I got arrested last night…

I got arrested

Last night I was heading out for a late dinner with a friend. I opened the door and was greeted by three sheriff’s deputies. At this point, their guns were still holstered.

Some background…

Next week, work wise, I have two book launches. A book launch typically takes a great deal of preparation for it to be successful and both of these are requiring a decent bit of last minute work on my part.

As my regular readers know, I work at home. My apartment is a ghetto-chic single bedroom I call Area 51. The building has 21 units and was originally built as an extended stay hotel for the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair. Some people think the building is run down, the owner advertises it as “retro,” down to the lime-green appliances.

Area 51 is pretty small, about 500 square feet. For most of November I was working there then spending every evening writing my NaNoWriMo. Once December kicked off, I was working full-out to get these book launches prepped.

By yesterday, the walls, tastefully covered with “retro” 80s panelling, were closing in.

Around 4pm my friend Cassandra called to see if I wanted to hit the Asian place near here for a late supper. I jumped at the chance. I planned to work until 6:30 or so, then meet her.

By 5:30 my mind was spent. I had been working for about 12 hours and I.was.done. It was already dark and cold outside, but I decided to take a walk anyway to clear my head and get some fresh air.

I pulled on my dark coat,  put on my Cookie Monster beanie(tm) and headed out into the night, walking down the residential road adjoining my building.

Here are a couple things I didn’t know before leaving…

First, this past week there were two break-ins at homes in the neighborhood. Second, the suspect was a guy about 5’10” to 6′, wearing jeans, a dark coat and a beanie. (You can probably see where this is going…)

I wasn’t planning on a long walk, just getting some air, so I walked about a quarter mile, stopping in front of a particular house to admire the Christmas lights. Then I turned and walked back. A car drove up behind me just as I turned, and I retreated to the side of the road, but it turned into the house’s drive.

I get home, shave, put on a clean shirt. I don my coat, grab the box I was bringing for Cassandra, open the door and…

Three of Blount County’s finest. (I would have said “the Three Stooges” but there wasn’t anything funny about them.)

I’m not sure why, but most law enforcement officers tend to be on the short side. Maybe that’s just me. All three were shorter than I am, and I am average height. One had a 70s porn-stache. The others were clean shaven.

“Can I help you?” I asked, not having a bit of fear. There’s no way they could have ever found the body I left in Kansas City and even if they had, there was no way they could tie it to good ol’ Fictional Boy.

“Sir, can you please put that package down and step outside?” Even though it was a question, it seemed more of a command. He was the shortest of the three. Seeing these three I made a mental note to research that for my current book.

I put down the box and step out onto the balcony/walkway. I’m 5’10”, 5’11” in my boots, and I was wearing jeans, a dark coat…you get the picture…and so did they.

“Sir, do you have any identification?” I produced my driver’s license. At this point half the building was out in the parking lot watching. Turns out the Law & Order trio had been going door to door and had knocked on 10 before arriving at mine.

“Mr. Fictional,” said the only deputy apparently capable of speech, “have you been out walking this evening?”

“Yes, I just walked down the road a bit. Getting some fresh air.” Even though I wasn’t lying, it kinda felt even to me like I was.

“And while you were walking, did you see a car following you?” This question threw me a bit. Following me? Maybe a serial killer was stalking me! (Cause that’s how I think.) I narrowly escaped death!

Well, no, not exactly, I explained. A car came up behind me, and I stepped off the road a bit because I am an idiot and was walking in the dark in dark clothes, but it turned into a driveway.

“Sir are you carrying any weapon on you, even a pocket knife?”

No, I assured them, I was currently weapon free. I thought about making a joke “no, but my AK-47 is inside” but decided against it.

“Would you empty your pockets please,” shorty looked at my license, apparently he has an injury causing short-term memory issues, “Mr. Fictional?”

