Wednesday, March 20, 2019

In/Exhale Continues - Season 3 Finale

At long last, it's here. I apologize that it took so long to reach this conclusion, and I also apologize I wasn't able to post this early this morning as I had planned. I hope you all will enjoy it (and not hate me too much).

Previously On In/Exhale: Kai and Renee celebrate Valentine's Day together, in preparation for Kai admitting himself to Harbinger on Feb 14. Over the course of the day, the two of them grow closer as Kai finally begins allowing Renee to see into the depths of his fortress, culminating with an intense love making in which Kai finally finds release.

This Week On In/Exhale: Valentine's Day for Kai and Renee comes to a close. Renee meets Vicky for the first time, and Kai comes to an important realization. Jon's stress threatens to overwhelm him as he struggles to find the distance and clarity he needs to do his job. The calm and stillness of the night is interrupted by a phone call that brings earth shattering news.


February 13, 2001 - Part IV


The week after next (April 3), I will resume posting Love UnSeen, my story about a gay blind man who is a history professor living in New Orleans, told from his POV. For the time being, I will stick to the bimonthly updates on Wednesdays as much as possible. As before, I'm going to be writing it mostly off-the-cuff, although I do have the next 2-3 chapters lined up. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to tie all the different story threads together, but I hope you all will enjoy following along in the writing process as I try to complete this first draft. It really buoyed me to see how many were excited this story will be resuming. I hope you will all continue to give me feedback on it as I will do my best to use your words to inspire and shape the story as it goes along.

As for In/Exhale, I will be working on the ebook of the third season over the next few months, and its release will depend on whether or not I can get the cover done or not as my artist may have fallen through. Right now I would expect Season 4 to begin late 2019 at the earliest. I will do my best to work on it alongside Love UnSeen, but I honestly don't know where the story will go after the first few days, and haven't had time to work on it very much lately. But! The good news is it seems like the combination of getting my speciality medication more often and some adjustments to some of my other medications is helping me to feel relatively better and have a little more energy. It's one reason I've been so motivated with Love UnSeen over the past couple weeks.

Thank you so much to those of you who follow my work and have supported me over the last, gosh, seven years? (I think it's been that long!) I know my style isn't always to everyone's taste and my health has limited my productivity, so I especially am grateful to those of you who have stuck by me (and my poor characters) through thick and thin.

-CA

PS - If you need to brush up on any previous episodes, the Table of Contents has been updated.

PPS - If you would like to refresh on the first 15 chapters of Love UnSeen before the next one is posted, you'll find its Table of Contents here, and I'll be working to make sure there's easy links at the bottom of each chapter so you can flow from one to the next without having to flip back to the ToC.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

New post Forever First Love


Hi, sorry for not posting last week. I got roped into a 3 day baby sitting job and didn't take my computer with me. Here is the next chapter and I have scheduled the next chapter ready because I will be out of the country.


Thank you for the comments and the lovely emails I have received.


Chapter 8

Monday, March 18, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi my dear readers,
another week and another chapter of "Will Love Prevail".
I want to thank everyone who is still reading and I also want to thank you for commenting, I also got a very sweet email comment a few days ago, thanks for that.
So here is Chapter 21 of "Will Love Prevail".
Thanks to everyone still reading along,
Hugs, Dani

Table of Contents TOC

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Devo Diary

Hi everyone, thanks for reading along for so many months. I'm sorry to say Devo Diary is going on hiatus after this week. I've been writing this for so long but lately I've been feeling burned out, and I've run out of backlog chapters. This seems like a good stopping point for now as we've reached the end of the stories about Sean and Trip. There is still so much more to tell, more relationships with paras and blind guys, but I don't want to force it when I'm not feeling it. I'll be back in a few months.

So here it is, at long last, Devo Diary Chapter 57: Sean part 2

Sean is the hot para who does halfpipe stunts, the one who vanished after an amazing first date, went into the ER with a UTI then never contacted me for weeks and I thought he was dead until he reposted his personal ad on Craigslist. He apologized and over the months we slowly got to be friends again. Trip is the other hot para I met on Craigslist, the one cheating on his girlfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

Table of Contents

Monday, March 11, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
happy Monday, hope everyone is doing great.
Thanks for the comments last week, I appreciated them very much. I also saw some comments added to previous chapters and I appreciate those very much, you know who you are...😍
I give you another chapter Chapter 20 of Will Love Prevail. Well, it's definitely getting tested very much for my two characters. 
Thanks for sticking with me through this story and for reading and commenting.
You mean a lot to me,
Hugs, Dani

PS: And finally I took the time to update the TOC since I have been slacking for about ten chapters 😏TOC Will Love Prevail

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Update to Love is Blind

In this chapter of Love is Blind, Sophie and Colin get to spend a little time alone together....

Chapter 10

Table of Contents

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

In/Exhale - Valentine's Day Continues

Hope you all are having a good week and ready to get reading!

Previously On In/Exhale: Despite Kai's depression and the knowledge that he will be admitting himself to Harbinger the following day, Kai and Renee attempt to have a joyful first Valentine's Day together. They mostly succeed; Kai even finally tells Renee he loves her in words. But an incident at Nancy's Cafe threatens to send Kai spiraling. Fortunately, he allows Renee to hold and support him as he struggles to keep the demons of his past at bay.

This Week On In/Exhale: Valentine's Day continues, and while Kai struggles, he opens up to Renee in ways he never has before. Their scavenger hunt leads them to some unexpected places, and Renee meets someone who makes her jealous in ways she never expected. But the day ends with Renee and Kai's intimacy growing and peaking.

Next On In/Exhale: Season 3 finally concludes as Kai comes to some new revelations, although a late-night phone call threatens to derail the paths of many in the cast in terrifying ways.

February 13, 2001 - Part III


Hope you guys enjoy this episode. In some ways, it's my favorite part of Kai and Renee's Valentine's Day together.

I'm already getting the wheels turning to re-start Love UnSeen, so I'm really hoping that I'll be able to jump into posting that immediately. I've also started working on S4 of I/E, although as of right now I'm not sure what will happen after the first few days of the season, so I'm going to shoot for Summer/Fall of this year for S4, but it really depends on how I'm feeling and how Love UnSeen goes. I'll also start work on the S3 ebook once that's wrapped up, and that will hopefully be out by this summer.

Thank you to those of you who have stuck with me over the years and who take the time to comment as it really does mean a lot to me. I've put a lot of myself and my time into this version of this story and I'm glad that there are still a few of you who care about it.

-CA

As always, the Table of Contents has been updated if you need to re-read any past episodes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

New post for Forever First Love


Here is chapter 7. Matt and Chloe spent some alone time for the first time in a few years.


Chapter 7

Monday, March 4, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,🙋
just got home from another evening shift, it's after midnight but I want to post the next chapter for you real quick.
Hope this finds everyone well and hoping you all will have an awesome week. 😃
So here is Chapter 19 of Will Love Prevail. As you will see, things are tensing up.
Sorry it's not really devy anymore but hope you guys still enjoy reading.
I got one "wow" comment last week, so thanks for that whoever you are. I sure hope it was meant to be a good Wow.
Thanks everyone,
Hugs, Dani❤
I won't promise a TOC again...lol...I will try to get one done sometime this week...

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Update to Love in Blind

In this next chapter, Sophie goes out on her date with Gabe... or does she?

And we find out how Colin was injured...

