|Dan Huckley first met Lindsey Mills when he was strolling through an art gallery in New York City where she rented space.
"May I help you with something?" Her voice had a sweet melodic quality.
"I wanted to compliment the artist. These are unique and well.... magnificent."
"That would be me and thank you very much."
She put out a fragile hand and slipped it into his strong one. "I am Lindsey Mills and you are?"
"Dan Huckley, it is a pleasure to find an artist as lovely as her art."
There was an immediate chemistry between the two. He had brown curly hair, eyes like golden brandy, a strong nose, dimples and was clean shaven. He wore a bulky fisherman's cable sweater with Levi's and boots.
She had lovely raven hair, long with uncontrollable curls. Her eyes were large behind glasses that showed them off and a small nose. A ruby silk blouse and short black leather skirt, for a belt she used a multicolor scarf. With long platinum hoops and matching necklace, she completed it with textured stockings and black heels. She was sexy with a pixy quality. He loved the combination.
They went out for espresso and spent two hours getting to know each other. A journalist and artist/ photographer, they fit together as if destiny meant it to be. She explained how her "artistic children" were created.
"Each piece is a fingerprint. My customer tells me about themselves if it is for them. If it is a gift, I ask about that person. They can't have a deadline or be bargain hunting. If they chose me, I do my best."
She continued, "I want each piece to be unique. A woman tells me she has a spontaneous personality, loves oceans, full moons and making love under the stars.
I want to make them happy with their own imagery."
Dan was fascinated, "So how would that come together?"
"If they're into abstract, I use drift wood, fired glass shaped into waves, maybe a synthetic garnet or ruby. I can also use blown glass for two lovers in a sexual position fastened on the wood. I have used a shadow box and synthetic diamond stars. They come out lovely with semiprecious stones and natural wood shadow box with an inscribed brass plate. The price depends on the material. I always get twenty-five percent up front for materials."
Dan looked amazed, "How can you make any money if you put so much into one piece?"
Her laughter was like bells. "I work on more than one piece at a time."
Lindsey went on to explain that the owner receives a professional photo of herself and their creation. She also includes a journal from conception to birth time.
She finished with, "So, that is why I feel justified in charging over a thousand for each piece."
She had her pulse on people in the Big Apple where money was made to be spent. She was giving people something special for their money.
So here he was, back in that crazy amazing city. The noise; cabs, cars honking, people rushing on their cell phones taking chances of crashing into each other. There wasn't another city like it. Dan still loved it, thrived on it and was thankful that he had met Lindsey here.
He looked out the hotel window. There was fresh snow on the ledge, pure and soft, just like Lindsey's skin.
So many lovely memories; watching her work, ice skating in Central Park, then to a bar for brandy to warm up.
After their second date, he slipped his hand under her silk camisole and they were both warm and ready.
She pushed his hand away,
"I will bet you a thousand dollars that we can't be virgins with each other until we see where this is going."
"I will take you up on that but how about second base, ple--ase?"
He was like a fourteen year old boy.
She laughed at him. "Is that just touching ...kissing bare skin?"
He was panting. "Yes, I think so. I don't remember. We're adults...this is kids stuff. You really think we should do this?"
She was loving this... teasing him. "Oh yes, the more I think about it. It's a perfect idea."
Dan was about to say 'forget it' but she was so enticing.
It turned out to be fun, exciting and frustrating. They stayed busy. He enjoyed watching her work magic with the dreams of other people.
They would take turns surprising each other with food. They didn't consult each other about choices so there wasn't pressure to please as much as finding out what each other liked. It was fun and easy. They chose plays the same way and found many off Broadway and community theaters so it was affordable. The most fun was volunteering for soup kitchens, homeless shelters and discovering each other's politics.
He laid on the bed, remembering and watched it all; their life as a magical movie in Technicolor. Sometimes they would get a room at the Marquis or Waldorf for sleep overs in pj's. They talked about everything. It was hard not to "go all the way". They even hung a sheet in the middle of the bed like that old Clark Gable movie. Tears slipped down his cheeks and he felt a warm hand gently take his. It wasn't the same and one day the sand will run out. Miracles happen rarely and last in a world we have no control over.
They had married on a coral beach. The secluded island was a tropical paradise. There were cool breezes and a postcard sunset. It was a spectrum of purple, red, orange, and ribbons of blue with gold intertwined.
Only close friends and family were invited. Lindsey was lovely in a low neck white cotton dress decorated with lace and satin buttons. She was barefoot and the only jewelry was her grandmother's pearls. Her long curly hair held fresh flowers. Her bouquet of orange, white and lavender hibiscus was picked by the groom right before the ceremony. They read passages from "The Prophet" and their own penned vows then a friend of Dan's declared them legally wed.
A catered exotic reception followed with island foods and a reggae band. Each person carried home a gift package with Dan and Lindsey's initials on two crystal glasses. Everyone partied until the wee hours of the morning. The bride and groom disappeared around midnight.
Lindsey stood in the light of the bathroom. A silhouette of her lovely body was seen through the sheer and silk cream lingerie gown. Dan was glad they had waited, no matter how many cold showers and rearranging of tight jeans he had to do.
She was the most beautiful rose in any garden; her crimson blush was one of a kind. Her auburn hair curled over her shoulders. He longed to be the hair caressing her so intimately. She walked softly to their marriage bed; her long legs were firm and shapely. He could see her nipples, aroused from the coolness in the room.
