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Logged On II

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Logged On II

Written by: Wendy Scotti

2008

My computer had been acting strangely for the past week. Nothing could be more strange than what was about to happen too me. I’m not a great writer I dabble. I had been working on a story for about a month now but it seems to be dragging on. I thought if I ran some ideas through my head on my blog online something might fit.

I logged on around 7:00 p.m. As I started putting my ideas to words I noticed my computer screen flickered. The image on the screen came and went for what only seemed like a second. Strange indeed, I thought my computer was going to crash again. I leaned back in my chair thinking I was going to just have too call the technician to look at my computer again when suddenly an enter to my blog was being added.

I leaned forward and tried to stop the entry using my keyboard but nothing was working. The entry was saved to the blog. As I read the entry an instant message popped up on my screen.

{Draiocht: I think you’ll find this better.}

The nerve of this person, adding something to my blog, my personal blog! Personal being the word how did he get access? I sent him an instant message back.

{Autumn: How did you get access to my blog? I have a private blog.}

He replies.” {Draiocht: Are you sure you're settings are right?}

I checked the blog settings it read Private.

I sent another reply.

{Autumn: My settings are right. How did you get into my blog? Never mind, I’ll take care of it.}

I deleted the entry Draiocht made into my blog. Reset my settings to Private and started to post in my blog once again. After about ten minutes I thought it was just a strange occurrence and the problem was fixed. I got up to refill my drink and when I came back to the computer it was happening again. He was writing in my blog. I paid know attention to what he was posting and sent him an instant message right away.

{Autumn: What do you think you’re doing?}

He responded back again.

{Draiocht: Don’t you think this is better?} He entered his entry into the instant message. I responded back.

{Autumn: I don’t really care what you think should be in my story. You’re in my blog. Please leave.}

I decided to contact the site about the matter. They had no explanation for what happened. My blog was set to private they suggested I change my password. Which I did, at this point I was frustrated with the matter and decided to just log off for the night.

The next morning I logged on to find things working normally. I had worked on the story for over three hours nothing happened. By that time I had to get ready for lunch with Emily. With everything working fine I felt more at ease and logged off knowing my blog was safe.

Of course I told Emily all about the strange event. Emily and I have been best friend since grade school. Our careers may take us down different roads but we are still very close. In fact Emily married my younger brother. Now that she’s married she is determined that the right man for me is out there somewhere.

He must be living in Iceland! I haven’t found him yet.

My relationships seem to be one of Emily’s favorite topics when we get together. I know she means well but for some girls there just is no right guy. I’m beginning to think I’m some girl. It always starts out well but as I tell Emily, there doesn’t seem to be a man who can get to date number four. I feel like an old soul in a new body.

I like it when a guy brings you flowers on the first date. I like it even more if he opens the door for me. Emily says,” That just doesn’t happen any more.” But I believe even in today’s world the gentlemen trait has to have been passed on. I know it’s a stretch but isn’t there a man who will kiss you on the third day anymore. Why is it all a rush? It’s not that I don’t think about being kissed on the second or first date but it’s wanting to be kissed but waiting.

Letting the sparks build. Lets face it you wouldn’t be on the date if you weren’t attracted to them in the first place.

Relationships are like building a fire. If the fire just gets started and you throw everything on it, well it’s going to go out. But, if you add a little more to the fire time after time the fire stays lit and it can grow pretty big. Laugh all you want, he’s out there somewhere. Like I said probably Iceland.

Edited by Avivid Mind

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The warm morning sunlight was gently kissing my face. I stretched out in my bed pulling the blankets close around me as if they were hugging me good morning. I turned on my side and lie in bed watching two birds in the tree out side my bedroom window. The male bird was strutting around singing a tune trying to get a females attention. All the signs of spring I thought to myself. I sighed a deep sigh wondering if there was ever going to be someone who would catch my eye and climbed out of bed.

Pulling my long hair up, I changed into my jogging suit and grabbed my sneakers from my closet. I made my way down stairs as the phone began to ring.

It was Emily; she insisted that I stop by this morning. I told her I was jogging this morning but being not far from my place I’d stop in for a quick visit before heading home. I tucked my phone away in my suit and finished putting on my sneakers.

It was a beautiful morning for a run. I passed by a few of the usual people I met as I normally did while going on my runs. We greeted each other and said a kind word as I passed. I saw a young girl walking dogs and it looked like it was her first time all tangled into sorts. It reminded me of my last date. It went all wrong from the start. He called me Amy not Autumn, he had me open the door for him and then at the restaurant he took me to it was so loud we mine as well have been at a bar. We had little in common and someone bumped into a waiter who spilled drinks on me.

As I rounded the corner to Emily’s I began to wonder why she needed me to come over. We just talked yesterday what was so important that she couldn’t just tell me over the phone. I ran up the steps, reached out for the doorknob and Emily opened the door. She had a big smile on her face and pulled me inside. I said Hello and she said, “Look who’s here!” I knew I was in trouble.

I spent my morning sweating from my run meeting a man Emily works with.

Of course I gave her the look and she quickly nudged my brother to intervene. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was jump into the shower and forget what just happened. What was she thinking?

The phone rang as I was turning on the water. I knew who it was without even looking. The phone call was just the second step of trying to get me to go out with him. I told her No. I set the phone down, pulled off my jogging suit and climbed into the shower.

I stood there letting the water run down my body. Washing away all the sweat and tension. It seemed like time stood still as I found myself wondering about what happened with my blog the other night. I washed my hair, rinsed off my face and then reached for my bath oil. It was a special blend of lavender, jojoba and tea tree extracts. As the water washed over my body I began to massage the oil into my skin. The tension was now gone and I could feel my muscles relaxing. The scent of lavender filled the bathroom.

The church was filled with those talking amongst themselves as they were shuffling out the doors. As I was making my way down the steps Father Daniels called out to me and hurried to stop me before I made my way to the bottom of the church steps. He asked me to speak with him, which took about two hours of his for a moment chat. He talked to me about a young girl having dreams of a bizarre nature and asked if I would meet with her.

My relationship with Father Daniels was a bit different from that of others. My family went to his church and we had spoken many a times. Sometimes he’d arrange to meet with me even in the early hours of the day before it was day.

I dream bizarre things myself. He calls it a gift I call it a curse. He says, “God has given me a sight not many have. He wants me to use it not let it sit silent.”

I agreed to meet with the girl, he said he would make the arrangements and call me.

After running a few errands and grabbing lunch I headed home to work on my story. I changed into something more comfortable putting on my jeans and a tank top. I then made my way for my bedroom down into the kitchen to pour myself a nice cold glass of ice tea and headed for my computer. I set the glass of ice tea on the desk and walked over to the windows opening them just a bit to let the spring breeze linger in the room.

I had been working on the story for two hours when I received the call from Father Daniels asking me to come by the church around 5:00 p.m. I agreed and finished up what I was writing.

As I entered into the church it seemed so familiar. Father Daniels sitting in wait, the church filled with silence and now an unfamiliar sight a young girl with long brown hair tangled and partly covering her face. As I walked closer I could see a familiar look, one I had used myself many a times when visiting.

Father Daniels stood up to introduce me to the girl and then left to give us a moment alone. I greeted her and asked if it was okay if I sit down, she nodded.

We spent a good time talking about her dream. As I spoke to her I could see a change coming over her. The look of feeling scared and crazy relaxed into a plea for help.

Edited by Avivid Mind

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As I went on to talk more in-depth about her dream a look of understanding came across her face and then a look of hope. By the time Father Daniels came back into the room she was more calm and relaxed and that is all you can really hope for in these cases. As Father Daniel approached I handed the young girl my number and told her to call me when the time came. She slowly reached up to take it and said, “Thank You”.

I turned and looked at Father Daniels. He has seen this look in my eyes many a times and he reached his hand out to me taking mine and said, “You’re a true gift. Don’t ever doubt it.” I smiled slightly, released his hand from mine and said, “Pray for me father.” and walked away.

The drive home was one of self-doubt, one of wonder. Wondering if there was anything else I could do for the girl. Wondering if I could have said anything differently. But a feeling of knowing it was coming. Like a clock ticking in my head the count down had begun. The vision was seen it would come. It wasn’t a warning dream, it was not meant to be changed. It would happen and all I could do was tell her to be there for her mother when it did happen. Dreams of such can only be dealt with in one way. You see the vision to help and comfort those around you when it does take place. The girl seemed at ease, she seemed to understand. But I know far to well looks are deceiving. She was still feeling evil; she was still feeling like that vision she had was going to cause this. She was still scared, and scared she should be.

As I walked into the door I raised my hand to my neck rolling it feeling the tension that had built up inside. I closed the door behind me walked over to the end table placing my keys and phone down. Then I picked up the phone, turned it off and placed it back on the end table again. It wasn’t going to happen not tonight.

It was around 6:45 p.m. when I finally sat back down to my computer. I wanted to see if I could get a little more work done on the story. It was so hard to find the time during the week and with everything happening with work, Emily and now this young girl I knew I wouldn’t have time this week to work on it so I wanted to keep going while I had a few thoughts in mind.

I finished one chapter and started right into the next. I had been typing continuously deep in thought when I received an instant message.

{Draiocht: How long have you been a writer?}

I tried ignoring it, thinking if I didn’t respond he’d go away. But he sent another.

{Draiocht: I’m Nick, any chance you’ll be telling me who you are?}

Once again I ignored the message. I continued to type in my post. After a few minutes went by I thought he got the point but after posting my entry a second entry posted to the blog as well. I realized this guy wasn’t going to just go away. Even if I blocked him from sending me an instant message I still had know idea how he was getting into my blog. So I decided to go another way with this. I sent him an instant message.

{Autumn: Hello Nick, how about telling me how you’re getting into my blog.}

He responded back.

{Draiocht: How about telling me your name, Autumn.}

I sat there for a few minutes then I decided I was going to check out who this guy was. I looked into his profile. Nice picture, if that was really him. His profile made him seem like Mother Teresa. Which was not the case he was getting into my blog somehow but how. He sent me another instant message.

{Draiocht: Look, I’m not exactly sure how I’m getting into your blog but you’ve got my attention. How about telling me who you are?}

I quickly responded back.

{Autumn: If it were an accident you’d respect my wishes and stay out of my blog like I asked.}

Ten maybe fifteen minutes passed. No response, he was gone. I read his post once maybe twice, all right three times. It was a good post. I sat looking at it for a moment then moved my hand toward the keyboard to delete it. I looked at it again. All I had to do was delete the entry; he’s been gone for thirty minutes now he’s not coming back. I left it.

I logged off and headed up stairs. It was close to 10:00 p.m. And I wanted to get a good night sleep after the day I had. I pulled off my jeans and tank top, unclipped my bra and let it fall to the floor with the other clothes. I slipped into my silk nighty and pulled back the covers on the bed.

I climbed into bed pulling the covers part way up; I closed my eyes and tried to let the day slip away. There was a gentle breeze blowing in the window. It would gently pass over my body. It seemed to grip hold of the tension within me and gently lift it away. I took a deep breath relaxed into my bed and started to drift off to sleep.

Two weeks had passed; I received the call from the young girl Father Daniels had me talk too. Her father passed away, it was a car accident. She felt like she was to blame that she didn’t do enough. What else could she do, she already told her parents of the dream and they made arrangements for her to talk with Father Daniel because the dream was so graphic. He died instantly. Father Daniels was consoling the mother while I was asked to help the girl. I had spent most of the week with her. It was going to take some time for her to realize nothing she could have said or done would change the out come.

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If it had been a warning dream there would have been a fifty percent chance she could have done something but a prophecy nothing can be done. Prophecies are untouchable I know that better than anyone. I was with my parents the night they were murdered. Robbed not only of material things but of their life and mine. If it hadn’t been for Father Daniels my life would have been so different after that moment. He took me in when my relatives would not, when word got out that I dreamt about my parents’ death a month before it happened. It was in their eyes they feared me more then I did.

All those feelings were now rushing to the surface. I shut the door behind me, ran up the stairs, tossed my keys and phone on my bed and walked into the shower with my clothes on. Tears building inside, bursting to get out. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt trapped in this mind this body. I turned on the shower letting it wash over me. Soaking me head to toe. My hair wet, my face a mix of water and tears. My shirt clinging to my body as well as my jeans.

I turned to lean against the shower wall, but I found myself filled with anger and hate. The water washing over me, my head against the shower wall, my hands pounding against the wall. I grew tired of the feeling inside letting them out, letting the water wash them away until I felt empty inside.

I stood away from the wall realizing I had climbed into the shower with my clothes on. I took a deep breath feeling the water gently washing over me getting cooler and cooler. I shut the water off. I pulled off my clothes wrapped a towel around me and rung out my hair. I grabbed a towel to dry my hair with and walked into my bedroom to find something to put on.

I walked slowly down stairs through the darkness in the rooms. I turned on the light in my study to dim and sat down at the computer desk. All that had built up inside me from the week was now out, I felt nothing.

I logged on to my blog and saw the entry that Nick had posted. I sat there looking at it then I posted an instant message.

{Autumn: Are you there?}

I waited five maybe ten minutes, nothing. I was about to log off when an instant message appeared.

{Draiocht: I’m here.}

I sat silently looking at the screen unsure of what to say, unsure of why I was looking for him.

He posted a second reply.

{Draiocht: Are you ready to tell me who you are?}

I replied back.

{Autumn: You already know who I am.}

He responded, {Draiocht: Well, it’s nice to meet you Autumn.}

I didn’t know what I was doing, why was I getting in touch with this stranger. I just sat there looking at the screen, I didn’t respond. He sent me another instant message. I didn’t reply, at least not right away. I hesitated but then posted.

{Autumn: Goodnight Nick}

He replied soon after.

{Draiocht: Goodnight Autumn}

I logged off, made my way up stairs and climbed into bed.

I woke the next morning to a gentle rain falling outside my bedroom window. It rained most of the day and the next. I put in a few longer hours this week. Anything to keep my mind busy. Emily had called four times with hope that I’d set a date with this guy from work but by the forth call she came to the realization it wasn’t going to happen. She agreed to drop it and asked that I just call her she wanted to make sure I was all right.

At weeks end I decided to stop by the church to see Father Daniels. I had not heard from the young girl all week. I had hoped he might have been in contact with her. As I walked down the isle Father Daniels came to meet me. He reached out his hand to me, pulled me close and hugged me. He asked how I was doing and I did my best to assure him I was fine.

He told me the young girl and her mother was by earlier that day. They seemed to be getting by. He asked me to sit and visit but I made up an excuse for having to leave said I just wanted to check in and make sure the young girl was all right. It was part true. He reached out his hand to me only this time I did not take it. Instead I stepped back and told him, “Say a prayer for her father.” and went on my way.

It had been a month now since the matter of the young girl. I had been keeping myself busy at work; working longer hours and really had not had the time to work on my story. Several times I had come home and looked in the direction of the computer but I passed by. Was it that I just wasn’t inspired to work on the story or was I just staying away from the blog were he would be.

I still had no idea how it was happening but I wasn’t ready for him to get in touch with me again. I know I initiated the whole thing the last time I was on but I wasn’t sure why I had done that and I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep it going now. Though I had stayed busy this past month to say I did not think of him would be a lie.

