Archive for March, 2013

To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 63) She’s Dead

“I don’t see Crispin anywhere,” says Lyla. “I hope you didn’t insult him by dragging me away like that. What in the world are you doing and where have you been?” she says harshly. They both grow quiet and do not say anything for a few minutes. Rain is pelting at the windows of the house as the wind outside picks up. Lyla acts as if she is going to stand up when Marcus puts his hand on her knee and moves in closer which causes her to sit back down. “Don’t make a scene, please don’t draw attention to us.” he says as he watches Lyla’s face and then looks around to see who may be standing nearby. “I found Penny.”

“Well it’s about time, and now that you mention it, I thought she was upstairs with Marnie. Remember when we were up there and heard the squeaking in the hall and I left to rejoin the party? Well, Marnie was talking to Penny, I didn’t see her but I heard her voice. Oh but then again it could have been Marnie’s voice, I don’t know.” Lyla pauses and puts her head down on her knees then looks sideways at Marcus. “Crispin was in the room as well, he followed me when I came downstairs.” She continues as she lifts up again. “The odd thing is he said Penny wasn’t in the room with Marnie and him. I went back up a little later and Marnie was in there alone and sound asleep, so Penny must have left or something.” She looks at Marcus for a bit realizing she isn’t making any sense then rubs her temples and looks down. “What a confusing night.”

“I don’t think Penny was upstairs with Marnie at all.” says Marcus. “In fact, she couldn’t have been.”

”So where did she say she ran off to for so long?” asks Lyla as she continues to look down at her feet. “She’s” says Marcus but then he pauses. “She’s what?” asks Lyla as she starts rubbing her head again. Marcus leans in a little closer and says “She’s dead.” Slowly Lyla looks at Marcus with a stunned expression then quickly glances around to see if anyone else heard what he said. “What?” she questions as tears well up in her eyes. “She’s gone, Lyla” says Marcus as he puts his arm around her to comfort her. Lyla buries her head in his chest and weeps.


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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 62) What’s Going On

“Oh god, are you okay?” asks Marcus as he leans Lyla against the stair railing. Holding her by the shoulder, he brushes a strand of hair away from her face. “What happened? What’s going on?” says Lyla in a breathy tone as she looks around the foyer. “You looked like you were about to faint.” says Marcus as he holds her hand. “Do you remember what you and Crispin were talking about?”

“What? I, I don’t know.” says Lyla still dazed. Marcus helps her sit down on the stairs as he looks back at the crowd to see where Crispin has gotten off to. With the poor lighting, he cannot locate him but then again, he could be just around the corner. “I really need to talk to you.” says Marcus as he sits down close to Lyla on the step. “Oh Marcus, I don’t want to go back over this theory of yours again. Crispin hasn’t done anything wrong, no one’s been hurt, and we don’t have any proof that you or anyone else has a double running around.” says Lyla slightly annoyed and about in tears.

“Lyla, I saw myself, remember?” he questions. “I’m pretty sure I know what I look like!” he continues in a loud whisper. “You saw someone who looks like you, that’s all.” returns Lyla angrily as she looks up at the crowd wondering if Crispin was insulted by Marcus’ display.

Excerpt 62

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 61) She Reaches For Crispin’s Hand

Very dazed and not sure of what she just heard, Lyla tries to lean back to focus on Crispin’s face. “What?” she asks as everything begins to go black. Suddenly she is jolted awake by Marcus pulling her in the other direction through the crowd of people. “What? Wait! Crispin!” she says as she tries to pull back from Marcus to stay with Crispin. She reaches for Crispin’s hand but only their fingertips touch as she’s pulled farther away. With her eyes open she watches as Crispin’s face fades away into the crowd and she turns to go with Marcus.

Marnie has been seated this entire time watching and stewing over the fact that Crispin is spending his time with Lyla. As soon as Marcus snatches Lyla from Crispin, Marnie stands up to watch what happens next. With a firm grip on Lyla, Marcus does not stop until he gets her out of the dining room and to the foot of the stairs. The guests seem to be oblivious to it all as they continue with the party until a strong bolt of lightning sparks followed by a heavy crash of thunder causing the power to go out completely.

