Friday, January 19, 2007

Author Note

Just wanted to let everybody know ahead of time that the latter part of Up From Sorrow is going to be removed this Sunday (1-21-07). So if you haven't finishing reading it, I advise you to do so now. Otherwise you'll have to buy the whole book to know what happens at the end. Better yet, just read your Bibles. After all, it has the same ending as Ruth and Boaz's story.

Okay, got to go now. I have finals to complete this week (I went back to college) plus this is the beginning of a busy tax season for me.

Much appreciation and affection,


Monday, January 15, 2007

Author Note

As I wrapped up the story for this blog, I started thinking about another blog that I wanted to start for my Sci/Fi books. I've been so busy recently that I was reluctant to begin anything new at this point, but the idea just wouldn't leave me alone. So....

So I created a new blog which is directly connected to my main website. The blog can be found as a link from My Website or you can follow the link below to view the service firsthand. I will also provide a link on this blog to the Sci/Fi so you guys can keep up with the other things I'm doing literary wise.

Keep in mind that I'm only one person (with 2 careers and a family), so I will probably only have one story (at the most 2 - with one posting slower than the other) running at the same time on any of my blogs. However, all of that could change tomorrow if I get a big book deal or if my books start selling off the charts. Then I could hire somebody to help with the free posts. Ahh...such a wonderful dream.

Anyway, I said I would give you a chance to see how well I can write Sci/Fi, so here's the link:

aka: Mi'Chelle Dodson, S.D. Frazier

PS. Don't forget to tell a friend!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Letter to Readers

As many of you have already ascertained, Up From Sorrow is loosely based on the biblical book of Ruth. I love the tale of Ruth and Boaz and I really enjoyed giving their story a modern feel. I did this not to negate or lessen the impact of the original account, but to explore how things might have played out if some of those same situations had happened to someone in today’s society.

I hope that you found Van and Kristin’s story not only entertaining, but informative as well. I also pray that you will open up your Bible and study the original story from which I gathered such inspiration. It’s quite a tale. Until you hear from me again, God bless.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

I look forward to your comments and thoughts about this story as a whole.

**See Van and Kristin again in her sister Kambria’s story (Full Circle)**

Reader comments from deleted posts:

kris said...

i really liked how this story tied into one of my favorite stories in the old testement, Ruth. not everybody has the kind of writing talent you have, nor the discipline to write at least two chapters a day. i've tried to write my own story quite a few times and all three of them have been left unfinished.

Suprina said...

Kris: I wish I could take credit for writing 2 chapters a day, but the truth is that doesn't always happen. Plus, this book was written so long ago (3 years ago I think)that I don't remember how long it took me to write it.

As for writing your own story, just keep plodding away at it, Kris. You'll get it done eventually. After all, you're not in a race with anyone, so why the rush?

Here's a tip in case you need a little bit more writing incentive: Why not start a story blog of your own? This way, your readers will help you stay motivated to finish it.

Thanks again for your compliment(s) and for being such a faithful reader.


PS: Don't forget to let me know when you start that blog. I LOVE reading other authors' work.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved that story. I'm ashamed to say, but I haven't read the book of Ruth. Because of this tory, I'm going to make that a priority. Thanks for the excellent read.

Suprina said...

Marlene: Knowing that my humble little story prompted you to go read your Bible makes me so happy!


kris said...

i don't think that i need to repeat what a great writer you are. gerard did seem like the kind of person to cut his losses and try 'consoling' claudia (not that claudia would get that sidetracked). anyway i have a little question, what does Lables: Sample mean?

Suprina said...

Kris: Thanks for saying it again. You know, the 'great writer' thing. (smile)

Labels 'Sample' is simply a way for the new blogger software to categorize a certain post. I imagine if you were to put 'Sample' into the blogger search option on my blog, you would get all instances where I posted reader samples of books.


P.S. The story ain't over yet. There's about 4 (I think)more posts to go.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 16

After Van left, Kristin immediately up to her room. After retrieving her blue leather bound Bible from the mahogany nightstand, she lay down across her peach-colored sheets and turned to the book of Ruth. Although Kristin already knew the story, she eagerly read it again, desperately wanting to see what Van had seen. He seemed so sure of his role in her life and she wasn’t exactly sure where she belonged in his.

The first chapter of Ruth discloses that a woman (Naomi) and her two daughters-in-law (Orpah and Ruth) lose all of their husbands while living in a land called Moab. It doesn’t say how the men died, just that they did. Orpah and Ruth are from Moab, but Naomi is not. When Naomi decides that it is time for her to return to her own land of Judah, she bids her two daughters-in-law goodbye and encourages them to return to their own families, wishing them well.

But Orpah and Ruth want to go with her. Although Naomi is touched, she insists that they return to their own people and start their young lives over, maybe even get married again. Orpah finally decides to return to her family, but Ruth insists on going with her mother-in-law back to Judah.

Kristin stopped reading for a moment, letting those things sink in. That’s what I did with Mama Gray. Mama Gray is Naomi. And I’m Ruth? I’m Ruth, she rehearsed to herself. Kristin already knew how the rest of the story went. In Judah, Ruth goes to find a job to help out at home. She happens upon Boaz’s property and finds work. He is a wealthy relative of Naomi’s and soon he and Ruth fall in love and get married.