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Nick however had been at the computer during that month and was checking in on the blog looking for a sign of my being there. His friend asked him time and again why he was wasting his time when it looked obvious to him I had no interest. Nick was sure I'd get in touch again.

He had read my profile a few times, interested to learn more about me he asked his friend to find out all he could about me. So while I was staying out of touch he was investigating me. His friend had pictures, the newspaper clipping of my parents death, where I worked even my address. He dug up my life and put it in a file and handed it over to Nick. He asked what Nick was going to do with it. As he glanced through the file Nick said," Nothing for the moment."

He placed the file on his desk and sat back in his chair. He rocked his chair back and forth several times then turned toward his friend who was leaving and said. " Don't worry, she'll be in touch. I showed interest in her writing she won't stay away for long." His friend left the room and Nick turned back around to his desk. He picked up the file and looked at his computer screen. He was monitoring my Blog.

Another month had passed. It wasn't that I was avoiding the computer anymore. Things at work picked up and I just had not found the time.

It had been raining outside; I got home around 9:00 p.m. I had been out with my brother and Emily. I made my way upstairs changing into something more comfortable and then made some warm tea. Once I had my tea in hand I walked into the study to work on my story.

I logged on to my blog and read over the story a few times trying to get a feel for the mood. I have to admit Nick's last entry was pretty good. I began writing and seemed to be going a long for some time. Once again I reached anew chapter and was pleased with how the story was going. Though I tried to stay on task with the story at hand in the back of my mind I wondered why he had not sent me a message yet or try to post a new entry letting me know he was there.

Maybe he wasn't there. It had been two months since we last crossed paths. Maybe he thought I was ignoring him and gave up. Here I was trying to stay focused on my story when all my wonders of Nick were rushing in. Was he gone for good now? I tried to re-focus my thoughts back to the story once more.

I stopped myself in mid sentence and clicked into his profile again.

There it was staring at me in the face, his profile picture. I spoke out loud, "Stop looking at me." and closed the profile out. I took a deep breath and started working on my story again. I was making some real progress tonight that was until an instant message appeared around 12:15 a.m.

{Draiocht: So, you're back in the land of the living.}

I replied back.

{Autumn: Very funny! I've been busy, now if you'll excuse me I need to complete my thought at hand.}

Before I could even start typing again he sent another reply.

{Draiocht: As long as you promise to come back to me I'll let you finish.}

I responded, {Autumn: All right, just give me a minute I want to finish this.}

I completed my chapter and then we spend about an hour online talking.

I actually laughed a few times but then I noticed the time and told Nick I had to go. He asked if I'd be on again tonight. I hesitated a moment then replied with a yes. He said," Goodnight", and signed off. I sat there for a few minutes and then sent an instant message.

{Autumn: I'm not sure I want to be doing this.}

He replied back. {Draiocht: All we're doing is talking.}

I signed off and headed up stairs to get what little sleep there was to get before the sunlight started to shine into my bedroom window, which would be in just a few hours. But, with Nick on the other hand he had an agenda. He was monitoring the blog all that time waiting for just the right moment to get in touch. He sat back in his chair and looked up at his friend and said, "I told you she'd be back."

Nick had found his way in. He would continue to make entries from time to time on her blog. He'd send her instant messages where they'd talk for an hour at a time. This had gone on for two more months. They had become at ease with each other online even joking. They talked about work, friends, and family. Autumn seemed to just this new person in her life. So much so that when he mentioned a conference in her area he suggested they meet.

His conference was going to be held late that day so I suggested lunch. I gave Nick an address of a place I knew of and told him my brother and sister in law would be joining us. Nick didn't seem to have a problem with that in fact he said he was looking forward to meeting my family. He knew that meeting with my family would only assure myself even more that he was of no danger. He was someone of interest; he wanted me to be interested in him.

We were meeting up at a place called, The Village Café. There was indoor seating and outdoor seating. We decided to sit outside today. Tim my brother, Emily and I had all ordered drinks while waiting for Nick. We were making small conversations while waiting. As we sat there waiting my eyes caught a glimpse of a man walking up the street through the crowd.

There was a light wind blowing at his jacket that he wore unbuttoned. He had dark hair that ever so often the wind would catch. He wore a dress shirt under his jacket with jeans and walked with sureness about himself. He greeted people he passed and even helped a woman who was about to drop something. Of course in my mind he was doing all the right things. He was definitely the man in the profile and when he got closer he made eye contact with me.

Edited by Avivid Mind

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I stood up to greet him as he neared the table. He reached out his hand and lightly kissed me on the cheek saying, "You look beautiful."

I was a little taken back by the comment and tried to settle my nerves as I turned to my sister in law and brother to introduce them to Nick. He gently touched Emily's hand saying, "It's nice to meet you." then he firmly shook Tim's hand saying, " You don't look related", with a smile.

We sat down, Nick ordered a drink and then lunch was under way.

Conversation passed about the table flowingly. Nick was very good at this. From time to time I'd look at him surprised by how at ease he was. He made a point to make eye contact with me several times as a way of saying it's you I'm here to see but I'll do this.

We ate, had conversation with a few laughs and then it was over. Tim and Emily thought it would be a great idea to walk into the park it was such a beautiful day. It would give Nick and I a chance to have time alone but they would still be near by. Nick didn't have a problem with that either. In fact, on the way to the park he stopped at a flower stand and bought me flowers.

I could see Emily's look on her face and I knew exactly what she was thinking. I'd never hear the end of it, Nick bought me flowers. Then Emily would try to pull out anything she could possibly get from me about how I was feeling about Nick.

As we walked we were both in agreement of enjoying ourselves. From time to time Nick would on occasion brush up against me then look my way for a response. He would of course apologize and I'd say it was all right. Nick was very good at making one feel comfortable at one point he asked me what I was thinking about but I changed the subject to his meeting. The way he looked at me was as if he knew but then it changed to not being quite sure, he let the subject change.

When it was time for him to leave we all walked back to The Village Café where we met him. He said his goodbyes to Emily and Tim then he took my hand and asked if I'd walk him to the corner. As we walked I noticed something different about him. He was a bit unsure of what to say for the first time. He said he had a really good time and that he hoped we might see each other again.

We stopped walking and he turned toward me and asked, "So are you going to tell me what you're thinking this time?" I smiled slightly looking up at him and said, "I don't know if we should be doing this." He looked down at the ground then ran his hand through his hair. He turned away trying to collect his thoughts and then turned back around and said, "Doing what? We're only talking."

For a moment I thought he was going to kiss me. He moved closer to me, looked in my eyes and it felt as if time stopped for a second. Like it was skipped all together. Then he said, "Goodbye Autumn." He stepped back, smiled and started to walk away.

I looked back at Emily and Tim then I turned and watched Nick walk away. In a silent whisper I said, "Father pray for me." then headed back to The Village Café where Tim and Emily were waiting for me. Tim was not up for any girl talk so he kissed Emily goodbye and said he'd see her back at the apartment. Then he looked at me, gave me a hug and said, "He seems nice I hope we get a chance to get to know this one." He smiled and headed off. Emily and I planned on doing some shopping it was the perfect time for her to ask all her questions.

Half way through our shopping spree Emily looked at me with her hands full of bags from three different stores and said, "Look, I know you like him or you would have told him to buzz off when he was getting into your blog. I also know something is going on that you're not saying. I seen that look twice today." Before I could say anything she didn't even stop for a breath and added, " If he called you right now you'd go wouldn't you?"

I opened the door for her as she had bought way more stuff than I did. We headed out of the last shop and I got us a cab. On the ride home we continued our talk. When Emily got out she grabbed her things, turned looking me directly in the eye and said," Know matter what we say you're going to do what you want just like with Peter and Neil. They were great guys. You look like you have one foot out the door already. So either step in with both feet or get out now."

