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Destined to feel, p.1
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       Destined to Feel, p.1

           Indigo Bloome
 
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Destined to Feel


  DEDICATION

  For my husband, whose support since this wild ride began has been nothing less than sensational CONTENTS

  COVER

  DEDICATION

  PREFACE

  PART ONE

  PART TWO

  PART THREE

  PART FOUR

  PART FIVE

  PART SIX

  PART SEVEN

  PART EIGHT

  EPILOGUE

  COPYRIGHT

  ‘Do you ever feel like you were destined to play?’

  ‘Only in my dreams…’

  Play: engage in an activity for enjoyment or recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose, by humans or animals

  Feel: to perceive or examine by touch, be conscious of experience, to have a sensation of something other than by sight, hearing, taste or smell Preface

  If I had known then what I know now, would it be any different?

  I’m not sure why or how my life changed so dramatically so fast, yet it continues as if nothing has changed at all. It began with one weekend that perhaps, in hindsight, should never have happened, but deep in my soul I have a vague nagging that it was always meant to be…

  This leaves me embroiled within a psychological and sexual tornado that landed without any advance warning or forecast — or maybe I just missed the signs? Either way, what has happened, has happened, what will be, will be. I just don’t know how it will end, or whether I will survive the journey.

  PART ONE

  Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.

  — Lao Tzu

  Alexa

  Here I am, sitting in the first-class lounge, which is another thrilling first for me, with my complimentary glass of Taittinger and snacking on lime-infused salt and pepper calamari. I lean back on the plush sofa and gaze around at the clean, modern lines of the room, with its subdued lighting and every convenience imaginable. Life is good. No, life is great, incredibly great. I can’t help but feel a little bit mystified as to how well everything has worked out. Robert and I are getting along famously now that we have finally been honest with each other about our feelings. We’ve been really focused on the kids together and I’ve no doubt it has been beneficial for them. They are the quintessential happy little vegemites and it just makes me smile. I wish I could say the same for some of my girlfriends, who are in a state of frenzied anxiety at the sudden change in my lifestyle. Admittedly, it is definitely a weird turn of events to return from a work trip with a new (old) lover, separate from your husband yet still live happily under one roof and suddenly have an international career to meld into your everyday life in Tasmania.

  Even thinking about it like that seems unrealistic and too bizarre for words. So I understand why a small, close-knit community would want to discuss such a scandalous state of affairs.

  However, I can’t say the harsh, sarcastic edge of some of their statements about my ‘illicit’

  weekend away doesn’t hurt. Worse still is the snickering and whispering in huddled groups and the raising of eyebrows when I walk past to drop Elizabeth and Jordan off at school. The unspoken word is what kills me the most. Why can’t people just be upfront and stand by their convictions; or alternatively keep their opinions to themselves and say nothing instead of attempting to garner an undercurrent of bitchy gossip at the school gate?

  I suppose I brought most of this on myself; I could have said absolutely nothing — so do I regret telling anyone? I don’t think so… There is nothing quite like having a few close girlfriends to share the excitement, wonder and emotion of the wild roller coaster of a ride I have been on in the past couple of months, even though I have to be deliberately evasive of the details, for obvious reasons. To be honest, they have helped keep me sane and I love them for that. I doubt they would believe my version of reality in any case, I find it difficult myself. One thing about becoming a mum is that you are forced to deal with the most judgemental species on the planet — other mothers. From breastfeeding and food to toilet training and discipline, no one is ever short of an opinion. Once you become a mother it is as if you have a god-given right to share your experience and knowledge with newer, less practised mothers who you feel are in desperate and urgent need of your extensive fountain of knowledge — I don’t deny I have been known to venture into this category myself on occasion. So we share our all-encompassing sage advice to both enhance our own egos (and reinforce to ourselves that we are on the correct parenting path) and of course, to help each other feel better about our own struggles and pitfalls.

  That said, I don’t believe there is a group in society who will provide you with more support when you need it but it comes, at times, with the cost of some hefty judgement calls.

  I keep getting flashes of the many mothers who come to my office emotionally distraught and in need of coping mechanisms to deal with the interpersonal shenanigans of motherhood that no one prepares them for. And now I find myself on the receiving end of their hidden voices questioning whether or not I’m a still a good mother. Apparently I was before my week away, but now? Who knows…and I’m making things worse by leaving again, this time going to London for a fortnight — with that man! How do I live with myself? Obviously this must constitute being a very bad mother, mustn’t it, even if it is for work? I wonder whether the judgements would be any less severe if I was going on a 10-day yoga retreat with some girlfriends for a bit of well earned rest and relaxation from the daily grind of parenthood. Would that make my choice any easier for others to swallow? I know deep in my heart that I’m a great mum and that I love my children unconditionally, as they do me. They tell me daily I’m ‘awesome’, which must count for something.

  The fathers, on the other hand, have been supportive of Robert although I’m not sure whether they know about his desire to explore his homosexual tendencies. Would that perhaps change things? I’m pleased he will be taking some time for himself when I return home from this trip, I think it will be just what he needs before embarking on the next phase of his life. Imagine the gossip if another man moved in… Scandalous! I chuckle at the thought. Either way, that is his business and I will respect his privacy as to ‘if’ and ‘when’ he decides to discuss his change in lifestyle with others.

  I shake my head to clear it from all this circular thinking — it’s entirely a waste of time to dwell on other people’s attitudes. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion; it’s just the way in which it is shared that has me miffed.

  I have a few spare minutes before my flight will be called for boarding and I become more or less incommunicado for the long flight to London, with only a short stopover in Singapore. I decide to make the most of it and take a photo of the decadence before me and send it to Jeremy as a sort of ‘thanks for my new life’ message with lots of hugs and kisses. A few sips later, my phone rings and it’s him.

  ‘Hi, this is a surprise.’

  ‘Hi, sweetheart. God, I can’t wait to see you.’ His voice is deep and sends a delightful shiver through me.

  ‘Hmm, likewise.’ It feels like eons since his magic hands have touched my skin.

  ‘I’m pleased you’re enjoying the first-class lounge.’

  ‘I am, but it would be far more pleasant sharing it with you.’

  ‘Not too long to wait now, I should be arriving in London about twelve hours after you; I’m travelling with Sam.’

  ‘Oh, he’s with you? That’s great.’ I can’t help but think it might be a little strange meeting Professor Samuel Webster for the first time since the experiment. He had been my PhD examiner and over time had become more like an academic father than a mentor. Over the past year or so, his research team has been focused on female sexology in the field of neuroscience, which is ho
w he ended up connecting with Jeremy and the Global Research Forum. I shift uncomfortably at the thought of him knowing what I have done…and what I had done to me. But there’s not much I can do about it now except try to remain as professional as possible in these unusual circumstances and deep down, I know he will do the same in return. It wouldn’t bother me if I were analysing someone else’s results, so I resolve to take that approach in my mind.

  ‘There’s so much to catch up on, Alexa. We’ve made some astonishing advances in the last month, it’s getting really exciting.’

  ‘You sound excited,’ I smile. ‘I can’t wait either and I have a few questions for you too.’

  ‘No doubt you do, Alexa.’ His voice reverberates in my ear as my butt tingles in recognition of the meaning behind his words. Oh no, not when I’m on the phone, how would I explain that? I need to focus on something else to distract the flow of memories and their physical effects once again disabling me in public.

  ‘I haven’t received any documents yet, Jeremy. Should I have? I want to be as prepared as possible when I arrive.’

  ‘No, nothing yet, I’d rather go through everything with you in person. Just relax and enjoy your time. You’ll be busy enough when you get here, I promise you.’

  I hear my flight being called for boarding.

  ‘Have to go, they’re calling my flight so I’d better get moving.’

  ‘No worries, AB. It’s great to hear your voice.’

  ‘I can’t wait to see you again, Jeremy, it feels like forever.’ Warmth floods my groin.

  ‘I know, sweetheart…well, not long now. You’re still wearing the bracelet?’

  ‘Of course.’ It’s not like I can take it off. I glance down at the silver bracelet embedded with pink diamonds and fitted with a GPS chip encircling my wrist.

  ‘Good, I love knowing where you are.’ I roll my eyes but he can’t see me.