Chapter 9

Table of Contents

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Update to B-L-I-N-D?!

Hey everyone! Here's a new chapter of B-L-I-N-D for you. I think this one has a more serious feel than the last one. I hope it's devvy enough!

B-L-I-N-D?! --- Chapter 3

As for He's Not Mr. Perfect, I got busy this week and couldn't finish the chapter in time, but I have the first half done. So I guess I'll make it extra long for next week, and with a lot of action (if you know what I mean, haha). Here's the previous chapter, in case you missed it or want to read it again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

New Devo Diary

This week on Devo Diary, I am still knee-deep in paras. More guilty naughtiness with Trip, plus some online flirtation with other wheelers too.

Devo Diary Chapter 56: Trip part 2

Table of Contents

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New post Forever First Love

Sorry it's late but he is chapter 6. I have had 2 people proof read my work but obviously some things still has been missed, If anyone wants to do some proof reading will you email please and I will be very grateful.
Thanks


Chapter 6

Monday, February 25, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Happy Monday friends,
hope this finds everyone well and starting out the week in the right way. Shortly after midnight here and I want to get this posted for you.
Here is another chapter of my story Will Love Prevail,  Chapter 18
Thanks for everyone reading and commenting. Let me know if you're still with me.
Have a wonderful week,
Hugs, Dani

I will post an updated TOC later on today, I know I've been slacking with that.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Update to Love is Blind

Hi all!  I'm back with another chapter!  This one ends on a kind of intense note, hopefully pretty devvy.  As you all know, this is my first blind guy story so I'm trying to do it justice.

Chapter 8

Table of Contents

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Update to B-L-I-N-D?!

I'm so glad so many of you seem to have enjoyed B-L-I-N-D?! !!! I really liked writing it too. The entire thing was meant to be only from Barbara's perspective, but I got carried away this week and added Henry's point of view in this chapter. Would love to know what you think.

Here's Chapter II.

Unfortunately, no He's Not Mr. Perfect this week, but rest assured that you'll have an update on that next week. Thank you everyone for reading and making a comment! It really makes my day.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

In/Exhale's Valentine's Day Continues


Hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day! I hope you will enjoy the sweetness in this episode as Kai and Renee share some tender moments together.


Previously on In/Exhale: Valentine's Day for Kai and Renee begins early, since Kai can't sleep due to his pain, anger and frustration. David forces Kai to meet with Dr. Miller, and Kai finally admits why dinner at Frankie's has upset him so much. After, Kai is determined to make the day special for Renee, beginning with a home-cooked breakfast, but, as always, things don't go how he planned. Despite this, he and Renee grow closer. 

This Week on In/Exhale: Valentine's Day continues as Kai reveals his plans: a scavenger hunt that will take them through key memories and places from their relationship, beginning with Hamlet and a trip to Nancy's Cafe, where they shared their first kiss. Despite some tender moments, their day continues to hit major hurdles that threaten to derail everything.

Next Time on In/Exhale: Renee and Kai's Valentine festivities wind down as Kai risks further intimacy with Renee in more ways than one.

February 13, 2001 - Part II


I'll confess that this day is STILL not complete. . . . BUT what will be the final installment of the season is coming along better than I had anticipated. Just have to wrap up about 1.5 scenes and do a quick revision/proof and it'll be done. So I *think* we should make it till the end without any interruptions.

I've been obsessed with Black Butler lately, perhaps because I see some of Kai (and thus myself) in Ciel (for good or ill) and was actually inspired to write an extended fanfic with my own unique spin. I most likely will only post that on fanfiction.net, but it's no where near done so that's in the future. But, as a result of being inspired to write that, it may mean a bit of a (hopefully) short break before I pick up here again with Love UnSeen. But you never know. Just a head's up.

As always, I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read, and especially those who bother to comment. It means a lot especially after all the blood, sweat and tears I've poured into this little saga.

-CA

As always, be sure to check out the updated Table of Contents if you need to catch up with any episode.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

No new post

Hi,

Sorry I haven’t been able to post a new post but I should be back to normal next week. I have attached the link for the book which is released next month. Also if anyone bought The One and enjoyed it would you please leave a review 🙏🏻 If you didn’t enjoy it then don’t worry about the review 😂

Thank you

Link to Forever First Love

Link to The One

Monday, February 18, 2019

New chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi there friends,🙋
it's after one in the morning. I worked late again but I don't want to leave you waiting for the next chapter.
Here is Chapter 17 of Will Love Prevail.
Hope everyone is doing well, thanks for reading and commenting.
Hugs, Dani 😘
I will post an updated TOC later on today

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Update to Love is Blind

After the last chapter, you guys said you were eager for more chapters where Colin and Sophie interact.  So here you go!  But will Colin learn the truth about Sophie...?

Chapter 7

Table of Contents

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

NEW He's Not Mr. Perfect + new short story

Hey, there!
Here I am (at last) with a new chapter of this story I've been loving to write. I have never written something this big in English and I'm enjoying contributing to the site---God knows how I've devoured every single story here in my early days.

So here's the new installment:
Chapter VII --- The White Chucks Society.

And plus, I've got something new for you. This has been sitting in my Google Docs for at least two years (!) and I thought it might be a good idea to share it with you. I had no idea I once wrote in first-person. It's another blind hero, deafness is also portrayed, and the story has about four/five chapters. Maybe I'll write a prequel one of these days because I was reminded of how much I love this characters and rest assured I won't wait two years to post it, ;)

B-L-I-N-D?!

p.s.:Thank you so much for your kind words and your understanding since my last update. Thinking about it is hard and frustrating and outright gut-wrenching, but talking helps. We're taking it slow for now and won't explore other options until we feel ready to face another round of challenges. My heart goes for those going through something similar right now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New Devo Diary

Hi everyone, it's time for more Devo Diary! It's all wheelers all the time now! In this chapter, I meet yet another sporty para and things get HOT. Although I don't exactly cover myself in glory; this is one of the more shameful chapters.

Devo Diary Chapter 55: Trip, part 1

Table of Contents

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

New post Forever First Love and input

Here is the next chapter of Forever First Love. I might not manage to get a chapter up next week because I'm out of the country but I will try.

I am looking to begin writing another story (If people think it's worthwhile) and wanted some opinions on what to write it about. Do I use a SCI again or a different disability? If people think a different disability which disability?  New of some of my previous character? Your feedback would be much appreciated.

Thank you

Chapter 5

Monday, February 11, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
Happy Monday once again!
Since Friday we are snowed in here in the Pacific Northwest and it's been beautiful, especially because I didn't have to leave my house all weekend and thankfully so far we haven't lost power.
Here is another chapter of Will Love Prevail.
Hope you enjoy as Mark and Chiara are finally together again.
I give you Chapter 16 of WLP
Have fun reading and thanks for sticking with my story
Hugs, Dani

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Update to Love is Blind!

I'm back with another update to Love is Blind.  In this extra-long update, Colin hooks up... but it doesn't happen like you'd think....

Chapter 6

Table of Contents

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In/Exhale Continues - Valentine's Day Begins!

I'm really excited to finally share "today" with you. I wrote some of the parts of Renee & Kai's first Valentine's Day together ages ago and have been itching for it to actually happen. I'll be perfectly frank: I *still* have to get the last few scenes of the day done, but it shouldn't affect the first ~2-3 episodes, so hopefully I'll get it all done without having any weeks with no episode.

