The Heir & I: Precarious Passions (7 page)



Chapter Twelve





After being practically thrown out of my boyfriend’s home, I decided to retreat to my own. For while I did want so deeply to help and comfort Oliver, I realized that he needed his space right now and, truth be told, so did I.


After calling the police department, I learned—much to my consternation—that no suspects had been identified in the invasion and desecration of my home. Yet seeing as how I’d received no threats and seen no further signs of trouble, I finally settled the matter in my mind; mentally pinning the crime on a random group of rowdy teenagers that probably knew better than to make a return visit.


So with this in mind I set about cleaning, clearing and organizing my home, removing and disposing of all remaining traces of the awful act that had robbed me of my security and peace of mind.


Finally at the end of the day I took a long moment to admire the results of my handiwork, smiling with contentment as I realized that my house was once again my home. Then I headed off to the kitchen to throw together a quick dinner of lasagna and salad, savoring its taste as I sank tiredly into the confines of my favorite easy chair and watched the evening news.


I cringed outright as the news announcer—a striking redhead who often, very gleefully announced that she had her fingers on the pulse of breaking news in Bennington, which was not a very lofty goal in my mind—announced the death of local finance mogul Harry Clark. I hoped against hope that Olli wasn’t watching and ached to call him; pulling back when I realized that, in all likelihood, we both needed to be alone right now.


With this in mind I took my plate to the kitchen and headed next to what I jokingly called my master suite; washing my face and brushing my teeth before slipping into a comfy pair of flannel pajamas and collapsing in the cottony, comforting confines of my own bed.


Tomorrow, I figured, I could make things right with Trisha and Kirk; reconnecting with them at the office and getting back to work. Then I could make a pass by Oliver’s house and see if he was ready for some company; offering if I could, to help with any funeral or memorial service arrangements in regards to his father.


For now, though, it was time for me to focus on myself; to get a good night’s sleep in my own bed, and in a house that once again looked and felt like a home.


As I finally relaxed in my sheets and drifted off into the realm of dreams, I pictured myself once again in a place of billowy clouds; running fast and free across a heavenly dreamscape, searching once again for a man that seemed illusive.


Finally I saw him; the bronzed, gorgeous man that I loved so dearly, this time greeting me with open arms and the dazzling, white toothed smile I hadn’t seen in a while.


Returning his beam with a relieved sigh, I spread my own arms to consume my lover in a warm, loving embrace; a gesture that surely would serve to erase all distance between us, both physically and emotionally—to reunite us once and for all.


My grin dissolved moments later as my lover disappeared; his form rendered invisible by encompassing clouds as my arms remained empty.


Letting loose with a strangulated moan I surged upward in my bed, tears falling free down my face as I awoke alone, in an empty bed.


Wrapping my arms now around my own body in a weak attempt at self-comfort, I bit my lip as I wondered just when things would be made right between Oliver and me. When would our nightmare end?


My troubled meditation was disrupted by the sound of a hard, rough thump that resounded just outside, making me jump in my bed as I considered its source.


“Oh it could be nothing,” I told myself immediately, waving away my own concern with a slightly trembling hand. It could be an animal, or just someone getting home from their night shift job. Criminy, when did I get so paranoid?


Dismissing my own worries with a final snort, I lay back in the sheets of my cushiony bed and shut my eyes tight, clearing my mind of all negative notions as I willed myself to sleep.


The beautiful rays of a Florida sun roused me from slumber early the next morning. I got up from my bed with a contented sigh, happy in the knowledge that I’d had a full and very relaxing night’s sleep in my own bed.


Putting aside my concerns of the evening before, I retreated to the kitchen and enjoyed a healthy breakfast of granola cereal and herbal tea, next returning to my ‘grand suite’ to shower and dress for the day.


Facing my signature full length mirror with a confident smile, I took in the vision of a nicely coiffed career women—bedecked today in a navy blue dress with an ivory lace panel and sensible ebony pumps; meeting this image with a confident nod as I grabbed my purse and briefcase and headed for the door.


Venturing into the driveway, I stopped for just a moment to bask in the warmth of a sun drenched Florida day; then remained frozen in my place as I witnessed the unthinkable.


My prized, gem blue compact car—the one I’d bought with intense pride right after college and just recently paid off—had been vandalized beyond the point of recognition; its simple beauty and stable, reliable structure marred and ruined.


Looking quickly beyond the flattened tires and the blatant paint scratches, I gaped outright at the appearance of graffiti, spray painted awkwardly on the driver’s side door.


“Slut,” I breathed, reading the ugly word that had been sprawled in sloppy haste across the side of my vehicle; a word that branded my heart as I considered its implications.


OK, I mused, so I was wrong.


This was personal.



To be continued…


Lara Hunter

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