In my reality in my drea.., p.7
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       In My Reality (In My Dreams Book 2), p.7

           Cameo Renae
 
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  A cold wind whips across my face. I’m back in the rear seat of the Camaro, traveling down a dark road. The guy in the driver’s seat has just turned on the radio. From the back, it’s too dark to tell who he is.

  He could be any one of the guys I recently met, but none of them owned a white Camaro.

  I want to see his face and try to move closer, but an unseen force has me frozen in place. I’m helpless, a witness watching the events play out like they have in every one of the previous dreams. Because it always repeats, I’ve memorized the sequence, and wait for the moment he slumps over and the car veers off the road.

  Watching it never gets easier. I’m always on edge, knowing what’s to come.

  When he finally passes out, and the car comes to its crashing halt, I wait for him to regain consciousness. He moans, then kicks open the door. As he stumbles away, I call out to him.

  “Wait! Please, wait!” I don’t expect a response.

  Then something happens. For the first time, he pauses, like he hears me.

  “Who are you?” I call out again. “I need to know who you are, so I can help you.”

  He turns, making my breath seize. When his face is revealed, my heart bursts into a million pieces.

  “Liz,” Michael says, turning to face me.

  “Michael?”

  Seeing the love of my life for the first time in three years, standing before me, causes a flurry of feelings to overwhelm me.

  Loud sobs rip through my body as tears pour down my face. I’m elated, but also heartbroken and confused. “Michael, how can it be you?”

  When he doesn’t answer, I know something is off. He’s different. His eyes are distant, almost sad. There is no smile on his lips, which is completely unlike Michael.

  He turns away from me.

  “Wait!” I wail. “Why is this happening?”

  He turns back and looks in my eyes. “I love you, Liz. Forever in my heart.”

  Everything around me fades as Michael walks away.

  The doorbell rang several times before I opened my eyes. The sun was streaming in through the window, and a gentle breeze kissed my face.

  After the third ding, Emily’s faint voice yelled, “Lizzy, can you get that please?” She sounded like she was still in bed.

  “Sure,” I hollered back, dragging myself out of bed and peeking out the window.

  It was Liam. Wait. Liam!

  Adrenaline pushed through my body as I glanced over at the clock. It was ten ‘til eight. Holy crap! Brushing my fingers through my hair, hoping it looked somewhat decent, I stuck my head out the window.

  “Hi, Liam!” I called down to him.

  He looked up, dashingly handsome and well put together, and smiled. “Looks like someone overslept.” He chuckled. “Would you like to cancel?”

  “Oh my gosh, no. I’m so sorry,” I said abruptly. “How about I meet you outside in say…twenty minutes?”

  His smile widened. Great. “See you in twenty.”

  He tucked his hands in his blue jeans and walked back down the pathway toward his side.

  He was tall, lean, and muscular. His plain white T-shirt hugged him in all the right places and had me looking a little too long.

  Retreating, I banged my head pretty hard on the windowsill. “Oww!” I yelped, causing Liam to turn back with a concerned expression. “I’m fine. Just had a pretty rude awakening.”

  His laughter filled the street. “Would you like me to take you to the doctor instead of breakfast?”

  “Nope,” I yelled back, my cheeks heating. “I’m hungry.” I stepped away from the window before he could respond, and sat on the bed. God, I felt like an idiot. Fingering the small lump on the top of my head, I realized I now had fifteen minutes to get ready. I grabbed some jeans, a blue camisole, and a white button-up top.

  I brushed my teeth, then threw my hair into a messy ponytail, before quickly putting on a thin layer of makeup. A few drops of Visine into each eye, a bit of blush and some lip gloss, and I was ready to go. With three minutes to spare.

  Glancing in the mirror, I looked…decent. I wasn’t dressing to impress anyway. As I jogged down the stairs, Emily exited in a robe. Her eyes were droopy, and she had a major case of bed head.

  “Hey, you. Looks like you had a rough night.” I winked.

  “And you look bright and chipper. How is that possible?”

