Thursday, December 31, 2015

He's Not Mr. Perfect - Chapter I

CHAPTER I - The Walk of Shame


As she strolled down the street in those impossibly high heels that would probably grant her a lifetime of back pains in her sixties, Alex swore to herself— that would be the last time she did that. The last time. As if the walk of shame wasn’t, well, shameful enough, she also felt like the alcohol from the previous night hadn’t left her system yet, judging by how cloudy things were in her head. Plus, she’d lost one of her contacts. She’d taken it as a sign from the Universe.
She had to stop seeing Richard. For real.
This was the last time, Alex closed her eyes and walked up the steps to her building, holding on to the railing so she didn’t trip and made her embarrassment even more clear, if it wasn’t already. And as she offered the doorman — who, thankfully, wasn’t the same one from last night, when she left in a hurry in this exact same outfit — a polite smile, Alexandra reflected on her recent actions.
What was she, a college girl? It was about time she accepted the fact that she was a grown, mature woman and acted like one for once. Running to his arms with a sexy lingerie whenever he was in the city for the night wasn’t the answer. Nor was checking what message he’d just sent her, because her spider-sense just knew it would be him. It was so like Richard, making a romantic, next-morning call, despite having already left when she woke up, alone, in that hotel room, then disappearing for weeks, even months, just to reappear later by calling her in the middle of the night with that husky voice. She was intimately familiar with that cycle as she’d been trying to get free of it for the past two years. Perhaps not hard enough, though.
Goddamnit Richard. He was like drugs to her addicted self. It had to stop. They had to stop. She couldn’t live like that.
Alex unlocked the door to her apartment only to find her grand-aunt Elida watering the plants in the balcony. It’s Friday, she reminded herself with a sigh. She kicked her heels away and poured herself a cup of steaming tea from the kettle in the black granite kitchen island.
“I won’t ask where you were, because I know I won’t like the answer,” Aunt Elida said without turning around to face her, and instead kept doing her thing, flowy white hair reaching just past her shoulders. She heard a very familiar giggle and poked her head through the french doors.
“Your Aunt let me in.” Callie shrugged as she drank her tea. “Since you absolutely forgot.”
Alex let the liquid burn her lips before she said anything.
“Sorry,” she said quietly, sitting in one of the chairs of her tiny round breakfast table in the balcony. She noticed flowers in the centerpiece vase were now bright and colorful, almost mocking her own dark mood.
“Luckily I had the keys. I came just in time to save your petunias. Look at it, poor thing. What have you been feeding your plants, vodka again?” She chuckled at her aunt and shook her head.
That woman would never forget that time she killed a cactus by the sheer will of her stupidity, by accidentally pouring not water, but vodka inside the pot for two weeks straight. She had also ignored the very reason she'd decided to have a cactus in the first place— they didn’t need to be watered daily. Or at all. And certainly not by vodka. Alex could tell that was exactly what Aunt Elida was thinking, as she sprayed real water in the colorful plants, ones Alex couldn’t name and hadn’t picked. If it was up to her, her apartment would be a simple combination between black and white, straight from a interior design magazine —elegant, but distant. Impersonal. Aunt Elida was the one pushing Alex to make things hers, and while some strange, broken part of her still cinged every time a new addition made her placelook more like home and less like a random apartment, she was hopeful that someday it wouldn’t.
“I haven’t had the time.”
The older woman looked at her for the first time that day, and something in her eyes told Alex she wasn’t buying that excuse, or the one she was going to give later when aunt Elida asked where on earth she had spent the night and she made up some bullshit lie before admitting her involvement with Rick again. But Elida wasn’t born yesterday and she knew her grand-niece like no one else, so she snorted before returning her attention to the petunias. They didn’t give her a headache.
“Are you coming tonight?” Callie asked, setting her teacup on the table.
“Coming where?” Alex blinked twice, as if waking up from a dream. She could imagine the rest of the Champagne she had drank the night before being washed down by the burning tea, and she hoped it took Richard’s taste with it. God, she needed a sterilizing shower.
“I can’t believe you,” Callie shook her head disapprovingly. “To the date, Alex.”
“Is it, like, today?” She had apparently deleted it from her memory archives.
“Oh my God, Alexandra. Have a shower, dress. I can’t have you there smelling like Richard Michaels’ aftershave.”
•°•°•
The clouds were ready to unleash their fury upon the world, dark and heavy. She thought that she’d rather be at home so she could enjoy the spectacle from her balcony, supposedly like Nero with his fiddle, but there she was— amongst the burning people of Rome.
“I think that’s him,” Callie dug her manicured nails into Alex’s arm. Her voice was two octaves higher than normal.
“Who?” Alex peeked inside the bar.
“The one in the green shirt, two o’clock” she was jumping with excitement.  “He looks exactly like in the pictures.”
“Thankfully.” She suddenly had flashbacks to all of her bad dates that didn’t look like the pictures online. Too many to count.
Callie fumbled around her purse and took a lipstick, which she quickly applied using her reflexion. Alex had to admire that kind of skill, as she could barely do it with a mirror.
“Okay. I’ll go.” She gave a few steps towards the door, but stopped midway and spun in her heels. “What if he kidnaps me? Serial killers can be handsome. Charlie Manson was handsome. That’s how they lure their victims.”
Alex held her shoulders.
“That’s why I’m here. I’ll sit a few tables away. You send me the signal, I’ll save you. Is that good?”
She could practically hear Callie’s engines turning before she nodded vigorously and boldly walked inside the bar for once. Alex felt like in one of those investigation TV series she marathoned last week, the ones that made her feel like she could successfully hide a corpse in the woods, and waited a couple of minutes before walking in, so not to raise any suspicion.
Alex watched as Callie’s Tinder Date got up to kiss her cheek. He was average height, shorter than Callie’s 5’11, with blond curls that made him either adorable or childish, she wasn’t sure. He wasn’t her type, that was for sure. Alex usually went for the tall, dark and handsome type, even though lately, with her pathetic dating life, she hadn’t been going for anyone at all. Alex tried to keep an ear out for their conversation, but their table was too far away from where she stood.
She asked for a beer as she inspected the place. Callie had never met someone online and she had some dark fantasies in her mind about it — not the good kind. Alex had gone to enough blind internet dates to know they usually ended up in bad dates or bad sex, sometimes both, not in abduction. But she was spending the night at Aunt Elida’s, watching Indiana Jones, and Callie had promised to pay for whatever she ordered, so Alex had agreed to be there. Preventing the date itself from being bad wasn’t in the job description, so she could just lay low and drink for free.
And maybe have some fun, Alex thought when her eyes fixed in something across the room—someone. She hadn’t noticed him before, but there he was, only a few tables away from Callie’s, in an advantage point of view. She’d be lying if she said that’s what made her order a second beer and walk up to him. It could’ve been the fact that he was handsome, with those sharp lines and strong jaw, perfectly cut black hair, or the arms crossed over the table, the tight muscles exposed by the rolled up sleeves of the blue dress shirt, the top buttons undone. Could’ve been that, because it fit Alexandra Harrington’s most basic types.