Her moist emerald green eyes looked deeply in to his. Dan had never seen eyes like hers. They possessed a speckling of gold dust. Taking his hands, he gently kissed her face softly. He started at her forehead, eyebrows and lashes, nose and tender cheeks. Then he moved to her mouth and discovered secrets within. She tasted like honeysuckle.
Their lovemaking was so sweet. Virgins to each other, exploring bodies was breathtaking, the ultimate joy. Someday they could tell a teenager of theirs how wonderful waiting could be.
They had a private beach area, a hot tub and huge bed. Everything was delicious and delightful. They didn't leave the bungalow for three days. A full refrigerator held everything and fresh fruit and towels were brought twice a day.
Except for the five months they dated, their wedding day was the beginning of an adventure that lasted eighteen months. There was an incredible energy between them.
After the honeymoon they moved into her New York apartment. After all, her tools and materials were there. He just needed his laptop and files.
She would say, “I am being called to work, darling. "
There were so many long nights when she would work and he would struggle to sleep without her. He couldn't understand why she couldn't just stop and then pick it up again.
He had written two bestselling novels and two biographies in the last fifteen years. Right now he was doing magazine pieces and the research was easily done on the Internet.
He enjoyed watching her work. She was a perfectionist, each detail had to be precise.
They decided to lease a bungalow in Jamaica. Lindsey had toured Noel Coward's open home there and loved the people, scenery, and peace. Life was making love, sun worship, rum, and tranquility.
When it seemed life could not be sweeter, Lindsey missed her period and the kit read positive. Dan made the occasion unforgettable. Tropical flowers all over the bungalow, dancers from the best resort along with food from the same. They toasted with sparkling juice and danced in the moonlight. Dan carried an exhausted new Mom to bed.
Sadly, enchanted fairy tales ended that night. Lindsey vanished. She was mysteriously carried away.
Dan hadn't been in the bedroom since he slipped her under the covers. He was writing in the small office across the swimming pool behind the main house. An idea had come to him at dinner and he could not wait to get it on paper.
He didn't hear anything. The bungalow had many doors and windows. They had always felt safe so they left windows open and even the French doors to their bedroom.
The only help they had was a local maid, Ulrike, that came during the day to clean and prepare a dinner put in the oven or refrigerator. That day she had left early because one of her children was ill. Since Dan had made arrangements with the restaurants to cater and clean up, it worked out fine.
Dan had watched the dancers and workers leave after he had put Lindsey to bed.
It was just the two of them in the house except for their cocker spaniel, Corky.
Dan headed to bed at three in the morning. He took a quick shower and entered an empty bedroom except for Corky who was asleep on the bed.
There was no blood, no signs of a struggle, no footprints, and nobody's idea to go on.
That was exactly what Dan told the police. The dog was there, calmly asleep.
Dan felt like he was walking through a fog, perhaps a dream sequence. Although he had called the police and gone through all the right steps, he thought Lindsey would just walk into the door one day.
"Where have you been, baby?"
"I had some new ideas I wanted to work on."
It was ridiculous but no more so then the thought of someone doing harm to his innocent wife who loved everyone. These scenerios sustained him or he would have lost his mind.
The police were thorough but with nothing to work with, it was very difficult. They questioned everyone. This was a happily pregnant woman without enemies. Everyone spoke highly of Dan. Rescue parties were everywhere along with posters. Dan offered a $1,000,000 reward for her return.
After a couple of surreal months, reality hit and Dan fell to Earth.
A new phase came over his brain and the neurons shifted. Dan couldn't write, eat, sleep, barely shower and dress himself. He began drinking and staggered about the house calling out her name.
He begged, “Please haunt me, Lindsey. Let me know you are here.”
He cried, screamed and ranted.
Royce, his brother, tried to help. He had a therapist come to the home but Dan refused treatment. Royce stayed in one of the spare rooms and cooked for his brother who was losing weight and looked like a ghost with dark circles under his eyes.
The police were still questioning people and Dan was "a person of interest". His swings in behavior gave the police a reason to interrogate him again but they didn't have any evidence.
Then Dan seemed to be healing. He didn't talk much but he cleaned up and began to eat. At first Royce thought he was accepting Lindsey was not coming home.
Sometimes Royce heard him talking to himself. At night, he heard voices coming from the bedroom. It was Dan and Lindsey. He knew that was crazy but Dan was better. Dan assured Royce he could go home.
Then Ulrike became very upset because objects moved mysteriously and Dan insisted Lindsey's bedroom remain the same. Makeup on her dressing table was being used, soiled tissues were in the trash can. Ulrike believed in witchcraft and spirits. She tried to get Dan to have a local priest exorcise the house and he refused to.
Dan began to write again. He was writing his fist children's book. The storyline revolved around a little girl, Tassy. The child was a free spirit who made friends with animals. She made wonderful tiny rooms for stuffed mice for children that were ill. The children made recoveries often. Then Tassy's Mom died suddenly. She cried all the time until a golden butterfly came to sit on her shoulder and whispered in her ear. The butterfly told the little girl her Mommy was all around her.
So Dan's trip to New York was for book signings. The story was sweet but one thing that was moving the book off the shelves were the illustrations. Dan's hand was only the vehicle since someone was moving that hand as she whispered to him.
The illustrations were exquisite. Butterflies appeared as if they were going to fly off the pages into the Universe. The initials were L. M. H.
By Kathie Stehr
Edited June 8, 2012