Van is Boaz, Kristin deduced with a mixture of undeniable pleasure and a sliver of uncertainty. Like Boaz, Van has been very generous in his quest to help the two widows rise up from sorrow. In fact, he seemed to have taken a personal interest in their welfare. And it seemed to please him to do so, too. Kristin and Jana never felt like a charity case with Van. His benevolence overwhelmed them at times, but it always left them with their dignity.

Now what do I do, Lord? Boaz and Ruth got married, but I’m not ready for another marriage. Am I? Kristin prayed, closing the Bible and her eyes. She had much to think about tonight.

* * *

Work became even more of a strain after that. It was good thing that Van had two other businesses which kept him occupied; otherwise the situation at the center might have become unbearable. Trying to act professional around a person who not only held your heart, but who you’d also rather be making love to than talking about COBOL with, was not an easy task for either of them. Sometimes their intense feelings had a way of seeping into the workplace; no matter how hard Van and Kristin tried to prevent it from happening.

One cold November day, a prestigious client came into the training center and requested a meeting with Van and his staff. It was a gentleman named Tray Davidson. Mr. Davidson was from the local youth detention center. He wanted them to train some of their troubled teens who were going to be re-entering mainstream society soon, teens that he wanted to equip with more marketable skills.

Kristin observed how Van not only accepted the venture, but flat-out refused to charge them anything for the services. Van also agreed to establish a Saturday workshop program for the teens in order to address their specific needs.

Kristin felt tears form in the back of her eyes at his generosity and selflessness. Almost involuntarily, her arm went up as the first instructor to volunteer for this worthwhile program. She had to help him in this venture. These were the kinds of things Van thrived in.

Kristin knew enough about him by now to know that helping others fed his soul. Even now she can still remember the look of satisfaction Van wore when he’d given Jana that new car and when he’d given her those beautiful hair combs. Because of him, Kristin bought more decorative combs and now wears her hair down three out of five workdays.

Van felt a surge of deep emotion hit him at Kristin’s willingness to help him impact their community’s youth. For a brief moment, their eyes embraced in mutual admiration in a way that they both wished their lips could. Give me strength, Lord. You know I much I want her.

Picking up on their fervent exchange, Claudia immediately volunteered as well. She shot Kristin an icy glare before turning her attention back to Van. Each woman had a reciprocal dislike for the other and it showed. Despite those few tense moments, the meeting went on smoothly and another worthwhile charity had been formed.

* * *

Although fighting challenges at work (internally and externally), Kristin’s home life was finally stabilizing. Since she started working at the center her income has increased tremendously, largely due to all those bonuses she earned through client referrals. For the first time in a long time, Kristin could actually buy the things she wanted without feeling torn. She no longer had to choose between her needs and her wants. Now she could have them both. Kristin liked the freedom that came along with being gainfully employed.

Great changes occurred in Jana’s life, too. The first of which was the fact that she found a job working as a customer greeter in a clothing store at the local mall. Jana loved her new job at Garnett’s department store. It was obvious by the way she constantly talked about it, and the fact that she got to be around so many people was therapeutic for her.

It was through this job that Jana encountered another great change in her life. There, she met a nice gentleman named Jimmy Binace. Jimmy was in his mid-fifties with salt and pepper hair and a warm smile. Jana met him one day as he searched for birthday presents for his twin granddaughters. He made her laugh as she watched him constantly raking his hands through his hair, trying to remember what sizes they wore. Although amused, Jana’s heart went out to him.

Now totally disheveled, Jimmy listened quietly as the beautiful dimple-faced woman not only insisted that he call his daughter to confirm the twins’ sizes, but also later helped him select two matching outfits for them. So grateful and impressed by the helpful woman, Jimmy considered asking her out. But he was too shy.

Fortunately for him, Jana didn’t have that problem. “Are you married, Mr. Binace?” she boldly asked as the cashier rang up his purchases. Jana busied her hands with helping to fold the garments on the counter.

“No, I’m a widower five years now,” Jimmy said. His pulse was racing as her deep dimples reached out and captured his heart. I do believe I’m falling for this fine lady.

“I see. I, too, lost a mate. It’s been almost a year now. I also lost a son,” Jana added solemnly. Then her gorgeous face transformed into a warm smile. “It’s been pretty hard, but my daughter-in-law and I are making it okay now,” she said, folding a dangling sweater sleeve back into the purple shopping bag.

As they continued to talk, Jana found out that Jimmy was a retired schoolteacher who now owned several car wash establishments in the area. After exchanging phone numbers, she invited him to go to church with her.

“I’ll meet you there next Sunday,” Jimmy readily agreed, wanting to see this beautiful vision of dimpled loveliness again as soon as possible.

“It’s a date then,” Jana confirmed, thrilled with his acceptance.

* * *

When Jana told Kristin about Jimmy later that evening, her face glowed with excitement. It amazed Kristin to see her mother-in-law so openly excited about another man. She envied her courage. But instead of following Jana’s example, she occupied her mind and life with other things.

One of the things Kristin occupied her mind with was the renovations to the house. Although Jana physically and financially helped with the repairs, too, it was the younger Mrs. Gray that spearheaded the major renovations until the Gray family home was completely restored to its former glory and then some.

