Musings with Kelli Evans

by nulliparaora on February 6, 2013

Author, Kelli Evans is here today with the story she saw in this photo.  What story does your muse tell you about this picture?

               Nora Dumay sat there slowly rolling down the middle of the birch lined lane. The trees mocked her, repeating their black and white markings one after the other leading into what appeared, at first, to be a never ending road to nowhere. She knew better. This was not a road to nowhere. It was a road to her past. It was the road to where she used to call home – and somewhere in her heart of hearts part of her still considered it hers.

She wasn’t going home – not even close. Although she knew that’s what he would think – that’s what AJ would hope was going on. She’d hated to give him that false hope but today it was unavoidable. She had bills and employees to pay. To pay them she needed to get paid herself. To get paid she had to deliver this custom wedding band. To deliver the band she needed to get to Ananke Island. To get to the island she needed a boat and that meant she needed AJ.

Pulling up in front of the house they used to share Nora threw her car in park and turned the ignition off.  With one deep breath for luck she climbed out of the car and up the stairs. She skipped the middle step to avoid the groan it would make underfoot.

Then she came face to knocker with the red door. She raised her fist a few times to knock but shied away from it. “There has got to be somebody else.” Nora shook her head and turned around to head back down the steps.

The door creaked open behind her. She cringed and her feet stalled. She couldn’t very well change her mind now. Honestly, she couldn’t afford to change her mind at all. She really didn’t want to do this and if she had any other choice she would surely have taken it – but she didn’t. This was it. He was her only option.

“You always skip the middle step.”

Nora sighed. She hated playing “you always” with him. She didn’t always do anything. To prove her point she turned around and walked back up the steps purposefully stepping on the middle one. But he saw right through that. She could tell by the slight shake of his head and the smirk tugging up the corner of his mouth.

“So what is this, Nora? Is Hell freezing over?”

This was such a bad idea. “Nevermind.” She turned around but stopped this time before she even walked down the steps. This wasn’t just going to burn herself. She was really counting on the sale of this ring and just because she no longer believed in her happily-ever-after didn’t mean that she thought other people didn’t deserve their shot at it.

“I hate it, AJ but I need you.”

He unfolded his arms and all the smirkiness left his face. “Need me, how?”

“I need you to take me to Ananke Island. I wouldn’t ask but I have to get there or I’m not going to be able to get by this month.” And because she knew that AJ was a little bit of a closet romantic she added, “I have to deliver a wedding ring. I’ve asked everyone else with a boat I could think of but no one will take me.”

AJ looked up at the sky, probably trying to gauge how close the severe weather was. Lake Superior was a cold hard bitch and even colder and harder and bitchier during a storm. A graveyard of ships had been laid to rest under her icy waves. Nora did not relish the idea of venturing out on her in potentially dangerous weather but she knew that if she had to, that she would be safer with AJ than anyone else.  He was good – he was the best and even if he wasn’t she knew that he would never let anything happen to her.

“Could have done without telling me I was your last pick.”

“I’m serious, AJ. I could really use you right now. “

He narrowed his eyes in thought and looked her as if he were sizing her up. “What do I get out of this?”

Exasperated beyond belief Nora tipped her head back in vexation. Her long curly brown hair trailed down her back behind her. “I don’t know AJ.” She shook her head and looked at him again. “How about just the satisfaction of helping me do something good?”

He came closer to her and she hated the damn thing but her heart kicked. She couldn’t deny he was sexy. He was, with that short buzzed cut honey brown hair, the ever present shadow lining his square jaw line, and those arms … and those green eyes … and that smile…   There was definitely sparks here and there always had been but sparks, apparently, just weren’t always enough.

“Yeah.” AJ laughed. “I don’t think so.”

“What do you want?” Nora’s breath held because she knew what he wanted and maybe sometimes really late at night when everything was quiet and dark, a small part of her admitted she wanted it too. It was just never going to happen.

“Quit badgering me about the divorce papers.”

“Fine. Done. If you’ll just promise to eventually sign them.”

He smiled at her in that way she knew was meant to placate her. “And you have to let me take you out-“

“That sounds counterproductive.” Nora gave a derisive snort.

“One last time.” The finality in those words and in his tone felt like a sinking stone. It was what she wanted, to be done and over with, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t going to sting a little. It must be a little like removing a Band-Aid. The wound might be healed but it still hurt to rip the bandage off.

