Saturday, January 31, 2015

February 1 Sunday A Month Of Love from BJ Neblett

Hello and welcome to February, the month of love. Regular readers of this blog and of my short stories and poetry know that I am a hopeless romantic. I write regularly for Romance Magazine (Click the image at the right) and each Valentine’s Day I try and do something special for my readers. This year my good pal and fellow writer Carol Griffin and I have teamed up to bring you a month full of romantic music, poetry, scenery, stories and more. Check back here every Sunday this month for a new story on everyone's favorite subject: romance! And when you have enjoyed the postings here, click the link above, BJ's Poetry Blog. Each and every day in February I will be posting a new love poem, saying or thought for your enjoyment along with a romantic scene and a song. We hope you enjoy these postings as much as we have enjoyed putting them together for you. Who knows, maybe this will be the year that I find that certain someone! And as always, be sure to like, link, comment and share the love!

BJ Neblett
© 2014
by Todd Wheeler
            “Hey… hi, it’s me, Morgéne.”
            “Hey, how are you doing? I was wondering if you were going to call.”
            “You were, were you… didn’t trust me?”
            “Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time a pretty lady had changed her mind about me.”
            “Oh, no… no, it’s nothing like that. I am so, so sorry… we were swamped; I had to work, and…”
            “Hey, hey… Shhh… it’s ok.”
            “You told me you had to work, right?”
            “And you also told me you didn’t know when you would be getting off, right?”
            “Yes, I did…”
            “So… now you’re off work and you’re calling me, just like you said you would.”
            “It’s not too late is it? I didn’t wake you or anything, did I?”
            “No, silly, not at all. I’m a night person; I was just doing some writing. And I’m really glad you called. But you must be tired. Do you still want to meet? It’s ok if you’re too tired.”
            “No, not at all, I’d like that.”
            “Me, too… meet me at the Ballard Bell in about fifteen minutes. Ok?”
            “See you there.”
            It was the call David had been waiting for all day. Uncertain of when, or even if Morgéne would keep her promise and call, he’d skipped his weekly Monday night poker game. And for David, skipping a chance to play poker was a big deal. But he liked this girl and he wanted her to know. Sunday, somewhere between the anti-pasta and the thin crust pizza, David decided he’d fight his natural shy instincts. If he got shot down so be it; at least he’d give it a shot. To David’s surprise the attractive waitress responded. They’d made tentative plans to meet the following evening after Morgéne finished her shift. Quickly slipping into a light polo, a comfy pair of well worn jeans and a splash of Aqua di Silva, he hurried out the back door of his apartment building and headed up Ballard Avenue.
            Morgéne sat cross-legged beneath the historic bell tower. It was only the third time David had seen her, and the first time outside of the restaurant. He recognized the captivating smile from half a block away. At the same time, he felt his own demeanor slipping. The familiar dopey grin was his tell, the unmistakable facial billboard announcing to the world his growing interest in someone.
            Her pretty face lit up. “Hi…”
            Nervously, David sat next to Morgéne on the stone step. Close… not too close… he reminded himself. And look at her when you talk, you idiot… look into her eyes! Trying his best to relax, David gazed into Morgéne’s clear blue eyes and immediately turned mute. “Ah… it’s… it’s um… a beautiful night, isn’t it?”
            Morgéne glanced skyward, stretching her trim body like a waking cat. “Mmm, yeah it really is…” She caught herself in mid yawn. “Oh, sorry…”
            “You look pretty beat. I mean… pretty, but beat… long day?”
            This time her yawn blossomed full. “Yeah, I guess so.”
            Rising, David extended his hands, “C’mon, I think I know what you need.”
            Wearily, Morgéne reached out, allowing David to pull her to her feet. “Oh, you do, do you?”
            “Yup…” Morgéne’s hand was warm, felt good in his as they wandered down Ballard Avenue.
            “So, where is it we’re going?”
            “I told ya, I know what you need.” David glanced over to the alluring brunette and their eyes once more met. “You trust me, don’t you?”
            She tilted her head in thought, sizing him up. “Yeah,” Morgéne said with an approving nod, “yeah, I do.”
            They walked the final block in comfortable silence. Closing the door to the cozy apartment, David switched on the light and dropped his keys in a waiting bowl. Still holding Morgéne’s tender hand, he led her to the couch. “Sit…”
