Surprise Evening

“Time out, no more today, tonight we eat and rest Carla, come on.” He held his hand out to her as she heard the buzz of the doorbell.

“What a surprise Craig, you were very sneaky when you went for that water. Thanks, todays perfect for pizza and salad. What’s this?” Carla unwrapped the foil package, “Brownies, hmmm.”

“That’s for later Carla, bread stick?” The rain finally had stopped and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds as Craig and Carla headed upstairs.

“Calling it a day already Craig?” Carla asked.

“Yes Mrs. Jones I have a surprise for you.” He took her hand, pushing open the French Doors, there was a faint glow in the southwest window upstairs that night and soft music playing. A gentle breeze blew in off the lake as they sat on the bedroom terrace Craig handed her a glass of champagne with a big ripe strawberry at the bottom.

“Wow, this is a surprise.”

Craig took her hand and pulled her up to stand in front of him “May I have this dance?” Craig asked and they danced.

“This negligee is beautiful Carla, but it’s in my way,” he gently took off the white robe with the big red roses on it and said, “Very pretty and how perfect for you my love.”

Dancing a little more, he handed her a red rose, stopping for a sip of champagne.

Craig twirled her around him as his hand went to her waist to bring her back to face him as they continued to dance on the terrace. He worked in some more of his very slight kisses around her neck, sliding off the shoulder straps of the silk gown . . . “You’ve got my blood simmering . . .”

Craig whispered in her ear “Ooh baby . . . See I can surprise you just like you can surprise me . . .” He picked her up and laid her on the red sheets she said “Ooh Craig . . .”

Attic

Tis the time of year to bring out the Christmas treasures and as the commercial says ‘what’s in your … attic’?  See what awaits Craig and Carla…

Sunday Carla needed a distraction from the downpour. “Let’s get the rest of the attic and closet done today.”

Craig agreed, “Sure honey let’s go.”

“Lucille said Judy never threw anything away.” Carla said as she carefully scooted one of the mirrors “Oh wow, the stacks of Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, and Harper’s Bazaar Lucille told me about.”

“Look Carla Saturday Evening Post stacked as tall as the mirrors. There are years of National Geographic and Field and Stream here, cool” Craig said.

“Craig, open it!” Carla asked “Ok” as he put it down, moving the jewel chest on that wall.

“What’s in this little chest? Oh Judith Ann saved baby clothes.” Carla had tears in her eyes “I think it’s your aunts Craig, their real old.”

“I bet those are the flowers from their funeral, pink roses?” Craig asked.

“Now where are all these letters and cards she kept? I still haven’t found the photo albums,” Carla said.

“Here’s another chest of drawers,” Craig announced, turning it to get it open. “Look Carla, here’s the letters and post cards.” Craig knocked along the wall. “Ah here we go another hiding place,” Craig pressed on the panel with his left shoulder to open it, and then he pushed the chest to get it turned around. “This is turning out to be good
exercise.” The chest was moved just enough to open a small walkway,
three dressers lined the wall.

“These drawers are all full of photo albums Carla. Here’s a chest wedged next to it,” Craig gave it a kick with his foot and it came loose but for some reason it wasn’t opened that day.

That afternoon they looked through the magazines and other things in the closet that they had found. “I can’t believe all of these clothes, they’re from all different eras. I am
willing to bet the hat and shoe boxes are full as well.”

Carla exclaimed as Craig answered with a simple “Yep, I’m willing to place a bet on that.”

Silence was present at the House on the Hill that day as they worked upstairs focusing on the things they found. Craig was sure Carla wanted to talk, but last Friday was a tough one. He was unsure if it was what happened to the Smiths or memories for Carla, he thought, she’ll tell me when she is ready to talk.

“Carla, have you heard back from Vanessa yet,” Craig inquired.

“No not yet she’ll probably call tomorrow, why do you want to go with me?”

“Sure, plus we need US time.” He went to the wine cellar and brought up some wine and champagne, and chilled it. He took out some of the strawberries in the fridge rinsed
them off and put them in the freezer. “Hope this can change the mood around here.”

Craig called in an order for her favorite veggie pizza. “Yes Mr. Jones, anything else,” the server asked as he wrote out the order balancing the phone on his shoulder. Craig asked, “Got any fresh brownies, a fresh salad and bread sticks? Oh please make it delivery.”

The server said, “We’re backed up 1 hour Mr. Jones.”

“Ok, that’s perfect.” Craig shut his phone, grabbed a couple bottles of water and
headed back up the stairs setting his watch for 1 hour.

Tears

Sometimes your  feelings turn into giggles masking tears. Suddenly the barrier you’ve put up can’t be stopped, a box of tissues disappears…

Craig heard Carla with a big laugh and giggle, then Mary Kate, laughed too. “Ok things are coming back to normal now.”

Allan smiled, “Yes sir I believe so.”

“Girls how about running over to the Stray Dog for some lunch,” Allan suggested.

“Sounds like a winner to me. Come on Carla.” Mary Kate said grabbing Carla’s hand.

“Let’s roll guys, I’m driving” Carla said.

Around 4 PM they headed back to Blackston Lake, Carla gladly handed her keys to Craig she needed his arms around her as she felt the tears finally welling up in her.

They stopped outside Michigan City, Carla cried, not just little tears. It was a break in the dam type of cry. Craig grabbed the tissue box and held her tight, “I know honey, just let it out. Want me to call Vanessa for you now to see how soon you can see her?”

“Yes,” she whispered nodding her head trying to regain her composure.

“I left a message, are you ok now?” Carla nodded her head again, she was shaking Craig put his jacket around her shoulders holding her tightly. He gently ran his fingers through her hair and down her back. “Better?”

“Yes, I’m such a mess over this whole thing, I’m sorry Craig.”

“I’ll protect you Honey no one is going to hurt you again. Let’s go home now” Craig let go of her looking at her swollen eyes as Carla nodded her head. Craig kept his right arm around her shoulder as he drove, and again Craig thought how glad he was that he had bench seats in this car. He took the long way back home through the country side, the winding path down 421 to St Rd 2 till they came to Blackston Lake, then home all the while, the only sounds was Carla’s sniffles and the rain hitting the roof.

Craig Talks

Every guy has a buddy he talks with, usually a childhood friend that’s always been there for them…  it’s Craig’s turn to vent about Mark.

Craig and Allan sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Allan said, “I heard about yesterday, how’s Carla, Craig?”

“Quiet Allan, very quiet, she has tossed and turned every night since the break in. Last night was real bad think our stopping in was on purpose. She needs Mary Kate.”

Allan touched Craig’s arm “And what about you my friend?”

Craig thought for a moment before he spoke, “Actually I am ok, it was freaky Allan. Mark had a real problem! Mark had pretty much destroyed our relationship in the past year as it was. He had stalked Carla for years . . . stole from us!”

“If it were not for his obsession and drinking, he would never have been caught or arrested; Blackie was just there to question him!” Craig looked up to the ceiling and back at Allan.

Craig stood up, looked out towards the lake, he saw Carla looking out also the he walked around the table as he explained. “Allan I really am surprised at my lack of emotion towards this. Mark changed, or did I, who knows?”

“All I know is now he is gone and I will never be able to ask him why he did this to Carla or me. I actually wonder what else he did behind my back. Now that really fucking bothers me.” Craig sat back down in the chair shaking his head.

Allan questioned him. “What do you mean Craig, did he give you reason to think that?”

Craig looked into Allan’s eyes. “Yes, he talked to himself and I heard him say ‘Damn I never had a chance at Carla’. I can’t help but wonder.”

“Craig you just remember that? If so that should be told to the police, could be evidence of his stalking” Allan ordered.

“You have a point there, but what good would it do now.” Craig commented. He felt
calmer now. “You know Allan 3 years ago I would have just laughed all this off and
saluted Mark with another Jack on the Rocks. The blonde sitting out on your porch changed all that. The truth may never be known as to who did in whom. I just wish it could have been anyone else but us to find them. Allan all I can say is that scene yesterday worked better than any cold shower ever did!”

Allan’s head tilted, “What Craig?”

“My bride was very playful yesterday, then the pictures showed up and I have to admit it’s doubtful for today.”

They both laughed as Allan touched the door and Mary Kate just waved her hand at him.

So Talk

     We all have that special friend that we can tell our secrets to and confess our true feelings knowing it won’t go anywhere…

They finally stopped at Allan’s in New Buffalo breaking the silence in the car. “How did you know how to get here Carla?” Craig asked.

“Your GPS system has it programmed in.”

Carla smiled at Craig as he replied, “Sure I forgot well let’s see if anyone is home.”

Allan opened the door as Duke, their golden retriever bounded out checking out the visitors. “Hello you two, what a welcome surprise. Come in please.”

Mary Kate took Carla out on the porch giving her a hug then said, “I know about yesterday Carla and I know you! So talk. Probably get rid of some anger, like we use to talk after a bad date night.”

Carla put her hands in her lap making a fist then she spoke. “Yes and I couldn’t say these things to Craig. He already knows about more than I ever wanted him to know because of Mark and his fucking camera! Oh I didn’t mean to say that, sorry Mary Kate.”

Mary Kate smiled, “Oh yes you did Carly, I know you so spill it.” Mary Kate urged her on. “Did Mark ever?”

“No never! Mary Kate, he would touch me a lot.” Carla was rubbing her arms and shaking them. “Yucky I need a shower every time I get this feeling . . . and obviously Mark stalked me, the pictures proved that. It was his obsession with everything about me. Why I have no fucking idea!”

