

“You brought something fancy with you?”

“Yes, I brought my best dress to wear to church with Stacie and Neale.”

Again his feet abruptly stopped.  “A church dress?”  He smirked.

“Yes”, I announced as I stood taller and surer of myself.  “Perhaps you should see it before you reject it.”  I mocked.

Quinn pulled my hand entrenched within his behind his back drawing me near to his chest.  He leaned over and whispered in my ear.  “I saw the most stunning cocktail dress in a window the other day.  The first moment I saw you in the pub the other night I knew it was made for you.”

My mind could not decide if I should blush or smile.  It bothered me that he had noticed my body in such a way.  Then again it would be invariably the same as how I ogled his back in the change rooms.

I reluctantly gave in and he ushered me through the busy mall.

When he arrived at the right place Quinn swung me to be face to face with a mannequin behind a wall of glass dressed in a sleek black dress.  It had spaghetti straps that criss-crossed at the nape of the neck and went around the back of the mannequin’s thin neck.  The bodice of the dress held snug to the plastic shapes of her body until it reached the top of her knee.

Quinn studied me as I took in the little bit of fabric before my eyes.  “Won’t you please try it?  For me, Cherie?”

I think I shook my head slowly at first.  Eventually, my head was so emphatic against the idea that Quinn used his hands to halt my shaking.

“You are a beautiful woman and that dress will look amazing on you.”

“That is not a dress.  That is a very expensive ... tea towel.”

I think he wanted to laugh at me, but he refrained offering me instead a handsome wink.  “Maybe there is something else you would like in this store then?”

I turned to him.  You are not buying me a dress.”

“And why not?  You cannot give me one good reason I bet.”  He shook his head and started to push me towards the store opening.  “Besides, I owe you.”

“What could you possibly owe me?”

“Well, for starters, twenty-six thousand dollars.”  He winked and nodded towards the dress hanging in the window.  “Consider this my first payment?”

“Quinn, you don’t owe me.  God gave you that money.”

That look of utter disbelief crossed his face again.  “Right?  I owe God twenty-six grand?”

“He doesn’t want your money.  He wants your life.”

Quinn’s fist hit the glass display case sending a reverberating sound through the halls.  He quickly regained control and whispered to me through gritted teeth.  “He can only have my life on a trade!”

Without warning he walked away from me and sat himself down at a bench in the center of the hall.

There were many faces watching us, so I took my time joining Quinn on the bench.  A sigh escaped my lips as I sat down.  I had no idea where to begin with him. 

When I didn’t respond to his outburst he continued on to further articulate his offer.  “He can have my life when he lets go of Anna’s.  He first has to release her from the pain and illness.”

My heart broke into two discernable pieces.  One half for the loss he will inevitably receive soon from Anna’s passing and the other half for the rejection of his Saviour for all the wrong reasons.

“Quinn, God doesn’t work that way.”  I said softly to be heard by only him.

Quinn let out a long deep breath and with his eyes closed he whispered back to me.  “I know.  He never did it before either.  But maybe he could change just this once.”

My hand gently caressed his back while my prayers boldly approached God’s throne of grace.  ‘Lord, only you know the answer to this one.  In your mercy there is a plan for Quinn.  I believe it is one where he won’t feel cheated.  Help him to find it Lord.’

“I’ll bet you think I have never loved God.”  He turned to face me.  “I did.  Once.”

“When?”  I asked softly.

“I did as a child.  My mum was a church goer.  She taught me many things, like how to pray and how to trust God.”

His pause lingered, so I nudged him.  “And then what happened?”

“He taught me a lesson I would never forget.  Or forgive.”

NEXT PAGE is here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

chapter ten, page three

Our first stop inside the shopping centre was the food court.  It had been several hours since we sat at the little cafe across from my hotel for lunch.  

It boggled my mind to think of everything that had transpired since then.  Quinn had taken me to meet his sister, who was wonderful.  However she revealed a most disturbing revelation that rattled my world.  Only to be outdone by Quinn’s home burning to the ground leaving him homeless and lost in every sense of the word.  Now, of all things, we are shopping.