“Fine,” Nora reluctantly caved. “How soon can you be ready?”

“I’ll meet you at the docks in twenty minutes.”

“Don’t be late.” She’d said it but so had he, at the exact same time, right over top of each other. He smiled at her but the whole thing unnerved her. “I’ll see you.”

Nora walked back down the steps to the driveway. She closed her eyes tightly when she realized she’d skipped over that middle step again.  She couldn’t help herself she peeked over her shoulder at AJ who was watching her walk away with a wide grin on his face. She rolled her eyes at him before climbing in her car and starting it back up.

AJ watched her pull out, still smiling and shaking his head at her a little. She hated how sometimes he made her feel cornered. Now she was feeling like even though he was the one doing her this favor that she was doing him one too. She felt as if she was exactly where he wanted her – like she’d walked right into his trap.

Her anxious belly pulled tightly as she drove back down the birch lined lane. There was no doubt in her mind that this was going to be one bumpy ride.

_____________________________________

Want more from Kelli?  Check out One Lucky Deal.

Now it’s time for you to join in the fun.  What does this birch-lined street bring to mind for you?

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Nae February 6, 2013 at 12:45 am

Wait! What happens with the ring? AJ?

The pic reminds me of a warm happy day. Walking down the street hand in hand with my partner, having fun.

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Sounds like a good time, Nae. :)

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Tanja/Mokkelke February 6, 2013 at 1:30 am

yay ‘ill mull over this for a bit before adding part 5.

and aaargh this is “all” we get? talk about leaving us hanging … he’s devious and i’m sure he got it all planned out!, liked it a lot.

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hehehe, it’s one heck of a teaser!

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Allie Ritch February 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Way to tease us, Kelli. Now I want to know what happens next. Great post.

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

*nods in agreement*

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WildAboutBones February 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Nulli, I just love this feature on your site.

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thanks so much, WAB! I’m having so much fun watching the creativity.

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Kelli Evans February 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thanks guys! I just wanted to let you know that I have plans to continue this into a full length novel so I’ll have to let you all know when I’ve finished it and when it’ll be finally available :)

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Yay!!

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Tonya February 6, 2013 at 11:35 pm

AJ seems to know exactly what he wants and it isn’t a divorce :)

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Tanja/Mokkelke February 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

here we are with the next part to my mini-story. made it work again! now the next picture may be a challenge for nulli or for me, depending how hard she wants to make it haha. enjoy!

Part 5:

As Thomas made his way home he was deep in thought, trying to figure out how things would go in the future. It seemed that him ending up on her doorstep unconscious had made a difference. After her shouting match and getting the facts straight.

Breakfast had been a friendly affair. The documentation, that now sat in his back pocket, was very complete and she explained in detail the use of each of the devices. It gave him something to think about and decide. He had to admit he’d been putting it off for years and years, being too accustomed in his ways. Time for chance. Jenifer was right with saying he shouldn’t use his set ways as an excuse, he could have died.

Looking around him at the birch trees, he felt calm. He loved living in this rural part of town. He appreciated the alone time it gives, just what he needed at this time. His mind was a mess, it was all over the place. It jumped between the insulin device and how his standing with Jenifer changed because it had changed. Feeling a little bit frustrated he left the beaten road and disappeared between the trees. Loving this secluded road in different times, the solitude it normally provided didn’t do him any good. He wanted to get home, fast, so he opted to take the shortcut straight to his own garden.

Thomas felt a bit restless and wanted a hot shower to wash away the fog in his brain, the ache in his back, Jenifer’s couch may look comfortable. In reality it was a back breaker, he just didn’t have it in him to tell her so. The truce that settled between him being more important to him.

* * * *

Jenifer locked the door once Thomas had left and let out an enormous sigh. She felt glad she steered his dream because if she hadn’t she wouldn’t know what would have happened or how he would have taken it. She’d acted normal and friendly. Helped him with information about the insulin pens, as promised and at the same time trying her best not to get too close to him. The night before as she helped, or rather struggled, to get him inside, unlocked so many feelings, too many.

It had taken her years of carefully hiding her emotions and true nature, trying to respect her heritage. A single touch almost had dissolved all of it. The dream walking had been too tempting, what she found there was a pleasant surprise. His dreams were mirroring her own, only she knew how the shadow in the distance was.

She knew he was meant for her.

She also wanted to respect her beliefs.

That meant waiting until she was mature, though in human years she had been for many years.

