Happy Saturday! Today, I'm sharing Chapter Four from A Shadow in Doubt, where Sam ponders her situation, Jay and Kristoff make her want to gag, and you'll find out who I was listening to while writing that part of the book....
11/18/2006 - Duty Call
A groan near my head woke me. My hair fell in my face when I lifted my head; I tried to push it out of the way, but it just fell back in the same place. A male chuckled softly behind me - from the sofa - and my heart skipped a beat hoping it was Michael. I rolled over, disappointed it was Kristoff smiling at me from the couch.
I couldn’t figure out how he got there, so I asked, “How?”
He smiled, holding out a can of Pepsi. “Artemis let me in when I rang the bell,” he replied. Because it’s perfectly natural for a cat to answer a doorbell in a secret cavern.
I accepted his offering with gratitude, “Thank you.” Two gulps down, I was awake. “I hope you brought something stronger for Sleeping Beauty here.”
He tapped the travel thermos on the end table next to him. “Never leave home without it.”
“Come on Jay,” I gave her a shove, “it’s time to get up.” Then to Kristoff, “Take the lid off, she’s gotta smell it.”
He took the lid off, and Jay sat straight up, hands outstretched to receive her coffee. Still steaming, she gulped it down faster than I took my Pepsi. “Thanks, Babe.” She smiled, and blew him a kiss. “No offense, honey, but this was supposed to be a girls only party.”
“I know, and I’m sorry, but we’ve been summoned to the Complex.”
“Summoned?” I almost choked on my Pepsi. “By?”
“Your mother. Who else?” He smiled.
He shrugged. “Does she need a reason?”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Really?”
Jay was perking up. “Will you tell us the occasion, Babe? Or am I gonna have to torture it out of you?”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Depends on what kind of torture you have in mind.”
She chucked the throw pillow she’d slept on at him. “Naughty boy!”
“You know you like it,” he grinned.
“Oh, you two are gross,” I scolded them. “Take it to another room!”
Jay skipped over, and jumped, landing straddled across his lap on the couch. She draped her arms over his shoulders, “Wanna join me in the shower?”
He stood up, lifting her with him, “Only if you brush your teeth first.”
She shrieked with laughter as he pushed her up and over his right shoulder, and slapped her rear.
I was happy for them. They were adorable. Which is also why I hated them. I wanted to have that with Michael. But, I couldn’t. At least not now.
“I’ll get breakfast going, don’t be too long,” I called down the hall after them, before turning into the kitchen.
Kristoff offered to drive, and have Annika and Alec pick up my car later, so we agreed. When he started the hummer, the bass boomed loudly from the stereo, “Sorry,” he said, and turned it down.
I didn’t recognize the song, “What’s this?”
“Dark Horse, by Katy Perry.”
“Who?” Jay asked.
“Oh, uh, whoops.” Kristoff stammered. “She won’t break out until next year, but she’ll be a star. It won’t be released until October of twenty thirteen.”
“Then how do you have it?” I needed clarification.
He just grinned, “One of the perks of coming from the future.” He held up something that was similar to, but I knew was not, an iPod. “I’ve got anything you want from the nineteen twenties to twenty-one eighty-five.”
“Crazy,” I shook my head.
“You want me to change it?”
“No, I like it.” Jay stated.
“Leave it.” I agreed. It suited the thoughts swirling in my head. “How do I get it?”
He sighed, “I don’t know if....”
“Don’t make her pull the Sovereign card.” Jay teased.
He gave in too easily. “I’ll email you the files later, they’ll go in your library. But you can’t let anyone - I mean no one at all - see or hear it. Not for seven years anyway”
“I won’t, but, I want the whole album.”
He sighed, and rolled his eyes at me. “If Logan or Michael find out, they’ll have my hide.”
“I’ll tell them I stole it.” I assured him. “Don’t worry.”
Jay laughed. “Ha! They’d never fall for that. We’ll tell them I stole it - if it comes to it.”
“You’re right,” I agreed. “You’re computer jiu-jitsu is much better than mine.”
When we pulled up on the street in front of my building, I saw Bailey’s car parked a few spaces down. “Oh, great.” I mumbled.
“Want me to come with?” Jay asked. “I’ll get rid of him.”
“No. He’ll get suspicious if I don’t start spending some time with him soon.”
“See you later, then,” she blew me a kiss. “I’ll miss you.”
I shook my head at her. “I doubt that.” She was trying to put a smile on my face. It worked.
By the time I got to my door, I had my game face on, and flashed Bailey my broadest grin. “Hey, Babe. I was just about to call you.” I gave him a kiss, and then walked over to let Artemis in the balcony door. “I missed you,” I lied.
“I missed you, too,” he came up behind me, sliding his arms around my waist. He buried his nose in my ponytail. “I knew you needed space yesterday, so I tried to give it to you, but I think you need to come over and let me make you dinner tonight.”
I turned around, and lay my head on his chest. “If you think that’s best,” I sighed.
He stepped back, looking bemused, “That was easy.”
“Letting you cook for me sounds better than PB & J for dinner.” I hate going to the grocery. And Artemis really doesn’t like him at all, so the sooner I got him out of there, the better. “I’ve got to get some work done this afternoon, but I will be there...at what time?”