I emptied my pockets onto the bench my neighbor and I use to sit and smoke. Cell phone, money clip, keys. A couple crisp hundreds were visible in the clip…just like a criminal would have…

 

Deputy Shortestone handed my license to Deputy Ron Jeremy and he headed down to one of the patrol cars, probably to run a criminal background check with the FBI, CIA and Interpol.

While he was gone, the two deputies stood, silent. I gotta tell you, that’s unnerving. They just looked at me. Deputy Jeremy returned eight hours later and handed me back my license.

Just then, my phone dinged a text. All three looked down at my phone, laying face up on the bench.

Please don’t be my dealer…please don’t be my dealer…

“Sir, there have been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood and when you were seen walking, stopping in front of a house, then suddenly turning and walking away, the homeowner who saw you became suspicious. Sorry to have troubled you.”

They climbed down the stairs back to their cruisers while I gathered up my stuff.

The text was from Cassandra “Where are you?”

“I got arrested” I replied.


Writing Partner: Writing with a Friend

Creative Writing with a Partner

Have you ever wondered how it all began?

Fictional Kevin and Dr. Meg

FK: Several months ago I had been bantering about with several new WordPress friends: Dr. Meg, Dr. Shell and Jason. In my typical snarky fashion, I touted my superiority, made fun of their posts and was generally a nuisance.

They all loved me (of course.)

Jason made a serious post about how he was NOT accepting guest posts on his blog. I, of course, took that as a challenge. I decided to write a short story featuring him and my new blogger friends. It was compelling, so he decided to repost it on his blog. Win for the Fictional Boy.

If you read The Post it is, like most of my fiction, concerned with death and gore. Dr. Meg read it and made some comments. The online love was obvious…

M: I had a new follower… Fictional Kevin. His first comments had been on my post about Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing. “Seems like a pretty funny guy,” I thought. Ok, I’ll follow back.

I visited and commented on his blog a couple of times and then this happened…

On a post about sending himself text messages to remember ideas while he’s out and about, here is our exchange:

Meg: Funny!!!! I use notes on my phone too. How is that harder than sending yourself a text, Kevin? Are YOU sober?

Kevin: Don’t mess with my mojo this morning, Meg. I will cut a bitch. And I am mostly sober. Well, sort of. Remember: Hemingway said “write drunk, edit sober.” So I’m just like Hemingway.
He was an American writer.

Meg: Fine, ‘Ernest’ I will leave you to your scribbling! *Stomping out the virtual door in a huff* “Bitch indeed,” she muttered.

Kevin: Shouts after her: “and put on something nice for once, geez!”

Meg: Sniff

The came The Post. Seriously, go read it and ask me why the hell I stuck around. I can’t explain it myself. I barely knew this guy and he slaughtered me (in the story) in a most gruesome way after insulting me, my blog and my writing. For some reason I didn’t run screaming, I responded:

There he was, on the park bench, waiting for her. It was strange that he’d suggested they meet in the park on such a dreary day. She hadn’t given it much thought. She was too excited to see him. After all Kevin was one of her few writer friends. He of all people would be happy that her book had made the best seller list. As she approached, he looked up at her smiling.

“Hey,” she said, returning the smile.

He rose and offered her the spot where he’d been sitting since it was dry. Instead of sitting beside her, he picked something up from the ground and stood to face her.

“You smug bitch,” he muttered, before landing the first blow.

The first one didn’t kill her, neither did the second. Through the physical pain, her heart was breaking. She thought he’d understand. She thought he’d be happy for her. She thought he was her friend.

Kevin’s response? “This is perfect.

It apparently was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…

FK: Dr. Meg responded almost positively to her untimely demise in “The Post”. I didn’t find out until later even her hubby, Harry, was concerned.

We continued to banter back and forth on our blogs and eventually she was able to see past my rugged good looks and charm to the real me.

For some years I had considered writing fiction. I make my living writing non-fiction, but I wanted to expand my horizons. Writing fiction is far different than writing non.

Reading Meg’s blog, I realized she is far more competent at fiction than I, so I paid close attention to the things she was writing, trying to learn. It helped. I wrote a couple short stories and also wrote more on a couple longer-term pieces I was working on.

After we got to know one another we exchanged emails.

I began to realize I needed help to be able to write fiction well. I struggled to write dialog and deadlines were an issue – with fiction, I had none. After getting comfortable with Meg and with her writing style, I proposed a limited collaboration. A mid-length story, 14 chapters around 1,000 words each, written alternately as a serial with each chapter appearing on our blogs weekly.

Foolishly, she fell into my trap.

M: Kevin thinks he’s so smart, doesn’t he? Well, he is, actually. And I immediately recognized what a great opportunity and challenge this would be for me. It would push me to write out of my comfort zone. Even though it was not without some misgivings, I left the basic idea for the story up to him, since he had suggested this whole escapade. I even let him write the first chapter, knowing that would give me the final word. And thus, more control over the story.*evil laugh*

You see, originally we thought we’d keep our alternating chapters secret from one another so that we’d have to “respond” to one another’s writing. But as the story progressed we realized that a true collaboration was going to have to happen if this tale was going to be any good. And THAT’S when I foolishly fell into his trap!

FK: Writing the first chapter was easy for me, but it lacked “something.” I am good at identifying the psychological makeup and backstory for characters. I had that down cold. I can even write a compelling bit of narrative if I work hard and hold my mouth just right.

When I got done, there was something missing. That first chapter was all “tell” and no “show.”

I sent it to Meg for her input. She agreed. She helped me craft some dialog that showed David “being” David, rather than simply me telling the reader about him. It improved the chapter dramatically (pun intended.)

This is one of the best reasons to get a writing partner: He/she can fill in the gaps in your own ability.

M: I have the same habits as Kevin in creating backstory for my characters. Write a little biography on them, things that won’t necessarily be included in the narrative, but information that helps you shape their behavior. Up to this point though, I hadn’t written a character into a situation as dangerous and psychologically manipulative as the one Dr. Melody Rivers was in with David Twichell. The difficult part was that I had largely based Melody on myself. I now had to really imagine how I would react in those circumstances. I had a mini freak out at one point. It was unnerving to put oneself in the crosshairs of a potential killer. Thus, being able to talk it through with my writing partner was invaluable. The experience of collaboration has made both of us better writers.

FK: After 14 weeks, we finished our story at 17,000 words or so. Our readers enjoyed it and we enjoyed creating it. We’ll be putting it up at Amazon and will do a free weekend if you want to pick it up. You can join our announcement list here.

Some things we learned from the process:

  • A writing partner can help you have deadlines for your writing
  • A writing partner who has strengths you do not have can make you a better writer
  • A writing partner can help you see your characters and their thoughts and actions in a different light
  • A writing partner can brainstorm plot and character ideas with you and help you both create a more compelling story
  • A writing partner can act out dialog with you to give it a more “real” feeling for the reader
  • A writing partner can become a good friend – this was the best part for me.

Once we got the story completed, Meg and I along with our significants met in Gatlinburg for a meal and beers. It was fun and I think Meg and I will be friends for many years to come.

If I don’t murder her.

M: Or I murder him first… See? I always get the final word!


Free Books and an Insider View

 

Fictional Kevin's Insider's List

Cheesy marketing banner aside…

For a while I have been talking to Dr. Meg about starting to collect names and email addresses so we can notify folks of cool things we’re doing, free and discounted books, writing tips, reviews, etc. We even thought we’d use the list to promote some of your books (if you write.)

Starting today you can sign up to receive email updates. It’s simple, it’s free and it’s only mildly annoying.

You can join the list by clicking here (or not, I’m not the boss of you.)

What will you receive:

  • A courier will come to your door and present you with $100,000.00*
  • You will get my thoughts about the pieces I write. Why I wrote them, what inspired me.
  • Free and discounted book promotions.
  • A trained, dancing monkey.*
  • The opportunity to promote your own book – free.
  • Since I own a publishing business I will give tips on how to self-publish and market your own work.
  • Original fiction and non-fiction I don’t post to the blog.
  • Advance copies of stories for your feedback and input.
  • Anything else I think you might find interesting.

All that for the low-low-price of FREE. You can’t beat it.

Click here and join the list. It’s only mildly painful.

(*These offers are only available in Sri Lanka. Please allow 28 years for delivery.)

 


Double Seduction 14

Double Seduction

Dr. Meg and I are writing a little novella we hope you will enjoy and keep you in suspense. I wrote the first chapter, she wrote the second. The third is here. To read the fourth, go here. The fifth installment is here. Read the sixth installment by clicking here. The seventh is here. Eight here. Nine can be found here. Meg has written chapter 10, go over to her blog to read it. Chapter 11 is here. Chapter 12 is over at Meg’s blog. Chapter 13 is here. Go over to Meg’s to read the exciting conclusion by clicking here.


Chapter 14 – The Solution

“The rope, Melody. Get it, now!” Anton commanded.

Mel, still in shock and reeling from what had just happened —from what she had done— shook herself into action. “The rope, the rope, the rope,” she repeated, willing herself to move. She stumbled toward the SUV while Anton… (Click here to read the rest at Meg’s blog.)


Double Seduction 13

Double Seduction

Dr. Meg and I are writing a little novella we hope you will enjoy and keep you in suspense. I wrote the first chapter, she wrote the second. The third is here. To read the fourth, go here. The fifth installment is here. Read the sixth installment by clicking here. The seventh is here. Eight here. Nine can be found here. Meg has written chapter 10, go over to her blog to read it. Chapter 11 is here. Chapter 12 is over at Meg’s blog. Chapter 13 is below – ONLY ONE MORE CHAPTER TO GO…


Chapter 13 – Lucky

“OK, but I just wanted to say…” David began.

“Not on the phone, in person. Tomorrow, 10am, I’ll meet you at Shipley Park near the fountain.” Melody’s tone was angry and resolute.

“I’m just glad you’re still talking to me. I’m so sorry. Can you just hear what I need to tell you now?” David pleaded.

“No, I can’t talk to you right now. I need to think. Goodbye until tomorrow.” With that, Melody disconnected.

David was both fearful and excited. He felt lucky she had called, wanting to see him. Still, her tone concerned him. She was certainly angry, and probably felt betrayed. He had never experienced her anger. She was a caring person, certainly she would get over it.  After all, she loved the “real” him. This wasn’t a big deal.

As soon as she hung up the phone, Mel’s eyes began to tear. She felt used. She felt angry. She felt betrayed. She needed comfort and realized the only person she had in her life to now comfort her was Anton. That was too humiliating to contemplate.

She opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, called up Billie Holiday on her iPad and fell into a chair. She found herself asleep next to the empty bottle at 1am and staggered to bed.

In the morning, when Mel’s 6:30am alarm rang, she reset it for 7:30 and barely pulled herself out then. After a shower, she wandered downstairs and met Andrea waiting at the locked office door at 7:55.

“Good morning, Dr. Rivers!” then, appraising Mel’s appearance added, “are you alright?”

“I’ll be fine Andi. Just moving slowly this morning. You’re just doing the weekly billing this morning, correct?” Mel asked.

“Yeah, I should be finished by noon. I’ll stay until you get back from your workout,” Andrea answered.

“Shoot, I forgot that was today. I’m going back upstairs. Call my cell if you need me for anything.”

“Will do, Dr. Rivers. Feel better!”

As Mel climbed the stairs back to her bedroom, she pulled her phone from her pocket, calling up Anton’s texts.

“I’m not going to be able to make it today, an emergency came up.” Mel typed the lie.

Anton responded almost immediately, “Understood. Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, I just have to handle something.” Mel hoped he wouldn’t press.

Anton was sure the “emergency” was David. Anton began imagining all the worst case scenarios. Had she confronted David? Had David’s continual lies pulled her even further in? Was that even her texting or had David hurt her and was using her phone for an alibi?

He tried to call her back, hear her voice to make sure she was alright.

When the call came in, Mel spat at her phone, “Won’t you leave me alone for once!” She sent it to voicemail, started to shut off her phone, then realized she needed it on for Andi.

Anton tossed the phone on the counter when the call went directly to voicemail. He paced and thought hard about the situation. He called back every 10 minutes for an hour, getting only voicemail. With each call his worry for Melody increased.

Everything he imagined had Melody in trouble. Finally he couldn’t take it any more and grabbed his keys.

 

David wanted to arrive early. It was a 35 minute drive from his apartment to the park. He had spent a sleepless night trying to think of what to say to get back into Mel’s heart. Leaving at 9am, he rehearsed the dialogue in his head.

“Mel, I love you with all my heart. I am the man you know, I just don’t look like…”

“Mel, we love each other…”

It was going to be tough when she realized he is David Twitchell. It wouldn’t be just his looks not being the guy in the picture, but a guy who had met her in real life. He couldn’t figure out any way to make it better with words. His hands sweat on the steering wheel while his heart raced.

“I just needed to see you in real life,” he practiced out loud, trying to sound as if he wasn’t a crazy stalker.

David parked the Taurus out of sight of the fountain at 9:38. He didn’t want her to see the car. At 9:50, thoroughly out of rehearsed lines, he walked to the fount and waited for Mel to arrive.

 

Anton’s black Denali arrived at Mel’s just as her Acura pull away. He followed at a distance, trying to avoid her detection. He already upset her, and he needed to keep her safe without upsetting her more.

Right at 10, Mel’s Acura pulled into Shipley Park and settled on the pavement near the fountain. Anton didn’t see any other cars as he pulled off onto the grass 100 feet away. He could see a man standing behind the fountain, but he couldn’t make him out. He was obscured by the spray.

Anton reached for his telescoping baton and cracked his door, ready to spring to action.

 

David intentionally hid himself behind the fountain, trying to delay the inevitable reveal of his true identity. Melody approached deliberately, straight toward him. When she got within 20 feet, she spied a man, stopped short, and asked, “David?”

David emerged from the curtain the of the fountain.

Mel’s eyes widened in shock.”David Twitchell! Oh my God, do you lie about everything?” Her mouth gaped in disbelief.

“I’m sorry, Mel. I never meant any of this…” David said sheepishly, his head down.

Mel covered the distance between then and stood directly in front of him. “Look at me! I can’t believe you did this. I can’t believe you did this to me. Was this just some kind of game for you? Breaking my heart?”

David slowly raised his head. As he did, and their eyes met, she remembered his striking blue. Looking now, her own hazel eyes began to tear and her lip began to quiver.

The tone of David’s reply was calm and soothing. “It wasn’t a game. At least, not for a long time now. Yes, it started out as an experiment, but I fell in love with you. I think you feel the same. I’m so sorry I’ve hurt you.”

David shrugged as he added, “Now that you know, we can move on to a real relationship.”

He reached for her hand, but she pulled it away.

“I don’t love you, I hate you right now!” Mel’s eyes raged while tears flowed down her cheeks.

Anton, viewing from the distance, could tell the encounter was escalating. He exited the SUV and hurried toward them, baton in hand.

“Mel, please, we can get through this. You’ll see. It was just a mistake. Now that you know everything, we can have a genuine relationship.” David tried to sound confidently reassuring.

“You son of a bitch! Do you think after all your lying, all your deception, I will ever speak to you again? I only came here to tell you what a terrible human being you are and to break this off like an adult.” Mel turned on her heel and started for her car.

“Wait, you just need to listen!” yelled David as he grabbed her arm, spinning her around. “You can’t leave me! You can’t act like this! It wasn’t that big of a deal! I didn’t mean it!”

Mel was frightened. Her tricep hurt where his fingers dug in. “Stop! Let me go! I never want to see you again!”

“This bitch can’t do this to me,” David thought. With that David raised his other hand to slap Mel hard across the face. At the sight, Anton broke into a sprint.

Mel’s training instinctively kicked in. With one smooth motion, she pulled her arm free, parried his blow with her left arm, shifted her weight to her right foot and then put her body into a blow. She hit David cleanly in the neck. It was a move she had practiced with Anton often, designed to quickly disable an attacker.

His hyoid bone made a discernable “crunch” as it collapsed beneath the powerful punch. A “lucky” direct hit.

David fell to his knees, gasping for air. Melody dropped beside him, as Anton arrived behind her.

“Oh, my God David, I’m sorry. Just breathe. Take deep breaths. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Mel watched as David fell forward, holding his weight with one hand, while grasping his neck with the other, desperate for air.

“Are you alright?” Anton’s voice was breathless as he pulled Mel to her feet.

“Oh my God, Anton, help him!” Mel pleaded and knelt down again next to David.

Anton quickly felt the neck of the wheezing David. “You’ve broken his hyoid and crushed his windpipe. He will die.” Anton’s resigned tone was surprisingly calm.

“We have to call 911!” Mel pleaded, taking out her phone.

“No, it is too late.” Anton said, grabbing the phone from her hand. “He will be dead in seconds.”

Mel sat helpless and in shock as the two of them watched David take his last breaths, his body go limp. Melody was a mess of shock and dismay. She couldn’t fully grasp what she had just witnessed.

“Oh, David,” she whispered, covering her mouth.

Anton grasped her by both shoulders, forcing her to focus on his face. “Think, Melody,” he said in his thick Romanian accent,”did you tell anyone you were meeting David today? Anyone where you were going?”

“What?” Melody was confused.

“I need to know if anyone knew you would be here today. We don’t have time for me to explain, just tell me.” Anton shook her.

“No…I…I don’t think so.” Melody said.

“Go now, you can see my SUV parked over there,” he pointed, “in the back is a rope. Go get it.”

Melody just looked at him bewildered.

“The rope, Melody, get it now!” he commanded.

 


Double Seduction 12

Double Seduction

Dr. Meg and I are writing a little novella we hope you will enjoy and keep you in suspense. I wrote the first chapter, she wrote the second. The third is here. To read the fourth, go here. The fifth installment is here. Read the sixth installment by clicking here. The seventh is here. Eight here. Nine can be found here. Meg has written chapter 10, go over to her blog to read it. Chapter 11 is here. Go over to Meg’s blog to read chapter 12 and to comment…


Chapter 12 – Admission

Mel finally turned the phone off completely. David had called back repeatedly and when she hadn’t answered, he switched to… (click here to continue reading)


Double Seduction 11

Double Seduction

Dr. Meg and I are writing a little novella we hope you will enjoy and keep you in suspense. I wrote the first chapter, she wrote the second. The third is here. To read the fourth, go here. The fifth installment is here. Read the sixth installment by clicking here. The seventh is here. Eight here. Nine can be found here. Meg has written chapter 10, go over to her blog to read it. Chapter 11 is below…


Chapter 11 – Revelations

Mel was distracted all afternoon.  The text from Anton had rattled her and the day couldn’t be finished fast enough.  As her last patient left she turned to Andi.  “So Dr. Rivers?”  she began cheerfully.  “I was going to stay and file these…. Um, Dr. Rivers?  Are you ok?”

“I’m fine, Andi. It’s just allergies. We’ve had a long day, let’s just pick it up in the morning,” hurrying Andi out the door.

“OK…Dr. Rivers…um…have a good night” she said frowning.

Mel locked the door behind her and pulled her phone from her pocket, pressing Anton’s number.

“Melody, thank you for calling.” Anton’s deep voice answered in his thick Romanian accent.

“Why are you checking up on David? I thought you were going to drop this.” Mel’s voice was a mixture of anxiety and anger.

“Melody, please forgive, but I care about you and  I felt my talents might keep you from harm. You need to know: David is not who he pretends to be.”

Mel’s breath caught. She wanted to rail against him, release the anger she felt. At the same time his statement seemed firm, it caught her off guard. Before she replied, Anton continued.

“When someone takes a picture with a digital camera or phone, the picture has saved with it additional information. It can be read with the right software. The picture you sent me last week of David on his motorcycle, when did he say it was taken?”

“This is too much Anton, you are my friend and my sparing partner, but you have no right to mess with my life.” Mel fumed.

“Melody, please, just answer the question. It’s important. If you are still angry with me after you learn the truth, then, well, we’ll deal with that. But you must know the truth. When was it taken?” Anton’s voice was calm but firm.

“The truth? You make it sound like he’s an ax murderer. It was taken a couple weeks ago. Why does it matter when it was taken?” Mel’s jaw was firmly set.

“Bear with me. And where?” Anton again seemed unfazed by her tone.

“David was taking a ride. On Sullivan Trail. To the Poconos,” Mel snapped back.

“Melody, you need to know the picture you sent me was taken six years ago in San Bernardino, California. I don’t believe it is a picture of David.”

“You don’t know that! That doesn’t mean anything!”

Anton had never heard Mel so angry.

“So what? So what if he took it years ago? We’re talking. We’ve only met online. Lots of people use old pictures. Anton, if you keep this…”

At this point, Mel’s phone signaled an incoming call. From David.

“I’m done talking about this. I’m getting a call. I have to go.” Without waiting for Anton to reply, she ended the call and switched over to David.

“Hey, beautiful. How was your day?” David was light-hearted. Every time he talked to Mel it gave him joy. It usually did for her as well.

“I’ve had better.” The edge in Mel’s voice was obvious.

“What’s wrong?” David soothed. His voice was calming and sweet, caring. Just like always.

“Nothing, really. Just a meddlesome friend. I’m pretty angry right now. Maybe I should just go. We can talk tomorrow.” Mel was reeling. She didn’t want to talk to anybody right now, especially David. She needed to process.

David persisted, he didn’t want her to go. “What happened? Is it that bad? It will help you to talk about it.”

Mel hesitated, it was hard to resist the urge to pour all this out to David. Over the last several weeks they had become so close. They talked about everything. They knew everything about one another – or at least she thought they did.

“It might make you angry.” Mel said wearily.

“Mel, if someone has hurt you, we can be mad at them together. What is it honey?”

“Well…I sent Anton the picture of you on your motorcycle,” she took a breath,  “I’ve enjoyed all the time we’ve spent getting to know one another, I had talked about you often to him and..well…I guess I just wanted to share.”

“That doesn’t make me mad, I’m glad you’re telling your friends about me – even Anton.”

Mel’s voice trembled slightly as she gradually admitted what Anton had “discovered”: “Anton says the picture wasn’t taken a couple weeks ago, but six years ago, and in California.” Mel wanted to take back the words as soon as she said them, “but he probably just made a mistake, I mean, I don’t really understand how he could know that from a picture. I’m sure that’s not the case, is it David?”

David felt a jolt of anxiety burn through him. If he hadn’t already been sitting in his recliner, his knees might have buckled. He paused, trying to find the words. The silence stirred Mel to fill it.

“Is it an old picture? It is you, right?”

David recovered enough composure to answer. “I’m so sorry, Mel. I truly am. It’s definitely me, but that picture is several years old. I don’t think it was taken six years ago, but it’s not new.”

“You lied to me?” It was spoken as a question, but Mel knew the answer. “You know, David, I need to go. I can’t talk to you right now.”

“Let me explain…” she hung up before David finished his sentence.

David sat there in his recliner, staring at his phone, his hand shaking. He had been caught in a lie. A big lie. He wanted to crawl away.

It was at that moment he knew without a doubt he was falling for her. He realized the only way he could ever have her in his life was to come clean.