Ooh, and there she stands in a silken gown
Silver lights shinin' down
And then you sense a change
Nothin' feels the same
All your dreams are strange
Love comes walkin' in
soundtrack: Love Walks In - Van Halen
Bay View - Lakin's Beach House: Monday, 7:42PM
Aidan walked gingerly across the sandy driveway that stretched out in front of Lakin's bungalow grateful that he had put the top up in his Jag before driving over. Although it was warm, rain pelted down on him and he considered going back to the car to grab his jacket but by then he would be thoroughly soaked.
Gingerly taking the stairs, he tried the door which Lakin never locked and entered. Her house was small, no, it was tiny. He asked her to move in with him after they got engaged but she loved this place and wanted to stay through the end of her lease.
Aidan found her sitting at the small table in her kitchen, probably doing the crossword, and smiled. He could be happy living here with her in spite of the size of the place. It was quiet, peaceful, and remote. He didn't need a mansion, he just needed her. It made the news he brought with him all the more bitter.
"Hi baby," Aidan's soft-spoken voice greeted her. Lakin looked up, briefly distracted, and then returned the warm smile.
"Hello yourself," she set down the paper and continued, "Are you drenched?"
She rose and gracefully walked over to him sliding one tanned arm around his waist and the other gently grasping his chin and planted a kiss on his mouth. "I was just looking for DJs in the paper."
"You might want to hold off on that baby. I'm afraid I have some news."
Aidan walked out to the deck beyond the kitchen and stared out over the long stretch of deserted beach and ocean. They had changed their wedding plans a few times already and Aidan wished he had just taken her away and married her the minute he popped the question. Giving her a spectacular wedding meant a lot to him but something always derailed their plans.
Lakin followed him out there, put her arms around him and murmured against his back, "Whatever it is, we will deal with it Aidan. I love you and I don't need all the glitz. I just want to marry you, anywhere and anytime."
Rain danced off the freshly painted wood railing, dripped rhythmically from the gutters as the surf pounded against the shore. Aidan still felt somehow like he was letting Lakin down and allowing their wedding to take a back seat to all the drama with Cooper and Mercury Rising. She deserved better and yet she took it all in stride. He was a very lucky man.
Aidan turned to face her. Disappointment and regret was all written all over his face. "I hate having to keep postponing. At some point, we won't even be able to rent a venue for the reception when they see us coming. I don't want to wait any longer Lakin."
She stared up at him eyes shining in the soft light. "Aidan, let's just elope. I don't want to wait either. We can run off and just do it."
"I was sort of hoping you would feel that way. Are you sure Lakin?" He searched her face for any hint of sorrow.
"Of course I'm sure. We'll pick a date tonight and nothing will stand in our way. I've never been to Vegas, you know. We could do it there!"
Aidan lifted her and spun her around in his arms, joy shining through his wide smile. "I love you, you know that?" He kissed her thoroughly, hoisted her up onto his shoulder and carried her to the bedroom
South Beach - Mitchell Residence: Wednesday, 1:17AM
Unable to sleep Peri pulled on a sweater and jeans and slipped downstairs pausing to watch Saffron, her new little kitten, as she slept under the stairs. Saffron was curled up in a tiny ball of fur, the massive bed she slept in making her look even smaller than she was. It was not unlike how Peri felt surrounded by huge empty rooms of the massive house she had shared with Heydon and their children.
She switched on the desk lamp in the library and booted up her computer. Peri had been frequenting chat rooms. She was successful and outgoing and didn't need to hide behind the anonymity, but she enjoyed the playful atmosphere and had met some nice people. One of them was a man she knew as metrognome. To her surprise, they had made an instant connection. In the months they had been chatting, she had come to learn many things about him including the fact that he was smart, recently divorced, and an art and music lover. He made her laugh, something she hadn't done in a long while, and Peri looked forward to their online time together.
