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Authors: Jason W. Chan

Tags: #paranormal romance

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BOOK: Hiding In His Dreams
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Luke laughed. “Thanks.”

He clasped his hand over hers, and
together, their hands formed a protective bubble around the

He had a sudden urge to impress her,
but he didn‘t know what to say. Then, he remembered something from
high school botany. “You know, the cherry blossom is a symbol of
the fleeting nature of beauty and life,” he said.

It’s also a symbol of
love,” she said.

Out of the corner of his eye, he felt
her staring at him. His cheeks turned as blood red as the

They sat there for a while, and watched
as the sun dipped, painting bold tyrian purple streaks across the

Luke held her hand for so long that it
felt like her hand had simply fused into his, the heat a

It was silent. The only sound was the
occasional car rumbling by below.

Look at this,” she said
suddenly, jolting him out of his tranquility. With her free hand,
she traced a heart shape that was carved onto the wooden bench. She
squinted at it. “I think I can just make it out.”

Luke leaned into her, peering at the
carving on the bench.

JWC + JKB= Love
The carved letters were surrounded
by a big heart shape, etched boldly into the bench.

She turned to him, and that crushing
feeling in his chest overwhelmed him.

I’ve always wondered about
these random people. They must love each other so much that they
want to etch their names into public places. So what do you think
happened to those people? You think they stayed

I don’t know,” he said.
Their hands were getting really sweaty, so he released his

I do,” she announced. “They
stayed together for the rest of their lives, and had lots and lots
of babies.” She laughed, throwing her head back.

He could not help but grin.

She stared straight ahead at the stars,
letting out a dreamy sigh. “Do you believe in true

Luke gazed at her, then remembered that
she had asked him a question. “I do.” He paused. “Like I believe in
the existence of the sun. Sure, it’s there, but I don’t think I’ll
ever reach it.”

Why not?” She removed the
elastic band that held her hair in a ponytail. Alyssa’s long hair
flowed all over her shoulders.

Because of the last girl I
was with. Nina.”

Why’d she do?” She looked

We were together all the
time. It was suffocating.”

She said nothing.

He looked over at her, and saw her flip
her hair back once, then lick her lips. Those were the signs,
weren’t they? he thought.

A chilly breeze snaked past them, and
they shivered at the same time. She edged closer to him, and he
finally summoned the courage to put his arm around her. When she
reciprocated by placing her head on his shoulder, the strange
feeling in his chest was gone, replaced by a peaceful nothingness,
as though he were on anti-anxiety drugs.

As Luke caressed the cherry blossom
with his free hand, he looked at the view. Apart from the
occasional car, the highway below was empty. The lights from the
cities and the stars blended into each other, so that he couldn’t
tell where one ended and the other began.

She turned to him. “You like the

He shrugged. “It could be

What do you

I don’t know. I guess I’ve
never been someone that stops and smells the flowers.”

She nodded. “That’s too

What did she mean by that? Luke

They didn’t say anything for a

He liked that they were comfortable in
silence with each other. He always felt he had to say something
witty on first dates, or do things that he didn’t normally do, just
to impress the girls. It was so fake. It made him sick to do

When the silence dragged on
long enough, he said, “So you’re a teacher
a nurse? How does that

Pediatric nurse,” she
corrected. “I work part-time at both.”

Why’s that?”

I can’t get enough of
taking care of people, especially kids. It makes me feel so needed.
And special.”

Alyssa took her head off his shoulder,
and gave him a knowing look. “But I bet I work nowhere near the
hours you do.”

I don’t work that hard,” he
said, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Come on now, Luke. You’re
an investment banker. You must live at the office.”

I do not,” he said with a
flirty grin. “But if I do, then maybe that’s why I need a

He looked over at the girl, the
moonlight illuminating her flushed face.

Before he could chicken out, he leaned
in, and massaged her lips with his. Her lips were soft and moist.
Her breath smelled like fresh spring strawberries.

He kissed her as though he were
starving. She returned the kiss with such intensity that he was

He felt as though his weight were
vanishing, as though he were an astronaut floating in space, in
another world.

He allowed himself to be overtaken by
the kiss. There in the moonlight, surrounded by the cool Autumn
breeze, under the cherry blossom tree, he surrendered himself
willingly and completely, releasing years of pent-up frustration
and passion.

* * * * *

Chapter 3

Two months

The Strait of Georgia stretched out in
front of the ferry as it chugged along. In the weak winter
sunlight, the body of water shimmered a cobalt blue.

Luke and Alyssa were seated at a table
outside, in their own little corner, the wind whipping their hairs.
They were going to spend a few days in a sea-side resort on
Vancouver Island, in their own little cabin.

Luke had his laptop turned
on, looking at the website of the
Bank of
British Columbia,
his newest

Alyssa was leafing through
the magazine
Kids, Education,

She looked up suddenly. “I want three
kids,” she declared. “Twins. Fraternal twins. A boy and a girl. And
then another girl.”

Luke nodded, without taking his eyes
away from the screen. “K.”

Luke, are you even
listening to me?”

He still didn’t look up. “Of course I
am, Lissie.”

She gave him a cold stare, and he
finally looked up.

The chilly wind made a foray into the
space between them, and she closed her eyes to keep it

It was sunny, yet it was cold. The weak
sun on the frosty deck seemed like a contradiction to him, just
like how someone as wonderful as Alyssa would go away with him. It
made no sense at all.

He looked at her and thought how lucky
he was that someone like her would go away with him.

Luke decided to give a little

He pointed to his screen. “This is the
most important client of my career. If I can help them acquire
smaller banks, I will make Junior Manager, just like that.” He
snapped his fingers.

But what about us?” she

We’re fine,” he replied, in
a tone that sounded defensive, even to him. He tried again. “We’re
fine,” he said, this time more evenly.

It’s not every day that
you’re on a ferry crossing the beautiful ocean. Shouldn’t you at
least take some time to relax?”

He was concentrating so hard on the
words on the website that he barely heard her.

Alyssa waited, then nudged his

Luke finally looked up from his laptop
at his girlfriend. She was looking at him expectedly.

Sure, in a little while.”
He continued to work. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see
her shaking her head.

A while later, their private sanctuary
was invaded when a noise came from behind them. He turned around.
It was a middle-aged couple, followed by five kids, all screaming
and laughing.

Luke and Alyssa watched as the toddlers
raced onto the tiny, self-contained playground just beside them.
They hollered and cried as they threw sand at one another, swung on
the monkey bars, and argued over who would go down the slide

One of them, a little blonde girl with
a ponytail, came over to the couple.

Alyssa made cooing faces at her, while
Luke grimaced, then wiped it off his face before she

Fortunately for him, Alyssa’s attention
was focused entire on the child. “You’re just so adorable. What’s
your name, sweetie?”

Tanya,” the little girl
answered, then smiled. “Look, I got braces.” She pointed to her
mouth, indeed revealing braces.

Alyssa turned to her boyfriend. “Isn’t
she so cute, Luke?”

Oh yeah, for sure,” he
said, sure that he sounded completely insincere. He turned back to
his laptop.

The little girl tugged on his pants.
“Hey, mister. Did you see my braces?”

Yes I did. It was very

The girl tugged harder. “Mister, you
didn’t look.”

Yes. I said it was very
nice,” Luke snapped, the volume of his voice rising.

Both the little girl and Alyssa stared
at him, shocked expressions on their faces.

Luke looked up and saw that the little
girl was nearly in tears, her mouth pouting, her face in tantrum

The girl’s mother came over,
apologizing profusely. “Sorry for disturbing you,” she said to
Luke. She turned to her child. “Come along now. Don’t bother the
nice couple.” Then, they were gone.
Alyssa crossed her arms. “Luke. What was that?” she said, her voice

I don’t know,” he said, and
meant it. “It’s just the stress. I mean, I really want the Junior
Manager position.”

Why?” she asked, her eyes

I just want it,” Luke

She said nothing, but he knew by her
expression that his answer was unsatisfactory.

He sighed, and tried again. “It’s for
us too. I want us to be financially stable.”

Us? But we’re not married.
We haven’t even moved in together. Financially, I’m doing just fine
for myself.”

He took her hand and looked her in the
eye. “Why don’t we? Let’s do it.”

Like a rapid cat that escaped through a
trapdoor, the words rushed out before he could stop

He didn’t know why he had said it. To
please her? He wanted to move the relationship forward, but a part
of him was absolutely terrified.

The wind had become more savage,
pounding against their faces. She squinted then, and he could
barely see her eyes.

When the wind subsided, he could see
the excitement on her face. She smiled, and nodded. “Mkay. You
really want to move in together?”

Luke nodded. “Yes.”

This was it. They were taking the next
step forward. To Luke, the feeling was like the moment on a bridge
just before bungee-jumping down.

He squeezed her hand, banishing the
anxiety to a far-off island in the Strait of Georgia.

Just then, The PA system announced that
they had arrived. He could see land and a port in the near

Luke peered at the port in Nanaimo. He
had never been to Vancouver Island before. He had never gone away
with a girl before. And he had never lived with a girl

The boat lurched forward all of a

But, since they were still clinging to
each other, they managed to stand steady.

* * * * *

By the time they reached the
Westerlea Resort in Qualicum Beach, it was already dark. They
checked into their suite, Unit #1, with the key that was left for
them by the co-owner Patrick. A note accompanied it:
Welcome to the Westerlea, a place of magic,
seaside, and quiet. Patrick.

The resort was a townhouse facing the
ocean. Their unit was small, consisting of a conjoining kitchen and
living room, and a queen-sized bedroom in the back.

Luke heaved all their luggage in the
bedroom, and collapsed onto the couch.

Alyssa hauled the groceries onto the
tiny kitchen counter, and took out some vegetables.

Come help me make dinner.
I’m thinking teriyaki chicken tonight.”

She then took out carrots, celery and
broccoli and started washing them in the sink.

Luke stood up, and walked up to her.
“What should I do?”

Cut these carrots into
little pieces. Julienne.”

BOOK: Hiding In His Dreams
8.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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