The Eyes Of A Fetch 281-300

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 300) Respectable

“What did happen, exactly?” Lyla stammers the words out as she dips an apple slice into caramel. Crispin grins slightly because he knows what she is really trying to ask.

“No worries,” he smiles wide as he leans toward her a bit. In a way, his reaction actually makes her feel more relaxed. “It’s as I stated, we ate dinner, drank a bit, a bit too much actually,” Laughing, he looks her in the eye then his smile fades slightly. “We sat on the sofa talking, facing the firelight, and I held you in my arms for the first time.” He grows serious as his eyes focus in on her, he then grins and looks out at the dark foyer of the house.

“I didn’t want you to leave and asked you to stay and you did. Then apparently, I bored you to tears because you fell asleep.” He winks and laughs aloud again. “I stayed there with you, holding you. A few hours later, you woke up and I brought you here. It was all very respectable.”

“I actually do remember some of that, but only in flashes and small segments. I’m not sure of how to explain it, but I do not seem to have any memories of how I felt at the time. Does that make any sense?” Lyla says as she looks down at the quilt. “So, were you here the night of the party?” she asks. Crispin looks up at her and says nothing at first. He then takes a long drink of wine before continuing.

Excerpt 300

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 299) As Two People

“You have a cottage on the outskirts of town and I remember going there with you.” Lyla’s voice trails off. She does not want to reveal too much about her investigative trips there and is completely unaware that he already knows of her visits and that he observed her every move.

“Yes, you were with me at my cottage one evening for dinner. We had spent some time together before that day, going over business matters and such.” Crispin places a piece of cheese on a cracker as he continues. “Very quickly I realized how important you were to me and how very intuitive you were to my mission. I wanted to have dinner with you, as two people, not as business partners. I picked you up and we had a true Irish meal with all the trimmings.” He leans his arm against the hearth of the fireplace and pops the snack into his mouth.

“I do remember this, the power went out, right?” she asks as she holds her wineglass up and grins.

“Yes, you are correct.” Crispin agrees and laughs as well. “After dessert we moved our conversation closer to the fire.” He pauses as he looks at her. “We talked for hours and then you fell asleep on the sofa,” he pauses a moment, “in my arms.” He turns from her to look at the fire and pokes it slightly to readjust the wood.

Lyla is slightly embarrassed, partly because she does not remember the entire evening or the events that transpired between them. However, she remembers in one of her dreams of feeling warm and secure in someone’s arms. Was that someone Crispin? She wonders how close they truly became and decides to ask the question.

Excerpt 299

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 298) Complicated

Lyla smiles at this informal indoor picnic setting as she enters the room. She desperately wants to have all of her questions answered, including events about Destry’s Grandmother, but she wonders if she is truly ready to hear it. She sits down on the quilt and sets the food out between them making it clear there is a boundary line. Crispin opens the wine and pours some into each glass. The only sounds at this time are the ticking clock, the popping and crackling of the fire, and very slight rumbles of thunder off in the far distance. Looking at Crispin, Lyla starts the conversation up once again.

“The other night, at the art shop with the dog, why didn’t you talk to me then?” She takes a sip of wine as Crispin thinks about what he will say. “I mean, if we were friends, and as close as you say, then why didn’t you treat me as such?”

“It’s complicated,” he says hesitantly. “I knew from your expression in Madrid that you did not fully recognize me. I must say you caught me off guard as well.” He smiles. “But it was obvious that you did not remember where or how our relationship ended.” He waves his hand from him to her and back.

“So it ended then.” Says Lyla a bit disappointed. “Okay, so tell me, what kind of relationship did we have? You said it was more than work and I have some memories of us alone, talking.|

“Good memories?” he asks.

“Yes, and I actually feel somewhat comfortable with you now.” She states without much reservation.