Seeing the two-story brick home finally refurbished gave the two women a huge sense of accomplishment. All of the carpet was replaced, the heating system was updated, another bathroom was added, and a patio was installed in the back. Even the gravel driveway had been paved.

Even though Kristin was feeling stronger these days (she’d successfully made it past her November wedding anniversary), Christmas was coming fast and she was starting to get depressed. December had been the month of the fatal accident, and although missing Sammy wasn’t an area of torture anymore, she feared that she’d waited too late to make something happen between her and Van. They hadn’t really talked since October and Kristin was starting to believe that his feelings for her had cooled.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 15

Am I interrupting something?” Claudia asked slyly, knowing full well that she had. She could see Kristin’s flushed face, Van’s ruffled shirt. It was obvious that she’d come just in time.

Just seeing Claudia caused Van’s passion to wean. It also caused Kristin to slowly retreat back into her shell of guilt. Fortunately, the guilt wasn’t quite as strong this time which, if she’d just taken the time to notice, was a good indication of how far she’d traveled from the land of grief.

Deliberately ignoring Claudia’s question, Van made a few inquiries of his own. “Claudia, what are you doing here today? Did something go wrong at the seminar?”

“No, nothing like that. I just left there and everything went fine. On my way home, I remembered you mentioning that your family was having a picnic today, so I decided to stop by for a little barbecue. Is that okay with you?” Claudia said, innocently looking at Van before turning to smirk at Kristin.

She is some little number, isn’t she? Kristin mused as neither of them answered Claudia’s second question, either. They’d already ignored her first inquiry due to the fact that they weren’t on trial here.

Then deciding that she would start her own inquiry, Kristin posed a question. “How did you know where we were in this big ol’ park?” she asked, thinking that it was becoming shameful how Claudia followed Van around.

“I asked some of the people here and they told me where to find Van,” Claudia answered, using their boss’ given name as if she did it all the time. She frowned as she remembered exactly how she’d been told of Van’s whereabouts.

One elderly woman had said, “Oh Van is wherever you find Kristin. That boy is never too far away from her. I’ll be so glad when they finally get it together. Our church is ready for another wedding. We don’t know who’s going to make it the altar first. Patricia and Lena’s boy, Morton. Or Van and Kristin.”

Well, it definitely won’t be between Kristin and Van. Not if I have anything to do with it, Claudia thought hotly. Aloud she returned to the situation at hand. “Can I eat with you guys? This food looks so delicious.”

Then not waiting for them to answer, Claudia sat down with her plate and began to fork her food to death. She barely ate anything and later insisted that she was full and needed to watch her figure. By saying that, she really meant that she wanted Van to watch it for her.

For the next thirty minutes, Kristin suffered in silence as Claudia interrupted and dominated every attempt Van made to include her into the conversation. Suddenly very tired of Claudia’s efforts to monopolize all of Van’s attention, Kristin prepared to gracefully excuse herself.

“Well, I think I’ve had enough picnicking for one day. I’ll see you two at work on Monday,” Kristin said, reaching for her discarded plate. She could feel a headache coming on.

Not wanting to see her leave without him, Van offered to drive her. “I’ll be glad to take you home.”

“No, I rode with Mama Gray today.” Kristin stood up to leave.

Van stood, too. “Is your car acting up? Because if it is…” he said anxiously, longing to give her something of his. If not one of his many cars, then surely his heart, his body. Whatever Kristin wanted from him was hers for the taking.

“No, it’s fine,” Kristin interjected quickly, seeing the instant concern on his face. “Mama Gray and I decided to ride together today since we were both going to the same place.”

“Oh, I see,” Van said with slight disappointment. He’d wanted to do something for her. Anything. Suddenly, he had an idea. “Well, at least let me walk you back,” he said, already grabbing his plate to leave. Then not forgetting about his other employee, Van courteously said, “See you at work, Claudia.” Then he left with Kristin.

Claudia sat fuming as she watched them walk off together. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve sworn that he was about to give her a car, too, she mused hotly. Claudia had had to pay for the one she bought from Van, at a reasonable discount of course, but still it had not been free.

And what’s with these Pocahontas hairstyles lately? Kristin needs to put that thick bush back into its bun. I got to put an end to this pack of foolishness soon, Claudia vowed from a mind riddled with jealousy.

* * *

Jana sat at a long wooden picnic table, talking and laughing with Lena and a group of their female cousins as Kristin and Van approached them. Looking at her daughter-in-law’s face, she instantly discerned that something was wrong. I wonder if this has something to do with our little uninvited guest, she mused as she recalled seeing Claudia arrive a little while ago, but not seeing her leave yet. One quick glance at the parking area confirmed Jana’s suspicions. She’s still here.

“Kristin, you look tired. Honey, are you alright?” Jana asked.

“I‘ve got a slight headache that’s all. But I can hold on a little longer, if you’re not ready to go yet.” Kristin tried her best to turn her frown into a semblance of a smile, but it didn’t work. Smiling just felt too hard to do right now.

“I’ll take Kristin home,” Van volunteered quickly, almost too quickly. The older women at the table shared knowing looks before pretending to busy themselves with other things like folding napkins and tightening pickle jar tops.

Jana did neither. Instead she endeavored to help facilitate a solution to the youngsters’ problem. It was obvious that they needed to talk. “That sounds great, Van. Go ahead and ride with him, Kristin. He’ll take good care of you. He’ll get you home safely.”

