Cayman summer, p.1
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       Cayman Summer, p.1
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           Angela Morrison
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Cayman Summer


  Michael and Leesie’s Saga:

  Taken by Storm

  Unbroken Connection (Taken by Storm Book #2)

  Cayman Summer (Taken by Storm Book #3)

  Meet Beth, Scott and Derek—they’ll break your heart next!

  Sing me to Sleep

  Cayman Summer

  Published by Angela Morrison

  Mesa, Arizona, USA

  Copyright 2011 Angela Morrison

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Please direct rights inquiries to Erzsi Deak, Hen & Ink Literary.

  ISBN: 978-1461090793

  E-Book ISBN: 978-1-4392-8165-9

  Printed in the United States of America

  The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  To all my readers at http://caymansummer.blogspot.com!

  Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Epilogue

  Author’s Note

  Thank You …

  About the Author

  Chapter 1

  JOURNEY

  LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK

  POEM #74, FLIGHT

  Michael pushes the wheelchair

  down the chilly jet-way.

  SEA-TAC pre-dawn,

  no midnight escape flights

  from the Spokane airport.

  He drove all night to make this

  6:00 AM AA flight to Chicago,

  while I rode wrapped

  in a hospital blanket,

  a gift from my nurses—

  who all had a crush on him—

  my seat tipped back,

  my broken hand elevated

  on a pile of pillows

  to reduce swelling,

  more pillows to keep my feet up,

  my right arm in a sling

  with a complex web of bandages

  doing figure eights around my body—

  collarbone stabilization.

  Pumped full of morphine,

  I slept. First time

  without dreams.

  He greeted me with a yawn stifled

  into a smile, when I

  opened my eyes to discover

  we’d roamed to the other side of the state—

  bays and islands, seashells and tides,

  gulls in the distance like the ones we fed

  at Grand Coulee dam

  the first time we talked

  back when I was lonely but not alone.

  “You okay?” He touched my arm.

  “I’m fine,” I lied despite the

  undrugged reality of pain,

  as desolation lapped like waves

  against my heart.

  Alone. Lost. Forever fallen.

  My eyes sought his.

  At least, I won’t be lonely—

  not with his ring glowing

  on my finger. My glance

  slid down his face and arms,

  dropped to my hand, searching

  for that reassuring gemstone.

  My fingers purple, puffy,

  empty.

  He patted the pocket

  of his saddle-brown leather

  jacket that matches the coat

  draped over me. “It fell

  off. I’ve got it safe.”

  He pulled over for gas,

  slipped the ring on the chain

  he used to wear,

  fastened it around my neck,

  and gave me a double

  dose of pills.

  “The nurses said not

  to let the pain get out of hand.”

  I wanted to protest.

  I needed the hurt,

  something real to suffer,

  not like the ache in my spirit,

  the divine hole that will never heal.

  But I swallowed for him—

  for his fingers touching my lips

  as he placed capsules on my tongue,

  for his hands holding up my water bottle,

  for the kiss I demanded as reward.

  Now, he lifts me from the wheelchair,

  settles me in cushy first class,

  front row, window seat.

  He sinks beside me, lightly

  touches my garish fingers sticking

  out of my cast, closes

  his eyes. “Just give me a minute.”

  I stroke his hand with my fingertips.

  “I love you.”

  His mouth corners turn up

  as he drifts away.

  I analyze the minute contractions

  of his nose when he inhales.

  His chest lifts, fills, falls

  as the air silently escapes.

  I close my eyes and trace the vision—

  jeans, jacket, his hair getting long again,

  curling along his neck like it was that day

  on the bus when he rescued me from Troy—

  cementing it in my mind,

  in case he evaporates

  again.

  I catch my reflection

  in the pre-dawn dark window

  beside me, ignore the black eyes,

  the scarf that doesn’t camouflage

  my shaved, wounded scalp,

  focus on the ugly white

  gauze holding my nose in place,

  wince when I try to use it,

  force air in through my mouth,

  slow and steady,

  like Michael taught me.

  “Max the 02,” I imagine he says.

  “It’s good for your head.”

  The surgeon said I’ll snore.

  Poor, Michael. I’m such a freak.

  The doc also told me to breathe deep.

  Pneumonia attacks in hurt rib

  territory. A sharp twinge, dulled

  but perceptible, accompanies

  every breath. In. Out.

  Deeper. Deeper.

  Michael sleeps the whole flight.

  An attendant reaches across him

  to hand me a soda that I can’t hold.

  “Wish I could snooze like that.”

  I direct her to set the cup on my armrest

  table thing that blocks my knee from

  touching his. “Shhh. He deserves it.”

  Every minute.

  Three hours I watch.

  It isn’t enough.

  He wakes when we land.

  “You surviving?”

  I nod. “You?”

  “I’m great.” He smiles,

  but it’s thin.

  How can I say I love him?<
br />
  I high-jacked his life.

  Kidnapped his destiny.

  He says all he wants is me.

  What if he’s lying?

  What if I’m not enough?

  What if he gets sick of being

  my hero?

  What if he can’t love me

  this ugly?

  I force a smile. “Where to next?”

  “Miami.”

  “Your condo?”

  He shakes his head. “Too easy.

  That’s the first place they’ll look.”

  “Didn’t know you were that into

  this evil mastermind gig.”

  He doesn’t laugh. “We can go

  there if you want.

  Gram would fly out—

  stay with us awhile.”

  My heart pounds.

  “She’d tell my dad.”

  “Yeah. He could come, too.”

  He combs his fingers through what’s

  left of my hair. “Just like old times.”

  I close my eyes—thankful

  that my face is masked—so

  he can’t see what I

  desperately desire.

  He sees anyway. “I can

  take you home, babe”—

  his whisper holds hope—

  “just say the word.”

  I inhale again and the pain

  from my ribs

  knifes to my heart.

  “I can’t

  ever

  go home

  again.”

  He shakes his head.

  “When you’re ready,

  I’ll take you.” His lips

  imprint the promise

  on my mouth.

  “I’m ready for you.”

  My kiss says it better.

  “Only you.”

  O’Hare is packed. He says

  it’s always like this. But—

  he’s got a shiny white cart

  waiting that whisks us like

  magic through the masses.

  I get to board our plane first.

  We don’t bother with a wheelchair.

  I start to hobble through the gate,

  but Michael sweeps me in his arms

  again.

  “The doctor said I should walk.”

  “Walk tomorrow.”

  His breathe tickles my ear.

  “Aren’t you tired of this?”

  I let him into my eyes

  where all my fears hide.

  He cradles me close. “I’ll

  never get tired

  of this.”

  MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG—VOLUME #10

  Dive Buddy: Leesie

  Date: 04/27

  Dive #: first night

  Location: Grand Cayman

  Dive Site: Summer Breeze Resort

  Weather Condition: clear skies, full moon

  Water Condition: choppy

  Depth: way, way, way over my head

  Visibility: I can’t see anything but her

  Water Temp: steamy out

  Bottom Time: all night long

  Comments:

  The hotel doesn’t have wheelchairs like the airport. I follow the porter to Leesie’s room carrying her in my arms. It’s steamy in Cayman so we stripped off our matching Bonnie and Clyde get-away jackets waiting in line at emigration. Leather and the tropics don’t mix. I stuffed them in one of Leesie’s duffel bags when we claimed them. All I’ve got is my backpack.

  As I walk down the hall, my feet sinking into the plush carpet, I’m hyper-aware of Leesie’s wounded head pressed against my shoulder, her breath on my neck. Holding her turns me on, and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. Half her head is shaved, and there’s forty-two stitches running down into her forehead. The bruising around her eyes is less purple tonight. Her lip is gashed and swollen. She’s banged up, swollen, bruised, wrapped up and plastered, but she’s still Leesie. I still love her. Touching her still makes me want her. “Hang in there, babe,” I whisper into her ear. “We’re almost there.”

  “Hurry.” She wouldn’t use the john at the airport. “I’m going to explode.”

  Me, too, babe. Me, too.

  The porter opens the door, and I follow him inside the hotel room. I take Leesie right into the bathroom and set her down. I whisper so the guy can’t hear us. “Can you manage?”

  “Not the snap.” Her eyes find mine, and we step further into the new reality we find ourselves in.

  I shake my head and drop my eyes. Careful not to touch anything but her pants, I unfasten her jeans and shut the door.

  I get the porter to unlock the connecting door to my room, dump my backpack in there, press ten bucks in the guy’s hand, and usher him out. I pull Leesie’s pain pills from my pocket, shake four out and place them beside a bottle of water on the nightstand next to the bed closest to the bathroom.

  Leesie hobbles out of the bathroom. “I’ve never had to go that bad in my life.” Her jeans are pulled up but undone.

  I force myself not to stare at the white underwear triangle between the open zipper teeth. “Let me help.” I steer clear of her zipper, but scoop her up for the thousandth time since we signed her out of that hospital room in Kellogg, Idaho. I push the pillows off so she can lie flat and lay her down on the bed—have to stop myself from kissing her neck.

  I haven’t slept for more than an hour or two at a time for the past five days. We’re alone in a hotel room for the first time. I’ve got zero self-control left. I move to the bottom of the bed and go to work relieving her of the ugly blue Velcroed boots that cover her wrapped up sprained ankles.

  Leesie yawns and stretches her legs. “Are you sure we want this bed? You can’t see the TV very well from here.”

  I pull off the first boot. “I’ll move you. Just let me finish.”

  “It doesn’t matter.” She swallows. The bottom half of her cheeks and her pale, lovely neck turn pink. “If this is where you want to sleep—”

  “Leese.” It kills me to say this. “My bed is in the room next door.”

  The heightened color drains out of her face. “I need you here.” Her eyes fill with terror. “You’re not going to leave me?”

  I slip off the other boot. “This isn’t the hospital with nurses and aids coming in and out all night. That door is locked. We’re alone.” I stare down at her bandaged ankles and can’t stop myself touching both her feet, caressing them. “I don’t trust myself.” I bend down and kiss her big toe.

  “I’m yours now, Michael.” Her broken left hand reaches for me. “Whatever you want.”

  I take her hand and kneel down by the bed. “I’m not going to hurt you more.”

  “I’ll be okay.” Her grip on my hand gets tight. I know she’s lying. Scared. Of me. “Just,” her voice drops so low I barely hear, “don’t put any pressure on my upper body.”

  My mind instinctively flies to solving that problem. Freak. What a creep. It takes all the self-control I thought I didn’t have to let go of her hand, stand up, and back away from her bed. “I promised your dad—”

  “You called my dad?” She scowls, but I hear longing in her voice.

  My eyes shift to the phone on the nightstand. “Let me, Leesie. Please.”

  “No—that’s over.” She sets her jaw and struggles to keep the tears at bay. “They don’t exist. Anything you said to him doesn’t matter.” She takes a deep breath. Her eyes lift to mine. “You’re all I am now.”

  I’m hearing what I thought I always wanted her to say, and it’s torture. “Don’t be crazy like this.” Her whole life has been about being a Mormon. There’s no way I can replace that—ruin it. “It does matter.”

  No sex unless we’re married, Leese. Those are your rules. I remember my conversation at Thanksgiving with her dad. Almost isn’t good enough for him. Isn’t good enough for my Leesie. “I’m keeping that promise.”

  Tears flow down her face. She says God won’t forgive her for what happened to Phil. Thinks
she should suffer—die. If there is a God, I don’t think he’d want that. I don’t know if she’s screwed things up or Mormonism is really that crazed. She hasn’t told me what went on in the cab of that pickup truck. It’s destroying her, though. Whatever it was. When she’s ready, she’ll tell me, and I can help her process the pain of it like she did for me when I felt so guilty about my mom.

  Her tears weaken me. I soften my voice. “You lost Phil. That’s awful, but everything else is still there.”

  She wipes her face with her broken left hand. “I disgust you now.” Her hand comes to rest on her chest where her engagement ring hangs from my old chain.

  “I want you so badly, babe, that I got to get out of here.” I take another step back. “Take your pills. Sleep.”

  “You can’t go.” She needs help getting undressed, help taking her pills, help getting under the covers.

  “I wish I could stay and take care of you.” My eyes sting, and I have to swallow hard. “But I’m a guy, and I love you.” A sob chokes me a moment. “If I touch you one more time tonight—”

  I bolt through the door, slam it shut, lock it. Press my ear to the wood.

  “Michael.” She calls me. “Michael, Michael, Michael.”

  Chapter 2

  PILLS

  LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK

  POEM # 75, REBELLION

  I wear out my voice calling

  him to come back, wear out

  my heart, wear out

  my desolation.

  “Take your pills, Leese.”

  His voice through the door triggers

  rebellion. Those stupid pills—

  his solution for everything.

  Drug her up so I won’t

  have to deal with her,

  hear her, touch her, kiss her,

  love her.

  “Take your pills, babe. The nurses

  said.”

  I sweep them off the nightstand.

  The capsules mock me

  from the carpet, glowing

  in the light he left on

 
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