Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Each week, a group of talented authors share their work in progress with you. Last week, we had a picture prompt and a 300 word limit–very hard for me to do, but this week we’re back to word prompts. Today’s word is AIR. I’m wrapping up Wedding Bell Blues, and push is going to come to shove today as Melena, Mark, MJ, and Paul meet on Paradise Island.
Paul looked up and smiled.
“I figured you needed the rest after last night. How do you feel?”
“Surprisingly well,” MJ lied, shoving all her fear and anxiety deep inside herself. She’d used her inhaler earlier and prayed she would be able to get through the rest of the day without having to do so again. “Maybe my body is getting used to the champagne.”
He laughed, and the sound of his genuine pleasure made her feel warm and toasty inside.
“I have a feeling it probably has something to do with all the water we drank last night, too. Nice to meet a doctor with such a simple hangover cure,” he joked. “Of course, I don’t think we met the one glass of wine, one glass of water rule completely, but I’d say we got it half right. Are you hungry?”
“Starving, actually, and you must be right about the water because I did feel a lot worse yesterday. How did you sleep?”
“Like a baby, and believe me, that’s a wonderful feeling.” He sobered. “I’ve had nightmares off and on since I’ve gotten back. Having you around is good for my soul.”
MJ beamed. It wasn’t a declaration of undying love, but it was a place to start. If she could calm his soul, then surely she could win his heart, and maybe this marriage of convenience could become the real thing—babies and all.
Before she could answer, the doorbell rang indicating brunch.
“I’ll get it.” Paul jumped up and headed indoors.
Within minutes, he was back with a waiter pushing a heavily laden cart.
“Félicitations, Monsieur et Madame Davis,” the waiter said, expertly popping the cork on another bottle of champagne.
Whoever had the wine and alcohol contract on the island must be making a fortune.
“Would you like the wine plain or as a mimosa?”
“Mimosa sounds good to me,” she answered, “but heavy on the orange juice, please.”
“Make it two,” Paul added his approval to hers.
The waiter made the drinks and bowed. “Enjoy your meal. Monsieur St Louis asked me to remind you that you’ll meet in the main dining room at two.”
Paul escorted the waiter to the door.
MJ stared out at the water. Clouds were massing on the horizon—not an auspicious start to the day. Most likely Melena and Mark were arriving at this very moment. Was it wrong to hope they’d had a rough crossing?
She didn’t hear Paul until he was right behind her.
“Here,” he said, handing her the mimosa. He raised the glass. “This is the first day of the rest of our lives, MJ. To us and the future.”
MJ clinked her glass on his. “To us,” she repeated, smiling at him with renewed optimism. They would make this work.
A long blast, similar to that of the train whistle as the locomotive pulled into the station, startled MJ, and she almost dropped the crystal glass she held.
“What the hell was that?”
“The whistle to tell the guests that the ferry to return them to the mainland has arrived. They have an hour to make it to the dock.” Paul sat. “Let’s eat.”
MJ stood there, suddenly unable to pull the air into her lungs she needed to breathe as panic filled her. They were here now. They were really here.
Paul looked up and jumped to his feet.
“MJ, what is it? What’s wrong?”
She couldn’t stop shaking as she gasped for air.
Paul pulled her into his arms, the fear on his face stunning in its intensity. “It’s okay. I’m here, but I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s wrong, honey. Are you choking? Do you need your inhaler? Speak to me. MJ, for the love of God, speak to me.”
Gasping out each word, tears welling in her eyes, MJ looked up at Paul. “Oh God, Paul. They’re here—they have to be. He’ll kill me when he discovers what we’ve done.”
Paul exhaled as his color returned to normal, and he pulled her into his chest.
“Is that what this is about? Relax, and take a deep breath. I’m here. If he so much as looks at you sideways, he’ll answer to me. You’re my wife, MJ and I will stand by you in all things and defend you from all dangers. Now, do you need your inhaler?”
She shook her head and forced herself to calm down. Paul would never let Mark hurt her. As long as she stayed with him, she would be fine. Gradually the tightness in her chest eased, and she sipped the water he offered her.
“I’m sorry,” she said, looking up at him. “I thought I had it under control, but…”
“But nothing,” Paul said, gazing into her eyes. “You aren’t alone, MJ. I’m with you, and we will get through this together.”
Paul set the glass she was holding on the table and pulled her into his arms. He bent his head and touched his lips to hers, spiraling her back into the awe and wonder she’d experienced during their wedding when he’d kissed her. Clinging to this lifeline, she returned his kiss with all the ardor and passion in her soul.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post. Don’t forget to check out all the other on Tuesday Tales.