  “Believe me, this is the fastest I’ve put myself together in a long time.”

  “You look beautiful. Have fun,” she sang, waving her fingers at me.

  “I’ll try,” I said, bouncing down the stairs.

  As I exited the door, Liam was waiting outside, standing next to a gorgeous sports car. It was a silvery gray and looked very expensive.

  A loud rumble of a motorcycle stunned me. I glanced over and saw Mason sitting on his bike. Before he put his helmet on, he saw me and gave me a smile and a nod of his head. I waved, then he pulled on his helmet, revved his engine a few times, and took off down the road.

  “Is that safe?” I asked, and Liam gave me a quizzical look.

  “Should he be riding a motorcycle, you know, with his seizures and all?”

  “How do you know about his seizures?”

  “On our way home last night, we found him on the road, after he had a seizure. Emily made him stay over until he was strong enough to go home.”

  “Oh,” he replied, surprise in his eyes. “I guess you could say Mason is a bit of a rebel. He shouldn’t be driving, but his rationale is if he were behind the wheel of a car, there would be more casualties. Riding a motorcycle limits the losses. Mostly himself.”

  “So, the motorcycle is his way of being somewhat cautious?”

  He shrugged. “I guess.” Liam stepped to the side and opened the passenger door.

  “I’m impressed. There are still gentlemen in this world.”

  A half-grin tugged on his lips. “A few.”

  As I slid into the seat, feeling like I’d entered some kind of spaceship, he closed the door. I quickly snapped the buckle around me and waited for him to come. It smelled like new leather, and the memory of Michael’s Porsche came flooding back. As Liam took his seat, his cologne filled the car, distracting me.

  “This car is beautiful,” I said running my hands over the console.

  “It’s a Corvette, and she’s a loaner.”

  I felt his eyes on me but didn’t look. The enclosed quarters and the spicy scent of his cologne was making me feel lightheaded.

  “Does she have a name?”

  “I don’t name temporary things,” he said, starting her up.

  “That’s smart. As they say, don’t name an animal you’re going to eat.”

  “Umm—”

  “That wasn’t a very good analogy,” I interrupted. “Please, just forget what I said and point me in the direction of coffee. Anything that comes out of my mouth before I have coffee should be ignored to the fullest extent.”

  “Deal.” He laughed, pulling away from the curb.

  “So where are we going?” I asked.

  “That depends. Are you a pancake or eggs benedict kind of girl?”

  “What if I say both?”

  His face lit up like the sun. “Even better. I know of a great spot, not too far from here. Plus, we’re close so I can have you back before Emily throws a fit.”

  “You know her then.”

  “Actually, she gave me fair warning and some rules about you coming. You mean a great deal to her.”

  “She’s my best and only friend.”

  “Hopefully, we can remedy that.”

  “Remedy?”

  “Yes,” he said shooting me a look. “Maybe you can add another friend to your list before this week is done.”

  “Maybe,” I replied, trying to hide a smile.

  The restaurant he took me to wasn’t a hole in the wall joint like I was used too. It was classy, making me feel a little self-conscious about my state of dress. The waitresses were all made up,
with white tops and black skirts, and had red aprons on. There were about twenty breakfast items on the menu, and they were all overpriced.

  “Please, order anything you want. It’s a write-off for my dad’s company,” he said.

  A blonde waitress came over to our table with a tablet and pen in her hand. “Hey, Liam,” she expressed in a flirty voice, her eyes scanning his frame. Her name tag read Jessica.

  “Hey, Jess. How are you this morning?” He offered her a broad smile.

  She blushed and batted her eyes. “Never better,” she chimed. “What can I getcha? Same as always?”

  “Yes, thank you,” he replied, handing her his menu. She tucked it into her apron and wrote down his order.

  He set his cell phone off to the side, face down, then looked to me.

  The waitress pivoted. “And what can I get you?” she asked, her smile disappearing. Her golden hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail, and her eyes were a jealous green.

