Authors: K. D. Lovgren
Tags: #Family, #Mystery, #Suspense, #Thriller, #(v5)
Copyright © 2015 by K.D. Lovgren
: A N
Careful what you wish for.
Discover the perils of being married to a movie star in the tabloid age.
When Jane married Ian Reilly, he wasn’t famous, just a method actor with a dream. In the seven years since their marriage, he’s catapulted to the A-list, they own a secluded farm in the Midwest, and Jan and Ian are living separate lives.
While Ian films a blockbuster version of
on the island of Crete, Jane is hunted by a tabloid photographer who won’t take no for an answer.
As Odysseus, Ian is six thousand miles away and three thousand years in the past. His plunge into the tribulations of an ancient Greek hero has left her an unwilling Penelope. When the tabloids break an on-set story too outrageous to ignore, Jane undertakes an epic journey of her own.
,” seasoned Penelope dissented,
“dreams are hard to unravel, wayward, drifting things—
not all we glimpse in them will come to pass…
Two gates there are for our evanescent dreams,
one is made of ivory, the other of horn.
Those that pass through the ivory cleanly carved
are will-o’-the-wisps, their message bears no fruit.
The dreams that pass through the gates of polished horn
are fraught with truth, for the dreamer who can see them.”
—Penelope to a disguised Odysseus,
, Book 19, Homer (trans. Robert Fagles)
Tam up the drive to the school bus was Jane’s daily routine. There was a hole, a space beside her, where Ian should be. Tam in her red Tam ‘O Shanter: her father’s joke, a present from one of Ian’s trips to his homeland of Ireland. Jane and Tam’s walk began sedately enough, their bodies spaced perfectly between the trees in the middle of the straight gravel drive. The avenue of protective oaks stretched over them, lining the path to their front gate. No one could have reproached their behavior for the first twenty yards, until the tightening of Tam’s hand on Jane’s marked the beginning of the game—the moment before Tam let go and made a run for it.
Tam in her crimson knit cap could assume many an identity: Red Riding Hood, Miss Muffett, the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Tigger. Princesses didn’t carry much truck with Tam. Ian called her a character actor in the making. Today, to judge by the flying dispersal of toast crumbs from Tam’s pocket as she raced away, accompanied by a low chortle, rising up to a “Hee!” at the end, she had planned this morning’s actions carefully. They had played these characters before, but never with a trail of crumbs.
“How clever of you to bring crumbs, Gretel,” Jane said, in Hansel’s voice. “Now we’re sure to find our way home.”
Tam stopped running, hand in pocket, robin-like in her red corduroy jacket. She faced Jane, breathing hard.
“I thought of it at breakfast.” Feet planted, her smile broke through. Her face turned serious. “We’ll get back no matter how far we have to go for wood. Father won’t get lonely now. She can’t get rid of us.” She shook her head as she studied the graveled ground. “If only our real mother weren’t dead. Then Daddy would love us just the same.”
Jane cocked her head at this new addition to the story, but kept in character. She crept closer to Tam.
“It’s getting dark, Gretel. I think we should keep going so we can gather the wood chips before it’s too late. If we go back we’d better have those at least. Otherwise, You Know Who will be awful.”
Tam nodded. “I suppose you’re right, Hansel.” She looked in the direction of the gate. “I suppose we should go into the Deep Woods. That’s the best place.”
“I will if you will.” They clasped hands again, Tam’s grip sturdy.
As they got closer to the gate, Tam said, “It’s getting quite dark,” her voice in play taking on her father’s lilt.
“I’m going to look over here. I think I see a good patch.” Jane faded behind one of the trees. Tam searched the ground, leaning down every now and then to pick something up, casting quick glances behind her.
Tension made the slightest sound crackle. Moments passed.
“Ah-HA!” Jane cried as she leapt out at Tam, her body falling into a hunch, fingers twiddling. “I thought I saw a tasty morsel,” she croaked, “I mean sweet young thing, wander into my garden. Won’t you come and see your brother? He’s found my house. It’s a de-
Tam grinned, practically swallowing her lips; scuffing her feet as she backed away. “I’d like to
much, but it’s just time for my bus to come. I have to go now.” Stock still to a blur in motion, Tam took off like the Furies were after her, vaulting for the safety of the gate.
Jane, hunched in witch position, tried to stand and give chase, but Tam’s whiz-bang departure looked so funny she jogged half-heartedly after, weak from laughter. With the
of the pedestrian gate Tam was through. She danced gaily on the other side, safe.
Instead of the main gate, they used the little side door, avoiding the hand-wrought set of interwoven Celtic knots Ian had commissioned, which opened by remote at a maddening pace. Hardly posing a security measure, on either side of the wide gate only a deep drainage ditch and miles of tree-dotted, rolling farmland separated their property from the road. The land was fenced by post and beam as it bordered their side of the ditch. ‘Do Not Trespass’ signs, the ditch, tree and fence line, and tradition were about the biggest discouragement to anyone curious enough to enter their property from the road.
Transformed back into Mom, Jane passed through the gate just as the bus grumbled into sight, coming to a halt in front of them with a slow hiss. After a quick grab and swing in the air, Tam helicoptering around her, giggling, Jane let Tam go. Tam’s ponytail slid through her fingers as she moved to board. Jane waved when her daughter’s dark head appeared in a window seat three rows back, her intense gaze popping up just over the edge of the window as she gave a last look. Arms crossed against the suddenly chilly April morning, Jane waved goodbye again as the bus eased forward, crunching the gravel tumbled out from their drive in its path.
It was too early for the mail. That didn’t come until about noon, her second trip down the drive. Jane grabbed the newspaper out of its red box and pushed back through the pedestrian gate. She let the iron door shut with an echoing clang, spooking a flurry of raucous birds out of the stand of oaks inside the gate. Blocking the dull glare with her forearm, Jane peered up into the overcast morning light. The blackbirds’ purplish bodies cascaded across the darkening sky, their flight punctuated by sharp
It might rain.
As she wandered back up the drive, studying the paper, the air split behind her with a sharp report. She froze, and rotated slowly back toward the road. It wasn’t a car backfiring. It had come from up high, from the thicket of trees she had passed at the end of the drive. Her eyes scanned back and forth in the upper branches of the trees behind her. She saw nothing. Stretching her neck, she listened. Dead silence. In the quiet as she looked and listened, she felt a sudden
race across her forearms, raising the hairs. She wasn’t alone.
on location, for this part of the shoot the Greek island of Crete, was chill at night but warmed in the morning and grew hot by afternoon. By his third day Ian had found a protected beach cove ideal for his purposes. He wanted to build and live in a simple lean-to that would offer protection from wind and rain, privacy, and escape from the modern world; the latter especially, to bring him closer to the character he would play.
He had thought about this and planned it in his head before he flew over. The shooting on the island would be long and arduous, some on land, some off-shore, some in ancient sites. He wanted to live in as natural a way as possible, for as long as he could, before reasonable voices insisting on what he should be doing got too loud to ignore. He hoped Tor, the director, would respect his wish to make some of his own unorthodox choices, as Tor had earlier indicated he would. This first choice would put that promise to the test.
Ian shouldered the axe he’d borrowed from the fishmonger in town, while regarding the scrubby trees he had to choose from. He had asked where he could legally chop down wood and been greeted with shrugs and some debate between shopkeepers; it appeared no one cared much about the trees in the goat-grazing lands, as long as he was careful to avoid the olive trees. These were hard to miss; there were great groves of them, with nets spread underneath the misty gray-green leaves.
Most of the shopkeepers finally agreed to send him towards the ocean, between the beach and the cliffs, where some pastureland owned by Mr. Papalos, the moped renter, wouldn’t be harmed by some tree-thinning. Mr. Papalos wasn’t present when this was decided. Ian wanted to go see him, but the shopkeepers volunteered one of their number to fetch him instead. The baker, a thin man in dark pants and a white shirt, the workaday uniform of island men, turned the sign on his shop, put his gray fishermen’s cap on, and drove his own moped off to fetch Mr. Papalos. He came back fifteen minutes later, Mr. Papalos following on a similar but shinier, more powerful silver moped.
Mr. Papalos had a thick gray mustache and seemed quite puffed up with the commotion over his property, though he kept smoothing his shirt as if it wasn’t such an important matter after all, and gave magnanimous permission for some of his trees to be chopped down. Ian tried to pay for the privilege, but Mr. Papalos refused. All he said was if Mr. Reilly wanted a moped while he was on the island, perhaps Papalos and Son could be his supplier. Ian said he would very much like to seal their arrangement with a moped rental for the duration of his visit. This brought on a spate of smiles and handshaking all around. Though Ian was not sure everyone understood English, everyone seemed to understand the sealing of a deal, and Mr. Papalos and Ian rode together back to the bike shop to pick up Ian’s moped.
He sped over to the scrubland spot Mr. Papalos and the others had told him about, having forgotten the great pleasure of buzzing around on a moped with the silky Mediterranean wind blowing against his face. The rushing sensation that life was good flowed into him as he felt the sun on his skin, the vibration of the road in his feet and legs. He thought of the nights he had to look forward to, living as a visitor to another age.
As the road rose a bit in front of him and he twisted the hand accelerator to go faster, he thought of Jane’s arms around him, if she were sitting behind him right now, close. Her hand on his stomach, splayed fingers, thumb at the center of his breastbone, pinky at his belly button. She looks around the side of his neck, to see where they are going, sometimes. Other times, she rests her head against his back, one side of her cheek at the back of his neck. Knowing she is on the back, he guides the bike between the lines of gravel ground away from the tire tracks. Accelerating faster than she expects is fun, because it makes her hang on tighter. Going around corners, that’s where she really gets scared. The best thing, though, the very best part, is not going fast, or going around the corners at an angle. It’s when she drives, and he gets on the back, his arms around her waist, and it is his turn to hold her.