I think I am going to call this Freebie Friday because each Friday I will post another free chapter of ‘What Line’. Don’t worry, there will be changes in the published book to some extent. Remember, these chapters are unedited so there are probably mistakes. For those of you who have already read ‘Crossing The Line’, these first few chapters are a recap of Jim’s offenses from his point of view. You know – “the real story“. This will be just enough to wet your whistle! Enjoy!
Jim hadn’t told Helena that instead of canceling her plane ticket he had given it to Lori. While Lori sat next to him on the plane talking a mile a minute about everything that was not important to him, he was going through some papers and trying to listen to her prattle at the same time. Not paying too much attention until he caught the end of a sentence about Stan, her husband, he told her to repeat what she had just said.
“He isn’t always nice. He never wants me to do anything. He thinks I should be home all the time with him and Lilly.” Lori replied. “It’s alright for him to have a career but not for me.”
“He wasn’t upset that you are going on this trip was he?” Jim asked nervously.
“A little bit. He thought it was suspicious that the convention was so sudden. I showed him the email from Pam with the schedule and arrangements though and he calmed down. I think he doesn’t want the responsibility of having to take care of Lilly. I do everything for them.”
Great! All I need is an irate husband on my tail, Jim thought.
“Stan just likes to make a big deal of things. I wish he was more like you – compassionate and understanding.”
“You make me seem like an old man.” Compassionate? Really? “You work hard at your job and are good at what you do. This convention will only make you better at it. Stan needs to understand that. I can see where he is coming from though. The woman is always the one to hold the home together, but sometimes you need a break from that.”
“Yes,” said Lori. “I do need a break, but it’s hard to disconnect myself from them when I’m away. Stan worries a lot, especially after what happened last year.”
“What do you mean? What happened last year?” Jim questioned.
“I don’t want to get into that now. We can talk about that later when we have more time. I think we are about to land,” Lori replied hastily, changing the subject and buckling her seat belt.
They retrieved their bags from the baggage claim and Jim rented a car to take them to the hotel. After checking in to their separate rooms, he called Helena to make sure she was ok and to let her know he had arrived safely.
“Are you feeling any better?” he asked Helena.
“Actually, I am,” Helena answered. “I took a hot shower and dressed but I think that just wore me out so I’m in bed again.”
“Don’t do too much too fast. You have a whole week to get better. Take it slow. I’ve got to get over to the convention center and check in but you remember I love you and I’m thinking of you.”
Switching gears, he then went to meet Lori in the lobby to walk over to the convention center together and check in. After they gathered all the information and signed up for the workshops it was late in the afternoon. Jim had a meeting at six so they agreed to meet in the lobby of the hotel at seven-thirty to go to dinner together.
The restaurant was packed when they arrived; however, Jim had made reservations so they were seated without much of a wait. Jim ordered a glass of wine for them both and made suggestions from the menu for dinner.
“Helena and I come here a lot. The steaks are really good.”
“I think I will have the baked chicken and vegetables,” Lori said. “You go ahead and get your steak. By the way, how is Helena? Have you talked to her?”
“She’s a little better. I think I wake her up every time I call to check on her, but she doesn’t complain.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t call so much then. She needs her rest if she is as sick as you say she is. You can talk to me if you need someone to talk to,” Lori said sweetly flipping her long bleached blond hair off her shoulders.
“Well, I did tell her I wasn’t going to call again tonight. She said she was going to watch a movie and go to bed early.”
As they ate dinner, Jim steered the conversation back to Stan and asked Lori again what had happened last year to make Stan so worried.
“It’s not something I like to talk about,” she said. “It’s hard to forget though. Stan and I were in Panama City and he was doing a photo shoot on the beach at sunset. We were going to meet at a restaurant on the beach for dinner. I had gone to the mall to do some shopping and didn’t realize how late it had gotten. It was dark when I was returning to the parking lot for my car. There was a man standing by a car next to mine and when I opened the door to get in he grabbed me.”
At this point in the story she stopped and put her head down, wiping her eye with her napkin. Jim reached over and placed his hand on her arm.
“You don’t have to say anymore. I understand.”
“No you don’t. No one does. He had a gun. There wasn’t anything I could do.”
“Of course there wasn’t. You didn’t want to get shot. I can see sadness in your eyes sometimes and it must be because of what happened.”
Lori laid her hand on his, squeezing gently. “It’s nice that you care. Sometimes I think Stan doesn’t really understand what I went through. He can be so callous.”
“You know you can talk to me if you need to. You shouldn’t keep it all bottled up inside. Let’s finish dinner and then take a walk around town. Have you ever been to New Orleans before?”
“No I haven’t and I’ve always wanted to come here. It’s a beautiful city and so many fun things to do. Stan always finds a reason to put off the trips I want to take. He travels a lot, but it is usually for work. I guess that’s why he likes to stay around the house when he’s not working. I shouldn’t complain about it though. He is a good father to Lillie and works hard for us.”
Jim paid the bill and they left the restaurant and walked down the street in the twilight, stopping now and then to listen to music being played on several corners, the wine they had with dinner mellowing them both. As they passed many bars with people spilling out onto the street, he suggested they go in to have a drink.
“Sure, it looks like everyone around here is having a lot of fun and I don’t want to miss out on a thing. There is no telling when I will visit here again.”
After stopping in at two different bars, Jim suggested they return to the hotel since they had an early day planned for tomorrow.
“Can we stop at Café Du Monde and have some beignets first? I’ve heard they are soooo good! It will be a perfect ending to a perfect evening!” Lori begged.
How could he say no to that? They walked down the street to the Café and sat with their beignets and coffee listening to the hustle and bustle of the tourists for a while. When they finally arrived back at the hotel, Jim suggested stopping in the bar downstairs for a drink before going up. He ordered another bottle of wine at the bar for them to share.
By the time they both finished the bottle, Jim consuming more than Lori, he could really feel he’d had too much. They giggled together like teenagers in the elevator on the way to their floor and when they reached Lori’s room he gallantly opened the door for her while she pulled him in behind her.
Jim saw no reason not to go in for a moment when Lori coxed him to stay awhile – until the next morning when he woke up with her snuggled up next to him!
Rubbing his eyes and looking at his watch, Jim realized it was late and if he didn’t hurry he would miss the first workshop he should be at. What had he gotten himself in to? He didn’t do this kind of thing. At least not since he had been married! Lori woke smiling at him as he sat on the edge of the bed putting on his shoes.
“You weren’t going to sneak away were you?” she asked as she sat up barley covering her naked body with the sheet.
“Nnnnoo, he stuttered as he tried not to look at her. I do have a workshop to attend though and I really need to call Helena before I go. Sorry. We’ll have to talk about this later. He stood up to leave and she reached her hand up and grabbed his looking very scared and unsure of herself.
Not thinking, he reached down and kissed her bye to make her happy. Don’t be late for your workshops. I’ll meet you a little after one in the lobby for lunch, ok?”
Lori smiled up at him, then relaxing her grip on his hand, she laid her head back on the pillow. “I think I may go back to sleep for a while. My workshop doesn’t start until eleven and it’s still early. Do you mind?
“Sure you can. I have to be going because mine starts in forty-five minutes and I have to go back to my room first. I need a shower and I have a few things to take care of. I’ll see you later.”
He left Lori in bed and walked to the other end of the hall to his own room – the room he should have slept in last night by himself! What have I done? He asked himself crossly. This isn’t like me. Sure, I have fantasized, but never did I intend for this to happen. Jeffrey was right when he told me to be careful. This cannot happen again.
Unlocking the door, Jim undressed and showered quickly. He picked up his cell phone to call Helena before he left the room, first checking to see if he had missed a call from her last night. Good! There were no missed calls so he was safe on that one. This would be hard to do though. They were not in the habit of lying to each other. The phone began to ring…..
End of Chapter 3
Well… Jim had found out that it wasn’t easy to say no to Lori. She had enticed him in such a coy way. The promise he had made to Jeffery had been broken and now he really was in a fix. What to do – what to do?
Click on post title and scroll down to leave comment!