Excerpt 298

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 297) Inviting Space

Crispin looks away from the fire then down at his hands. Slowly moving his gaze to look Lyla in the eyes, he answers. “No,” his eyes do not waver nor does he blink. “There is no need to fear me.” Looking at each other across the table, they sit quietly.

“Are you hungry?” she asks as she looks toward the kitchen. Crispin continues to watch her. “Yes, I am.” He replies, his posture does not waver.  Lyla stands up and walks over to the corner of the room where she opens a cedar trunk. From it, she pulls out a large quilt and carries it back across the room handing it to Crispin.

“Here, we will have an indoor picnic. You can push the furniture back while I find us something to eat.” With that order in place, she leaves the room and goes to the kitchen. A few minutes later, she returns with a large wooden bowl of fruit, three types of sliced cheese, crackers, a loaf of French bread, along with a bottle of wine and two glasses.

Crispin has pushed the chairs and table back, and turned the sofa slightly so it is facing the fireplace, yet leaving plenty of space for the pad he created on the floor with the quilt. Several piles of throw pillows are sitting along the perimeter creating a very inviting space.

Excerpt 297

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 296) My Intentions

“Maybe I should start this.” Says Lyla as she curls up in the chair. “I have memories that seem to be lost or diluted but from what I can remember, I believe we met about six months ago. Is this correct?” she questions. Crispin nods yes. “I was working for you.” She states as fact. “Yes.” Replies Crispin. “You were doing amazing things to help me connect with individuals and companies all over the world. You had a great understanding of my intentions and seemed to know exactly what I needed.”

“But our relationship became more than just work related?” She asks watching him intently. Her directness surprises him a little. She too is a bit shocked that she immediately blurted this out. Crispin pauses before he answers. “Yes. . . do you remember?” He questions as he patiently waits for her to answer.

“I. . .  I’m not sure.” She hesitates as she glances over at the fire. “I’m having odd flashes and visions of different images. I don’t really know if what I remember or see is a memory, or merely a dream. Slices of things keep coming to me, or feel familiar to me, but I’m unsure of what is real.” She then looks at him. “I’m hoping you can help me with this.” Crispin watches her and again nods, then looks over at the fireplace but does not say a word.

“Should I be afraid of you?” she asks as she watches him closely.

Excerpt 296

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 295) We Have A Past

As soon as the fire is fully engulfed and stable, Crispin turns and looks at Lyla. He then takes a seat on the sofa facing her. The room is dim but warm as the fire and firelight adds a cozy effect to the darkening house and the quietness around them. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees while his hands are together as if he is praying. His eyes are on Lyla and she looks directly at him.

“I’m not sure where to start.” states Crispin. He leans forward tapping his clasped fingers on the table between them. His eyes are penetrating and deep with reflections of the fire dancing in them as he looks at her. “By now you must remember that we have a past.” His gaze does not waver nor does she look away. “You have no idea how surprised I was to see you in Madrid.” He smiles and almost laughs at the irony of it. “No, I’m jumping ahead.” He looks down contemplating how to make his next statement.

Excerpt 295

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 294) She Watches

Crispin takes the poker from the stand, kneels down, and pushes on the lever of the flue. It makes a heavy popping sound as it slips open and small trickles of ash float down. He places more paper on the grate, covers it with thin dry pieces of wood, and strikes a match. During this process, neither Lyla nor Crispin speak a single word, as a surge of energy seems to be building in the small space between them. Sitting very close, almost shoulder to shoulder, they narrowly miss making physical contact in some way with the touch of an elbow or slip of the hand.

Lyla gets up from the hearth and takes a seat on the wingchair that sits across from the sofa. She watches Crispin as he tends to the fire. His back is straight, shoulders broad, and the amber glow of the fire shining on his face defines his features. She remembers a moment just like this when she was sleeping on the sofa at the cottage. She awoke to find Crispin near the fireplace in the early hours of the morning. It was nice watching him in deep thought and she liked the fact that she was there with him. This memory makes her smile but she does not dare show it outwardly.

