A Chance Meeting
A Lady MoonWalker Story
Patty L. Fletcher
October 16 2016
I stood trying to unlock the door with trembling hands. Hearing his voice so close to me down in that crowded hotel lobby just a few minutes before, had rattled me in ways I’d not been at all prepared for. Although I’d been told just before the Witch’s Ball was to take place, he was coming, and thought I was ready for seeing him again after all this time, I was quickly realizing maybe I wasn’t so ready at all.
Now, here I was in this hotel filled to capacity, with King beside me, wanting very badly to get inside, and out of his harness, and I couldn’t get the key card to work.
“Gods! I hate these things!” I said to the empty hall.
Just then I heard the elevator door slide open down the way, and as it did, King turned his head, and began to wag his tail.
“Leave it!” I said, and gave his leash a tug a bit more harshly than I’d meant to.
I figured there was someone with a dog or some other kind of animal coming out of there, and the last thing I wanted at this moment was an encounter. I was so rattled and exhausted at the moment, casting was out of the question. There were people from all kinds of learning facilities, Covens, and tribes here, and some seemed to have forgotten more than they’d probably ever learned.
I was exhausted beyond belief. The trip from Korponious to Casimia had been hell. The take off had been delayed due to meteor storms in the area, and just then as if things weren’t already bad enough, I dropped my carry-on bag, and it opened on one side spilling much of the contents onto the floor.
When his voice floated to me a moment later asking, “Honey, can I help?” I’d have taken the encounter any day. I suddenly felt hot and cold all at once. My hands literally shook, and as if that weren’t enough I dropped the key card all together.
“Damn it!” I cursed, and tried to reach down to get it spilling my pack in the process. I took a shaky breath and tried desperately to kneel down to pick up everything, and promptly dropped King’s leash. He, not having seen Derrick in quite a long time, and still obviously loving him every bit as much as ever, decided to hell with rules of rest and went to say hello.
“King! Come Back Here!” I scolded in a shaky voice.
Derrick said gently, “I have him, and I think it’s ok just this once. You look like you could really use some help, how about it? Let an old friend lend a hand?”
I had no real choice but to allow it. Not only had I dropped my key card, my carry-on, and managed to spill the contents of an over sized shoulder bag and lose my dog’s leash, but I suddenly seriously needed to pee. I sighed heavily as I stood and took things from him one at a time.
As he handed me the last of everything, he said, “And here’s your run-away dog.” And handed me the leash.
I reached out and taking it into my trembling hand said, “I’ll take my key card please?” But he was already sliding it in to the door lock, and opening the door. “Lights!” He commanded, and stepped inside, holding the door for me so it would not catch King’s tail as we stepped through.
“Well, now that I’ve made a complete fool of myself and ended up being a total nuisance right off the bat, let me just say, I didn’t know you’d be here until I’d already accepted the invite to speak.”
He stood for a moment seeming to gather his own thoughts. “Would you have turned down such an awesome opportunity as this if you’d known when you were asked?”
I couldn’t answer for a moment. I hadn’t expected that reaction. Truth was I wouldn’t have, and I said as much.
“No, actually I wouldn’t have. I’d have had them let you know, and said you can either like it or lump it.”
He laughed, and reached out, taking my hand in his, giving it a bit of a squeeze and said, “That’s the young lady I remember! I’d have been disappointed with any less.”
“Would you have come?” I asked, as I stood in the doorway.
“Absolutely!” He said enthusiastically. “I have wanted to see you for a while.”
This infuriated me, and I angrily dropped his hand. I’d been writing for the last three years practically begging him to give me five minutes of his time to work things out between us, and he was standing here in front of me saying, he’d wanted to see me for a long time? What the hell?
He sighed, “I can read your mind. You want to know, if I wanted to see you so badly, why I never answered your communications. Am I right?”
“Of course! You are absolutely right! What do you mean you’ve wanted to see me? I have been trying to talk with you forever, and nearly going crazy, and you are actually standing there talking excitedly as if we’re at a reunion?” I snapped.
The stress was finally simply more than I could deal with. I turned away from him then, slamming the door closed as I did so. It was all I could do to keep from levitating him right off the floor.
I began to tend my dog. I removed his harness, and took off his leash. Removed my pack from my shoulders and fished round till I found his food and bowls. Then I realized I knew nothing of this room, or where anything was. I knew I could’ve easily activated the audio guide, but I decided instead to try and make this a bit more interesting.
