The Nightshade home, late evening
Jude was finally glad to be home. He had to tell his brother Quinn that Pearl’s ex-husband Duncan Tyler was on his way to find her. He was dreading the reaction.
He shut the front door behind him and removed his gray jacket, hanging it on the coat rack mounted by the door. Seconds later, Quinn strolled up to greet him.
“Hey little brother, how was your trip to visit Mummy?” he asked.
Jude ignored the sarcastic tone. “Fine. But you’ve got a problem.”
Quinn looked at him quizzically. “What you do mean, I have a problem?”
“Let’s go into the living room and sit down,” he replied soberly.
Quinn frowned. “I don’t like the sound of this.” He followed his brother.
Jude sat down on the sofa and Quinn joined him. He sighed heavily and looked at his brother.
“On my way home from the hospital I stopped to help a man with car trouble. He—“
“What does some stranger having car trouble have to do with me?” Quinn interrupted.
“Let me finish,” Jude said curtly.
“Sorry,” Quinn said, pouting.
“Anyway, I asked this man where he was heading, out of sheer curiosity, and he told me Haven.”
Quinn was nonplussed. “So?”
“He introduced himself to me and said his name was Duncan Tyler.”
Quinn jumped off the sofa, horrified. “Are you sure that’s what he said Jude?”
“Yes. It was clear as day.” Jude was puzzled. “You recognize the name already?”
Quinn returned to the sofa. “I went to visit Pearl tonight. She told me about her ex-husband and that is his name—Duncan.” He bent down and covered his face in his hands a bit before speaking. “What the hell is he doing here Jude?”
“He asked me if I knew Pearl, when I told him I lived in Haven. I lied and told him I didn’t. He told me that he was coming here to reunite with her and take her back to Lancaster.”
Quinn jumped up again. “I have to go and tell Pearl—“
“No Quinn, don’t go over there tonight, it’s too late. We’ll wait until morning,” Jude suggested.
Quinn shot his brother a cold look. “There is no way in hell that I’m going to let that man take Pearl away from me. I’ll kill him first.”
The Lawrence farm
Pearl lay on top of her bed, reading an Agatha Christie novel and listening to the radio, which was still on the big band station. She had learned to like the old music since staying at the farm. Ironically, “String of Pearls” was playing.
There was a rap at her bedroom window. Pearl let out a small groan and placed the book face down on the bed. She got up, shaking her head. “I swear Quinn sometime you will have to go to sleep tonight,” she said to herself.
She pulled back the curtains, but was surprised—and relieved—to see Damien Collins standing outside. She opened up the windows and smiled. “Well hello again,” she happily greeted him.
Damien climbed through and immediately hugged her. “Hi Red.” He kissed her on top of her forehead.
A chilly breeze blew into the room and Pearl shut the window and closed the curtains. She ran her hand through Damien’s spiky brown hair. “What on earth do you put on that head of yours? Your hair doesn’t move one bit.”
“Ah, that’s an ancient Collins family secret,” he replied with a fake posh British accent. Then he broke out into a big grin. “Actually, I stock up on Spike-It when I go into the pharmacy in Bigelow.”
“I thought so,” Pearl said, laughing. “So, what brings you here tonight?”
Damien’s face turned serious. “Megan spoke to me this evening after dinner while I was taking a walk in the woods.”
“And what did she say?” Pearl asked, taking a seat in the rocking chair by her bed.
Damien knelt down in front of her. He took her hands in his. “She wants me to protect you from Quinn.”
Pearl sighed. “I really don’t want to talk about Quinn right now, especially since he was here most of the evening.”
Damien frowned. He was not happy. “This has to stop Pearl, and I mean now. The next time you see Quinn, you have to tell him it’s going to be the last time. I don’t want him near you anymore.”
Little Harmony Inn, Harmony, Maine
Today wasn’t shaping up to be Duncan Tyler’s day. After he got some antifreeze from Jude Nightshade and was able to start driving again, he ran out of gas. That was his fault for being too gung-ho on getting to Pearl and not filling the tank up. Luckily, he flagged down a tow truck driver who agreed to take it to an all-night market with a gas station. With his car finally travel-ready again, Duncan decided it would be best to spend the night in town and start fresh in the morning.
He was lying on the bed in his motel room trying to watch TV but his mind was too distracted. He closed his eyes as a memory of when he and Pearl were happy and still married began to take shape…
“I’m home darling!” he called out as he closed the living room door behind him. Seconds later, Pearl ran up to him and greeted him with a long, romantic kiss.
“Well, well, well I think that was your best greeting yet”, he said after it was over.
“Just wait, there’s more where that came from,” she coyly replied. “So, how was your day?”
“Busy, as usual. But, nobody had a nervous breakdown so I’d say it was successful. How about you?”
“Apart from two women getting into it over the formatting of a letter, my day was stress-free,” she said.
He scooped her up into his arms and nuzzled her neck. “Why don’t we go upstairs, he breathlessly suggested.”
Pearl reached out with her left hand and massaged his hair. “Mmm, I like that idea.”
They kissed again and then he lifted her up into his arms, heading towards the stairs…
Duncan opened his eyes back up. He was sure they could be happy again like they were in the past, especially now that there was a baby on the way. Pearl had always wanted children and he knew she would be a wonderful mother. It was going to take a lot of convincing on his part but he believed she would ultimately forgive him and come back home with him.
He didn’t realize the obstacles that lie ahead.
The Lawrence Farm
“Damien, I know you’re worried about me but if I tell Quinn he can’t visit me anymore you know what he’s liable to do,” Pearl reminded him. “Things will be more stable the way they are now.”
“Oh Pearl,” Damien replied in frustration, furiously running his hands through his hair. “Can’t you see how much I’m concerned for you? I care about you—and your little girl.” He moved from the floor to the edge of the bed. Pearl joined him.
“I know you care about me and my baby and I care about you too,” she replied softly. “I don’t want Quinn going after you or your family.”
“But we can handle him Pearl. I hate to say it like this, but you’re only human. You can’t physically stop him like the rest of us can,” Damien pointed out.
“Nothing good is going to come out of you all taking him on Damien. I don’t want any blood shed because of me,” Pearl insisted.
Damien had to smile. “You’re pretty stubborn, you know that Red?”
Pearl smiled back. “Being stubborn is what I do best.”
He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You’re one special lady Pearl Tyler.”
“And you’re one special wolf man Damien Collins.”
Damien laughed and got up. “I guess I should be going. He began for the window. Pearl followed him.
He pulled back the curtains and opened the glass. He turned to her and smiled again. “Goodnight Red. Pleasant dreams.”
“You have pleasant dreams too,” Pearl repeated.
He gave her a quick hug and climbed out into the chilly night. He waved goodbye and she waved back. She closed the windows and the curtains, shivering as the frosty air shrouded her body. She looked down at her bulging belly. “I think it’s a good time for some hot tea,” she said to her baby. She headed for the door that led upstairs.
Damien sat in his truck in the driveway of the farmhouse, staring at the windows. A few moments later, he saw a light in the kitchen window come on. Pearl must be getting a nighttime snack, he thought to himself.
He didn’t like that she was all alone inside. He desperately wanted to go back in and stay with her but he figured she would object. She could say she didn’t need protection all she wanted, but he was going to look after her no matter what.
Quinn, you are in for the fight of your life, he silently challenged.
The Nightshade home
Jude had already gone to bed, but Quinn couldn’t sleep. He sat in an easy chair in the living room, staring into the orange glow of the fire that roared in the fireplace. He couldn’t believe that Pearl’s ex-husband was in Maine and heading to Haven to try to get her back. Pearl wanted nothing to do with him. She had told him so that earlier tonight.
But still, he was worried. Pearl had said Duncan was a very persuasive man. If there was the slightest chance he could convince her to leave Haven and go back home with him, his chance at being with her would be shattered and he couldn’t let that happen.
Just try and take Pearl away from me, he said to himself. You’ll rue the day you ever set foot in Haven.
He stood up and walked towards the living room window. He stared up into the night sky and saw dark thick clouds forming. A storm would most likely be coming.
He pressed his head against the glass. He desperately missed Pearl and wanted to see her. She had to know Duncan was on his way.
“No Quinn, don’t go over there tonight, it’s too late. We’ll wait until morning,” Jude’s voice echoed in his mind.
But he couldn’t wait until morning. This was too important. He was going to tell Pearl right now. He hoped she was still awake. He put out the fire in the fireplace. Then heading towards the front door, he grabbed his leather jacket that hung on the coat hook, took his car keys out of his pocket, and left the house.
Coming up next:
- Quinn’s attempt to tell Pearl about Duncan is thwarted by Duncan himself.
- Quinn vows to Pearl he won’t let Duncan take her away.