- Pearl told Damien about Megan’s ghost.
- Iva revealed to a startled Gene she and Sadie resurrected Megan.
- Megan taunted Quinn over Damien and Pearl being together at the lake.
The Lawrence Farm, early evening
Pearl Tyler was waking up from her nap. She sat up in her bed and stretched, then shook out her long red hair. Her stomach growled, signaling it was time to get something to eat.
She stood up, smoothed out her powder blue shirtdress and walked to the vanity. Sitting down, she began to brush her hair, gazing at herself in the mirror. “You could do with a pick-me-up young lady,” she said out loud.
She opened up a small drawer under the mirror and looked inside. She saw some thick black rubber bands. Grabbing them, she began to put her hair into a bun, letting a few loose tendrils fame her oval-shaped face. “That’s much better,” she told herself.
Suddenly there was a rap at her bedroom window. Pearl turned around to see who was making the noise. Thinking it was Damien Collins, she opened her curtains, but it wasn’t Damien standing outside, it was Quinn Nightshade. He broke out into a wide smile when he saw her.
Pearl opened the windows. “Quinn, what are you doing here? If Gene and Iva see you, you’ve had it.”
“I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to see you,” he replied. “May I come in?”
“I should make you stand out there,” Pearl teased.
“It’s getting chilly and I can’t stand the cold. Pretty please?” He gave her a pleading look that reminded her of a little boy wanting a cookie.
She sighed. “Oh, all right.” Quinn climbed through the windows and Pearl closed them. She stood back to look at him and shook her head. “Juliet gets Romeo outside her bedroom, I get a half-baked Dracula.”
Quinn pretended to be hurt. “Oh come on Pearl, that’s not nice. Don’t you find me the least bit attractive?”
She cocked her head to the right and pursed her lips. “You’re not bad. But you look like someone who would do my taxes, not be a brooding sex-crazed vampire.” Before Quinn could reply, she raised her hand. “And don’t even think about the sex-crazed part. This is not True Blood.”
Quinn chuckled. “Your sense of humor is very attractive my dear.” He moved closer towards her. Pearl should have been scared out of her mind, but she wasn’t.
There was a knock at the door. “Pearl, it’s Iva and Gene. Are you awake?”
Pearl panicked for a second then regained her composure. “Yes, I’m awake. Just a minute!” She glanced quickly around the room and saw the door that led into the rest of the basement. She motioned for Quinn to enter and he hurriedly left the room. “Okay, you can come in,” she called.
Iva opened the door and she and Gene walked in. “How was your nap?” she asked.
“Good,” Pearl answered.
“We hate to leave you alone Pearl, but we got a call from some friends in Bigelow. They invited us for pizza and to play cards. We’ll be back sometime after midnight. Are you going to be okay?” Gene said.
Pearl nodded. “I’ll be fine. I’m going to get something to eat and come back down here, probably read for a bit. You two have fun.”
“Sadie should be back sometime later this evening. Take care,” Iva said.
The two left and when it was safe, Pearl went to the other door. She saw Quinn sitting on a folding chair. “They’re gone,” she told him.
Quinn followed her back to the bedroom. He closed the door and grinned at her. “I heard everything. That means we’re alone my dear. What shall we do to pass the time?”
Pearl folded her arms across her chest. “I can tell you what we’re not going to do.”
The Collins home, same time
“Well Annie, another fine dinner as always,” Caleb Collins praised his wife, Rhiannon. He patted his stomach in approval.
“Well, you can’t go wrong with chicken pot pie,” Rhiannon replied cheerfully. She headed for the sink to begin washing dishes. “Of course, Astrid and Damien run off when it’s time to clean up. You’d think those two were still teenagers.”
“I told them they didn’t have to help, that I would tonight,” Caleb explained. He pulled his wife into his arms. “I said I wanted some quality time alone with my wife.”
She laughed and kissed him gently on the lips. “Flattery will get you everywhere Caleb Collins.”
Caleb grabbed a towel from above the sink, preparing to dry dishes. “Damien seemed like he was in another world during dinner.”
“Yes, and that world is called Pearl Tyler,” Rhiannon said. “He is head over heels in love.”
Caleb shook his head. “She must be one hell of a woman. He was infatuated with her after only two days within meeting her, now it’s love. And to top it off, she’s pregnant. What are we going to do with him?”
“I’m a bit concerned about him. He’s not the easy-going, down-to-earth Damien I know anymore. Ever since that day he fought Quinn at the Lawrence’s, he’s turned moody and quick-tempered,” Rhiannon said worriedly. “And if he’s this way now, imagine how he’ll be when he changes. He may actually hurt someone.”
“Well, I know he doesn’t like the idea of Quinn being around Pearl. It bothers him immensely. But if he tries too hard to play white knight, it may backfire on him,” Caleb said. “From what I can tell, Pearl doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress with two men fighting over her. She’s only been divorced a few months, has a baby on the way—I hardly doubt romance is on her mind now. Both Damien and Quinn have to realize that.”
Damien was taking a stroll in the woods, trying to clear his mind. So many things had happened in the past week. Meeting Pearl, nearly losing his life at the hand of Quinn Nightshade—and now the ghost of Megan Manning was back. He wondered if Haven would ever find peace and quiet.
Suddenly a woman’s voice called out to him. “Damien,” it said softly, almost dreamlike.