On the ride home I kept going over in my mind what Emily said, either step in with both feet or get out now. I questioned if I wanted to continue. Nick was very good looking and I really enjoy being with him today. So much so that I wanted him to kiss me today. I know the whole third date rule and throwing it all on the fire. Well he was gone and I made it passed date number one. I stopped in mid thought and realized would there be a second date?

Caught up in my thoughts I didn't hear the cab driver calling me, "Hey lady we're here." I paid the driver and headed toward the house. Once inside the door I placed my keys on the end table and bags down on the floor. I lay down on the couch and slipped back into thought, would there be a second date?

The way he looked at me, the way he would gently brush up against me then apologize for doing it when we both knew he was doing it on purpose.

I sat up realizing I was thinking about him way too much. I looked into the den and then realized this was the perfect time to work on my blog he was at a hotel getting ready for his conference.

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I walked into the kitchen grabbing a cold glass of ice tea and headed for the study. I turned on the computer only to find he was already there. He left me an instant message.

{Draiocht: You looked beautiful today. I loved seeing you smile and hearing you laugh. ‘Until we meet again.}

I spoke out loud, “ Damn him!” I logged off.

It was around 7:00 p.m. when I received a call. It was Nick. I was quite surprised and a little unnerved. Apparently things didn’t quite get finished up today and he would be spending the night in town. He had to make arrangements for a flight tomorrow he’d be gone by noon. He wanted to have a late dinner. He rented a car for the night and was on his way to pick me up.

I was rushing around trying to figure out what to wear and how to wear my hair and as I looked in the mirror I could see what a fool I was being and told myself, “Stop it, Just take a deep breath and……… (I turned away from the mirror then I turned back again) said, “Remember the third date rule.”

I put on a nice dress, decided to wear my hair up with matching necklace and earrings. As I headed down stairs with heels in hand the doorbell rang.

I stopped half way down the stairs. My nerves where jumping around terribly.

I took a deep breath and said softly as I put my heels on, “Jumping in with both feet.” I headed down the stairs trying to calm myself and opened the door as the doorbell rang for the third time.

As I opened the door I said, ”Did you think I was standing you up?” I was shocked; I swallowed hard as I knew I was in terrible. He stood there in a suit, a very nice suit. He looked even sexier than before. I was so nervous I said, “How do you look in a sweater?” He smiled and said, “I’m glad you approve.” He held a single pink rose. Handed it to me and leaned in kissing me on the cheek saying,” I wasn’t going to say sweater.” He smiled and asked if I was ready to go.

It was perfect, he opened the car door for me, had me walk behind the waiter to our table, while waiting for our food we talked about several different things. During dinner we laughed a bit and made eye contact several times and at one point he wiped the side of my mouth saying I had a bit of chocolate there.

As we left the restaurant he put his hand gently at my waist leading me out.

He opened the car door again and leaned in to tell me he was enjoying himself.

There was a bit of silence in the car when he commented, “Deep in thought again?” I looked at him with a smile and replied, “I’m sorry, I had a really nice time, dinner was great.” He interrupted me saying, “I’d like to know what you were thinking about.” He glanced my way then back at the road.

I replied, “It seems to be going well, don’t you think.” I looked down at my lap then straight head again then continued with my comment. “I’m just wondering what’s next, what’s the next step Nick?”

We looked at each other, his look was puzzled. He turned the corner on my street. As we stopped, he put the car in park and shut it off. He turned toward me, looked me in the eyes and said, ”Now I walk you to your door and hope that you’ll let me kiss you.”

He stepped out of the car and walked around to my side opening the door for me. As I went to get out he reached out his hand to me. I hesitated a moment looking at his hand then up at him and reached out to take it. He shut the door and walked me up the sidewalk with his hand once again on my back at waist level leading me to the door.

I unlocked the door, reached in to turn on the light and took one step inside with Nick behind me throwing my keys on the end table. I then turned around a little bit nervous looking him in the eyes and said, “I’m taking a chance here, am I making a mistake?” He took my hand in his and looked at me trying to reassure me how he was feeling. He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek again and said, “I’d do it all again.”

I could feel myself wanting him to kiss me and it was taking all I had in me to fight off kissing him. I replied, “Let me know you got back safely, Goodnight Nick.” I turned and stood in the doorway. I could feel him put his hands gently on my waist and then move close behind me. I could feel the heat of his body on my back. He leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I’m wondering, will I see you again soon?”

I turned and looked into his eyes he still had his arms around my waist. I wanted him to pull my close against his body; I wanted him to kiss me. But, I heard myself inside my head repeating over and over, “Third date rule, third date rule. I looked into his eyes and said, “I’m complicated Nick.” He replied, “Aren’t all woman? I think I’ll take a chance here.” He pulled me against his body and leaned in to kiss me. I raised my hands up putting them on his chest. I closed my eyes, moistened my lips and said softly, “Third date rule.” He looked at me and said, “Then I’m just going to have to make sure we have a third date.” I put my head against his chest. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t believe I stopped him from kissing me. I was still in his arms pressed up against him. It would have been so easy to take a step back and have him stay the night. I looked up at him, he looked at me and said, “I can wait for our third date, goodnight Autumn.”

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He released his hold on me and I watched him walk to the car. Shutting the door behind me, I leaned back on the door. With my head tipped up I thought there’s no turning back now. I took a deep breath and sighed as if to prepare myself. I made a choice this night. I jumped in with both feet. I couldn’t help myself. Like a clock ticking I had past the point of no return. The count down has started it was untouchable. I felt so confused inside. For the first time in my life I wanted something, I wanted him but at what cost.

It was past midnight when I had been awaken by a dream. I sat up in bed my heart was pounding. I reached over to my night table where a glass of ice water was sitting. I tried to clear my mind of the dream and laid back down in hopes that I would fall back to sleep. I closed my eyes; I could feel the cool morning air coming in my bedroom window. I couldn’t shake the feeling this dream had left me with. I climbed out of bed changed into some clothes and headed down stairs. As I passed by the study I looked at the computer thinking Nick was still in town. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

It was so quiet, no a single person around. I walked slowly down the isle and sat in the forth row. The church was lightly lit. I looked around at the paintings and stained glass windows. I could feel a peace surrounding me but within I was feeling lost. I bowed my head, closed my eyes and started to talk with God in a whisper, ”Father give me the strength that I need. Surround me with thy grace, love and light. Help me find peace, show me the way.”

As I prayed Father Daniels stood silently listening to my plea, my prayer. I sensed I was no longer alone and looked up. Father Daniels started walking toward me. He could see the tears building in my eyes and took me into his arms and said, “Pray if you must.” I looked up at him fighting back the tears and said, ”I’m not strong enough father. Not this time.”

Father Daniels sat with me and comforted me in those early hours. He waited with me patiently until I was finally settled, finally come to terms, finally ready for sleep. He took my hand and led me to my old room and said,” Sleep now and remember you are loved.”

It was past 9:00 a.m. when I finally woke. Father Daniels had made sure some warm tea was set out for me. I could smell the aroma lingering in the air. It was mid day before I left the church. I helped Father Daniels with different things the church needed done just as I did when I lived with him. He knew I was in wait but did not tell me not to hide away from the day.

He asked me several times before my leaving if I would be okay. I assured him I was feeling better now. I took his hand and said, “Erase the fear from your face. I have no regrets and much to be thankful for. You being the most important of them all.” I smiled and left the church.

