True Love

The Sun had barely begun its ascent at Gladstone in the eastern boundaries spread in an ash-rose light that softened the bright hues. The ringing of the phone filled the room echoing in her ears. Linda stretched her hand to the bedside for the alarm. Thoughts spurred in her mind with her head buried between the soft pillows of purple shades that added to the glossy look even in the moon-lit night across the bedroom window.

A pale brown two-storey building with three giant rooms, grey roofs wearing off and steep slope right ahead amidst the centre of the house was all Linda’s home. Home filled with memories of laughter and merriness. The rose bushes pink in color still stood around the door in a random way, the white windows seemed immaculate. Linda enjoyed the fresh blossoms and scent of the flowers. She had a garden at the backyard full of roses and tulips. Suddenly, she heard the sound of breaking glass. She quickly wrapped some decent clothes around her, the satin inner piece was doing no good after all but something to spare her pride would not hurt.

Linda remembered having turned off the lights before she went to bed. She wondered if Terry had been coming home late, the fact being he was always late no matter how hard Linda tried to figure out a way to make up to her brother. To her surprise, the couch was empty, no sign of Terry anywhere in the dining room; She felt throbbing pain in her head so hard that she had to hurry upstairs back to her room. Her eyes felt heavy and tired. She wondered about the missing alarm clock and the sounds. A thrilling sensation down her spine gripped with fear haunted her. Crawling through a pancake house with the doors being too small for her to squeeze in, this played on an endless repeat every other night. Sundays were feast for Terry and Linda. They would end up fighting to grab the layer of Carmel corn covered in candy. Every single moment during her childhood seemed so memorable. She wished Terry would be home sooner or later.

Result of the panicked dream, Linda woke up exhausted dreaming. Russell sleeping on her bed, she felt a level of comfort. The clock was where it was last night. The sunlight beamed in through the curtains of the window. Linda fought back the rays covering with the soft layers of fabric, cross-stitched. Alas! She had to get going. To be enjoying the view stretching across the bay side from her bedroom window was breathtaking. She smiled wistfully with her childhood memories and pulled the curtains aside for a closer look.

Linda looked beautiful with her glossy skin, her auburn curls let loose and the smudged makeup. A slender oval face with an addition to the decent minimal alterations in shape made her look terrific and wanting. At least four of her friends from college were planning weddings in the next year. She had to pull this off without a hitch and there was no room for certainty and waiting for Michael anymore. Linda knew that it was a matter of her memory. In the past few months, she had been having strange nightmares. Her brother was always part of those dreams. Something was wrong; Linda wanted to find out. She swore to herself. However, thoughts never settled in for a better reason. At 27, she seemed the perfect reflection of her mother with dark hair, blonde and her deep blue mysterious eyes added charm. As she walked down the streets, she heard the playful laughter, the way every day her mom used to talk during breakfast.

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Chapter Two

Victor Dixon had approached in seventh grade and as usual, Linda flashed the parent cards and had apologized telling him that he was a nice guy, but her parents. “Gosh, thank you so much.” She had ended it that way.
Linda felt that she had mastered the art of nice rejection early in her life. Her fourteenth birthday seemed to take no chances of adolescent love, not that her parents were paying much attention. The truth was she believed in Love, love that meant eternal and forever. Despite the fact that her friends and classmates had engaged themselves in the world of horny stuff, Linda liked it the classic way. She had not even held hands with a boy.

Linda had known Ian since she was a kid. Like every other, she admired him from afar. There was a rumor that he had the entire floor for himself in his house. They lived on the town green, up the street to the left. He was tall, handsome and in her young eyes he was appealing and fun to look at.
{Memories sweep her back to time with Michael}
She yearned for love and considered it a reward. Michael, she knew he was the one she was falling in love with forever. They drove for a minute in silence. She had pale skin and jet blonde pulled up with a black head band all the time. Michael admired every bit of her and assumed that his taste in women seemed to come to a stand-still.

The sunlight glinted on the tainted glass of the window pane and it seemed like one of those perfect sunny days, but a Monday morning. Michael thoroughly enjoyed the morning rides with her. She had so much going on and kept talking and complaining about everything and everyone. Linda was meant to be that way, herself. He could never be himself except with her. She meant the world for him.
“I was sappy and sentimental, but a little bit of wisdom in what I talk, don’t you agree?” Michael heard the very last sentence followed by awkward silence. She knew that he never heard her stupid chirpy conversations but managed well in time to get hold. Linda supposed it seemed ok since she won the arguments, the notions and the plans in her relationship, the passive one being Michael. His response was quick, and he sounded quite un-defensive.
She missed him terribly. No matter what happened, she never looked back and was happy. Just not ready to think about her plans anymore, she had subtle idea as to planning of life. She decided to move on.

It was to be borne with calmness as if nothing had happened since she instantly realized that the man she was so dearly in love with may not feel the same and not even a chance of her perception noticed.
“What could be more distressful for a woman of her age to be not accepted with conclusion?”