“That is what has me really freaking out now. Craig actually came into my crazy life at the right time, when he was around Mark was set straight.”

Waving her arms around and pacing the room, Carla looked out at the lake and continued. “What does not make sense is how he got into my apartment.”

“What was Paula’s problem? Jealousy I suppose, because she would get snippy every time I got flowers, sometimes she’d almost throw them at me . . . She was so bi-polar I never knew how she was going to act when we were together, sisterly or bitch. I can’t help but think she knew about Mark’s obsession with me.”

Carla took a long deep breath “I never once encouraged him in any fucking way, he made my skin crawl, I just wanted to scream anytime he was touching me. I know now he was a sick man, but I can’t forgive him. Am I so bad for feeling like this Mary Kate?”

Carla sat on the floor next to Duke and cuddle up to him, as he licked her hand “Thanks for the puppy kisses Duke.”

She hugged the dog as Mary Kate said. “No Carla, you have every right to feel this way and I’m sure Vanessa will agree with that. Mark and Paula are gone now, it’s over”

Carla stopped, kneeled and crawled over to Mary Kate and took her hand speaking almost in a whisper. “Remember how protective Jake was, even AC would get mad when Mark was around.”

“Yes I do Carla, why is this coming up?” Mary Kate had a serious look on her face.

Carla whispered, “MK just between us, Jake called the other day, told me they were going to testify and that they will take care of this.”

Mary Kate squeezed Carla’s hand “Oh no Carla! Do not mention this to anyone ever again Carla please promise. I think Jake was just using a figure of speech, they are both above that.” Mary Kate patted her hand and held it tight, her mind racing in a theory she did not want to think about, she shook her head thinking; I left this part of my life behind
forever.

Stormy Tears

Events in our lives cause tears to flow from male and female, the unexplained that will never be answered…  Sadly we all know only to well, just think about all that has happened in our country in the past couple months, personal loss that tugs at the hearts of all even though we don’t know everyone involved. Yet we still feel heartache, grabbing tissues to wipe our eyes even though we’re miles away it touches all of us.

Saturday morning the thunderstorm woke them. The rain pounded the earth, and the lightning was relentless. Craig took the Hummer to get the paper. “Carla we have to go out in this to take the Hummer back to Howard and you’ll have to follow me in the BMW, are you hungry or should we just go now?”

“Just give me a few minutes to dress.”

“Morning Howard, Hummer drives really nice,” Craig said, placing the keys on the counter.

“Thanks Craig, want to come in for breakfast, just fixing up some for Tommy?” Howard asked as he saw Craig shake his head, “Not today, we don’t really have an appetite today, see you later.”

“I understand.”

Craig ran to the car. “Craig, I just want to drive,” Carla stated as he closed the door.

“You’re at the wheel, wherever you want to go. Need to talk I’m here.” Craig placed his arm on her shoulder and gave her a slight squeeze.

“Is Tommy ok?” Carla probed.

“Howard was fixing him breakfast so I’m assuming he’s ok. The connection for him was not like ours. You like Tommy Carla?” Craig asked touching her arm as he thought about his own nightmare and the friend he loss yesterday, fighting back the tears that were in his eyes.

Carla pointed to the tissue box as she said, “Yes Craig, he reminds me of Charlie.” She too was fighting back the tears as she drove trying to escape yesterday.

“This incident, brought you a night mare last night, you tossed a little.” Craig said handing her a tissue.

“Craig I’m not surprised, you did too. Monday I’ll call Vanessa and make an appointment, think that will help.” Carla made herself a mental note, focused on the road to get her mind off the sorrow she felt, glancing over to see Craig dab the tears in his eyes with a tissue.

Jake called

“Oh” Carla sniffled and wiped a tear away.

“Yes Craig we’re ok. With everything that’s been going on I forgot to tell you something Craig. I need a hug please.” Craig squeezed her tight and wouldn’t let go.

Carla continued, “The other day I had a phone call from Jake Covertry. He wanted to make sure I was happy and to tell me that he would be there as well as AC to testify.”

Craig lessened his hold and put his arm around her. “Was the call good for you to finalize things with him?”

“Yes we parted as friends the first time and I usually hear from him at least once a year. In fact, Howard’s towing away the Chevy finalized everything. He gave me that car to start my first job. It was used. So you don’t have to worry about Jake or any feelings I still have for him. I’m yours and only yours.”

Craig kissed her cheek and pulled her close. “Let’s hit the sack. I’m wasted.” Craig explained.

Carla said, “Mr. Jones, I didn’t take the red sheets off.”

“That’s ok I just want to hold you all night anyway, we can use them again. Actually I miss those black ones, they were comfy.”