I was going to make you all wait till Monday, but I figured you have all been good enough for a Saturday treat.

This is part six of an eight part series. If you are just joining, it's best to start at the beginning.

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"Day Three, the Early Morning

It's not often that I sleep without dreams...

Several days might go by before I might remember the details of a certain one, but even then; there would always be that ever present sense, just on awakening, that I had been somewhere else.

The sleep lifted like a light fog, and I felt J in front of me, my right arm under what was usually my pillow with her head resting on it, and my left hand cupping her exposed shoulder.

We were both in that cocoon of warmth upon waking, that small window of time between deep sleep, and sudden responsibility when you wished the clocks would all just stop.

I ran my fingers lightly down the inside of her bare arm in a playful way, knowing that she couldn't stand to be tickled, awake or asleep, but this time instead of jerking away reflexively with the "that's irritating" comment of the morning, she murmured something softly and pressed herself closer to me. I smiled to myself and determined she was having a good dream, something that overcame her ticklishness.

She reached up with her right hand and placed it over mine. I laughed quietly in victory, knowing she had conceded to fight the urge to laugh and was trying to stop me from continuing.

A morning *sigh* and I blinked my eyes to cast off the final veils of sleep...

On the pinky of her hand was a small silver ring that looked like some kind of snake or serpent...

With a start I lurched up out of bed, pushing her away.

"Wh-what?"

J rolled over quickly, her hair across her forehead and obviously startled.

"What are you doing?"

I sat up in bed, almost wishing to feel under my pillow for the script that this whole episode was unfolding to.

"Nothing, it was a screwed up dream..."

She curled up again and pulled the comforter up to her face. Her nose was cold as usual. I looked across the room at the dresser. "Mists of Avalon" was there where I had left it the night before.

I looked up at the ceiling fan, and it was still, the nightly timer had run its course.

"Are you going to ride your motorcycle to work today?", her eyes were open wide now, and taking me in.

"I think so... Its cold, but I don't think its going to rain until this weekend"

She sighed heavily,"...rain"

I got out of bed and showered quickly... while I was in the closet and picking out clothes of the day I looked over at her thru the door. She was asleep again, I could see her chest slowly rising and falling...

"get it together...", I said softly to myself

I carefully folded my work clothes and placed them in my backpack and then gathered my riding gear up and began to put it all on.

J would always blame the fact that I got dressed in exactly the same way, everyday to the fact that I was a Virgo. Never taking much stock in the astrological, I accepted her explanation without the lengthy discourse that she also said Virgos were known for.

A quick trip to the kitchen to clean the visor of my helmet and after placing all the "accessories" on the kitchen counter I went back upstairs to say goodbye.

"I have to go... kiss", I said leaning over her...

Her eyes were closed and she craned her neck up as I kissed her.

As I straightened up to turn and leave she said,

"another one"

We kissed again, longer this time and as I drew away slowly, I saw that her eyes were wide open.

"Be careful, ok?"

"I will"

I picked up some loose change off the dresser and put it in my pocket as I again headed for the door...

Just as I crossed the threshold J spoke again, her voice sounded sad, "Why did you say 'get it together'? "

I turned around, wanting her to see my face as I spoke, "I was thinking of you" It was probably the most honest thing I had said in years.

"Ok..."

Day Three, the Afternoon

My office chair felt oddly off kilter in some way, and I made some furtive rocking motions to see if there was some fault in the mounts.

It had been some hours now since I shut the door in Amy's face, and my mind drifted over the possibilities of how she might have taken that...

No one had bothered me the entire morning and into now, the early afternoon. I was able to get some things work related out of the way, but found myself spending an incredible amount of time thinking about J, about things we used to do when we first met. I even wrote down some quick notes as reinforcements of the notion that I remembered in great detail.

The phone rang several times during the day, but I used the end of my pen as a sort of high-tech "whack-a-mole" game, snubbing the buzzing light whenever it appeared.

The afternoon sun was pouring thru the windows now and the warmth felt comforting.

I got up and moved over to the small whiteboard on the wall and grabbed the eraser. There were some week old scribbling still left that needed to be forgotten.

A knock on the door...

"Yes?"

"Nora", came the muffled reply

"Come on in"

The door swung open and she walked straight in... Looking first over at my desk in confusion before realizing I was almost behind her. She seemed startled by the positioning. I mused that she might have expected to see me with a baseball bat in hand.

"I.. You have to look at these..."

She held out a sheet of paper at arm's length and I took it. They were cost numbers for new equipment and my eye's quickly searched for the elusive "bottom line" as I continued to erase the white board with my other hand.

"This looks good", I commented after a few seconds.

"We have to update the intranet so that SF can see the numbers too, I'll give that to Bill"

I tried to fathom if she really did sound nervous, or if it was my own perception, willing me to hear her that way.

"I have a couple of other pieces of hardware we have to order too, but I wrote them down on a sticky it's my only copy"

I picked up a dry erase pen from the tray and waited for her to list off the items. One by one she read off brands, models, and part numbers, and I wrote them down in turn...

