I'll See You In My Dreams (Hell Yeah!), page 1
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Hell Yeah! V
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012
All rights reserved.
“I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Is Dedicated To:
My Brother, My Friend and the Daydream Believers – We make a good team.
Jess Hunter, Ryan O’Leary, Barb Caruso, Myra Auble, Shirley Bastian, Missy Blair, Lisa Burnett, Christine Eisele Christmann, Erika Hart, Lisa Kait, Sue Leonard, Kathy Lewis, Michelle Lopez, Martha Keating, Cinzia Marchetti, Casey Lu Matte, Rebecca Metrajean, Cindi Kuca Mitchell, Kelly Roberts, Kerry Porter, Tanya Skaggs, Shayla Sorg, Deidre Work, Debbie Workman
“After you do the dishes, make sure you iron those sheets. If you’re going to live here with me, you have to make yourself useful.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Presley had heard the same explanation a thousand times. She had lived with her grandmother for as long as she could remember, but it was never like the television shows. Grandmothers were supposed to be loving and kind. Her grandmother wasn’t loving or kind; she was harsh and demanding and never failed to remind Presley of her place. The shabby trailer they lived in could never be described as a home, yet it was all she had ever known.
“I have company coming. It’d be best if you drug the ironing board in the bedroom. Children shouldn’t be seen or heard, especially when they look like you.”
Presley had heard off-hand remarks like that so often from Mabel, that they didn’t really wound her as much as one would think. “Okay.” She had learned long ago that arguing was a waste of time. There was no escape for her from this situation. She wasn’t abused physically and Mabel sent her to school. She had even seen to it that her cleft lip was repaired. Mirrors didn’t lie however, and Presley could still see that she didn’t look like everyone else. None of the children at school ever let her forget that sad fact, not for a single day.
“By the way,” her grandmother stood over her as she gathered the iron and the spray starch from underneath the sink, “I heard from your mother today.”
“Really? What did she say?” Presley sprang back up. Hope was an odd thing; it could still spring up midst the ashes of despair. Kelly hadn’t made an appearance in her life since before she began elementary school. At fifteen, Presley fantasized about her mother driving up at the school and going to the office to demand they get her out of class. She would walk in with the principal and this beautiful woman would embrace her and tell her they were leaving together and she would begin a new life faraway from Houston, a new life with her mother.
“She wanted money from me, just like always. Worthless slut.”
Presley ignored the name-calling, it might not mean anything. Mabel called Presley names all the time. “Did she ask about me?”
Her grandmother laughed out loud, a phlegm filled laugh that spoke more of derision than it did of humor. “No, I don’t think she remembers you are alive, or she doesn’t want to. Face it, Miss Hare-lip. Nobody cares anything about you, not me, not your mother – hell, no one even knows who your father is. You are lucky to even be alive. If I were you, I’d get down on my knees every day and thank God that someone like me wastes my time and money on the likes of you.”
As Mabel continued her tirade about Presley’s misplaced gratitude, she hung her head and made her escape. Ironing was way more preferable than being berated. When Mabel’s friends came over to watch television and drink beer with her, the safest place for Presley was out of the way.
Closing the bedroom door, she sat up the ironing board and plugged in the iron. With a flip of the sheet, she draped it over the rickety wooden structure. What should she think about today? Escaping her reality through day-dreams was her favorite thing to do. Presley smiled, she knew exactly which one. Her favorite. As she let the hot iron glide over the cheap, thin sheets, she imagined how life would be like for her one day. Oh, it wouldn’t come true, but it was a joy to live it out in her mind.
One day, her prince would come. He would be tall and strong, he would be smart and funny and he would be kind to her. Her hero would take one look at her and fall in love. As she rehearsed what they would say and what they would do, Presley left reality behind and during those precious moments, she was happy.
The blackness engulfed him. It was palatable and thick – impenetrable.
And the pain!
The burning, searing pain was excruciating. Zane covered his eyes and screamed.