The rooms of the house are dimly lit by the candles and lanterns that were supposed to be for decoration only. Someone in the crowd says “perfect timing, let’s have a super slow song!” Everyone laughs and the band switches to acoustic instruments that do not need to be amplified and the music plays on as if nothing happened. It appears that Marnie is the only one aware of what just transpired between Lyla, Marcus and Crispin Duff.

Excerpt 61

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 60) I Know You Know

Everyone in the room is smiling and laughing as thunder continues to rumble closer and closer to the house as a strong storm approaches. The electricity in the air seems to be feeding the excitement as everything grows a little louder and more robust and the rooms of the house become very warm.

“Crispin?” says Lyla as she leans back and looks into his beautiful green eyes. At that moment there is a strike of lightning and all the lights in the house flicker off and then back on. In Crispin’s eyes Lyla sees a luminous glimmer, exactly like she did when she was with him at the cottage. She remembers it was storming then too. Fascinated by their sparkle, she cannot look away but now begins to feel faint.

“Oh,” says Lyla as she raises her hand to her forehead. “I think I need to stop, I feel funny.” She staggers a bit in Crispin’s strong arms but he supports her by holding her even tighter to his body. Looking intently at Crispin’s face Lyla says, “Crispin, your eyes.” She then very slowly, blinks twice and has the sensation of being in a tunnel that is growing smaller and smaller.

Crispin is holding her very tightly now as he begins to move with her to get them out of the middle of the crowd. The sounds around her are magnified and extremely loud yet somehow muffled at the same time. Her body feels incredibly warm and is becoming limp and she knows she is about to pass out. Crispin continues to take them to the edge of the crowd when he stops for a moment and kisses her neck. He then whispers in her ear, “I know you know.”

Excerpt 60

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 59) Completely Focused

Lyla looks Crispin in the eyes and he smiles. “Ah there you are! He says happily. “You’re feeling better now aren’t you?”

“Yes, I think I am.” She says with a laugh. “How did you know?” Lyla is surprised that Crispin could pick up on her emotions so quickly. “It’s written all over your face.” he replies as he smiles. “Well, I think you’re right” says Lyla as she grins, “I should just learn to relax and enjoy this evening.” She places her hand on his shoulder near his collar touching the back of his neck with her fingers. He twirls her around and they both laugh. She likes the way he commands the room and how easily people take to him. She must be crazy to think he is here to do harm.

Now that Lyla has loosened up, she is no longer uptight and tense and has stopped scanning the room. Crispin knows Lyla is now completely focused on him. He can feel it in her body and in her voice as she speaks. He pulls her to him as if he is going to kiss her neck but just holds her close as they rock back and forth to the song. His warm breath again touches her skin ever so delicately and his short hair brushes against the side of her face.

“I think I’ve fallen for you.” says Crispin in a faint low whisper as he kisses her neck slightly below her ear. Lyla responds to the kiss with a smile and a slight tilt of the head. Due to the sound level of the music and noise of the crowd, she does not quite hear what he said so she leans toward him. “What did you say?” she whispers.

Excerpt 59

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 58) Wonderful Qualities

Lyla glances around the room but still does not see Marcus. She is listening to Crispin as he speaks but at the same time is only hearing his words. She is not doing well at comprehending what is being said. Where could Marcus have gone? Surely he didn’t leave! She’s almost angry with him for putting her in this position.

Blocking her gaze by placing his face directly in front of hers, Crispin says, “You’re looking around as if you’ve lost something.” She looks at him but not in the eyes, she is focused on his mouth instead. He then leans in close as they dance cheek to cheek. “Or have you lost someone, by chance?” he whispers.

