.To Dance With A Fetch 31-40

To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 40) Marnie’s Double

A loud crash can be heard coming from the kitchen. “Oops, that would be Penny. I better go check on her.” Lyla let’s go of Marcus’s hand then turns back to face him. “Don’t leave, please stay.” she says as she looks at him sincerely. Marcus puts his hands in his pockets and nods then motions for her to go check on Penny.

Entering the kitchen Lyla does not notice that a cloth napkin is on the floor. This causes the swinging door to hang open just enough to see out at the foyer. In looking at Penny it’s obvious she is a bit frazzled with the pace of the party. Her hair is sticking up on one side as if a puff of wind hit that very spot and the other side looks like she brushed it away from her face with her hand and a wad of  glue. It’s all matted and messy. Penny is looking around at her staff anxiously as if this is the first time they have handled a group this large. Her head is bobbing about like a nervous bird before it jumps into a bird bath. The fact is this group has managed many large parties but since Penny tends to be a micro manager she gets overly eager. This makes her temper flare rather quickly so her entire team is on edge.

“Is everything okay, Penny?” asks Lyla as she approaches her. “Yes, yes. I grabbed for this tray and dropped it. There’s nothing to worry about.” says Penny with a nervous laugh. “No food was lost.” she laughs again trying to act like she’s enjoying herself but it is pretty clear she is a wreck.

“Hi you two.” says Marnie as she walks into the kitchen from the hall entrance. “What’s going on?” she questions. “I was just in here checking on Penny. I’m trying to get her to come out, take a break and visit with our guests.” says Lyla in a loud tone so Penny’s staff will hear her. A few of them turn and look at Lyla and smile discreetly, they know what she is trying to do. Lyla looks at Penny attempting to get her attention but she is still glancing around at a hurried pace.

“So, um… what is with you and Marcus, you two turning into an item now or something?” asks Marnie in a peculiar way. Lyla looks at her oddly. “What in the world do you mean, Marnie? Marcus and I have been best friends for, well practically forever.” says Lyla a little surprised by Marnie’s question. “You know it’s never been more than that. Where on earth is this coming from?” Lyla and Marnie pause as they look at each other and Marnie does not attempt to answer Lyla’s question. Lyla then asks, “How much have you had to drink already?”

Penny looks up at Marnie and then glances around the kitchen to observe her staff. That’s when she looks through the open door and see’s an exact double of Marnie standing in the foyer with Marcus!

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 39) Favorite

“Would you two excuse us for a moment?” asks Lyla to Crispin and Marnie. Crispin glances over to Marnie who is standing with folded arms as if she were a two-year old. “Come along Marnie, how about another drink and a hunt for a painting?” says Crispin as he motions for her to lead the way. Marnie is now back in full form flaunting herself. She wants everyone to notice her and Crispin as she holds his hand and pulls him through the crowded room. He glances back at Lyla just before rounding a corner out of view.

“I’m so glad you came.” says Lyla to Marcus. “Were you serious?” questions Marcus, “The moon painting is your favorite?”

“Yes Sir! I cannot tell a lie, Sir! It is indeed my favorite.” says Lyla as if taking a direct order from a drill sergeant as she salutes him. She then slips her hand into his. “Funny though.” she continues. “Well it wasn’t meant to be funny.” says Marcus. “No, I thought for sure you were the one that placed the new painting in the dining room. You are the only one that has access to the house. I wonder when Crispin had it brought in?” she questions. “Probably the night everyone was here decorating.” says Marcus “Or he’s figured out a way to sneak in unannounced.” Lyla gives him a strange look.

“What?” questions Marcus. “Um, had I told you about Crispin’s decorators?” asks Lyla. “Well, no.” stammers Marcus. “You know how news travels in this town” he says quickly, not wanting to give it away that he saw the workers in her garden firsthand, as well as the embrace between she and Crispin. After a slight pause he continues with “You know, from the lead grape on the vine, Penny.”