  ‘Maybe you should get one made for yourself so I can keep track of you and your jetsetting lifestyle.’

  ‘I hadn’t thought of that, we’ll see.’ He chuckles, then adds seriously, ‘Far more important that I know you’re safe and secure.’ Back in protective mode, which I have to admit makes me feel rather cherished.

  ‘Love you, gotta go, final call.’

  ‘Okay.’ He sounds reluctant to finish the call, as am I. ‘See you tomorrow night and promise me you’ll keep out of trouble.’

  ‘When do I ever get into any trouble, unless I’m with you?’

  ‘Alex!’ he admonishes me and then quickly adds, ‘Love you, too.’ I sense his smile all those miles away. ‘Later, sweetheart. Stay safe.’ And he’s gone. I stare at the phone as if in a daze before the final, final boarding call distracts me from my reverie. Unfortunately, with changes in time zones and my increasingly urgent carnal desires for the man I love, tomorrow night is a very long way away.

  I am waiting on the tarmac for takeoff. I would never have thought in a million years this could be happening to me. I feel like I am steadily becoming the person I was always meant to be. I am so excited about seeing Jeremy again that I can barely contain myself as I shuffle around in my seat absorbing all the additional features of first-class. I almost feel like I did when I went on my first 747 when I was seven years old and flying to Disneyland to meet Donald and Daisy Duck — for completely different reasons, of course. Naturally, this is the adults-only version of such unfettered anticipation. The butterflies in my stomach are still there, just like before I met Jeremy in Sydney, but this time they are big and colourful and I welcome their presence as they let me know I’m vital and alive, more than I have felt for years. I finally settle in as we take off for the long journey ahead.

  When I arrive in Singapore I switch on my phone to send a quick text message to the kids. I can’t help but smile when I see that I’ve already received one from them, all ready for bed in their pyjamas and blowing me a kiss goodnight. My heart swells with love for them, I want to kiss the screen. I take the opportunity to stretch my legs and take a nice long walk around the ever-clean and organised Changi Airport before having a quick freshen up in the first-class lounge. I look longingly at the smooth, curved showers with their giant, rainwater showerheads, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to linger. As I’m facing the mirror to ensure I look respectable enough for the next leg of my journey, I notice the woman at the next mirror staring at me intently. I wonder if I’m imagining this and being a bit paranoid, when she suddenly speaks to me in a rather formal polished, French-accented voice.

  ‘Please excuse my staring, but are you not Dr Alexandra Blake?’

  Although slightly taken aback by her intensity, I answer, ‘Yes, I am.’

  ‘Oh, this is wonderful.’ She visibly softens. ‘Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am Lauren Bertrand.’

  She is immaculately coiffed, dressed in a smart suit, matching pumps and handbag, as only the French can be. She is an impressive-looking woman, a small powerhouse.

  ‘Oh, hello.’ We shake hands and it takes me a moment to search my memory for where I have heard her name before until it dawns on me that she is a member of Jeremy’s research forum. Ah yes, Doctor Lauren Bertrand. If I remember correctly I think her speciality is chemistry.

  ‘I work with Dr Quinn. It is so nice to meet you, welcome to the team.’ Her smile appears friendly but remains professional.

  ‘Of course, lovely to meet you too. Thank you.’

  ‘Are you on your way to London?’

  ‘Yes, my flight leaves shortly. Are you?’

  ‘I’m heading to Brussels for a meeting and then home to Paris for a few days before meeting up with the team in London. The research Jeremy sent through recently is intriguing on so many fronts. I am very much looking forward to our forum and working with you more directly. Such surprising, fascinating results…’ Her eyes drift over my body and she seems lost in thought for a brief moment. I redden at her appraisal and wonder exactly which results are surprising her so much. How come she has received them as part of the forum, and why haven’t I received anything? I can’t help but flush with embarrassment and disappointment at the thought of being on the other side of the experiment without any of the analysis to critique and review. I wonder if any of my clients ever felt like this during our sessions. Quite possibly.

  I’m thankful to hear my flight being called as the intensity of her gaze is making me feel ill at ease.

  ‘Well, that’s my flight. Safe travels and I assume I’ll see you in a few days.’

