Fairy Tale Inspired Mini Mind-Reading Romance. Shhhh
Before climbing aboard the Nightingale, a 60-foot yacht, Jake listened for a second to make sure its owner, Richard King, slept. From the cockpit, Jake climbed the stairs to the upper aft deck, and with little effort, he opened the glass door to the enclosed bridge. He had been tailing the millionaire for months and knew this was the necklace’s location.
Jake had never talked to Mr. King but had heard his thoughts about purchasing the diamond and blood-red ruby necklace for his wife. Jake had followed him to restaurants, golf courses, and parties, patiently waiting until King’s mind revealed all the details, down to the code on the safe.
He pulled the ski-mask off before punching in the numbers. Opening the safe without incident, he reached in and brought out his prize. He didn’t stop to examine it—plenty of time for that later—but stuck it in his pocket, ready for his quick exit. He stopped again to listen and to make sure all was clear.
“Now that wasn’t very nice,” a female voice said.
Startled to a slight stumble, he twisted around to see who had caught him. The silhouette of a woman sitting at a small table, her arms and long legs crossed, came into focus.
Why didn’t I hear her?
Her voice moved gently: “That’s my necklace.”
Shit. Mrs. King. “This isn’t what it looks like,” he said, buying some time as he weighed his options; running seemed a very good choice at the moment. She might scream, but he already had the loot in his pocket. By the time Mr. King got his wits about him, he would be long gone.
Her thoughts finally sounded in his head: I wish he were here to pinch more than that ruby.
Well, there it was. It wouldn’t be the first time to use his pretty-boy looks to get out of a situation.
But when she stood up—the moonlight shining full-force on her smart face—he doubted she was the type of woman who could easily be swayed by his devilish charms. She reminded him of an elegant movie star from the 1940s like Ingrid Bergman or Lauren Bacall.
She languidly walked over to him, her heels softly echoing on the wood floor. “May I have my necklace back?” She extended her hand gracefully.
He took a step back, knowing he needed to take control of the moment and his nerves before she got the best of him. In the darkness, the burglar and the wealthy woman stared at each other for a mere second before Jake grabbed her and kissed her hard on the lips. Unexpected fire exploded between them, and he pulled her closer until he embraced her fully. He could feel her hands on his waist, moving slowly down the front of his pants until—
Jake gently pushed her away and had to smile, but he didn’t let go of her arm. He brought her hand up, revealing the necklace.
She shrugged her shoulders and sighed. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”
He licked his lips tasting the memory of her kiss, her thoughts letting him know she wished she could taste all of him.
“The Country Club tomorrow night,” he said as he snatched the necklace. He gave her a slight nod and left before he couldn’t pull himself away.
Two Weeks Later
Like some bad movie cliché, he found the note she had left on her pillow:
I’m afraid my husband has decided to leave this morning. I couldn’t bear to tell you. Please forgive me. In another lifetime perhaps.
Jake crumbled up the letter wondering how in the hell he’d missed it. Maybe she just pushed it out of her mind because it was too painful.
Love Jezze, she had written.
“Shit,” he said. “I do love Jezze.” He suddenly found himself playing what if: What if I would have told her I loved her? Would she have stayed? Would she leave her rich husband for a crook? Would she come back with me now if I caught the yacht before it hit open water? What if I told her I love her?
Regret swept over him as he put on his pants because he had known for a week that she had feelings for him, yet he had said nothing because Mrs. King was just another stolen treasure. At least that was what he had told himself before that morning. Now the only thing he wanted was to get her back.
His Jag hit the highway at sixty-five miles an hour, the windows down, and the air thick with morning. Their hotel/love nest was only a few miles away from the bay, but he couldn’t be sure what time she had left his bed. They had fallen asleep a little after midnight. He looked down to see the time, realizing his watch wasn’t in its usual place on his wrist. Must have left it on the nightstand.
As Jake jumped out of the car, he knew he had no idea what he would do if King tried to stop him. He listened as he ran, listened to see if he heard Jezze saying, I’ll miss him so much!
Jake ran up the steps that lead to the ramp and then to the spot where the yacht had been docked. When he realized he was too late, that The Nightingale was gone, he cursed himself and stomped the pier. Searching his mind for conversations and memories of Jezze’s reflections, he plopped down on the steps. Did she say where she lived?