Could’ve been that. But it wasn’t. It was the universe. Because aside from all that, all these basic physical traits, the kind you could find anywhere, the guy was in a sleek black manual wheelchair, and God help her, but Alexandra could by no means let the universe down.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

He's Not Mr. Perfect - Chapter II

CHAPTER II -- Wouldn't You Like to Know


“If you’re still planning on drinking that,” she pointed at the half empty bottle that had been sitting there forever. “Don’t. Hot beer sucks.”
Alex placed the condensation slicked bottle on the table with a loud thud. The man looked at her with a set of deep blue eyes, framed by rimless glasses she hadn’t noticed from afar. She liked them better than contacts. He had a Clark Kent kind of vibe to him, which was good—she was a Superman kind of gal.
“Uh, thanks.” He flashed her a surprised smiled. Dimples. Double dimples. That, my friends, is a gift from the gods.
“Is this seat taken?” She sure as hell hoped not. If so, she was afraid she’d have to fight for him, like a medieval knight or something. She’d go for the hair, obviously— a woman’s greatest weakness.
But fortunately for her—and the imaginary woman about to get her hair pulled—,  he nodded.
“Be my guest.”
Only then, as he gestured at the empty chair in front of him, Alex noticed his hands,— he had those fingerless gloves on, covering only his palms, black leather, and his fingers were slightly  curled up against his palms, slightly atrophied. Quad hands. Alex wanted to study them out forever, but she couldn’t stare, so she made sure that all that didn’t take longer than a fleeting second as she sat down in front of him with her best flirty smile, flipping her hair over her shoulder.
He was even more handsome up close. Too good to be true. What was wrong with her? There’s no such a thing as too good to be true. There’s good and true, and he was both. At least she hoped so. What an awful thing would it be if she woke up and realized it had been all a dream, after all, she had dreamed about it — the casualness in which she’d find… well, she wasn’t sure what. Him. Whatever that meant. It fit the fantasies she drew in her mind after dark, when she was having trouble closing her eyes and needed to trick her brain into slowly slipping her into one of those rare peaceful, dreamless sleep. She almost pinched herself, but the butterflies in her stomach left no doubts — it was real. She just had to act like a fucking normal human being for once, not the nuclear ogive ready to explode she felt like deep inside.
Alex noted how physically drained he looked, slightly hunched over the table— although lack of core stability might have had more to do with that—the top buttons of his dress shirt undone, the blue tie draped around his broad, rock solid shoulders. She wondered how he managed to tie it himself with his limited hand function, but she didn’t muster around it too much; she was sure there was some way — not someone, if that was her lucky day. Nothing on his fingers, but men didn’t use engagement rings anyway— plus, she’d think wearing a ring when your hands don’t work quite so well would be more of a nuisance than anything, so it wasn’t as if the absence of it was indication of anything. God, she hoped there wasn’t anyone.
“Tired?” She asked, protecting the beer with both her hands.
“It’s that obvious?” He snorted, raising the clear blue eyes to her again. He shrugged. “Yeah. More like frustrated.” He brought the  bottle closer using his wrist and hooked it between his thumb and curled index finger, simulating a grip. When he raised it, balancing the bottle in his palm by positioning his wrist, it looked like an unusual combination of precarious and stable.
Her insides twisted and she had to take a big sip before continuing, as he wasn’t very helpful at keeping the conversation going, and that was a red sign. But it wasn’t like Alex to give up so easily.
“Tough day at work?”
He laughed. “More like tough week. The law gives no break.”
Spoken like Superman. “I see, a lawyer. Or a criminal, but I don’t think too many of those wear a tie to work.”
“Oh, you’d be surprised.” He sipped at his beer again, his eyes still smiling, as if just now warming up to her. “What about you? Is buying drinks to strangers a thing you do often?”
“Only when I’m babysitting” She looked above his shoulder to where Callie and her date seemed to have fun and he followed her gaze. “That’s my friend’s Tinder Date. I’m here as a witness.”
He frowned, returning his attention to her. She noticed he took the cue to quickly do a weight shift in his chair, suspending himself in the air using the wheels for a couple of seconds. She didn’t think the cold beer was having any effect — Alex needed some fresh air. Or a fresh shower.
“To what? Bad online dating?”
“To a potential crime, of course.” Alex cocked an eyebrow before adding with a conspiratory voice. “Kidnapping.”
He laughed. It was the kind of throaty laugh, silent but big at the same time, and she loved it.
“I see. Well, if you ever need a criminal lawyer, I happen to know a pretty good one.” He winked.
“Isn’t he cocky.”
“He’s honest.”
She leaned closer, forearms crossing over the table, not entirely seated in the chair anymore. It gave her a very nice cleavage in that shirt and much to his credit—while at the same time not going against the heterossexual male instincts she was counting on—he only looked for a fraction of second, one that could have easily been mistaken for him looking at the rotule of his beer had Alex not been consciously provoking, much like she had done to his hands. He brushed his knuckles in his chin, raising it to adjust his glasses and she thought she’d seen flushed cheeks.
“And what’s his name?” Alex asked, lowering her voice.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” His blue eyes had this mischievous gleam to them, his voice following hers, but so  low that it sounded more like a rumble in his chest than anything. Alex found herself happy that he was answering to her shameless flirting.
It wasn’t her birthday for another couple of months, but she felt as if it was right there, right then. Alex felt like she might explode. She had to thank Callie — speaking of which, Alex’s phone began to vibrate in the pocket of her jeans and when she checked, a desperate row of messages from Callie.
Mayday.
Mayday.
Mayday.
Great timing, as always. Alex rolled her eyes and couldn’t help the loud sigh that left her lips.
“Is something wrong?”