Reluctantly, Kristin agreed and off they went. They rode in silence all the way there as she sat with her eyes closed, rubbing her temples, trying to ease the ache in her head.

When they finally arrived at her house, Van turned the jeep off and began to gently massage her neck in the car. He had to try to help somehow. “Are you alright, baby?”

Opening her eyes slowly, Kristin looked up into hazel pools of concern. Momentarily speechless, she nodded yes. The wonderful feel of his hands was having a mixed effect on her. Although Van’s touch was removing the tension in Kristin’s neck, it was creating another kind of tension altogether in other areas of her body. “Van, about what happened today...”

“I loved what happened today. I don’t regret it at all,” he interrupted, removing his hands from her neck as he gripped the steering wheel, trying to steady himself against the surge of emotions attacking his mind.

“No, Van, listen to me for a minute please. I thought I was ready for us, but the fact that I’m still feeling a little guilty about what happened shows me that I’m not.”

“Kristin, please not this again. You’re ready, baby. I can feel it on so many levels. Every time I touch you, you’re like a flower blossoming, opening up your beautiful petals to me. Don’t close up again, baby. I need you in my life so badly right now. I’ve never loved any woman as much as I love you, Kristin,” Van confessed openly. His heart was pounding loudly in his chest. This is as open as he’d ever been with a woman before, and especially in so short a time frame.

He loves me? Kristin closed her eyes again, this time, to escape the pain and anguish she saw in his glossy eyes. Hearing Van so vulnerable and exposed like this hurt her deeper than she could have ever imagined. Kristin loved him, too. But that was the problem. She loved two men. And the guilt of doing so was more than she could handle right now.

Taking a deep breath, Kristin finally opened her eyes and looked straight at him. She’d never been more serious in her life. “I love you, too, Van. But I’m just not ready to handle what all that means right now. Please give me more time.”

Although her declaration of love pleased him, the torment, uncertainty, and guilt in her eyes, didn’t. Van reluctantly consented to her wishes a second time. “I’ll give you more time, Kristin. But while you’re taking this time, I want you to read the whole book of Ruth and see if you can identify the people in that story. When I read it, I saw examples of you, me, and Jana. If you see the same, let me know and we’ll do what they did.”

“I will,” Kristin promised, forever grateful for such an understanding man. Then she let herself out of the car and waved to him as he drove away. Miraculously, her headache was gone and she didn’t even know when it left.

* * *

Van drove home in a web of sadness. I will wait on you, Kristin, but please don’t take too long. A man can only take so much, he mused, not necessarily referring to the pulsating ache in his body, but to the emotional pain in his heart.

Later that night, after taking another long cold shower and saying a heartfelt prayer, Van did something he hadn’t done in years – he cried. His tears were for himself and for the woman that sorrow and guilt wouldn’t allow him to have right now.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 14

By late October, Kristin realized just how much she was beginning to miss Van’s company, his friendship. She also saw how unrealistic it was to expect total isolation from him. He was her boss. They even went to the same church for goodness sake. Soon Kristin was beginning to wonder if it was even worth it to try to fight her attraction any longer. Thanks to Jana and Cecily’s nudging, she was starting to believe that maybe she should consider trying love again. Her opportunity came at the annual Gray/Rogers family picnic.

On the day of the picnic, it was still reasonably warm. As a result, Kristin dressed in a short, sleeveless Sag Harbor dress with a side split and sling back shoes. She wore that particular dress, because its peach color accented her caramel skin so well and under Jana’s urging, she wore her hair loose.

After careful examination of her appearance, Kristin applied a light lip-gloss to her lips, keeping in mind that they would be eating lots of barbecue today and she wanted her mouth to be free to eat as she pleased.

When Kristin was finally ready, Jana met her at the bottom of the stairs wearing a pink short-sleeved Capri outfit, carrying several covered dishes in her arms, all set to have some good family food. Then needing only vehicle, they rode together in Jana’s new car.

* * *

At the picnic site, the men of the family already had the meat sizzling on the multiple charcoal grills. Food was everywhere and so were the kids. Even some of the non-related church members from Gray Grove Baptist were there. Adding their food to the entree table, Jana and Kristin went their separate ways. Jana joined her sister Lena while Kristin went to play dodge ball with some of the kids.

As Kristin played, she didn’t notice Van taking his turn manning one of the grills. Enraptured by the sight of her playing so freely among the kids in her bare feet, with her long hair blowing in the light breeze, Van felt his heart fill up with love and adoration once again. It delighted him to see her laugh, run, and play so carefree. It gave him hope that her heart was finally healed, finally opening up for love again.

“Man, don’t burn the meat,” Deacon Morris said, his voice snatching Van from his thoughts.

“I’m sorry, Deak. I got a little distracted that’s all,” he said, flipping the now very well-done burgers. The meat didn’t even sizzle when the grill touched its other side, largely because nearly all of its juices were already gone.

“Yeah, I know, son. I can see that and so can everybody else.” The gray-haired man winked knowingly. “Go talk to the woman, boy. See if you can get her to see that it’s okay to love again. That life is for the living. Meanwhile, I’ll see after what’s left of this meat,” Deacon Morris said, reaching for the pair of stainless steel tongs Van held.