Soon, he decided to leave, promising himself that he would not rest until he found her. He would rummage minds for the slight mention of Mrs. Jezze King. As he stood, someone else’s thoughts blurted inside his head. At first, he tried to ignore them, not wanting to listen to another person’s problems. But then, he heard something he just couldn’t ignore.
Jezze sat at her vanity brushing her hair as she admired her newly acquired necklace. She sighed. It entranced her as it sparkled in the glistening sun that streamed in through the porthole. Knowing how difficult it would be to part with, it certainly hadn’t been easy to obtain, she had considered keeping it.
She wiped new tears from her swollen eyes. No, the necklace would only remind her of him. Her buyer had already offered a beautiful price, so she would go on as planned. Maybe she would set sail after the transaction and take a much-needed vacation.
She had lived on her yacht for over a year, loving the open water, the smell of the sea and the freedom to travel whenever she became restless.
If Richard King had not docked his yacht in the same water as hers, her life would be so less complicated. No, if she had just let Jake take the damn necklace instead of trying to seduce it from him, her life would be so less complicated. She could have easily found him later. And why had she gone back on her promise to herself? She didn’t have to go home with him from The Country Club; she’d already heard where she could retrieve the necklace.
She doubted Jake knew others like him existed, mind-readers who had superior control over their gift. Years ago, she trained herself to listen frequently and to change and/or stop her own thoughts when necessary.
She had been getting ready to go home that night when she heard him. Mistaking her for Mrs. King had just been a crazy break; there was a real Mrs. King, somewhere, but it wasn’t her. It had been kind of fun pretending to be the adulteress, instead of the other woman.
Jezze unlatched the necklace from around her neck and put it back in its black box. Stop crying Jezze. This is just how it must be. She never meant to fall in love with Jake for real. Over the past two weeks she had searched for signs of mutual admiration but found nothing.
“I think you have something that belongs to me.”
Jezze held her breath and swung her attention to the familiar voice.
Richard King stood at her door.
She’d been too distraught to keep a clear head and hadn’t heard him approaching. “Sweetheart, I thought you left.” She stood up cautiously because she could certainly read his mind now.
Mr. King was a fairly tall man, but the way he stood there, his chest heaving in and out and his teeth clenched, he appeared monstrous as he shouted, “Did I not treat you well? Did I not give you enough money for your services? You were good, but not fifty-thousand dollars good.”
She put her hair behind her ears, feeling the tremor of her hands. “Why are you so upset, handsome? What happened?”
“Don’t play games with me. Give back my necklace, and I’ll be on my way. I don’t want the publicity for being with a woman like you any more than you want jail time.”
“I wasn’t the one who stole your necklace. Leave before I call the cops and have you arrested for trespassing.”
“You bitch!” He raced toward her.
Before Jezze knew what had happened, she was staring up at the ceiling, King’s handprint-sting across her face. He stood over her and drew back his fist.
She tightened her body for the blow.
But Richard King went flying across the room and landed on her vanity with a crash.
She sat up, tears blurring her view.
Was that Jake standing over Richard, daring him to move?
They all noticed the necklace at the same time, out of the box and on the floor.
“Don’t even think about it,” Jake told King. “By the looks of you, I don’t think fifty grand is payment enough.”
King sat up, still eyeing his necklace.
Jake continued, “Just collect your insurance, lick your wounded ego, and you’ll be fine. Now get the hell out of here.”
Jezze chose to ignore King’s thoughts of justice and revenge as he walked out the door. She also decided not to focus on what Jake must have believed about her. “Thank you,” she said to him, unable to look him in the eyes. “How did you know where to find me?”
“After I found the Dear John, I came searching for you. I heard King coming after you, and then I heard you thinking. I heard everything … I know everything.”
“Just take the necklace; I don’t want it.”
“I’d rather have you,” he said. “The only thing I heard that matters to me is that you love me.”
She found his sincere stare and listened to the thoughts he fed her. That’s why I was looking for you. To tell you that I love you.
She smiled and jumped into his arms, giving him tiny kisses all over his face until their lips met. After a silent conversation, they separated and began removing their clothes.
“Hey,” Jake said, looking on the floor at the mess from the vanity. “Is that my watch?”
Quiet on the Nightingale was inspired by Brothers Grimm’s Jorinde and Joringel from Children’s and Household Tales. Germany: 1812 it is one of the stories in the collection: Supernatural Fairy Tales by Dorlana Vann