And then she hated to look back at him and say that she had to go. She wanted to ask Callie to put up with Tinder Date for just a little bit longer, because something inside her could not just let go. That was definitely not how the fantasy ended, if it ever did— it ended in a one-store house with white picket fence, ramps, bars in the bathroom and lowered countertops, two kids and a dog. Or just a dog. Maybe not even a picket fence, as Alex had always found that so incredibly tacky. But definitely a lot of rounding-the-wheelchair-to-get-to-the-bathroom-in-the-middle-of-the-night, lap-sitting as a second mean of transportation, cuddly mornings and, well, that. Lots and lots of that.
Leaving him after only a few minutes of flirting was never an option in her fantasy. But it was in real life.
“It’s Callie. My friend.”
He nodded, as if expecting Alex to say that, a grim look on his face.
“She wants to be rescued.”
“Yeah.”
“And that’s your job, right? Preventing her from, you know, being kidnapped. As we know it happens so very often.”
She couldn't read him.
“Y-eah.” Alex was more hesitant this time. She couldn't read him. He seemed to be an odd combination between cynical, disappointed and amused, which made her wonder if he was thinking Alex was finding some excuse to leave.
"Of course."
More messages were coming in and he was right. That was her job. She pressed her lips into a thin line and closed her eyes for a moment before opening them again. She took a deep breath in and nodded at him.
"Then...-"
Much to her surprise, he interrupted her pathetic attempt to save the interaction.
“Then I’m afraid I won’t be able to get you a beer. In retribution.”
She blinked twice, as if awaking from a hazy dream. Alex smiled. “You might, actually. Just give me a moment.”
She fumbled around her purse and found a business card, in which she scribbled her personal number in a font larger than life, so not to have any mistakes. Alex gave it to him, feeling his soft and warm fingers brushing against hers when he took the card between his knuckles. Oh Lord.
“Call me.” She got up, about to rescue an impatient Callie. “I mean it.”
He studied the card and flipped it around before looking up at her, a smirk placed on his lips.
“ Ms. Alexandra Harrington. It was nice to meet you.”
“Well, you haven’t yet. But you do owe me a beer, so let’s only hope that you will.”
She thought she’d heard a chuckle when she turned around in her heels, walking to Callie’s and Tinder Guy’s table as if butterflies weren’t provoking havoc inside her, not only in her stomach anymore, desperately looking for a way out.
•°•°•
Alex sat in her L-shaped leather couch. She’d long since given up in looking for a decent movie on the Netflix catalogue. Well, decent was a bit of a stretch — what Alex really wanted was a ridiculously sappy romantic movie, the kind she’d never admit watching or even enjoying. Her Guilty Pleasure to mask another one, even more guilty, even more pleasant. Clark Kent.
No. It wasn’t about superheroes, although she wished it was. People would get it. She wouldn’t have had to hide it as a dirty little secret her entire life, the guilt eating her from the inside since she was too young to tell, but old enough to know not to. In many ways, it was so deeply entwined to her sexuality, — perhaps even more, considering her bissexual adventures in college, while this never faltered, not for a second, not when it was numb and asleep —, because if there was one thing in this world Alexandra Harrington was absolutely sure about herself, was of her attraction to men in wheelchairs.
It wasn’t as simple as the wheelchair, though. She wasn’t even sure what it was about. It was about the guy — the silhouette different from anything she’d ever seen, the defined arms doing the job of the legs, feet so still on the single footplate, shoes that were never dirty but calloused hands that always were. Sometimes the pull was so strong she wanted to cry. Like an itch needing to be scratched.
It was such a shame he hadn’t called her. Yet. Hopefully.
Her phone buzzed against her thigh and Alex had her heart in her mouth when she took it. Unfortunately, it was just Callie announcing she was waiting outside her building. Alex quickly changed from her gray sweatpants into shorts and put her practice sneakers inside the same gym bag her knee and elbow pads were, swinging it over her shoulder and took the stairs instead of the elevator so she could warm up before practice.
“I really need to sweat this out.” Callie said once she hopped inside the car.
“It was really that bad, uh?”
“The guy was eighteen, Lexie. Not even legal drinking age. I’d say It was badder than bad.”
Alex couldn’t help a chuckle.
“It’s the price you pay for online dating.”
Callie banged her fists against the steering wheel and heaved a sigh.
“Why things have to be so complicated these days?” she looked at Alex before returning her eyes to the road. “I wish my mom could pick me a husband, like they did in the old days.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it was great.” Alex snorted.
“Easy peasy.”
“You’re hilarious, Callioppe.”
“I’m serious. But anyway. Who was that?”
Alex didn’t have to give a second thought to know who Callie was talking about. She couldn’t help but smile at the thought of the guy from the bar.
“A guy.”
Callie narrowed her eyes. “I could see that. Who was he?”
“I didn’t get his name.”
“What do you mean you didn’t get his name? Did you get his number?”
“You dragged me away before I could. I did give him mine, though.”
“And?”
Alex rested her head against the window, “Radio silence.”
“That’s bad.” Callie pulled the car into the parking lot and parked close to the entrance. “Let’s go, sister. You need to sweat it out too. Although for very different reasons.”
•°•°•
Volleyball had the ability to make her powerful, as if she could jump and run and be overall invincible. She was feeling victorious when she stepped outside of the court bounds to the bleachers.
“Girls, hurry up!”
She opened the sports bag looking for the water bottle. Just as she reached for it at the bottom, her phone buzzed with a new message from an unknown number. She didn’t unlock to read it, as the girls kept rushing her, but she did catch a glimpse of it through the lock screen.
Hey, do you still need a lawyer?
“Alexandra, c’mon!” Callie threw the ball at her and Alex caught it just last second as she stepped inside the bounds, grinning ear to ear. “What are you so happy about?”
She spun in front of Callie, barely able to contain her giggles, and jumped into position, ball in hand as she prepared to serve and hopefully score the first point.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - The Aftermath

