Vito Caltos is the worst thing that ever happened to Nicolette. She is trapped in an abusive relationship with her twin daughters, and barely manages to escape with her life, leaving the twins in Vito's clutches. Tired, exhausted, she sneaks aboard a ferry and finds herself in Saudi Arabia, where she obtains a divorce and meets a handsome young shiek named Raj Kalpturah. She's damaged and discourged by love, and he's determined to heal her scars and help her fight Vito.
After a mysterious boating incident leaves her new husband, Raj Kalpturah dead, Nicolette isn't sure she can ever find love again. Still heartbroken over her broken relationship with Vito, the death of her lover and the missing twins, she moves to her grandfather's ranch in Texas, far from civilization, looking for nothing but a quiet life with the horses. But she didn't count on handsome young stablehand Nick Calperry lassoing her heart. After he rescues her from a gang of horse-stealing bandits, love has found Nicolette one again, against her will.
Nick Calperry, dead, at age thirty three, killed in a foolish bull-riding competition, trying to pay back money he owes. Nicolette is stuck with her dead husband's debt, while she has her own problems--another set of twins is growing in her stomach. Still missing her first set of girls, Nicolette hires a private detective to track them down. Detective Ryan Baker is intrigued by the feisty, beautiful Nicolette Calperry, and when he hears about her stolen twins and her abusive first husband, he vows to return her children to her. But he may find more than he bargained for as he finds himself wanting to unlock the secrets of Nicolette's damaged heart.
Her affair with Detective Ryan Baker lasted only three weeks when Vito Caltos discovered the detective on the trail of his daughters. Furious, the passionate Greek billionaire has him shot, leaving Nicolette broken-hearted once again, and angry. Determined now not to let Vito ruin her life anymore, Nicolette boards a boat to Greece. But a mysterious storm nearly sinks the ship and kills half the crew, leaving Nicolette with two dead babies inside her womb. When the ship washes up on Greek shores, Nicolette, unknown to anyone, is taken to the hospital as a Jane Doe. Stunning Dr. Andrew Monroe finds himself caring more and more for this mysterious patient, hovering on the brink of death. When he mentions her in a chance meeting with his friend Vito Caltos , Vito requests to see her. Upon seeing Nicolette lying, nearly dead, in the hospital, Vito realizes that his misguided hate for her was merely intense jealousy over a suspected affair, and that he can't live without her. When Nicolette wakes up, in Vito's loving arms again, he promises that he's changed, and that the alcoholism and abuse is behind him. Too weak and poor to fend for herself and pay her medical bills, Nicolette comes under Vito's care. Can she resist his renewed passion?
Finally under Vito's care again, Nicolette gets to see her children for the first time--a bittersweet reunion as she mourns the loss of Nick Calperry's twins. She tries to find happiness with her new family, but Vito's got an eye on another woman--the sister of stunning doctor Andrew Monroe! After an affair goes too far, Nicolette finds herself seeking solace in Dr. Monroe's healing hands. But when Vito discovers that this time, the infidelity is real, he flies into a rage beyond control and nearly burns down the beach cottage, with Nicolette and the twins still inside! Dr. Monroe perishes in the fire, but mother and children are saved at the last minute by mysterious, handsome firefighter Chuck Vanhouser. The fire he may saved her from reignites in both their hearts...
Raven Costello is an Italian painter holidaying in Greece when he meets the mysterious, passionate Nicolette and her lovely twin daughters. After a restaurant fire kills her lover, she finds herself drawn to the art museum, finding solace in Raven's colorful still-lifes. Raven, an aspiring artist who can never inject the life of a person into his paintings, sees life and passion in Nicolette like he never has before. He begins to sketch her, then asks her to sit for him. But more than portraits come out of this art studio when he discovers the passion for Nicolette rekindles in him more than just his artistic vision....