Being there gave me time to break down and mend. But it also did something else it made me realize what was important to me. It took me so long to realize the visions don’t control me they could be of use. I owed that to Father Daniels.
When I woke this morning I felt so at peace so sure of everything. It was like looking at the world out of focus and seeing it in prefect clarity for the first time. I wasn’t hiding from the world because I was scared or unsure but because I needed time to let this new sight sink in, down to the depths of my soul where it had been so cut off from the world since my parents died. I knew what had to be done and I was determined to do just that. By the time I got home Nick had left a message that he arrived home.

Though I was working longer hours we found time logged on. A week later Emily announced her pregnancy at dinner. It seemed like my time was getting split into pieces that branched out. If I wasn’t working I was either visiting with Emily and helping her get the nursery ready or helping Father Daniels at the church with his annual fund raiser and kids night. After that I’d spend my time logged on trying to finish the story and talking with Nick.

It wasn’t a surprise when Father Daniels pulled me a side one even and asked me what I was doing. He could see I was juggling a lot of different things and insisted I slowed down I looked at him and said, “No, I can’t.” He sat looking at me and said, “You’ve been different ever since that night you came to me. You’re always busy and if you a minute late you act as if it’s the end of the world. The weight of the world is not a burden for you.”

I reached out and touched Father Daniels hand and looked him in the eyes. I was trying to think of how to say this without making him more concerned. I looked down at his hand then back up at him and said, “Sometimes we have to do things we don’t really want to do. I know I’ve been really busy but Emily needs me right now and I have to get my story finished, I’ve been working on it so long and……… Father Daniels interrupted me, “You look so tired maybe take the weekend.” I said, “I can’t not yet, soon though. I promise you it’s all going to work out. I know what I’m doing.” He looked at me and asked, “Is there anything I can do?” I smiled and said, “ You know how you helped me? There’s a child now who needs you as I once did. I know it’s a strange request but I’d like you to take in another child his name is Jacob.”

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Father Daniels knew exactly who I was talking about. Jacob came from an abusive family, he’s fourteen years old not a lot of weight on him and very unsure of the world. I’ve talked to him a few times before at Father Daniels kids night and he was the one. Father Daniels looked at me and said, “Strange request indeed.” He stood up and walked around a bit. Passing back and forth putting his hand to his head and then back again toward me. He looked at me and said, “If this is what you want I’ll speak to him and make the arrangements.” I stood up and smiled. Father Daniels hugged me and said, “What a blessing you are.”

I finished putting things away and told Father Daniels I’d see him on Saturday. As I drove home I felt like I had one more thing accomplished. Father Daniels was right, I was over doing it and I haven’t had much sleep. I could see things changing and needed to stay alert, there was no time for a mistake.

By the end of the month Nick had decided to make another visit. This time his company was going to open a branch in town. He was finalizing the deal. He would be here for a week. I was happy he was coming but nervous at the same time. I tossed and turned in bed wondering if……… It felt like such a great weight, I felt fear building inside me and climbed out of bed. As I headed down stairs I wondered if he was there. I logged on and sent an instant message.

{Autumn: Are you there?} Five maybe ten minutes passed, nothing. I sent another one. {Autumn: I couldn’t sleep. I was hoping I’d catch you. I guess it can wait until tomorrow.} I sat there in the seat wishing he’d reply but nothing. As I was about to log off I received an instant message.

{Draiocht: I’m here. What’s on your mind?”}

I replied. {Autumn: Nothing, Everything! I feel so unsettled.}

A few minutes went by and he replied.

{Draiocht: What can I do? If you want I’d come tonight.}

I looked at his reply and for a moment I wanted to ask him to get the next flight out but I knew that was foolish. I wanted to see him and yet I had hoped he wouldn’t be coming. I wanted him to tell me everything was going to be all right but how could he. He doesn’t know.

I replied back. {Autumn: J That’s a nice thought but we haven’t had our third date yet.}

We talked for two hours. In that time my tension and worries seemed to fade away. How was he able to do that miles away. It felt as though he was here. I took a deep breath and sent him another instant message.

{Autumn: Dawn will be here soon. I think I can sleep now. Thank you.}

He replied {Draiocht: I can’t wait to see you again, goodnight Autumn.}

We signed off and I headed back up stairs to bed. As I laid down I could feel my eyes getting heavy and my mind so light. As I started to drift off to sleep all I could think was I couldn’t wait to see him again. The hardest thing I’d ever have to do was before me and I left like I was controlling something that could not be controlled. What was even harder than what I was doing was I couldn’t stop how I was feeling about Nick. For the first time I could see my future right there at my fingertips. I could feel myself lighten in my bed as if I was floating and felt my last thought slip from my mind.

His flight wouldn’t get in until 1:00 p.m. I woke up that morning with a burst of energy. I was a bit more bouncing and giddy that morning. As I changed into my jogging suit I found myself humming. It was a beautiful summer morning and I wanted to stop by Emily’s on my way back through from my jog. The morning sickness was starting to settle but I still wanted to check in with her.

By the time I reached home it was really starting to warm up out there. I was all sweating and ready for a nice cooling shower. As I opened the door I kicked off my shoe and ran straight up stairs. I threw my keys and phone on the bed and started to undress as I entered the bathroom. The shower felt so good. After rinsing myself off I grabbed the bath oil and started to massage it into my muscles. The doorbell rang twice before I realized someone was at the door.

I quickly climbed out of the shower and grabbed my bath rope. I was drying my hair off as I ran down stairs. I looked through the eyehole in the door. It was Nick. I was shocked and excited all at once. I opened the door knowing full while I did exactly look the greatest at the moment but I could leave him standing out there. I continued to dry off as I invited him in and asked what he was doing there so earlier. Apparently he took an earlier flight and wanted to surprise me then he smiled and made the comment that he liked my surprise better. I was in nothing but a bath rope.

He brought me flowers, which I asked him to find a vase under the kitchen sink and to make himself comfortable while I go up stairs and change. While I was dressing and fixing my hair Nick was looking around the house at pictures of Father Daniels, Tim and Emily. He looked through some magazines I had on the table wondering what interested me. As he walked into the study he wandered about the room glancing at book titles and pictures. As I started coming down the stairs he met me at the doorway of the study. He took my hand and said he wanted to spend the day together and hoped that it wasn’t a problem with my schedule.

We spent the whole day together. We had breakfast at The Village Café. Then we walked in the park, we took in some sites and had lunch on the go. We laughed, talked, joked and it was the best day I have had in a long time. The best part was when we were site seeing. He would hold my hand or have his arm around me and at one moment we kissed.

We had been walking for some time and we were heading back through the park by the fountain. He took my hand as we were going on our way, pulled me close and said, “I think this counts as a third date.” He pulled me against his body and held me close with one arm on my back at my waist and the other at my neck underneath my hair. It was gentle and soft and yet quite long. I felt a bit off balance. He looked at me and said, “I hope that was all right?” I wet my lips and still a bit off balance said, “Could you do that again?”

This time it was more firm but still as passionate as the first. He looked at me and said, “I wanted to do that when I saw you this morning but then we wouldn’t be here now would we?” He smiled and we started walking again. Nick drove me back home and headed to the hotel we made plans to have dinner but he needed to make a few calls, change and then he’d come back for me.

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Before Nick left he said to dress comfort and casual. I put on a lavender floral skirt, which was long, and flowing it reached the ground. Then I found a nice form fitting cream green sweater shirt, which met my shirt at the waist. I decided to wear my hair down with curls pulling the top and side back with lavender colored floral clips that had a touch of silver, which sparkled when the lighting hit them. I found my sandal and headed down stairs.

