Loving Night: Dream Catcher Series ~ Book 2 (15 page)

BOOK: Loving Night: Dream Catcher Series ~ Book 2
10.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Chaz looked at his wife. “There are too many
things you don’t need to know.” He pushed away the thought that Steve McDaniels
wanted his wife to do exactly what she was talking about: use her gift on

I have no control over what comes to me.”

hand scrubbed across his face before scratching his head. “You know that means
I have no way to protect you, right? Before, you only got scared if I was in
danger; that’s why I changed jobs. Are you telling me that now I can’t even do
my desk job? I can’t even analyze data? I need to work on cases that stress me
out without worrying that you’ll be afraid.”

won’t be.”

He scoffed. “I’m investigating something right now that could tell me whether
or not a criminal is moving to Cincinnati, and your gift won’t even let me keep
that to myself until I determine whether this rumor might affect us.  Karen is
picking up on you because you’re worried about something that might not even
exist! You’re already anxious!” He stood and started pacing in front of the
bed. “This is NOT a good thing!”

that moment, Chaz had never raised his voice at Stephanie. She blinked back
tears of helplessness: he was frustrated and there wasn’t anything she could
say to change that. Chaz was right; this was totally unfair to him.

opened his mouth to say something but changed his mind. Instead, he stopped
pacing and left the room.

are you there?”


just happened?”

only time Chaz gets this upset is when he’s afraid that he can’t protect me.”
She sighed. “Whatever he’s working on, it’s serious.”

that’s what you didn’t realize you were sensing until I called.”

women were quiet for a long time.

don’t know what this means, Karen. The new dimensions to my abilities seemed
exciting and interesting. Now, I’m not sure that I want things to change.” She
wiped away a tear that managed to escape and took a deep breath. “Can you
imagine how he feels?”

sweetie, I can’t.” She let out a frustrated sigh. “This sucks.”

I’d better go find him.”

I’m really sorry, Stephanie.”


sat on the edge of the bed for another ten minutes. No matter how many
possibilities she came up with, there was no way to keep her gift from
encroaching into Chaz’s right to have a choice in what he shared. Their
relationship had already taken him off of a career path that he’d loved and
been very good at. Wasn’t it enough that he had stopped working undercover—for
her? What else was he going to have to give up?

wasn’t in any of the rooms upstairs. He wasn’t in the family room, or
livingroom, or dining room, or kitchen. Even though it was cold outside, he was
sitting on the wide railing of the deck that ran along the entire back of the
house with a drink in his hand and his legs dangling over the ledge. He didn’t
turn around when he heard her open the sliding door. Stephanie walked outside,
wrapped her arms around his waist, and laid her head against his back.
Normally, he would have at least laid a hand on top of hers. Not tonight.

should go back inside.” He spoke softly, but Stephanie could hear the anger.

shut me out. We’re a team, remember?” No answer. She felt him move slightly when
he lifted the tumbler of liquor to his lips. “I’m trying, Chaz. I can be
stronger. You won’t have to worry about my reactions to whatever I see.” Still
no answer. “That’s the best I can do.” When he still wouldn’t talk to her, she
couldn’t keep the tears from sliding down her cheeks.

please don’t cry,” he said with a heavy breath. “Go inside before you get
chilled. I need a few more minutes alone. I’ll be in soon.”


please go inside.” The impatience in his voice was clear.

she released her hold on him and did as he said. But, he didn’t come in after a
few minutes. As she was removing her clothes so that she could take a shower,
she heard the garage door go up and her husband’s SUV backing down the driveway
and heading away from the house. Their house. Their home. Where they were
supposed to be partners. After she bathed, she pulled on one of his FBI
t-shirts and climbed into bed.

be back soon,” she said out loud to reassure herself. The last time that she
looked at the clock before she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, it was
almost 1:00 a.m.

1:47, Chaz took off his clothes and slid beneath the covers. He didn’t wrap his
arms around his wife, didn’t kiss the back of her neck, didn’t even turn his
body in her direction. She had felt the bed shift and woken up. Even though
she’d been tempted to turn over, he’d have to come to her—not because she was
making any kind of statement. He’d have to not be mad anymore. When he stayed
on his side of the bed, tears rolled down her face and sank into the pillow.
He’d never ignored her like this.


had never been scared that her gift would drive him away, until then.

tears fell.






was awake long before the alarm went off the next morning. He moved carefully
so that he wouldn’t wake Stephanie when he got out of bed, selected a suit for
work, selected sweat pants and a t-shirt so that he could go to the gym before
going to the office, and went to take a shower in the bathroom down the hall.
He knew he was being unreasonable; it wasn’t her fault that her gift was
turning into something new. Transitioning. Getting deeper. Whatever. Still, he
was angry. Since he didn’t want to take that anger out on her, he decided to go
to work early. Maybe he’d be able to talk things out with her that evening.

knew that she was alone the second her eyes opened. She could feel the
emptiness of the house. And she couldn’t feel her husband: couldn’t sense his
emotions, not even the anger that he obviously had toward her.

got dressed, had a piece of toast with marmalade and a cup of decaf coffee for
breakfast, and went to work. There was nothing else she could do.

11:00, Cherise walked into Stephanie’s office and closed the door. She settled
into one of the chairs in front of the desk and studied her employee’s face.

to you, Derrick and I are trying to revive our romantic relationship. Now, I
know your personal life is none of my business; but since you overstepped and
helped me reconnect with the man I love, I’m going to return the favor.” She
paused briefly to see whether Stephanie would jump into the silence. She

haven’t worked here very long, but your positive personality has never wavered.
Not once. Not even when the pregnancy makes you tired and nauseous.” She smirked
to stop whatever Stephanie intended to say. “Yes, I know you’re pregnant. The
point is that I’ve never seen you upset like this, and I’m guessing that you
look miserable because of your husband.” Stephanie nodded because she was too
choked up to talk.

Derrick and I forgot that we love each other and that nothing else should have
been more important. We each thought we had the answers to how life should go,
but we didn’t. We could have gotten through anything if we’d just realized that
neither one of us had to be in charge, that both people have to protect what they
have.” She stood and straightened her suit.

the rest of the day off. Go home. Make a nice dinner and figure out how you’re
going to fix this.”

makes you think our problem is my fault?”

if it was his, you’d be angry—not scared.”

thought about that for only a split second before she nodded. This situation
wasn’t exactly her fault, but she was the only one who could come up with a
solution. She, in reality, was the one who needed to fix this.

thought hard as she gathered her personal items, drove to the grocery store,
figured out what would be a romantic dinner, and drove home. When she got
there, she was surprised to see Chaz’s SUV in the garage. Would he want to see
her? Would he be willing to listen to the solution she’d come up with? Or would
he still be too angry to even be in the same room with her?

sighed and reminded herself that her husband loved her. He couldn’t live
without her any more than she could live without him. He couldn’t stay angry
forever. At some point, he’d have to listen to what she had to say. She shook
her head. This was so unlike their relationship: the tension, avoidance, lack
of communication. She knew what to do. Now, she needed him to give her time to
do it.

smells from the kitchen hit her as soon as she opened to door from the garage
to the house. Spaghetti sauce? Chaz was at the counter chopping zucchini. He
looked up when his wife entered the room. Without saying a word, he took the
recyclable grocery bags from her and set them on the floor in front of the


say anything.” He stood in front of her and reached for her hands. “I was a jerk,
and a selfish ass, and an immature idiot. I knew that what I was doing was
hurting you, but I didn’t stop myself because … well, because all I wanted to
do was wallow in self-pity. I’m sorry; from the bottom of my heart, I’m very,
very sorry. So, if you will forgive me, I promise that this—me pushing you
away—won’t ever happen again.” When she didn’t immediately respond, he said,
“I’m making lasagna as a peace offering.”

pulled his hands so that she could wrap his arms around her back as she stepped
closer. Her eyes locked onto his.

no way for me to not forgive you, Chaz. There’s never going to be a time where
I’ll allow us to be broken. Never. It doesn’t matter what the problem is or who
has to fix it. Right here, in your arms, is where I belong. And you belong
right here in my arms. So, yes I accept your apology, and after you kiss me and
fix me a glass of wine, I’ll tell you how we can make this problem go away.”

took another step toward him until their bodies were touching before she
wrapped her arms around his neck and tilted her face up to accept a kiss.

lips captured hers in a tender exchange full of everything that needed to be
said between them. His arms crushed her tightly against him with the
possessiveness he always directed toward her. She was his. And he was hers.

hmm?” She could barely breathe after that kiss and also because Chaz didn’t let
up on showering her with affection. His mouth traveled down her neck and onto
her shoulder, biting her gently through the fabric of her dress. “I guess we
can have orange chicken and homemade egg rolls tomorrow.” Chaz leaned back and
looked at her.