Back in Italy with her twins and new lover Raven Costello, Nicolette catches word that Vito is after her and the twins after hearing that they survived the fire. Raven is unable to protect her, falling victim to Vito's hired guns himself while Nicolette flees for shelter. She flies the twins to her grandmother in the States, hoping to draw Vito's fire away from them onto herself. But when a shipwreck leaves yacht-lover Vito stranded on an island with Nicolette, he is at her mercy, and must learn to curb his jealous instincts if he wants to survive, much less get her in his bed. Will they survive this island, so reminiscent of the one where they met? Will their passion bind them together, or destroy them once and for all?
oh I played scrabble last night. and won. hurrah. poor JR, he loathes scrabble. win!
today I'm sending out the michael winn mix cd called "hoy puede ser un dia fantastico" because I can't stop thinking about that picture series I stumbled once and it is a pretty awesome mix. win!
also writing some essay about how america should reduce its oil consumption, which is basically just me talking about evolution and behavioral ecology a lot. Not meeting criteria here. but still getting it done. win!
roommate situation is still weird--or maybe it isn't, I dunno if we're avoiding each other or what--but I went to get smoothies with her boyfriend today. they gave me a large instead of a regular. win!
really everything is not a win, but I need to list off some wins in my life right now to make me feel better. It's that end of the year fever, where you're kind of sick of all the things you've been doing all semester and really want to go on vacation (didn't help that I didn't take any vacations this semester) but you can't, so you're all just getting on each other's nerves. I think it's just me, I don't think anyone else is having problems being this angry all the time.
Today it was 85, which is oppressive int he middle of summer but now it's still nice, girls in bikinis. I am acting like it is middle of summer heat, where you stay inside in the air conditioning and play loud music and drink lots of water even though you don't reallly need to. All the blinds drawn in the darkness. I always think of summer in terms of my basement--it's dark, light-canceling shades with dark blue walls, twelve of concrete underneath it all, with the big TV going in the darkness, blankets and air conditioniny . But when you opent eh door outside it's ninety degrees and you take off the blanket and you're in a bikini. Those are the extremes of summer. Sleeping downstairs where it's cold.
This summer I just want to be a person who makes new things and thinks about them. I have a sweater plan, a plan for a tshirt quilt and yarn dying and such. it'll be awesome. actually I'll be really bored, working par time and not meeting up with my friends because they'll all be doing cool things somewhere else. HAVE FUN WITH THAT GUYS. lol. I'm sure I'll text bailey and amanda a lot complaining about how nothing is on TV.
pretty sure this post had no point, so have a fiction I wrote for oneword earlier this week.
( manual )
Chapter 1: The Island
For a while, time didn't mean anything.
Daniel didn't know how long he'd been on the island. He'd drawn lines in the sand, the first few weeks, but then given those up in despair. The sand all looked the same, anyway. The days followed the nights, one after another in slow succession that didn't seem to mean anything. He did routine things, to keep himself busy. Set traps. Check the traps. Clean his gun. He had six shots left and every day he emptied them out, laid them out carefully on the rock next to him, dissected and wiped down the inside of the gun, put it all back together again. Sometimes he thought about putting the barrel to his forehead and pressing the trigger lightly, just once. It would only take one bullet. But he never even put the cold ring of metal to his skin. Daniel put the gun back together and put it back into its hiding place, wedged between a crack in the rock, with a rock over the opening so no snakes or squirrels could get inside. His gun was really the only thing he had left.
His shoes had worn away. His shaggy blonde hair now reached to his eyes, the tips brushing the outside of his eyelids if it was windy. It was often windy on the island, the breezes blowing his hair in his face--he'd never had to worry about his hair in his face before. Not before. The island had cliffs, too, which he climbed with skill even on his first days, but now knew by heart, like the back of his hand. All the nooks and crannies he knew were safe, which ones were dangerous, which ones could be seen from the sea. Most of the time when Daniel thought, it was about the sea.