The theme of Renee & Kai's Valentine's Day is honesty as the two grow closer despite all that Kai is going through.

I know there's been a lot of angst lately, and some pretty heavy emotions. There's still a lot of that "today," but there's also a lot of sweetness I hope you all will enjoy.

Previously on In/Exhale: Dinner with Frankie's parents affects Kai deeper than expected, pushing him to attempt sex with Nikki. The experience goes sideways, and the next morning David comes to pick him up since Kai is naked, confused, and manically cleaning Nikki's apartment. Convinced Kai attempted to OD, he ensures Kai is never alone for the rest of the day. Based on the fact that Kai has had two major blackouts in a weekend, plus his current mental state, Dr. Miller encourages Kai to push up his Harbinger stay to February 14, and his Valentine's celebrations to the 13th. 
Kai spends the morning with Renee, and his emotional turmoil over the idea that he may have had sex with Nikki causes him to lash out at her more than once, but ultimately, they make peace. Kai's MLS pain has been severe since he walked too much during his Harbinger tour, and the idea that he may have OD'd has meant limited meds to control it. By day's end, Kai's physical and emotional pain cause him to be unfairly cruel to Jon. 
This Week on In/Exhale: The day starts early, since Kai can't sleep due to his pain, anger, and frustration. David forces Kai to meet with Dr. Miller, and Kai finally admits why the dinner at Frankie's has upset him so much. After, Kai is determined to make today special for Renee, beginning with a home-cooked breakfast, although, as always, things don't go how he'd planned. 
Next Time on In/Exhale: Valentine's Day continues, as Kai and Renee revisit events and places that are special to their relationship. Just when it seems like things are going perfectly, something happens that threatens to derail everything.


February 13, 2001 - Part I



Sorry today's update is late. I had to travel to NY overnight to see my specialist (he's basically THE specialist for what I have since it's super rare) and it wiped me out. I thought I was posting on Thursday, too, so that didn't help. Anyway, better late than never, right? My doc is increasing the frequency of my injections so we're hoping that will help with my symptoms and quality of life, and I'm praying it will mean I can be more productive with my writing, which means more stuff for you guys to read with less waiting in between.

As always, I really appreciate your comments. I read and re-read them all the time when I need a little boost. I'm really glad that my story means a lot to those of you who take the time to read it.

-CA

PS - The Table of Contents has been updated, in case you need to re-read any previous episodes, or catch up.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New Post Forever First Love

Here is the next chapter of Forever First Love. Is shows what Matt decides to do next. Thank you for previous comments they are much appreciated.




Chapter 4 - Forever First Love

Monday, February 4, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
Happy Monday!
Hope everyone is doing well.
Thanks to everyone who is still sticking with my story. I know it's probably not really devy at the moment but it is what it is and maybe a few people still enjoy it.
Here is Chapter 15 of "Will Love Prevail".
Thanks for reading and commenting if you are up for it,
Hugs, Dani

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Update to Love is Blind

Hi all!  Here is your regularly scheduled update to Love is Blind.  In this update, we learn a little more about what happened to Sophie:

Chapter 5

Table of Contents

Also, in honor of the sequel My Perfect Fiance being released, My Perfect Ex-Boyfriend is on sale for 99 cents for a very limited time on Amazon!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

No Update

Hey everyone,
I am so sorry about last week, and this one too. My bad news turned out to be even worse than I thought they were at first. As this isn't completely unrelated to devoteeism, I think I could share it. My SO is a quadriplegic, we'd been trying to conceive for a long time, I think most ab-pwd couples can relate to that, and I lost the baby when I was already at an advanced pregnancy stage to something unrelated to our fertility issues. I was in the worst place I could ever imagine being, but I do have a great support system and with my personal beliefs, I'm putting myself back together and I know I'll be fine, given time.
I couldn't have anything new for you this Saturday, even though I did write a lot this week, including He's Not Mr. Perfect. It did turn out to be super dark, so I'll go over it this week again and try to shift the narrative back to where it was. I will post next week, and I'll try to make it extra long and enjoyable. I'll also try to have something new in the Anita thing.
Thank you so much for your kind comments last chapter.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

new Devo Diary

Hi everyone, here is the latest chapter of Devo Diary! I know you are all wondering what happened to Sean. Since there was a part 1, there must be a part 2, right? I did hear from him again but not for several months, and so much happened before that. So please be patient for part 2--like how it happened in real life, it will turn up when you least expect it.

But don't worry, he was not the only hot para I met around this time. Next up:
Devo Diary Chapter 54: Wheelchair Basketball

More basketball practice with The Mantis, more early days of Paradevo, plus the theatrical release of the movie Murderball.

And as always, the Table of Contents

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New post for Forever First Love

Here is the next chapter for Forever First Love. Thank you for everyone who read the previous chapters and for the comments. This chapter is all about Matt in hospital.


Chapter 3

Monday, January 28, 2019

New chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,🌞
after a small delay since I worked late shifts over the weekend I now edited over the next chapter and give you Chapter 14 of Will Love Prevail. This is somewhat of a transitioning chapter in Mark's story since Chiara left.
Thanks for your patience and sticking with me and my story, feedback always welcome. 
Hugs and hope everyone is well,
Dani 💌

Sunday, January 27, 2019

New Release! My Perfect Fiance

For those of you who loved reading Noah and Bailey's story in My Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, but were frustrated because you didn't get to see enough of them being a couple... well, I listened to your feedback.  And I wrote a sequel that has a ton more of Noah and Bailey, even chapters from Noah's point of view.  It's one of my favorite things I've written:




Get it on Amazon, available NOW!  Here's the blurb:

My fiancé is the greatest guy ever.

Noah is sweet, he’s ridiculously sexy, he’s teaching my headstrong first grader how to read, and even his snoring is at an acceptable level of loudness. I can’t wait to marry this man. There’s only one thing that can stop us from living happily ever after:

My ex-husband, Theo.

Theo was a terrible husband and worse father. But now he’s back in my life, and no matter what I say, he can’t accept the fact that I’m marrying another man. Theo is desperate to get his family back.

And he’s not going down without a fight.


Get it on Amazon, available NOW!

Update to Love is Blind!

Here is this week's update to Love is Blind.  As usual, I would love any feedback because it is a work in progress.  But FYI, there are some deleted and reorganized scenes, so that could explain some discrepancies:

Chapter 4

And I finally made a Table of Contents!

Also, I have a surprise for you guys that I'll post later today!  Some of you might have figured out what it is, but for those who haven't, will post again soon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

In/Exhale Continues


I'll keep this short and sweet today!

Previously on In/Exhale: David goes to his job interview with the Deafie he met at the Jonesville Deaf Club meeting, and it doesn't go the way he'd expected. Kai has some time with Renee in which they seem to be getting closer, only for the bubble to burst, breaking her heart. David discovers keeping Kai safe is a lot harder than he anticipated.

This Week on In/Exhale: David catches up with Kai, who's struggling with everything that's going on in his life. Kai apologizes to Renee, but lashes out at Jon as the day concludes.

Coming Up on In/Exhale: Kai and Renee finally get to celebrate Valentine's Day together. Although Kai's day gets off to a rough start, he's determined to make the day as special for Renee as possible. The two grow closer, but a late-night phone call threatens to derail everything. . . .