Our time together felt effortless.  Quinn’s demeanour was once again lively and fun-natured.  Somehow amidst all this turmoil he managed to shed his anger and face life with a smile again.  It was of course his devilishly handsome smile.  Every time he laughed or teased me my heart sang.

Our snack was precisely that – a small taste of French culture, he said.  He did not want to spoil my appetite, all the while raving about Jane’s feast that awaited us.  

Quinn was as giddy as a school boy as he introduced me to two of his favourite treats.  ‘Croque-monsieur’ was a couple pieces of grilled French bread with ham and cheese melted inside and ‘pain au chocolat’ was a croissant with a wedge of chocolate inside.  We bought one of each and shared them.  Naturally, he added, his recipe was better than the food court version.

Once our tummies were satisfied, Quinn excitedly dragged me into a men’s clothing store on the second floor to find him an outfit for the party.  He greeted the woman at the counter and immediately turned to me.  “Which one should I get?”

It was hard to hide my shock.  “You want me to pick?”  I stumbled for words as my eyes took in all the fashion surrounding us.  “I don’t know what you like.”

“Cherie, I am a man.  I’ll like whatever you like.”  Then he turned to the lady approaching us and spoke in French.  She turned away and went straight to work.  Her arms were soon weighted down with many articles of clothing as she ‘shopped’ for Quinn.

In a haughty French accent she passed by us announcing, “come”.

Following her to the changing room area, Quinn excitement grew. He followed her right into the cubicle.  They exchanged a few words and she left hardly acknowledging my existence.  I plopped myself onto a large orange triangle.  It was like an ottoman resting against a wall, but it was big enough for two.
The first time he popped out from behind his change room door he was decked out in a stylish black buttoned shirt with grey pants and a grey vested cardigan over top.  With a flick of his hair away from his face he looked like a fashion model.  It made my breath catch in my throat.  He looked gorgeous.

“Do you like this look?”  He asked as he turned a few different directions in front of me.

Gasp!  I didn’t need to see any more angles of him.  He looked stunning.  “Oh, it’s nice.  Do you like it?” 

Swallowing the large lump wedged in my throat actually hurt.  How dare I feel this way?  I am a widow.

“Nice, huh?”  Then he swung around and headed back into the change room. 

I breathed a sigh of relief giving my heart rate time to slow.

He chattered on while he changed about his belief that all women loved to shop and how I was shattering that image.  Instead of my interest in his words, they were merely a means to an end.  A distraction.  Maybe I should excuse myself and let him shop with the aid of the woman at the counter.  I leaned over on my ottoman to get a glimpse of her.  She was standing at her station filing her nails.

Just then the change room door opened and I turned to see the next product.  His breathtaking, almost regal pose sent my heart into overdrive.  I may be a widow but I am not dead – obviously!

Breathe Cathie!  The words screamed in my ears as I took in the next view of Quinn-like perfection.  He had a pair of dark coloured and form fitting slacks on with a white buttoned down shirt open loose at the bottom.  There was a slender black silk tie hanging loosely from his open collar.  Then a black leather jacket hung from his finger as he draped it behind his shoulder.  He really was posing like a model.

I blinked several times giving pause for my throat to produce words.  “Are you doing that on purpose?”

“What?”  His innocent look passed over me with little effect as he did his spin around.  “I only want to know what you thing.  Is this one better than the first one?”

“They're both good.  Just pick whichever one you like best.”  I added in exasperation.

He closed the distance between us and squatted at the base of my ottoman.  Our eyes were level with one another and my heart did the most fearsome pitter-patter imaginable.  “Are you alright, Cherie?”

Breathe!  “I am fine.  I am sorry if I was curt.”

“Well, you were.  If I look dreadful I would appreciate you telling me now before I step out in public.  Honestly, you won’t hurt my feelings.”

Dreadful?  My frantic, racing heart could only wish.  “Quinn,” I extended my hand to his stubbly cheek.  “You look anything but dreadful.”

His eyes danced for a moment as he interpreted my words.  He leaned a little closer to me.  “Do you like it then, my Dear?”

“Yes.”  My voice could barely muster a whisper as I struggled with the rising emotions in me.