            “Yes, Sir,” Morgéne replied. She watched as David turned on some soft R&B then made his way to the kitchen. “What now?”
            “You, young lady, just relax, and do as I say.” Settling in next to her, David popped the tab of a Bud Light can and passed it over. “Here,” he patted his lap, “give me your feet.”
            Sipping the ice cold beer, Morgéne obediently complied. Seconds later, her shoes and socks lay on the floor as David gently massaged her sore feet. “Oh, my God,” taking another long satisfying drink, Morgéne felt herself melting into the plush sofa. “That feels incredible! You were right; this is exactly what I needed.”
            “Told ya…”
            It had been a long time, too long, since anyone had treated her so tender and thoughtfully. “Please, don’t stop.”
            Todd relaxed back, resting his feet on the cluttered desk. “Wish someone would rub my tired dogs.” Stretching, he glanced at the wall. “Eleven thirty one. Restaurant closes at what, eleven, Felix?” Felix’s eyes searched back and forth; his tail swishing in metronome monotony. But the vintage cat clock remained mute. “Ah, what do you know? A fresh nine volt battery every six months keeps you happy.” He rose, stretching again. “I should have opted for the antique coo-coo clock. At least then I’d get some kind of a response twice an hour.”
            Retrieving two pages from the printer, Todd adjusted his reading glasses and flopped down on the couch. Well, at least something came from this wasted evening. Wonder how the poker game went tonight. Scanning the freshly printed sheets, he sighed. “Humm, Morgéne, she certainly has an intriguing name. Maybe I can make something out of this.”
            For the next thirty minutes the writer read and re-read the labors of his evening, making minor changes and corrections. Although barely two pages, the seven hundred fifty plus words tentatively titled Morgéne weren’t too bad. “Out of misery… and fact is stranger than fiction,” Todd commented aloud. Removing his reading glasses, Todd rubbed his weary eyes. “Then again, I would like to see what it’s like to come up with a story based on an actual, real relationship.”
            Don’t hang up/
            Oh no, oh don’t you do it now/
            Don’t hang up/
            Oh no, no/
            The old Orlons song ring tone stirred Todd from his thoughts.
            “Wow, after midnight, I wonder who this could be. Hello…”
            “Hi, it’s me, Morgéne. I hope it’s not too late. I kinda figured you’d still be awake.”
            “Oh, no, no problem at all; I was just doing some writing. But I was wondering if you were going to call.”
            “Ah, having doubts?”
            The comment made Todd smile. “Of course not; but then again you wouldn’t be the first beautiful woman to stand me up.”
            “Now, that I find hard to believe.” Todd could hear Morgéne trying to suppress a yawn. “But I am sorry, we were swamped tonight.”
            An eerie feeling of déjà vu slipped down Todd’s spine. He shook it off. “I figured it was something like that. But you do sound tired. If you’re too tired we can meet tomorrow night.”
            This time Todd was sure she was trying to mask a laugh. “No, no, it’s a beautiful night and I need to unwind, I’m beat,” Morgéne replied. “How about we meet at the Ballard Bell in about fifteen minutes?”
            “Perfect. And I think I know what you need. See you there.”
            The next morning Todd awoke on the sofa. Stumbling to the bathroom, he found a note scrawled on the mirror in soft ruby lipstick: Thanks for last night, it was nice. And, you were right; the foot massage was exactly what I needed.
            Three days passed. Todd managed to complete a new story for Romance Magazine, edit a flash fiction piece for a friend, and get some much needed work done on his latest fantasy novel. But his mind remained on Morgéne. Then again, it seemed lately all of his thoughts revolved around the attractive and mysterious waitress. Not a big fan of pan style pizza, he’d been inexplicably drawn to the new restaurant during its soft opening preview. Liquor, appetizers, pizza, everything was free. But it was the server who had captivated Todd. Slim and pretty with startlingly clear blue eyes, Morgéne was fun and engaging, and seemed genuinely interested in him and his writing. By the end of his visit to Genoa’s Pizza, Todd had lost all of his typical shyness, leaving her his card and phone number.
            Returning from his daily mocha and morning paper at Starbucks, Todd spied the recently started story lying forgotten on the coffee table. Flipping open his phone, he dialed Morgéne’s number. Nothing, there was no answer; not even a chance to leave a message. “Probably working,” he muttered. Settling into the desk chair he started to type.

