HOLIDAY INTERNET ROMANCE NOVEL
With determination, Oliver added all of his poetry to his portfolio and organized it into a folder, entitled: "My Love For Sara."
Before making it all public, he edited, doing the one thing he never thought he'd do in a million years.
Below the title, each and every poem's description read: By Oliver Lane, a.k.a. Ollie
Laying his feelings out for public display went against everything in his nature.
Still, he did it.
Oliver believed that an open declaration would be his only hope to convince Sara of the depth and sincerity of his feelings, short of going on Entertainment Hollywood and calling Dina Derson a liar. He briefly considered doing just that, but realized that would just feed the media monster and draw Sara into something she might not be able to handle.
This way he could expose his feelings but protect her identity by not revealing her last name. Writing.Com offered a perfect way to communicate with Sara, if only she would log on to the website and check her e-mail.
Once he marked his poems public, Oliver threw himself into his work with a vengeance for the rest of the week.
That same week, Sara moved in with her aunt, started a new job at the local library, and quickly felt at home on the little barrier island, just off the coast of Georgia. Even though there was ample internet access at the library, she was busy learning her job and didn't have time to log on to Writing.Com and therefore didn't see Oliver's e-mail or his poems.
Warm breezy days on the coast were a welcome change from the bitter cold of the Virginia mountains those last days of November, and the climate was much more to Sara's liking.
When she wasn't working, she would walk, and even run on the beach with her aunt's dogs. The temperatures on Tybee Island were warmer than normal that year, but the beach wasn't very crowded between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, Sara was free to run and walk in the sun, or in the moonlight, without having to deal with encountering a lot of people.
Sara's Aunt Luci totally sympathized with her plight at work, and at first didn't press her for details about her relationship with Oliver, hoping Sara would open up in her own good time. She did everything possible to make the transition an easy one for her niece.
Without telling Sara, she also contacted Cindy.
Both determined to rectify the John Miller situation, the two women set to work with the goal of lifting the suspension and clearing Sara's record.
Lucinda quickly grew to love her niece as if she were her own daughter, seeing many of the qualities of the brother she'd loved so dearly. The one regret of Lucinda's life was her estrangement from her brother. With Sara, she saw a chance to make up for some of the guilt she still felt about his sudden death and her failure to attempt to reconcile.
Sara couldn't have asked for a warmer reception or a more beautiful place to live. And, strangely enough, it felt like home, much more so than Shannon, Virginia, or even Kentucky.
Deep down, her heart still ached for Ollie. She longed to share the long walks on the beach and just everything that happened with him.
Much to her dismay, in the short time that they spent with one another, he came to mean much more to her than she ever believed possible.
Still, she was angry - so furious that she pushed those thoughts out of her mind - at least during the day.
Nightime was a different story. The heat from the sun tanned her body and made her feel incredibly warm all over and saturated with hungry, aching desire that could only be quenched by Ollie.
Running and walking on the beach in the warm sea air tired her out, but she couldn't get to sleep easily. Staring at the moonlight, invariably her thoughts drifted to Oliver.
Nightly, she tossed and turned, reliving Oliver's kiss on the train, and how it felt just to be close to him and hold his hand. When she did sleep, her dreams were filled with sensual kisses and lovemaking that went way beyond her wildest hopes and dreams - dreams alive with Oliver's hands and mouth passionately exploring the most sensitive parts of her, tenderly taking her desires and turning them into burning, smoldering reality.
Every night, Sara called out to him in her sleep, only to wake up cold and desolate, wondering if Oliver was in bed with another woman - someone who could offer him much more than she believed she ever could.
But she wasn't truly alone.
Every night her Aunt Lucinda heard her crying "Ollie" and it tore at her heartstrings. No matter how much Sara tried to deny it, her aunt knew that she was still in love with the young man who hurt her so deeply.
After three nights, she decided that the time was right to have a little chat with her niece about Oliver.
While Sara adjusted to her new life on Tybee Island, Ben Jamison spent a frustrating week, trying to get in touch with Cindy. Every day he was told that she would be back the next day, but she wasn't. And every evening he reported back to an increasingly frantic Ollie.
Oliver finally convinced him to go into Sara's office on Friday and at least get a contact number for Cindy, if she still wasn't in.
As fate would have it, Cindy was, indeed, in the office that Friday afternoon. Knowing that Professor Miller taught Friday afternoon classes, she seized the opportunity to continue in her efforts to help her friend. Unlike Sara, who just started in August, Cindy worked in the office for several years and accumulated plenty of sick leave that she decided to use that week to send a defiant message to John Miller.
Cindy wasn't shy and thanks to a supportive family, she didn't need the job to survive. A highly regarded employee, she established an excellent reputation for being smart and efficient and she was not someone who John Miller could play with. He knew it and normally kept his distance. In his desire to get rid of Sara, he assumed that Cindy would continue to do her job as always, and totally underestimated her loyalty to her best friend.
Cindy was, in fact, very angry and determined to do something about the problemmatic Professor Miller once and for all.
After driving Sara to the airport, she spent the week canvassing all the Professor's female students, convincing two of them to file sexual harassment complaints against him.
Friday afternoon, acting on Lucinda's suggestion, Cindy decided to go in and type and distribute her own letter to the Registrar and Board of Trustees, outlining every bit of misbehavior on Professor Miller's part that she personally witnessed and discovered.
