I managed to get quite a bit written on this during the writer’s retreat and I tried really hard to work in the upcoming photo prompts. After a while, the photos aren’t going to line up, but for now they do. 🙂 Then again, if I stick to the flash fiction photos then you only get one chapter per month and well, I might want to share more often depending on how it’s going. 😉
If you’re new to this story you’ll want to read chapters 1 and 2 first because none of this will make sense. I still don’t have a title, right now it’s just known as “Jensen” because that’s my main character’s last name. 🙂 Oh and just so you know… Josh is now being played in my head by the beautiful Alan Ritchson. *rawr* Feel free to drool over him for a moment. 🙂
Chapter 3 – Walk in the Grass
I was sitting on a bench swing along the Grand River after work. The river wasn’t anything anyone would ever want to get in, by any means, and most people who fished from it did it just for the sport and not the food because of the fear of pollution. Even so, the river was one of my favorite thinking spots. The sun would hit the water in a way that gave it a golden sparkle toward the evening, and the slight breeze always helped to cool me down in the sticky heat of a Michigan summer. Summer in Michigan could go from being rainy and cold to oppressively hot and humid all in just a few hours. That day was a particularly hot and steamy day which allowed me to wear one of my favorite sundresses to work but thankfully it was starting to cool off as the day wore on.
My shoes had been kicked off as soon as I’d sat down on the bench and I had one foot in the grass lazily pushing me back and forth while my other was tucked up underneath my body. Josh’s business card was in my hand and I kept twirling it between my fingers. It had been four days since I’d met him. My burned hand was still bandaged up and I was taking a regular cocktail of pain killers to keep the pain at bay. I’d managed to return to work after two days simply because I was too broke to go very much longer than that without working. Diamond had been gracious and put me on strictly cash register duty though since it basically hurt to do anything else. As weird as Diamond was, she was a really good boss and took good care of the few of us who worked at the coffee shop.
My fingers trailed over the raised print on Josh’s card. I felt like every time I touched his name it helped me remember things about him. His eyes, his smile, the dimples in his cheeks, the way his hair had a slight curl to it at the ends, his amazing arms… I shivered every time I thought about his hand resting at the small of my back when he’d usher me through a door. Even though we’d only met once I felt like I knew exactly what his hands would feel like on my body. I’d been dreaming about his death for ten years but in that time I’d also known his love. I may not have dreamt about our actual relationship but there was no doubt in my mind that I loved him and he loved me in return. It wasn’t something that I could’ve explained to many people outside of my family, I just knew it.
What I didn’t know was anything about my relationship with Josh. Was I supposed to call him? Would he come back to the coffee shop and we’d fall in love there? I had no idea what I was supposed to do. All I knew was how I was going to lose him.
I found myself wishing that I’d at least had other, happier, dreams about him. I wondered if those dreams would start up once he was a part of my life or if I was doomed to only have the one horrible dream about him over and over again. I had no idea how I was supposed to even consider a relationship with the guy all the while knowing how horrible things were going to end up for him. I’d dreamt about people’s deaths many times before but had never dreamt about someone that I knew and loved.
My cell phone vibrated against my leg and I picked it up to look at the screen. There was a text from my mother asking me what was wrong. Most of the women in our family had the gift of dreams, but the gift was always a little different for each of us. Typically as we aged, our power would transition from just dream visions to dreams with something extra on the side. My grandmother had been able to have visions in her dreams but also have visions in waking hours. Two of my aunts, who were twins, had the dream visions but if they physically touched someone during the day, their dreams would often be about that person. My mom, though, was more of what most people would think of when they heard the word psychic. In addition to dreams, my mom had the most control over her power that I’d ever experienced. She could ask a question of the universe before falling asleep and then would dream the answer, and her intuition was ridiculously correct.
I smiled down at the phone shaking my head. There was no use trying to hide my feelings from my mom because I knew she already knew them. She knew just by thinking about me that something wasn’t right. I figured that texting her would take too long, especially considering she was still trying to figure out her new phone, so I pulled up my favorites and tapped her face to call her.
“Hi, baby,” she answered and I swear I felt all of her warm fuzzies spread all over me.
“Hey…” I said as I watched a duck floating down the river.
“What’s got you so down, kiddo?”
I hadn’t told her about Josh yet. She knew all about his dream, of course, but she didn’t know that I’d met him the day that I burned my hand. I’d conveniently left that part out when I’d told her about the coffee accident. I sighed and looked at Josh’s card again before sliding it into the pocket on the side of my bag. “I met the guy. The one from the vision.”
“The day I got burnt. He was there too. He took me to the clinic and did my exam. I didn’t tell you because I was in such shock from finally seeing him in person after all this time. I didn’t know what to do.” I shook my head and rolled my eyes at myself, “I still don’t.”
“Oh, honey… I wish I could answer your questions about him. You know I’ve tried…”
I nodded even though she couldn’t see me, “I know…” She’d tried many times at my begging to try and give me any information on the Mystery Guy, as we usually called him, but it never worked. For some reason, none of the women in my family could tell me anything about Josh no matter how their power worked.
“So, what was it like? What’s his name?”
“Josh Everhart. He’s a doctor at the children’s hospital, he’s tall…”
“Is he as gorgeous in person as he is in the vision?”
I nodded again and felt a wave of sadness wash over me as I pictured him lying on the ground bleeding to death. “Yeah. He has these amazing dimples, and his eyes are so blue, Mama.”
“Was he nice?”
“Very. He took great care of me.”
I knew what my mom was going to ask me next. Not because of my gift but just because of twenty-three years of experience of her interrogating me. “So what else happened? Have you seen him again? Did you give him your phone number?”
“He gave me his business card, which I’ve been staring at for the past four days, and I assume he went to work. I don’t know if I’m supposed to call him or just wait for him to come back in for coffee or what.” I groaned and went to run my hand over my face but remembered that it was bandaged up and instead let it fall back into my lap. “There is one more thing though.”
“What is it?”
“When he left me and I went back to the shop, I found a paper heart. It was burned all around the edges.”
“Oh, sweetie…” she sighed and I could picture the look of concern on her face. She knew exactly what the heart meant just like I had.
“How is this fair? How am I supposed to let him into my life knowing how he’s supposed to die and not knowing anything else? I just don’t understand it.”
“I know…” she said softy. We’d talked about it for ten years and still had no answers. No one in the family had experienced a dream like mine that didn’t come true within a few days. I was definitely the only one who had gone a full decade without a dream coming true. The elders in the family had been talking about my dream for years and no one knew how to explain it. “Honey, I wish I could tell you anything that would help. All I can say is, don’t fight it. If your vision is true then fighting it or trying to avoid him isn’t going to work. You know that.”
“If it’s true?” I groaned. “Ma, they’re always true.”
“So far, yes… but this one has already shown us that it’s different. We really don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“Great, so I get to keep on being a freak.”
“A freak that I love so much…” she teased then giggled.
I couldn’t help but smile, my mom was a big dork and I loved her. “I love you too.”
“I know you do. Now, are you going to call him?”
I chuckled, “I don’t think so. I suck on the phone. Plus it’s been four days, I can’t just be like, ‘Hey… thanks for helping me almost a week ago.’”
She laughed too, “Well, you could. Or you could call him and just say hi.”
“You’ll figure it out, honey. I can’t tell you anything about how your relationship is going to happen, but I do know that it’ll work out on its own.”
“And then I can watch him die… good times,” I lamely joked and rolled my eyes again. If anything I had to be sarcastic and make light of the situation. Otherwise I’d probably just cry all of the time.
“You’ll fall in love first.”
“So that my heart will break into a million pieces. Yay!”
“The falling in love part will make it all worth it. Trust me. Watching your dad die was awful and I miss him every day, but I wouldn’t take back the time I had with him. Not for anything.”
My dad had died of cancer when I was eleven. The love he’d had for my mom was a beautiful thing. Thinking that maybe I’d get to have that kind of love with Josh, even if it was just for a short while, I had to admit was encouraging. “Keep telling me that, okay?”
“I will… Now, cheer up and let the universe bring you your love.”
I smiled, “I’ll call you later.”
We said goodbye and I sat a while longer aside the river. Just when the sun started to dip below the buildings I figured I should walk back toward home so that I wasn’t out in the dark. I also needed to eat before my next round of pain killers otherwise I’d spend the evening sick as a dog. I reached down for my black slip on shoes and decided that I could go barefoot in the grass. I figured if I was careful I could avoid stepping on anything dangerous and if needed, I could always just step onto the river walk which was wooden along the river before turning to a paved path that ran through the city. I loved being barefoot. If it weren’t illegal to be shoeless while serving food, I would probably work all day without my shoes on.
I walked along the river slowly, enjoying the view and the breeze. I had a car but it seemed foolish driving to work on good weather days when I could easily walk to and from work inside of about 10 – 15 minutes. Plus, using the river walk allowed me to walk past my dream homes that I hoped one day I could afford on my own. Old Town had all sorts of new trendy apartments and condos that were swoonworthy, but also very pricey. I lived close to Old Town in the cheaper but still cute neighborhood next door.
One of my favorite homes to pass was the Brownstone View condos. They were a fairly new build of two level brownstones with their own basements and back yards along the river. Each backyard was sectioned off with a short brick wall with a gate that opened up to the river walk.
My eyes fell on a bonfire in one of the back yards at Brownstone. It was in one of those fancy fire pits that you can buy at Target for like $300. As I was thinking about cool it would be to ever have a spare three hundred bucks to spend on random shit at Target, I heard someone call my name.
I paused and look toward the voice to find Josh sitting by the fire pit. He smiled as he stood and jogged over to the edge of the yard. My eyes lingered on his dimples as he said hello. “How’s it going? How’s your hand?”
I held my hand out to show that it was still bandaged and I shrugged, “It’s okay. Still hurts a lot, and it’s still really warm to the touch. But I don’t ever miss a dose of the pain killers. I did that on accident yesterday and it was awful.”
He chuckled and nodded, “Keep those going steadily for at least a full week. Burns are tricky. Especially a bad one like yours. It’s painful to heal skin like that.”
I chuckled, “Yeah, tell me about it.”
“I just got a pizza, wanna join me?”
I started to decline but then heard my mom’s voice in my head telling me not to fight things with Josh and to let the universe bring me love. I looked at Josh and raised an eyebrow, “What’s on it?”
“Pepperoni, ham and mushrooms. But if you tell me you want something else or you’re a vegetarian I’ll totally order you another one.”
I smiled and blushed, “I’m not a vegetarian, and actually, it sounds perfect.”
Let me know what you think! Then check out what the other ladies have cooked up for this month’s photo. 🙂