He tried not to think too much. He'd thought a lot, the first few weeks. Those days were crowded with thoughts, with anguish and despair and continuous bursts of joy and hatred as he thought of new plans, only to have them foiled on further reflection. He thought he was going to go crazy with thinking. He picked constantly at the scar on his arm, wondering if it was still in there, or if they got it all out. Deep in the back of his mind, he knew they got it all out, that the only reason he was still alive was because they'd gotten the microchip out of his arm. Watson had probably thought it funny to leave him on the Island. Make him go crazy. Well, it'd worked, at least at first. He'd gone crazy every day, in and out and in and out, pacing and climbing, putting air-help signs in the sand and on the rocks. SOS. SOS. SOS.
Now Daniel didn't think. He went through the motions. Every day, he made a fire, checked the traps, re-set the traps, checked the lines, re-set the lines, checked the air-signals. Every week, or as near as he could gauge, he cleaned the cave he slept in, made new traps and lines, cut more wood for the fire. These motions were empty. Daniel didn't think, not about Anna, not about Dr. Douglas, not about AH73, not about the missions, not about Watson or the microchip in his arm. He scratched his scar, sometimes, but there was nothing he could do now, nothing but wait.
It was like that that Fibrizia found him.
He was kneeling on the beach, checking the lines again, when he heard the telling sound of a helicopter. He didn't stand up but couldn't stop the rise of hope in his heart, lonely and broken. When the black dot came into the horizon, Daniel stood up, hardly aware of his own actions. As the dot grew larger, he started running down the beach, his tanned, muscular legs pumping. He was screaming, but he didn't know it. The helicopter circled around and landed on the sand, blades still pumping. When Fibrizia stepped out, dressed in black, cool and collected, Daniel thought she was a mirage. He ran at her and grabbed her, wrapped his arms around her and pushed her back against the helicopter, unable to believe she was real.
"Daniel!" she was yelling. "God Daniel Johnson, you're alive, fucking christ you're alive--do you know--"
"Fibrizia," he shouted, not listening to her in the least. "Fibrizia, oh god, you--we have to--Watson got--"
"We know," she said, pushing him back. "Daniel, we're getting you out of here. But first--did Watson leave you anything? When he dropped you here? We need it, we think--"
"I know," he said, his brain flashing with clarity and alertness he hadn't felt in weeks, months. "I know, what it is, wait--" and without saying anything else he ran across the beach, tearing across the sand with the wind from the helicopter throwing up clouds of dust. He was back before the blades were still, clutching the gun to his chest. "This, he left it--we've got to get back--"
"We're going," she said, grabbing both his hands, but by that time he was kissing her, both of them halfway inside the helicopter. He didn't love her. He hadn't seen Fibrizia in months. But she was the only human being in this limited window of existance, and she had come to rescue him.
"Come on," she said, pulling away, pulling him inside the helicopter. "We're going back."
The helicopter took off. The island underneath settled, slowly, dust clouds settling back into sand. Eventually, the lines snapped, the traps broke in two, the cave grew back with weeds.
But Daniel Johnson didn't count the days, anymore.
Pay the piper, who takes them away, to whom you owe so much
When I was young, middle-school age, I went through a talk-on-the-phone all night period. When you're young you tend to do such things, you are foolish enough to think that you can talk for that long, buried between your blankets with the warmth of the voice on the other end of the telephone--oh! to be so young. After these late night conversations I'd venture out to return the phone to its cradle. Sometimes I'd find my dad there, lying on the couch in the living room, curled up in a chair, the blue light of the television flickering across his face. It wasn't anything terribly bad. My mother slept all night; my father didn't, and when he was awake he'd get up, leave her in bed and occupy himself until he could go to sleep. My grandfather did the same thing.