“I think I will,” Van said, handing over his utensil. Unfortunately, he had gotten not more than five feet away from the grill before the dinner bell rang. Oh brother, now I have to wait. He sighed, watching the multitude of family members and friends go towards the food tables, ready to pray and eat.

After a grateful prayer by one of the elder family members, the women and children fixed their plates first. When the men got their turn, they descended on the table like a swarm of bees. The women, who were now seated comfortably with their food, laughed at the sight of their men piling up their plates to satisfy their ravenous appetites. As Van fixed his meal, he knew that it would take more than just natural food to satisfy him today. His heart needed satisfaction and only Kristin could take care of that. But for now natural food would have to do.

Where is she anyway? Van wondered, having lost sight of her during the jam-packed food procession. There she is, he mused, spotting her going towards the bush.

Kristin was a woman of many contrasts. One minute she was social and outgoing, playing freely among the kids. And the next moment, she was trying to find a secluded place to sit and eat quietly with her thoughts.

After observing her whereabouts, Van followed Kristin with his own plate in hand. Several solitary yards away from the main picnic site, he found her sitting on a green army blanket in a small raised clearing surrounded by tall oak trees. Although a slanted view of the lake could be seen through the thick bush, the clearing itself was private. Kristin couldn’t have picked a better spot.

“Can I join you?” Van asked, standing over her with an endearing smile on his face.

“Yes,” Kristin answered, taking a hefty bite out of her burger. She wanted Van’s companionship today. Okay, she’d wanted it on other days, too, but today she was actually going to indulge herself with his presence.

After a few silent minutes of eating, Van struck up a conversation, trying to stay on neutral ground for the moment. “Have you tried the ribs? They’re good. The meat is practically falling off the bone. Here, have a taste.” He handed a slab to her.

Taking the meat offered to her, Kristin commenced to eating it. As Van continued to enjoy his meal, he watched her, loving the way Kristin wasn’t afraid to eat ribs the way they should be eaten – with the hands. Then to his further pleasure, she didn’t even bother to get a napkin to wipe her fingers. When she finished the slab, Kristin simply began to lick her fingers one by one, not realizing what her actions were doing to Van.

I don’t know what they put in this sauce, but it sure is good, Kristin said, savoring the flavor of mesquite, honey, and molasses upon her taste buds.

Unable to resist any longer, Van reached for her wrists, catching them in mid-air before she could bring her fingers to her mouth again. “Let me do that, Kristin,” he said huskily, staring intently at her. “Please.”

Mesmerized by his hazel eyes, now turning a deep chestnut with desire, Kristin nodded almost involuntarily. Then ever so slowly Van licked her fingers one at a time as he closed his eyes, savoring each one. Kristin sat transfixed by his actions as his tongue slid up and down her fingertips, lightly sucking on areas that contained the most sauce.

Unconsciously, Kristin licked her lips as passion flowed through her body and settled in wonderful places, reminding her that she was still alive, still able to feel desire, still able to be desired. Suddenly her mind couldn’t think of anything, except Van and this moment.

Opening his eyes at that exact moment, Van saw Kristin’s tongue flicker out in pleasure as it moved across her lips. A soft moan escaped from her throat. Following his heart, Van immediately claimed her mouth with intense urgency. He wanted Kristin to feel what he had been holding inside these last few months. He’d waited for this moment for what seemed like eternity. Another chance to partake of her delicious lips was just too much to resist.

Matching his probing kisses with those of her own, Kristin hungrily received each delightful flicker Van offered her, encouraging him to give her more. Much more. Moving closer to him, she slid her hands under his blue Polo t-shirt and touched his hairy chest. With that action crossing another line for him, Van pushed the plates aside and laid Kristin down on the blanket.

Then still engaged in the kiss of a lifetime, he proceeded to touch her soft thigh through the split in her dress. Forgetting where they were, Van and Kristin caressed each other as if they were the only two people in the world. It certainly felt like it.

Hearing her moan in pleasure against his mouth, Van continued his exploration, inching higher with his hands, touching more of Kristin’s delicious caramel skin. Looking down, he suddenly caught a glimpse of leopard print lingerie and moaned deep in his throat with pleasure.

She’s so sexy, Van mused, thinking that there was no way Kristin could have known that he favored animal print lingerie above all the others. This girl is my equal. She’s so in sync with what I want and need in a woman. And the best part about it was the fact that he hadn’t told her a thing. Kristin just seemed to know how to please him.

Then intent on letting her know a few other things, Van took one of Kristin’s hands and guided her on a slow, joyous tour down his aroused body. “Do you see what you do to me, Kristin? Do you see how much I want you? How much I ache to be with you? I need you, baby. In this way, in every way.” His voice was laced with thick desire.

Kristin’s eyes were wide and full of passion as she listened to Van’s stimulating words and savored his stimulating presence. Even now her body still tingled from the arousing journey he’d just led her on, causing her to crave him even more. It would take divine intervention to stop what was certain to happen now, because on the tip of Kristin tongue was the word ‘yes’.

Before Kristin could get the word out, they suddenly heard someone calling Van in the distance. As the voice grew louder, it became clear that it belonged to the worst possible intruder - Claudia.

