I’m dreaming again. I must be. It takes me a couple of minutes (or hours, I can’t tell) to recognize the settings. That familiar feeling rushes through each bit of my body with such a force again. I have been here before. I lived here before. A long time ago. This place, the feeling I have is so familiar, and still I can’t place it. A thought begins to form, but I am not able to grasp it. Somehow I don’t remember, I know what happened. It’s as if you were watching a movie, and imagining at the same time that it is happening to you. You are there as an outsider, but experiencing every minute of it so intensely, that it might as well be you in front of the camera. And you don’t know any more, where you stand. For me, it’s hard to tell. I can see the castle, I can physically touch its walls, feel the wind raise goose bumps on my skin and play with my hair. I can see the Moon, even brighter than before. I can see the steps in front of me. All eight of them. As if nothing changed. As if I never left. What’s happening? I try to remember how did I get back here. Or even what happened since I left. But nothing. As if anything outside wasn’t relevant any more. As if I had everything here. Everything I ever wanted. But what makes me feel that way? I try to recall my feelings from last time I was here. I was scared, yet excited to find out more. Last time I went up the stairs and inside the castle. What would happen if I do that again? Would I meet Him? Would it end the same way? Will I ever discover his identity? And does he still need my help? I want to know. I want to help. I want to see him again. I want to see his face. But something is different this time. I can’t hear his voice. Maybe if I went a little closer…
I slowly walk up the eight steps, leading to the front door. This time it doesn’t open. So I knock. Still no answer. Hmm, strange. I wait a little. I hope that if I concentrate hard enough, I can change things. I can go back and relieve the previous dream. It seems though that I am only in charge of my own actions. No matter how hard I try, I cannot change the settings of the castle, its colors, the number of the steps, nothing. I try to push the door open, but it won’t even move an inch. Then I try to do the same, but with my mind. I should be able to do it, if I was dreaming, right? But this doesn’t seem to work, either. I give up. Again a very faint thought forms in my head, but this time it does manage to manifest. What if he doesn’t want me to find him this time? Or what if something happened to him while I was away? What if it’s too late and I can’t help him any more? Suddenly I want to go home. I want to leave this place (and him) far behind me. I want to forget about the whole things. I want to erase my feelings for ever. Why do I have to feel like this even while dreaming? Aren’t dreams supposed to be about your secret desires, and about fulfilling them? Why am I so miserable?
"Are you looking for me, my lady?”
That voice… So he is here! But where? Is he messing with my head again? No, this time it sounded so real, as if he was…
I hear his voice again. I turn around quickly, and there he is, leaning to the wall of the castle, his arms folded in front of him, and a sexy grin on his lips. I guess I look at those lips a little longer than I should, as he raises an eyebrow questioningly. He knows the effect he has on me, surely. Not that I can hide it anyway. Not that I mind either. He pushes away from the wall, unfolds his arms, and takes a step towards me. Then another. Oh my. I can feel my pulse quicken and my heart beat accelerates to the sky. For a brief moment I wonder how wonderful would be to die like this, with his gorgeous smile being the last thing I see. I think I will get a heart attack if he continues looking at me like this. As if he wanted to tear off my clothes with purely his gaze. I’m pretty convinced that he could do that. Maybe if he just said the words, my clothes would melt or rip just from his voice. That voice reminds me of the ocean on a stormy day. First it is calm and deep, cherishing you, holding you up, so that you can breathe, but then suddenly it pulls you under, and there is no escape. It is intense and sexy as hell. The kind of voice you always dream of (hey, what am I doing now, again?) and the kind that you never forget. The kind that you realize from amongst a thousand others. The voice that makes your heart skip a beat and your panties drop to the floor. Or wherever. Coz you don’t care any more. All you care about is that voice and that smile. Those eyes. He comes even closer. Till the first step. I still can’t hear anything, apart from my own breathing. And he is still smiling. He doesn’t say a word, but his eyes are telling me everything. Everything he wants to do to me. Everything he will do to me. People say that it is worth waiting for good things. But do they ever mention dying in the process? Of course they don’t. But that’s how I feel. If he takes another step and let’s me wait much longer, I will probably drop on the steps, dead. I don’t think I can bear it any more, but again I’m not sure I would be able to survive his kiss either. (Later I learn that I can survive even more).
Oh-so-slowly he walks up the stairs, one step at a time, teasing me with his smile. Promising, challenging, provoking. Maybe he wants me to ascend as well and meet him in the middle? No, he is so not getting that satisfaction… I stay where I was, at the top of the stairs. I even take a couple of steps backwards. Now this wasn’t one of my brightest ideas, as the large wooden doors still won’t open. I end up flat against them, with Him fast approaching. I am trapped. He quickens his steps, so he is in front of me in no time. So close I can smell his scent. Hmm, like the ocean…He places a hand on the door either side of my face. Oh boy, this is so sexy… He looks deep in my eyes, and bends down slightly. I close my eyes, the anticipation nearly unbearable, waiting for his kiss.
And then I hear something. A familiar noise. Then after what feels like hours, he kisses my cheek. No, he licks it. What the…!?
I open my eyes. Another gorgeous pair is staring back at me. Emerald green, surrounded by thick, long white fur. Angel, my new cat.
I glance at the clock. 7.30am. Ah, she must be hungry. I try to get up, but she snuggles to me. She only found me yesterday (I can’t really say I found her) and we are so close as if we have know each other for a thousand years. I really think she can sense my mood swings, and I can tell, just by listening to her what she wants. I was a bit scared of taking her home with me, as I wasn’t sure if she belongs to someone, if a little boy or girl would miss her. But she didn’t have a collar. And it seems like she belongs to me, more than anyone else. I know it sounds weird, but I tried to leave her there yesterday. I really did. But she followed me. Well, with my injury I couldn’t walk that fast anyway, so it was a bit more difficult to convince her not to come. And it seems like she knew where we were going, as if I was the one who lost her in the first place. I decided to call her Angel, as she looked like one when I first saw her, in the glory of my flashlight.
"Ok, ok. But how am I supposed to feed you, if you don’t let me get up?”
As if she understood, she let out a big yawn, stretched herself and moved a little, so that I can get ready. Wow.
While preparing her food my thoughts wondered back to my dream. It was so real, and I had that strange feeling of belonging. As if I knew what’s going to happen, as if it happened before. Hmm. And again I woke up at the most exciting part. Is it because I can’t imagine how it would be like to kiss him? Last time I couldn’t see him properly, but now he was there without his armor. I don’t know what that meant in the first place, but this time as well he looked strange, now that I think about it. I think he was wearing something you see in medieval movies. A white shirt, loose on the arms, with the top two buttons open, brown tight (very tight) trousers, black riding boots and a brown vest. His clothes didn’t look old or worn, but didn’t look too expensive either. I didn’t pay too much attention to them anyway. But I remember his eyes, and that smile, uff… This time he looked exactly like… I swallow hard as I realize who was the man in my dream. Talking about hidden desires. It is so easy to stay a good girl. Until temptation knocks on your door. After that everything changes, then you get to know your real self. Until then, it is easy to say that you never do anything bad. But just a glimpse of what could be is enough to make you question all the decisions you ever made. You start wondering why you haven’t done anything naughty before. You become a person you never wanted to be. Although she might have always been inside you, waiting for you to set her free. I guess I have that side as well, dormant, waiting to wake up. How ironic, that she feels awake (and alive) when I am sleeping? Maybe, as I know I am only dreaming and there won’t be any consequences, I am braver, even bolder. Next time (if there will be a next time) I have to try it out. I have to give in. And see what happens. Maybe I haven’t got to that part yet because I am scared, or I hesitate. What if next time I don’t? What if I jump into his arms? Surely I could do that in a dream, right?
A couple of hours later I am sitting on my sofa, with Angel curled up in my lap, listening to Lindsay. It has only been a few days since she asked me to help her organize her dream wedding (I have to laugh at the thought), but it seems like it was years ago. She is already so excited, I can tell she is in love. I’m happy for her, I really am. But on the other hand, when people fall in love, they tend to be so selfish. Maybe I am selfish now, because I am not in love, and maybe it’s only jealousy talking through me mouth, but still… She hasn’t even asked me how I was today. She just talks and talks about her dress, the reception, who she wants to invite, who she doesn’t, what she wants to do on her party the night before, and so on. I try to listen, but I don’t like this kind of stuff. I guess I am not really the perfect friend, as I don’t have too much to add to her fantasies. I never even imagined my own wedding. Being the little grey mouse in high school, I never even thought about getting married. I always convinced myself that it wasn’t my thing. At all. I always preferred my romantic heroes to real life men. In books, happy ending was a must. In real life that never happened. And even after I met Lorian, I guess I used Him as an excuse. He seemed too similar to the men in my books, it was scary. And as he had that kind of mysticism around him, too, he was perfect. I didn’t have to be scared of ever getting near him. Well, except for my dreams obviously. So it was safe. He could stay a fantasy, coz that’s all I needed. That’s all I knew. Then I wouldn’t get hurt. Still, I guess somewhere deep I wanted to be different. I wanted what Lyn wanted. The big wedding, white dress, flowers, church, everything. But for her, it was natural. She always got what she wanted, even in high school. She never knew any different. No one ever said no to her. It’s not that anyone said no to me either. Not because they didn’t want to, but because I never asked. I wasn’t in the spotlight back then. I wasn’t sure if I will ever be. Not till I met Lorian. He made me feel like I was the only woman in the world. And this is why I can’t be entirely happy for Lyn. Part of me will always want more, because of him. Before I met him, I would have been the happiest person on this planet if Lyn came to me with the same news. I would have been genuinely happy for her. He ruined it for me. Because he made me want the same thing, and also made me realize that I will never get it. I am trying though. That is why I agreed to help her. If I am honest, I already started to regret my promise a little bit, but I am not someone who gives up easily.
"So, when are you free to come with me try some dresses on?”
She asks, eyes gleaming with tears of joy.
"Oh Lyn relax, we still have nearly six months. And it’s winter now. You are getting married in May. You have to choose nearer the time, otherwise you will end up buying something you will regret then.”
I saw the disappointed look on her face, so I tried to cheer her up a little.
"How about selecting the venue first? That’s pretty much the same all year.”
This seemed to work, as I heard her shriek. Oh my, she is acting like a little child who just got her first toy. Is this really what love does to people?
"Yes, that would be lovely! Thanks Lia. What would I do without you?”
She hugs me tightly.
"And you are right about the dress. Ok, let’s prepare a schedule. Omg, I have to calm down, otherwise I won’t fit in any dress. You know how much I can eat when I am stressed.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. She would never gain anything, even if she ate ten bars of chocolates every day till her wedding. Me on the other hand…
"By the way, where did you get that cat? She is cute.”
Angel – as if she knew we were talking about her – stretched, climbed off my lap and went to say hello to Lyn.
"I found her on the street yesterday. Well, she found me to be more precise.”
"Hmm. She is very sweet. Didn’t you always want a white cat? How odd.”
Suddenly, Madame M’s words echo in my head. "Something will soon find you. Something that you wanted since your childhood. And then everything is going to change, for good.”
"It is. I think someone left her outside. She is so loving and seems to understand what I want.”
Lyn lets out a small laugh.
"She does seem smart, but don’t forget that she is only a cat. I still think you should have brought a man home instead.”
I scold her, but can’t help laughing myself. I feel a bit better. A little girlishness always makes you forget about your problems and can lighten any situation (even if only for a short time, as, like alcohol, she won’t be able to help solve my problem).
She asks innocently.
"I think it was you who told me you haven’t had a date for let me quote ’God knows how long’. But correct me if I’m wrong.”
"No Lyn, you are right. But men are not that important in life.”
"So what is?”
I try not to notice the sarcasm in her voice.
"Well, work for example, and helping others.”
"Ok, ok, I won’t argue with you Lia. How about these three things together? Hmm?”
She makes me laugh again.
"Ok Lyn. You are lucky to have Paul by your side, I am sure he is the kind of guy that makes you feel like a queen.”
Her eyes burn with affection. My heart melts a little. And it doesn’t even hurt. Just a tiny bit.
"Yes, he does. He said that although this is our wedding, he wants me to surprise him and make the whole day about me. He said that he will love me, no matter what I wear, or don’t wear for that matter.”
She winks at me meaningfully, and we both burst out laughing. All my negative feelings vanish and I go to the kitchen to make another cup of tea. I get a little angelic help, which makes it a bit difficult, but I manage.
When I get back, Lyn is looking at a catalogue. I can’t see it from this angle, and she seems to hold it away from me, as if to hide what she is looking at. Strange and so un-Lyn-like. I set our cups down on the mahogany coffee table, being careful not to fall over my new roommate and sit down next to Lyn. She looks at me expectantly, and I can’t help but smile.
"Go on Lyn, I know you are dying to tell me what you are looking at.”
"Oh Lia, I found the perfect venue for the wedding.”
"You found what? I went to the kitchen for like five minutes?”
She is so funny sometimes. And I am sure there will be thousand more „perfect venues” till May.
"Come have a look.”
She is so happy, I have to play along.
"Ok, what do we have here?”
I glance over at the catalogue, and my heart skips a beat.
"I found it in the post. It’s perfect, isn’t it?”
I feel so dizzy all of a sudden.
"Lia, are you okay?”
I can hear Lyn’s worried voice, and I want to reply. I want to shout for that matter. But I can’t. I just keep staring at the photo. It doesn’t look like the castle in my dreams, and still I start to shiver. No, I can’t take this. I thought I can manage, but this is too much. Signs? Give me a break. This must be a joke. And a really sick one. I force myself to speak.
"I-I am ok. But why do you want to get married in a castle?”
My voice is a shaky whisper.
"I don’t know. It is romantic I guess. And beautiful. But if you don’t like it, I will find something else, don’t worry.”
What am I doing? This is her wedding, and I am just about to ruin it. And why? Because of some shady signs I am getting (or I think I am getting). Oh, I knew I shouldn’t go to that fortune teller, now I am unable to think straight. I have to make it right.
"No Lyn, I agree. It is perfect. I am just surprised, that’s all. You never said you like castles.”
"Well, I didn’t, not until now. I just had a feeling, you know, that I should have my wedding there.”
A feeling. I need to forget this nonsense.
"Yes, you should. You will look lovely in a medieval style dress, riding on a black horse. And Paul could wear a black tux and ride a white horse. I can see it so clearly, it will be brilliant.”
"Oh yes, yes, yes! And then we could ride away in the sunset! How romantic, I’m sure Paul will love it, too. Thank you Lia. Now I guess I disturbed you enough for today. I will see you next weekend, ok? But only if you haven’t changed your mind about helping me.”
"Of course not. Don’t worry Lyn, it was fun. See you next week, and don’t get too excited just as yet.”
Not that she could help it. Even I started to feel a bit excited, despite all my problems. After I shut the door behind her, I try to picture her in a white dress with the horses and everything. But all I can see is Lorian trying to kiss me.
8 DO I KNOW YOU?
I don’t do much the rest of the day. I don’t know why, but Sundays I am always lazy and feel a little uneasy. I think it’s because of the fast approaching work. It’s not that I am under pressure or anything like that, but still I can’t help it. In fact, I never seem to be able to relax. On Saturday, I am still thinking about last week and on Sundays I think about the week ahead. Ok, ok, working till the afternoon on Saturdays doesn’t help. It doesn’t give me too much time to do anything really. But when I think about it, I’m not even sure what would I do or where would I go if I had that time off. Maybe it is better like this. Easy. Simple. Safe. No temptation. Yeah, well, that’s not entirely true. As I am bored and as I want to distract myself, I do something I usually don’t: check my facebook. I’m sure everyone knows that feeling, when they are so desperate not to think, that they start browsing other people’s posts. And when they have seen all the idiotic videos and comments, they keep checking if anyone posted anything new. Like every minute. And of course nothing happens.
But still it is a distraction. Hmm, what was my password again? Aha. I wait for my page to load. It’s strange how our perception changes the way we feel about time. If we are waiting for something good to happen, time goes so slowly, but when we are experiencing that good thing, time flies so rapidly. Or it seems like that, even though the same amount of time has passed. It’s the way we look at it that makes all the difference. We make time our best friend or our worst enemy. It is our choice. Right now it seems like hours have passed since I typed in my password. Finally it lets me in. Straight away I am bombarded with messages. This would get other people excited, but not me. When I communicate with someone, I like to see their face. For me, facebook is just a way of talking to people "facelessly”. You can’t see their reaction, and you can say anything you like, the other person won’t know if it’s true or not from such a distance anyway. I know it is huge part of the future (and even our present), and don’t get me wrong, I do use it, but I rather don’t if I have another option. I am really suspicious as well. I have these visions about serial killers contacting you, pretending to be your friend and then attack you when you least expect it. What are you saying? Yes, I do watch a lot of horror movies. And I read even more. Which is probably even worse. And you know what is strange? If we are scared of something, really scared, we seem to attract it. Our thoughts work like a magnet.
Well, mine must be working overtime now as I look at the screen of my laptop, horrified. I have a new friend request. And I don’t recognize the name at all. Of course it could be one of my friends playing tricks on me. Someone, who knows me well. Someone, who knows about my fears. It could be. But thinking about the number of people who actually know me, I doubt it. Those who do, would never do such thing. It could also be a mistake. It could also be someone who simply wants to know me. Who likes my picture. Or one of my posts. Now you see, my paranoia comes partly from the fact that I never know who sees what I post on facebook. Sometimes you get into this weird scenario, where you post something, thinking whether the person you want to dedicate it to will ever see i tat all, and end up getting comments from complete strangers, „liking” your stuff. I stopped this a long time ago. If I want to share something with someone, I do it in person. I really think it is sad that we „share” everything with each other online nowadays, but never even spend a moment together in real life. You can see photos of your „best friend’s” baby girl, although you never even knew she was married. Or you learnt it from one of her previous posts. I guess it’s good in a way, especially when people are separated for some reason, and this is the only way they can communicate with each other. The problem starts when you would have other options.
I simply can’t decide if this person is someone I haven’t met in years, or a serial killer waiting for a chance to hold a pistol to my head. Looking at his name, he could be either. Or both. Doc. I don’t recall any doctors I got close to, and isn’t this the typical name of a serial killer? At least he managed to distract me, even though he didn’t do anything. Apart from contacting me. I decide to delete him. My life is complicated enough already, I don’t need this kind of excitement. I make such a big deal of everything, seriously. It is only a friend request, for God’s sake!
As I am about to hit the reject button, a new message appears in my inbox. My curiosity wins. I can delete him later.
“Hello, it’s an old friend Lia. Hope you are well. Please accept my request for adding. Thanks, an old friend…”
An old friend? His style is so strange, but vaguely familiar. So reserved. There is no photo of him, no personal details, nothing. I’m still not convinced of his non-killer status. He must know that I am a curious person. Or it was a lucky guess. Basically he hasn’t told me anything, but still. There is something in his sentence that makes me want to know more. I can’t explain the feeling, it’s just… I don’t know… As if it reminds me of something (or someone?). But whom? And why does he seem so mysterious? And what’s with the medieval characters? It must be on purpose. It must mean something. People just don’t write like this nowadays. And to tell you the truth, it is hot. Serial killer or not, he clearly knows how to impress women. Or is it only me? I think Lyn is right. I do need a man. Preferably Lorian. But till then, finding out more about this mystery person won’t hurt, will it? Unless he is a serial killer. Then it will hurt… Anyway, I decide to play along. It takes me some time to find the right font, but I manage. I am so proud of my reply.