The dream wasn’t fully useless because it showed her her moment was almost there. She’d noticed the flakes on her arms and hands, knowing they would cover her whole body. A few more weeks and she’d finally would be able to let him in. It will be a touch and go time because he would have to know all of her, who she was, where she was from, what she was capable of and what choosing her would mean for him and for them both.

Jenifer just felt sad that Thomas thought she had hated him all these years. She simply could not tell him, it wasn’t permitted!

With her back against her front door she sagged to the floor and buried her head between her knees and sobbed. Living as a human was hard, constantly fending off other man, some calling her a prude or even ice queen while she was just the opposite. She hid a deep raging fire, she only needed her other half to show the world what a warm person she really was.

Her sobs lessened and instead she cursed her legacy.

Cussing one last time, she got up, dried her face and decided to check up on Thomas, although he’d never know it was her doing the checking.

She hoped.

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Hmm. I’m going to stick with my idea about what she is. Now, how do they get back together? :)

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Iread/Flora February 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I am really hooked on this story. I almost want to beg for the next part. I, too, am diabetic, so this really hit home for me.

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Elaina/Mazuri February 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

More teases and hints but nothing concrete. Poor Jenifer, having to wait while knowing her mate is *right there* and poor Robert. Will he survive her lusts once she can claim him? lol

Lovely job, look forward to the next installment.

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Elaina/Mazuri February 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

oh for pity’s sake! I even looked at the name to make sure I had it right and still typed “Robert.” I blame the sinus meds. I swear they make me loopy. lol

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Nulli Para Ora February 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

That’s a good question regarding Robert! ahahaha

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Tanja/Mokkelke February 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

it’s the evil twin i have yet to introduce hahahaha

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EvilSnoman February 7, 2013 at 12:21 am

The wood was quiet upon this day
Nary a branch from wind did sway
Yet somber tears were shed

The Birches stood dressed in black and white
Silently standing in the fading light
As the party of four lightly tread

Not a word between them was even said
Emotions raw and eyes red
His ashes ashes lovingly spread

Remember me but when I am dead
I request my ashes instead be spread
Among the Birches so they may be fed

The memories and love which I first had
Beneath their branches which watched from above
The joy of claiming my fist and only love.

So she did did with tears in her eyes
Casting the jar the ashes let fly
Quietly uttering their last good-byes

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Nulli Para Ora February 7, 2013 at 12:25 am

Very good imagery and feeling!

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Eva Lefoy February 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

This is a terrific setup here. I love it! Now write the rest for us…. :)

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Elaina/Mazuri February 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

I almost didn’t do anything with this one as it just didn’t inspire me. Until about 10pm last night when I got up to take more medicine to keep my face from exploding. Sinus headaches suck.

This tiny bit is from the After the Reveal world and comes after the end of There’s a Fine Line. I’m not sure it’ll make much sense to those who haven’t read that particular story and for that, I apologize.

######

Alicia fiddled with the strap of her purse as Blake drove along the narrow, deserted lane. The white trunks of the beech trees lined the road like silent, watchful sentries; their branches spread overhead to create a loose canopy, giving the bumpy road a tunnel-like atmosphere. As memories of the last time she’d seen her mother crowded into her mind, she felt the shiver race down her spine. She could almost feel the encroaching trunks and taunting shadows pressing against her, reminding her of a past that very nearly cost her everything.

“Are you going to be all right, beautiful?”

The soothing voice of her mate washed over her, banishing the hurtful memories and choking feeling. Glancing over, she caught the worry in his dark brown eyes and gave him a weak, but reassuring smile.

“I’ll be okay. I promised Daddy I’d check on her. I didn’t realize it’d dredge up the past quite so vividly.”

He brushed his fingers across her cheek and down her neck, lingering on the healed bite he’d given her just that morning. She shivered again, her smile growing more genuine at his gentle touch. He knew how sensitive she was after he bit her and that the slightest touch produced memories that were definitely inappropriate for a visit to her mother. She shook her head at his smug, unrepentant grin and returned her gaze to the path before them. The trees and shadows no longer intimidated her. Nothing could hurt her as long as her vampire was by her side.

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Nulli Para Ora February 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

They seem like such a sweet couple. :)

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Tanja/Mokkelke February 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

loved this, i like the path you take with these musing and fill in a bit more about that world and those characters. makes me feel they’re still around.
i just adore these two.