  “I’ll have your special,” I started. “Eggs over easy, bacon extra-crispy, and coffee, please. Lots of coffee, with extra creamer.” She took my menu and wrote down my order.

  “I like a girl who knows exactly what she wants.” Liam shot me an adorable crooked smile.

  He was charming, and I watched the waitress indiscreetly roll her eyes as she walked away. She didn’t seem too happy I was here, or that Liam was giving me attention.

  “I hope she doesn’t spit in my food.” I gasped as I realized the words that were meant for my head, had escaped my mouth.

  “What?” Liam questioned, his face twisted. “Why would she do that?”

  “Oh God,” I breathed. “Pre-caffeine moment. I’m sorry. Disregard those words. I was just thinking out loud.”

  “Humor me,” he said.

  “You didn’t see the way she was looking at you? That waitress is completely into you.”

  “Who? Jessica?”

  “Yep,” I replied.

  “No, we’re just friends,” he said shaking his head. “We have a business class together, plus I’m a regular here.”

  By the look on his face, he was clueless. He continued when all I did was raise my eyebrows.

  “As you may have guessed, I’m not well-seasoned in dating,” he said.

  “Sure.” I rolled my eyes, thinking he was pulling my leg.

  “It’s true. Growing up, our parents had us on a tight leash. As soon as we entered grade school, they began grooming us to take over the family business. I knew how to balance a checkbook in the fifth grade, and before seventh grade, I could give a wicked PowerPoint presentation. We’ve traveled all over the world, and have had top, private tutors.”

  “I thought your dad was into construction and real-estate?”

  “He recently started dabbling in real estate, but Pierce and Sons, which will eventually include Logan and me, is a consulting company. Within the last few years, my dad has gone international and now has a few offices overseas, which means a lot more traveling.”

  “And you enjoy that?”

  Liam shrugged. “It’s my duty to help run and eventually take over the business. When I’m experienced enough, I will be able to mentor others to take my place.”

  “Then you’ll be the boss,” I said with a smile.

  “That’s the plan,” he agreed.

  “And Logan is going to be a consultant as well?”

  He tilted his head from side to side. “Logan is very smart and would make a fantastic consultant, but right now, his mind is not on the company.”

  I nodded, and he narrowed his eyes. “Why do you look like you already know stuff about us?”

  I lifted my shoulders and blushed. “Emily gave me a bit of a run down on you and your brother. I think she was trying to sell me on you.”

  His eyes widened. “And?”

  “And what?”

  “How was her pitch? Was it good?”

  “It was. She’s very fond of you.”

  The waitress ambled over with my coffee and a saucer filled with mini creamers.

  “Thank you,” I said.

  “Mm-hmm,” she hummed.

  “Here you go, Liam,” she said, setting a large wine glass of orange juice in front of him.

  “Thank you,” he said, offering her a smile. She soaked it up and grinned as she walked away.

  “That’s a fancy glass for orange juice. You don’t drink coffee?” I asked, pouring my fourth cream into my cup, trying to achieve that certain light, caramel color.

  “I’ve already had two cups this morning. I needed something to settle my nerves.”

  “And orange juice does that for you?”

  “It’s a mimosa.”

  “Oh, you’re having alcohol for breakfast?” I said with a bit of sass.

  His left brow raised and his head tilted to the side. “And you haven’t?”

  “Nope.” I shook my head and held up my coffee cup to him. “Cheers. To breakfast drink diversity.”

  “Cheers.” He chuckled, clinking his glass against my mug.

  I took a sip of my coffee, and it was perfect.

  He set his glass down and leaned forward. “Tell me about life in Alaska. I want to know more. Have you seen the aurora borealis?”

  “I have, many times.”

  “Is it as striking as the pictures?”

  “Even more so, but to see them in their entire full-blown beauty, you have to head to the boonies. Some place where there is no light pollution,” I noted. “My favorite auroras are the ones with multiple colors. They move slowly across the sky, almost as if they’re dancing. It’s magical.”