“Well! Mr. Arrives in the nick of time! ” I said, still feeling a bit more than irritated, “If you’re going to be in here, and sense you’ve supposedly missed me so much, how about showing me about this room?”
He chuckled to himself, and did not let my attitude rattle him at all. He showed me where everything was, made a few suggestions as to where might be good to put certain things where King’s needs were concerned, and although it griped me to admit it his advice turned out to be rather helpful. Then he sat himself down on my bed. Kicked off his shoes, and taking his pipe from its pack curled his legs under him, and sat filling it, contentedly watching me as I fed and watered my dog.
“He’s beautiful by the way.” Derrick said softly. “You’ve done an amazing job with him.”
“What did you expect?” I said straightening up from making King’s bed and turning to him. “I did have a great teacher.”
I turned and went in to the bathroom, and after I’d relieved myself washed my face and hands, running a brush from my pack through my hair, and putting it in to one long pony-tail I went back out in to the room, and simply stood there. I was at a loss as to what to do or say. We stayed like that for a minute, him sitting on my bed smoking, and me standing there in the middle of the floor absolutely determined not to cry, as King began to explore the room.
He said softly, “So are you gonna stay pissed at me the entire time we’re here, or can we sit and work stuff out?”
I broke then, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood where I was, lowered my head and began to cry. Hot and hurt filled tears began to roll slowly down my face, and I said, “Pissed? Is that what you think? Pissed?” I was really starting to lose all composure. “Why, didn’t you answer me if you wanted to talk with me like you say? Why Derrick?”
He stood then, came, and gently gathering me up in his arms, carried me back to the bed and sat down. “Listen sweetie,” He said taking my face gently in his hands. “There are a lot of things you simply couldn’t be aware of, and I know maybe I should’ve found a different way, but I didn’t and I am sorry. I can’t do one thing but say that, anymore than you could do anything about all you did.”
I could resist him no longer. I wrapped my arms around him, holding on as tightly as I could. “Derrick?” I sobbed. “Are you real? I mean am I going to wake up on the shuttle in a minute and this is all going to be a dream, then come to the hotel only to find you still hate me?”
He held me close and asked softly, “is that what you thought? That I hated you?”
“Yes, I did think that. I wrote to you and said so.”
He trembled a bit himself then. “Oh baby, I could never ever have hated you. Don’t you know? You were right. I have loved you from the very moment in time I first laid eyes on you standing there scared to fucking death in that damn dorm room five years ago.” His voice shook with the emotion of it.
“Then why did…?” He said softly, “Shhhh! I’ll explain it all to you, I promise. I promise before this night is done, you will know all there is to know about what happened and why, and I pray it will be enough for you to understand, and forgive me.”
“Do you forgive what I did to you?” He held me tight, and gently raised my face up so he could look at me.
“Yes! Gods! Yes! I knew that behavior was not normal. I knew you’d been enchanted. I knew that something was very wrong with your situation, but I could not help you. I had no choice but to continue to let you think as you did. It was the only way. I knew no other way to keep you safe.”
He began to wipe tears from my face with his very own finger tips, and somehow even though I was filled with fear and confusion I couldn’t help but to laugh.
“Here you are again, wiping away my tears.”
“Yeah well, some things just refuse to change. I guess this is always going to be one of them.”
Just then there was a knock on the door. I started to get up, but he stood, and after gently sitting me where he’d been on the bed went to the door saying, “I’ll take care of it. I had them bring your suit case up from the shuttle loading bay. You forgot it. I saw you when you got off.”
“Wow! I’m a real magickal mess huh?” I said softly.
He opened the door, took the suit case and tipped the alien. He closed the door, sat the case by the bed, and again picked me up in his arms and settled back down with me snuggled close to him.
“Gods I wanted to hold you for so long!” He breathed. “I missed you like you absolutely cannot know.”
For a moment I simply allowed him to hold me, to run his fingers through my hair, and to touch my face as if he too wanted to make sure I was real.
“Derrick? Couldn’t you have just sent one communication back and at least told me it wasn’t true what had been said about your hating me, and regretting that you helped me to have King? Couldn’t you have just done that?”
