Authors: Dorlana Vann
“You wanted to hear this; so here it is.” I stood up and grabbed her hands. “Luck, like anything else, can be bought and traded. Before we met, you made a deal with Luck. Because you had such horrible luck, you agreed to trade your first-born for what you thought was really good luck.”
?” She pulled away from me. “I don’t know what you’re doing—”
“After we were married,” I said firmly, “
we were pregnant, you told me what you did. You told me how you found out too late that good luck was just an illusion; that there were only three types of luck: extreme, medium, and weak. With extreme luck, really good things happen but so do really bad things.”
“Maybe you haven’t been drinking,” Jana said, “but something is wrong with you.”
“You told me you tried to take it back, but it was too late. You had already given up all rights to our unborn child, before we met, to some couple with medium luck.”
“This is crazy, Trevor. Do you know how crazy this sounds?”
“I thought so too… at the time. But still, I asked you where I could find this luck guy. Even though I didn’t believe you, never believed a word of it, I went there. And after I found the guy, I still didn’t believe he was who you thought he was. But for
peace of mind, I made my own deal…” I had to think hard. As time had passed the details had faded. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would completely forget… just like Jana had.
“What kind of deal?” she asked with impatient sarcasm.
“I remember asking if you could just give back the money you had won in the lottery. But that had already happened. He said something like he couldn’t erase time. I had to make a new arrangement so that I could keep my son. He called it weak luck, but it’s worse than that, it’s no luck at all.” I shrugged my shoulders because I knew that even if I would have known the outcome I still would have done whatever I had to do to protect Ethan.
When I looked at Jana’s face—her puckered lips and firm jaw—I knew she hadn’t believed a word I had said. But I had to finish. “I gave myself a little test all the way home that night; I flipped a quarter. Even after it never landed on what I said it would, I didn’t believe it. As each day passed, I pushed the limits a little more. You know, I had to see if it was real. I kept testing my luck, until it became an obsession. Until…” At this point, I couldn’t look her in the eyes. I cleared my throat of my sudden panic and then whispered, “I’d lost everything.”
“What do you mean?” Her words trembled.
“I’ve lost everything that was left from your lottery winnings. All of our savings.”
“No, no, no… this isn’t happening.”
“I’m sorry. I just keep thinking that I have to have some portion of at least medium luck. That’s where I go! To try and win it back.” Suddenly, it became so clear. This could be good. Together we made medium luck! “You can win it all again. All you have to do is buy another lottery ticket, or we could go to the horse races.”
“No! Stop it!” She reminded me of a cat in defense mode: hunched back, hair on end, eyes wild, claws loaded. “I can’t believe you would make up such a ridiculous story so that you could blame me for you losing our son’s future? You don’t have bad, weak or whatever luck, Trevor, you have a gambling problem.”
“What? No…” I wondered how it had happened. How had I become the bad guy? “I know it’s hard to believe. I didn’t believe you when you told me, either. But I gave you a chance.” My body had begun to shake. “Just think about it for a minute. I know the memory of meeting him fades for a reason or everyone would be at his door. But there has to be something there. Think Jana, think!”
“You need help, Trevor. Are you willing to get help?”
“What I need is for you to believe me. How many times have you said it yourself ‘Your luck sucks’? How many times has everyone said it? I traded it for
, and that’s why the car keeps breaking down, the lights turns red at intersections, the reason I have lost so many jobs.”
“What? You’ve lost jobs? More than one? You don’t work for Laurence anymore?”
“It’s been six months.”
She stood with her mouth open as tears streamed down her face. I took a step to comfort her, but she held up her hand and said, “Tell me his name and where I can find him.”
I closed my eyes trying to think again, trying to recall.
“What is it Trevor? Give me something. Is it John? Peter? Frank? Larry?”
But his name had left my memory months before. “I can’t. I don’t know,” I said without opening my eyes. The soft breeze told me she had left the room.
I sat on the couch, waiting for her to go to sleep, thinking we could talk it through in the morning. Maybe as she slept some of the memories would return. But a few minutes later, she walked past. When I looked up, expecting another confrontation, she stood at the open front door, her back to me, Ethan asleep in her arms. And then she said, “Good luck.”
Quiet on the Nightingale
Before climbing aboard the Nightingale, a 60-foot yacht, Jake listened for a second to make sure its owner, Richard King, slept. From the cockpit, Jake climbed the stairs to the upper aft deck, and with little effort, he opened the glass door to the enclosed bridge. He had been tailing the millionaire for months and knew this was the necklace’s location.
Jake had never talked to Mr. King but had heard his thoughts about purchasing the diamond and blood-red ruby necklace for his wife. Jake had followed him to restaurants, golf courses and parties, patiently waiting until King’s mind revealed all the details, down to the code on the safe.
He pulled the ski-mask off his face before punching in the numbers. Opening the safe without incident, he reached in and brought out his prize. He didn’t stop to examine it—plenty of time for that later—but stuck it in his pocket, ready for his quick exit. He stopped again to listen and to make sure all was clear.
“Now that wasn’t very nice,” a female voice said.
Startled to a slight stumble, he twisted around to see who had caught him. The silhouette of a woman sitting at the small table, her arms and long legs crossed, came into focus.
Why didn’t I hear her?
Her voice moved gently, “That’s my necklace.”
Shit. Mrs. King.
“This isn’t what it looks like,” he said, buying some time as he weighed his options; running seemed a very good choice at the moment. She might scream, but he already had the loot in his pocket. By the time Mr. King got his wits about him, he would be long gone.
Her thoughts finally sounded in his head:
I wish he were
here to pinch more than that ruby.
Well, there it was. It wouldn’t be the first time he had used his pretty-boy looks to get out of a situation. But when she stood up—the moonlight shining full-force on her smart face—he doubted she was the type of woman who could easily be swayed by his devilish charms. She reminded him of an elegant movie star from the 1940s like Ingrid Bergman or Lauren Bacall.
She languidly walked over to him, her heels softly echoing on the wood floor. “May I have my necklace back?” She extended her hand gracefully.
Taking a step back, he wondered why he suddenly felt so intimidated. He had known plenty of rich, beautiful women. He needed to take control of the moment and his nerves. In the darkness, the burglar and the wealthy woman stared at each other for a mere second before Jake grabbed her bare shoulders and kissed her hard on the lips. Unexpected fire exploded between them, and he pulled her closer until he embraced her fully. He could feel her hands on his waist, moving slowly down the front of his pants until—
Jake gently pushed her away and had to smile, but he didn’t let go of her arm. He brought her hand up, revealing the necklace.
She shrugged her shoulders and sighed. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”
He licked his lips tasting the memory of her kiss, her thoughts letting him know she wished she could see
of him. “The Country Club tomorrow night,” he said as he snatched the necklace, gave her a slight nod and left, before he couldn’t pull himself away.
Two Weeks Later
Like some bad movie cliché, he found the note she had left on her pillow:
I’m afraid my husband has decided to leave this morning. I couldn’t bear to tell you. Please forgive me. In another lifetime perhaps.
Jake crumbled up the letter wondering how in the hell he’d missed it.
Maybe she just pushed it out of her mind because it was too painful.
, she had written.
“Shit,” he said. “I do.” He suddenly found himself playing what if:
What if I would have told her I loved her? Would she have stayed? Would she leave her rich husband for a crook? Would she come back with me now if I caught the yacht before it hit open water?
Regret swept over him as he put on his pants, because he had known for a week that she had feelings for him, yet he had said nothing. Let on nothing.
Just another stolen treasure.
At least that was what he had told himself before that morning. Now the only thing he thought was that he had to get her back.
His Jag hit the highway at sixty-five miles an hour, the windows down, and the air thick with morning. Their hotel/love nest was only a few miles away from the bay, but he couldn’t be sure what time she had actually left his bed. He had fallen asleep some time after midnight. He looked down to see the time, realizing his watch wasn’t in its usual place on his wrist
. Must have left it on the nightstand.
As Jake jumped out of the car, he knew he had no idea what he would do if King tried to stop him. He listened as he ran, listened to see if he heard Jezze saying,
I’ll miss him so much!
Jake ran up the steps that lead to the ramp and then to the spot where the yacht had been docked. When he realized he was too late, that it was gone, he cursed himself and stomped the pier. Searching his mind for conversations and memories of her thoughts, he plopped down on the steps.
Did she say where she lived?
Soon, he decided to leave, promising himself that he would not rest until he found her. He would rummage minds for the slight mention of Mrs. Jezze King. As he stood, someone else’s thoughts blurted inside his head. At first he tried to ignore them, not wanting to listen to another person’s problems. But then, he heard something he just couldn’t ignore…
Jezze sat at her vanity brushing her hair as she looked at the newly acquired necklace. She sighed. It entranced her as it sparkled in the glistening sun that streamed in through the porthole. Knowing how difficult it would be to part with, it certainly hadn’t been easy to obtain, she had considered keeping it. So exquisite.
She wiped new tears from her swollen eyes. No, the necklace would only remind her of him. Her buyer had already offered a beautiful price, so she would go on as planned. Maybe she would set sail after the transaction and take a much-needed trip.
She had lived on her yacht for over a year, loving the open water, the smell of the sea and the freedom to travel whenever she became restless. If Richard King had not docked his yacht in the same water as hers, her life would be so less complicated. If she had gone on home that night when she heard Jake coming after her necklace, things would have been so less complicated. If she would have just let him take the necklace without trying to seduce it out of him...
She doubted Jake even knew others like him existed, others who had superior control over their gift. She had learned to listen for other mind-readers years before and trained herself to stop her own thoughts at the first sign.
She had been getting ready to go home that night, when she had heard him. Mistaking her for Mrs. King had just been a crazy break; there
a real Mrs. King, somewhere, but it wasn’t her. It had been kind of fun pretending to be the adulteress, instead of the other woman.
Jezze unlatched the necklace from around her neck and put it back in its black box.
Stop crying Jezze. This is just how it has to be.
She never expected to fall in love with Jake for real. Over the past two weeks she had searched for signs of mutual admiration but found nothing.
“I think you have something that belongs to me.”
She held her breath and swung her attention to the familiar voice. Richard King stood at her door. Lost in her own thoughts Jezze must have missed his. “Sweetheart,” she sang. “I thought you left.” She stood up cautiously. She could certainly read his thoughts now...
Mr. King was a fairly tall man, but the way he stood there, his chest heaving in and out and his teeth clenched, he appeared monstrous as he growled, “Did I not treat you well? Did I not give you enough money for your
? You were good, but not fifty-thousand dollars good.”
She put her hair behind her ears, feeling the tremor of her hands. “Why are you so upset, handsome? What happened?”