Thank you guys for a wonderful first half of a season! It's been a rough ride for me as many of you know, emotionally and physically, and it's been great to have my loyal readers to help encourage me along the way. I know I/E isn't at all what most people look for in a story on here, but looking back at the previous two seasons I really feel like this one is even better than those that came before, and I feel like it's something I can be proud of.

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai has agreed that he and Jon should both move in to Vicky's house as the best way to ensure he continues to recover while minimizing Jon's anxiety. Kai finds out that his hearing loss is permanent and pretty severe in the higher frequencies, and Jon convinces him to get the best hearing aid on the market to help him hear sounds normally out of his range, but it will take time for him to adjust, literally and emotionally, to his new reality, despite his being fine on the surface.

This Week on In/Exhale: Jon takes Kai to eat and the emotions of the day threaten to explode out. Jon confronts Kai about some of his secrets. Ultimately, Kai is able to find hope and finally see himself as part of Jon's family with Vicky.

Next Time on In/Exhale (after hiatus): Kai returns to school for his first day of class with his new hearing aids, trying to be fine with his new life and yet struggling all the same. Renee supports him and boosts his confidence to talk to Zach, his advisor, and start charting his future.

February 6, 2001 - Part III

Updated Table of Contents.

I'll be taking a few weeks off to catch up on this story since I don't have any more completed days after this one. A lot are half done, and I don't know how long it will take me since I'd like to have probably 3-4 days (which would be probably 12 episodes) done at least before I start posting again.

I also want to use some of this time if my headache/health allows to get back to work on my NaNo project (in case you missed it, you can read an excerpt on my blog). I've gotten a lot of great feedback on the short excerpt I posted, and one friend who has read the first 25,000 words is threatening bodily harm if I don't let her read more soon, lol.

I can't say it enough how amazing it is to have the loyal readers and commenters out there for encouragement. Kai and I are not so unalike in that way. As Renee says to him at one point in the next episode, "I'll tell you 10x a day, every day, if I have to," and I can be like that, too. Especially with my health, with the relentless pain (I thought acupuncture was helping but now I'm not so sure it is) there can be a lot of really, really dark days for me. (Again, Kai and I are alike there, too.)

I will miss you guys a lot, but I'll try to post a few times on my blog if I can, and I may even put up a special sexy excerpt of my NaNo project here that I won't post on my blog.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate, and if you don't, that you still have a great next few weeks, and a Happy New Year.

You can also follow me on Twitter for updates, too.

-CA

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

In/Exhale - Kai's Hearing Test

So sorry this episode was late, guys. I know that I've put Kai through a lot, and I know it may seem like "too much" to some people. But I take the story where I feel it's going, and there's a lot of my own personal experience in it (even if it's fictionalized), and maybe because of that I can't help seeing all the complexities of a situation or illness. Maybe this doesn't make any sense to any of you reading this right now, but while it may seem sometimes like things happen "just because" in this story, I promise I've given a lot of thought and sometimes have explored multiple different branching paths before settling on the version I've shared with you.

Previously on In/Exhale: As a result of a dangerous infection in December, Jon had no choice but to give Kai's doctors permission to treat him with drugs that could potentially damage his inner ear. Now, weeks later, Kai's feeling the effects: vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. He's making some good progress with his recovery from his mental illness, beginning to be more open and trusting of those close to him, but he still has a long road ahead of him.

This week on In/Exhale: Kai sees the ENT and has his hearing test, finally discovering whether or not his hearing loss is permanent, and how severe his inner ear damage is.

Next week on In/Exhale: The final episode before the break. Kai and Jon deal with the fallout of the rest of the day--deciding to move into Vicky's and Kai's hearing test results.

February 6, 2001 - Part II


Thank you so much to my loyal readers, to those of you who've followed my crazy, melodramatic saga week after week, who take the time to comment. I love reading your comments, especially seeing how you interpret a particular episode or incident. Thank you all so much.

And thanks again for those of you who've given me feedback on my NaNo project. I had to put it on temporary hold because of my health, but part of what I plan to do during my break is to work on it. And I may post a surprise snippet here on the blog (that I won't post on my site) just for you. :)

I'll be taking time off after next week's episode, but don't worry; I have a LOT more in store before the season ends!

-CA

As always, the Table of Contents has been updated.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Footsteps Chapter Thirteen is Up!

Hello, Rose here! As promised, I haven't forgotten you lovely readers! I've been somewhat hiding under a rock recently, but I'm crawling out every now and again as Christmas approaches.