Excerpt 294

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 293) Takes A Step

“Are you alright?” Crispin questions. Trying to stifle her fright, slowly Lyla nods yes. “I’m sure you are wondering why I am here.” He says rather direct and to the point. Lyla nods yes again and rubs her hand up and down her arm to warm it. “You’re cold,” he says as he takes a step toward her but stops, concerned he may appear too forward. “Would you mind if I light a fire?”

“Actually that would be wonderful.” Lyla smiles nervously. “There is wood stacked in the firebox in the living room.” She points in that direction and walks past Crispin, leaving several feet between them as she passes. He watches her as she walks by then takes his jacket off and drapes it over the back of the chair as they enter the room. Lyla sets the clear vase full of water on the coffee table and waits for Crispin to drop the flowers into it.

“They are lovely you know.” She says softly. “Yes, very.” He replies as he watches her walk to the fireplace. “Matches?” he questions as he looks down at the cuffs of his shirt and begins to unbutton them. He meticulously rolls his sleeves up all while keeping his eyes on Lyla as she moves the fire screen from in front of the fireplace.

“Yes, I have plenty of matches right here.” She grabs a black iron holder full of long matches and holds it out toward him. The thin sticks extend out the top as if to purposely look like a bouquet. Setting it on the hearth, she begins to crumple paper for the starter wood to set on and one by one tosses the wads of paper onto the fire grate.

Excerpt 293

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 292) Plans Tonight

Crispin’s touch is warm and encompassing and Lyla dare not pull away. Slowly and easy, as to not cause a cut, he tips the broken pieces into her trembling hands. “I don’t. . .” starts Lyla but she stutters through the words and Crispin stops her.

“It’s quite alright Lyla, go ahead. I’ll stay right here.” He says as he looks toward the kitchen doorway. She backs away from him and walks across the foyer to the kitchen where she pushes the door open, letting it swing shut behind her. A rumble of thunder rattles through the air outside as Crispin begins to speak. Raising his voice slightly, so she can hear him from the other room, he asks his question.

“Might you have plans tonight?” He poses this question knowing good and well she was planning to leave for Spain in the morning to search for him. Now with him here, there is no longer a reason for her to go, and no need for a rushed conversation.

“No not now. Not really.” She says as she comes out of the kitchen with a small clear vase. Just outside the door, she stops and shivers slightly from the dampness of the rain in the air. There is also a sudden sense of anxiety that she is trying to suppress. With the lights off and the gloom of outside creeping in, Crispin looks very much the size of the dark figure she has seen in the house many times.

Excerpt 292

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 291) Charming Look

The anxiety between Lyla and Crispin is fierce as he takes the towel from her. His hand touches hers during this slow exchange and she feels a tingle, much as she did when they touched on the street in Madrid. Once again, Crispin kneels down in front of her and speaks as he is dabbing up the spill.

“One must do all they can to protect what they consider to be unique, exquisite, and dear to them.” He looks up at her for a mere second then back down at the floor as he continues to dab and push the debris together into a pile.  “Yes, you are correct.” She says with a soft shaky voice.

Crispin keeps his head down and continues to work away as Lyla stands there in silence unsure of what she is supposed to do. Finally, he stands up holding the broken pieces of the vase in his left hand, the flowers in his right. Lyla looks at the shards of porcelain then slowly her gaze moves up his arm making eye contact with him. They stand there, completely quiet and without expression, for several seconds.

“If I knew you didn’t like single roses I could have ordered a different bouquet.” His expression is serious but soon a slight grin begins to appear. It is a charming look, not one of secrets or hidden agendas, but one of kindness.

“Oh no, these are from you? I had no idea, I am so sorry. Here, I’ll throw the broken pieces away and bring in another vase of water.” Lyla says quickly. Shaping her hands like a bowl, she holds them out in front of her. They are shaking terribly and before Crispin begins to tip the pieces into them, he places the bouquet of flowers on the small table. Reaching out, he cups his free hand around both of hers, as if to steady her nervousness.

