Here is Chapter 2 of my novel “The One That Got Away”. Next Monday I will post Chapter 3.
Find Chapter 1 here:
Find “The One That Got Away” here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kellianne+sweeney&sprefix=kellia%2Cstripbooks%2C255
I dreamed of swirling mist. The sun was trying to penetrate. It had that special sparkle that only the very early morning sunlight emits. I saw before me what looked like freshly cut rose bushes without thorns, leaves, or flowers. They were stark against the blanket of white. The tips glistened brightly with dew like substance. But it wasn’t dew. It was thicker. I could not see the ground and knew that I was drifting gently in the air. My heart felt that it would burst with overwhelming happiness. And then my nose began to itch. The tickling sensation traveled to my ear and transitioned into a twisting probe. I slit my eyes open. Anna removed her finger from my ear and began softly poking my nose. Her large chestnut eyes, partially hidden by a tangle of like colored hair, registered my near wakefulness. Her rosebud mouth quirked slightly as I brushed her hand away and buried my face into the violet forget-me-nots scattered upon my pillow. I hate having my nose touched.
“Mama,” she said patiently, “Mama, I want brefast.”
It was always better if I awoke first and had begun my coffee and cigarette routine prior to attempting to appear functional and pleasant for a four year old child. I do not believe that I was smoking when you were that age. Not that I woke up well, then, either. Anna now employed the full body tactic. Swiftly, she positioned her entire self onto the upper portion of my body forcing my face deeper into the pillow. This had the desired effect. I flung my head up, gasping for breath and rapidly rolling her off of me. She giggled profusely and flailed her arms and legs dramatically.
“Mama, I have to go pee.”
“Ok. You go do that. I’ll wait here,” I answered in classic gravelly, morning voice.
The surprising euphoria of the dream was fading away and the viscous gel of reality was seeping in. What business did I have dreaming such a joyful dream? It also quite escaped my understanding why some sticks in some clouds should render such exhilaration to me. The heavy list of my woes sidled up to the forefront of my mind. I had recently been laid off from the nursing job that I had held for almost ten years. For lack of any better opportunities, I was currently trying to get my waitress legs back at a local steakhouse chain. Anna’s father had also been laid off which meant I was not receiving a child support check. Unpaid bills were piling up at an alarming rate. I was balking at the idea that I needed to look for a small apartment to move into to ease some financial burden. I was worried that I needed to replace the brakes on my car. It was difficult to keep a brave and cheerful face for Anna with all of this. I was fiercely determined to do so. And then there was you. Missing you, as always, gnawing at the back of my brain. I attributed the frequent headaches to these various concerns, but wasn’t sure what to make of the occasional dizzy spells. Didn’t have the medical insurance or the time to figure that out at this point.
Anna walked purposefully back into my bedroom and tugged at my hand.
“Come on, Mama. The clouds are gone now.”
“Yeah, ok. I’m getting up….What did you say?”
“I said come on. I want brefast.”
“No, no…about the clouds?”
Anna smiled mischievously and her eyes sparkled brilliantly. She turned and skipped out of the room.
I quickly thrust myself out of bed and promptly passed out.
I peeked around the corner nervously and impatiently brushed a stray tendril of hair out of my face. Why hadn’t I put my hair back? Because it looks more exotic down, I reminded myself. But, feh! It was always in the way. I glanced down at the hem of my sage green dress checking for mud splatters. It was a trifle damp today. I rubbed hastily at a stray offending spot. I heard a snicker from behind and straightened immediately. I smoothed my bodice as inconspicuously as possible and tried to turn elegantly. I found myself facing a smartly dressed woman with flaming red hair and lips to match.
“Are you lost, Dovey?” she purred. The words came perfectly pitched somewhere between distain and feigned kindness.
“I, uh…” How did I think to secure a position as an actress if I couldn’t even speak properly at an introduction? I cleared my throat lightly and gathered my wits.
“I am Roese Surrey and I am inquiring after a position as an actress in your theatre.”
“It’s not mine, Dovey.” The woman’s scarlet mouth slid easily to the side into a sardonic smirk. Her eyes glittered in a jaded fashion before slipping behind a well manufactured curtain. “And we are not looking for anyone such as yourself.”