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Misty February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm

i haven’t read any of the other stories for this Musing yet, I had to rush to see Blake and Alicia. This was great only, I hope you continue! I want to know what mommy has to say about the way her and Alicia where treated. And Alicia really needs to forgive her mother. I see a whole new story here….hehe-he.

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Iread/Flora February 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

This picture was a bit of a challenge. But I did my best. I hope you all like it.

“Jae, come for a walk with me. I have something that I need to ask you” Tristin told his best friend.

Jae’s heart stopped. She hoped that maybe, just maybe he realized the truth and that all of the other women were wrong for him. The one he needed was standing here all along.

Not wanting to seem anxious, Jae replied. “In a minute, I need to call Eric.”

“OK, I’ll wait.” Tristin answered, thinking. “I don’t see why she talks to Eric, He’s a fool. My best friend deserves better than a no good two timing snake like him. I’m going to tell her how I feel.”

“You ready?” Jae asked, her heart pounding in excitement.

“Yeah, let’s bounce.” Tristin answered and they started there walk down the secluded country lane. Tristin and Jae were both form the city, and had only moved to the quaint little town a year ago. However, they both loved the quiet serene the town offered and would often take advantage of it’s beautiful surroundings.

As they started their stroll, both of them were silent. Jae, was anxiously waiting for Tristin to share his news. Tristin was afraid to tell his best friend he’d met the woman of his dreams.

“Jae, I met her. The woman I will marry someday.” He announced smiling. She is the most wonderful woman; beautiful, smart, loving…”

Jae looked away thinking “Who? What? I can’t lose him, again. Last time with Rowena, and now some new woman, I have to tell him how I feel. Even if he doesn’t…”

“Wait, Tristin. I didn’t know you were dating someone new. When? Where? Do I know her?” Jae asked, confused and despondent.
Tristin stopped walking and turned to look at his best friend. He smiled, and it seemed to Jae that the nature smiled with him for he was so handsome.

“Yes, you know her. There’s only a few people in this town and you know everybody.” He teased.

Jae tensed, she walked over to the side of the trails to look at a small family of squirrels that were frolicking and playing. These relationships didn’t last, and he’s come around eventually. She just had to wait it out.

Suddenly, Tristin asked her something that surprised her, “Why are you dating Eric? He’s no good.”

Jae turned an angry set of eyes on her friend. He dated anything that moved, and now he’s telling her he’s ready to commit to another woman. How dare he ask her about her annoying jerk of a soon-to-be ex-boyfriend?

“Eric is not your concern, Tristin. I don’t talk about the women you date, and I’d appreciate it if you leave Eric-“ He kissed her. He had to stop her from talking about him. What surprised him was the fact that she kissed him back.

Pulling away, Tristin whispered, “Jae, it’s you. It’s always been you.”
Jae gasped, as she realized her fantasy and dreams had finally come true. Then she smiled a beatific smile at the one man she truly cared about.

And the two embraced, holding each other tightly for a span of time standing in the center of a secluded country lane.

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Nulli Para Ora February 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

Aww! I was ready for her to read him the riot act there. hehehe :)

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Flora/Iread February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thanks Nulli.

These musings are really helping me. I truly appreciate you for allowing me to spread my wings.:)

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Nulli Para Ora February 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

It’s so nice to read this! I’m so glad you decided to participate. :)

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Don Livingston February 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Sorry for the late post. I had issues.

The black Mercedes came to a violent stop as the tires skidded on the soft gravel. The driver clutched the steering wheel in a death grip as the anger and sorrow reached its crescent. The week gone by was filled with first self-pity, then grew to anger, and now a desperate search for release. How could so many feelings course through the human body in such short time he wondered? Then it hit him like a speeding locomotive on a one-way trip to loneliness.

“How could I let this happen?”Peter began pounding his fist on the fragile wheel, as he tried urgently to dispel the pain in his heart.

He turned his vision towards the long line of birch trees, and his eyes quickly filled with tears of remorse. He knew he had to do this long walk, if only for one last time to finally let her go. With a trembling hand, he opened the steel door and stood at the spot they first began their journey together.

He lifted his face up and looked towards the heavens. His chiseled features shook as he stared at the passing billowy clouds. He closed his tear-dampened eyes and tried desperately to not see her face. As she appeared in his vision, the moisture seeped through his tightly closed eyes.

“Oh to hell with it all! If I have to do this one more time to forget her then so be it! Where are you when I need you? I thought you were supposed to help us in the time of need.”