What is she doing here? Kristin mused, quickly sitting up to straighten out her clothes. “Oh, Van, I’m sorry. I guess we forgot ourselves for a moment,” she said as her passion was suddenly replaced by a blast of guilt.

Oh God, that was close. Thanks for the rescue, even if it did come through Claudia. I don’t know what I was thinking, Kristin mused, although a deeper part of her know exactly what she’d been thinking. She’d been thinking of Van and her intense need to connect with him on another level.

But Van wasn’t hearing that. Neither was he rushing to straighten out his clothes. He could care less if Claudia saw them together. Then maybe she’d finally leave him alone.

“No, we didn’t forget ourselves, Kristin. If anything, we forgot where we were and the fact that we must seal our union with a ring. We are going to happen. You and I are meant to be. Can’t you feel it here?” Van said, putting his hand against her heart and hers against his.

Is this man talking marriage? Kristin mused, now growing increasingly scared. She didn’t know if she was emotionally ready to be somebody’s wife again. Especially so soon. Well, what exactly am I ready for then? Kristin asked herself, knowing full well that casual sex wasn’t for her. It never had been. Now she was really confused.

Kristin retrieved her hand and moved away. “I…” Her voice trailed off just as Claudia came around the bushy trail.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 13

True to form Van and Kristin tried to keep their distance from each other. For the next few weeks, they rarely saw each other, even at the office. But Kristin could always tell when he was there. Claudia made sure of that. The aggressive woman stayed up in Van’s face so much that some days it took everything in Kristin not to scream with anger.

But anger wasn’t the only thing she was feeling these days. Kristin was also feeling an abundance of jealousy. She wanted to be the one monopolizing Van’s time, trying to make him smile with her wit, inhaling his spicy scent, enjoying his nearness. But how could she? She was the one who’d asked for space, not him. Now Kristin was just going to have to live with that decision.

* * *

One mid-October morning, a large bouquet of flowers arrived for Kristin at the center. Two of her co-workers immediately came into her office to see them. Claudia was one of them. Cecily Gates was another.

“My, my… somebody’s got an admirer. Do tell who it is,” Claudia purred, sitting in one of the chairs in front of Kristin’s desk.

Cecily sat in the other and pushed Claudia’s hand away when the forward woman tried to remove the card. “That’s for Kristin to look at, not you!” Then completely ignoring Claudia’s scowl, she pointed to her other co-worker – the smiling one. “Go on, Kristin, read your card. And when you finish, just give us the initials of the person who sent them to you.” She winked mischievously.

Cecily was a newlywed, just returning from her second honeymoon. Her first marriage had been a bust, but this second one had by far exceeded all of her expectations. Now she saw it as her personal mission to encourage divorced or widowed people to try love again. Kristin was one of the people Cecily felt assigned to.

I bet I know who sent her those flowers, Cecily speculated with approval. She’d noticed their boss and Kristin trying not to look at each other on several occasions and thought it wonderful. Many of their other colleagues agreed with her as well. Mr. Rogers deserves someone like Kristin. Then glancing over at Claudia, Cecily added to herself, He certainly doesn’t deserve to be punished with a woman like Claudia. I wouldn’t wish ‘her’ on any man.

Kristin’s eyes sparkled brilliantly with expectation. A part of her wanted them to be from Van, too, but another part feared that it was. She took a deep breath and opened the pink card. It read. ‘Happy Birthday. Love, your sister Kambria.’

Kristin exhaled and lowered her head towards the colorful lilacs to hide the sliver of disappointment she felt at them not being from Van. Then determined to be appreciative of Kambria’s gesture, she inhaled deeply of the purple and red arrangement and smiled. After all, their relationship had come a long way over the last few months. It felt good to be on good sister terms again.

When Kristin looked up at her co-workers again, her face still bore that smile. “It’s from my sister in New York.”

Cecily looked a bit disappointed, too. Claudia, on the other hand, looked positively pleased. “Well, I guess I’ll be getting back to my own office now,” she said, getting up to leave. Claudia walked out with a lighter step and a smug smile on her face, relieved that the flowers weren’t from Van. I guess that means I’m still in the running.

Cecily got up, too, but she stayed behind for a moment. “Today’s not over yet. You might get another surprise.” Then she winked again and left.

* * *

Later that evening, Van arrived at the office to pick up some papers. It was almost quitting time, no clients were around, but the office was still in a hub. He came just in time to see Brenda present Kristin with a pink and white cake, several birthday cards (signed by all of her co-workers), and a wrapped present. The cake had already been sliced and pieces of it were being passed around.

When Kristin opened the pink and white gift box, she squealed with delight. It was a leopard print steering wheel cover. “Oh thanks, you guys.” She looked over at Brenda, who knew how much she loved animal print items and smiled. “You told them, didn’t you?”

Brenda arched her brows in feigned innocence. “Told them what? That you are an animal behind the wheel? I’m sure they can tell that by the way you peel out of the parking lot every evening.” Her laughter was joined by everyone, including Van. They’d all seen Kristin drive away before. Although a safe driver once she got on the road, she did had a tendency to take off fast. That habit came from years of driving in a big city where aggression afforded one the privilege of getting where one needed to go without being involved in a traffic deadlock.