Not anymore but yes somewhere deep within, it hurt. The thought of another woman being in Michael’s life hurt her so much.
Linda with her troubled thoughts decided to walk away from his life even with the least suspicion of such a betrayal crossing her mind. Tugging at his collar, she exclaimed with a disdained look.
“Things have heated up between us and I understand it is time, we move on”. Just then, he wore a perplexed expression on his face with an earnest look to take her into his arms and explain how they could make this work. Had it been earlier, she would have strived to get through so that she could share a wink, a cup of coffee and slight woo-bee gestures now and then. “Who would just disappear for some time and turn up when they seem to be ready?”

It was quite over-whelming for Linda to accept with an ordinary outlook.
Men make women believe and women tend to trust and embrace it. Circumstances add on to the complexity and seem to be quite out of control before women can handle. She thoroughly prepared to give it a shot and hold on though not necessarily by heart but with the rule of necessity to live by for her mother and father.

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Chapter Three

“Shake it off”, Ian said in an agitated tone. Linda knew he was talking about her. She was on the verge of losing everything. She had already lost her job from what she anticipated by eavesdropping. She needed a miracle. She was trying not to be pessimistic, but things were pretty bad in shape.
Ian returned from the conference room and said: “You’re just in time. I was afraid you might probably not turn up today”. Linda stood paralyzed. “We are going to reclaim the respect and honor this agency had earlier”. Those words hit like a hard punch. Ian continued dealing with other aspects and spoke acting brighter “From now on, we finish the incomplete ones and get our asses out sometimes early in the evening”. Having mentioned that, the staff seemed pretty convinced.

Ian knew how stern he sounded but he was the boss. The one who knew him would understand the reasons behind his act of unfriendliness and he was quite satisfied with the thought. Trying to look to the brighter aspects in spite of his sore throat and aching head, he approached Linda’s desk and surprisingly, he found an empty chair with stacked files and the whole place seemed to be a mess;
They had been together all the time during high school days. The intimacy had been taking its turn from quite some time when Linda had started noticing the difference of interest towards Amy. She was beginning to gain some special place in Ian’s heart. After all that seemed agreeable on both the ends with Linda being a fool. From then on, Linda always felt better farther off.

First kiss! First kiss was from Ian, and it seemed perfect then. And the second one, holy crap! Of course, Linda was crazily in love with Ian back then and those sharp and curious glances, her friends shared uttering nonsensical syllables in response had their point appearing here and there so that Linda and Ian could innocently run into each other. That was high school love. Linda went to college later and was into a relationship, even fancied she could be in love though the feeling lacked that capital feeling. Her work at the advertising firm was pleasant enough though the pay was mediocre at best. Friends were great and fun to be around. She dated slightly worse frankly, but she missed her family very much. Linda wanted to be home and settle down. Suddenly, life seemed in place when Ian returned back home and opened up his advertising firm to create brand awareness. Everything looked perfect until the day her instinct and fear of losing her job came closer.
“Where have you gone for so long this morning?” asked Ian. Linda looked up with stormy eyes and her eyes were cold and blue as if they were on fire. “I do not think I like your manners and you have no earthy idea about why it seems never mind Ian”, said Linda. There was very less chance of expecting Ian to show his love for her if there was any but for her Ian meant something and there was always more to the sense of feeling.

Ian wore a look of surprising insight on his part, and they were inches apart when her eyes seemed to be focusing on the monitor while they admired his hands, the way he held the papers. “I was not thinking of all in all about Amy, not the company”, Ian sounded quite distressed but had no choice. Having said that, Ian looked down at the floor; he knew she was never going to allow the crap anymore than the very fact of Ian being dumber than ever.
“Ian, you are too bad”, Knowing you, I can see that this is not the place to come for any longer. “I bet, you would be better off Linda. That reminds me of more trouble than you can handle.” Linda did not cry but she was thinking. She thought that she could travel all by herself without Ian for the first time.
“How could he betray her and the dream project for a woman of no dignity and substance?” “No”, was all she said. While she had lot of thinking to do, Ian gestured uneasily and left her all by herself. “Let’s reconsider our plans again, alright?” ordered Ian, with a disdainful scorn on his face. There was rustling and cursing.
Ian was in bad spirits, he had just dumped a very special person for a stranger who had gone out for three dates and he had hell lot to take care.

“Assuming all are on the same page, I would like to discuss about ruining my reputation”, Ian seemed grumpy. It was a cold moment. It would’ve been easier if Jeffrey was here. In fact, he had called Jeffrey earlier but no luck. Linda had been one of the key roles employed, and the responsibilities were efficiently held and managed until today. “Damn Amy! Another marketing director”, he grumbled.
Ian’s fake smile spoke for his blunder. She had morphed everything into a genuine one. Amy had done that so brilliantly. The plans proposed and projected to the client were missing. He wouldn’t take the blame by any matter of chance.
“Sam, you are better off keeping track of the marketing plans, I guess”, Ian grinned. “Linda?” Sam called her writing something on a pad.
“Quite late today, had a busy evening huh? Don’t you forget the Friday luncheon, Kate would love to have you”. Linda did not answer, just threw a look of curiosity and mentioned being nice wasn’t definitely helping.
Sam was the account executive, had been with the clients for decent number of years, quit his previous job to join this firm. He had the hope to move up the chain faster enough. “Don’t be silly, the odds are something like this again came sooner”, Linda smiled gently and walked away with a handful of files, her coffee mug and her belongings. The practical intelligent side of her before Ian could actually announce officially. “I really miss her. She was a perfect woman who believed in her gut instinct to take calls unlike Ian”.

