The gray images in Monica's mind chased her. The sound of her brother's distant voice played in the background. She could hear him and searched through the distorted shapes.
He asked, "Did you tell him?"
She answered, "It's too soon. He doesn't need to know."
Among the shadows, she recognized a younger version of herself giving birth.
She rested on her back in a dark dusty room, breathing heavily as her entire body convulsed and pushed out one, then two, then three babies. Still, the pain didn't stop.
She closed her eyes pleading for release.
Her brother's voice repeated, "Tell him."
She cried, "If I tell him, he'll take the children. He'll take them!"
In the distance, she heard Chase ask, "Are these our babies?"
"Yes! Take the babies and run Chase. Run. Please!"
The image's claw-like hands reached for her babies. "Murderer. Murderer," he repeated over and over. Her heart raced. She tried to move, but the weight of her anguish paralyzed her.
"Please, please don't take my babies. Please! Chase save the babies! Run!"
She jumped in her seat and Chase touched her arm. "You OK?"
A few seconds passed before she remembered where she was and why. After church, she and Chase decided to drive to Queens for Sophia's welcome home party.
She couldn't believe how quickly she had fallen asleep and into that familiar nightmare. Chase was a new element to the dream, however.
Sitting up, she purposely avoided his eyes, looking out her window, she admitted the obvious,"I must have dozed off."
"Really?" He smiled. "I didn't notice." When she didn't reply he asked,"How many hours did you work last night?"
"Fourteen." She unbuckled her seatbelt.
"What are you doing?" Chase frowned.
She removed her jacket. "I'm warm." She was more than warm. The dream made her perspire and soaked the back of her top.
"Would you like for me to turn on the air?" Chase asked. She shook her head no and buckled back up. "I'll be fine."
He hoped as much. A combination of Latin and African American, she had a fair complexion. Now she looked pale. He looked over and smiled, hoping to lighten the mood. "The joys of being a nurse.
Did I tell you that both my parents were nurses? You're special people. That's for sure."
She gave a half smile. "I love what I do."
"It shows. I feel guilty taking you with me. I feel like you should be tucked in somewhere."
"I'm fine. I don't need a lot of sleep. Besides I was certain we wouldn't have another date."
He lifted his brows. She noticed they had a natural sexy arch to them. He smirked at her.
Shaking his head, he informed her, "Trust me. This is no date. My brothers are going to shower you with attention. Their wives are going to scrutinize your every move.
The children are going to flock around you like you're candy."
"Sounds like fun."
"I hope you enjoy it. If you do, the family will propose to you."
She smiled and covered her mouth. "I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing."
"They want me married," he stated bluntly. "They're so happy, it's sickening." He feigned a frown.
"My brother and his wife are like that. It can get on your nerves. Still, it's nice to see people married and enjoying it."
He thought about her last comment for a minute, then added, "I had that example in my parents and now my family. Funny thing is, I've yet to experience a happy marriage."
The sadness in his words weighed them both down. She asked, "Are you afraid to be happy?"
He pulled his head back, made a face. "Excuse me?"
"Afraid, because your marriage was unhappy. Are you afraid to trust people? So you wear a shield."
Chase quickly shook his head. "Not at all. I don't like secrets. Hiding things. How about you?" He looked over before changing lanes. "You wearing a shield?"
She laughed. "We're talking about you?"
"No...I think we're talking about you."
She laughed again but didn't answer. There were many dark chapters in her life. Too many. She wasn't wearing a shield, she simply had closed the book and thrown away the key.
She quickly turned the attention back to him. "So...are you an open book?"
He thought for a minute. "A book, huh?"
"Yep." She bit her bottom lip, tasted her cherry lip-gloss.
"Well, he said, I never judge a book by its cover. Although, your cover is very attractive."
She batted her eyelashes, teasing him. "Why, thank you."
"You're welcome. So...," he continued, "I'll let you read mine if you let me read yours. What's in the good book of Monica Mason?"
Good? Nothing. Not to her anyway. She didn't want to think about the gray distorted images of her past. She'd much rather focus on him and wanted him to compliment her again.
Leaning in, she whispered in his ear, "I think your cover is very attractive. It's almost intoxicating."
Chase smiled and lifted one of his eyebrows. He enjoyed her seductive tone and her breath upon his ear. It awakened his senses and he cleared his throat.
Recognizing the effect she had on him, she bit her lip and went for it, planting her lips on his earlobe and lightly biting it. He shifted in his seat, warned, "Uh, I'm driving here."
"Good for you." She eased back into her seat.
He shook his head, signaled and exited the highway. They were almost there. Thank God.
How long will we allow our past mistakes dictate our future, robbing us of life and love? Take a look into the life of Monica Mason?
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