“Darling I wanted to, you haven’t any idea how badly I wanted to, but I simply couldn’t. There has been for so long so much more at stake than either of us could afford to lose. I had no way to let you know. None at all, but it’s over now. All over, and that’s why I’m here. I knew you were coming. I traded places with someone just so I could come, because I wanted, hell! Needed to see you!”
“I just don’t guess I can understand. No one could get a message to me, not one person?” He sighed, and began to rock slowly back and forth, whether to comfort me or him I didn’t know.
“Baby, no one knew. Not one friend did I have for all that time that I could tell.”
I raised my face to him then, “So, tell me now. I have to understand. I nearly died because of all this, and I simply have to know and understand. If I never have another thing, I have to have that.”
Just then King ran up and jumped up on the bed beside us. “Can I pet him?” he asked softly.
“Oh Good Grief! Derrick! Of course you can pet him! Do you honestly think that I’d say no to you?”
He laughed and petted the big dog’s head, “Big Guy you are an awesome sight to see. I never ever imagined in a million billion years that you’d be so big and beautiful.”
“I guess you think he’s over-weight too?”
“No, not at all. I did when I read the reports, but seeing him like this, Oh he’s beautiful.” This, I had to admit made me feel much better.
“I’m glad.” I said with a sigh of relief. “I was I have to admit a bit nervous for you to see us. I mean he is bigger than yall expected and…” I trailed off. Suddenly I felt a bit sick.
“You ok?” He asked. “No, I feel a bit sick.” I stood up and started across to the counter, and the fridge, hoping for a bottle of water, and about half way across the floor felt things starting to slip away from me. A moment later he was there, catching and holding me.
“Let me guess, you haven’t eaten since before you left your house.” I sighed, and allowed him to lead me back to the bed, and sit me down. He picked up the hotel communicator and called downstairs. He ordered two steak dinners with everything, a large order of fried shrimp puffs, and a large jug of Casimia ale. “Please put a rush on it!” He said, and after paying for it with his credit card tapped off.
“Wow! Talk about taking charge.” I said, and suddenly it was as if we’d been doing this forever. “Derrick, you don’t have to just jump right back in to taking care of me you know? I mean I’m thinking Lisa’s not going to…”
He cut me off, and spoke a bit harshly, “she has nothing to say about anything I do, or anyone I see from now on!” I sat quietly for a moment, and then he added more gently, “I’m sorry, I guess you don’t know. She left me about a year back. My breath caught, and for a moment I was stunned in to speechlessness.
“No, I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“Please, don’t be. It’s honestly the best thing to ever happen to me.” He came back over and sat down beside me. “I know I don’t have to jump right back in to taking care of you, and I am not going to even pretend I have the right, but I hope you know that nothing in the entire universe would make me happier, and I also happen to know that unless you’re keeping things secret of your own, you’re not currently seriously seeing anyone.”
I had to smile, “So Derrick Gibbous has given up being a Blended Lives instructor for detective work is he?”
He laughed and started to reach for me, then stopped. “Can I hold you?” He asked, and I reached out my arms to him in reply.
As we sat waiting on dinner we talked. He explained that a lot of what I’d believed was indeed right. Lisa was holding things over him. As it turned out the biggest thing he was trying to prevent was a lot of what I’d done to get out. Other than what I’d told people and the public displays of bad behavior I’d done, people among the Blended Lives staff didn’t know much and he’d truly wanted it to remain that way. His voice filled with pride as he spoke.
“I especially did not want her to be able to undo the hard work you’d started to do. Even though some of what you wrote cut close to home, the work you were doing was great, and I knew if you were given some time and a bit of reign you’d do well. You haven’t disappointed me.” He continued by telling me that she’d ended up on the side of those who wanted to take us back to the time when those who had blended disabilities weren’t allowed to congregate with others, and that she’d threatened me if he did not cut all ties.
“I don’t understand? Why did she hate me so badly?
He sighed, “The reason darling is simple. She knew without a doubt that this time for me with a woman was different. She knew I loved you and that I’d leave her for you. She knew that I’d come to Korponious to see you and tell you that very thing, and although when I got back she didn’t know why she knew she’d dodged a bullet. When you refused to see me alone that night, I believed you were happy. I had not allowed my powers to come forth then and I was easily fooled. I’m so very…”
I stopped him then and gently held him closer than ever before. This time it was I who took his face in my hands, and not so I could look at him. I leaned up and in to him and began to slowly seek out his mouth, and soon the two of us were locked in an embrace and kiss that we did not come away from until room service knocked on the door some moments later.
As we sat at the small hotel room table sharing a meal together he laughed. “Well, this is not quite what I had in mind the night I asked you to dinner all those years ago but…” He trailed off, and I smiled.
Reaching for his hand I said, “You silly Casimian don’t you realize this works out way better?”
“I am sure I’ll regret asking, but how do you figure that?” I sighed, and dropping his hand, stretched. “Because once talks done, we don’t have to travel far to see fun’s begun.” We laughed together, and King stretched and moaned as if to say, “Hello? I’m down here, and I’m starving, and no one has petted me in ten minutes…! Hello?”
I laughed, and reaching down gave the big dog a pet on the head. “King, are you trying to imply that you’re neglected?”
Derrick stood, and gathering our trash said, “Seriously? Kid’s gonna have to try something else. I never saw a dog so rotten ever!”
“AWW! You have to have seen more spoiled dogs than this?”
He turned from the trash can and snuggling me into his arms said, “Sweet-heart, I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and I’m here to tell you that in all of them, I’ve seen very few handler dog teams turn out as you have.”
We settled onto the loveseat together and he handed me another mug full of ale I drank in silent enjoyment for a moment, feeling the cold foamy liquid slide down my throat, and simply enjoying the feel of his arms around me. I still was having just a tad bit of trouble believing this was really happening, and each time he left me for even a moment I expected the dream to fade and to hear a Stewarts’s voice ask, “Ma’am? Are you OK.”
We talked a little longer, and just when I thought I might simply never move from the nest we’d created on the loveseat my reminder notification from my communicator went off. “What’s that?” He asked sleepily.
“My alarm reminding me its relief time, meditation time, and two hours until the opening ceremony.”
I slowly removed myself from his arms, and as I stood he asked, “So may I escort you?”
“Wow! You wanta kick this witches ball off with a bang! Huh?”
He laughed, “Well, about six people two of which were Blended Lives staff saw me follow you up on the elevator, so I’m pretty sure that at least half the hotel knows that we’ve been here together now for a couple of hours. How many bets you think they got going on whether we’ve slept together yet?”
I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh, and once I got started, I couldn’t stop it. I simply sat back down and folding my arms round myself laughed, and laughed.
When the fit had finally passed, I extended my hand to him, and he took it helping me up as he did so. “So, tonight?”
“I will allow you to escort me on one condition.”
“Condition? What condition?”
I laughed again, “You have to buy me a bottle of really great wine.”
He sighed, “Oh! Is that all. Wait? Wine? You know how you get when you drink wine.”
I smiled, and scooting away from him said, “And that Casimian is the entire point.”
As I put King back into his harness I said, “Oh by the way? You’re not walking downstairs with me to relieve him either.” He sighed.
“Sorry sweet cheeks. I ain’t given this bunch a shit load of rumor material till after my opening remarks tonight. This is the absolute best break I’ve had since my beginning all this with the publishing of my book and I am not screwing it up for anyone, not even you.”
He stood at the door for a moment. “Wow! I guess I’m still underestimating you.”
“Maybe you are. Derrick, look. I’m really glad to see you. I’m extremely glad things are somewhat worked out between us, but I’m not ready to simply swim off into the happily ever after with you. You truly want me, then you’ll show me, and for a while. Let’s just see how things go. OK?”
He cleared his throat, in that way of his when he is rebooting.
“OK? We will just see.”
As the door closed behind him I was glad to see he’d not lost his cocky attitude completely. I didn’t want to knock all the wind from his sails; I simply wanted to hold him at arm’s length till I could see how things really were.
I also really did need this witch’s ball to go well. Yes, everyone expected something from the two of us. I couldn’t avoid that, and if I were honest I did not want to avoid it. Hell, it would help sell books. What I did want to avoid? A mess. Blended Lives had had quite enough issue from me, and I did not want to give them anything but someone they could be proud to list in the Blended Lives newsletter as having attended and participated in this witches ball weekend as a member of the Blended Lives Federation
I wanted them to finally recognize me as a magazine creator and an Author of a book detailing The Blended Lives Guide program and I wanted this to happen with no more problem or delay.
To Be Continued