February 12, 2001 - Part III



Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been pretty rough for me and I haven't been able to be as productive as I would have liked. As a result, as of this writing, February 13, 2001 isn't finished. However, I'd say it's about 90% complete, and since I was able to get my last dose of specialized medication on time this past Saturday, I'm hoping I'll be feeling well enough to post the first episode of the likely four-part season finale starting February 6, 2019. I'm very excited that the first couple episodes will actually happen around Valentine's Day, which I think is the first time that I've ever been able to coincide what's happening in In/Exhale with real-life holidays.

I'm slowly catching up with posting full days/chapters on my site, http://chiealeman.com/, so if you prefer to read them that way instead of in episode form, they post every Sunday. Once the season concludes, I will format the entire season into an ebook as I have in the past, and offer it for free download on my site. Additionally, I will take a break before Season 4 begins to re-start (and hopefully) finish my story Love UnSeen. If I'm lucky, I'll try to work on both that and S4 at the same time.

Thank you again for your support and feedback despite my long absence from the site. It really means a lot!

-CA

PS - As always, you can catch up with In/Exhale at any time via the Table of Contents - you can even find summaries of major story arcs at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Post for Forever First Love

Here is the second chapter of Forever First Love. This chapter is mainly about Matt's accident.  Hope you enjoy.








Forever First Love - Chapter 2




Here is the first chapter for anyone who missed it.


Forever First Love - Chapter 1

Monday, January 21, 2019

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
happy Monday! I was just watching the Super Blood Wolf Moon through binoculars on my balcony, it looked very awesome.🌘
Well, I was a little worried about last week's chapter and I hope I didn't shock you too much with the turn of events and somewhat explicit scene.🖤
In my original story Chiara wasn't going to be with Mark yet for a while and remember I rewrote the story to give you some close moments between the two so you wouldn't have to wait too long. 💑 Yes, I took Chiara away again and I'm coming around to some of the original story plot again. I hope you are still going to stick with the story and I hope you're still going to enjoy the following chapters.
Comments are always welcome and I thank you so much for reading.
Here is Chapter 13 of "Will Love Prevail".
Hugs, Dani🌜

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Update to Love is Blind

There's a blizzard coming tonight, so I wanted to schedule this post before the power went out.  Without any further delay, Colin and Sophie finally meet:

Chapter 3

Also, if you missed it, here is Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.  Next time I will for sure make a TOC!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Update to He's Not Mr. Perfect

Oof! I almost missed this week's installment. Got some pretty bad news, didn't have the heart to finish editing it today, on Friday, so I hope it's all good. I leave you with

Chapter VI -- Dinner & a Movie

From now on, things will take off for these two. I feel like you've had enough of date-chapters, haha Would love to hear what you think about it in the comments.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Devo Diary

It's time for more Devo Diary! In this chapter, I meet the sporty para of my dreams. What could possibly go wrong? I know you all have been waiting for more hot wheeler action, so here it is.

Devo Diary Chapter 53: Sean, part 1


Table of Contents

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Novel Forever First Love


Hi, here is the introduction to my new book. Unfortunately there are no devvy parts today but it will get to those parts pretty soon. Hope you enjoy and that there aren't too much typos.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Chapter 1 - Forever First Love

Forever First Love


Chapter 1




Chloe





I remember the first time that I met Matthew Hopkins so clearly. My parents had decided to have a BBQ in the garden, and Ben’s mum had recently started working with my mum at the bank. The Hopkins were new to the area so mum thought it would be nice to invite them. Mr and Mrs Hopkins arrived with 3 children behind them, twins Sarah and Emma and their younger brother Matthew. My sister Nicola was playing in the Wendy house at the bottom of the garden so the twins quickly vanished into there. I was practising my kick ups in the middle of the lawn and Matt confidently approached me and asked, “fancy a game of heads and volleys?”




For the rest of the night I played football with Matt. We practiced penalties, kick ups and had a game of cuppy. followed by playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo for what felt like hours. When it was finally time for the Hopkins to leave, I was gutted. I had found a new friend and was hoping that it wouldn’t be the last time that I saw him however, our mums promised we would do something the following weekend which both myself and Matt were very happy about.

New Chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
another week gone by and I have been so busy starting the new year and life stuff....
But here is Chapter 12 of "Will Love Prevail".
It's not as long as usual but I hope you are okay with that. I have been working a lot last week and just trying to at least get something posted for you. More next week.
Thanks for reading and commenting, very much appreciated,
Hugs, Dani

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Chapter 2 - Forever First Love

Chapter 2

 

Chloe


 

I can’t believe how quick the last 3 years had gone. One more exam and I was a fully-fledged nurse and Matt would have his degree in business and finance. We could then finally begin our lives together for real.

 

“Good luck babes, you go and knock them dead,” Matt stated as he placed a firm kiss on my lips. “I can’t wait until you are qualified and you can be my very own dirty nurse.”

“One more exam and this nurse will show you how good her bedside manner is,” I replied whilst giving his bum a firm squeeze.

 

Update to Love is Blind

Hi, everyone!  Thanks so much for the feedback on my new story!  As I said, writing about a blind character is new to me, and especially writing from that guy's perspective.  So I appreciate your thoughts and telling me if I'm on target!

Chapter 2

And for those of you who haven't read it yet, here is Chapter 1.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Chapter 3 - Forever First Love


Chapter 3

 

Chloe

When Mr and Mrs Hopkins returned it was my turn. I slowly walked down the hall and froze outside the ICU door. Carly grabbed hold of my hand and gave it a little squeeze. Quietly and slowly I pushed the heavy grey door open, and before me lay Matt, hooked up to that many machines it was hard to make him out. I pulled up beside him and carefully picked up his hand and brought it towards my lips. “Don’t you worry about this. I need you to rest now because when you wake up we have a hell of a fight on our hands,” I sobbed whilst kissing his hand. “It’s going to be hard work, but I’m with you every step of the way. We’ll beat this, just you wait and see.” After a couple more minutes the doctor told us we needed to leave because Matt needed rest.

Update to He's Not Mr.Perfect

Hey!

First of all, sorry about missing last week. I got stranded at the beach, no internet to speak of, so I couldn't update, sorry about that. Now I hope you like this (redemption? lol) chapter, because it wasn't going to be today's update at all, I wrote it this week as a bonus thanks to the spare time I had and I thought it was a pretty nice addition. Not as long as the last chapter, but I think it's nice enough to make up for it. Tell me what you think, I really appreciate it.
About the story Anita, I liked some of your suggestions of alternating between the stories and I think I might! Let's see how it goes.

Without further ado:

Chapter V - Cappuccinos & Croissants

Enjoy!

Oh, and I have finally put together a Table of Contents to make your life easier.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Chapter 4 - Forever First Love


Chapter 4

 


Matt



I didn’t sleep well that night, my mind was constantly going over whether I could make Chloe go through the torment of living her life with a useless cripple. I loved her more than I could imagine ever loving anyone else. If I decided to let her go, it would break my heart, but I knew I needed to make a decision sooner rather than later, and not for me, but for Chloe.


Around 10am two members of the nursing staff walked in and told me they were going to give me a bed wash and generally clean me up. So far other than my bowel management this was by far the most degrading aspect of my disability and one that I was in no rush for anyone else to witness.


The curtain had been half pulled around me to prevent anyone who walked into my room from seeing me immediately. I was laid naked on the bed whilst one of the nurses was emptying my catheter and the other one was cleaning around my penis.