by Todd Wheeler
            “I thought you didn’t care for deep dish pizza, David?”
            “I guess I’m getting used to it or something. Or maybe it’s just the company. You know what they say about good food and good company.”
            Morgéne shook her head and laughed; strands of black hair curling seductively around her long sensual neck. “Yeah, right, no more Cactus Flower Margaritas for you! I’m cutting you off.”
             “Actually, I came in for the thin crust meat lovers.” Despite himself, David’s face flushed the color of the waitress’s lipstick. “Ok, I did come in just to see you. If that’s ok; I mean I wouldn’t want to step on anybody’s feet or anything.”
            “You’re too cute, you know that? No, you’re fine, no one’s feet to step on.”
            David’s sigh of relief was obvious. “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask. Why don’t you have a desert menu?”
            “No desert here, well not as such.” Morgéne reached for the squeeze bottle of honey sitting on the table. “Instead, we recommend you save your pizza crust and cover it with honey.” She could read the doubt on his face. “Try it… you never know.”
            “Honey glazed pizza bones… I don’t know. I think I’ll just stick with Full Tilt.”
            “What’s that?”
            David’s eyes flashed with amazement. “You’re not familiar with Full Tilt? It’s only just the best ice cream in the world. Strange and wonderful flavors, and just around the corner, up on Leary. You’ve got to let me take you.”
            “Now that sounds good.” Replacing the honey dispenser, Morgéne turned to leave. “And I’ll take you up on that offer sometime.”
            Reading the computer screen, Todd shrugged his shoulders, “Eehh… not bad, I’ll punch it up later.” Frustrated, he found himself wandering along Ballard Avenue. Walking the streets often cleared his head, feeding his imagination with ideas. The ear buds muted the city sounds while the tiny MP-3 player kept him company.
            Raven hair and ruby lips/
            Sparks fly from her fingertips/
            Echoed voices in the night/
            She’s a restless spirit on an endless flight/
            His stride keeping unconscious beat to the classic Eagles tune, Todd soon found himself standing in front of Genoa’s Pizza. “Well, I guess I am hungry…”
            “Hey, welcome back. I was wondering when I was going to see you again.” Morgéne’s smile brightened Todd’s day.
            “Well, I did try to call…”
            “I’m sorry. We’re not allowed to have cell phones on the floor. I have a bad habit of turning mine off and then forgetting to turn it back on.”
            The cute pout was most effective. “And I’m not real good at remembering to return calls, either.”
            “It’s ok; I’ll forgive you.” Uncertain of how or even why he’d come to the pizza shop, nevertheless, Todd realized he was glad to be there. “I guess I’ll have…”
            “Side Caesar salad… no anchovies,” Morgéne cut in, “a large meat thin crust, and iced tea… with sweetener. Or would you prefer a drink?”
            “Wow, how did you know that?” Todd asked with some uncertainty.
            Morgéne raised one finely arched eyebrow but didn’t answer.
            “But this time, yes, make it a Cactus Flower Margarita, please.”
            “What’s the occasion? Sell another story?”
            “As a matter of fact I did; another romance story.”
            “Congrats! And I really am glad to see you.”
            Todd’s grin grew. “How about you and I do something later?”
            She smiled coyly. “You know, I’ve had a craving for ice cream all day; know any good places?”
            “Full Tilt… best ice cream in Seattle and just up around the corner.”
            “Meet me just after nine.” With a deliberate wink, Morgéne turned and headed off. “You know where,” she called over her shoulder.
            The feeling of déjà vu returned. It faded with the margarita.
            The late rendezvous went well. Hand in hand they had wandered down to the 24th Avenue Pier. Over mint-chocolate chip and butter pecan cones, Todd and Morgéne sat talking.
            “I can’t believe you’ve never had a waffle cone before… or butter pecan ice cream for that matter. Where have you been, lost on the Isle of Apples or something?”
            Eagerly licking at the rich treat, Morgéne relaxed against Todd’s shoulder. “Oh, you know…”
            “No, I don’t, please tell me; tell me everything about you. Who are you? Where are you from?”
            With a reflective smile, Morgéne glanced skyward. “The moon… it’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s waxing you know. Soon it will be full.”
            Studying her tender features, Todd replied. “I know… Sunday, it will be full Sunday night. It’s actually at its closest point to us right now. It’s called a Super Moon. It will be bigger and brighter than ever. We should come back here then.”
            Finishing the satisfying cone, Morgéne sensually sucked at each of her finger tips in turn. “Mmm, I’d like that. They say mystical and magical things happen when the moon is full.” She lay back, resting her head in Todd’s lap, staring up into the satin night. “I love the moon. It always revitalizes me, makes me feel energized; restores my powers. And when it is this close…”
            Hooking an arm around Todd’s neck, Morgéne drew him down. The kiss was long, passionate and sensual, sending an electric shiver throughout his body.
            Todd woke up with a headache. No, worse, it was a hangover. “Oh, God, my head…” He looked up at the smirking clock. “Please, Felix, your tail, not so loud!” Managing to sit up, he rubbed his red eyes. “What the hell was I drinking?” Todd tried to think. It made his head hurt worse. “Wait, I didn’t drink last night… I had one margarita with dinner, that was like at 6 PM   and then later some ice cream… ice cream with Morgéne.”
            Slowly it all began to return.
            A cold shower helped. So did the cranberry juice and the two cups of coffee. Returning to the bed, Todd ran over the events of the previous night, culminating with the kiss. “That kiss…” the electric shiver returned as he recalled their amazing kiss.
            But Todd couldn’t remember anything after Morgéne pulled him to her. He knew it was after ten, maybe ten thirty. They had met at the bell tower, walked the short block to Full Tilt Ice Cream, purchased cones, played a round of pinball, and then strolled to the nearby pier where they sat and chatted.
            “And then…” Nothing, try as he may Todd couldn’t remember anything further beyond kissing Morgéne in the moonlight. He’d returned to his small studio apartment and crawled into the sofa bed. As he closed his eyes, Felix had simpered down at him: 1:32 AM.
            The headache was starting to return. The more he tried to figure things out, the worse it got. Surrendering to the pain, Todd gave up, lying back across the open bed. In seconds he was fast asleep.

