A fairy tale romance is never over, just hiding for perfect timing.
|Dan Huckley first met Lindsey Mills as 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...quite magnificent."
"That would be me and thank you very much."
She put out a fragile hand slipping it into his strong one. "I am Lindsey Mills and you are?"
"Dan Huckley, pleasure to find an artist as lovely as her art." His other hand reached out, her hand disappearing in a warm embrace rather than a traditional handshake. A tingling feeling ran up Lindsey's arm.
The grin on Dan's face was enticing, complimented by a little boys' dimples. He had unruly shoulder length brown curly hair, eyes reminesent of warm golden brandy, a strong nose and clean shaven face. He wore a bulky fisherman's cable sweater with worn Levi's on muscular legs ending in a hint of leather boots.
Dan studied this lovely woman. Lindsey possessed raven hair with long uncontrollable curls. He wanted to bury his hands in them and smell her very essence. Her eyes were large, emerald with long lashes behind glasses, that framed them, and a perfect nose. She wore a silk blouse and short black leather skirt with a multicolor scarf as a unusual belt. With long platinum hoops, matching necklace, she completed her look with textured stockings and black flats. She was sexy with a pixie like quality. He loved the look.
It seemed natural for one of them to suggest the cafe next door. They each ordered rich espresso and spent two hours getting to know each other. A best selling author/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 like a fingerprint. A customer tells me about themselves if it is for them. If it is a gift, I ask a selection of questions about that person. They can't have a deadline or be bargain hunting. If they chose me, I just promise to do my best."
She continues, "Each piece is unique. If a woman tells me she has a spontaneous personality, loves oceans, full moons, modern art and making love under the stars, she has given me clues. I want to make them happy. You know, to suit their personality. Sometimes they give me photos."
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 boxes with an inscribed brass plate. The price depends on the material. I always get twenty-five percent up front for materials. They can always contribute a piece of jewelry or rock, a souvenir."
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, I feel justified in charging a large amount for each piece."
It was his turn to talk but he wanted to continue listening to her. He told her a bit about the publishing world and how fortunate he had been. "I have been lucky. Most are mysteries and I seem to be able to write them by putting my hand to paper. They are already in my subconscious, I suppose. I don't know why people take to them so well. I have a real connection to my characters. They seem real to me."
She beamed at him, "My, what a modest guy you are! Seriously, Dan, it's hard to be a writer and I have read, "Threading the Needle". It was a real page turner, a surprise ending that shocked me."
Now, here he was, back in that crazy amazing city. Dan loved it and was thankful he had met Lindsey here. The noise; cabs, cars honking, people rushing on the sidewalks with cell phones, crashing into each other. So much energy, so alive it seemed to breathe by itself. There wasn't another city like it.
Looking out the hotel window, tears filled his eyes. Here 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 off to a bar for brandy to warm up.
After their second date, he had slipped his hand under her silk camisole; they were both warm and ready.
She pushed his hand away, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars we can't remain virgins with each other until we see how much this means."
"You're really a professional deal maker. How about second base, come on now, give a guy a break!" He felt like a sex starved fourteen year old with a hard on.
She laughed at him. "Is that just touching ...kissing bare skin?"
He was practically panting. "Yea, I think so. I don't remember. We're adults...this is kids stuff. Isn't this kinda silly?"
She was loving this... teasing him. "Oh yes, the more I think about it. It's a perfect idea."
Dan wanted 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 spin magic from others' dreams. It was fun but meticulous work.
They would surprise each other with food. No asking about choices so there wasn't pressure to please. It was fun and easy. Lindsey made everything that way and he learned to like new adventures and flavors. They chose plays the same way and found affordable yet outstanding off Broadway and community theater performances. He found out how rewarding volunteering in soup kitchens and homeless shelters could be, Strolling through the Village, they stopped to listen to sidewalk acoustic performance and gave donations. Discovering each other's passions was almost as good as sex.
He laid on the hotel bed, remembering it all; their life, a magical movie in Technicolor. Sometimes they would splurge and 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 as he could swear he felt a warm hand gently take his. It wasn't the same and one day the magical sand would run out. Logically, he knew miracles couldn't really happen, but it seemed so real, he willingly let her presence in. He felt different. If someone asked him about this change, he remembered how Lindsey had explained her new pregnancy.
"It is like....um, carrying around a separate personality inside."
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 lavender, scarlet, turquoise, and ribbons of gold intertwined.
Only close friends and family were invited. Lindsey was lovely in a plunging neck line, a soft white cotton dress decorated with lace and satin buttons. Barefoot and the only jewelry was her grandmother's pearls. Her long curly hair had a crown wreath of fresh flowers. A bouquet of orange, white and lavender hibiscus was picked by Dan right before the ceremony. They read passages from "The Prophet" and their own penned vows. A friend declared them legally wed.
A catered exotic reception followed with island foods and a reggae band. Each person carried home a gift package with etched 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 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 eyes appeared to gaze deeply into the core of his soul. Dan had never seen eyes like hers. They possessed a speckling of gold dust. He gently kissed her face. 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, and he received a succulent nectar.
Their lovemaking was so sweet. Virgins to each other, exploring bodies was breathtaking, 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 was theirs with fresh fruit and towels 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 synergy 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, tablets and files.
She would say, “I am being called to work, darling."
Sometimes she allowed him to tag along when she shopped in various places for work materials. But they never stopped for lunch. It was a scene in her head and she acted like she might lose it if she didn't obey her imagination.
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 spy novels and two political 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 a couple of periods and the magic stick 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, their enchanted fairy tales ended that night. Lindsey vanished. It seemed she was mysteriously carried away beyond our mortal world. No clues remained.
Dan hadn't been in the bedroom since he slipped her under the covers. He was writing in the small office across from 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 strange. 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 was a local maid, Ulrike, who came during the day to clean and prepare a dinner, to either 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 restaurant 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 no idea to act 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.
He would ask,"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. Fantasy scenarios 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. That brought the crazies out with all kinds of stories that led nowhere.
After a couple of surreal months, reality hit and Dan fell to Earth.
A new phase came over his brain and 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 suddenly seemed to be healing. He didn't talk much but he cleaned up and began to eat. At first, Royce thought he was accepting the facts. Lindsey was not coming home.
Sometimes Royce heard Dan talking to himself. At night, he heard voices coming from the bedroom. It sounded eerily like Dan and Lindsey. He knew that was crazy but Dan seemed better. Dan assured Royce he could go home now.
Then Ulrike became very upset because objects seemed to move mysteriously and Dan had 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 cleanse the house with burning sage and cast out demons and he refused.
Once Dan shook Ulrike by the shoulders, his eyes blazing, "If she is a demon, I want her here. Are you crazy?"
Dan began to write again. He was writing his first 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 with magical stuffed mice for children that were ill. The children would make recoveries quite often. Then in the story, 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 had taken the trip to New York for book signings. The story was sweet, the critics all wrote. The fascinating phenomen that was moving the books constantly off the shelves were the illustrations. He had never been an illustrator. He couldn't even draw very well.
This book even won a prize for the life like illustrations.
Dan knew his hand was only the vehicle for an invisible artist whispering to him.
The illustrations were exquisite. Butterflies appeared as if they were going to fly off the pages to visit with the readers. The initials were L. M. H.
By Kathie Stehr
word count 2698