Excerpt 291

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 290) About Him

Hurriedly, Lyla rushes down the hall to the bathroom to gather a couple of towels. She is in a daze and unable to think clearly. Once in the small room she stands at the sink, both hands on the counter as she steadies herself by staring into the mirror. She is horribly frightened and incredibly excited at the same time.

What is Crispin Duff doing here? Had he not left town after all? Of what she has been able to recall, she once enjoyed his company and attention but what is it about him that she cannot remember? Is she in danger here, now? What secrets have her blocked memories concealed?

Lyla’s mind is spilling over with questions. When she returns to the foyer, Crispin is standing and he has closed the front door, separating them from the outside world. She is dreadfully anxious and almost fearful of being alone with him. Slowly she approaches as she keeps her eyes on his but only when he is looking down or away.

“You have my apologies. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He says in a calm manner.

Excerpt 290

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 289) Nervous

The vase of flowers drops from Lyla’s hand, shattering on the wooden floor with a loud popping sound. A gunshot would have not been any louder as pieces of porcelain scatter out in every direction and the beautifully arranged flowers land at Crispin’s feet. Lyla looks down at the dreadful mess of water and small sections of porcelain, but has no words to speak. Crispin’s appearance on her doorstep takes her completely off guard and has her practically in a state of shock. Standing within inches of each other and after an uncomfortable pause, Crispin speaks.

“We should get that water up before it damages the floor.” He kneels down in front of her. She watches him as his tall broad stature gently gathers the damaged pieces and the now flattened clump of flowers.  “Um, yes, right.” Stumbling over her words, Lyla stands still, continuing to watch Crispin at her feet. He looks up at her and grins slightly as he makes quick eye contact.

“I believe we may need a towel.” He says as he stands up. His face is only a couple of inches away from hers. He wants so much to hold her, to kiss her, and for her to kiss him back. He is staring at her hoping she will look him in the eye once again. Lyla only glances at his eyes once then focuses on the collar of his shirt. He can tell she is incredibly nervous but wonders if this is her reason for looking away, or does she remember what power he holds. He can smell the sweet shampoo scent of her hair.

“Yes, I’ll. . . I’ll go get a towel.” She says as she slowly backs up. “Excuse me a moment.”

Excerpt 289

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 288) Impending

Just as Lyla secures the entry to the sunroom, there is a knock at the front door. Turning toward the sound, she sticks the note in her pocket. Smokey jumps down from the settee where she had been sleeping and scurries out of the room and down the empty hallway.

“Hum, I wonder who that could be.” With flowers in hand, Lyla leaves the darkening sunroom and heads to the front door. With a storm brewing, the house is getting darker and darker by the minute. “Well I know it’s not Marnie.” She says to herself as she peeks out the window to see a man standing on the porch. His back is facing her as he looks out at the yard and the impending rainstorm. “No, definitely not Marnie, it looks more like a sales pitch,” She opens the door, fully prepared to ask the man to leave but when he turns to face her, she is instantly paralyzed where she stands.

“Hello, Lyla.” says Crispin.

Excerpt 288

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 287) This Phrase

As Lyla steps up under the shelter, she is a bit surprised. Sitting on the step near the back door is a small bouquet of white lilies, baby’s breath, and a single white rose with dainty red tips. The delicate vase is of white porcelain and is almost as beautiful as the flowers themselves.

“Ahh, what is this?” she says with a smile as she bends down and picks the vase up to smell the flowers. “How sweet.” She grins as she admires her gift. “Marcus must have felt guilty leaving me with his work, silly man.”

She puts the key in the lock of the door and notices there is no note or card attached to the flowers. Not only does she find the lack of a card odd, but also if the flower shop delivered it why did they leave it on the back step instead of the front? With the turn of the lock, she opens the door then flips on the porch light to see if the note may have fallen or been blown off by the wind. Looking around carefully she sees a small envelope near the leg of the table. After picking it up, she steps inside the house to read it aloud.