I was very touched by your comments and feedback on Chapter Twelve, so a heartfelt thank you for those. It means a lot.

As for this chapter, we begin to see a little doubt creeping in with the emergence of someone from Caleb's past, but hopefully you'll enjoy some of the more touching moments too.

I hope that, as ever, you will let me know your thoughts on my story. I promise you I will see it through to completion, and it's all mapped out. I just need to write it!



And the Table of Contents has been updated too.


Take care, and thank you!
Rose

*EDIT* I have been under my rock so long I forgot which chapter this was in the post title. That has now been altered... Ooops!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Miracle

This is a singleton story, in honor of the holidays.  Hope you enjoy it!

A Christmas Miracle



Taylor

One of the first things that attracted me to my husband over 10 years ago was his virility.  If he wasn't running a marathon, he was competing in a bike race or maybe climbing a mountain. Joel was always moving, running, exercising. He had this perfect, toned body without even having to specifically work out at a gym. He had the sexiest body of any man I have ever met.  That's part of why I fell in love with him.

Looking at Joel now, sitting next to me, his body strapped into a power wheelchair, his fingers curled and positioned in splints, his legs immobile, the word "virility" is the last thing that comes to mind. Another word much more quickly comes to mind, a word we've tried to avoid saying for the last year and a half since that damn truck hit Joel's bicycle:

Crippled.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 48 - The End

Hello all my loyal readers, it is Wednesday and here I am with the next and final chapter of TAC. I bring you Chapter 48 and in this chapter you will meet everyone one more time. I have to say I was sad when I wrote those final two words at the end of the chapter, but I feel the story has played itself out. This story is the first finished story for me here on the Blog. I know I left "No Strings Attached" open for a Part 2 and I am working on it but TAC did take most of my time over the last year. I am also working on another story already which I am excited about but still will have to work on for a while to start posting. So Wednesdays are open again for any other authors here on our Blog. I had such a wonderful time posting every week for you, well, almost every week. I got so used to my main characters Trish, Shawn and Jesse. They felt so real at times and I have a special spot for them in my heart. I also have a special spot in my heart for all my readers and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your comments and feedback and for taking the time to follow TAC every week. I was very surprised to see all the hits on the last chapter and I am still trying to figure out what attracted so many readers or did people read it a couple of times...:-) I am debating if I should give publishing a try with TAC but I just don't know if I can pull it off. Anyways, I love all of you and your loyalty meant so very much to me. Thank you sooooo much, Yours truly, Dani
One last updated Table Of Contents: Table Of Content Three's A Crowd

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Jon Takes His Turn

So I debated starting my break today but decided I'd go ahead and post this last day, which will divide into three episodes, then take my break. These episodes basically comprise the before, during, and after Kai's hearing test/exam.

Previously on In/Exhale: As a result of some antibiotics he was given during a major infection back in December, Kai has lost some of his hearing. This adds to the struggle he's already dealing with, although he's beginning to make some strides with help from Dr. Miller and those close to him. Meanwhile, although the brothers have reconciled and Vicky's family seems to grudgingly accept her relationship with Jon and the pregnancy, she's still a wedge placing a strain on the brothers' relationship.

This Week on In/Exhale: Because Kai took their last co-session for himself, today they are supposed to make it up. However, Kai recognizes the stress his brother is under lately and volunteers Jon take the time for himself. As a result, Jon is forced to explore some of his deep-seated issues such as his guilt and worry, and the two brothers finally come to a solution to their living situation.

Next Week on In/Exhale: Kai has his hearing test and exam to determine the extent and permanence of his hearing loss.

February 6, 2001 - Part I


Thank you again to those of you who continue to read and comment. It really does mean so much to me. I'm particularly glad you enjoyed last week's episode. I have to admit that was one of the episodes that made me fall in love with Bryan in that bittersweet way some of you spoke of. You'll probably see more of him in flashbacks in the future. ;)

-CA

PS - The Table of Contents is updated as usual.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blue

Hi guys,
this very tiny story is on the weirder side of my writing. Hopefully it is to someone's liking... =)
Dubious consent, so be warned.

Lovis

Blue


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sorry - no "Three's A Crowd" this week

Hello my readers, I am sorry but I couldn't get the next chapter of TAC done for this week. It has been too busy for me the last few days and even though I tried I don't want to give you a half done chapter. I was surprised that for some reason the hits on last week's chapter had doubled compared to all the weeks before. I am not sure if it was the sex I had announced for the chapter even though there had been other chapters with sex that didn't get that many hits. Oh well, I am thankful for all my readers even though lots of times I wish I would know what people actually think about the stuff they read. If it was the sex, did they like it? :-) I do have my regular and loyal readers who give me signs that they are out there somewhere and I appreciate that a lot. I know all authors feel that way but we need the feedback to see if what we are doing is actually worth it. Anyhow, thanks for all your time and comments, I appreciate it so much. Sorry again for no TAC chapter this week. I will make up for it next week. Hugs, Yours, Dani

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Father/Son Bonding

So this episode was one I wrote for myself initially. Originally, I envisioned it as Jon reminiscing about a particular moment of his childhood, spending some time with his father and brother. However, as I expanded it, it soon developed into a more traditional third-person episode because I found myself wanting to slide into Bryan's POV, to get to know him better.

Then, as the third season progressed, I realized there was a shift starting to happen, and this episode felt like it really fit at this point in time. So I finished it up, polished it up a little, and here it is.

Bryan is Jon's hero in a lot of ways, even so many years after his death, and with everything going on with his baby on the way, he's been thinking more and more about Bryan. So I felt like this was the perfect chance to get some insight into what kind of man Bryan was first-hand, so-to-speak, and why he's still Jon's idol.