I parted my lips to protest politely, but was interrupted by a tall attractive man calling from the stage. “Mary, is that you? Do come up and give us your thought on this scene.”
Mary visibly glowed with importance. Her smirk grew into a dazzling smile as she strode toward the stage, hips swaying suggestively. “Do show yourself out,” she called smugly to me over her shoulder.
I paused. I twisted my hands once and then forced them to be still. I was uncertain. Should I just leave? Or should I speak to the tall man? Surely he must be Robert Aiden. Losing my nerve, I took a step toward the door, and then stopped. This means everything, I warned myself sternly. If you walk out now, you cannot come back. You cannot, will not go back home. The other theatres in town are much too bawdy, seedy and just plain frightening. You do not have the coin to travel to the next town. This is your dream. You must not shy from it. I stepped away from the door and stood at the back of the theatre with as much dignity as I could muster. I slowly breathed the room into me. It echoed with a sense of anticipation. The spirit of past applause and chattering excitement of the audience still lingered in the air. The musty smell of the grand, faded curtains was quite heady to me. I longed to feel the smooth wood of the stage beneath my feet and to cause it to creak ever so slightly as I would glide across it, pouring out my passion for all to feel. To move others to feel as I did without the risk of bruising my troublesome, sensitive heart.
“Hullo? Who is there?” The tall man was shielding his eyes to get a better look in my direction.
I could feel the sun suddenly break through the clouds and pour through the open door behind me. I caught my breath. The sun fingered through my long wavy hair and shone warm on my back as if to push me forward. A rather stunning entrance! I giggled to myself and couldn’t help but smile winningly. Mary had just alighted upon the stage and turned in my direction. Her face was twisted into a peevish pout. Her features momentarily loosened into surprise at the sight of my dramatic image, but quickly regained their original expression. I could not hear what she said to the tall man, but I don’t imagine that it was flattering to me. Her hand reached for the script that he was holding in order to offer her requested opinion, I suppose, but he held fast to it and impatiently brushed her aside.
“What do we have here, then?” the tall man called, “Do come closer, young miss.”
“Here we go,” I whispered to myself silently. I walked forward with a pert, confident step. I bridged the distance quickly. I extended my hand upwards as the tall man bent to a squatting position.
I spoke brightly. “Mr. Aiden, I am Roese Surrey, Sir, and I would beg of you a moment of your time. I have prepared a monologue for your pleasure, Sir. If I might perform it for you, Sir.”
“Well,” Robert Aiden laughed charmingly. “I am not currently looking to add another female to my troupe. “However,” his smile widened and his eyes took on the look of a hunter that Roese knew only too well. “Perhaps we will take a moment to see what charms you may hold.”
I gulped inwardly and my stomach wrenched, but I gave no outward sign. My face was in place and I was smiling that smile that I knew made my whole countenance shine. Mr. Aiden appeared quite taken. I knew that I had to press this advantage though I hoped so very fervently that he would attend to my monologue. Mary looked quite put out. It was then that I noticed the other man standing on the stage. He was studying me with veiled curiosity and amusement. Something about him disconcerted me. I quirked a polite smile in his direction and looked away quickly in order to keep my composure for the task at hand. I could feel his gray, piercing eyes upon me as I ascended the stairs. Butterflies quivered violently in my stomach and I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and down to my toes as I stepped my foot onto the surface of the stage. It creaked softly as I set my other foot in place.
“Let’s take a chair, shall we, Mary?” Robert grabbed Mary by the waist suddenly and then slapped her behind before playfully pushing her in the direction of the stairs. Mary stumbled awkwardly before regaining her balance and composure. She offered Robert a half hearted laugh and glared fiercely at me as she sauntered down the short staircase. Robert followed enthusiastically. The other man was slower to move. He seemed to unfold himself from his lounging stance. He did not smile at me, but his look was not unkind as he gracefully strode past me to join his comrades. My scalp prickled as the rush of air he stirred touched me. I found myself staring at the back of his tousled, sandy head and slightly stooped shoulders. Abruptly, I realized that Robert was speaking to me.
“Miss Surrey, You obviously know who I am, and I believe you have met our finest actress, Mary Boyd. And may I also introduce to you the very talented Ralf Emery.”