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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 38) The Party Begins

“The painting is from Marcus, you can always pick out his work by the brushstrokes.”

“Well, actually. . . I did paint it, but I didn’t give it to you.” says Marcus as he comes through the front door to stand to Lyla’s left.

“Oh, Marcus you’re kidding right?” says Lyla as she turns to look at him. He is stylishly dressed in brown pants and a moss-green dress shirt, which brings out the richness of his brownish blonde hair and hazel eyes. She then hears another familiar voice.

“It is a housewarming gift from me.” says Crispin.

Marnie was so wrapped up in the conversation between Lyla, Rachel and Marcus that she failed to notice Crispin had arrived. He looks very classy in a deep blue suit and tie and a starched bright white dress shirt. He stands to Lyla’s right slightly behind her. Lyla looks over her shoulder at him.

“Oh Crisp, it’s so good to see you.” says Marnie loudly as she wiggles her arm around his like a hook. Holding on tight she is practically jumping up and down with childish energy tugging at Crispin’s arm.

“Hello, Rachel is it? I’m Crispin Duff.” he says as he gently slips his arm from Marnie’s grip doing his best to act like she isn’t even there, and shakes hands with Rachel. Anyone else would get the hint but Marnie stays right with him hovering as close to him as she possibly can.

“Well hello, it’s nice to meet you.” says Rachel. “I love the painting you gave Lyla, it’s absolutely wonderful to look at, very calming and beautiful.”

“Well thank you.” says Marcus and Crispin at the same time. They look at each other for a short second but neither says a word.

“I like to think of it as a local piece made especially with Lyla in mind.” states Crispin as he puts his arm around Lyla’s waist. Marnie is fuming and starts glaring at the back of Lyla’s head. She is steaming because Lyla is getting all of the attention, especially from Crispin.

“Well again, it was very nice to meet you.” says Rachel to Crispin. “Good to see you again Marcus. Send me a painting anytime you feel the need. You are so talented I just love it!” she says as she smiles at him. Marcus takes a step back and holds his hand up as he waves at Rachel and grins. It’s his shy way of saying thank you. He then glances over and looks at Crispin’s arm around Lyla’s waist.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 37) Arrival Of The Guests

Instead of getting into it with Marnie and exploring why her demeanor has changed from what she said just yesterday, Lyla decides to let it go. “I’m pretty sure Crispin will show up sooner or later.” Says Lyla still a bit stumped but she doesn’t have time to play Marnie’s games, not tonight anyway.

“Have you seen Marcus by chance?” asks Lyla as she looks around the foyer. She stands on her tiptoes and glances in the direction of the living room and dining room, which are already filling up with guests. “Um, I don’t think so,” says Marnie obviously unable to concern herself with anyone’s issue but her own. She takes a minute to look around at the individuals in the foyer, but her focus quickly goes right back to her own interests and the front walk.

“Lyla, where on earth did you get the painting that’s hanging over the fireplace in the dining room?” ask Rachel. “It is so beautiful and in the perfect colors, very earthy. It would look great in my home.” she teases as she and Lyla hug.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 36) He Is A Dream

Marnie has been perched at the front door for nearly an hour watching the walkway like a hawk. She is eagerly waiting for Crispin to arrive and is growing impatient as she downs her second drink. Lyla continues to walk throughout the various rooms mingling and chatting with friends. She has gone from the front door, out to the garden and back several times in hopes of finding Marcus. So far, he too is a no-show.

“Lyla,” says Marnie in a low tone as she grabs Lyla’s arm to stop her from moving. “When do you suppose Crisp will get here? I was hoping he would arrive early, he is coming isn’t he?” she asks frantically as she scans the walk once again. The strong scent of alcohol is already prominent on her breath. “I just think he is a dream!”