There's a sense of desolation in the early hours of the morning. Not the party early hours of the morning, when the world is fuzzy and brightly colored--no, this is the early-morning when you are alone, and things are quiet, and shadows are shadows and there's nothing out there but yourself and colored pictures, the whole wide world. Tired? I slept so often, then, I didn't need to sleep anymore. Don't you wish you could be as young and as passionate as you were back then, that you could be as happy, even as sad? Now I have watched them roll their lives up in high heels and revolving doors, throw themselves into desks and empty television screens. There is some great feeling of desolation that comes over you, in the night, when you are so afraid of being alone that you turn on the television to keep you company.
The Captain was like that, in a way.
The problem was that she preyed on your doubts. She was so good with children, so, so very good with children. Her daycare overflowed. Children under her took up music, reading, maths, sciences, and excelled. She turned out prodigies at a shocking rate, while somehow escaping the label herself. She had a certain type of children she took on: forgotten children of busy parents. The children you saw at school, two hours after it had let out, waiting for their parents, patiently doing their homework in the little corner out of the wind. Children of parents who loved their jobs, who were prestigious, ambitious. It was like she wanted to fill the void in their lives, wanted to become their parents and care about them like their real parents never did...and she did. She was better at it than they were.
I've worked daycares. I love children, all the children, and that's why I know these things. Parents do not give love to children; they receive it, also. They need it, need acceptance and respect and admiration from their children. The Captain said, without ever saying anything, that this is their weakness: their need to be given love in return. The Captain, you see, never needed to be given love in return. She gave, and gave, and gave, and gave, and the children ate it up. They reflected it back at her, of course, but she was like a mirror who just focused everything back on you. She was never physical with her discipline. She never hit, or slapped, or spanked. The Captain would deal with tantrums by removing them. She would take the rest of the children from the room and turn the lights out, lock the door, and check back on the child every ten minutes until they were calm, giving them a final ten minutes to calm down. Children emerged from that dark room crying, clinging to her knees, apologizing, promising to practice their piano or read their lesson or never fight again. When she started a school from her daycare it filled up immediately, with parents not daring to question the ridiculous price tag. She called it St. John's School for Young Children. They called it Genius School.
She started taking them on trips, eventually.
She was a pilot, Class A-air-certified. She put on the leather cap and goggles and boots and red scarf and took them up on planes, short day trips to the zoo, always with permission slips and me, her desk girl, as an accomplice, as a witness. She would instruct as she flew. And even though she was occupied, no children ever became rowdy, every stood up or became unruly on these trips. They listened like angels--behaved, like angels.
Tuesday the twenty second of January I was out sick. She had a strict no sickness-policy, because with kids these things spread like wildfire. Hand sanitizer at every door. Tuesday the twenty-second of January I lay in bed all day, eyes swollen and puffy, nose dripping, a slow, inexorable trickle that sapped my strength, my senses. I laid in bed with CNN on, all day, dozing in and out of consciousness. I should have called the school, at three thirty, to check on the children and the Captain, but I slept on through.
At three thirty on the twenty-second of January parents stopped at St. John's School For Young Children, the Genius School, stepped inside its red front door to the coat rack where, this morning, had hung twenty-three tiny coats, twenty-three little backpacks, forty-six pairs of shoes. They stepped into the red front door to find a no coats on hooks, no backpacks, no shoes. There were no containers of hand sanitizer in the rooms, no crayon portraits on walls, no little pianos or books, no bookshelves or couches or beanbags or Captain's old rocking chair, no coat-tree of red capes and silly hats for storytime. My receptionist's desk was gone, the blue rolling chair and roster of names gone with it. One roll of toilet paper remained in the bathroom. Light fixtures had been taken away, leaving only bare bulbs. In one closet, a discarded ballpoint pen lurked in the shadow. In the middle of the floor was a white notecard, bearing the letters EMS in thick black lettering...but that, that was all.