Just at that minute I heard a rustling at the curtains and very quietly Chloe appeared around the side. “It’s only me,” she said quietly in a very hesitant voice.

“Great, good timing,” replied one of the nurses. “You can watch what we do so you can help him in the future.”

“Er… erm, ok,” stuttered Chloe.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Chapter 5 - Forever First Love


Chapter 5

2 years later

Chloe

I’d finally got into the swing of reality as I returned from my world trip. After I’d returned I couldn’t face returning to live in my own town, because the likelihood would be that I’d bump into Matt on a daily basis and I still wasn’t quite ready for that. The last thing I had heard about Matt was from my mum around 11 months ago when he had been discharged from rehab and had moved home with his mum and dad around the corner from my parents. My mum felt the need to fill me in with way too many details and at that point I told her I no longer wanted to hear about Matt until it was something serious to do with his health. So now I was living around 30 minutes away just outside Leeds city centre with my good friend Carly.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Chaper 6 - Forever First Love


Chapter 6

Matt
I rolled into my old bedroom at my parents’ house and sighed. The room reminded me of so many happy times as a kid and I couldn’t help but smile. On my wall there was a collage of photos throughout my school and college years and Chloe was on nearly every single one. I rolled closer and took a closer look. One photo that brought back strong memories was a photo of a group of us camping in Chloe’s back garden. Instantly I was thrown back to that night.

Three tents were pitched around the outside of the garden and in the middle we all sat on the cold, damp ground with a bottle in the middle ready to play spin the bottle. We’d played the game for a little while, but now the cider we had been discretely drinking was starting to reach our heads and we were all feeling over confident. “Ok, next two people it lands on need to have a full blown snog that lasts for a minute,” said Anthony, a lad from school, in a cocky voice.
“Ok, it’s my turn to spin the bottle,” demanded Carly. She spun the bottle and before I knew it, it had landed on me.
“Ok big lad, your turn to spin it to find out who you are going to snog,” stated Chloe’s cousin Darryl. I looked around and I knew instantly where I wanted it to land. I was known as one of the popular lads in my year and all the girls sat around were posing waiting for it to land on one of them. However, not one of those is where I wanted it to land. Laid on her belly next to me was Chloe who was resting her face in her hands. She was wearing a football T-shirt and shorts and had her hair scraped back into a pony. “Come on Matt,” Chloe moaned. “We haven’t got all day.”

In/Exhale Continues

Welcome back, everyone! This week is an emotional roller coaster for Kai, Renee, and David...

Previously On In/Exhale: David found Kai naked and confused at Nikki's new apartment. Concerned he may have tried to overdose the night before, he tells Dr. Miller about it, who drills Kai. Kai denies it; he's more concerned that he may have had sex with Nikki and cheated on Renee, though his memory of the previous night after he left Frankie's house is sketchy. Dr. Miller decides it would be best if Kai moved up his admission to Harbinger to Valentine's Day, and celebrated the holiday tomorrow instead. David has to go to a job interview, so he encourages Renee not to leave Kai unattended, though he won't say why.

This Week On In/Exhale: David goes to his job interview with the Deafie he met at the Jonesville Deaf Club meeting, and it doesn't go the way he'd expected. Kai has some time with Renee in which they seem to be getting closer, only for the bubble to burst, breaking her heart. David discovers keeping Kai safe is a lot harder than he anticipated.

Next Time On In/Exhale: David catches up with Kai, who's struggling with everything that's going on in his life. Kai apologizes to Renee, but lashes out at Jon.


February 12, 2001 - Part II



The final episode of Feb 12 will be the week after next, or January 23. I'm doing my best to finish up the last day of the season, but it's been tough. I *might* have to take an extra week off after next week to finish. I'll do my best NOT to, but heads up in advance.

Thanks for all your comments last week. It's good to be back on the blog. I wish I was able to be more productive so I could guarantee more consistent content in the weeks to come, but I am grateful for those of you who waited for me and Kai to return.

-CA

As always, you can catch up any time with the Table of Contents.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Chapter 7 - Forever First Love


Chapter 7

 

Chloe


 

After the wedding I’d received one or two text messages off Matt but that was all. I’d hoped our friendship would rekindle into best friends again, but that didn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.

 

Final Update For The One

Hi everyone


This will be my last post for The One and I will be posting the new story Forever First Love next week. I have put an extended chapter on today and people who want to read it the rest it is available on Amazon. I have recently found out that you can download the Kindle App without actually having a kindle if people weren't aware.




Chapter 7


Link to the book

Monday, January 7, 2019

Love is Blind: Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 8 - Forever First Love


Chloe
Since the football game, Matt and I had become inseparable again and I was over the moon. We texted and spoke on the phone constantly and made sure we met at least once a week for tea. Earlier on in the week we had met up in my local pub for our tea and to play the quiz, when Matt let it slip that he’d been playing wheelchair rugby for the last six months. I pestered him to let me go watch him so tonight I was meeting him at the local sports centre to watch him play and then we were going out for food.

New chapter "Will Love Prevail"

Hi friends,
hope everyone started out the new year well.
Thanks to everyone who is still reading the story.
I give you this week's chapter Chapter 11    of  "Will Love Prevail".
Hope you enjoy and if you do, I would love some comments. Thanks for reading.
Have a wonderful week,
Hugs, Dani

Here is the TOC

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Another thing....

I wanted to mention that for anyone who reads my books on Kindle Unlimited, I just put my box series about Dean and Callie (Santa's Girl) on KU for the first time.

Get the Santa's Girl Box Series on KU!

New Story from Annabelle: Love is Blind

So due to majority rules, the new story I'm posting is about the Iraq War veteran who was blinded in service. This is my FIRST blindness story, so I'm a little nervous about it, but Devogirl told me it was devvy, so I've got my fingers crossed you like it. 

Love is Blind

Summer, 2011


Colin

Where is my goddamn toothbrush?

I don’t get it.  My toothbrush was right on the ledge of the sink when I knocked it off in my attempt to pick it up.  I didn’t karate kick it off the ledge—I just knocked it off with the back of my hand and heard a clattering noise as it landed.  Which means the toothbrush should presumably be on the floor, within a one-foot radius around the sink.

Except it isn’t.  I have gotten down on my hands and knees and felt every single inch of the floor in a two-foot radius around the sink, and that toothbrush is nowhere to be found.  It has disappeared into a toothbrush vortex, entering an Evil Parallel Toothbrush Universe in which, I don’t know, toothbrushes are used to clean people’s toes instead of their mouths.

But that’s my life these days. 

My fingers hit the porcelain of the bathtub and I contemplate feeling around inside the bathtub.  It couldn’t have gone in there, could it?

Shit.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Chapter 9 - Forever First Love


Chloe


 

It had been two days since the rugby match and Matt had been the model patient. I was surprised how patient he was, but then again I’m guessing that came from learning to live with his disability and having to rely on carers.

 

I called around after work on Wednesday, which was nearly 48 hours later and Matt was sat up in bed watching television. As soon as I walked into his bedroom he pulled the quilt up to his chest. I didn’t react and sat myself down in his chair. I instantly wondered if he minded, so I asked, “you don’t mind if I sit here do you?”

“No make yourself at home,” he replied.

“So how are you feeling now? I asked. “I must say you are looking rough,” I laughed whilst giving his beard a little rub. “In need of a trim as well I’d say.”