Peter slowly walked down the lane as he looked at every tree, each branch, trying to place her smile and voice as the two lovers walked hand in hand down the romantic lane. With every thought and memory, his sorrow grew.

“I know what I’ll do, every time I see a birch tree, I’ll think of this fucking pain. I’ll think back on why not to love anymore, to not care, to be just as cold as everyone else. Why let people in when it hurts this bad?”

Peter continued to walk slowly down his forced therapy. “One final time and then I quit. I will never love again. Don’t trust anyone Peter; it’s just not worth the pain.”

He quickly stopped and saw a special tree, just one special tree. As he moved towards it, the tears flowed down his face as if a dam had broken. The hurt and sorrow filled him like a river flowing over its banks. He slowly reached up and ran his callused hand over the craving in the bark.

The small heart remained, along with the initials of two lovers who said they would never leave each other’s side. The pain was too much to bear and Peter fell to his knees in regret. As he cupped his face, the tears filled his palms. Even though the pain was too great, he knew he had to continue, he had to complete the task at hand.
He masculine face was now soaked with the tears of remorse, as he slowly stood and continued on the painful journey.

Peter was so focused on the agony that raged through him; he passed by the equally pained woman sitting against one of the old Birch trees. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that one person who could fill her heart with joy, peace, and above all else, love.

“What are you doing here? I thought you said you never wanted to see this lane again.”

Peter turned and took a defensive stance. As he saw the fragile woman with a tear stained face, he relaxed and glared at her. “You said the same thing Beth. Pointing fingers again are we?”

“No, I’m just sitting here thinking of the life I had. A life of love and caring. One with a man I thought was my best friend.”

“I was all that, and more. You’re the one who started this with all the arguments.”

“I don’t want to fight anymore Peter. I just…”

“Just what? See there you go again, making me try to figure out what you’re thinking.”

Beth stood quickly and moved to within arm’s reach of her soul mate. She knew they shouldn’t fight here, not in the most scared of spots. She wondered how to tell him, how to convince him that she too was in pain? As she turned to walk away from the argument, he grabbed her arm.

“Wait.”

“Please don’t Peter, I’m tired of fighting.”

He released her arm and gazed at the women who stole his heart. “I just need to know why you came here.”

“I guess the same reason you did, to have one last memory. You probably didn’t see our tree down there.”

“I did Beth, and it hurt. I’ve never felt this much pain in my life.”
Beth turned slowly and looked at him with bewilderment. How could he feel such pain and never show it? Was he that hardened that he couldn’t show his softer side?

“I don’t know what to do any more Beth. I’m – I’m lost and I have no direction.”

“Maybe this was fate that we ended up here together. Each of us searching for answers at where it all began.”

“I really – like – you Beth.”

“I know Peter, and I really love you. I guess that’s what makes us the same, along with being different.”

Beth turned and began the walk down the romantic lane, as she fought to control the tears from coming out. The one man who she wanted to give her heart, life, and soul to stood behind her and watched. She finally realized that he couldn’t say it, he couldn’t bring himself to make that last leap of faith.

Tears flowed from Peter’s eyes and the emotion took control of his heart. The precious gift he wanted desperately to give to someone, but the fear kept him from it. He knew she was crying, he could tell by the way she held her low and raised her hand to her face. As he closed his eyes, he gave a silent pray for hope.

“Beth. I love you.”

Peter watched as her steps slowed. She stood alone along the long line of Birch trees with her back towards him. For what seemed like eternity to Peter, she stood there, her deep blue eyes staring forward. With the grace of an angel, she slowly turned and faced him.

“You’re just saying that.”

Peter dropped to his knees as the dam burst and his emotions flowed quickly from his eyes. He so longed to say the words, but kept them hidden for fear of what happened just days before. As he looked up with his misty vision, his strained voice spoke the one thing she so longed to hear.

“I love you Beth. You’re my soul mate and I can’t survive without you.” He received his answer as he saw her sprinting towards him.

Maybe he really does know what he’s doing. As my friend Jaz would put it, I’m just sayin.

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Nulli Para Ora February 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

That stubborn, stubborn man! :)

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Don Livingston February 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm

My dearest Nulli, some of us have to go through hell to find heaven.

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Nulli Para Ora February 11, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Point taken. *hugs*

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Iread/Flora February 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Don, this was beautiful. You nailed it. Wow! I want, no. need the whole story.

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