The Captain had last been seen walking the children, coats and backpacks in tow, to the airport where her little plane was, where they'd been many times before. All the little shoeprints led there, forty-six tiny sneakers, with Dora the Explorer and Spiderman and Spongebob Squarepants and Transformers, all found carefully tied to the chain-link fence at the airport. The plane was gone. The children were gone. The Captain was gone.
The parents were saddened, heartbroken, angry, despairing, horrified. A search was put out, for the little plane, circling the skies, and the hope in the parents' eyes was that it was at the zoo, that the Captain had just forgotten, that this time, her faint little smile and long curly hair would reappear with their children, entrusted for so long to someone else's love. In a way, it was her they were waiting for, hoping for, hoping that this angel of judgment they'd come to rely on would come back, decree them innocent, free them of their worry and their guilt. A day passed. I was questioned, repeatedly, my story told so many times I could recite it from memory. The parents cornered me, demanded answers, but I had none. What did EMS mean? Why was the daycare empty? Where were their children? Where, where, oh where were their children?
gone, I thought, like the rats.
They moved out of the city. the city is not a nice place to raise children, they said, their faces dark, and they should have known, they should have known...they walked away looking angry but you didn't see the shame in their faces, like I did, the shame and the fear, the guilt that this was something they deserved, something they were secretly hoping they would happen; that someone would come who loved their children more than they did, would take them away. It wasn't a great surprise when someone finally did.
I did not say this to anyone. I went home and sat on my bed, staring blankly at the report on CNN, the picture of the rows of shoes. I sat there until it was all dark around me, until the flickering of the television was the only light on my face, and waited until even that turned off.
Then the Captain came for me, too.
She did miss his cat, Muriel. Muriel was lovely, everything a cat should be. When she took the aluminum litter box out to the corner that was what she cried over, cried over the little warm, harmless ball of fur that no longer slept curled up at her feet. She cried because she knew, that if he was still the same, the cat would die too.
you’re a voice that never sings is what I say
Three umbrella days had passed. The sky was raining still and the house was empty. She locked up the front door like she always did. It didn’t matter how many times she locked it, checked the windows, the back door. She always expected to come home and find it burned to the ground. She was thin and stayed inside, wore large overcoats and flinched at passing cars when she walked home. She didn’t drive. The neighbors thought she was strange and didn’t say anything to her, except the nice girl down the street who gave all her neighbors sourdough bread for Christmas.
The house was the traditional red brick, not in great shape, old and not-quite falling apart, just enough so the heater didn’t really work and the wind blew through the attic over her room. The shower didn’t have any water pressure, and it took her a long time to wash her hair. She didn’t cut her hair, though. The cold rooms and corner staircases were lonely and empty and she loved sitting in them, breaking things down to see what would happen. She swept, cleaned grime off the walls, painted her bedroom. Her bedroom; theirs no longer. She relished in pawning her wedding ring, her thick lovely engagement ring, in taking the $50,000 in cash he had lying around the house and walking in the bank, paying it off, explaining to the bank president that her drug-dealing ex-husband was in jail now, though he wasn’t. She didn’t think about where he was, or tried not to. She loved going to the movies at night, alone, sitting in the theatre with a bucket of popcorn for her to eat, by herself. She expected to be thrown into the trunk of every passing car and dreamed about that car going over a bridge, her quiet sobs lost in the trunk. She dreamed about her funeral and made lists of the music she wanted played, the things she wanted said, then tore them up only to begin again. Always begin again.
On Christmas day she sat on her couch in a blanket, watching the Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s okay, we can live like jack and sally if we want. She thought about tiny bugs crawling under her floorboard, about them coming up to devour her in her sleep. Sometimes she couldn’t move because her life was so devoured by fear.
It’s hard to break the cycle, hard to think about what you’re doing, hard to keep trying, when you always belong to someone who will always, always, break your heart (and ribs and arms and legs andwristandfingersandspineandskull…)
Personally, I like it.
This is a Halloween story, by the way, as is appropriate.