It was around 6: 30 p.m. when Nick arrived. He wore jeans and a crème colored dress shirt. He left the first three buttons undone. Definitely a more relaxed looked but just as nice to look at. I had no idea where we were going then I saw him pull into the park. He got out and opened my door then said, “ You seemed to be enjoy our walk today so I thought we’d have a picnic. As we walked up the walk way talking he led me to the gazebo. It was lit with candles around the top rails and a picnic blanket was spread out with food and drinks. It looked so nice and inviting, the gazebo was covered with flowers and climbing vines all in bloom this time of year.

After eating we walked over to the grass and sat down. The sky was slowly starting to darken which made the gazebo look even more beautiful light up with the candles. I took my sandals off; Nick laid down on the ground with his hands behind his head looking up at the sky just relaxed. We talked about simple things, everyday things. After a while we got up and walked around the fountains as they were lighting up. After a time we walked back toward the gazebo and everything had been picked up. I looked at Nick and he smiled and said, “I had a little help.’ He led me up the steps, soft music was playing and he took me in his arms and we started to dance.

He was a very good dancer; he led me around the gazebo so gentling it felt like I was floating. I have to admit I was getting caught up in the moment, I had not thought about anything else all evening. When the music stopped, we stopped. He looked into my eyes and I felt so relaxed in his arms. There was no place else I wanted to be. I could feel his warm coming through his shirt and without thinking I leaned in and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me a second time.

When we arrived home he walked me to the door. I unlocked the door and was about to open it was he took a hold of my arm and turned me around. I leaned back against the door and he stood in front of me leaning in close with one hand on the door just above my shoulder and the other he wrapped around my waist and pulled me close. We were about to kiss when he looked away and then back saying, “ When can I see you again? Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast?” I put my hand on his chest knowing full well what I wanted to say. But something stopped him from kissing me again. I hesitated to answer. He asked again softly, “I have a busy day tomorrow. Can we have dinner on Wednesday?” We agreed to see each other again on Wednesday and said good night.

As I shut the door behind me I leaned back against it. I closed my eyes and took relaxing breaths, my heart was pounding, my stomach was swirling and I wanted to stop him from leaving. On the other side of the door Nick stood there looking at the door wondering if he should knock, wondering why he stopped himself from kissing me again, thing himself a fool for feeling so bottled up with all his energy from the night. I turned around to open the door, he reached out to knock on the door. It was as though we knew the other was just on the other side, the energy from both flowing through the door toward the other. But we stopped. He put his hand down, I put my hand down. We walked away.

Of course Emily wanted to be filled in on all the details. She insisted on having us over before Nick left at the end of the week. So I promised her we’d come over for a cook out. It seemed like a day apart was a year. It dragged on forever. After coming home from work, I showered and changed then left to meet with Father Daniels, the young boy I had told him about was getting settled in and I promised to stop by and visit.

Wednesday came with complications. Nick called and said his meeting was running late. Then there was a mix-up with our reservations at the restaurant, Nick was insisting to talk too someone. I grabbed hold of his arm pulling him aside telling him it’s alright we’d go some where else.

As we walked out of the restaurant I reassured him it was fine and saw a vender on the corner. I grabbed his arm gentling pulling him with me. We stopped in front of the venture. He looked a bit surprised and said, “You’re dressed up and you want hot dogs, fries and a drink?” I smiled and said, “It’s this or we order pizza?” He turned toward the vender shaking his head at me with a smile and pulled out his wallet. The park was right across the street we walked over and sat down on a bench and ate.

To top off the evening as he was pulling up to the house it started to rain. As we were getting out of the car it started to pour and we ran up the walkway and on to the porch. Nick shook his head saying, “ Well, this was a fine evening.” I looked at him and laughed, “ Looks like you’re all wet.” I unlocked the door and walked inside setting the keys on the side table. Nick stood at the doorway and I turned pulling him inside by his jacket and shut the door behind him.

I pulled him close placing my hands inside his jacket and kissed him. He turned us around pushing me up against the door and we continued to kiss. I could feel my heart pounding and a great warmth come over me. He hesitated and backed away. I stood there against the door; he looked at me searching for a sign that I wanted him to stay. I slowly moved close to him looking him in the eyes, gentling pressing my body up against his and kissed him. He took hold of me and said, “ So, ask me to stay.”

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As I had promised Emily we’d stop over on the weekend we did just that. Nick and Tim were getting along amazingly. As I helped Emily pick things up she stopped me in the kitchen and said, “You look happy.” She was searching for answers. Several times in the mix of enjoying the day she found my mind wandering and I’d smile and excuse my thoughts from my mind. Now she was hoping to understand this hint of mystery that lingered around us on this day. I looked at her and tried to reassure her I was fine. I explained it away saying it was a long week. One that I had enjoyed but long non-the-less.

As we drove back to the house Nick tried to break the silence, “Tim’s a great guy, he seems to be really looking forward to being a dad.” I pulled myself away from my thoughts and answered, “Yes, it was a nice day.” Nick glanced my way then back at the road and said, “ Lost in thought again? Is there something I should know about?” I tried to collect my thoughts and focus my attention back on Nick. I replied, “ No, I was just thinking, the week went by so fast and now you’re leaving again. I would have liked to have had more time.” Nick noticed a glimpse of sadness in my voice and eyes and I tried to hide it with a quick smile. We were there and I climbed out of the car not waiting for Nick this time. Nick called out for me to wait but I headed into the house calling back that I had to call Emily for him to come inside.

An excuse, a lie but I followed it through to have a minute to collect myself. As Nick walked into the kitchen I hung up the phone and turned around covering my actions with another lie, “They must have gone out for something.” As he walked over to me he was searching my eyes for a reason to what just happened. I kept myself calm and reasons well hidden. He reached up to brush the hair from my eyes and said, “I’d like you to go away with me next weekend, Atlantic City. We’ll spend the weekend there boardwalk, beach, and casino. What do you think?”

My thoughts, my thoughts were that we’d have a weekend together and I wanted more time with him. I was tide all up in knots inside I was a fool to let myself fall in love with him and I still wanted just that. I wanted every minute I could get with him and yet all this with knowing………….

I couldn’t bring myself to saying No. I smiled and said, “Okay, I’ll go!” Nick said he’d make the arrangements as soon as he got back to the hotel tonight. We walked into the living room; he turned me around toward him and walked me slowly backwards. He looked into my eyes and said, “I’m going out on a limb here” and we kissed. He put his hand on my back gently lowering me to the couch with his body pressed up against mine.

Emily was excited to hear that I was going away with Nick next weekend. I tried to stop her but she started asking fifty question. You know, how serious is it? Will he be visiting often? Did the deal go through with his company? Would he be moving here? I laughed and told Emily she was a hopeless romantic and she replied back that I was just as hopeless. Of course she wanted to go shopping for the perfect dress to take with me. I tried to tell her I had plenty of dresses to choose from and she pushed me out the door and said we were going.

So we spent the day shopping and by the time Tim got home I was running out the door telling him he was in for quite a night. He turned and asked, “Why?” Emily came out pulling him inside saying goodbye to me and blurting out that I was going away for the weekend with Nick.

On my way home I couldn’t help but think how much I loved having Emily for a sister-in-law. She gets so excited about things and when her mind gets going she just goes on and on. She was always like that even in our school days. She’d get excited about my having a date more so than I.

When I arrived home I put my things away and headed to the kitchen for a nice cool drink. I sat down in the study and logged on. It had not been worked on the week Nick was there. I worked on the story for about an hour when I received an instant message. {Driaocht: Finishing the story without me?} I replied {Autumn: I wasn’t exactly thinking about the story when you were here.} We worked on the story for a while. Before we could log off I sent another instant message. {Autumn: How is it you always know when I’m logged on?} He replied back, {Driaocht: J Fate! Goodnight Autumn.} We logged off.