Lyla is slightly confused about Marnie’s change of heart from yesterday’s conversation in the park to now. She indicated that she was not interested in pursuing Crispin and was even pushing Lyla to move in his direction, but now she is acting just the opposite. Maybe Marnie has already had too much to drink and her true self is showing. Lyla decides to just toss the question out there. “I thought you said you weren’t interested in Crispin.”

Marnie shoots Lyla a quizzical look as if she was just terribly insulted. Then she laughs as she stares at Lyla with disbelief then rolls her eyes. “What? Don’t be ridiculous!”

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 35) The Six O’Clock Hour

Penny’s staff has been in high gear for two hours now as the six o’clock hour approaches. Various foods of hot and cold varieties have created a wonderful aroma that flows throughout the house and out to the yard. Trays of fresh fruit and pastries are being prepared and will be served on silver platters by Penny’s wait staff once the attendees begin to arrive. A live band has set up in one corner of the dining room and they are playing music while the dining room table and chairs have been moved to create an open space for a dance floor.

Several of the people Crispin hired are on sight lighting the interior and exterior lights as well as large and small vanilla candles that seem to be in every nook and cranny inside and out. It’s very reminiscent of the way the cottage was all aglow that wonderful evening at dinner. The scent of the candles blend well with the food in a delightful and tempting way by adding a touch of sweetness to the mix.

Smokey has decided to stay on the second floor and observe the group through the staircase railing. Lyla’s friends and neighbors begin to stroll throughout the first floor, drinks and appetizers in hand and laughter abound.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 34) Past Few Nights

“So what did you do today, Lyla?” she asks herself as she moves about the second floor. “Oh I lost my mind and looked in every nook and cranny of my house for ghosts.” she replies as if in an interview. “I’ve also started talking to myself and have been declared insane.” Since Lyla did not find anything out-of-place, she ends up back in her bedroom where she tidy’s up a bit and decides to take an early shower.

The water is warm and the bathroom steams up quickly. Once she finishes washing and shampooing, she turns the water off, wraps up in a towel, and steps out into the steamy room. Looking toward the fogged over mirror she feels a bit anxious as she remembers the dark figure she saw in her room last night. There is an odd feeling welling up as she wipes her hand across the mirror to clear it of its hazy residue.

As she pats her face dry with a hand towel she smiles at her reflection and her mind drifts to Crispin. She thinks of how gracious and kind he has been to her. That night at the cottage was so wonderful and he has such a great smile. He was tender and inviting and she loved listening to him talk as he reminisced about his life. It felt good to be in his arms and she liked how warm he felt as she laid against his chest. She could feel every breath he took as he spoke. She knew she was safe as he held her and she drifted off to sleep. That’s how she would like to feel here in her own home, safe and secure.

Lyla smiles again but swiftly the air is thickening as she feels that familiar coldness slowly move in. She is still looking in the mirror, as the feeling gets more and more prominent. Even the lights seem to dim and become shadowed as if something is passing in front of them. As she looks up, she realizes she can see her breath as she breathes out. Quickly she looks down and to the side as the feeling of someone watching begins to creep in. She looks back in the mirror to see if anything or anyone is behind her but she appears to be alone. Slowly she turns around fully expecting to see the dark mass that has been in the house the past few nights.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 33) She Wants Him There

“What’s out there Smoke-a-mocha?” asks Lyla in a happy tone. Smokey growls and hisses and she bolts past Lyla and runs out the bedroom door. She disappears down the hall and Lyla walks over to look out the window at the backyard. She can see a man walking around in the shade of the trees, but can’t make out who it is. Is it Marcus by chance? It kind of looks like him. Lyla decides to quickly go downstairs. As she turns the corner to go down the hall and out the back door, the man quickly walks past the veranda doors startling her and she jumps.

“That is Marcus, what is he up to?” she says to herself as she takes a few quick steps and opens the door to speak with him. But no one is there. She steps out onto the veranda and is completely alone. “What the?” she questions. “Marcus?” she calls but again, nothing. No one is there, not even a stranger. She quickly grabs her phone and calls Marcus hoping to catch him if he is close by. After about three rings Marcus answers the phone.

