Posts tagged “SHORT STORY

Neville & Genevieve: Part 5 (End)

Posted on 06/04/2013

fishingThe wind blew strongly against her face and she took in the sweet smell of ocean mixed in with Neve’s musky scent before she pushed away from him. Face firing, Genevieve strode over to the banister and frowned out onto the foamy waves below. When Neve leaned against the banister beside her, she threw a glare over her shoulder at him. “Was that really necessary?”

“You’re welcome…”

She rolled her eyes, lifting the cup of juice to her lips. “I could’ve handled him myself.”

“Yeah, you were sure doing a great job so far.”

“What’s it to you? Weren’t you catching up with Ameya anyway?” She frowned, hating the acridity in her voice. It was obviously too early for her to be out socializing. She needed time to come to terms with how alone she was. Standing in a room full of people laughing and celebrating wasn’t helping.

“Wasn’t in the mood…” Neve sighed, peering over at her. “Did you send her over?”

Genevieve scoffed, swallowing the rest of the juice before setting the cup on the railing. “I’m neither you nor Ameya’s mediator. Whatever you two need to work on has nothing to do with me.”

His face hardened as her words mingled with what he’d said earlier that week when his father mentioned Mr. Boudain and he clenched his jaw. “Really? Is that true?”

“Of course it is,” Genevieve laughed sardonically, glaring up at him. “Why should it matter to me if you still have strong feelings for her?” She shrugged her shoulders and looked away. “It’s not my problem whether or not you want to keep harboring them while she moves on with her life.”

He narrowed his eyes at her before looking over the waves. “Yeah, it definitely sounds like you don’t care.”

The two of them resorted to a stony silence as the waves crashed noisily against the rocks below, both annoyed with themselves with the regretful feelings they held within.

Genevieve caved in first, sighing softly against the crashing waves. She pushed at the stray hairs that blew with the wind. “Look, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do with Ameya… It wasn’t my place to say anything.” She turned toward the entrance door.

Neve grabbed hold of her arm, stilling her. “Don’t go back in there.”

She frowned down at his hand on her arm before looking up at him, his face shrouded by shadows caused by the moonlight slanted at an angle behind him. Genevieve forced out a shaky breath. “Why not?”

“Because you don’t want to be here.”

Genevieve blinked at the tears invoked by his pointed words and jerked lightly against his grip on her arm. “I’m fine. For goodness’ sake, can you two just stop it already?” Her eyes blurred and she scowled, lifting her free hand to swipe at the offending tears gathering at her eyelids.

Without a word, Neve stepped toward her. She shook her head and took a step back. “Nu-uh,” she mumbled against the sobs bubbling at her throat, ducking her head. “Don’t…” Neve’s arms gathered her into the steady warmth of his embrace and she came undone.

Her fingers curled around his dress shirt, the tears subsiding only after she’d become completely spent. “I hate this…” she muttered, feeling his insistent palm rubbing at her back.

“I know.”

“I mean I really hate feeling like this…” Genevieve didn’t move from his arms. How come she’d never noticed how strong and firm his chest was, or that his strong arms didn’t have to strain to wrap around her? She felt a shiver skitter up her spine and stiffened against him.

His palm paused on the small of her back. “You cold?”

“Uh-hmm,” she muttered, holding back a sigh as he pulled her in closer. “This is… nice.”

His rumbling chuckle coursed through her body and she bit her bottom lip, closing her eyes. “First you say you hate this, now you like it?”

Genevieve wrinkled her nose, starting to push away from him. A smile spread her lips as he kept a firm hold around her, and she settled back against him. “Don’t worry about it.”

“If you insist,” he replied, a smile in his voice.

She sighed as his hand continued rubbing against her back, promising peace and security with each stroke. For a moment, she allowed herself to relax, believing that everything would be alright.

“When will you talk with Ameya?” Genevieve asked as Neve pulled the car to a stop. She turned her head to peer up at the darkened home she’d shared with her mother. Biting her lip, Genevieve hesitated unbuckling her seatbelt. Days prior to this one, she’d been too fatigued to notice how quiet and eerily empty it was in the house, falling to sleep before the sun fell over the mountains and waking after it was burning hot in the midday. Now, still buzzing from the party and Neve’s warm company, she wasn’t ready to face the loneliness.

“Later,” Neve promised, shifting his attention to her hands fiddling the latch of the car door. “Need help?”

“I’m fine,” she insisted sternly, hesitating for just a moment before jerking the latch in. The door swung open and Genevieve heaved a sigh before shifting her legs to hang out of the car.

His brow furrowed as she took her time exiting the car. Now that he’d taken time to realize it, he should’ve let Ameya and Jonathan escort Genevieve home. Something inside his head nagged him to lead her to the front door before driving away but he had a feeling that Genevieve might scold him for treating her like a child. He gripped the steering wheel and watched as she slowly closed the door before trudging up the hill to her dark and empty house. He glanced through the side mirror at the shadowed house down the street, Ameya’s old home. She and her husband had not yet returned.

He looked back at Genevieve’s house, noting how quickly the lights snapped on and with a dismissive grunt, he started to put the car in drive.

Genevieve swallowed hard as she stared at the empty stairwell and the absence of family photos that used to hang on the wall leading up the stairs. She’d wanted to leave them there but knew that seeing pictures of her late mother would only invoke more tears. Later she’d put them up, once she was ready. Now, she couldn’t bear to remember what she’d lost. Except sitting in the empty house was a cruel reminder for her.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Genevieve turned away toward the door. She couldn’t stay here. The mere thought of sleeping in the house without hearing her mother’s light footsteps or her gentle humming during the night before bed was suffocating. She jerked open the door, almost stumbling into Neve’s open arms.

The tears came easily as Neve wrapped his arms around her yet again, steadying her balance. “It’s okay,” he said against her ear as she choked amid sobs, burying her face against his chest. With a foot he nudged the door to close before entering the lobby. His eyes took note of the empty stairwell and frowned lightly, one hand moving to rub Genevieve’s back.

To think that she might never see her mother’s brown eyes teasing or berating her was sheer pain that coursed through her entire body and Genevieve groaned against Neve’s chest, clutching his shirt tighter. Her mother’s laughter was a fading echo in her heart and the sobs racked painfully at Genevieve’s body. Guilt and anger mixed with helplessness as she recalled the last agonizing moments of her mother’s life, remembering the flash of pain in her weary brown eyes before she closed them for one last time. Genevieve stiffened as pain clenched her stomach and she gripped Neve tighter all the while biting at her bottom lip.

Then she felt it. A deep resident warmth welled up inside her, pushing against the biting cold in her body and wrapping around her like a comforting fleece blanket. The last sob caught in her throat and Genevieve blinked against her sore eyes at Neve’s sturdy chest. Her fingers loosened around his wrinkled shirt and she peered up at him.

He looked down at her, surprised that she’d stopped crying, expecting to stay all night if she wanted to sob even to the wee hours of the morning. His eyes searched her weary brown gaze before lifting a finger to wipe the last tear hanging in her right eye. Then his gaze lowered. His heart stopped.

Genevieve couldn’t breathe, noting a change in his dark eyes. Her heart started to beat fast as his eyes lowered and she felt her cheeks warm under his intent gaze. Inadvertently she drew in her lips, choking a gasp as his eyes flickered with something she hadn’t seen before.

Neve knew he shouldn’t do this, that he was crossing the line. Still he couldn’t stop his head from lowering slowly toward hers. He ignored the screaming in his head as his head slanted over hers, his heart picking up speed when her eyes closed and she tilted her head toward his own. Then his lips met hers and a warm shiver skittered up his spine.

Swallowing a sigh, Genevieve pushed her head up as she felt his lips soften over hers. Cheeks and shoulders warm from his gentle but firm embrace, she leaned into him.

They didn’t have time to revel in each other’s warmth when a sharp rap sounded on the door. Neve reluctantly released Genevieve, watching as she ducked under his arm and scuttled to open the door, groaning as Ameya and Jonathan stood on the other side, equal concerned looks on their faces.