were going to make my favorite meal?”


you weren’t the one acting like an ass last night.”

told you, I’ll never allow us to be broken. If feeding you meant you would talk
to me—or at least listen to what I need to say—does it matter who did what?”

hands moved to frame her face. Love and awe shone through his apologetic eyes.

did I get this lucky? You are more amazing than I even know how to find words
for.” He rested his forehead against hers. “I love you.”

love you, too.” She kissed him lightly before pushing him away. “Don’t get
distracted. You’re only about halfway through making that sauce.” The smile she
gave was one of relief and understanding. It only lasted a minute, though,
before it was devoured by his mouth. “I’m not joking,” she said with a laugh
when he finally allowed her to pull away. “That lasagna is going to take at
least another two hours. Get back to work. I’m going to change clothes”

put these groceries away,” Chaz offered.

Stephanie’s steps were much lighter going up the stairs than they had been
coming down them that morning. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.

minutes later, the lasagna had been assembled and was in the oven, the couple
was near the end of the bottle of non-alcoholic wine, and they were on the sofa
in the family room with her legs on his lap and his fingers giving a gentle massage
to her feet and calves.

you like to know the solution to our problem?” She was leaning back against the
arm of the furniture with her eyes closed.

found one?”

I’m the only person who could.”


my gift. I’m the only one who could ever be able to control it.” She opened her
eyes and looked directly at him.

thought you couldn’t control what the dreams tell you.” He was confused and it
showed on his face.

can’t. But, maybe I can control how I process the information.” Now his
expression was pure skepticism. “Do you remember the night I saw those three
people walking across the room at the jazz club?” When he nodded, she
continued. “I couldn’t see them clearly even though everyone else was clear. Right?”


do you remember how I expanded my ability to see auras by deliberately trying
to put colors to the impressions I was getting?” He nodded again. “All I had to
do was focus—it’s not that simple, but you understand what I’m saying. It
occurred to me today that I taught myself how to control my ability to see
auras, so why can’t I learn how to control my visions?”

not totally following you, baby. What makes you think you can control your

mind wouldn’t allow me to see that guy from Erie. What’s his name?”


Him.” She gave an involuntary shudder. “I didn’t see clearly because my mind
recognized him and suppressed him so that he wouldn’t scare me. If my mind
could protect me once, it can do it again. Just like with seeing auras, I just
have to practice controlling my reaction. I have to get past the emotions. You
need me to tell you what people are feeling and my impression of the room; but
that doesn’t mean I have to absorb those feelings. I’m sure that I can learn
how to detach myself enough to where I’m not afraid.” She sighed. “And then,
you won’t have to worry about me. And you don’t have to worry about balancing
my gift against your career.”

during that explanation, Chaz had stopped rubbing his wife’s legs and started
processing what she was saying. 

really think that’s possible?”

I do. I think that’s what’s been happening while you were away. Sometimes, I
had dreams while I was asleep, but I also saw scenes when I was awake. That’s
why I’m calling them visions now. A new gift was being introduced along with
the way to manage it. I had the solution all along; I just didn’t know it.” She
leaned forward and touched his shoulder. “You can’t be the one to protect this
family all the time, Chaz. I have to do my part. We’re a team, baby. My gifts
have a purpose.”

stared at her for a long time before saying, “Have I told you that you’re
amazing?” Stephanie laughed.

you did; you tell me that all of the time.”

because it’s true. I am always in awe of you.”

A mischievous twinkle appeared in her eyes. “Awestruck? Can you prove it?”

laughed a deep, rich laugh and asked, “Would you like me to show you how much I
can worship you?”

… that sounds interesting. Sure. Show me what you’ve got, Mr. FBI Agent.” She
slid her legs off of him, put her feet on the floor, and leaned so that their
faces were almost touching. “Would this demonstration happen to involve

He kissed her very lightly and tucked a curl behind her ear. “But it will have
to wait until we eat dinner. I heard your stomach growl a moment ago. I’m sure
you and the baby are hungry. Do you want a snack to hold you until the lasagna
is ready?”

stomach did not growl! But a snack is probably a good idea. It’s well past
lunchtime and I didn’t eat much for breakfast.”

stood and pulled her up with him. “Cheese, crackers, and fruit it shall be.”

walked to the kitchen with their arms around each other.

BOOK: Loving Night: Dream Catcher Series ~ Book 2
10.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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