“This is Marcus.”
“Hey, it’s Lyla. Sorry I didn’t catch you while you were still here, did you need something?”
“Um, no and where was I supposed to be? I’m about an hour out-of-town on a delivery.”
“Really? You are?” asks Lyla a bit startled. She glances around at the yard again to see if someone is possibly hiding then backs into the sunroom quickly locking the door.
“Yep, is everything okay, did you see something?” quizzes Marcus clearly concerned.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing. I thought I saw you in the backyard. It must have been someone working on the party décor.” says Lyla as she realizes how stupid she must sound. “You are coming to the party tonight, aren’t you?” she asks.
“I might drop in for a minute or two, all depends on how things are going, you know, with this delivery and all.” says Marcus.
“Okay, I’ll see you tonight then, bye.” Lyla does not want to give him the chance to back out of joining the festivities. She wants him there and feels bad that the friendship they have is a bit strained right now.
“Bye.” replies Marcus and he ends the call.
“I hope he comes to the party tonight, you have to Marcus,” says Lyla to herself as she looks out the glass door one last time.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 32) Until Tonight

“Sorry ladies, I overslept, forgot to set my alarm I guess.” says Lyla a bit drawn as she tries to wake up. She lets Penny and Marnie into the house.  “Um, what’s with all the decorating?” asks Penny in a snotty tone as she looks out at the walkway. When she turns toward Lyla she sees that the interior is adorned with beautifully draping garlands of lights and candles. “And in here as well!” she says with a smirk. Penny waddles from the foyer to the living room and then over to the dining room. Instantly her hands begin that familiar twisting and turning as she looks around. Every little bit she throws her arms out and looks at Lyla as if she were deeply insulted.

“Crispin had a group here yesterday when I got home. They did a great job, don’t you think?” asks Lyla as she tries to tuck her hair behind her ear. She wraps up a little tighter in her robe as she follows Penny into the kitchen. “Well, this green garden festive theme is not at all what I had in mind, but I suppose it will have to do.” says Penny in a snobbish way knowing good and well the house is decorated far better than anything she has ever planned. Penny then looks to Marnie as if expecting her to dislike the décor as well, she is quickly shot down.

“Oh wow, oh my my my. I love it!” says Marnie as she explores the rooms touching the decorations then her hair, then she fiddles with her necklace. Marnie’s theatrical behavior is in full swing as she walks in a dancing manner with her arms flowing out touching the greenery at the opening of the living room. She stops and turns to look at Penny. “All I can say is Crisp is an amazing man! I can’t wait until tonight”

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 31) Silently Watching

“Was I dreaming?” she asks herself as she tries to slow her breathing. Her heart is pounding fast and hard in her chest as sweat beads up on her forehead. She feels warm yet is freezing at the same time. She comes very close to crying.

Lyla stays where she is, still holding onto the headboard and clasping the bed sheet. She tries to gather her senses but she cannot get past the anxious feeling that someone is about to jump out at her. After several minutes of sitting in the dark alone and vulnerable, she gets up and turns on the bathroom light and decides to lie back down. She finds it terribly hard to shake the intensity in the room and she is afraid to close her eyes.

Lying on her back against layers of pillows, Lyla tries to stay in a semi-seated position. She wants to be ready if there is a repeat to the event that happened nearly half an hour ago. As she tries to relax, her eyes slowly close but with the slightest sound she goes right back to being fully awake.

The breeze outside picks up a little which cools the room down and finally she begins to drift off. Her eyes have been closed now for several minutes and she gently rolls over on her side. Facing the window soft moonlight trickles in through the trees and Lyla’s breathing becomes steady and calm. She is finally peacefully asleep but not as she expected for she is not aware of the dark shape that is standing at the foot of her bed silently watching her.

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