He and Genevieve exchanged a glance before they both turned to face the couple standing on the other side of the door, pushing the comforting yet mind-stirring kiss from their minds. It was time to face the truth and no time was better than the present.

<<Part 4 ||

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Neville & Genevieve: Part 4

Posted on 02/04/2013

luciaNeve swallowed another groan, pushing the wheelbarrow across the rocky terrain. “Come on, Pops… Why are you doing this now?” He frowned over at his father bent over a patch of overgrown weeds.

“It’s only a question. No need for the tantrum,” Francis murmured, slapping the dirt from the gloves onto his pant leg. He squinted up at his son and clucked his tongue. “Why is it so hard for you to answer me?”

The younger man leaned the wheelbarrow, pausing to wipe his perspiring brow. “Because your question is… unfounded.” He frowned, crouching beside his father to start pulling out the troublesome plants.

“Unfounded?” Francis raised a brow and chuckled. “Since when do you start using words like that here? Don’t cover your real feelings with scientific words.”

“It’s not scientific, Father,” Neve muttered, holding back his rising frustration, tossing the uprooted plant in the wheelbarrow. “And my real feeling is exactly what I said before. If Gene wants Mr. Boudain, she’ll say so.” He frowned, imagining the tall and balding actuary with the vibrant and flippant Genevieve. For the life of him, he couldn’t wrap his mind around the reality of Genevieve as Mrs. Boudain or anyone else’s bride for that matter. “I doubt she’ll agree to him but in the end, it’s her decision.”

Francis snorted darkly. “Why will she not agree? Stefan Boudain is a fine man. Responsible and he is fond of her. He will be good for her.”

Neve rolled his eyes, tugging at another stubborn weed. “This is not the dark ages, Pops. You can’t just go matching two people together because you and some of the other town biddies think he’ll be good to her. That isn’t hard to do. What is this really about?” He tossed the weed over his shoulder.

Francis sat back on his heels and watched his son work, taking note of his clenched jaw and his furrowed brow. “What is this…?”

“What?”

“Your disapproval of Boudain….”

Neve tore the weed out of the ground, scowling at his father. “I’m not disapproving of Boudain as a man.”

“But as Genevieve’s future, you are.”

“That’s ridiculous…” Neve muttered under his breath as he turned his head to throw the sprigs into the barrow. “It’s not my business about who Genevieve’s future is.”

“Isn’t it?”

Neve stalled, staring over the mountain of weeds toward the sea, his frown deepening as his father’s words echoed in his ears and his heart.

The party started later than Neve expected but then again, his people were notorious for showing up to places whenever they saw fit. He’d been in Maui long enough to now know this habit of theirs wasn’t polite or appropriate. He shrugged his shoulders and turned to look across the room where his father, clad in a simple black suit with a country flower pinned to his lapel, stood grinning from ear to ear. The older man greeted his straggling guests at the door and Neve realized that it didn’t matter what he thought of their late arrival; the celebrant, his father didn’t mind too much about punctuality.

Refraining from glancing down at his watch, Neve scanned the room with a smirk on his lips as he took in the older women and men standing in clusters around the room. Their smiles were a welcome change from the solemn expressions drawn on their faces as they stood around the grave of Mrs. Faluna days prior. Just like after every storm that ravaged their town, his people held onto hope and community to dispel the despair and were now celebrating his father’s retirement as the Chief Superintendent of the police force.

His gaze fell on another set of people standing by the punch bowl and his smile waned, immediately recognizing the tall and lithe man with his balding head shining from the disco ball spinning slowly above him. As his father’s pointed words drifted in his ear, Neve narrowed his gaze at the unassuming man. His broad shoulders were bowed, his gait awkward in his middle-aged body and his narrow face strained with a smile.