Lyla can feel Crispin’s warm breath near her ear and on her neck. His lips tenderly touch her earlobe as he speaks and she once again thinks of their night at the cottage. How comfortable and safe she felt with him and how much she enjoyed their closeness. He never tried to control her and that night would have been perfect if that was indeed his ploy. After all, they were completely alone most of the time and out in the middle of nowhere. She certainly didn’t feel uneasy being with him then and she shouldn’t now. She is in her own home surrounded by friends. Lyla leans back and looks up at Crispin’s face, studies it as if trying to see through him and he looks at her as they continue to move with the music.

“We have been looking for Penny.” Lyla says calmly. “Ah yes, the party planner, where on earth did she get off to?” he says rather playfully. Lyla smiles at Crispin’s comment. He is so calm and confident not at all arrogant. She then follows the line of his shoulder, down his arm to where her hand is held very delicately in his. She’s never heard him raise his voice, or be demeaning towards anyone, even to Marnie and she would deserve it most!

Crispin has been very generous, caring and thoughtful. How can someone with all of those wonderful qualities be bad? Yet, her best friend in the whole world is doing all he can to cause doubt. Marcus honestly believes this man to be malicious. Is he simply jealous of Crispin? Is it possible Marcus has more feelings for her than only friendship? If that is the case, maybe Marcus did leave the party. Lyla knows she must clear it all up with Marcus and soon.

Excerpt 58

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 57) Attempting To Connect

Holding Lyla extremely close, Crispin is looking at her face attentively. Each time he tries to make eye contact she glances away or looks over his shoulder or down at their feet. She can’t stop worrying about Marcus and all the things he has said about Crispin. His statements have placed doubt in her mind and she doesn’t know what to think of it all. She is not comfortable and she would truly like to take pleasure in the evening. It would be wonderful to have another night like the one at the cottage where things were relaxed, simple and delightful. She wants to enjoy being this close to Crispin and being safely held in his arms. But now she is tense and rigid and wants this whole thing to end.

“Are you enjoying your party?” Crispin asks as he playfully tips his head with hers attempting  to connect eye to eye. Lyla keeps dodging and doing anything she can to keep from looking at him directly. “Yes, it’s been fun to see everyone.” she replies a bit disconnected as she glances around the room to see if Marcus has come to find her. “Are you sure? You seem nervous?” Crispin asks as he gently squeezes her hand in his. “Nervous?” she repeats as she looks into his eyes for the first time since they started dancing, but it lasts for only a second. Remembering what Marcus had said about the eyes, she quickly looks away.

“Yes, you’re trembling.” he says as he holds her even closer than before. She can feel the muscles in his arms and chest as she is held tightly to him. “Have I done something to frighten you?” He slowly steps to the right turning her to face in another direction of the room. “You of all people have nothing to fear, Lyla.”

Excerpt 57

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 56) Pulse Of The Dance

Lyla feels anxious and wants to find Marcus and starts to speak up but holds back when she notices that Crispin is looking at her cheek. “What?” she questions. “What is it?”

“A raindrop is kissing your cheek.” says Crispin as he releases his right hand from around her. He very gently wipes the raindrop away as he follows the curve of her face with his eyes. Lyla says nothing as she watches him gazing at her. She wants to spend time with Crispin but part of her is concerned about Marcus and all the things he has said about Crispin. His comments keep popping up in her head and then there is the incident in the upstairs hall, what did she really hear? She could have sworn the voice was Penny’s, but maybe it was Marnie acting silly. She is very confused about it all and now she can’t find Marcus anywhere.

Crispin takes Lyla by the hand and leads her down the hall, through the foyer and into the center of the makeshift dance floor of the dining room. As they walk by, one lady comments on what an attractive couple they are. Another agrees and points out that even their clothing blends together perfectly. Marnie, who is still sitting on the sofa in the living room, watches as they walk through the foyer and to the dining room. She has been trying all night to stick like glue to Crispin and is absolutely infuriated that Lyla is getting all of his attention. She gets up and follows them mumbling to herself, “What is so great about Lyla?” She sits down on a chair and crosses her arms to pout.