            A bulbous moon beamed a mellow shaft of light through the open window, stirring Todd from a fitful sleep. He glanced around the darken apartment, “Damn, did I sleep the entire day?” Slowly he sat up, “Well, at least my headache is gone.” Pulling himself up, he headed for the bathroom. A splash of cold water and the writer was back to feeling normal.
            “That’s odd…” Pouring a glass of iced tea, Todd noticed the computer screen. “I never leave my laptop turned on.” Sipping the cool beverage, the writer settled into his desk chair and began to read.

by Todd Wheeler
            The moon was so big it seemed as if you could reach out and touch it. It hung low on the horizon, its yellow glow obscuring the stars, leaving the sky a soft velvety black shroud. Hand in hand, Morgéne and David strolled down the extended pier. Morgéne was lovely as ever in a simple black wrap dress, her dark hair hanging loose. As they reached the end of the deserted dock she turned, pulling him close.
            The kiss seemed to last forever; and not long enough. It left David breathless. Taking a step back, Morgéne pulled at the single draw string. In one easy motion the dress slipped from her shoulders to the wooden deck. Morgéne stood naked, moonlight quietly caressing her soft tanned body. David watched with wonder as his beautiful companion closed her eyes, stretching out her arms as if surrendering herself to the night.

            “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Leaning closer, Todd re-read the words that filled his screen. For a moment he considered printing the offending prose just so he could tear it to shreds. “Dang, I must be losing it or something,” he said aloud, shaking his head in disbelief, “this sucks.”
            His finger hovered over the delete button.
            He hesitated.
            A second later Todd’s phone rang.
            It was Morgéne.
            Sunday night. Morgéne paced nervously beneath the bell tower. As Todd approached she hurried towards him, grabbing his hand. “C’mon,” she called, tugging at his arm. “It’s already after nine.”
            “Hello, nice to see you.”
            Pausing just long enough to graze his cheek with a kiss, Morgéne turned, pulling Todd down the street. “Yeah, yeah, it’s great to see you, too. I had this annoying couple who just wouldn’t leave. I told my boss not to give me anyone after eight o’ clock but we got busy. Luckily, Sue agreed to cover for me.”
            Minutes later the couple stood at the edge of the 24th Avenue Pier. The night was dead silent. Salmon Bay lay becalmed; the air at rest. The swollen moon rode high on the horizon, floating in an inky sky devoid of stars. Todd felt Morgéne’s grasp tighten. “Oh, my God, it’s so beautiful,” she whispered in quiet reverence. Turning to Todd, she pulled him close and their lips met. The piercing kiss lingered as the clinging couple slowly melted to the welcoming wooden surface. Finally breaking from the intimate caress, Morgéne lay back across the cool planks. Her bright sapphire eyes set on the smiling moon, she pulled at the single draw string. The simple black dress fell open.
            Todd’s breath left him. She was beautiful, even more beautiful then he’d imagined. She lay naked, perfectly motionless; her firm round breasts barely rising with each protracted breath. The moon’s tender light cast a radiating shimmer across Morgéne’s tan skin. Her incredible body seemed to glow in the still August night.
            Todd studied the stunning woman, committing to memory every sensual curve, each subtle detail. He was in love. He was sure of it. The moment he’d looked up from the table at the restaurant and into Morgéne’s haunting eyes he was hers. Maybe she’d cast some sort of spell over him.