“The red rose whispers of passion and the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon and the white rose is a dove.” Lyla pauses. She has heard this phrase before and she reads aloud again.

Excerpt 287

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 286) Late Day Sun

The conversation between Lyla and Robert is random, jumping from the weather to travel and mostly avoiding anything that might include Marnie. After being dropped off at the art shop, Lyla grabs the mail out of the box and processes what she can. She pays bills and sends out invoices for various items purchased. After she tidies things up by doing a little light dusting in the gallery, she looks at the clock. The day has gotten away from her. It is now four in the afternoon and she has not yet booked her flight to Madrid!

The late day sun is hazy due to thickening clouds and she fears it will be raining on her walk home. Quickly she finishes her tasks, locks the shop for the night, and hurries to the corner of the building where the sidewalk ends. Sure enough, just as she rounds the corner of the shop a rumble of thunder echoes off in the distance and the wind begins to pick up.

“Oh great, I’m going to look like a drowned rat by the time I get to the house.” She says under her breath. However, to her surprise, she makes it to her yard before it even starts to sprinkle. Shutting the gate, the rain begins to fall faster and she quickly runs across the moist grass of the garden. As she approaches the stepping stone path, she carefully places her feet to avoid slipping or falling as she rushes for cover under the roof of the veranda.

Excerpt 286

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 285) In Silence

“No Marnie, Lyla is not dead, she is right here, she came to visit.” Robert says as he taps Lyla on the shoulder. This odd statement from Marnie sends chills through Lyla and she practically jumps out of her chair when he touches her. “Oh, I’m sorry Lyla.” He says apologetically.

All Lyla can think about now is why Marnie would say such a thing and where did she get the idea that she was dead? Marnie does not look up or act interested in what Robert has to say. In fact, she does not act as if she hears anything at all as she starts to shake her head slightly. “I’m tired, it’s past my bedtime and you should leave.” Marnie glares at Robert then yells loudly. “Come get me!”

A nurse enters the room and asks if things are going okay. Robert explains they will be leaving now and thanks her for the time. The nurse turns the wheelchair around and Marnie immediately begins talking about her hair and nails, just as she did when she first entered the room. Lyla watches out the doorway as Marnie and the nurse go down the hall out of sight while Robert signs a few papers and reviews the latest bill. Once complete, he and Lyla walk out to the car in silence.

“I don’t know what to say,” Lyla says as she puts her seatbelt on. “Yeah, I know.” Replies Robert. “Well, I’ve got to pick up a few things in town but I’ll run you home first.”

“You know, I need to check on the mail and such at the art shop, just drop me there and I can walk home when I’m done.” She offers. “That will save you from back tracking.”

“You got it.” Says Robert as he backs out of the parking spot.

Excerpt 285

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 284) She Mumbles

Lyla’s thoughts flash back to the night Marnie was slammed up against the front door by the man with glowing green eyes. Yet, Robert said Marnie was locked away at that time. One thing is obvious though, Marnie’s mind is too delicate at this moment for any questioning. With glazy eyes, she looks at Lyla as if she does not recognize her then turns to Robert.

“Did you check on Oliver? Does he like his new toys?” She says of her dog and then looks down and mumbles under her breath. Robert does not bother to reply; he looks at Lyla and shakes his head as Marnie continues. “I like red and coral nail polish, you know? It just looks good together. Everyone here likes my hair. I get all kinds of compliments on how stylish I am.” She fluffs the matted mess with her hand causing it to stick out in a very unflattering way. Tipping her head back and forth, she acts as if she is showing off a new haircut. “Don’t you just love it?” she grins as Lyla and Robert exchange a glance and their unspoken words say enough.

“Lyla, do you have anything you want to talk about?” ask Robert.