The band started performing the song that is currently playing about the time they walked through the foyer. Crispin pulls Lyla in close and she can feel the strength in his arms. He softly says, “This is one of my favorite songs,” and they begin to dance slow and easy. Soon almost everyone in the room follows suit as they gently sway to the beautiful rhythmic tune.

Rumbles of thunder sound outside as if trying to overtake the music, but the booming simply adds to the pulse of the dance as more and people join in.

Excerpt 56

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 55) With Open Arms

Lyla sneaks down the hall and out the back door to the veranda. There is no wind blowing as light rain gently washes down on the lush trees and plants. “Marcus!” she says loudly but does not get a response. From one of the tables she grabs a tray left behind by one of Penny’s staff members and holds it over her head as she dashes out into the yard. A flash of lightning flickers and she runs to the gazebo. Might he be waiting for her there or under the canopy of trees that line the yard?

“Marcus?” she says softly as she strains to see into the shadowy areas of the garden, she does not see him anywhere. Heavier drops of rain now begin to fall as Lyla covers her head once again with the tray and makes a run back to the veranda. Two couples have come outside to stand under the shelter as they watch the rain and lightning while nibbling on dessert.

“Has Marcus been out here, has anyone seen him lately?” asks Lyla as she shakes her hair to dry off any moisture it may have collected. “The last time I saw him he was heading to the gazebo, but that was probably forty-five minutes to an hour ago.” says one of the men. Lyla thanks the man then sets the tray on the table.

She enters the house through the open veranda door where Crispin walks out in front of her with open arms. “Care for a dance my sweet?” he asks as he wraps his arms gently around Lyla’s waist locking his hands together at her lower back.

Excerpt 55

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 54) Are You OK

“Lyla, have you seen Crispin?” asks Marnie as she slowly wanders around the foyer as if lost. “Marnie?” asks Lyla as she looks into her eyes. “Are you ok?” It then hits her; she was supposed to meet Marcus in the garden! “Oh shit.” says Lyla as she looks down the hall to the veranda doors. Suddenly the yard lights up from a flash of lightning.

“Yes, that’s exactly how I feel, do I look that bad?” asks Marnie. “I feel like I’ve been asleep for days.” Lyla walks her over to the sofa in the living room and helps her sit down. “You don’t look so good.?”  Lyla says as she fluffs a pillow and places it behind Marnie’s head for support. “Marnie, I have to go talk to Marcus, he’s been waiting for me in the garden.” says Lyla.

“But Lyla I need you, I don’t feel good.” complains Marnie as she holds onto Lyla’s arm. “Marnie, let go.”  Lyla says as she grits her teeth. “What has gotten in to you?”

“I don’t feel right and I need you to stay here.” says Marnie forcefully as another lightning strike illuminates the yard. Thunder rolls off in the distance. “Marnie, I promise I’ll only be a second. Please, I need to find Marcus and talk with him about something very important.” says Lyla. She then mumbles, “That is if he is even speaking to me now.” she looks back at Marnie and says, “Just stay here, sit tight!”

Excerpt 54

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 53) Heaven Help Us

Penny is lying on her back on the wet muddy ground. Her eyes are wide open, gray, and lifeless. Marcus squats down beside her and reaches out checking her neck for a pulse, nothing. He places his head on her chest but does not hear a heartbeat. “Oh dear god” he says to himself. “Oh Penny, I’m so sorry,” he continues as he stares down at her. He is completely stunned. He finally reaches over placing his fingers over her eyelids and gently closes them. This causes the rain water they have collect to trickle down her cheeks as if she were crying.

“Heaven help us.” says Marcus as tears fill his eyes and he continues to look down at her. He stands up and takes off his jacket and tenderly drapes it over her face. Turning to look back at the house he wipes tears and rain drops from his face. The house is so inviting with all of its bright lighting and candles flickering throughout. The air is filled with wonderful smells and the sound of sweet laughter as music can be heard echoing out. “Lyla.” says Marcus as he turns to run back to the house. Once inside he starts to scan the rooms in search of her but is not having any luck in locating her or Crispin Duff.