For a moment he didn’t budge.  He remained there, a breath’s distance from me looking like my knight in shining armour.  Then he stood with that mischievous smile he sports so often.  Without a word he headed back into the change room.  I was certain my heart could not take any more outfits like the last two.

As I sat in my place practising my breathing, Quinn’s head popped over the top of the change room door.

“Cherie, would you be a peach and grab me a pair of trousers and a shirt to match just for regular wear?”


“Yes, please.” 

I stood reluctantly and headed towards the lady at the counter.  Perhaps she could show me the ‘trouser’ rack.

Well, the look she gave me when I asked her where I would find the trousers told me I was completely brainless.  She surveyed her hand out across the whole room.   “What kind of trousers?”

She might as well have added the ‘duh’ sound after her question.  I thanked her and then started to peruse the clothing racks all by myself.  Okay Lord, if you can direct me on how to keep Quinn alive, perhaps you can direct me to the right kind of ‘trousers’.

Then Quinn wandered out of the changing area with a few items draped over his arm.  He handed them to the lady at the counter who offered him a warm and enticing smile.  He didn’t even seem to notice though as he made a beeline right to me.

“Did you find anything you like?”

“I will be completely honest with you.  I don’t really know what trousers are.  I mean, I think of them as pants my grandfather would wear.  Is that what you really want?”

Quinn stifled a giggle and reached over my shoulder to a pile of clothing behind me.  He pulled back his arm with a pair of jeans in his hand.  “Would you Grandfather wear these trousers?”

He smiled and then turned back to the lady at the counter not even waiting on my response.

“Do you carry socks and pants as well?”

The lady shook her head.

Quinn shrugged his shoulders and then approached her counter pulling his wallet from his back pocket.  All the while I was thinking he was holding the pants but that must refer to something else I was ignorant of.

NEXT PAGE is here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chapter ten, page two

The drive returning to my hotel was riddled with awkward silence.  His grand gesture to me had not been received well.  I really did want to be needed by him, and wanted by him.  Only his methods brought me anxiety instead of comfort.  His emotions were high and his actions were strong.  I longed for that gentle man who trusted me in the bakery, protected me in front of Dean and desired to know me in the hotel. 

After Quinn parked his car we continued to sit in silence for a moment.  Finally he looked up at me and I saw a hint of his personality seeping back into his golden eyes.  “I promised you a snack and a rest.”  He said with a wink.

“Quinn, I think you need a lawyer.”

“I quite agree.”

“Do you know any?”

“Not personally, but my best friend’s wife was a law secretary.  Perhaps she knows someone I could trust.”

“Uh, Quinn?  Are you thinking of Jane?”

“Yes, how did you – never mind, why do I ask anymore?”

“Tonight is the dinner party, remember?  Are you thinking of going there?”

He thought for awhile.  “Yes I am.  Dean will not show if he is still handling his unfortunate show down with the police this morning.  I think we should both go.”  He looked over to me with a glint in his eye.  “How would you like to join me for a fancy but possibly boring evening of wine, fabulous food and a few wacky but very decent friends?”

“That sounds like an offer a girl can’t refuse.”  I returned his smile and for a moment the afternoon escapade faded into a distant memory.  “You aren’t going to go dressed like that, are you?”

Quinn glanced down at his faded blue jeans and henley top.  “I wonder if we could include shopping as part of your tourist experience in Paris?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Quinn started up the motor of the car and pulled away from the curb.  Everything felt right back on track.  As much as it could for the most bizarre vacation I had ever taken.

Quinn teased that he would choose the ‘most tourist-y mall’ he could find.  When I questioned him as to why he simply stated, “Then you don’t have to speak much French.”

“I am perfectly capable of speaking French.”

“Well, I know you can speak it, but ‘perfectly’ might be a stretch.  Your French sounds a little weak, Cherie.”

“Weak?”  I shouldn’t be offended because he was right.  “I am out of practice, I guess.”   It would be futile to try to explain to Quinn that I used to love listening to Mitch speak French with his mother.  It was so comforting to me.  Then there were times when he would whisper words of love into my ear. The melodious, rhythmic cadence of his accented words made me feel safe and loved.  It is only since silence replaced those words in my home that they feel like a grater on my skin. 

