Sweet Saturday Samples
Contemporary Romance Thriller-Releases February 29, 2012
“I had some made into prints but I haven’t framed them yet, I’ll get them.” She gets up dreading the thought of climbing up the loft-style ladder and then down again.
“I’ll do it, Ellie,” Kevin tries to cross in front of her to get to the ladder.
“No.” She says quite sharply making him jump and turn around. “I’ll get them.” Now her voice is contrite.
“What’s up there you don’t want me to see, sweetheart?”
“Nothing,” she stammers, “it’s just messy.”
“Yeah, right. I know that’s where you keep your extensive porn collection.”
“No,” she huffs.
“Got a guy chained to the wall up there?”
“No, now stop it, get out of the way so I can get them.” Helen gives Kevin a little shove hoping he’ll back off. There’s nothing up there that the world can’t see—not really. Just her photographs of the Shaw Mansion but they’re hers and hers alone. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be ready to share them with anyone or even if she’ll ever want to share them. Kevin steps aside and she climbs the ladder as her knees scream in protest. Reaching the top of the ladder and the loft, she stands still a moment thanking the Gods her knees held out when a strange feeling washes over her. It’s almost as though someone’s here with her in the room. She bites back the urge to call out a soft ‘hello’ afraid Kevin will hear and think her crazy. Helen crosses to the small desk where her new photographs, all 16 x 20, lay in manila envelopes. Scooping them up in her arms and preparing to make the treacherous journey down the ladder she turns back. As she does, her eyes catch upon the photos of the old mansion nicely framed and hanging on the walls. “What the hell?” Her voice is louder than she intended and possibly filled with a bit more alarm than warranted.
“Ellie? You all right?”
Before she can answer Kevin it bounding up the ladder and popping his head through the hole in the floor, “I’m…I’m fine.” She glances at him and then back to the wall where three photographs have been rearranged and she doesn’t remember doing it.
“Wow, what’s the place?”
“Oh, no, don’t….” her voice trails off as he walks past her up to the walls displaying over two dozen black and white photographs.
“Ellie, these are…these are fantastic!” Kevin turns to her quickly his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide before he turns back to the photographs. “Why do you keep them up here?”
Now she has to come up with a plausible excuse, “They’re a little…dark, don’t you think? Not really company-ready, you know.” She walks up to him and follows him as he takes sidesteps to look at the photographs lined up on the walls. For a long dreadful moment, he’s absolutely silent and she fears he’s now seeing what she thinks others will in these photographs.
“Yeah, they’re dark and moody, chilling actually but isn’t that the point? Aren’t the photographs supposed to invoke emotions? Thoughts? There’s no rule that says they have to be pretty, right?”
“No, no, there isn’t.”
“Where is this place?”
“It’s the old Shaw Mansion down on Shaw Street, you’ve seen it many times I’m sure.”
“When? On our frequent trips into town?” He asks abruptly as he suddenly feels like the lonely pictures meeting his gaze; all stowed away up here in secret. “Sorry,” Kevin mumbles, “I suppose when you think I’m company-ready you’ll take me out and show me off.”
“That’s not fair, I mean, what does a hole-in-the-wall like Tarrytown have to offer a man like you anyway?”
Kevin stares down at her with disbelief in his dark eyes, “You.”
Helen shrugs and gives a little frown, “You’ve already got that.”
“How about, after I have a better look at these photos of yours, you take me out to lunch? Maybe we can go to that little diner in town?”
“If you’re hungry I’ll cook you something.”
“Humm-hum,” he grumbles, “see? You don’t want me to meet your friends.”
“Fine, you win, we’ll go to lunch.” She frowns deeper and shrugs her shoulders again, “I have to go grocery shopping anyway, so we’ll go to the diner and then I’ll take you to Andersons’, how’s that?” She slips her arms around her firm waist. “You’re not a secret, I’m not ashamed of you, believe I want to take you out and show you off to everyone I know like a, well, like a trophy wife.” She coos and then bats her eyelashes at him.
He draws in a deep breath as he puts one hand around her waist and then other on her cheek, “Trophy wife, huh? I guess that makes us even; you’re my prize.”
“Charmer,” she chimes and stands on her tiptoes for the kiss she feels coming her way and she isn’t denied. As always, when their lips touch she feels that serenity of a calm lake and the explosion of thunder all wrapped in one glorious kiss. “Do you really like them?” She asks shyly when the kiss ends.
“These? Ellie, you should show these in an art gallery somewhere. Maybe get them up on the web somewhere?”
The sincerity and pride in his voice is enough to bring the sting of tears to her eyes. Helen wraps her arms around him again, buries her face in his chest and nuzzles against it hoping he won’t see them. Craig used to say that her pictures were ‘ok’ or they were ‘nice’, usually he found something wrong with them, too light, too dark, wrong angle, the wrong subject. “Thanks.”
“You should bring a few of these down and…” his voice trails off as his head starts scanning the room, “and…do you smell that?”
Helen takes in a deep breath and the same cherry/smoky scent. “They’re burning that wood.”
“Yeah, maybe, but it’s stronger up here, don’t you think?” Standing a little straighter and pulling her in a little closer to rest under his arm, he turns to the windows in the room with their powder blue blinds and white lace curtains drawn. “The windows open?”
“They damn well better not be,” she says strongly, “I don’t think I’ve ever opened them.” Snuggling into his side, forgetting all about the moved photographs that originally caused him to come up here into her Private Gallery, “C’mon, let’s go into town, get something to eat, stock up on goodies for the weekend, then come back here and make love until Monday morning.”
End of my Sweet Saturday Sample. Thank you so much for coming by today, I hope you enjoyed my little offering! Please go back and visit the author talented authors who are apart of the Sweet Saturday Samples Blog Hop