  ‘Absolutely, I look forward to it. Do take care, Dr Blake. I’m so pleased to have had this opportunity to meet you first-hand.’

  ‘Please, call me Alexa.’

  ‘Thank you, Alexa, until we meet again.’ She shakes my hand, this time with both of her hands cupping mine. I can’t decipher whether it’s from affection or possession. Weird feeling. I turn to leave as her cell phone rings and she answers quickly. Her voice is excited and clipped.

  ‘You’ll never guess who I’ve just bumped into…yes…she is on the next flight to London from Singapore…’ As I walk out the door as she gives me a quick wave and turns around to continue her phone call.

  Back on the plane and flying high, I happily drink a couple of glasses of Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. I do so love Western Australia’s Margaret River. The wine goes perfectly with my herb-encrusted fish and salad. And I can’t resist the delectable passionfruit cheesecake for dessert. As this is the longest part of my flight and I didn’t sleep on the first leg, I take great joy in donning my new, not very sexy, first-class pyjamas and socks, and flatten my seat into a bed to snuggle up against the fluffy pillow and warm blankets. I spare a thought for all those people travelling in economy, as I have so many times, and I hope they manage some upright sleep in the hours ahead. My palms moisten as I put the earplugs into my ears and I hesitate before deciding whether to use the blindfold provided. Just the thought of being blind again sends lascivious shivers down my spine and ha
rdens my nipples against the soft cotton I’m wearing. I take a few deep breaths to temper the flow of heat rising within me and squeeze my legs together tightly to prevent the potential ambush. I quickly throw the blindfold towards the end of the bed, away from me; I’m obviously far from ready for anything to be covering my eyes after such an extreme experience last time. Although the thought of that blindfold, its silkiness, its lace…it sends me straight back to Jeremy and his tickling feathers, all over my body, his patience, my impatience… Oh dear lord. I must stop these thoughts. Thank goodness I’m in first-class so no one can see where my hands were accidentally wandering. Heaven forbid — on a plane, with people surrounding me! I fleetingly wonder whatever happened to that blindfold.

  Maybe Jeremy still has it?

  But at this moment I need sleep more than anything, not these intense, erotic feelings that need to wait another 24 hours until I am with him so they can finally explode to their passionate content. It’s as if the feelings understand that being put on hold will be worth the wait, and they subside enough to allow me to fall into a satisfying sleep.

  I am standing at my bedroom window in my negligee and glance over my shoulder to see Jeremy’s tanned, muscled body sound asleep in my bed. The strength of his back and his tousled, sleepy hair remind me of our recent intimate connection. I hug myself in happiness before stepping onto the balcony to see Elizabeth and Jordan playing in the garden. I smile as I wave at them, running and shouting around the willow tree. I step back inside and notice Jeremy is no longer in the bed, which is strange as he was sleeping so soundly just a moment ago. I walk out the door and downstairs calling his name, wondering where he could be. I enter the kitchen, which suddenly feels cold and empty and leaves me with a chill. I follow the draught down another set of stairs and trip over, tumbling further down, deeper and deeper.

  My negligee is filthy and torn and at the end of my fall I can barely move my legs, it feels like I could be wading in molasses. The stairwell above me goes on forever, too high for me to climb with my leaden legs. I scrape and crawl along the floor, commando-style, unable to see clearly where I am going. I instantly still in absolute terror when I feel something slither alongside my body. As my eyes adjust to the darkness I see the body of a thick, long snake. It pauses as if sensing my presence and my heart pounds hard and fast in my chest. Its forked tongue darts back and forth in its mouth, before it raises its head and moves seamlessly and silently onto the small of my back. I dare not breathe. Its weight is hefty as it follows down the lines of my body. I am frozen with fear as the length of its dark, thick body continues sliding leisurely between my buttocks over what’s left of my silky white negligee. Such a strange sensation, it’s as if its movement paralyses me. The last of its weight leaves my body and its tail finally smooths past my toes. It climbs up a phallus-like staff. Light is shining from above and I can see that it is bright green and gold in colour as it wraps itself around the Rod of Asclepius, the symbol for medicine and healing. I sense there is something mystical about the vision before me and I can’t help but be in awe of the snake’s presence —

 
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