Until Quinn.  His deep, yet soft English accent perfectly producing the French language has brought a whole new sense of comfort.  His voice rings low into my heart.  When he speaks French his words filter hope into my dry spirit and I start to feel alive again.  Maybe that is why he feels so familiar to me.  

Along with that comes a whole new purpose to my life.

NEXT PAGE is here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chapter ten, page one

Before I could slow my own breathing, Quinn returned to the car.  His pace spoke volumes.  He walked right up to the car door, opened it then quickly slammed it shut again.  I heard him mumbling in French as he paced away from the car.

Slowly I exited the vehicle.  “Quinn?”

His tightened eyes turned on me.  “What?”

I was afraid to approach him.  His eyes burned with fury.  I leaned against the hood of the car.  “I’m sorry.”

“Everything is gone.”  He hid his face in his hands.  “I stored photographs of my mum there.  Gone.  Anna’s things were in my house.  She will need those when she gets out of the hospital.  But they are all gone now!”

Once again his compassion for others was obvious, as it bled through the cracks in his anger.  “I’m so sorry Quinn.”

“No.  Do not speak.  It’s His fault, not yours.”  He pointed upward.

Then he shook his fists into the sky.  “What do you want from me?”

His anger startled me.  The temples beyond his darkening eyes were pulsing.  How could you blame him, really?  The last twenty four hours have been nothing short of a disaster.  However I had never envisioned his soft and happy nature resorting to these kinds of emotions.

He stepped towards me.  “What does He want from me?  What possible explanation can He offer for this?”

I have never had to stand in the gap for God before.  I felt unqualified to say the least.  I cannot answer Quinn's question of why.  I can only attest to the nature of God and the abundant love of Jesus.  However, I don’t think now is the time for that.

Quinn didn’t pause long enough for my answer anyway.  “He took my business and my house.”  He turned to the heavens again.  “What’s next?  My car?”

He closed the distance to the car in one single leap.  His fists came down on the hood with a fierce vengeance.  His feet kicked the tires.  “You can have it!  Take it all!  Take it!"  He collapsed on the hood of the black car with a thump.  "But you can’t have Anna!”  

Then it was quiet.  The sound felt deafening after the abrupt end to his tirade.  But I could hear his breathing.  It was laced with pain in each quick and laboured breath.  

How could I possibly show the love of a Saviour to this broken man?  As I stood on the opposite side of the car hood all I could do was pray for Quinn.  

In the last day since I’ve met him he has lost almost everything.  And he is right to fear what might come next.  Based on Anna’s condition today she can’t possibly have much time left.

Suddenly his head rose from the car.  “Come Cathie.”  It wasn’t an invitation.  His voice carried an edge.  Slowly I made my way to him.  My hope was to offer him comfort.  He needed to know he wasn’t alone.

As I edged around his car towards him his arm snaked out, grabbing my waist and pulling me in like a tractor beam.  His arms surrounding me were tight and secure.  He needed me.  So I wrapped my arms around his neck.  Suddenly his hands lifted me up under my arms and planted me onto the car hood.  His forehead rested firmly against mine.

An anguished whisper caressed my nose.  “Cathie, He is going to take you from me too.”

I moved his face back a few inches from mine.

“Quinn.  You are wrong about that.  God is not taking me from you.  I don’t live here, remember.  In six days I am flying home.  That’s all.”

His eyes were darker than usual and rimmed with moisture.  “It matters none.  You will be gone just like everything else I dare to care about.”

He pressed his lips hard to my forehead.  Then my cheek.  And my neck.  He continued to kiss me with a palpable desperation. 

I pressed him back.

“Please do not go.”  His adam’s apple bounced as a large lump travelled down his throat.  “Do not leave me Cathie.  I need you.”

Taking his face in my hands I searched his eyes.  “Quinn, listen to me.  I am here for you now.”

As my words took root he straightened his body, gained his composure and withdrew from me.  I suppose my words weren’t as comforting as I had planned them to be.

He slid me off the hood.   “Get in.”  Then he crawled into the driver’s seat. 

NEXT PAGE is here.