“Please accept my apologies, but I am not able to add you. Not until I know who you are. So please tell me: do I know
There. I don’t have to wait long for the answer.
“Yes, Lia, you know me well, as we met many times. You know me more than anyone else, and I know everything about
you. Everything that makes you happy. Or sad for that matter.”
Wow, now this is creepy. He knows everything about me? And I know him? More than anyone else? Who the hell is he? Even I don’t know what makes me happy. This must be a joke. A very bad one. But before I could dwell on this any further, he sends me another message.
“Lia, please don’t be scared of me. I want you to be happy.
You do have the option to block me for ever if you don’t want to talk.
And I will disappear. If that’s what you want. So? What will it be?
Will you give me a chance?”
He wants me to be happy? Reading his reply calms me down a little bit. Maybe it is someone I used to know but don’t keep in touch with any more. Still I am suspicious. And he uses my own weapon against me. Will you give me a chance? How cruel. Makes me think of the chance I got. The chance I missed. Back there, in front of that cafe. And then I got another one, and sort of messed that up as well. But it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give this person a chance, right? I just need to find out who he is. He is clearly trying to hide his true identity from me. But why? He ignores my questions, or rather gives an evasive answer. So he both answers me and doesn’t at the same time. Smart, I have to give him that. But not smart enough. He doesn’t know that I can play with words as well. If I want to. I send him a reply.
“You said you want me to be happy. Let’s say that I believe you.
So I will give you a chance. A chance to prove that you know me.
Tell me something only you know about me.”
I don’t have to wait long for a reply.
“Dearest Lia, thank you so much for your generosity!
This means a lot to me. I won’t ever let you down, I promise.
Something only I know? Like your biggest secret you never told anyone?”
Huh? No, this is just a trick. A very clever trick. I guess he thought that I will jump at him with a predictable „oh how did you know?”. I feel a bit disappointed. He doesn’t know me. At all.
“If I haven’t told anyone, how could you know?”
I mentally tap myself on the shoulder. But my victory doesn’t last for long.
“Exactly, if you haven’t told me, how do I know?”
Not the kind of reply I expected. A shiver runs through me. He can’t possibly have an idea what he is talking about.
“You don’t, do you?”
It seems like hours pass till he replies. I have to hold it together. Just in case he is a serial killer. I can’t bear the tension any longer, so I get up and head towards the kitchen. A cup of green tea will calm my nerves. When I get back, Angel is sitting in front of my laptop, meowing. A new message is waiting for me:
“There is one way to find out. I will tell you the whole story once.
Then you can decide if I got it right or not.
But not today. Sweet dreams my lady.
Omg… There is something in the way he leaves me without an answer. I mean a proper one. I have to admit that he does it with style. I sort of like it. He doesn’t try to convince me, doesn’t try to impress me with the usual rubbish. What if he hides his name so that I can see his true self? What does a name mean anyway? It might be that instead of a horror story I somehow teleported to a romantic one, and he is my Prince Charming, waiting for me to fall in love with him, not knowing who he is, right until the end. Oh give me a break. I like reading about this stuff, but it doesn’t mean I believe in it. It’s only a fantasy. As I said before, in books and movies, the heroes are always perfect, come out of each battle without a scratch, and always win the heart of the princess. Who is the most beautiful woman you can imagine, by the way. She is perfect, just like the prince. They are a perfect match. But isn’t it strange how the movie (and the book) always stops after the first kiss? Or after the first passionate night they spend together… Or after their dream wedding… There is always the „happy end”. If you ask me, they should tell us what happens after. We always learn about their struggles before and therefore think that everything is perfect as soon as their love blossoms. However, nothing stops the moment they get married (or kiss, or have sex). On the contrary, the whole story should begin at that very moment. Anyway, in reality, you have to kiss a lot of frogs till you meet that prince. Who is not so perfect. And you soon have to realize that you are not a beautiful princess, either. And most probably, there is no happy ending (or happy beginning).
Angel wakes me from my reverie. It is time for our dinner…
To be continued...
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