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai has finally made some progress in his life, opening up to some of those closest to him and becoming a bit more self-aware of how his mental illness affects those around him. Jon and Vicky have tackled the hurdle of informing her parents about the pregnancy, and Jon has even gone so far as to call his adoptive father.

This week on In/Exhale: A flashback to when Kai was four and Jon was twelve in which they spend some time with their father.

Coming up on In/Exhale: Kai and Jon have a scheduled co-session with Dr. Miller, but Kai, sensing Jon needs the time to himself, gives it up. The two brothers, with Dr. Miller's help, finally talk about a life-changing decision they've been putting off, and Kai finally has his hearing test to discover the reality of his hearing loss. Jon and Kai deal with the consequences of the earlier days events.

Flashback: August 9, 1982


I've updated the Table of Contents, as always.

I do think I'm going to need a break soon. I've been pretty sick on top of everything and haven't really been able to write at all lately, so I'll probably take a few weeks to finish the draft of my NaNo book and get caught up on I/E. I have several episodes started but not finished, and I sort of just need some time to relax. But don't worry, it won't be long, I promise. :)

-CA

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 47

Hello friends, sorry I am running a little bit behind and it is already Wednesday evening here. For some of you it may even already be Thursday so I am sorry I am late today. It has been busy for me with work and also getting ready for Thanksgiving. No I am not making a Turkey, never have but will enjoy hanging out with friends tomorrow. Well, here is this week's chapter of TAC Chapter 47. In this week's installment Kristy is finally coming home and especially Jesse is of course very happy about that. Trish and Shawn are happy for Jesse and Kristy as well. Once again in this chapter it gets very steamy for our favorite couple. While editing and rewriting some of the chapter I got pretty hot myself....:-) So, I am definitely thankful for my characters who are always floating around in my head. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and remember to always be thankful for all the good things in your lives. We tend to forget in the craziness of our lives but there is a lot to be thankful for. I am also thankful for all my loyal readers, you make it all worthwhile when you read and let me know how you like it. Big hug, Dani

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Family Dinner


Happy Thanksgiving! It seems fitting that this week's episode is about a family dinner, and it unintentionally reminds me a little of my first Thanksgiving with my husband (then recent fiance). Let's just say my father in particular wasn't real thrilled about the whole situation.

Last Week on In/Exhale: Renee and Kai finally talked, and he was able to confess to her some of his demons, drawing them closer and renewing their commitment to each other that as long as they have each other, they can face any challenge.

This Week on In/Exhale: Jon and Vicky finally face her parents to tell them about the pregnancy; things go smoother than they'd hoped, but they still face a rocky road, although Vicky is determined to face it with Jon no matter what. Jon and Kai finally makeup for their fight over Jon canceling their swim date, and Jon calls his adoptive father to tell him the news. After, he turns to Kai for support, and the tables are turned a little as younger brother consoles older brother.

Next Week on In/Exhale: Flashback to when Kai was four and Jon was twelve as the two spend a rare day in the park with their father, Bryan, the man whom Jon inspires to imitate as a man and a father.

February 3, 2001 - Part IV


I want to thank all of you who read the excerpt of my NaNoWriMo project last week, and even more the ones who took the time to comment here or on my blog about it. I actually "won" NaNo on the 21 (completed 50,000 words) but I still have a ways to go before the draft is finished. Still, it makes me excited to know that you are excited about it, and I'll be sure to give you more details as the project goes along.

I *may* take a few weeks off after either next week's episode or the next few after it. I need time to catch up with the story since Nano and life have pulled me away from it, and with the holidays it may be nice to just chill. But I will let you know for sure if I decide to do that.

Happy reading,

-CA

PS - Table of Contents is updated as always.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Forging Ahead

Hi everyone,

I accidentally posted this yesterday on Dani's day (and have apologized to her accordingly!), so I'm trying again today. I hope that Thursday's are free... it seems that they are, but if they aren't, I do apologize!

Anyway, I've been working on a new story for about a year now. It's only about halfway finished, but I've written almost enough chapters to begin posting them here, so I wanted to get your opinions. :) After all, you all are the reason we all continue to write and post on here. :)

Fair warning: this is a bit different than anything I've written before, and although this excerpt isn't dark, the story itself will be. It's a new genre for me and also has a deeper, more developed plot line than anything I've worked on before.

Anyhoo...let me know what you think?

Also, this is a working title, so if you have any suggestions on that based from this snippet you're reading, those are readily welcomed too! :)

And now, without further ado... Forging Ahead, a preview.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 46

Hello again, I hope you enjoyed last week's chapter with some intimate moments between Trish and Shawn. Here is Chapter 46 of TAC for this week. Not so much intimacy but more of a transitioning chapter where Jesse and Shawn talk about the future some. I hope you still want to read along to find out what lies ahead for our three main characters. Thanks for your time and comments on TAC every week. I appreciate all of you. Hugs, Dani
Table of Contents:   TOC

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Renee Lovers Rejoice

So, originally I was going to post these two episodes separately, and they can stand fine on their own, but they share a common theme: Kai and Renee reforging their relationship.

A couple of these scenes--including the one in which Kai and Renee have lunch and the one they share at the end of the day--are two of my favorite moments in the entire season. The first of these scenes is perhaps one of the most important in all of season three, and I hope you enjoy them.

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai's first week back in the real world has taken its toll on him. He's been riddled with nightmares and panic attacks that nearly pushed him to the brink. His hearing loss, combined with his natural tendency to withdraw has been pushing he and Renee apart, but Dr. Miller gives Kai knew hope and reassurances that he can recover.

This week on In/Exhale: Kai finally goes to visit David at his house to tell him the truth about his hearing loss, despite his fears that it may fracture their relationship. Then Kai does his best to make amends with Renee, and the two share an afternoon together, their relationship growing even stronger in the process.

Next week on In/Exhale: Jon and Vicky finally go to her parents' house to have "the" talk, and it brings up a lot of old wounds. Later, Jon and Kai finally make amends, and after Jon makes a long overdue call to his adoptive father, the two brothers also become closer, working on healing some of the fractures that have developed over the past few weeks.


Thanks again to those of you who take time to comment. I probably shouldn't admit how often I check to see if there's a new comment on my story; that's how much I appreciate them.

As for NaNoWriMo, things are coming along well. My health hasn't been great so that's hampered my progress, but so far I have about 40,000 words and a character named Jackson I think you all are going to really come to love.

I've posted some info about this project, including an excerpt, on my blog to give you guys a taste of what to expect as I'm getting more confident this will be my next finished project.

-CA

PS - The Table of Contents has been updated, as always.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chianti Classico Bonus Chapter

Hi everyone, I wrote this part as a bonus chapter to the Chianti story and realized halfway through it makes an even better last chapter than the actual last one. So this is it now, bonus chapter, definitely last last chapter, whatever =)

Enjoy, comment and thanks for reading!

Lovis

Chianti Classico - Part V

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 45

Hello friends, I made it back home to the US. I had a good time in Germany for two weeks but missed my writing hobby. I bring you Chapter 45 of TAC for this week. I realize Trish and Shawn were missing a bit from the story lately and I hope I can make up for that lack with bringing you a chapter fueled by their loving and passionate devotee/paraplegic relationship. Yes, there is sex so I hope I have your attention with that :-) I appreciate all of you reading and taking your time to comment, thanks so much, Hugs, Yours, Dani.
Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all who served and are still serving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - I Want To Live

When I introduced Dr. Miller in this version of the story (she had a role in the original iteration), I'll admit I didn't expect her to play such an important role. So I apologize to those of you who don't care for her appearances. However, I've found that she's a bit of my dream therapist, lol, and I find writing and reading some of her sessions to be very . . . consoling, for lack of a better word.

This episode in particular. Although Kai's story, even in its original version, has always had its dark patches, I'll admit even I didn't envision the direction the story would take when I first set out to share it with all of you. A lot of the story is of course, fictional, but there's also so much of me in it--much more than my other writing--that some episodes in particular may be difficult for me to write but can also be extremely therapeutic.

And this episode is one of them.

As several of you have commented, Kai and Renee are slowly heading toward something. Kai still has a lot of self discovery and awareness ahead, but he's slowly, bit by bit, getting there, trying as hard as he can.

This episode is long, but it covers a lot that needed to be dealt with, and I hope you'll enjoy it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Footsteps - Chapter Twelve is up

Hello! It's six minutes to midnight here in England, so I've got exactly that time left of 'Monday' to post!!

Two weeks and two posts in a row... I know a couple of readers who may need a trip to the ER with heart issues after seeing two posts from me in a row, so I apologise, and only ask that you take my story with you to read there...

On a serious note, thank you for your support. It was because of the wealth of comments on the last episode that I got my backside in gear and sat down and wrote this (long) chapter for you, as a thank you. Can't promise another one next Monday because I'm horribly behind on work now, but I needed to write this one, as much for me as for you.

Enough waffle - here's Chapter Twelve. We start with Caleb feeling a little vulnerable, and we end with a little New Year's adventure and gift-giving.

Table of Contents is updated too if you want to go back and re-read anything.

Many thanks,
Rose

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 44

Hello my loyal readers. Well, while visiting with friends and family in Germany and sightseeing this beautiful country I managed to edit the next chapter for TAC Chapter 44. I want to make you happy. Today I am flying home again. It will be a looonnngggg trip. In this chapter Jesse is finally going home again as well. Things are moving on and looking up for the brothers and Trish. Much anticipated is the return of Kristy who will also be coming home soon. Thanks so much for your time reading this story and looking forward to your comments if you feel like it.. Hugs, Dani
Updated Table of Contents: TOC

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - The Day Comes to a Close

Hey, everyone. Sorry this episode is up a little later than usual. I actually decided to attempt NaNoWriMo this year despite my headache as a challenge to myself, and I'm attempting to write a blind character, which I've never done before. So far so good, and I promise I'll let you read some of it once I have more written.

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai's long Friday took its toll on him to the point at which he found himself cutting and even contemplating suicide, but he determined to survive, as always, and went to the ASL class in which he had a blast with the kids, including Steve's cousin. Renee, meanwhile, is feeling the pain of the distance Kai's put between them, partially because of his hearing loss and the language barrier. She confessed all of Kai's secret to her roommate and best friend, and asked David for reassurance about their relationship. David is convinced that despite Kai's reluctance to put it into words, he loves Renee, and love can conquer all. Renee isn't so convinced.

This Week on In/Exhale: The long Friday finally nears its end. The class is over and Renee finds herself led on an unexpected tour of the school, although Kai's good mood doesn't last long, partially because of a revelation that may potentially change the fabric of the Jonesville community. But when David suggests they all go out, Kai doesn't say no, although the venue Megan innocently choses throws Kai for a loop. Ultimately, Renee confronts Kai on his behavior, determined that communication is the only way they'll survive, but things don't go exactly as she planned.

Next Week on In/Exhale: Kai's makeup session with Dr. Miller forces him to confront some of the things he's been reluctant to so far, and despite feeling lost, she helps guide him onto the right path.

February 2, 2001 - Part IV


Thanks again as always for those of you who've left me such great feedback. It really is a motivation for me through each long week. I still have plenty more in store for Kai, so keep reading! :)

-CA

PS - Table of Contents is updated, as always.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Footsteps - Chapter 11 is up

*waves* 

"Remember me?" Rose asks nervously from the shadows. "Well, I'm back with a chapter of my story, if you're interested still... You can find it here. That's all... Thanks for sticking with the story if you still are... What's that? Does this mean I'm back posting regularly again? Ummm...."