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Chapter Four

Kate listened gesturing slightly as if she had all the time in the world and spoke to him when Sam paused. Linda and Michael sounded great together all the time.

“Linda and Michael, Weren’t they one of those perfect could who would walk down the aisle?” questioned Kate.
“Let’s cut some slack and give them space. If they are destined for each other, I am sure they will figure it all out, I promise”, replied Sam.

Back on a Sunday afternoon, they had met; both invited, Linda being friend of Kate and friend at work-place with Sam while Michael was a friend of Sam. The lunch was going great, everything seemed perfect the first time Linda met Michael at Sam’s place.
“I made it to the door Sam, quite thrilled not to mention”. Michael froze when he saw Linda raising her eyebrow. He hoped he did not look quite weird as he was suddenly feeling awkward. She noticed his blunt features unaware of the impact they had in her life and left her with no trail. His eyes were grey blue and with a brown stormy hair; he looked handsome. His features were clearly defined, and his dimples never escaped notice. The current heat waves had his skin tanned slightly. Linda would take a good look at his face.

“It’s great to see you, Mike. True enough we were.”
Michael gave a mock grimace and felt the need to jump in between an unintended conversation.

“It was a great evening spending the night at our place”.
While Sam remembered the day, Linda walked across the living room and with no time to spare, Sam called out and introduced her to Michael.
“I did feel sorry for you about the crap that Ian could get you into, but I knew it was just the thing you needed in a way”, nodded Kate.
“You will understand what the world holds for you, grow up and look in the eye. You’ll be doing great within no time, I am sure.”
Kate tried her best to cheer Linda but all in vain.

For the next two weeks, Sam and Ian with the other staff members tried their luck out while Linda pretended that nothing existed between them or the firm anymore. She tried and found it hard enough to get onto the happy, perfect life and have fun.
Living with her parents and brother, Life seemed complex but meaningful. She kept her room neat, coped up with her grades, and when she felt like crying, she was in her closet crying so that no one would hear her. She made tea for her mom on days when her mom was late from work.

It was Mary Jane’s sixteenth birthday party. Mary had asked Ian to stop by her party. He was sixteen already and driver’s permit was his asset. Mary thought she could let Ian go all the way into dating and stuff. Linda and her friends at the Gladstone High school were extremely jealous. Ian’s father was the mayor. Ian did not run into any serious relationships at high school. Yet, he would hang out with Mary. Linda and Ian ran into each other innocently, hustling there. He always gestured saying ‘Hello’ and sometimes cared for a casual talk when he went around to her house to help Terry ride a bike. That seemed pretty huge.

The next year, he left for college after high school. Linda went to college herself but Dating was last on her mind.

A year earlier, Linda was already at the coffee shop an hour early. She liked waiting for Michael. She meant to compose herself perfectly to look best when he laid eyes on her. Linda and Michael had been going out for about nine weeks. Intimacy was never at loss but something lacked. Maybe, they did not talk much.
Physical aspect was far in their time. Michael seemed to move away from her and Linda supposed it was part of charm and love in a way. Michael did not talk much but when he did, there was substance in his talk.

Public display of affection was not his mannerism and Linda had to accept that part and she was very much fine with him. Being with Michael made her strive to be the best she could. They did not find clubs a comfort zone.
At first, seeing each other was not often at all. Linda found it quite weird. Michael emanated calm power, a bundle of nerves on edge, someone she could not feel very safe at first. But as days passed by, Linda found him just the right guy, the one who was well over the teenage-drama love scenes and the one who wanted her to be part of his life.

The restaurant was a perfect opening to suggest a place. They both had a wonderful time though it was quite a tough task trying to get through the exquisite courses. Nevertheless, the waiting time was no less than few minutes and dishes were right on the table.

He looked at her with soulful eyes while enjoying the spoon of delicious dessert. While they wandered away to grab some drinks, he got the diet soda for her while she settled comfortably in the couch. His fingertips lingered on her knuckles while his hands touched hers when he gave the glass. Nervous enough, Linda took a sip from her drink, while Michael sat next to her, left the glass on the table and smiled.

In the next instant, his lips covered hers, and he was shoving his tongue into her mouth. Linda tried to respond, but it seemed to have no rhythm she could follow. So, she lets her jaw go slack for him to kiss her as he would. Just then, she pulled back, looked him in the eye, and licked her lips as sultrily as she could and said “I want you Mike”.
He nodded “It’s that morning after thing. Do you want to get knocked up now?” “No”. She chuckled.
Dropping her at her house with a kiss on her forehead, he whispered
“I’ll call you”.
And now, all Linda got to do was call and call and end up talking to the answering machine. She would cry and wrack her brain to try and figure out what had gone so wrong, but she was convinced that she was somehow to blame for her. However, she’d managed to brave it all.