  His eyes were distant. “I hope to experience it myself one day.”

  “Make sure one of your clients is located in Alaska,” I suggested. “Everyone should experience them, at least once.”

  He nodded and picked up his drink. “So, if you don’t mind my asking, what do you do?”

  Oh God. I knew this question was bound to pop up. I didn’t want to tell him I was a medium—not to someone who seemed studied and grounded.

  I set my mug down and cleared my throat. “I help a family friend part-time in her gift shop, and I’m also a counselor of sorts.” That wasn’t really a lie.

  His face lit up. “Counselor? For a school?”

  “No,” I answered, trying to dance around the truth. “It’s mostly freelance. I offer help to anyone who comes to me. In a way, I guess it’s almost like a consultant job, except my pay sucks.”

  I laughed, but he didn’t. Awkward.

  Liam was still listening intently, so I continued. “Each client is different, so I assess their problems, then help to resolve them. Once they fully understand their task and responsibility, I send them through the door to continue on with the next phase of their life.”

  He sipped his drink. “Sounds fulfilling.”

  “So far, I’ve been one hundred percent successful.”

  “You can’t argue with numbers like that.”

  “No, you can’t.” I leaned back in my chair and arched my back in a long stretch. That went better than expected.

  His phone rang, and when he looked at it, he looked bemused. “I’m so sorry. I’ll be right back. I really need to take this call.”

  “That’s fine. Go.” I shooed him away.

  He walked to an empty corner of the restaurant, glancing back at me now and then. It was to the point I wondered if he was talking about me. When he returned, he apologized again, saying it was a business call.

  The waitress came to our table and set our food down in front of us.

  “Can I get you anything else?” she asked Liam. He looked across the table at me, and I shook my head.

  “No, thank you. We’re good,” he replied. She nodded and walked away.

  God, she was rude.

  Liam had a stack of pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries on them, and an extra bowl of butter cubes on the side. The whipped cream was made to look like a smiley face, lined with strawbe
rries and chocolate chips. It was practically a work of art.

  “Wow, that stack of pancakes looks like it’s really happy to see you.”

  “They’re chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries.”

  “And extra butter,” I noted.

  “Yes,” he agreed with a hearty laugh. “You can never have too much butter.”

  “You aren’t going to find an argument here,” I said, spreading butter on my plain-Jane, solitary pancake.

  “Would you like to try one of mine?” he offered.

  “No, thank you,” I said, popping my egg and dipping a slice of bacon in it.

  His nose scrunched like he’d never seen it done before, then lifted his glass to me.

  “To breakfast food diversity.”

  “Cheers.” I clinked my mug against his glass.

  We made it back to Emily’s with twenty minutes to spare.

  “Thank you,” I said. “I had a really nice time.”

  “So did I.” He smiled, walking me to the door. “It’s been a long time since I’ve really relaxed and had a nice, adult conversation with someone.”

  “Me too.” I stopped when I reached the door and turned to face him.

  “Do you think I’ll be allowed to take you out again, or should I ask the vacation boss?”

  Liam was handsome and funny. He’d be a great catch for some lucky woman. “I believe it would be okay, as long as it doesn’t clash with her plans.”

  “Maybe I should send her an email and have her shoot me over an itinerary.”

  “Hey, it could be some good practice for an upcoming executive consultant.”

  His laugh filled the air. “It would be just that.”

  “Thank you for breakfast and great company,” I said, opening the door and stepping inside.

  “It was my pleasure,” he answered. “I’ll see you soon.”

  With that, he tucked his hands in his pockets, and walked away.

  I closed the door and turned around.

  “So?” Emily piped up, standing right behind me.

  I screamed, then smacked her in the arm. “Don’t do that,” I said, grabbing my chest.

  “I didn’t do anything. I was just standing here.”

  “Yeah, and you scared the bejesus out of me.”

  “Says the girl who speaks to ghosts.” She smirked, crossing her arms over her chest. “Enough small talk. Just spill.”

 
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