*shuffles nervously*

"Not exactly... but I'll keep going with the story - I promise."

*waves and shuffles off nervously, leaving a link to Chapter 11, and a quick thanks.*


Table of Contents updated too.


Thanks, 
Rose 

*exit stage left, pursued by a huge backlog of other PD stories to catch up on...*

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Podcast!





Paradevo members Hartmannwrites and James have made a podcast! You can listen to the first episode here:
http://www.gimpyandthebanana.com/


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No TAC this week, sorry

Hello loyal TAC readers, as I had warned already last week I am not able to post the next installment of TAC this week due to my being in Germany on vacation. I tried to work some on the chapter but I couldn't get it ready and edited to be posted on time. I am so sorry but I can tell you even I miss working on my writing and I miss spending time with my characters. Anyhow, I will see what I can do for next week but I am actually flying back to the US on Wednesday next week. Maybe I can post at least a part of the next chapter. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - ASL Class

TODAY'S EPISODE IS THE OFFICIAL 75th EPISODE!! Whoo hoo!


Obviously, I've posted more than 75 installments, but if they were posted together, they counted as one, so here we are, 75! Hard to believe, and still going strong!

This week's episode will be far lighter than the last, giving you all an emotional break, and I hope you will feel Kai's momentary joy here along with him. It feels like a fitting way to celebrate this milestone.

Previously on In/Exhale: We see behind the curtain. The pressures of the entire week mount on Kai, and although he survives, he relapses with his self harm, big time, and even considers suicide before he decides to call Dr. Miller, put his mask back on, and move forward. Renee, frustrated by the distance she feels between her and Kai, especially because of the sometimes language barrier, turns to her best friend and roommate, to whom she confesses all of Kai's hard-kept secrets.

This week on In/Exhale: The long-awaited ASL class, and the curtain firmly back in place. Although David in particular is concerned about his friend, Kai rolls in and slips into his teacher's role almost seamlessly. Steve returns, and we finally get to meet her cousin.

Next week on In/Exhale: The long Friday finally comes to an end as we see the physical and mental exhaustion begin to wear away at Kai, and things come to a head between him and Renee as she decides she will not be a doormat. Kai learns some devastating news that could radically alter the future of Jonesville and his connection to his past.

February 2, 2001 - Part III


So I know I took a risk with last week's episode, and I'm glad at least a few of you appreciated it. It was so personal for me in a lot of ways and it was kind of hard to see the intro post get more comments bc of my pictures than the actual post itself, but I suppose that's life. I'm grateful to my loyal readers who give me the impetus to keep posting.

I do think that despite everything I'm going to try for Nano this year. I have a new story idea (ha like I need another one, right?) that came to me very recently and I'm feeling very inspired to work on, partially because it's a disability I've never attempted to write before: blindness. I'm hoping that it will turn into something, and I'll try to post a snippet as soon as I have one to share.

This shouldn't affect the weekly postings of I/E, though, as I have enough pre-written to meet the next month at least. But I'll of course keep you all updated.

Thanks as always for your support, and I hope you enjoy this week's episode!

-CA

PS, Oh, and I've updated the Table of Contents, as always.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chianti Classico Part IV - last one!

Hi everyone! Here comes the last part of the Chianti series. Yes... I know. It makes up for that with being real long and, as I explained in a comment to the third part, content that made it inappropriate for writing in public places.

Have fun!

Chianti Classico - Part IV

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 43

Hello my friends, here is this week's installment of TAC Chapter 43.
I have to tell you guys that I am not sure if I am able to post chapters in the next two weeks as I am flying to Germany today. I haven't been home in five years and even though a little nervous I am also looking forward to see my mother and sister with her family. We are celebrating my mother's 75th birthday and my mom has no idea that I am coming to the party. It is a big surprise. I am bringing all my TAC material along and also started a new project but I am not sure how much time I will really have to write and edit. I know I will work some on it on the plane since it is such a long flight.
Anyways, in this week's chapter, Jesse gets some news and Shawn and Jesse have some words. Shawn finds out something he didn't know from Jesse.
Again, I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting, you are the best. I appreciate you so  much! Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Trigger Warning

This week's episode is difficult. We see behind the curtain for both Kai and Renee, and there are scenes that may make you uncomfortable. But they're necessary.

When I was working on this season, I got to a point where I knew I had to show Kai's cutting routine. I felt like it was important for the reader to be in his head, and I actually found writing (and reading over) the scene very cathartic. Self-harming behavior, especially cutting, is something that I feel is radically misunderstood by most people. Generally, it's not a bid for attention but an attempt to escape deep emotional pain, to reassert control in a life that otherwise feels so chaotic. It's not unlike a drug addiction in that it involves secrecy, denial, and escalation.

The "sex" scenes in this episode are also slightly unconventional--but then I never do things the way other people do, do I?--and again, may make you a little uneasy. But that's the point. Yes, of course we've gotten in Kai's head plenty this season, but again, this episode is like seeing behind that final curtain to the layers that even Kai is often in denial about.

And as for Renee, she makes a decision with potentially major future repercussions, but that scene came about naturally as I began to feel more and more of what she must be going through as she struggles alongside Kai.

And everything that happens in this episode is necessary for what happens next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chianti Classico Part III

Hey, guys! I know this is short. I know it seems like I enjoy torturing you. This is absolutely not true. Or... is it?

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Chianti Classico - Part III

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 42

Hello my readers, here is the next installment of TAC Chapter 42. I can't believe it either how many chapters it has been already. I thank my loyal readers for reading and commenting, you are definitely what keeps me going. I do enjoy writing and I know I am still learning in the process. This week's chapter brings Kristy and Jesse closer but also brings some unexpected news. Hope you enjoy this chapter and again, Thanks as always for your loyalty and commenting, Hugs, Dani