“Thanks for the compliment,” Matt replied in a sarcastic tone. “Truthfully though, I’m not 100% yet but I’m in a hell of a lot less pain. I’m going to venture out of bed later, but not without Gemma watching me.”

“Can I have a look?” I asked.

“Sure knock yourself out,” he said.

I stood up from the chair and pulled the quilt down a little bit and stopped once I realised Matt wasn’t wearing a top. I knew that pulling it further down would only torture him and that was the last thing I wanted to do. I hoped it wouldn’t take long for Matt to become comfortable with me again like he did in the past.

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Devo Diary

Happy New Year everyone! I almost forgot my day because of the holiday mid week, haha. As of next week I'll be sharing alternate Wednesdays with Chie.

Here is the next chapter of Devo Diary:

Devo Diary Chapter 52: Uri

So in this chapter I have a very brief flirtation with an AB guy, but then it's off to wheelchair basketball practice with The Mantis.

Table of Contents

Oh and by the way I have been writing more Daredevil fanfiction and posting it over on Archive of Our Own. If you're interested in that kind of thing, please check it out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Love is Blind, Chapter 2

Colin

Time to take my pill.

Every morning, before I go downstairs for breakfast, I take one of the pills in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.  The label for Lexapro is written in braille, but I don’t need it.  The bottle is always on the bottom shelf of the medicine cabinet, all the way on the left.  The next bottle in the row is Tylenol, which is easily distinguishable from the Lexapro by its size.  There’s one other bottle, which is my sleeping pills, although I only take those if I need them.  So the Lexapro is the only one I take every single day.

They started it back at rehab, when I refused to participate in my therapies anymore.  It wasn’t always that way—I started off strong.  Really strong.  I got out of the hospital after being seriously ill for a long time, and I was eager to get back to my real life.  I knew I had a lot of challenges ahead of me, but I was used to hard work. I thought it wouldn’t be anything I couldn’t get past with some training.  In other words, I was fucking deluded.

For three months, I was a model patient.  I learned to navigate voice-operated programs on the computer and my phone.  I learned to walk using my white cane without bumping into things (much).  I was even learning to cook.  They got me into the kitchen and had me make scrambled eggs.  I seasoned them with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese, and I joked with my therapist that they were the best eggs I ever made in my life.

The night I made the eggs, I had trouble sleeping.  I had struggled with insomnia since my injury, and usually would listen to an audiobook or ask for a sleeping pill.  But that night, I decided to use my newly acquired kitchen skills to make myself a cup of tea. 

I had a mental map of the rehab unit, so I felt confident of finding the kitchen without any difficulty.  I was so confident, I didn’t even bring my cane.  I had been there dozens of times in the three months I’d been in rehab.  Dozens of times.  It hadn’t even occurred to me I’d have any trouble.

But as it turned out, I missed the turn for the kitchen.  I kept walking, intermittently feeling the walls for landmarks, but not finding anything familiar.  At some point, I realized I had accidentally wandered out of the rehab unit entirely.  If it were daytime, someone would have rescued me quickly and brought me back, but since it was two in the morning, there was no one around.  No one I could hear, anyway.

At first, I was confident I could find my way back.  I kept feeling the walls for landmarks.  At one point, I felt the edges of a sign and was certain it would tell me where to go, but while the signs on the blind unit all had braille characters, this sign was flat.  I ran my fingers over it, frustrated that I had no way of extracting the information it contained.

It took half an hour.  Half an hour of wandering around, growing more and more frustrated and scared, before a woman’s voice asked if she could help me.  I told her in a shaky voice that I was trying to find my way back to the blind rehab unit.  She led me there, and here’s the punchline: I was only about three minutes away.  I’d been going around in circles the whole time, trying to find something practically under my nose.

I couldn’t sleep after that.  All I could think about was how I’d gotten hopelessly lost going to a place I’d been to many times before.  The thought of doing something new without help was unfathomable.  No matter how hard I worked here, I would always need help.  I was always going to be on the brink of being lost. 

For the first time since I lost my sight, I felt the full weight of my disability.

I lost interest in therapy after that.  I figured what was the point? A lot of days, the therapists had trouble persuading me to even get out of bed.  I got sick of hearing their motivational speeches.  They could see and I couldn’t, so what the hell did they know anyway?  I wanted to go home.

That’s when a psychiatrist came in to evaluate me.  No PTSD, he decided.  Just depressed.  He prescribed the Lexapro, but it didn’t help.  I still wanted to go home.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as all that, and I knew it better than anyone.  Maybe I was competent to say I wanted to leave and they couldn’t hold me against my will, but so what?  It wasn’t like I could physically leave on my own.  I didn’t even know how to get out of the building, much less find my way back to Dorchester.  I was trapped by my disability.  They had to call my parents, who flew in to see me and to try to convince me to stay.  It didn’t work.

Well, maybe he’ll do better once he’s home, they all said.

Except I haven’t done better at home.  I’m the first to admit I haven’t made any progress whatsoever since I left rehab.  At first, I dutifully went to the low vision clinic in JP, but I refused to go once they pushed me to do anything outside of the VA.  I’ve been to the psychiatrist there once, but missed my last two appointments.

I pull the bottle of Lexapro off the shelf.  I shake it—it’s about half full.  I remove the cap and place it carefully on the sink so it doesn’t end up flying into the toilet bowl.  I shake one pill into the palm of my left hand.  Then I hesitate.

These pills don’t help.  I should just dump them down the toilet—on purpose this time.  I can’t figure out why I’m taking them other than it makes my mother happy.  I’m on the maximum dose now.  It does nothing.

I sigh and toss the pill in my mouth.  I turn on the sink, let some cold water run into my hand, and throw that down my throat to help me swallow it.  Taking the pills keeps my mother off my back, at least.

I head downstairs to get some breakfast.  I don’t use my cane inside the house, so I have to walk slowly and carefully. My parents’ house is small and I know it really well.  I keep my hand on the wall intermittently when I walk, and the dim shadows I can see are enough to ensure I probably won’t walk into a wall. Probably.

There are twelve stairs to get from the second floor to the first floor of the house.  I have to count carefully as I walk down them, holding onto the railing.  Last week, I counted wrong somehow and ended up on the floor.  I couldn’t see it, but I was told I had a black eye for days.  If I were smart, I’d use my cane in the house, but I don’t want to.

When I get to the base of the stairs, the scent of eggs fills my nostrils, and I nearly gag.  Ever since that day in rehab, I can’t stand the smell of eggs.  I know I’ve told my mother that, but she’s making them anyway.  The smell is bad enough that I nearly go back upstairs.  But I barely ate dinner last night and my stomach is growling.  Better eat.

The stench of eggs grows stronger when I get closer to the kitchen. Now that I’ve lost my sight, my buddy Dan (the only friend I’ve got who still talks to me) asks me if my other senses are heightened.  For example, do I have Super-smell?  Short answer: I do not.  But I know eggs.  I could recognize them a mile away.

A pan sizzles loudly, and I don’t get any closer.  I have no interest in getting anywhere near the stove anymore.  I can microwave anything I need to eat.  My parents put braille labels on the buttons of the microwave so I’d know what was what.

“Hi, Colin.” My mother’s voice.  I’ve gotten used to her forced cheerfulness.  “Everything okay?”

“Yeah,” I mumble.

Another sizzle from the pan.  “Do you want some eggs, honey?”