Logging into the site, her heart leapt when she saw the immediate private message from him pop up on her screen.
metrognome: Hi there semi-precious...can't sleep?
semi-precious: Insomnia. You?
metrognome: I'm a night owl, remember?
semi-precious: LOL! Yes I remember.
metrognome: We really have to stop meeting like this...
semi-precious: You want to stop chatting? I understand...
metrognome: No that isn't it. I want to stop meeting like this. I want...
semi-precious: You want what?
metrognome: To meet in person.
Peri stared at the flashing cursor on her monitor. He wanted to meet. Thinking about it, what did she have to lose, she was single and she liked the guy. What harm would there be in meeting? As she thought about it another message popped up.
metrognome: Are you there?
semi-precious: I'm here...I don't know...you could be a stalker or serial killer ;p
metrognome: Do you really feel that way?
semi-precious: No...but I could be an ugly fat ogre with warts.
metrognome: I wouldn't care. You're beautiful to me already. Meet me.
Bay View - Seaside Bistro: Thursday, 2:09PM
The next afternoon Peri walked confidently toward the cafe feeling lighter than she had in months. She arrived early, excited and eager to meet the man who had entranced her online. He told her he would be dressed in blue, his favorite color. She told him she would be dressed to kill. Her eyes swept through the crowd expectantly when she felt a warm hand on her shoulder. Smiling, she turned to face him.
"Danny! What are you doing here?" Peri hissed as she brushed his hand away.
"I have a date." Danny grinned at her, that same boyish charm chipping away at her resolve, tearing down the walls that she used to keep him at arm's length. He was infuriating, really. "You look incredible Peri; you always knew how to turn heads." His eyes slowly travelled over her body. She felt her cheeks flush slightly at the thrill it gave her.
Peri tried to shake off the feeling; after all, she was meeting another man, a man that she felt connected to. "A date...really...in the middle of the afternoon at a cafe? You expect me to believe that? Do the women you date even come out during the day? Well for your information I also have a date so if you will excuse me..."
He cut her off mid sentence, "Peri, it's me." Danny reached toward her and Peri withdrew from his touch.
Exasperated and somewhat irritated, she released a sigh and snapped, "What are you talking about? You know what I don't even want to know. I'm meeting someone Danny so go away, leave me alone."
Anxious now, Peri scanned the crowd of people that wandered along the street and in the cafe. Her heart was pounding and her thoughts grew increasingly muddled and confused. Why was he here of all places? She exhaled once more, trying to regain her composure, trying to shove down the misgivings that began to creep into her head.
"Peri, it's me," Danny repeated more softly. "Metrognome."
Peri struggled to keep her warring emotions in check. There was no way that Daniel Whitney was the man she talked with for hours on the nuances of texture and motion, of willow and vine. "You?" she gasped. "How could you! You jerk! You ass!"
Danny laughed. "I thought it was pretty clever..."
"You think this is funny? Why would you do something like this to me?" Peri pushed him back but Danny didn't move.
Peri tried to walk away but Danny stopped her by placing his arms firmly around her. His face finally grew serious, almost pained as he spoke. "It was the only way I knew you would let me in and see who I really am. You always used that screen name, you think I could forget that...or anything else about you? You liked the man you got to know online Peri, he made you laugh, made you feel wanted and that's why you're here. I am that man. I love you, I always have. Please give us a chance."
She stood silent for several moments. What she needed was distance; she couldn't think clearly with him so close. The hopeful expression he wore turned to defeat and then to resolve. "I won't give up Peri. I'm going to fight for you as long as it takes."
He released her and began to walk away when she gently laid her head against his back and placed her hands on his bare shoulders to keep him from leaving. "Don't go," she murmured quietly.
When Danny turned around Peri's expression no longer held anger in it. Her eyes shone brightly like the gemstone her mother named her after as Peri smiled up at him and teased, "Metrognome...that was the best you could come up with?"
Las Vegas, NV - Candlelight Wedding Chapel: Friday, 9:26PM
NEXT CHAPTER: Passages 9