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The Man of My Dreams

The Man of My Dreams

As Renee prepares for her upcoming wedding, she can't seem to shake the feeling of foreboding. Eventually she comes face to face with herself from another time. And the man in her dreams slowly becomes the man of her dreams.

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Romance / Women's fiction


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Ronda Heard (United States)



"I can't believe I'm getting married in less than two months," I said aloud as I sealed the last of the invitations. "I hope I'm doing the right thing."

"Did you say something, Dear?"

"No, Mom. I was talking to myself."

"Oh, I am so excited! My baby is getting married! So, what's next on the agenda?" I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I didn't hear a word my mother said.

"Sweetheart, did you hear what I said?"

"I'm sorry. Did you say something, Mom?"

"Yes, I did, Honey. I asked what was next on the agenda, but you were somewhere else. You've been walking around like a zombie for the past week. I don't understand it! I mean, you are getting married in less than two months, for crying out loud! What is wrong with you?"

"Mom, PLEASE stop! I've been under a lot of pressure lately, alright? The computer system at work crashed and I've worked overtime every night this week to get it back on line. If that wasn't enough, Sean hasn't helped with any of the arrangements. And on top of that, I've had community watch, business meetings and choir rehearsals. I'm feeling very strung out right now, Mom. I just. . . I need a break!"

"I'm sorry, Dear. I didn't mean to pressure you. I'm just worried about you." My mother softly stroked my cheek. "I love you, baby girl."

"I love you too, Mama."

After my mother left, I took a long, hot, bath. I filled the tub and sank right in. The tension in my body instantly melted away. The sweet aromas of rose and peach mingled with the exotic fragrances of patchouli and sandalwood from candles I had placed about the room. As the sultry sounds of "Anytime Anyplace" spilled forth from my CD player, I drifted off to sleep.
*** *** *** *** ***
"Your Excellency, the girl has escaped!"

"You idiot! Jotuzu, a prominent leader of the Mambazi people was livid. "Gather your men and go after her. If you do not find her, I will cut out your liver and feed it to the dogs!"

"Yes, your Excellency," replied the wary tribesman.

"What is all the commotion about?"

"Ah, your Majesty, King Ataji. I did not know that you were awake." Jotuzu cooed.

"Enough with the formality, Jotuzu," said the king waving his hand as if to shoo a fly. "Where is the girl you promised me?"

"Well. . . your Majesty. That is what the commotion is about. The girl has. . .escaped." Jotuzu braced himself for the king's anger.

"What do you mean she has escaped! I have given ten of my best oxen for her. You had better find her quickly, or I will have your head!" The king roared and slammed his fist onto a table.

"There she is. Get her!"

"Oh, no! I must go faster." I ran as fast as my legs would carry me; hurdling bushes and dodging tree branches.

"You might as well surrender. You are surrounded."

I slowed my pace long enough to see that I was surrounded. So, I dropped to my knees, gasping for air. They quickly pounced on me and roughly tied my hands behind my back. As we drew nearer to the village, I noticed that everyone was there. They knelt in a circle around a huge fire. My hands were untied and I was pushed toward the fire. Just then, Jotuzu stepped out from the royal hut and announced, "King Ataji." Everyone bowed in unison as the king appeared, except me. A tribesman noticed that I hadn't bowed. He immediately jumped up, knocked me face forward into the dirt and yelled, "How dare you not bow to the king?"

"Let her be," said the king, amused.

I wiped the dirt from my face and defiantly stared at the king. As I did, I noticed his height. He wasn't extremely tall, but he was at least a foot taller than his subjects. And those eyes! He had the most beautiful, raspberry chocolate eyes I had ever seen! Try as I may, I couldn't stop staring into those eyes.

When the king walked toward me, I stepped back in fear. He wore a cheetah skin gown and a lion cape with the head still attached. His face was painted black, yellow and white. He would have been quite fierce and intimidating, if he didn't have those eyes. When the king stopped two feet in front of me, I suddenly became extremely aware of how scantily clad I was; so much so that I lowered my gaze to the ground. He reached out his large right hand and lifted my chin to meet his gaze. When our eyes met, lightening flashed my knees buckled slightly. We stood there; just stood there soaking up each other’s essences. He broke the silence.

"What is your name?"

"My name is Renalla, your Majesty," I replied as I curtsied.

"Renalla, hmm. A beautiful name for a beautiful gir. . ." he hesitated. He then, slowly, deliberately drug his eyes down the length of my body and back up to my face. "Woman," he concluded. The word 'woman' rolled off his tongue like blackberry honey!

"Your Majesty, please take your seat. The girl will dance for you now," said Jotuzu while giving me a lecherous look. The king nodded and sat down. "Alright, girl. Dance," commanded Jotuzu.

"I do not know how to dance," I protested.

"Nonsense, said Jotuzu."Now dance!"

"But I honestly do not know h. . ."

"Enough! You dance for the king or you die!"

"Silence," growled the king. "Do not yell at her again or you will die!" "Do not worry." The king smiled. "Dancing is easy. Here, I will show you." King Ataji stood up and took off his lion skin headdress. When he did, the crowd gasped and murmured. He walked over to me, took my hands and looked longingly into my eyes. At that moment, my heart skipped a beat and I knew, I would give this man any and everything he wanted!
*** *** *** *** ***
Ring! Ring! The telephone rang so loudly that I nearly splashed all of the water out of the bath tub.
"Oh, my goodness. How long have I been sitting here?" I sat up and answered the phone.
"Hello?"

"Hey Babe. It's me. Is everything ok?"

"Oh, Sean. I'm fine. I just fell asleep taking a bath and the phone startled me."

"I'm sorry I scared you. I just wanted to. . ."
'I can't believe it was just a dream. It seemed so real!'

"Renee? Renee! Hell-o! Earth to Renee."

"Oh, I’m sorry, Honey. My mind was somewhere else."

"I asked if you needed me to do anything."

"Well, you could mail the invitations. That would help a lot."

"I have an excellent idea. Why don't I drop by around 10:30am to pick up the invitations? That way I can take my lovely fiancé to brunch."

"That sounds wonderful! I smiled widely.

"Great! It's a date. Good night, Sweetheart."

"Good night. Hey, Sean?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you."

"Me too."

I sat there staring at the phone for a moment. "Me too? I tell you I love you and all you can say is, me too!" I angrily slammed the receiver down. "Why can't Sean be like Ataji? I can't believe I'm referring to Ataji as if he was real. “You need to get a grip, girl. It was only a dream!"

After having said that, I got out of the tub, dried off and slipped into a slinky, purple, silk, gown. I pulled back the hunter green and burgundy duvet and climbed into my queen size bed. I reached over and took the novel I had been reading from the night stand. As I did, I began to reflect on our relationship. I knew when I agreed to marry Sean that his idea of romance was giving me a credit card and the keys to his Benz and telling me to "shop 'til I drop". The brunch idea was the closest Sean had ever come to real romance. He just wasn't the "lovey dovey" type. His excuse for not saying ' I love you' or holding my hand in public was that, in his family, they didn't show their love. It was just "known" or "felt". I remembered telling him that I needed some sign of affection. Be it flowers or a card or whatever. He tries, God bless him, but he's just not romantic. I guess that's what I get for settling for "nice and stable". I put the novel back on the night stand and turned off the light. I lay there for many a minute, staring at the ceiling. 'I wonder what's gonna happen next. I keep getting the feeling that I could be making a HUGE mistake by marrying Sean. It's probably just pre-wedding jitters. Or is it?’


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

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