Read Again Online

Authors: Diana Murdock

Again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGAIN

 

Diana Murdock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Eryn scrubbed intently at the residue baked on the casserole pan, as if doing so would uncover some sort of hint.
 
Her head ached from the tight knit of her brow, and still she was no closer to an explanation.

For the fourth time that week, the date on her computer was off.
 
Way off.
 
Hell, by like 500 years.
 
January 1501 to be exact.
 
It didn’t matter that she kept changing the computer clock to the right date and virus scans kept coming up empty.
 
January 1501 would be there every time she turned on the computer.

It was too big a coincidence that the glitch had started the day before the dream.
 
Unlike her other easily forgotten dreams, this one was different.
 
This dream wouldn’t let her forget.
 
It invaded at will, regardless of what she was doing.
 
It would press against the back door of her mind, pushing until the door gave way.

The mundane task of washing dishes was certainly no match for the dream now.
 
It merely nudged everything out of its way and played center stage again, as if it had a life of its own.

She and Bryce were sitting at a table somewhere.
 
His words were a simple request.
 
“Look at his eyes,” Bryce said. “They look like stars.”
 
Eryn studied the calm face of her husband.
 
Normally so jealous and possessive, it was totally unlike him to ask her to look at another man - and even stranger for him to make such a poetic statement - so she could hardly resist.
 
Eryn turned to face the stranger sitting next to her.
 
But he was no stranger. Well, she didn’t know him in the conventional sense, but he was familiar somehow.
 
She knew him from…where?
 
She couldn’t be sure.
  
A slight shift in the air around them whispered his name…Jonathan.
 
She let the name brush across her lips as her gaze slid over his clothes.
 
His shirt, she thought, was the kind that a pirate would wear.
 
It hung loosely over his broad shoulders and tucked into black pants, and the shirt’s billowing sleeves flowed down his arms and closed snugly around his wrists.
 
The sun-darkened skin of his face, chest, and hands contrasted sharply against the whiteness of the shirt. Thin laces across his chest were lazily tied, granting her a glimpse of the strong muscles underneath.
 
Her nails bit deep into her palms as she fought the urge to trail her fingertips down his chest.
 
Somehow she knew exactly what it would feel like.
 
Smooth and powerful.
 
Her gaze slid upwards.
 
She loved the way his dark brown hair fell freely, a little past his shoulders, brushed back from the smooth skin of his face.
 
His hair had a bit of a wave to it, adding to the thickness of his locks.
 
The curve of his lips was kind, and at the same time, so sensual.
 
His amber eyes, fringed with thick, long lashes, were warm and gentle.
 
And they sparkled. Yes, she thought, definitely like stars.
 
He sat there quietly while she looked into his eyes.
 
He didn’t have to say anything.
 
She could feel he loved her -
 
and she loved him back.
 
She just wanted to stay there forever, looking into those depths.
 
There in those eyes she felt at home, safe and accepted.
 
Those eyes held so much, almost as if they were keeping memories for her, things he wanted her to remember.
 
But he would be patient, she knew, until she was ready.

And one of those memories managed to find a way into her mind.
 
Just one.
 
Like a seed dropped into fertile soil, it grew quickly.
 
A dawning of sorts gave way to realization.
 
She drew in a quick breath as it became clear.
 
He was the one she had given her soul to so many centuries ago and it was in that moment she realized that he still had her heart.
 
His smile grew wide as he saw that she understood.
 
She suddenly felt embarrassed to stare so long.
 
She dropped her gaze for a moment and when she looked up again, he was gone.

Tom Petty’s music rattled her cell phone to life behind her and
Eryn’s attention jerked back to the bright-lit kitchen.
 
She stood at the sink, her limp hand now barely hanging onto the soapy dishrag.
 
Outside the bay window, the sun was breaking over the rooftops across the street, throwing long shadows across the grass
, the rich blue skies deepening in color with each passing moment.

Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Eryn dropped the dishrag and dried her hands on the back of her
shorts.
 
She yanked on the knot holding her hair from her face and let the long, soft strands cascade down her back in a downpour of bronze before picking up the cell phone.
 
Her brows pressed together into a frown.
 
With her mind still saturated with the dream, it was hard to focus on the incoming phone number.
 
She gave up and flipped the phone open.
 

“This is Eryn.”

She held her hand out to touch Bryce’s when he walked into the kitchen.
  
A hint of a smile managed to find its way to the corners of his lips, but only after she mouthed
good morning
to him.
 

Silence on the other end of the phone, begging for some kind of response, drew Eryn’s attention back.
 
