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Authors: Aris Whittier

Foolish Notions

BOOK: Foolish Notions
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Foolish Notions


Aris Whittier

Copyright © 2010 by Aris Whittier

Published by Five Star



Other Books by Aris Whittier

Fatal Embrace


Across Eternity

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty



About the

Chapter One

“You can’t be serious mom,”
James Taylor said as he absentmindedly unbuttoned his double-breasted
suit with his thumb and forefinger. His hand then moved to his neck
and loosened the khaki silk tie that felt like it was slowly
constricting around his throat, strangling him. Silently, he stared
at the floor and reluctantly let the words sink in.

Marie sucked in a deep breath and shot
her son a pleading look. “I’m afraid I am.”

“Mom.” He looked at her for
a few seconds. “You know I’ll do anything for you—”

“But not this,” Marie said

“We’ll find another way.”

“But this is the best way. We can
make it work.”

James paced at the foot of the bed as
he ran a hand over the day’s worth of stubble on his chin and
pondered over the recommendation again. He knew without a doubt that
the suggestion was not only illogical but also impossible. “I’m
sorry, but it’s not an option.”

“Why?” Marie’s tone
was soft.

“Because.” He answered
tiredly. He had left for New York at the break of dawn, spent four
hours in a meeting that should have taken two, and then the company
jet had been grounded for an hour because of mechanical difficulty.
He hadn’t slept on the flight home because he found he was more
productive when alone in the jet. Now, he was thinking that he
should’ve just slept. Maybe all this wouldn’t seem so
unbelievable if he had. The relief, which had consumed him when he
touched down in Los Angeles, had been short-lived. If he’d
known about the bombshell his mom was going to drop on him when he
got home, he might have never stepped foot off the plane.

“What kind of answer is

His mom’s words drew James back
from his wandering thoughts. “It’s the kind of answer
that’s given when something isn’t possible.”

“Anything is possible, Son,”
Marie said logically. “You of all people know that.”

He shook his head. “Not this.”

To avoid the disappointment in her
eyes, he glanced around the room, which had been redecorated several
weeks ago when she had moved in. The curtains were antique lace with
a swirling rose pattern throughout. He had known she would love them
the moment he’d laid eyes on them. They allowed the warm
sunshine and the soft breeze drifting off the ocean to pass through
the delicate weave with ease. The carpet was cream-colored and so
plush it felt like you were walking on air. He had only the best

The adjoining bathroom had been
refitted for her needs. He had also had a television and small
refrigerator, stocked with her favorite juices and water, put in.
He’d tried to make it like a small apartment or, at the very
least, a dorm. He wanted everything to be convenient for her.

Some people collected teddy bears or
small figurines, but his mom’s passion was roses. It didn’t
matter if they were living or not. She surrounded herself with their
beauty. Not wanting his mom to lose the delight she derived from the
roses when she moved in, James had the decorator hang massive
pictures of roses and gardens on every wall. He had also made sure
that she had fresh flowers in her room daily. It was the least he
could do for her. He had done everything but physically force her to
move in with him.

“It is possible, James,”
Marie insisted, lifting her hands in frustration.

He looked at his mom, who sat against
the headboard, supported by several pillows as she spoke. “I’ve
tried to do everything to accommodate you, but this can’t be

She tried to reach for him as he walked
back and forth. “You’ve been wonderful. Please, don’t
get me wrong, I—”

“We’ll find another nurse
to take care of you.”

“We’ve already interviewed
a dozen nurses.”

“It’s been more than a
dozen,” he mumbled under his breath.

“I’m running out of time,
James. In just one more week—”

“I know what happens in just one
more week,” he snapped, as he stopped suddenly.

James turned to his mother. It didn’t
matter how many days or weeks passed; every time he thought about or
heard someone say his mom had cancer he wanted to vomit.

Abruptly, he bowed his head in shame.
How could he have snapped at her like that? The strain of constantly
worrying about her health was creating an uncontrollable nervous
tension within him. Combine that with the fact that over the last
week he hadn’t slept more than a few hours each night. And now
his mom was asking for the impossible. No wonder he was stressed.
Actually, stressed was an understatement. He was ready to erupt. “I
think you’re being a little hard on them. Not all of them could
be as bad as you say.”

“They’re not bad, they’re
just not right.” Marie tugged at the pillow behind her. “Don’t
you want me to have the best care possible?”

“Of course I do. What kind of
question is that?” He took a seat next to her. “I love
you. I want what’s best for you.”

“Then hire Samantha; she’s
what’s best for me.”

James allowed his head to sink into his
hands. He was fighting a losing battle. He didn’t want to
fight. Not now, not with what they were going through, and not with
what they were about to go through in a few days. He raised his head
and looked at his mom. She looked tired and weak. Her hair was a
limp, lifeless white. New, small lines seemed to etch their way
across her face at remarkable speed. Her lovely brown eyes had lost
their sparkle, which had been present for as long as he could
remember. The toll the cancer was taking on her body was painfully

When he reached for her hand and took
it in his, he realized that it was cold and much too thin. Why
couldn’t he just scoop her into his arms and make everything
better? He was used to making things better; that’s what he
did. If there was a problem, he solved it. If he couldn’t solve
it, he went around it. If it couldn’t be avoided, he
manipulated it until it went his way. But not this. No amount of
solving or manipulating was going to fix this.

He felt her softly squeeze his fingers
and he smiled tenderly before he spoke. “My secretary faxed me
over another list of nurses this morning. I went over it and there
are a few that we haven’t interviewed yet. I’ll give them
a call and set up some interviews for tomorrow.”

Marie nodded. “What about work? I
know you’re busy. Did you get everything taken care of in New

Busy didn’t even being to
describe what he was up against. Weeks of work had piled up. He was
so behind that it didn’t matter now. “Yes, most if it is
taken care of. I won’t have to go back to New York for a
while.” He was supposed to fly to Seattle tomorrow but he would
send someone else. “I’ll take the day off.”

“Are you sure?” she asked

“Of course.” He kissed the
backside of her hand and then held it against his cheek briefly
before he stood. “I’m going to make the calls.” He
reached for the door and turned back and looked at her. “You
get some rest. I’ll check in on you in a bit.”



“If they don’t work out,
can we call Samantha?”

He remained silent for a moment as he
stared at the floor. Finally he looked up. “We’ll talk
about it, if or when that time comes.”

“I’m not trying to make
this hard on you.”

“I know you’re not.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom.” He
closed the door quietly.

James didn’t go straight to his
office—instead he went down the long hall to his bedroom. He
changed from his suit into cotton socks, sweatpants, and a T-shirt.
It felt good to get out of his work clothes.

He moved to the window across from his
bed and stared at the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. He felt the
tension between his shoulders slack and his clenched jaw relaxed. The
calming sensation that was generated by the vast body of water moved
to his stomach muscles and swept throughout the rest of him. He
hadn’t realized how tense he had been or how uptight he’d
gotten until now.

The window opened with a gentle slide
and he was greeted with a light, salty breeze. He leaned against the
window frame, and thought about what his mom had suggested. She
wanted his ex-girlfriend to move in with them and take care of her
when she was going through her treatment. Boy, he hadn’t seen
that one coming.

“Samantha.” He hadn’t
spoken her name in over a year. Her beautiful face appeared before
him, her hair swirling in the waves, her eyes glistening in the
whitecaps. The echoing of her name penetrated his ears as each wave
crashed against the beach, and slowly drifted out again. It was as if
the foamy surf spoke her name, calling her, pleading for her to come

The suede-colored sand, which stretched
on for miles, reminded him of her skin. The crisp blue of the sky was
reminiscent of her eyes. And the air, which smelled like a tropical
paradise, was the scent of her body. It had taken him a long time not
to see her in everything that was beautiful, in everything that meant
something to him. He drew in a long breath, breathing her in.

He had met Samantha at a bar three
years ago. She was out celebrating, with some classmates, their
recent graduation from nursing school. He was celebrating his new
position at Parker & Wells with some colleagues, when he saw her
come through the door. She was breathtaking. He had never been so
struck by a woman before. He couldn’t decide what he liked best
about her as he watched her move across the room. Could it be her
brilliant smile, the way she tossed her head when she spoke, her
laugh that rang throughout the room, or the lazy way she drank her
beer? He didn’t know if it was one or a combination of all
these things, but she was mesmerizing. A solid elbow to his ribs from
his friend Rick drew him out of his trance.

“Are you going to drool all over
yourself or are you going to talk to her?”

James took a swig of his beer and
shrugged his shoulders as if it didn’t matter.

“I saw the way you were looking
at her. I think you’re in love.” Rick puckered his lips
and blew a few kisses in the air as he gave Ed a high five.

“Come on, I wasn’t looking
at her. Besides she looks young enough to be my daughter.”

Ed laughed. “What’s wrong
with that?”

James glanced back at the young woman
who had captured his attention so completely. She was sitting in a
booth directly across the room from him. She was intently listening
to a member of her party speak. He watched her nod, smile, and then
affectionately reach for the other woman’s hand. She then
stretched across the table to give a sentimental hug before they all
started laughing again. James made a mental note that she was a
touchy-feely type, before Rick’s words drew him back to the

“What’s the matter, is our
new CEO shy? What happened to the tough son-of-a-bitch that bullied
his way to the top?”

He looked back across the smoke-filled
bar. Why couldn’t he keep his eyes off her? Beautiful women
were a dime a dozen, so he knew it wasn’t just her beauty.
Although she was exceptional, he admitted. It was something else he
couldn’t put his finger on. But there was definitely something
different about her.

He watched intently, as the nameless
beauty sat with her arms crossed in front of her. Her long blond hair
was tucked behind her ears as not to obscure her golden complexion.
Her face was nude of makeup, or at least that was how it appeared.

He watched as she lifted the long-neck
beer bottle to her sun-kissed peach lips.

Ed leaned over. “If you’re
not going to go over there and talk to her, I’m gonna.”
He smiled wickedly. “As it stands right now she’s fair

BOOK: Foolish Notions
13.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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