One second he had been riding his tractor, spraying herbicide on the hay meadow – the next, a strong gust of wind had made the trailer carrying the tank of Weedrid sway and he had been afraid it was about to turn over. So, he had turned to look.
Instant Agony. . .
Looking back at that exact moment had been the worst mistake he ever made. The same freak wind that had jostled the trailer had blown a cloud of the caustic chemical right into his eyes. Why was this the one day he hadn’t been wearing protective gear? He had no answer to that, other than his mind had been preoccupied with other things - like planning how he was going to propose to Margaret.
One stupid mistake had cost him his sight, his woman, his happiness and his future.
Fear. Despair. Rage. Emotions he couldn’t control washed over him. With a gasp, Zane sat up in bed, breathing heavily.
It was dark.
God, what a dream.
He ran a big hand over his head, ruffling his too long, unruly hair. Opening his eyes, he saw only darkness. It was still night. He started to reach for the lamp by the bed – and then he remembered. The dream was real. It had been a memory.
He was blind.
It would always be dark. A tidal wave of sorrow caused him to groan out loud.
As if cursing fate, Zane tried to see. He looked; he strained to pierce the darkness. This was not new, it never changed, every moment his eyes were open he tried in vain to see, peering into the inky blackness as if searching for a shaft of relieving light. He found none at all.
Knowing he had no choice if he were to go on, he rose, resigned to his fate. Zane threw back the covers and headed for the shower. Walking through his home was an instinctual process; even sighted people could maneuver through their houses without turning on a light, but Zane had developed special skills. He had eidetic memory, what would be photographic memory if he could see with his eyes. Since he couldn’t see, he processed information, catalogued it and stored it for future reference. Of course, he occasionally stubbed his toe. Unfortunately, Zane was at the mercy of others. Rachel was good about picking things up, but sometimes a dog toy would get in his way. That was okay, Rex was worth a stubbed toe.
The big black lab whimpered at his side. “I’m fine, Boy. I’m just hot.” His body was covered in a fine sweat. It wasn’t the weather, his big, rustic ranch home stayed at an optimum temperature. Zane’s perspiration was caused by sheer unease. When would he become accustomed to existing in a world that was void of sight?
What he would never see again haunted him.
Zane leaned on the stone bathroom vanity and gazed into the arched mirror. He knew it was there, he could feel it. And he knew what it looked like, he had picked it out. It was cold and smooth. His face was reflected in that mirror, a face he hadn’t seen in five years – a face he would never see ag
Closing his eyes, Zane mourned for what could never be. He would never see a sunrise again, or a horse prancing through tall grass. He would never see a woman’s face contort in ecstasy as he made her cum, or gaze at the erotic beauty of a naked lover as she offered him her body.
He would never see the face of his twin, the face that so closely resembled his own. And he would never see the face of his wife or his children – not only because he was blind, but because he’d never have a wife and children.
At the time of his accident, Zane had been in love, head over heels in love with Margaret Farrington. He had longed to have children and build a home with her.
His family, other than Kane, left something to be desired. They were cold and distant for the most part. Money and social standing took precedence over hearth and home. Oh, his Dad had come around after Kane and Lilibet’s crisis. Grandchildren tend to make a difference in those situations. Now Lilibet was pregnant, and she and Kane had adopted Dwayne. The whole family loved the little boy. Yes, they all realized he had been the product of Kane’s ex-wife’s twisted sense of revenge, but he was a little boy and they adored him. The family had even forgiven Preston, their cousin, for his part in the scheme. Preston was Dwayne’s real father, but Kane would be his dad.
Estelle, their mother, was still a pill. She couldn’t get her nose down out of the air long enough to enjoy life. Other than Kane, Zane’s favorite family member was a cousin. Not Teresa – oh no, not Teresa. She was two-faced and entirely too close to Margaret. No, he meant Willow.