She had no idea what had been said.
 

“Can you just fax that to me and I’ll look it over?” Eryn asked.

Their fingertips brushed lightly as Bryce walked past her.
 
She sighed.
 
Their marriage seemed solid enough, but there were definitely things about it that lacked.
 
It was too hard to explain, even to herself.
 
It was nothing tangible, just some underlying current she couldn’t quite grasp.

Eryn absent-mindedly adjusted the strap of her tank top. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
 
She pressed the phone hard against her ear.
 
“Yeah, that’s fine.
 
Hey, when do you have the decorating crew coming out?”

Her attention wandered again as she watched her husband pour his coffee.
 
Where Eryn’s beauty complemented any space she stood, Bryce’s body completely possessed the room.
 
Strong, yes.
 
Silent, yes.
 
Commanding, definitely.
 
And he looked good.
 
Today he wore his jet-black hair slicked back, the ends loose.
 
His black button-down shirt hugged his impossibly strong shoulders and rode the line down his slim waist and disappeared into gray pants.
 
The role of the successful, most sought-after young architect suited him well.
 
He handled everything in his personal life like he did his work - deliberately and calculated.
 
Even the task of pouring his coffee.
 
Always in control.
  

A big breath escaped her again.
 
Too much control, she thought.
 
“I’m sorry.
 
I was distracted.
 
What was that again?”

Bryce turned his head slightly as he locked onto her conversation.
 

She grabbed a pencil and paper and turned to the counter before Bryce could see her face.
 
“Ten o’clock.
 
Friday.
 
Great.
 
Okay.
 
Thanks.
 
Bye.”
 
She scribbled a few more notes while things were still fresh in her mind, trying in vain to focus on something other than Bryce.
 
During the entire time they’ve been together, she always felt like he harbored some kind of resentment, maybe some anger towards her, but for what, she hadn’t the slightest idea.
 
She did whatever she could to make him happy, but it never seemed enough.

Two deep breaths later, she turned to face him.
 
She knew he would be standing exactly as he was now, leaning against the counter, one hand in his pocket, the other holding his cup to his lips.
 
He looked at her as if she was a jigsaw puzzle and he was trying figure out where to place the next piece.
 
She hated it when he did that.
 
It made her feel uncomfortable, like maybe she did have a piece missing.

Intent on distracting him, she gestured across the kitchen.
 
“Your breakfast is warming in the oven.”

He made no attempt to move or even look away.
“Going to have to pass today.
 
Meeting with some builders this morning.”  A perfect mix of blue and gray, his eyes refocused.

An exasperated breath rushed over her lips. “You passed on breakfast yesterday.”
 
She walked back to the sink and resumed scrubbing the casserole pan with a vengeance.
 
“And the day before and the day before,” she mumbled under her breath.
 
She didn’t mean for him to see how annoyed she was, but she couldn’t help it.
 
He never asked for breakfast.
 
She just wanted to make it for him.
 
But this was the third time in a row he refused it.
 
Still, as annoyed as she was with herself, she knew she’d probably do it again.

“I did, didn’t I?”  He took a few swallows of his coffee before pushing away from the counter.
 
“I’m sorry.”
 
He reached around her and placed his cup in the sink.

Her mood sagged a notch to resignation in one heavy breath.
 
“You don’t need to apologize.”
 
She dropped the dishrag into the sink and turned to face him.
 
Her pale blue eyes held no challenge to his gray ones.
 
“Really, you don’t.
 
It’s my fault.”

His hands slid down the length of her arms until he held her hands in his.
 
Stooping a little to level his face with hers, he said, “Don’t think I don’t appreciate what you did.”
 
He took her silence as understanding. “I don’t always have time to sit around and eat.”

“You could take some time off,” she suggested, but she knew it was pointless to have said it.
 
He seemed perfectly content to immerse himself in his work.
 
“Sorry.
 
Stupid thing to say,” she mumbled, and turned away.

He cupped her chin in his hand, turning her back, giving her no choice but to look at him.

She hated it when he gave her no choice.

Intense focus darkened his eyes.
 
“I’m doing this for you.
 
For us.”
 
He held her face until she nodded in acknowledgment. “Good.”  Releasing her, he grabbed his keys and wallet from the counter and headed towards the garage.  “Don’t forget about Montgomery this morning,” he said over his shoulder.  The door slammed behind him
, sharply cutting off his reality from hers.
 

It never ceased to amaze her how quickly the atmosphere around him could change so fast.
 
Predictably unpredictable.
 

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