“Lyla!” says Marnie as she looks at the door to the hallway. “How could Lyla be here? She’s dead!” says Marnie as she turns to look at Robert and starts laughing in a wicked demented way for an extended amount of time. She then stops suddenly and says, “If you see her here then you’re looking at a ghost.” Her voice trails off slightly then she mumbles, “You dope.”

Excerpt 284

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 283) How Are You

Within five minutes from their phone conversation, Robert picks Lyla up and they make the short drive to the hospital. On the way, Robert explains that he always knew Marnie was a bit of a hypochondriac and always needed to be the center of attention but what has happened recently, is beyond her simply acting out for attention. He truly believes she experienced some sort of trauma and it all started six months ago.

After getting though the security checkpoint of the locked down wing of the psychiatric center, Lyla and Robert are escorted to a sitting room. Several minutes later Marnie, who is sitting in a wheelchair, joins them. The staff is fearful that she may fall due to side effects from her medications, so for precautionary reasons, they will not allow her to walk. “Hey there Marnie,” says Robert to his sister.

Marnie has always been a very well put together person. There is no telling how many thousands of dollars she has spent on clothing, jewelry and accessories sometimes forfeiting food for her monetary and vanity treasures. However, here she sits with no makeup on, hair a mess, skin is pale and dark circles surround her eyes. She looks up at Robert and smiles. “How are you doing today?” he questions.

“Oh my, I’m just wonderful, wonderful. . . and how are you?” she asks as if she has no idea of her condition. “I’m doing pretty well, thought you might like to see another friendly face besides mine.” He says as he looks to Lyla. “Hi Marnie.” Lyla’s voice is very shaky for she is unsure of what to expect from her disturbed friend.

Excerpt 283

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 282) A Way To Help

The fog is beginning to lift and the sun is becoming brighter and brighter as the morning gets underway. Lyla’s mind is spinning. She remembers feeling happy when in Crispin’s presence, but there is this empty span of time that she cannot account for, there is also a fear of him that she does not understand. In order to work this out she feels she must talk with Marnie. She seems to have a story to tell but is so confused or frightened that her mind cannot handle the facts. Somehow, Lyla wants to find a way to help her, and to gain knowledge of her own list of memories lost.

“Hello, Robert?” says Lyla as she places another call. She has just pulled into her driveway when he picks up. “Hey Lyla, what’s going on today?” he asks.

“I was wondering if I could go with you to visit Marnie.” She says softly. “We have been friends for so long, I want to do what I can to help her, I want her to know she can talk to me.”

“Well, yeah sure, I think that would be a good thing for her. I just don’t know how she will respond to you though. She is pretty highly medicated.” Replies Robert in a matter of fact way. “I’m actually heading over to the hospital now. Do you want me to swing by and pick you up?”

“Oh yes, that would be wonderful. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” Replies Lyla as she shuts the car off. She looks up at her house as it reflects the yellow hues of mid morning. Smiling she cannot help but feel like things are moving in a positive direction. She will see Marnie this morning and be home in enough time to book her flights and take Smokey to the veterinarian for boarding while she is gone.

Excerpt 282

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 281) To Connect

As Lyla drives the country road on her way back to town, she places a phone call. “Hello, I’d like to know when the next flight leaves for New York City.” She says to the customer service representative on the other end of the line.

She is hopeful there will be a flight tonight or early tomorrow that she can take in order to get to Spain as quickly as possible. She has a sense of urgency in her to connect with Crispin now, before he moves on and she loses this chance forever. There is more between them than work, she knows this and somehow feels it. She is determined to find answers to all of the questions, good or bad, and she knows the only person that can fulfill this for her is Crispin Duff himself.

“We have a flight leaving first thing tomorrow morning at 6:25 a.m. and another at 4:15 in the afternoon,” says the person on the other end of the line. “Would you like me to reserve a seat for you?”

“No, I have connecting flights to schedule and will do that online shortly. Thank you so much for your help.” Lyla quickly ends the call and continues down the road.

Excerpt 281

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