With each line her voice became more faint... until I suddenly became aware she was repeating my name...

I didn't respond and instead wrote three small letters on the board, put the cap on the pen, and walked over to the far window. I looked out over the lot and saw my Ninja, a green beacon in a sea of drab colors.


w h y


From behind I heard her walk back over to the door, followed by the sound of it closing.

I turned around to sit back down at my desk and found she was still standing there, her hand on the doorknob.

"This is going to be hard so bear with me ok?"

I didn't respond but instead sat down in one of the corner chairs as she walked over to the window, apparently, and to my mind at the time, gratifyingly agitated.

"You probably think I'm a meddling idiot"

"Worse"

.
.
.

"Was it bad?"

"Worse"

She moved over to my desk and leaned against it still not facing me.

"I've known you both for a long time, and I've always thought you were perfect together, you know that, right?", Her voice became slightly more confident.

"Do you know what people in the office say about you? What kind of person they all think you are?"

"What does this have to do with you calling my wife with lies?"

It almost appeared as though my words suddenly caused her to lurch slightly in pain... This was the first time since we had met that we had serious words about anything... It felt as unnatural and uncomfortable to me as I was certainly hoping it felt to her.

"Did she pull on her hair?"

The comment stunned me for moment, in one flash it made no sense, and complete sense..

"What?"

"She does that when she's really upset, I've seen it more times then you probably have"

"What-in-the-hell-are-you-talking-about-Nora?"

"Did you know that when the two of you go to a party somewhere, or to dinner, she can walk in with you and pick out in about 3 seconds which women you'll eventually be spending the rest of the evening talking to?"

I felt the tug of a reversal of fortunes, but knew that I still had the cold reality of marital faithfulness on my side.

"And she tells you these things?"

"Yes"

"WHEN?!"

"When she and I go out to dinner, or sometimes she gets home late from meeting a 'client' where do you think she is? She loves you you know, and you're killing her...", She turned now to look at me, moving to lean against now, the front of my desk.

I searched for a response, still trying to take in what she was trying to say, for it was obvious that she believed it wholeheartedly,

"Look, whether or not she comes and vents to you now and then is perfectly normal, all women do that! She goes out with men for work all the time for Christ' sake! Its dinner after meeting after dinner! I don't go crying to some friend about it? I trust her, that's it!"

'She calls you that she's going out with a male client, right?"

"Of course she does, she ALWAYS does..."

I was going to add the suffix "...that's what trust is", but there was a twinge of knowledge that poked momentarily over the horizon of raw truth. For a moment I looked straight at it, but then it disappeared from view, leaving behind a stabbing guilt. I was missing something...

"And you never go to meet her, and you never show any jealousy, ever... no matter how things look, no matter how late she comes home, why do you think its so easy for she and I to talk so often? How do you think I know so much?"

She threw the yellow sticky pad she had been holding down on my desk with a *thwack*... I stared at it for a moment as she got up and moved back over to the window.

"She doesn't have to know about Amy, or any woman you flirt with here at the office, she sees it herself everywhere else the two of you go, on the street, at parties, everywhere"

Nora walked slowly over to where I was sitting and leaned down next to me... I was still fixating on the yellow pad where she had thrown it down like some stylized office version of a gauntlet.

"She feels like a fool all the time... and worse, She feels like a fool that no one wants"

"I'm good to her Nora"

"You are, you're very good to her, but she needs more, you have to figure out if that's something you can do.", Her voice became urgent,

"I've known you for a long time, I know what kind of person you are, but you push things right to the limit all the time, you might as well be sleeping with all of them as far as J is concerned."

She put her arm on my shoulder, which she had never done before; Hugs, friend kisses, but this felt stronger.

I didn't have any reply except to remember what I thought was a rare event the evening before, "You should have seen her last night, I thought she was going to lose her voice"

"I _have_ seen it, many times... I didn't call her yesterday to 'snitch' on you and Amy, I called to tell her that she HAD to say something soon... for her own sake, I love her too you know"

I leaned back in the chair. Secretly craving one of J's cosmopolitans... Maybe three.

Nora walked back over to the desk and picked up her things.

"Maybe you should leave early today"

"Yes"

She walked quietly to the door, and held it open for the sake of prying eyes, pausing to write something down with the appearance that important work related matters were taken care of.

"I'm not the 'villain' in all this Nora..."


"Yes, you are..."

Feanor"

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The time line is off, and people are noticing

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"I just wanted everyone to know that I've read every one of the replies and am so appreciative of the advice and concerns...

The accounts are not written in a precise order start to end, I found it difficult to do that as certain things were either too difficult to write down, or had to be "put off" until I had the ability and calmness TO write them down...

I realize now how disjointed they seem and how confusing... I apologize for that...

I'll try and go back and see if I can make any sense for you by adding some kind of time notation by editing the original posts... I hope that helps it all make more sense. I not thinking to clearly on it, more on that later, J is not doing well...

Have to go..

Thanks again for all your words...

Feanor"

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I told you this was gunna be good.

Part Seven.