I closed my eyes and kissed him, wishing he was Michael. “I’ll see you then.”
I sighed as I shut the door behind him.
There was never a reason for me to question Bailey’s intentions, until Jayden discovered he grew up with Raymond Morrison. He came clean shortly thereafter, and his reasons for not wanting to admit his association were pretty legit. I mean, who would want to admit they were best friends with a sadistic psychopath who went around killing every woman you dated? It would be pretty hard to go out there and get a date, with that for a pick up line.
I had to wonder, what if that was the end of it? We still weren’t certain how deep Morrison’s connection was to his cousin’s organization - the Brotherhood of Asclepius - if any at all. His attack on me could’ve entirely been a result of his fixation on Bailey, and it could all be coincidence. If he wasn’t connected to the BOAs, it would eliminate Bailey’s possible connection to them, and to the conspiracy, altogether.
But, Morrison said something to me that night. I’d almost forgotten. Something about not really caring if “they” get what “they want.” If the “they” he referred to were the BOAs, and not the voices in his head, everything was different.
I hoped it wasn’t true. Bailey was, at the surface, a great guy. Gorgeous, smart, and he had his mind set on clear goals. By any standards I would be considered a lucky woman, I considered myself lucky. Then, Michael stepped into my life.
He was dark, mysterious, handsome, funny, and knew what I was thinking before I thought it. It was a little scary, but sexy at the same time. He’s also fought against impossible odds to protect me, more than once. That was hard to ignore.
I went into a funk. I’d never had “it” this bad for anyone before. Michael hadn’t left my mind from the moment we met. Twice, I caught myself about to say his name at the most inconvenient of moments. If not for the complications caused by the future interfering with the past, my present, I might have dumped Bailey by now.
But, Future Michael left me a letter telling me I had to push him away. He said that I needed to figure out my true feelings for Bailey myself, or else I might always wonder. Which could be translated to I’m supposed to procreate with him. If that’s the case, Michael and I wouldn’t have a future for a very long time.
Or, could it be he just didn’t want me? Maybe he realized his true feelings for Celine down the line, and decided that the best way to break up would be to never get together. I was completely confused about what was going on.
I wondered if my attraction to Michael was because I could trust him. He was my family’s loyal protector, and had been in love with me from afar, for long enough to span two lifetimes.
I had issues with trust, starting with my ex, Jeff – the liar who broke my heart. Then, there were the people who I thought were friends, and turned out not to be so much. When I found out my entire life was built upon lies a few weeks ago - yeah, that was rough.
Artemis saved me from myself, by making her grand entrance from the balcony. With an anxious, “Maow, maow, merrraaow,” she announced it was feeding time.
“Yes, your highness,” I bowed to her.
She trotted ahead of me, tail high in the air, and rubbed up against the cabinet, leaning at a near forty-five degree angle into it. I filled her dish with dry food, rinsed and refilled her water, and scratched behind her ears. My work done, I grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge, and headed to my desk.
There was an email waiting from Kristoff, with an attachment. It read, “Here’s that album. Remember, I’ll deny everything if you get caught with it - ROTFL!”
I put on headphones, so no one would hear if they wear listening. They weren’t supposed to be anymore, but I wasn’t sure, so I still used the headphones, to be safe.
The third song reminded me of Costa Rica. The girl put to lyric exactly what I felt; I decided we must be kindred spirits. Maybe one day I’d invite her to join the Society.
I closed my eyes and listened, imagining the scene again, as we took the raft from the ocean to the river at dawn. Michael and I could be legendary. We would be, I decided, one day. We would go down in history, in the future. If we wanted to, we could rule the world. Together, nothing could stand in our way.
It sounded crazy, even in my head, but something deep down told me it was true. It could be our destiny. We only have to get there.
Walking over to Bailey’s, I started out feeling guilty about going at all, when all I wanted was to be with Michael. Then, I passed an older couple holding hands, and began to wonder about the big what if again. What if Bailey really did just love me, for me?
What if he and I were supposed to raise a family together? What if it was part of the collective experience making up the sum total of my being, necessary to contribute to the works I would publish, and would still be read by others one hundred and eighty years in the future? That was a lot to think about.
Bailey had been an absolute prince since the day Mom ‘died’. He helped plan the reception after the funeral, and was right by my side the whole way, with a hand to hold and a shoulder to lean or cry on.
On the night after the faux funeral, I got drunk, and got into hysterics over the fact that I’d told Michael to leave. Bailey assumed it was over my mom, and was so shaken by how upset I was, he selflessly offered to postpone his trip to South America in January. He was so convincing, it was hard to believe it could all be an act. If it was, he deserved an Oscar.
I couldn’t help but think about the fact that if I’m supposed to have a child, and he or she - or his or her child or grandchild, etc. - is supposed to have some kind of impact on shaping the world as it comes to be in twenty-one sixty-nine, my choosing to be with Michael could unravel the chain of events that causes my existence in the first place.
Were these the things that I was supposed to be thinking about on my way to spend the evening with a man who was cooking dinner for me? Probably not. They were the thoughts plaguing me nonetheless.
And, she has even more to ponder before The End! Thanks for stopping by and reading :)
A Shadow in Doubt (Society in the Shadow of Civilization Book 2) is available at: