Have you ever been dying to tell a story, yet at the same time afraid to tell it? I don’t mean just any around-the-way tale, but a true story that happened to you and no one else knows. I’m talking about every time you think to open your mouth to tell it, your heart starts pounding, your tongue becomes the Sahara Desert and the fear of saying it out loud makes you change your mind.
For the last few days, I’ve been walking around dazed trying to wrap my mind around this craziness. I keep going over each intriguing thing trying to decipher the validity. How can this be true and How in the H..E.. double hockey sticks did it happen to me?
This is my story, I hope to tell before the fear changes my mind again.
Honestly, it started about three years ago when I published my first book. This tale has been in the making for that long and I didn’t even realize it.
I can’t start from then. I have to tell the story from the back end first.
The end started with me planning the family’s winter vacation about a month ago. Every year we go away in February to get as far away as possible from the cold. Normally my husband plans it, but somehow it all fell into my lap. So I planned a five day cruise in the Western Caribbean.
On travel day everything went normal according to a family of five chaos travel day. You know planes, trains, and automobiles with the occasional, “Stop touching me!”
We were our own small tornado, so when the ship was delayed due to fog, it never registered on my Richter scale. I considered it another obstacle that stood between the warm sun, a frozen Pina Colada and me. I was a woman on a mission.
Finally, we were on board and out to sea. It was our first day on the water and my kids were ready to explore the ship. Our first stop was the Skywalk and it is as it sounds, a tight rope obstacles course on the top deck of the ship. The kids shot towards the line and I sat down at nearby table and enjoyed the first of many Pina Coladas.
After the second one, the “Good Idea” voice chimed in, “Let’s try the Sky Course.” So I went up and by coincidence one of my daughter’s was being released from her harness. So, like the devious mom that I am, I snuck up behind her. She screamed out, “Mom!” and the attendant repeated my daughter’s words, with almost the same surprise, “Mom?”
He was checking me out! I still had it. I felt light hearted and flattered at the same time. After all the commotion, he assisted me into the harness and I was off.
Little did I know that was the first domino to fall in this great scheme of events. I completed the skywalk and other cruise ship activities and finished the day with an 8:00 pm dinner seating, followed by a family show. All the time, a tiny smile grew across my face thinking, “Mom?”
Later that evening back in the cabin after everyone was a sleep, I awoke to scratching at the balcony door. At first I thought it was wind, but it was too deliberate. And then I felt something, not physically but mentally. It kept calling to me and asking me about my life, about my children and about my husband. It wasn’t like I was having a regular conversation, but rather like something was digging through my mind for the answers.
I didn’t know exactly what it wanted, but I knew it was the same young guy from the Skywalk. This is the funny part; I never really looked at the guy. Why? Because I knew he was a young 20 something and I’m married with kids. There is no comprising ground, so what was there for me to be looking at?
The following morning I awoke. My family never complained about the noise. It was as if it never happened. So, I chalked it up to sleeping on a rocky ship and the Pina Coladas.
We went on about our day. It was day two on the ship and again the kids and I were headed to the Skywalk. I don’t why I was heading back to it, but I think somewhere deep inside I wanted to see the young guy again, to see if he was really the same guy from the dream. Well, it was just my, luck or coincidence, that he was there.
This time I made an effort to look into this kid’s eyes. I wanted to know. No, I needed to know. And at that moment our eyes caught and un-expectantly he shot back a knowing smile.
I was totally taken back, I wondered who was this guy? He had to know I was married and he had to have seen all three of my children and that I was old enough to be his mother. What could he possibly see in me?
While I was baffled in my thoughts, he had reached down between my legs and had tightened the harness straps and his skin briefly touched my inner thigh. In that single brief touch, what most people would call electric was not. This felt more like summer thunder that rang so loud in my ears that it rattled my bones due to its proximity. It actually made my heart ache. To be honest, just writing about it is bringing back the pain and all of the other sensations. I have no earthy idea how I still stood. I think it was the harness that held most of my weight.
In that moment, I knew him. He was my main character in my first book. I was completely speechless as he continued to smile knowing I knew who he was. I have no idea how I made it through the obstacle course. To truly be quite frank, I don’t remember leaving the Skywalk. What I do remember was the longing and the passion and more dominos falling in a spiral sending me into madness.
I did leave the area with the promise to never return. There was too much temptation to admitting I was insane. But later on that night, just like the night before there was more scratching on windows and door of the balcony of my cabin. I knew immediately who it was and I froze. I refused to move one inch of my body from my bed, yet still I sensed him crawling through my memories justifying why I should come to him.
Every night while on that ship, it was the same. I was awakened by the same noise followed by the pleading go outside and join him. There was so much desire, so much longing and needing. I had never experienced that kind of temptation in my entire fifteen years of marriage.
I can’t begin to express this kind of passion. He was in my head! He knew every dark detail about me. He knew all of my fantasies; he knew what made me cry. He knew what had hurt my core. He knew the good, the bad, and the “I’m not so proud of moments” in my life. Yet he still longed for me and he was offering his love. I’m talking about loving a man without any conditions or anything to hide behind. I was completely naked in his sight. How can I say no to that offer? He could truly see me and yet he still loved me more.
The last night was the worst. I never slept for one second. At dawn I jumped out of bed drenched in sweat and shaking. The only thing that saved my sanity was knowing that in a few hours I would be off the ship. And you’ll never guess what. The ship was fogged in. We were delayed. My heart sank. I was exhausted from the sleepless night. Still I had to carry on as normal.
I saw him briefly at breakfast. He past by and we caught eyes again. He looked hurt and exhausted as well. I turned my head before tears came to my eyes, as I was a torn woman. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve made commitments and I have young children, but everything in me belonged to him.
I prayed that would be the last time our eyes would meet because I did not think I could stand another chance meeting.
My prayers were denied. We crossed paths again. He was at the ship’s exit. I had to walk past him dragging my bags in tow. I thanked God my family was ahead of me; I couldn’t let them see me like this. All I can say, walking past him, like he was a perfect stranger, was the hardest thing I had ever done in my entire life. It was nothing but sheer willpower that led my footsteps.
My body had since abandoned me several nights ago; all I had left was willpower and it was near depletion. I’ve never had a heart attack, but I know what one feels like because that’s how my heart behaved. It attacked me. Every muscle, every bone and joint to include my blood begged me to stay, just turn back, just one last look.
I fought against myself and I continued to drag my bags and I kept close to my family as the crowd forced me forward.
I know most of you are thinking it’s only a Ship-Board-Romance. I beg to differ. There was no romance; it was nothing short of pure need and longing. I could deal with a Ship-Board-Romance. I would be High-Fiving with my girlfriends over coffee bragging that I still had it at 45.
No, this was something much more different from a Ship-Board-Romance, for you see I’m a Paranormal Romance writer and he was the love interest in my first book and he’s a Vampire.
Shonda Brock is southern by blood and northern in her heart. She finds freedom in turing the norm into "What If's" Please visit shondabrock.com