Good for Gene, my left foot. Neve rolled his eyes in disgust. One hour with Genevieve and this reclusive man would sprint out the room and never look back. He meant no offense to the man but he knew Genevieve all too well. She was a more than any sensible man could handle; her fiery temper and sharp tongue could drive any man insane. He could bet a year’s salary that the town actuary wouldn’t last a day much less a lifetime with her.

Pulling his bored gaze from Mr. Boudain and his companions, Neve shifted his eyes to the next corner of the room and his brow furrowed deeply, feeling his heart slam hard against his ribs.

Three people had just stepped into the hall, pausing at the door to congratulate his father. He tried not to glare at the tall Caucasian man that flanked both women, Jonathan Harris. Neve refrained from staring at Ameya who wore a soft yellow dress that flowed like the wind. His heart twisted as she gave his father that gentle smile of hers and pulled the older man in a quick embrace. Swallowing hard, he pulled his eyes to the woman beside her.

Genevieve wearing a simple gray dress stood beside Ameya, waiting her turn to congratulate the retired chief. Neve realized that he couldn’t stop staring at her. That restrained smile of hers nudged at him as if he recognized that she wasn’t in the mood to be here but had to come. For propriety’s sake, no doubt.

Genevieve refrained from sighing as Chief Francis shifted his eyes to her. “Congratulations…” she said, allowing herself to be embraced. The steady warmth from the retired police commissioner probed at the space she’d contained her tears. She bit her bottom lip, spreading a smile on her face when he pulled her back to gaze at her.

“Thank you for coming…” Francis said gently before peering over her head at Jonathan. “Even my friend all the way from America. Thank you.”

Jonathan’s chuckle pushed her tears back and Genevieve swallowed a sigh even as Ameya drew her away from the host toward the food table. “I’m fine,” she assured Ameya as they crossed the room. “I just wish everyone stopped looking at me like that…” she mumbled, reaching for a paper cup.

“They’re just worried about you,” Ameya whispered gently, reaching for a cup of her own. Her eyes glanced up to see Neve who quickly looked away, preoccupying himself with adjusting a tablecloth beside him. Sighing, she stepped away from the table. “I’ll be right back.”

“Hmm,” Genevieve mumbled distractedly, pouring some juice into her clear cup, not noticing that Ameya had stepped around the shy Mr. Boudain to approach the evasive Neve. Lifting the cup to her lips, she paused once she spotted the tall and reserved actuary standing at the end of the table. Swallowing a groan, Genevieve shifted her gaze away. She was not in the mood for this, especially not today.

“Good evening, Mademoiselle Faluna,” the man said with his accented English. He’d lived in South France all of his life and had moved to Vieux Forte about a year ago.

“Good evening…” Genevieve answered stiffly, straining not to step back as he moved closer to her.

“Didn’t think I would get to see you here. You look lovely.”

Genevieve bit back a whine when her body itched at his hovering. Why wasn’t he getting the hint?

 —

Why wasn’t this dolt getting the hint? Neve frowned over Ameya’s head at the tall man standing beside Genevieve, taking note of the woman’s stiffened shoulders and averted face.

“Neville,” Ameya nudged him. “Did you hear a word I just said?”

Neve dragged his gaze back to Ameya’s face, marveling at how he’d once melted at her expressive brown eyes. Now she was only in his way and he was not in the mood to face her now. “Can’t this wait?”

Ameya raised a shapely brow. “What, are you busy?”

“Yes.” He pulled his gaze back over her head to where Mr. Boudain was speaking in hushed tones to Genevieve who merely nodded stiffly, her lips drawn in a thin line. It was clear Genevieve was not in the mood either. “We’ll talk later, Ameya.”

He stepped around her and crossed the room to Genevieve’s side.  “Mr. Boudain, good evening…” His hand slipped around Genevieve’s waist and pulled her toward him. Smiling as he heard the gentle intake of breath escape her lips, Neve peered up at the perturbed man. “If you don’t mind, I’ll need to steal Gene for a moment.”

Genevieve choked on an incredulous laugh as Neve pulled her toward the open door and led her out to the courtyard that faced the ocean.

<<Part 3 || Part 5>>

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