Excerpt 53

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 52) It Begins To Rain

Marcus has been waiting in the garden for Lyla to join him. He’s been pacing back and forth twiddling with the candles and lantern’s while periodically looking up, hoping to see her heading his way. Now it’s beginning to rain lightly so he takes cover in the gazebo while everyone else that was outside starts to go in the house. He finds himself alone and worried.

Just as he is about ready to run out in the rain and back to the house, he notices something that seems out-of-place. It’s in the far back corner of the yard and he’s not sure what it is. It’s low to the ground and is of a light color. It looks like it’s about the size of a cat but it doesn’t move or run in from the rain.

Marcus steps out of the gazebo and makes his way over to the rear of the yard. He realizes what he sees in only part of a larger object that is mostly covered by thick shrubs. “What the?” says Marcus to himself as he realizes it’s a woman’s cream colored shoe that is sticking out from under the foliage. Standing in the rain he slowly steps forward and pushes the wet branches of the shrub to one side. He is shocked by what he sees. . . it’s Penny!

Excerpt 52

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 51) Looking For Penny

Finally one of Penny’s staff members asks to speak with Lyla. “What can I help you with?” asks Lyla to the young waiter hoping this is a ploy from Marcus to help her escape the conversation. “We don’t know where Penny is, she’s been away from the kitchen for a few hours and she’s never done that before. We need to get the final trays out. Have you seen her?” the young man quizzes.

“You’re right; this is very out of character for her.” says Lyla as she looks around the room. “No I haven’t seen her but I’ll help you look. Maybe she’s not feeling well and went to lay down for a bit.” says Lyla as she turns to the small group of friends who are now very intrigued with Crispin. “I’m sorry everyone, but the wait staff needs me in the kitchen, please excuse me.” Lyla looks at Crispin and smiles as she turns away from the group. She scans the room for Marcus then follows the waiter to the kitchen.

Once there she explains that Penny may be upstairs napping, so she goes to check. Lyla slips out the back entry of the kitchen, slinks down the hall and up the stairs to take another look at the room Marnie is sleeping in. Once at the top of the staircase she looks down to see if anyone noticed, especially Crispin. All is well as she gently pushes the door open to find Marnie out cold and snoring. No one else is in the room and there are no hiding places that she could have missed when peaking in the first time. In no way shape or form could Penny have been in that room.

Excerpt 51

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 50) Trying To Process

Lyla slowly makes her way down the staircase with Crispin one step behind her. As they reach the bottom step, Crispin leans in and says, “Actually I’m glad we finally put Marnie to rest. I much prefer to be in your company than hers any day.” He puts his arm around Lyla holding her tightly.

The song that was playing ends and Crispin gets everyone’s attention for a toast. As if rehearsed, one of Penny’s staff members brings up a tray of drinks and Crispin takes two, one for Lyla and one for himself. “Please raise your glasses everyone, I would like to make a toast to this lovely lady and her home!” says Crispin loudly. He waits for everyone to settle down. “Bless the house and bless the hearth, bless the work and bless all here. May your faith be strong, may your heart be true and the devil never make a liar of you.”

“Here here!” agrees a man from the back of the room. Crispin smiles and nods yes, then turns to Lyla and continues, “May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!” Following Crispin’s lead, everyone in the room clinks their glasses together and takes a drink. The room then burst into loud cheers and laughter as the band starts to play the next song. This song is faster than the past few and everyone begins to dance to the rhythm as Crispin takes Lyla by the hand and they walk toward the other end of the foyer.

Still trying to process what was going on with Marnie, Crispin and Penny; Lyla sees Marcus coming down the stairs and turns to walk in his direction. Crispin tightens his grip on Lyla and gently pulls her out of view where several individuals strike up a conversation with them. Looking back at the staircase, Lyla sees Marcus pointing toward the veranda and she knows she must do what she can to meet him there, and soon.

Excerpt 50

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