“Well, I promise not to peel out of here tonight.” Kristin laughed as she moved to hug Brenda. “Thanks so much.” Then as she made her rounds among the rest of her co-workers, distributing grateful hugs, she noticed that Van had disappeared into his office. Hiding her disappointment for the second time that day, Kristin forced her smile to remain as she waved goodnight to some of her co-workers as they prepared to leave for the day.

In her office, Kristin took her time packing her brown leather briefcase. There was no rush to get home tonight. She and Jana had already had a birthday lunch to celebrate this day and she had no further plans. Well, no further plans beyond washing her hair and getting ready for work tomorrow. Kristin didn’t know if it was appropriate for new widows to go overboard celebrating stuff like this. After all, her husband hadn’t been dead a year yet.

I wish somebody would write a book or something about how widows are supposed to act, Kristin thought just as a knock sounded on her office door.

“Come in,” she said, closing her briefcase and locking it. When she looked up, her eyes widened. It was her boss and he had a long, rectangular-shaped, blue box in one of his hands.

Van came into the office and shut the door behind him. His face was stoic, completely unemotional. “I waited until everyone else was gone. I thought it would be best to give you this in private.” Van handed the blue box to Kristin and waited for her to open it.

With trembling fingers, Kristin popped the top up. Inside was a pair of beautiful, blue and silver hand-designed hair combs. They were perfect. Tears welled up in her eyes. One slid down her caramel cheek. “I…they’re exquisite.”

Van’s face suddenly lit up with deep satisfaction. He was pleased that Kristin liked her present so much. When he finally spoke again, his voice was gentle and low, almost strained with emotion. “I thought you might consider wearing these instead of your bun. This way you’ll still be able to keep your hair out of your face as you work.” Van put his hands behind his back and clasped them tightly together, lest he touch Kristin as he ached to do right now.

Kristin looked up with glossy eyes. “Thank you so much, Van. This means so much to me.” Then throwing caution to the wind, she went over and hugged him.

Van lowered his hands to his side. Although he didn’t put them around Kristin, he couldn’t suppress the moan of pleasure that escaped his lips at having her so close to him. She feels so good, he mused as another audible moan brought her eyes up to his face.

When Van looked down at her, he knew that there no hiding the obvious. Red-hot desire was swimming around in his hazel pools like an Olympic swimmer preparing for a meet. He couldn’t deny his longing for Kristin any more than a scientist could deny that the earth was round. Van wanted her and he’d proven it on several occasions. But this wouldn’t be one of them. No, he was going to stick to their agreement and hope that it didn’t kill him.

Suddenly clearing his throat, Van stepped away from her. “I’m glad you like them. I had them handmade for you.”

Kristin nodded, almost afraid to use her voice to speak. Van’s thoughtfulness in honoring their agreement and in purchasing this gift was overwhelming. Overwhelming in a good way. Finally she found her voice. “Thanks again.” Then she added, “For everything.”

Van nodded and turned around to leave. Spending any more time in Kristin’s presence would only make it that much harder for him not to touch her, to kiss her soft lips, to take her in his arms and make sweet love to her in every corner of this room until every time she came into this office she was haunted with passionate images of him, like he was with her.

* * *

That night, Van flipped through his Bible and happened upon the book of Ruth. He knew the story well, yet he felt compelled to read it again. When finally finished hours later, he felt a renewed sense of destiny. Now Van knew exactly where he belonged – with Kristin.

The next day, Van came into the computer center earlier than usual. He would be spending most of the day there working on a special task with Brenda. As soon as he walked into the computer room, his eyes instantly searched for and found Kristin. She was teaching a client how to use the new internet software that the client had acquired for his small business. As usual, she looked beautiful.

Today Kristin wore a blue crepe-styled dress with sheer georgette sleeves and ruffles in the front. And to Van’s great pleasure, she had her hair down with only parts of it pulled back by the blue and silver combs he gave her.

When Kristin noticed him, she smiled affectionately and ran a hand through her hair before turning back to her client. That one-of-a-kind smile got Van through the rest of the day. It remained with him as he visited his father, and later that evening, he drove home with the memory of it still tucked away in his heart. That smile even rocked him to sleep that night. This was one man that was most definitely in love.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 12

Hearing a sharp set of knocks on her office door, Kristin invited the visitor in. “Come in,” she said, secretly hoping that it was Van. When she saw who it was, she quickly hid her disappointment. “Oh hello, Claudia. How are you today?” Kristin looked down at her stack of client assessment forms, anxious to get back to them. She wanted to finish before closing time.

“I’m fine. How are you feeling? Better I hope.” She studied her long sculptured nails, completely failing to even glance at Kristin as she spoke.

“Yes, I am, thank you,” Kristin answered guardedly. Living in New York had taught her not to be too trusting. And she definitely didn’t trust Claudia. She’d fit right in where I’m from.

Sitting down, Claudia immediately began to spew her poison. “I can only imagine how you must feel, losing your husband and all. You must have really loved him dearly. I know if I were married for such a short time and had lost my husband, I probably wouldn’t date again for at least a year. Out of respect for my husband’s memory and all.” She plucked at an invisible piece of lint on her white satin blouse.

“Well...” Kristin began, feeling the first twinges of discomfort attack her conscious.