Willow, who had run and played with him, chasing baby alligators in the swamp and prowling through the French quarter, playing tag in the St Louis cemetery. Willow was his and Kane’s childhood companion. She had grown up to be a doctor, graduating from Tulane with honors. Zane had pulled all-nighters with her, quizzing her for anatomy tests. Now, she was a premiere surgeon and had made him a promise that she had not been able to keep, so far. Willow had solemnly promised that one day she would restore his sight. One attempt had failed. He had undergone a corneal transplant, but his body had rejected the tissue. It wasn’t Willow’s fault, maybe darkness was his destiny.
Zane was blind and alone.
Margaret hadn’t wanted him, not after he lost his sight. Her words would forever ring in his ears. To give her credit, she had waited till he was released from the hospital before she had dropped the bomb. They had been in his bedroom. Margaret had never moved in with him, her family would have never gone for that, but she had stayed over frequently. With her own apartment in town, her folks weren’t able to keep constant tabs on her whereabouts.
All Zane had been able to think about was holding her again. He had longed to touch and hug, to feel her body mold to his. Instead, she had stood by the bed they had shared and delivered the killing blow. That was one time Zane had been grateful he couldn’t see. The revulsion he knew was on her face would have killed him. “I can’t do this Zane. You’re not the man I want any longer. I need someone who can look in my eyes, who can tell me I’m beautiful because they can see and appreciate my beauty. I need a man who can protect me, who can walk beside me down the street without tapping one of those disgusting canes ahead of them like their eternally dousing for water. I need a whole man, not a sightless shell of a man who can do no more than stumble through life and fumble around as he touches my body.”
Actually, he had to give Margaret credit for being honest. It would have been far worse for her to have stayed with him for his money or for the prestige of his family name. He could just imagine the shame of her enduring his lovemaking, allowing him to take her – him thinking they were in love and all was well, and all the while she is repulsed by his handicap and merely tolerating his touch.
Zane had changed that day.
For months, he had mourned Margaret, even calling her several times. The only time she had responded with anything close to a positive response was when he had thought there was a chance to regain his sight with the transplant. After it had failed, he had never heard from her again.
As he looked into the mirror, he saw himself clearly. He was a man, a strong man. He had accomplished many things that most seeing men could not. But there was one thing he would not do – he would never make himself vulnerable to a woman again.
“Will you zip me up, Zane?” Tricia moved into his space and turned in front of him, so close that he could feel her heat. Blind or not, there was no way he could miss the signals this little hottie had been sending him. When she had grabbed him by the hand and pulled him behind a closed door, Zane had fantasized that it was for a bit of afternoon delight. Instead he found himself playing ladies’ maid – not that he was complaining.
“You do realize I have to feel my way,” he located her hips, felt his way to her waist, rubbed the soft skin of her lower back – all in the magical pursuit of a zipper. “I like your perfume,” he dusted the back of Tricia’s neck with a kiss and felt her shiver. Avery had ushered Tricia into the McCoy fold. They were best friends and operated the neighborhood florist together.
“Me next!” Skye Rogers flounced next to him, the rustle of taffeta giving him a clue to her whereabouts. He would know Skye’s husky voice anywhere. From what Joseph McCoy had told him, she was exotic, strong-willed and the family’s best hope to bring Noah to his senses. “All of our fingernails are still a bit wet. We can’t do each other.” It amused him that the women thought they had to change their clothes and nail polish color just to go the reception dance.
“I want to ‘do you’, Skye. You bring out my lesbian tendencies,” Avery’s voice came from his right side.
Zane was surrounded by half naked women!
He loved it.
“Does Isaac know you swing both ways?” he teased one of the sweetest women he had ever met. Avery Sinclair, destined to be Avery McCoy, had a heart of gold and had won the heart of the Badass of Kerrville County.
“Ha! Isaac is possessive! The only way he’ll let me swing is on that contraption he has hanging in that kinky playroom of his. I’ve ridden that a few times.” Avery giggled as she waited patiently for Zane to zip her up. He accommodated her, gladly, thankful that she was well and happy and back with her beloved. Avery had narrowly escaped a madman’s clutches.