He sat there at his desk looking at the blog, elbows on the desk hands held together at his chin. He was wondering if what he was about to do should be done. Wondering if there was another way. He glanced down at the file with my name on it then ran his hands through his hair unsure if he wanted to continue. He could always say something came up and things had to be called off for the weekend. He was good at gambling but not that good. He was running out of time. He would move forward with his plan but at what cost. He picked up the file and put it inside his briefcase. Then he got up and walked away.

As I laid in bed the moonlight was shining through the tree branches, A gentle breeze was blowing in the window that was left part way open. I closed me eyes and started remembering our dance in the park and the gazebo all lit with candles and drifted off to sleep.

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The next morning it was raining Emily called to remind me about her doctors appointment I had promised to be there. It had rained all day. After Emily appointment we went back to her apartment. Emily decided that she wanted to go shopping this weekend for a few more baby things. I stood there shocked unsure of what to say. Then replied, “Well you know I love going with you so don’t get to many things because I plan on taking you out shopping when I get back. We’ll make a whole day of it again, and we can talk about those baby names.” Emily laughed, “And what’s wrong with the baby names.” I turned around and said, “ Timothy James Samuel? Way to many names and that’s without the last name.”

By the time the weekend got here I was looking for sometime away with Nick. The work hours were longer, tension was building at work with a new boss and Nick had been pretty busy we didn’t get Logged On as much as we had planned.

I grabbed my bags, my ticket and my coat and headed to the airport.

By the time I reached the hotel in Atlantic City Nick was already there and checked in. I showered and changed for dinner. Nick looked very handsome in his tan dress pants and off white colored dress shirt. He wore his sleeved rolled up and the first two buttons undone in a very casual look. I wore my hair down with a floral spaghetti strap dress. After eating dinner and talking about everything from work to our favorite movies we took our shoes off and walked alone the beach. It was a beautiful night. There was a warm gentle breeze blowing. The sand was so comforting at our feet. Last in the beauty of the sun slowly setting on the horizon we joked and Nick wrapped his arm around me as if we had been together forever all ready. It was very natural and for those precious moments I had forgot why we were there and what lie ahead.

At some point in the night we got on the discussion of family. We talked about Tim and Emily expecting their baby. Father Daniels and Nick told me he wished I could have met his sister Catherine. He told me she died when they were younger and she would have liked me. That was comforting to know that he thought we would have gotten along. He casually asked if I ever wanted a family. He said being I was adopted by Father Daniel and taken into Tim’s part of the family as well. He wondered if I longed for that connection of blood.

I laughed thinking it was so strange that he was talking about families so seriously. He laughed and put his arms around me saying, ”Don’t you think it’s something we should be talking about?” I casual answered as we began walking again saying,” I don’t know I’ve never really thought that far ahead.” Nick replied,” Hasn’t their been someone in your life that you pictured yourself with years from now?” I looked at Nick smiled and said,” Not until now.”

The time had gone by so quickly this night. I wanted to keep it still for just a while longer. We had gone back to Nick’s room and made love into the early morning hours and out of the silence of just laying there in bed in each other’s arms I said, ”Yes, I think I’d like a family like that.” Nick kissed my head and rubbed my arm and asked,” How many children would you want?” I turned over onto his chest and looked at him wondering why he was so interest in keeping the topic going. He looked very interested in knowing so I answered,” two would be nice maybe three.” Nick smiled and said,” Three a universal number. Everything happens in threes.” I laid back down beside him. He continued to talk about family and where to live and I drifted off to sleep listening to his voice.

I laughed thinking it was so strange that he was talking about families so seriously. He laughed and put his arms around me saying, ”Don’t you think it’s something we should be talking about?” I casual answered as we began walking again saying,” I don’t know I’ve never really thought that far ahead.” Nick replied,” Hasn’t their been someone in your life that you pictured yourself with years from now?” I looked at Nick smiled and said,” Not until now.”

The time had gone by so quickly this night. I wanted to keep it still for just a while longer. We had gone back to Nick’s room and made love into the early morning hours and out of the silence of just laying there in bed in each other’s arms I said, ”Yes, I think I’d like a family like that.” Nick kissed my head and rubbed my arm and asked,” How many children would you want?” I turned over onto his chest and looked at him wondering why he was so interest in keeping the topic going. He looked very interested in knowing so I answered,” two would be nice maybe three.” Nick smiled and said,” Three a universal number. Everything happens in threes.” I laid back down beside him. He continued to talk about family and where to live and I drifted off to sleep listening to his voice.

I laughed thinking it was so strange that he was talking about families so seriously. He laughed and put his arms around me saying, ”Don’t you think it’s something we should be talking about?” I casual answered as we began walking again saying,” I don’t know I’ve never really thought that far ahead.” Nick replied,” Hasn’t their been someone in your life that you pictured yourself with years from now?” I looked at Nick smiled and said,” Not until now.”

The time had gone by so quickly this night. I wanted to keep it still for just a while longer. We had gone back to Nick’s room and made love into the early morning hours and out of the silence of just laying there in bed in each other’s arms I said, ”Yes, I think I’d like a family like that.” Nick kissed my head and rubbed my arm and asked,” How many children would you want?” I turned over onto his chest and looked at him wondering why he was so interest in keeping the topic going. He looked very interested in knowing so I answered,” two would be nice maybe three.” Nick smiled and said,” Three a universal number. Everything happens in threes.” I laid back down beside him. He continued to talk about family and where to live and I drifted off to sleep listening to his voice.

I laughed thinking it was so strange that he was talking about families so seriously. He laughed and put his arms around me saying, ”Don’t you think it’s something we should be talking about?” I casual answered as we began walking again saying,” I don’t know I’ve never really thought that far ahead.” Nick replied,” Hasn’t their been someone in your life that you pictured yourself with years from now?” I looked at Nick smiled and said,” Not until now.”

The time had gone by so quickly this night. I wanted to keep it still for just a while longer. We had gone back to Nick’s room and made love into the early morning hours and out of the silence of just laying there in bed in each other’s arms I said, ”Yes, I think I’d like a family like that.” Nick kissed my head and rubbed my arm and asked,” How many children would you want?” I turned over onto his chest and looked at him wondering why he was so interest in keeping the topic going. He looked very interested in knowing so I answered,” two would be nice maybe three.” Nick smiled and said,” Three a universal number. Everything happens in threes.” I laid back down beside him. He continued to talk about family and where to live and I drifted off to sleep listening to his voice.

The next day we enjoyed the sun, took a boat ride on the ocean and walked the boardwalk. The day went by so quickly. We showered and cleaned for dinner then we were going to the casino. Nick thought it would be fun to do a bit of gambling while we were there. He would always ask me to pick a number. I tried to be carefree about it but sometimes I couldn’t help but want to know if I was right and we’d win. After winning quite a bit I thought it best to start picking just any number in hopes that Nick would want to leave. But after loosing five in a row Nick turned to me and asked,” What are you doing?”

It was at that moment I knew. I knew before but I foolishly was hoping it wasn’t true. I had fallen for Nick and he did for me as well. Why couldn’t he just let it go and let happen what was happening. I told him I was feeling tired and luck wasn’t on my side anymore. He looked me in the eyes and said, ”We both no that isn’t true.” I started to walk away and Nick came after me. He grabbed hold of my arm gentle and turned me around and said, “ We can’t just leave, I have a lot riding on this.” I looked at him for a moment and then around the room and replied, “More than you know.” I pulled away and headed for the door. I got a cab to take me back to the hotel. An hour later I could hear Nick come in his room. I thought if I gave him a minute he’d settle down and we could talk about it but I heard something that sounded like a struggle so I knocked on the door to see if he was all right. The door opened and a man I had not seen before pulled me in side.