He turned to the direction of the voice and saw a white glow. The glow formed into an image of a red-headed woman. “Megan,” Damien replied, almost whispering.
“Hello Damien,” she said. “I’m sorry I startled you today at the lake.”
“I can’t believe it’s really you. How did you come back from the dead?” he asked.
She smiled. “Two very good friends of yours summoned me.”
Damien instantly knew who those two friends were. “Iva and Sadie,” he answered.
“They told me Quinn was after Pearl and they feared he may harm her, causing her to lose her unborn child. I couldn’t let that happen,” Megan said firmly.
“Pearl needs all the protection she can get from that monster,” Damien seethed.
“You love her,” Megan surmised.
He nodded fiercely. “But she only thinks of me as a friend. If I tell her how I really feel, I’m afraid she won’t want anything to do with me. We haven’t known each other that long and she’s recently divorced.”
“Then for right now, just protect her. Make sure Quinn doesn’t charm her into letting him take advantage of her. She needs to see him for what he really is. Perhaps if I had someone looking after me, I would have never ended up the way I did.” She looked down at the ground.
“But I thought you loved Quinn and wanted to be with him,” Damien said, a bit surprised.
“I did at first. But the more I stayed, the more I realized how much I hated what he made me into. If I had tried to leave, he would have killed me,” she replied.
“What about Jude? Surely he would have helped you,” Damien pointed out.
“Jude would have only felt his brother’s wrath. He’s too good of a person to put in that kind of danger. He may be part vampire, but he’s more human than Quinn ever could be. Quinn would have easily taken him down. You should know better than anyone not to underestimate him.” Megan floated towards him. “But you are just as strong. You are the one that can help me save Pearl from his demented clutches. Soon Damien, you’ll have to reveal to Pearl your true feelings. It may cause her to stop this unnerving friendship with Quinn.”
She smiled at him. “I must go now. I’ll look on Pearl before the night is over. But remember what I said.”
She faded away, leaving Damien alone in the eerily quiet and dark forest.
The Lawrence farm
“Come on Pearl, don’t be so cold to me,” Quinn begged, reaching out and caressing her cheek.
“You promised you wouldn’t make any advances and I’m holding you to those promises.” She sat down in the rocking chair by the bed. “Besides, have you forgotten I’m pregnant? The doctor at that hospital in Lewiston doesn’t want me doing anything stressful or strenuous. Now, you can stay—but you have to behave yourself. Or you can leave the same way you came,” Pearl chided.
Quinn sat on the edge of the bed. “It’s going to be a long evening.”
“You men, you’re all alike. You all have sex on the brain twenty-four-seven. My ex-husband was the same way.” She leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes.
Quinn’s curiosity peaked. “You never told me you were married.”
Pearl opened her eyes. “You never asked. You were too busy trying to ravage a pregnant woman.”
“Tell me about him,” Quinn said.
Grateful for the change of subject, Pearl began. “He was very sweet and very charming when I met him. I was thirty and he was a bit younger, twenty-six. Like you, he was handsome in an interesting way. He was tall and thin, with these wide-set blue eyes that took your breath away. But I wasn’t interested in him at first.”
“Well, you’ll have to tell me how he won your heart so I can do the same thing,” Quinn interjected, grinning.
“You’re already doing it. He kept chasing me around until I finally gave in and agreed to go out with him, and we eventually married. But don’t think it’s going to work a second time,” Pearl continued, giving Quinn a steely look. Then she looked down at her swollen belly. “You don’t realize how much this man hurt me Quinn. He threw me away, our child away, and ten years of marriage away for a fling with a blonde tart.” Tears formed in her green eyes. “I swear if I ever see Duncan Tyler again, I’d kill him.”
Quinn gently took Pearl by the shoulders and pulled her onto her feet. He wrapped his arms around her tightly, trying to comfort her. Pearl allowed him to hold her, even though she still didn’t want him getting too close.
As the two stood there, Megan Manning’s ghost watched from outside the window, a frown on her face. She didn’t like what she was seeing at all.
On his way back from visiting his mother, Jude Nightshade saw a burgundy Nissan Altima parked along the side of the highway. Standing next to the car was a tall man with curly brown hair, wearing dark pants and a gray button down jacket. He parked behind him and got out. “You need some help?” he asked the man.
The man walked over to him. “This rental car overheated. Do you happen to have some antifreeze?”
Jude nodded. “I do. It’s in the trunk of my car.” He started for his vehicle then stopped and turned back to face the stranger. “Did you say rental car? Where are you heading, if I may ask?”
“A very tiny town called Haven.”
Jude was taken aback. “You’re kidding. That’s where I live.” He held out his right hand. “I’m Jude Nightshade.”
The man shook his hand. “Duncan Tyler.”
The last name sounded familiar to Jude, and after a few seconds it hit him—it was the same last name as Pearl, the woman his brother was infatuated with. Could this man be somehow related to her?
He decided to see if Duncan would answer his question for him. “Do you have business in Haven?” he asked nonchalantly.
“Well, it’s personal,” Duncan replied. “You know Jude, maybe you could help me. You may have met the woman I’m trying to locate there. Her name is Pearl Tyler. She’s my ex-wife.”
Coming up next:
- Duncan recalls happier times with Pearl.
- Jude tells Quinn Duncan is on his way to Haven.
- Damien pleads with Pearl to stay away from Quinn.