“TMI!” Cady protested. “Zane is sweet to come in here and help us. Don’t scare him off.” Cady was Joseph McCoy’s angel. She was always the voice of reason.
“I don’t mind,” Zane drawled. “We blind people have to enjoy what few advantages we’re given.” Despite his blindness, Zane could see more than one might think. When he walked into a room, he would pause and listen. What he could hear would paint a picture for him. He memorized voices, footstep patterns – if he concentrated he could even use the vibrations of the noise in the room to sense furniture and the placement of walls and doors. He called it echolocation even though he didn’t do the clicking noises – he sought to be patient and absorb what went on around him and visualize the scene.
“Zane Saucier, you have more advantages than you know. Sexy, smart, handsome and funny are just the first things that pop in my head.” Tricia was sincere. Everyone in their circle of friends was urging him to ask her out. The chemistry was definitely hot between them, but Zane didn’t date anyone within his circle of friends. Actually, he didn’t date – period. It was just too hard to maintain the charade around people he cared about. He had been known to escort a woman to a social event, but he never followed it up with more. And since the drinking water at Tebow seemed to be infested with orange blossoms and wedding-itis, it was time for him to hit the road.
“Anyone else?” He hated to zip and run, but he had a legitimate excuse. A few minutes ago he had received a puzzling phone call from his secretary. Chloe never called him unless it was an emergency. She had asked him to meet her at the office and he had agreed.
“Just me,” it was Libby’s soft voice.
“Ah, the blushing bride,
“No, Zane, I’m the lucky one. Aron is my heart.”
A knot of sadness formed in his throat. “I think you’re both damn lucky.” After zipping her, he stepped back needing a bit of air. It was time to get out of here. “This has been a sweet distraction. There’s nothing I like better than spending a few minutes with a bevy of beautiful women.”
“You’re a sweet talker,” Cady said. “Joseph has told me so many stories about you and Kane. He says you are so silver tongued that you can talk a coon down out of a tree.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” He spoke into his phone, “Sherwood, meet me out front please.” Lifting his face to the ladies, he thanked them. “I enjoyed spending this time with all of you, it was a privilege. And as much as I hate to leave good company, I have to go. If any of you see Kane, tell him that I’m headed back to Austin. I have a late meeting at the office.”
Every one of the ladies had to give him a kiss. And Zane accepted them graciously. He had wanted to come to this wedding, Aron and Libby McCoy meant the world to him.
“Rex,” one word was all it took and the faithful dog was at his side. The black lab had an uncanny instinct and was completely devoted to him. They moved effortlessly through the crowd of people who had come to Tebow to witness the elder McCoy brother tie the knot with Libby Fontaine. Zane said a few final goodbyes as they made their way to the door.
“Mr. Saucier,” he heard his name as he exited the ranch house. “Over here, Sir.” Rex was already pointing his body in that direction. The car door opened and he found the cool steel easily. “Where to, Sir?”
“My office, Sherwood. Please.”
The drive from Tebow Ranch to Austin took a little over an hour, so Zane used the time to make some notes for Chloe. “First, please confirm my reservations at Eagle Canyon Resort. Remember, I’m speaking at that conference. If you’ll begin to get all the notes and power-point presentations ready, I’d appreciate it. And you might as well book an extra room; I’ll probably need you to go with me. Second, confirm our firm’s attendance at the premiere of Burning Love. Make sure we have a table big enough for the partners and a few others.” As bad as he hated to do it, there was no way he would get out of the movie studio’s big shindig. Vision Star was one of the firm’s oldest and best clients, “Third, call Shelly Taylor and tell her we’ll take the case.” Laney Taylor might be dead, but her sister deserved to know what happened to her. And if suing Rayford Kendall to reclaim Shelly’s stolen property would get their foot in the door, he was all for it. This was exactly the type of case that Zane loved to sink his teeth into. He had no doubt they would get to the bottom of the mystery, but it would require some investigating to bring the truth to light. Putting the mini recorder in his pocket, he settled back to enjoy the remainder of the ride.
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