My stomach turns.  “No.  I’ll make myself some cereal.”

“I can make it for you,” she offers.

I bite back a smartass response.  She’s always pushing me to do more on my own, but somehow she doesn’t think I’m capable of making a goddamn bowl of cereal. 

“I can handle it,” I say through my teeth.

I turn to the cabinets where I know my parents keep the bowls.  I open the cabinet and pull out a medium-sized bowl.  Frosted flakes are kept on the countertop.  I find them with my fingers, open the box, and shake them into the bowl.  I don’t hear any hit the counter, which I count as a win.

“So what did you talk about with Major Floyd yesterday?” Ma asks me.

I leave my bowl of cereal to find the fridge.  Ma keeps the milk on the door of the fridge, bottom shelf, all the way on the left. 

“Quit pretending you don’t know,” I say.  I pull out the half-full carton and bring it back to the counter.  “I’m sure he had a talk with you about me.  Didn’t he?”

Ma is quiet for a minute.  She’s always been a crap liar.  “He mentioned he thought you might want to learn to read braille for books.”

I open the container of milk and sniff it.  I made the mistake of not smelling the milk in the past and ended up with a bowl of frosted flakes and sour milk.  And once a bowl of frosted flakes and orange juice.  I almost lost it when that happened. 

“So?” she says.

“So… what?”

“So are you interested in getting better at braille?”

“No.” I tip the milk carton just enough so that I don’t drench my cereal.  I hate soggy frosted flakes.  “Not really.”

“I think it would be great for you,” she says.  “It would be a challenge, but not too overwhelming.”

Somehow she’s seized on my “not really” to mean “maybe.” 

“I called the library,” she goes on.  “They didn’t have any braille books at the Dorchester branch, but they said they could order some and have them in a few days.”

“The library?” I replace the cap on the milk and walk back to the fridge to put it back where it was, where I’ll be able to find it next time.  “I’m not going to the library.  Are you out of your mind?”

“I thought it would be nice to get out of the house,” she says.

“I get out of the house.”

“Walking to the corner store every day and back is not getting out of the house.” 

Every few days, when I feel like I’m suffocating within the walls of my bedroom, I take a walk.  I’ve got a map in my head of everything on the five-block walk to the mini-mart at the corner. I know where all the crosswalks are. Raj at the mini-mart knows my situation and doesn’t act awkward when I come in the door.  He pours me a coffee, and I know the stools and the counter are on the left.  The chances of my falling, injuring myself, looking like an idiot, or getting lost during this excursion are relatively minimal.

“Please, Colin.” The smell of eggs is fading.  Maybe she’s done cooking.  “I think this would be good for you.”

I feel around in the drawer below the counter for a spoon.  Ma was always the queen of weird spoons—the silverware drawer contained impossibly tiny spoons, comically giant spoons, spoons with holes in them for no discernible purpose. I used to joke around that it would take me half an hour to sort through all the crazy spoons and find a normal-sized spoon.  But now I feel in the first slot of the silverware sorter and pull out a normal spoon on my very first try.  It’s all she has in there anymore.  I don’t know where her crazy spoons all went.

“No, Ma,” I say.  “I don’t want to.  It’s… pointless.”

“You say everything is pointless.”

Maybe because everything is pointless.  I come out of my room for meals, I go outside every once in a while, I shower and brush my teeth—what the hell else does she want from me?

I pick up my bowl to carry it the three feet from the counter to the kitchen table.  It’s something I have done dozens of times before.  Something I’d felt confident I could handle without any difficulty.  But just like when I was in rehab and thought I could find the kitchen, there’s something waiting to trip me up. 

Except this time it’s literal.  I trip on the leg of one of the chairs.

The miracle is I manage to hold onto my cereal bowl.  But the contents go flying.  I hear Frosted Flakes hitting the floor and milk sloshes against my hand clutching the bowl.  The spoon clinks against the ground.  Or is it the table?  Who the hell knows?

If I were alone, I don’t know how I’d possibly begin to clean this up.  Maybe this is something they would have taught me if I’d stayed in blind rehab—how to clean up a bigass mess you can’t see.  Because your parents left a fucking chair in the middle of the room.

“What the hell?” I yell, my right hand balling into a fist as I slam the bowl down on the table with my left.

“Calm down,” Ma says quickly.  “It’s no big deal.  I’ll clean it up.”

“But you…” I kick at the chair—hard. There’s a loud thump as it topples to the floor.  “You left a fucking chair in the middle of the room when you knew I’d trip over it!”

“Colin, language…”

All the blood rushes to my face.  “Really, Ma?  Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Colin…”

But it’s too late.  My fist has taken on a life of its own.  Before I can stop myself, I’ve thrown a punch directly into the wall.

If I didn’t spend over an hour every day burning off my frustrations by lifting weights in my bedroom or if the walls in the kitchen were a little better reinforced, the outcome might have been different.  As it is, the plaster cracks and yields under my fist.  I may not be able to see the damage, but I know it’s bad.

And then I’m shaking.  I’ve never punched a wall before.  Never done anything like that.  I’ve seen plenty of guys in my platoon do it.  Some of those idiots broke their hands on walls less yielding than this one.  But not me.  I didn’t have a temper.  I was the guy who talked the other guys down.

I can’t believe I broke the wall.  Shit.

What the hell is happening to me?

I hear soft whimpering.  Ma.  She’s crying.  Christ, she’s crying.  I made my mother cry.

“I’m sorry, Ma.”  I rub my hands over my face.  My right knuckles feel sore—I wonder if the skin is broken.  “I didn’t mean to…”

She doesn’t say anything.  She’s still crying. 

My chest feels tight, like someone is cinching a belt around my rib cage.  “Ma?”

“I don’t know what to do for you anymore, Colin.” Her voice is barely a whisper.  “Tell me what to do.  Please.”

She’s crying harder now.  I feel awful.  I want to hug her, but I don’t entirely know where she is.

“Look,” I say, “I’ll… I can go to the library with you.  We can do the braille thing if you want.” I’m desperate to get her to stop crying, so I add, “It won’t be so bad.”

“You’ll really go?” Her voice shakes when she says the words, but she sounds hopeful.  This is not going to be something I can back out on if I agree.

“Yeah, I’ll do it.”

I jolt because my mother’s arms are suddenly around my neck.  She’s hugging me, like the way I wanted to hug her.  I hug her back, but I feel as empty as ever.  I’ll go to the library if it will make her happy.  I’ll bring my braille for dummies book.  I’ll do it for my mother.

I’ll pretend for her.  But really, nothing’s changed.

 

Sophie

Carrie McNally runs the Children’s Floor with an iron fist.

Carrie feels strongly about it.  She’s had this job for ten years now. Since you were in high school, Sophie, she always says. So that means she knows what’s best.  Kids will get out of control if you let them.  Children will be the ruin of the children’s library.

As such, there are some rules that must be followed in the Children’s Floor:

1) Absolutely no running.

2) Indoor voices only.

3) No snacks or drinks.

4) Toys can be played with for maximum of thirty minutes, and then must be returned to their proper location, even if nobody else is waiting to play with them.

5) Only adults may touch the computers.

6) No laughter or sounds of enjoyment.

Okay, the last one isn’t a real rule, but considering how steadfastly Carrie adheres to the other rules, it may as well be.  Telling kids they can use “indoor voices only” is all fine and good for a seven-year-old, but it’s hard to tell that to a one-year-old.  A one-year-old does not know what an indoor voice is.  They’re lucky if they know their name.

But Carrie is my superior and I’m not in any position to argue with her.

Right now, Carrie and I are manning the desk at the Children’s Floor together, which isn’t a very hard job.  Carrie is mostly playing with her iPhone, and I get up every fifteen minutes or so to reshelf books or check if anyone is having computer difficulties—not because it needs to be done so much as I hate sitting next to Carrie.  She’s unfriendly to me to the point of being hostile.  Do you know what it feels like to spend an entire afternoon sitting two feet away from someone who barely speaks a word to you?  It’s not fun.

I’d hoped she’d warm up to me during the three years I’ve worked here, but she hasn’t.  If anything, she’s less friendly than she was when I started. I think it bothers her that our boss Steve has taken a liking to me, and she can’t figure out why.  Morgan thinks Carrie is secretly in love with Steve.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a toddler hurrying to the point of *gasp* running across one of the aisles of picture books while holding a *double gasp* cookie.  I glance over at Carrie and see her immediately sit up straight in her wooden chair, her hawk eyes seeing everything.  Carrie will not let this go unchecked.  Not in her library.

She gets up from her seat, smoothing out the creases on her pencil skirt and brushing imaginary dust from her argyle sweater.  Carrie has the ultimate librarian look.  She’s in her early forties, with hair that is an undetermined mix of gray and blond, with glasses that always sit low on her nose.  She looks like someone who would be sexy if she had on the right dress, lost the glasses, and tousled her hair a bit. (Isn’t that always the way with librarians?) Sometimes I look at women like Carrie and wonder… if she could be beautiful, why wouldn’t she try to be? 

I know I would.

Carrie reaches the toddler in five short strides.  By now, the little boy’s mother has come into sight too.  The mother is juggling an infant in one arm and has a diaper bag in the other arm, the size of which rivals the bags under her eyes.  This poor woman is clearly aware her toddler is running in a strict no-running zone.

“Excuse me,” Carrie says to the mother in the sharp, impatient voice she uses whenever anyone is breaking any of the rules of the Children’s Floor.  “There’s no running in the library.”

“Yes,” the woman manages as she shifts the infant on her hip.  “I know.  I’m so sorry.”  She makes a grab for her son’s arm, but he escapes her and hurries down the next aisle.  “Ryan, please don’t run!  Please!”

The boy stops for a moment to munch on his cookie.  Crumbs fall from his mouth and dust the carpeting.  Carrie inhales sharply.

“You’ll have leave if he can’t control himself,” she says.

“But my daughter is…” The woman scans the library, searching for her other child.  I spot her in another aisle, flipping through one of the chapter books.  I recognize the girl.  Her name is Delilah and she reads extremely well for a seven-year-old.  On my recommendation, she’s been working her way through the My Weird School series.  I’ve put two of them aside for her today.  “She wanted to look at books.”

“Then perhaps you and your son should wait outside,” Carrie suggests.

“Yes, we could, of course…” The woman swipes a few stray hairs from her face that have escaped from her messy ponytail.  “Um, let me just grab Ryan… and I need to tell Delilah…”

I take this opportunity to jump out of my own seat.  These wooden chairs are both dangerous and uncomfortable, and it feels so good every time I stand up.  I can’t believe Carrie’s been sitting in these awful chairs for over a decade.  No wonder she’s cranky.

“I’ll go talk to Delilah,” I say as I hurry over to them.  I smile at the mother, hoping she recognizes it as a smile.  I’ve been told my smile looks more like a grimace.  “I’ve got some books for her, anyway.”

The mother lifts her slightly bloodshot eyes to look at me.  I brace myself for her response.  I recognize her daughter, so I’d assume they’ve been to the library enough to recognize me.  But you never know.  I’m relieved when she smiles back at me.  “That would be great.  Thank you.”

Delilah is sitting in the B aisle, cross-legged on the carpet, deeply engrossed in a book as her dark hair hangs down to obscure her face.  She’s directly in front of the Judy Blume shelf.  Judy Blume—one of my favorite authors when I was a young girl.  I’ve read every word she’s ever written—even her adult books, although I didn’t like those nearly as much. 

Delilah turns a page, too caught up in the book to even notice I’m standing over her.  I kneel down beside her to see what book she’s reading.  It’s Freckle Juice.  One of the first things I ever read by Judy Blume.

“Hi, Delilah,” I say.

She lifts her own freckled face, and it breaks out in a smile.  “Hi, Sophie.”

When I first ran across Delilah at the library three years ago, she stared at me with gigantic eyes and gasped, “Are you an alien?”

Kids react to me by staring.  Always.  Sometimes they get scared like Declan Sheehan did, but a lot of them just blurt out questions.  Delilah wasn’t the first kid to ask me if I was an alien.  Kids have asked me if I was wearing a Halloween costume.  They’ve asked me if my face got melted.  Sometimes they just blurt out, “What happened to you?”

But the best thing about kids, especially little kids, is they adjust to anything.  There are adults who have been coming here for the entire three years I’ve worked here and still give me looks of disgust or pity, whereas all the regular kids now treat me just like any other adult.  They accept things and move on.

“Are you enjoying that book?” I ask Delilah.

“Uh huh.” She crinkles her little upturned nose.  “I hate my freckles.  I don’t know why anyone would want to have them.”

Delilah does admittedly have a lot of freckles.  They pour down her nose and dot her cheeks, chin and forehead.  But they suit her.  She is a beautiful girl.  When I was seven, I would have given anything to have skin like Delilah’s.  Freckles, moles, zits—anything would have been preferable to the reality.

“I like your freckles,” I tell Delilah.

Her cheeks flush.  Her skin is pale and a window to her emotions.  “Sophie?” she says.

“Yes?”

She’s staring intently at my face.  I know what she wants to ask.  She’s dying to know.  Nobody is more honest than children, and many of them will ask me outright.  Miss Sophie, why is your skin like that?  What is wrong with your nose? Where are your ears?

If they ask, I always answer honestly.  But they have to ask.  Call it shame or pride, but I won’t volunteer the information.

Delilah, however, is mature beyond her years.  She’s too shy to ask, so she just drops her head and mumbles, “Did you put aside the My Weird School books for me?”

“Of course I did.”

She rewards me with a beautiful smile that doesn’t look anything like a grimace. 

After the little girl picks out a few new books, I help her check out all her selections, then send her out in the hallway, where the rest of her family has been quarantined.  The mother flashes me a grateful look, and I have to bite my lip to keep myself from apologizing on Carrie’s behalf. 

When I get back into the room, there are no sounds of children talking or laughing.  Carrie must be happy.

“Sophie?” Carrie says to me as I slip into the seat next to hers.  She doesn’t look up from her phone as she says my name.

“Yes?”

“We need to have a talk.” This time she raises her eyes.  “Later.”

That sounded ominous.

“What about?” I ask.

She narrows her eyes at me. “We’ll discuss it later.”

I know Carrie doesn’t have the ability to fire me (because if she did, I’d be long gone), but this doesn’t sound good.  I sit there for a moment, my stomach churning.  What have I done?  I’m never late.  I haven’t been shirking on any of my responsibilities.  I haven’t been running in the library or eating snacks.  What could we possibly need to have “a talk” about?

I settle back in my uncomfortable wooden chair and try not to think about it.

To be continued....