In addition, she asserted that he had reason to know that the allegations he made against Sara were false and succinctly outlined her basis for such an assertion, without revealing Sara's sexual harassment situation.
Humming to herself, Cindy was just finishing up in the office when a tall, dark haired giant of a man lumbered in. Stopping in front of the empty desk that still bore Sara's nameplate, he hesitated, not seeing Cindy in the corner by the printer.
"Can I help you?" A forceful southern voice inquired. Ben turned, surprised to see a striking brunette smiling at him expectantly.
"Are you Cindy?" he asked in a somewhat nervous voice.
Taking a long hard look at him, she wondered if he might have some connection to Sara's Ollie. He looked to be the right age. Much to her dismay, Cindy was immediately attracted to the big bear of a man, but she didn't want him to know it, especially if he was associated with Oliver Lane.
"Who wants to know?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.
"My name's Ben Jamison. I'm a friend of Ollie's," he explained tentatively, then hesitated when he saw the flash of anger and recognition in her eyes.
"You're wasting your time here. Please leave," she responded, pointing towards the door.
"Are you Cindy?" Ben persisted.
"Yes, I'm Cindy. And no, I'm not going to help your friend. He hurt my best friend enough already. Since you're looking out for your friend, I'm sure you can understand me looking out for mine, Mr. Jamison."
"Call me Ben."
"I'd like to call you gone. Now goodbye."
"Please let me explain. What can it hurt? You can still tell me to get lost, but at least hear me out," Ben pleaded.
"Your friend has used Sara for his stupid story enough!" Cindy said accusingly.
"No he didn't do that - he's not doing that," Ben insisted, shaking his head.
"He's a two-timing asshole."
"No he's not. He's a nice guy."
"A nice guy who can't seem to tell the truth except when he's caught," she hissed.
"He made a mistake not telling Sara the truth, but that stuff with Dina was staged. He can't stand her. He's so head over heels for your friend. I've never seen him the way he is now," he argued, noticing that she stopped pointing at the door and actually seemed to be listening to what he was saying.
"So, why's he kissing Dina on TV if he's so in love with Sara?" Cindy asked skeptically.
"Dina ambushed him at the airport with photographers. By the time he pushed her away, they already had the pictures of her kissing him," Ben explained.
"Looked to me like he kissed her back. The picture was in the style section of the paper too, you know."
Ben shrugged. "Pictures can be deceiving. I could kiss you right now and someone could take a picture and make it look like something it isn't."
"Don't come near me!" Cindy warned, backing away.
"Relax. I'm just saying it could happen."
Cindy stared at Ben for a long moment.
Rationally, she knew that he did have a point and what he said made some sense. And then there was the fact that Ben was kind of cute in a big cuddly sort of way, but she was trying her best not to let her attraction to him influence her judgment.
"So, even if all this is true," she began.
"Oh, it's true."
"So what? He still lied to her about who he was. Sara's pretty fed up with people lying to her and about her. It's the reason why she left here too," she finished hotly, glaring at John Miller's office.
"Ollie just wants to talk to her and tell her he's sorry and that he loves her. I promise."
Cindy shook her head. "B. S. I'm not telling you guys where she is. I promised her I wouldn't. He's not talking to her. You can forget that!"
"Could you at least tell her what I said? Oliver sent her an e-mail - if she could just read that and look at his poems, and hear him out. He's worried sick about her."
"He should have thought of that before."
"I know it and he knows it," Ben agreed, then tried a different approach. "You want your friend to be happy don't you?"
Cindy glared at him.
"Your friend, Oliver, doesn't seem to do a very good job with making people happy."
"He's a nice guy. He really is," Ben argued defensively.
"Why did he lie to her about what he does?"
"He doesn't like for anyone to know he's famous. You know how it is. People act like they like him when it's just because of the fame or the money," Ben rationalized, adding, "He gets upset if I even say I know Oliver Lane."
"Why did he assume that about Sara? She's not like that at all. When was he going to tell her the truth, anyway? They spent five days together," Cindy fumed.
Ben stared at her for a long instant.
He especially liked the way her brown eyes flashed when she argued with him and his growing attraction to Cindy was distracting and nice, all at the same time. He was half tempted to kiss her when he suggested it, but was afraid she'd slap him.
"Huh?" he said, trying to remember her question.
"Oh, yeah. He was going to tell her next week. He had to leave at the last minute 'cause the Director threw a fit. He had him over a barrel - he threatened to quit the movie if Ollie didn't get his butt back there right away."
"What's the deal with her job here anyway? Why is she suspended?" Ben asked the question that Oliver directed him to ask.
Hesitating a moment, Cindy decided to level with Ben about the John Miller situation and everything she was doing to combat it.
"Wow, that sucks! I hope you get him."
"Tell me about it," Cindy agreed.
Looking around, Ben leaned closer to Cindy and said conspiratorily, "You know, maybe Oliver can do something to help here too. I think he knows the Registrar and some guys who give money for the scholarships and stuff."
Cindy's eyes opened wide. "You don't mean the Board of Trustees, do you?"
Ben nodded. "I think so."
"It wouldn't hurt. Her aunt knows some of them too."
Ben was quick to pick up on her slip.
"Her aunt? Where's her aunt?" he asked, curiously.
"Nevermind. Forget I said it."
"Is she with her aunt?" Ben persisted. The defensive look on Cindy's face told him he was on the right track.
Continued in "Sara's Port, Ch.29: Tybee Island" (Conclusion)