            He didn’t care.
            Moving to her side, Todd ran an arm around Morgéne’s slender waist, pressing his lips to hers.
            “No,” she said softly. Her eyes still fix on the slowly rising moon, Morgéne pushed Todd aside. “Not yet.”
            Todd awoke to the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he placed a hand to the pillow next to him. It was still warm. He smiled, “Much better than waking up with a hangover!”
            Rising, he made his way to the kitchen, setting water to boil in the red tea kettle for coffee. Once again he noticed his laptop. “I’ve got to start remembering to switch this thing off,” he muttered, reaching for the power switch.
            He hesitated.
            Slowly Todd read:
by Todd Wheeler
            The moon was so big it seemed as if you could reach out and touch it. It hung low…

            By the time he finished the passage cold chills danced on his spine.
            He re-read it a second time. Then something occurred to him. Scrolling up to the top of the page, Todd read aloud.
            “Hey… hi, it’s me, Morgéne.”
            “Hey, how are you doing? I was wondering if you were going to call.”
            “You were, were you… didn’t trust me?”
            “Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time a pretty lady had changed her mind about me.”
            “Oh, no… no, it’s nothing like that. I am so, so sorry… we were swamped; I had to work, and…”

            The stunned writer let out a long, low whistle, “This is crazy…”
            Scrolling down a bit Todd continued to read.
            A minute later he understood.
            “I type it and it comes true… our first meeting; the pizza place; her call and my rubbing her feet; the pier…” Images of Morgéne lying naked in the moonlight on the 24th Avenue Pier flooded his brain. Todd smiled, brought up a blank sheet on the laptop and started to type.

by Todd Wheeler
            David heard the shower stop. An instant later the bathroom door opened. Beads of water glistened on Morgéne’s tight naked body as she slowly approached. Without a word she lowered to a kneeling position, taking her place between David’s legs as he closed his eyes and relaxed back in the desk chair.

            Todd read over the words he’d just typed. Swiveling the desk chair, he faced the bathroom door and waited. Several long minutes later he heard the shower stop.
            His smile grew.
            The bathroom door opened.
            Morgéne appeared wearing his old tattered bath robe, a towel wrapped loosely around her hair. Humming to herself, she entered the kitchen and began to fix a cup of coffee. Surprised, Todd swung around and considered the words he’d just typed.
            What was wrong?
            Did he miss something?
            It had always worked before.
            Studying the screen, Todd felt a hand on his shoulder. Slowly he was turned in his chair. Morgéne smiled down at him. Leisurely sinking to her knees, she took her place between Todd’s legs.
            He sighed and relaxed back.
            Morgéne moved close.
            Opening his eyes, Todd found himself staring into Morgéne’s stunning blue orbs. They were bright, clear, the color of a cloudless morning sky.
            But something was wrong; different.
            Morgéne’s pupils reflected back perfect images of the full yellow Super Moon.
            She leaned closer. “And you thought you were the one in control… didn’t you, David?

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