There were four men and Nick was on his knees being held up by two of the men. The man hit him again and I yelled out,” Stop please!” A man in the corner turned and looked at me. He had a file in hand and said,” You must be Autumn.” I hesitated to answer but then said yes. The man forced his attention back on Nick and said,” You owe me a lot of money. This was how you where going to get it, her?” The man threw the file down and papers shattered across the floor. As I looked at it I realized it was about me. They continued it beat Nick he couldn’t even stand at this point, couldn’t keep his eyes open and I pulled away from the man holding me and shouted,” I’ll get you the money. I’ll do it just don’t hurt him anymore.” They dropped Nick to the floor. He grabbed at his ribs in pain. The man walked toward me and said,” You’ll get the money?” I looked at Nick then at the file shattered on the floor and said,” I’ll only get the amount owed to you, You leave and Nick gets a doctor.”

The man walked closer and said,” All right but one of my men go with you and they stay here with Nick. Once I’m paid we all go our separate ways.” It was time, time for it all to end. Nick played her and she let him hoping at the last moment that he couldn’t go threw with it. Nick could see the disappointment on Autumn’s face. He could see she thought of him in a new way. He used her and he didn’t blame her for being upset but he wondered had he lost her. The look on her face told him yes.

As the man got his money he turned to Autumn and said,” You would come in handy?” Autumn looked at him and replied,” You have your money I need to get Nick to a doctor.” The man replied, ”I hope we can do business again, I like your kind of money.”

Nick was bruised and battered. A few cracked ribs but he would survive. Autumn sat in the hospital room as he lay there sleeping thinking how foolish she was to let it go this far. She fell in love with him and he used her in the worst possible way. She blamed herself and walked away.

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A month had past by. Nick had tried to get in touch with me but it was no use. I didn’t log on anymore nor did I take his calls. I spent most of my time helping Emily and found comfort with helping Father Daniels at the church with the kids. Father Daniels tried to tell me running away wouldn’t fix the problem it would linger in the air ‘til I dealt with it. I looked at Father Daniels and said, “ Do you know how often I just wanted to be normal. My own family didn’t want me. (Tears started to fall down my face.) I caused this thing just maybe, maybe he would see ME. How stupid was that?”

Father Daniels tried to comfort me. He replied,” It’s not foolish to want to be loved. Everyone wants to be loved. The question you should be asking yourself is, are you willing to be loved? Nick made a terrible mistake. I’m sure he regrets it or he wouldn’t be trying to get in touch with you. He’s called here several times.” Father Daniels paused for a moment taking a deep breath in and exhaled slowly and said,” We are all challenged in some way, his is yours. All your life you felt like an outsiders. Oh, I know you love us and know how much we care for you but child you don’t love you. You blame your life on this gift. You led the life you have lived because it was the safest life for you; you didn’t want to get hurt. But something in you saw the good in Nick and you fell in love. Don’t through that away because you’re angry you are who you are. Find it in your heart to forgive him. And maybe just maybe you’ll start to see the you I see.”

That night as I drove home I thought about what Father Daniels said. Was it as simple as forgiving Nick for wanting me to help him? Had he just asked I would have done so. As I arrived home it started to rain and found Nick waiting there on the steps. My heart skipped a beat. He stood up looking so uncertain of what was to come. I got out of the car and stood in the rain. I wanted to run into his arms. He came all that way.

Nick walked out into the rain and held out some flowers and said, ”I’d ask you to marry me but I’m not even sure if you love me. All I know is I’m crazy about you. I’m a fool I know. But you’re the best damn thing that walked into my life and I’m going to keep coming back no matter how many times you turn me away.” He hesitated and then added, “ You probably already know how it’s going to end but, I don’t want too know. I just want whatever you’re willing to give me.” The rain was soaking them both. They stood there foolishly getting wet. I smiled and said, ”That’s the best apology I’ve ever heard.” and kissed him. They continued to kiss and Nick said,” You do realize we’re getting soaked out here?” I laughed and took hold of Nick’s hand as ran up the steps to the house. I unlocked the door and we went inside.

Nick relocated worked out of the office here. Father Daniel was pleased with the news of our engagement though no date had been set. Emily and Tim welcomed Nick into the family and for the first time in my life I felt as though I had my family back. Blood could not of bonded me any closer to Father Daniel and Tim than I already was. Emily was like a sister to me and Nick completed what had been missing. He some how filled apart of me that still had felt empty. Everything was going great.

I had just gotten back from a late jog when I noticed a message on the phone. Emily and I were planning on one last shopping trip. We had just finished talking about it. I had everything covered we were going in two days. The baby was due next month and I was starting to feel like everything was going to be just fine. It wasn’t suppose to happen. As I listened to the message my heart dropped. Emily had seen an ad, a damn ad in the paper on a sale and said she was going today instead. As I stood there listening to the message I looked at the clock it read 11:57 a.m. I grabbed my keys, the phone and raced out the door.

As I started driving I called Emily’s but there was no answer I got her machine. ”Emily, Emily please pick up. If you’re there at the apartment, don’t go. I’m coming right over. I’ll take you just don’t get in the cab. I raced up the stairs to Emily’s apartment but there was no answer she was already gone. As I drove recklessly threw the traffic I tried calling Nick at the office. I got his assistant she said he was in a meeting she’d put me through to his mailbox. I tried to stop her but she connected me to Nick’s mailbox. I was driving and talking on the phone at the same time. It was to late, Emily was already in the cab and I had to stop it.

Tears built up in my eyes which made it harder to drive. I was filled with such emotions I had to make a choice. The hardest choice in my life. I had a future just starting with Nick or do I choice Emily and the baby. Fate had stepped in and decided someone was going to die today. I was shouting into the phone filled with such anxiety, “Nick, Emily needs me . This wasn’t suppose to happen we were going this weekend I thought I had it taken care of.” I thought it was stupid of me to be leaving the message on the phone I hung up and called again I got his assistant, “You need to get Nick for me, it’s Autumn. It’s an emergency!” as I was driving I was getting closer and closer. I was still waiting for Nick to come to the phone. I was weaving in and out of traffic rushing to stop what I thought could never be done, determined I wasn’t going to let it happen to Emily and the baby. Nick picked up the phone and said, “Autumn what’s wrong?” “Nick, Nick listen to me. I’m sorry, I thought I had it under control but something happened.” He could hear the anxiety in my voice and tried to calm me but I interrupted him, ”Nick listen to me. Emily needs me, if there was anything else I could do I would.” Nick interrupted me, “Autumn, what’s going on?” He could feel in the pit of his stomach something terrible was about to happen. He called out to her on the phone. As she neared the intersection she said, “I love you.” and moments later the line went dead.

As her car went into the intersection a bus from the right went threw a red light hitting Autumn vehicle. It didn’t slow down. The car was crushed, the bus pushed it out of the intersection right into a telephone pole up on the curb.

She dead instantly. Nick tried calling back but he didn’t get an answer. The accident happened just moments before Emily’s cab got there. Had the accident not taken place would she have died? Would anyone have died?

That night when Nick arrived home he tossed the keys on the end table as he had seen Autumn do so many times. He sat down on the couch, tipped his head back still in shock of what had happened. He sat there in silence for several moments then looked at the answering machine. He played the messages. It was Emily saying she was going out she had found an ad. He stood up and threw the machine against the wall in anger. Just then the computer screen flickered Autumn blog popped up and the screen read Logged On.

Nick walked slowly over to the computer desk and sat down. He was fighting back the tears because he knew she knew it was going to happen. She choice to save Emily and the baby at any cost. As he looked at the screen he saw the story she had been writing was finished and he smiled.

A month later while still dealing with the death Emily had her baby; she named her Autumn.

The End

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