“Yes, I would concentrate on getting past all of my grief before starting a new relationship. You know, in honor of my husband,” Claudia rapidly continued, throwing her words like darts into Kristin’s mind. “What about you?” she concluded, now glaring directly at her opponent with narrowed eyes. She must think she’s Pocahontas or something, Claudia thought with envy and amazement. She had no idea that Kristin had that much hair wrapped up in that matronly bun she usually wore.

“I guess so, Claudia.” Kristin frowned, feeling guilt creep up her spine as she remembered Van’s passionate kisses and how much she’d enjoyed them.

Realizing that she’d hit a nerve, Claudia quickly rose to leave Kristin alone to stew in her guilt. “Well, let me get back to work. Talk to you later. Bye.”

“Bye,” Kristin mumbled, disorientated as Claudia strutted away. She felt as if she’d just been run over by an emotional truck. Was that satisfaction I saw running across Claudia’s face? she mused, thinking clearly for a split second before another rush of unmerciful guilt attacked her mind.

Then pulling her thick hair up into its usual bun, Kristin buried herself in her work, temporarily escaping her troubling thoughts.

* * *

Around 5:25pm, Van knocked on her office door. “Come in,” Kristin called out. At the sight of him, a lump formed in her throat. Him and that suit. Aloud she said, “Oh it’s you, Van. I thought you had been called away to one of your other businesses.”

“I was, but I had some paperwork to pick up here. Then when I noticed your car outside, I couldn’t resist stopping in to speak to you.” Although he smiled, Van was disappointed to see Kristin’s hair in a bun again. Maybe she works better with it up, he mused, trying to alleviate his disappointment with a compromise.

“Well, now that Mama Gray has her own car, I don’t have to rush home anymore. Thanks to you.” She smiled sweetly at him, then stood up to stretch her legs.

That smile. Van felt himself move quickly towards her as a sensation of delicious warmth enveloped his heart. “Everyone else is gone. Would you mind if I got a kiss?”

Then before Kristin could answer, Van seductively licked her bottom lip and proceeded to gently suck its sweet nectar. It was heavenly and Kristin didn’t want him to stop. Nor did she stop him from undoing her bun. With his fingers now buried wonderfully in her hair, Van deepened their kiss, holding her close to him.

Soon Kristin’s arms were firmly around his neck as they continued to exchange a wild, passionate kiss that left them both gasping for breath. When they finally came up for air minutes later, Kristin’s body and mind began to wage war with each other. She wanted Van, but her guilt hindered her from going any further.

“I’ve wanted to do that all day,” Van whispered huskily, oblivious to her present turmoil as he continued to hold her close, her head nestled snuggly against his chest. “Come home with me tonight. Let me cook dinner for you. I’d love to show you another one of my hidden talents.”

“I don’t know about this, Van. I mean, I think it’s too soon. We’re moving too fast. I need more time,” Kristin said, moving away from him. It was hard to think clearly being so close to him.

“It’s just dinner, Kristin. Nothing else has to happen.” Van tried to assure her, now noticing her guilt-ridden countenance as she paced the floor in front of him.

Kristin stopped and started straight at him. “Look at us now and think again. Something will happen. You know it and I do, too. The attraction we have is strong and has been from the beginning.”

She paused in her speech and smiled tenderly at him. “You sweet, hazel-eyed wonderful man, we are a fire going somewhere to happen. Van, no matter how much I want you physically, emotionally I’m not ready for a serious relationship and I can’t allow myself to make love with you without one. That’s just not me.”

“I understand, Kristin,” Van said, wanting to deny her words, but recognizing the truth in them. It was all true. At the current rate they were going and with the degree of intense attraction they shared, they would no doubt end up in bed together tonight. And if they did, then what? What affect would it have on their working relationship? More importantly, on Kristin’s fragile heart?

“It’s just that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.” He pointed to his chest. “This thing I feel for you is so deep. So deep. I don’t even know how it got this deep, so fast,” Van said with thick emotion. His hazel eyes revealed that he was honestly bewildered by the effect she was having on him. He just didn’t understand how such intense feelings could come about so quickly.

“Me either and it scares me. Even while dating Sammy I never had any problems keeping my desires in check. Being around him felt comfortable, easy, no pressures of any kind. But every time I’m around you, with those sweet dimples and gorgeous eyes, all of my senses get in an uproar and I become consumed with thoughts of us together in every way. To be honest, Van, I’m starting to feel guilty.” She sat down at her desk again.

Although he didn’t like what Kristin was saying, her honesty was one of the things he loved most about her. She had a way of getting right to the point of a matter. “Okay, so what do you need me to do, Kristin?” he asked, still standing, still wanting to pull her back in his arms and kiss her senseless until she changed her mind.

“I need for you to give me some space to heal. Space to make a mark for myself in this company. Space for us to make sure this is what we truly want.”

“I don’t need space to know that. You are what I want, Kristin. But nevertheless, you win,” Van said as he reluctantly surrendered. A few minutes ago, Kristin’s lips had taken him to heaven, now he felt snatched down to hell. Van walked to the door and turned the knob. He had to get out of there, away from this woman he wanted, but could not have. Now if he could only get away from the nagging feeling that this was indeed the right thing to do.

“It’s not about winning. It’s about doing what’s right for right now,” Kristin said to Van’s quickly departing back. She felt bad knowing that her decision had hurt him. “Oh boy,” she exhaled into the now lonely office. “What next?”

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier