The angry one ch 4 to 7

Chapter 4 Being A Dick

The Christmas party was predictable. Nothing exciting. I didn’t count, so my best guess was about 30% of my classmates from high school attended. Many brought dates and a few were engaged.


I hadn’t seen Claire for about a year. David was absent, but everyone knew she was dating him. I only stayed at the party for about 30 minutes because I had to catch a flight out soon after. As usual, my timing was terrible or perfect, depending on how you look at it.

Towards the end of the short stay, my attempts to gain more eye contact with her became obvious. I finally mustered up the courage and strolled in her direction. We found ourselves standing together in the corner of the room and no one dared approach.

“Hi.”

Claire felt my tremor. I’m guessing she loved and hated seeing and feeling this. She had known this feeling for years now. I’m also guessing that it bothered her because she only felt this with me. I know, I’m being presumptuous — but I’m usually correct. David filled a void that she had experienced during high school because she admitted to herself that she had waited for me to show interest. When high school ended, she became more social and the young men saw the signs. Her parents encouraged her to meet guys but not to date until at least second year at university. She liked this idea because it gave her time to make friends and choose more wisely.

By her second year of university she met David. His gentle approach and good manners made her feel special, but she rarely felt adventurous or spontaneous with David, only safe and loved. Social media posts reveal a lot. David was from a good family, but far from rich. Claire experienced guilt about this because she didn’t want her focus to be the Hanson money. But with the super rich, pretending to not notice the money is a bit challenging.

As she stood staring at me, a part of her wanted to slap me on the face and tell me how she felt. She had practiced a monologue through the years while daydreaming.

Michael, let me get on with my life. Stop staring at me from across the room and pretending as though you like me. I have someone in my life now. He’s almost perfect for me. After I finish school, i will marry and get on with my life.

Instead, she pulled herself together and offered a greeting.

“Hi Mike.”

“I like your social media posts. Good to know you are doing well at university and made many new friends, and a boyfriend. David, I think.”

I had promised myself that I would avoid the boyfriend comment, but there it was.

“Yeah.” She smiled. “Being honest with you, I was a bit surprised that we never dated, or at least went out for coffee.”

“Sure. But high school was confusing. You were the popular one. Guys always asking you out. Hell, you seemed bored with most of them. Some were my friends. I guess I was afraid to disappoint you. But I always noticed you. Plus, my parents didn’t allow me to date in high school, at least nothing serious.” I realized I had just let out a secret. My face flushed red, and she saw it.

“What?” Claire mirrored me, so her face flushing red.

Immediately, I changed the subject.

“It doesn’t matter. The past is the past. I’m just happy to know you are doing well.”

I felt light headed as I was taken back to the moment when I first realized how much I liked Claire — years ago. Since our emotions are timeless, we can re-experience both happy and sad memories by experiences the right stimuli at the right moment. This was one of those moments. I both love and hate these moments: body starts to ever-so-slightly shake, the sweet is felt trickling, and we realize we are becoming vulnerable.

It was time to change subjects.

“I heard about your father’s recent case. He is in Europe now, Wow. When I graduate from West Point, I can’t wait to come back to Michigan and learn more about everything.”

As usual, she was speechless. David was aware of Claire’s father’s job and all, but his comments were limited on this subject, after all, his major was accounting, so he could not help her fulfill her childhood dream. Her life with him would be stable, but she often feared a bit too boring. She also remembered that her father had received funding again for an anonymous source. She had wondered, now and then, if one of the donors was a local source, such as the Hanson family.

“Yeah. He loves the high profile cases. But sometimes we fear for his safety.” The moment she said this, she regretted being so honest.

“I’ll be finished with West Point in June. I know you have some less-than-favorable memories from high school of me, but I’ll make it up to you.”

Her face turned red. She was noticeably angry.

I had again spoken beyond my script. For the first time, I was speaking from my heart. I’ll admit, I was nervous. However, I love this feeling — it is addicting. I love the adventure or being in an unstable environment, even deadly situations, such as jumping out of plane and landing in the middle of the jungle on a survival mission. Many business deals where millions or billions are involve create a similar feeling. If there is no risk, there’s really very little fun.

My father often says, “No risk, no sport.” It basically means we must find ways to constantly find excitement in life. This can mean almost any situation, including knowing people’s lives might be at risk.

My parents also have a strict policy about kidnappers. There is no negotiation— no ransom. So if, I’m kidnapped, even they come to rescue me or I escape by myself.

Some say, “So you play with people’s lives?”

I say, “Yeah, so?”

I was developing a wit that my parents had learned long time ago. The blood that runs through my veins had a need. It is an addiction. I love living on the edge. I love finding new excitement. Claire had been the one thing I couldn’t have. Now I can pursue her.

WTF

I’m confident I said “WTF” to myself. Had I said it out loud, she probably would have given me one of those looks that said “Why did you say that for?” Why was I feeling this way? It took about 1 second, and I decided to put Claire back on my list of datable woman. The list is short, so you shouldn’t be surprised. As I made this choice, a smile lit up my face. Claire’s voice pulled me back into the moment.

“What do you mean, ‘you’ll make it up to me?’”

I had halfheartedly convinced himself not to mess with her relationship with David. But then again, I could do anything I wanted. I had the power to change the world and I had the right to choose the woman who would be at his side. Hell, that woman could lead me, as my father often suggests. I had two personalities. A man with unlimited resources and charm, and a man who wanted to respect others and their choices. Both could not exist together at the same time. One personality trait would become dominant.

She was still staring at me, demanding an answer.

“I’ve always thought you were someone special, very special. Sorry, I didn’t say more before.”

I paused and watched her. I love watching people especially after I make a comment that is intended to get a response. I knew what to look for. Everything about her said that she was ready to leave David and run away with me. For the first time in my life, I was saying what I had wanted to say to the one girl that I had always liked. But this was hardly the time and hardly the place. I didn’t have time to go for coffee because I couldn’t call my father and delay an international trip for a brief stop at a coffee shop with a girl my parents had almost forgotten about. My schedule was strict and I would be leaving the city in less than 1 hour. The plane was waiting.

“Anyhow. I’ve gotta go. Plane leaves in less than an hour. I’ll be out of the country for some time. However, when I see you in June, I promise, we’ll have a good talk.”

My eyes teared up and she mirrored me. I had spoken the magic words, “I promise.”

Here’s a secret. Great communication is not about words. It’s about calibration. It’s about your inner and the outer selves being in agreement. The agreement starts inward and it is seen and felt by you and everyone (including animals and nature) around you. Most people fuck this up. They think telling everyone how great they are will make people like them. It’s the opposite, becoming like others and putting yourself as less important is what builds relationships. That’s why I knew my relationship with Linda was doomed. All we wanted was sex from each other.

“Michael, I don’t understand you. I don’t know what you want. But remember I have a boyfriend. David is very special to me. I love him. I don’t know what you have in mind but I have commitments.”

As she spoke these words, all I heard was “Blabla bla.” What I saw was her body language. She was practically singing the famous Celine Dion song “If you ask me to.” Here are a few lyrics: “If you ask me to, I just might change my mind, and let you in my heart forever.” Yeah, she likes that song.

“Like I said, see you in June. I promise. When I’m back, if you are available, I’ll be available. Face to face. No hurrying. If you don’t want to meet me because of your boyfriend, I understand.” I enjoyed saying boyfriend and pretending to forget his name. This minimized him to a very temporary title. Today, the word boyfriend is one of the most meaningless titles.

“Michael, will you send me an email or something. I’m really surprised by this meeting. I don’t know what to say or think.”

“I don’t use social media, except to keep informed. I prefer face to face. I’ll find you. All need to do is say yes or no.”

I turned and walked away, hoping what I had said would do the trick — end her relationship with David. Our classmates had noticed us and some even took pictures. The plan was working well. In the next week or so, the next step was simple enough. Watch carefully for any signs on social media that might indicate what Timothy called the right opportunity. Claire would probably see David in the next day or so. If there was any change in her behavior and her relationship with David, I would notice.

As I walked out the door, I felt the fire in my veins with a slight tremor from head to toe. I loved it. I had never felt this same level of excitement with Linda. Getting Linda in bed had been too easy. Most things in my life had been too easy. I think my parents had predicted this.

As Claire watched me stride away, she whispered to herself, “Give me a sign that you want me.” As quickly as she spoke this, she thought. “Duh!” and laughed. Her parents had told her countless times what to look for, and those signs were everywhere.

I understood why Claire believed she deserved some form of message. I just did not know how to write it. On multiple occasions I had faced death over the passed 4 years. My wit had developed enough to give an answer to almost every situation. Sending an email was different. It was beyond my ability. My nervous system, you know, that part of our brain that sends signals to us when to be happy, sad, or afraid, well it only sent one warning signal after another every time I tried to send an email to her.

Face to face was how I did things. It offered me control.

In Linda’s case, face to naked body.

Staring at Linda’s naked body so early into our relationship reminded me why I was with her. She had her role — unconsciously we both knew what her role was.

One reason I love face to face is I love going off script. However, if I didn’t keep my promise about seeing Claire in June of next year, then, well —. If I did keep my promise, then Claire’s parents were right about the law of attraction and her short list of dreams were possibly within reach.

As I raced to my car, heart pounding, I had to remind myself of one simple fact. “That went well, but remember you made no promise to marry Claire.” My words sounded hollow.

Fuck it.


As I drove off, I made myself a promise. “You will try to write an email.” My nervous system responded with an audible, “Ha — right!” The drive time to the airport was fast, about 10 minutes. Here is a short list of what I thought of. The tone of each was similar:

“I have always loved you; so let’s start dating in June.” Next, “You are the most perfect girl I have ever seen. I want to mary you, but i know you won’t be ready for at least 4 years.” At this point, you can kind of see why writing her an email was a nearly impossible task. In fact, I felt my gag reflex come from that one. I was not a romance novel writer and didn’t want to be one.

One thing bothered me about my attitude. Where did the ridiculously wonderful desire come from to feel this way about a girl I hardly knew? Knowing I would not find the answer by thinking about it, I continued to painfully write more stupid attempts at emails. Here is another :


“Sorry for surprising you at the party. I’m looking forward to seeing you in June. Promise. If you don’t want to see me, send a reply: No thank you.”

This was my favorite, except, it encouraged her to reject me.

This last one was arguably the best. However, while sitting in the plane and preparing to take off, I tried to push the send button, yet fear came over me. What if she sent a “No thank you” response. I couldn’t risk it. Instead of sending her a message, I made a firm promise to myself, and recorded it.

“The next time I see Claire, we’ll be together, face to face. I’ll be very nervous and I don’t even know what I’ll say. But I don’t care. Something inside of me wants to be with her, so my only role is to tell her how I feel. If there is some magical force helping me, it’ll take care of the rest.”

I continued to do deep breathing exercises as Timothy had taught me many years ago. As my nervous system slowed, intuitively I knew somehow a magical event would pave the way for when and how I would see her next time.

Claire went home that night with a smile. However, she promised herself she would do everything in her power to keep this to herself. If she told her parents and I did not show up in June, she would never be able to live it down. She had cried about my bad behavior in high school. Those days were over.

————

!! the break up.

Pictures began circulating on social media sites of Claire and I talking in the corner of the room. It was entertaining watching my plan unfold. Comments followed, like “The mystery couple strikes again,” and “Mike, Stop running!” This second comment got the most traction, because a gif (a moving picture with audio) was also posted of me running towards the door. I knew David, her-soon-to-be-former-boyfriend, saw the pictures and must have had a question or two about these and other posts. To humor myself, I imagined this conversation between Claire and David.


“Claire, you need to explain these pictures?”

“Honey, he’s an old friend from high school. That’s all!”

“He’s a billionaire playboy. He probably sleeps around with more girls than you can count from all 7 continents. He’s from a manipulating family and you are falling for him. He’ll probably say some nice things to you, take you on his private jet, fuck you, and leave you.”

“You don’t understand. We’ve never even been on date. He’s never even kissed me. We’re just friends.”

“Claire dammit, stop lying to me and stop being so dammed gullible. Your face lit up as you two found a private place to discuss your secret plans. I want to offer you stability. I will not fly all over the world on secret trips. I will not cheat on you. I will devote myself to you and our children. Do you want me?”

Claire hesitates.
“Um.. .”

“Do you want me?”
Claire hesitates.
“Well?”
“David, I’m not ready for a marriage commitment.”
“Ok. It’s over.” As he stares at Claire, she can see his anger and she is afraid for a moment.
“Claire, I wish you would say something, like ‘i love you.’”
She nods, “David, I do love you.”
“That’s not enough anymore. I want you to fight for us now.”
“David, I’m not the one threatening to leave or raising my voice. I do love you, but I am not ready to marry you. I haven’t seen Mike in more than a year. He shows up at the community gathering for 20 minutes. I’m reminded of some fond memories of attending a party with him, and my boyfriend panics. This is really weird.”
David pauses, looks at the social media pictures again and makes his final comment.
“I need time to think.”
She tries to hide her smile, but she isn’t surprised that David ends the relationship within a few days.

****.

About a week passed and I noticed the change in Claire’s posting. She and David were taking a break. One of her posts was that friends on social media had been unfair since they had all jumped to conclusions that she was going to break up with David to date me. Since I had disappeared again, with no posts to social media, Claire did make a good case. But everyone was looking at the pictures of the brief private meeting between Claire and I at Christmas. We mirrored each other in almost every scene: Bright red faces with blushing was enough by itself, but the videos kept offering more. My favorite was the way we leaned towards each other, and how we could not take our eyes off each other as we stood together, in a group of two and no outsiders dared join the private conversation. Even as I rushed out the door, she raised her arm as though she wanted me to stay. Then she looked down, unhappy the moment was over. Nothing about it was casual.

David had been a special part of Claire’s life, so she felt the loss. She only feared one thing. She didn’t really know what would happen with me. I didn’t tell her I wanted to marry her, but she also knew I had strong feelings for her. She saw and felt them. My words were few, but I told her what she had wanted to hear since high school.

Claire spent a few more weeks asserting that seeing me was not what it looked like. However, none of her friends believed her assertions, so the comments and speculation continued.

Chapter 5 Claire’s Depression

About 1 month later, Claire stopped posting comments and went into a shell. It was early February. A moderate snow fall had created the most beautiful scene outside of her kitchen window. One of her favorite seats in the house was a padded bench in the kitchen’s nook. This area formed a bay window on the exterior, so the seating created a feeling of being outside in the snow without the shivers. She sat in warmth in her favorite pajamas with a blanket wrapped around her, gazing as flakes floated into her view, continuing its show. It was a Sunday morning. She thought of all that had happened before and at the Christmas party while she sipped her hot chocolate.

Last year had been stable and filled with memorable events with David. Claire accepted that David wasn’t perfect, but David had cared for her. Their relationship had been comforting with limited spontaneity, but overall not exciting. Perhaps is was safer to characterize her relationship with David as common. Since she had been starry-eyed about a fantasy life with Michael. Her actions revealed she was ready to walk away from common to experience WTF.

!! timeline


She glanced at the clock and thought about her old daily routine. She had created a sort of tradition with David. Since they had been together for the Christmas season, Sunday mornings had become a cherished time for her. She sat and waited for David to arrive and they went for a walk, shopping, or whatever she wanted to do. Sometimes Claire’s mother joined them. Claire loved the snow, so going for walks with David was romantic. He never disappointed her. He expressed his feelings for her and when he made plans, he was on time and aware of her needs and wants.

She shook herself, for she knew those days were over. She turned her focus on what might be, not what was over.

Claire traced the rim of her mug with her index finger while reminiscing about the events from the Christmas party. Had I not interrupted her life, she would have been more than happy to move on with David. She sighed. She loved the thrill of being pursued, but she also loved the comfort of being settled in a relationship with a common routine. A tinge of anger came, Why can’t I have both?

Claire had heard the name Linda from social media. In an attempt to keep her mind occupied and to humor herself, she decided to learn a little more about Linda. Linda was warning young ladies to stay away from me. The gossip repeated what David had already said to Claire. Here is a copy of one post.

“Mike is quick to fuck the most beautiful girl and leave. He has no limits and he knows how to control people. His studies at West Point included mind control, the martial arts, and military strategy.”

Much of this was speculation since my university does not offer mind control classes, at least not formally, and I never made such comments to Linda. In fact, sharing with her any classified details was forbidden. Any secrets in my life stayed in my mind.

However, Claire did the math. She considered my parents’ international connections and the billions. Her conclusion was rational, and a little scary. She whispered to herself, “Michael is becoming one of two possible men: a man who everyone will love and respect or a someone everyone will fear. I hope its the former, but i fear —-.” She didn’t want to put into words the other possibility.


Linda’s social media posts revealed that I had broken up with her and was returning to Michigan in June or July. The more Claire read, the bigger her goose bumps got.

One a few occasions, the term mystery girl was used. Here is one example: “Is there a mystery girl that Mike likes in Michigan?” The post included many pictures of me with a variety of people. In some cases, Claire was in the picture. Many claimed the pictures were photoshopped, but Claire knew better.

Linda’s posts were a kind of mission. She explained how her intentions were pure. One post read as follows:

“I want to warn unsuspecting girls regarding what to expect when Michael is preparing to leave you. Here are the signs to look for:

01
When Mike is ready to leave, he starts to talk about his hometown.

02
If he invites you to his hometown to meet the family, if his mom doesn’t approve, its over.

03
He has family rule about engagement. The big one is the one-year rule.

If he mentions this to you with a smirk on his face, it’s over.

!! timeline


Claire had a lot of content cataloged, but she loved this shortened version because it confirmed her suspicions.

Linda’s blog suggested that we were having sex all the time. One such reference was when she alluded to how nervous I had become “on more than one occasion” when her period was late. Another post was “he loves the sex but he’s not too excited about a pregnant girl.” Although Linda was good at being subtle and she didn’t offer any pictures, she did suggest that if a young woman couldn’t pleasure me to my satisfaction, I’d start gazing at my long list of girls.

I must admit, sitting back and watching this was good for me. It was like being a celebrity featured in a magazine such as the National Enquirer. Knowing the stories had truth but were mostly false was empowering.

Ironically, I loved hearing someone trying to convince whoever might be listening or reading how terrible I was. I wasn’t surprised by her level of spite. And I kind of suspected that she was not aware of how entertaining it was for me. Call me an asshole. When girls sleep with a guy, and later the girl gives us guys a list of demands, we find it humous and we see the girl as a little “crazy.” More on this later.

In fairness to myself, many of her presumptions or accusations were wrong. For example, I didn’t have a long list of girls and her period being late only happened once. I had wore a condom and I pulled out before the climax. However, after it happened, I really tamed myself in the bedroom.

Claire found the social media posts humorous and helpful because she began preparing her playbook. I often wondered if Linda was aware that her posts were having the opposite affect. You gotta love the stupidity of jealousy.

The posts read like a novel. Linda had a mission to warn young naive girls about her terrible ex-boyfriend, the billionaire playboy. There were numerous posts, so Claire highlighted her favorite comments. One term Claire especially liked was Mystery Girl.

!! repeat comment — sort of. need a transition.


I kind of predicted she might do this, so I often used due diligence to have my picture taken with many beautiful woman. If there was a public moment caught on camera with me talking with a girl, Linda tried to find it and post it, including somewhere in the post the word “mystery.”

However, as it goes with social media, when you find a picture online, its hard to know if it’s real or photo shopped. Since Linda admitted she didn’t take most of them herself, and girls like Claire did not comment, only watched, it was anyones best guess.

People typically don’t take these posts too seriously, especially if the guy they are about is ignoring them — not coming to his own defense.

Linda went on about how I often took secret trips and didn’t attend school as much as most students. Towards the end, Linda suspected I was chasing a new girl, and she laughed about how short lived this sex affair would be.

Weeks had passed and Claire figured it was time for a break. She leaned back in her chair and asked the obvious question. “Could I be the one to tame this crazy man?”

“When Michael does visit Michigan on break from university, he always makes time to attend social functions where he knows he’ll see me. I mean, I post my comments on line and let everyone know I will be there. And when I do see him, even though it is only for a short time, people talk and take pictures. No other local girl makes the headlines here. There are girls from university, but none from Michigan. If Mike had offered such attention to another girl in our community, I would know about it.”

Without warning, a fear came over Claire.


“Oh shit. What if Linda starts posting about me specifically, like attacking me for being gullible? Maybe she’ll call me names like a soon-to-be whore? Can i handle this pressure?”


I considered a few worst case scenarios and I had a final thought.

“Hold on, wouldn’t it be cool if Linda did and Michael did post a response to defend my honor?”

However, one other possibility bothered Claire. She noticed what was missing from the social media gossip. I did not post any responses anywhere. She did a search for a social media account, such as twitter, looking for my name, but she couldn’t find one. She tried several variations of names, but nothing came up. Claire smiled. She imaged how I was watching, reading, and laughing.

Michael, you like playing God. You only intervene when needed. Ha!!

!! timeline

I had changed in many ways since high school. I went from the shy boy, to a young man who was being prepared by my parents to take over the family company and change the world. I had already faced death and had enough understanding about the power of the unconscious mind to be a little dangerous.

As each event rolled out, Claire didn’t need to do anything, only enjoy the ride. All of her questions were being answered as the days passed. She was a little surprised by the rabbit trails her mind when down. She even considered possible future failures: “I’m a small town girl. How could I really have attracted a young man like this?” As she lay in bed, she was gripped by the fear of not being good enough.

At time social media was put on hold as she distracted herself by dreaming about the one future event she was certain would happen, working with her father. Her father was currently working on a case in Europe. It focused on a few women who were allegedly raped in a community torn apart by refugees. Claire’s heart went out to the families, the refugees, who had to flee their war-torn countries and had to beg different European countries to take them in. But unless her father’s intel was wrong, which came from local government, the local people, and media reports, the arrival of these refugees had raised the local crime rates. The problems included a rise in local sex crimes against women and girls. Her father was traveling internationally through these less-than-stable communities, asking one question: Will I take this case?


One big question lingered on Claire’s mind: “Did Mike visit at Christmas for the main purpose of offering me an excuse to break up with David.” She enjoyed the guilty pleasure in watching her life head in the direction that she craved even though she was not in control of it. It was addicting. She made one promise to herself:

If Mike does keep his promise by contacting me and we have a real date, I will learn the skills that the Hanson family uses. I will master these skills of influence and become a world changer for my parents and my husband.

However, she had to admit to a painful reality at the same time. “It’s hard to believe that Mike and I will even make it past the first date. If the stories are true, he’s so different from me. I can’t imagine he would have the same core interests.”

Chapter 6 the dream

June arrived, I blinked a few times, and it was almost over. Yes, I panicked. I had graduated, so I was ready to return to Michigan. I sat in my off-campus home wondering how I was going to pull off my first meeting with Claire. Every monologue I practiced felt too scripted. I wanted the moment to be spontaneous.

Afraid to get on the plane with no clear plan, I made the call with a shaky hand. I flew into Detroit City Airport on a Friday at 6p. I had one thing on my mind : How do I keep my promise to Claire? I had days left, not weeks.

I did regret not sending her an email. I spent much of the evening staring at the calendar, counting the days left in June. How can I surprise her? I didn’t want it to be too over the top or spooky. I called Timothy to ask for advice. Unfortunately, Timothy wasn’t much help. “When the time is right to approach Claire, you will know. Avoid concocting some crazy plan, like inviting her to fly with you somewhere exotic. Keep it simple. You know, coffee or tea locally. The more you complicate it and plan it, the less it will feel like you.”

I hadn’t communicated with her since the Christmas party, but nothing had changed: she was single, in her shell, and was assisting her father with his court case in Europe. According to reports, her father, Robert Lee, was overseas a lot and his family was concerned for his safety.

To calm my nerves, I headed towards my yoga mat and looked through a list of recordings Timothy had given me over the years. It was getting late, so I was ready to do a few stretches and go to bed. As I began getting comfortable on the mat, I promised myself I would at least drive by her house, no later than Sunday — in less than 48 hours.

I pictured how this might go over. I drive up unannounced, knock on the door, and her mother greets me and tries to hide her shock. Politely she informs me that Claire is gone for the day. She graciously promises me that she will let Claire know I had dropped by and I leave.

After imagining two or three waste of time scenarios, I put all the worries aside and became focused on relaxing. Rarely did I achieve good results by overthinking. Instead, allowing my mind to relax and enter a meditative state was always more productive.


Gotta relax. After a goods nights sleep I’ll be able to think better — hopefully.

I randomly clicked on my itunes, not noticing the selection was one I had not previously listened to. It was listed in the category of “8 hours of ambient music: a guided meditation.”

The music started. I had heard similar music, or what I call vibes, countless times, so without any further thought, I put the ear buds in and reclined. My mind was in planning mode; it was slowing but still wandering.

A message popped up in a window on my iphone, but i didn’t notice it.

!! timeline — make sure the sleep time and wake time are consistent.

Warning: This recording induces deep trance states and lucid dreams. You must allow for 8 hours.

!! timeline. an attempt at continuity.

The ambient vibes followed by the hypnotic voice.

Feel your body relaxing.
Breath in and breath out.

My mind continued to wander, ignoring the introduction, also called the induction.

“Maybe our first meeting should be taking a quiet walk around the block at her house, face to face, and no hurry. Maybe I’ll ask her if I can kiss her when we return to the front door.”

I smiled at my silliness: stop overthinking it.

“I gotta surprise her with an entrance that is memorable. But how? Just calling her on the phone and saying, ‘Let’s do coffee,’ after waiting for 4 years, seems so wrong.

As the magical music continued, the vibes continued to slow my mind, I lost my train of thought about Claire. Instead, my focus became feeling my body relax, all over. This state between conscious and unconsciousness is one we all experience before we fall asleep.

The recording had a few words that were especially thought provoking to me. For example, like the word deep. When I hear it, I often think of sex. When I hear the word imagine in the same sentence with the word deep, it fuels my desire to visualize the joy of sex.

My trance state went deeper, which meant I was not fully sleeping nor fully awake. As I drifted, my body became extremely relaxed and heavy. I like it when the recording says “As you take each step, one by one, you will go 2 or 3 times deeper into relaxation.” Although these recordings have many variations, you get the idea.

As I let go completely of the desire to be in control consciously, I felt a sensation I had never felt before: movement — floating. The music and calm voice from the recording became faint, as though it was playing in the distance, a far away place. Then a fragrance filled the air and I recognized the scent: Claire’s perfume. Since I hadn’t smelled it in 6 months, I was surprised I knew it instantly. Soon I heard her voice and felt her presence near me. I did not open my eyes, yet I do remember seeing, hearing, and smelling everything in a more lucid manner than I had ever experienced in my life. This is my faithful recollection:

I was in a seated position, sort of, somehow floating near Claire in her bedroom. Imagine Alladin on his magic carpet. I had a front row seat, and all I could do was watch. Before my focus went I her, my eye darted around, as though I was instinctively become familiar with her self-expression by how she decorated her room. No surprise, it had a lot of pink, light blue, and light green. It was the way I had imagined it. She often talked about her love for animals, so I was not surprised to see a menagerie of horses near her desk and a mural of beautiful birds, including parrots and flamingos, painted on her walls, stretching from her desk area to the adjacet wall, supporting the head board on her bed. The nature scene included a pond, ferns, a blue sky, and a young girl basking in the glory of her surroundings. It was the most delightful nature scene I had ever seen painted on a bedroom wall. The artistry was breathtaking.

To my surprise, I was totally relaxed. I guess you could say I didn’t feel like myself, but more on that later. Somehow I knew she couldn’t see me; she didn’t know I was there. This was comforting because I had a front row seat to watch the most beautiful creature I had ever seen doing her thing. Her clock read 12:47, so the midnight hour was under way.

Her bedroom door was locked and she was touching herself in all the right places while holding a picture. With just a thought, I floating across the room to get a better look. As I glided to a halt, an invisible wall stopped me. I was able to see everything in the room except one thing: the picture. I wanted to feel jealous if it was another man, or prideful that I was the one in the picture.

I focused back on her playful hand and full body gestures. A rhythm was evident: the breathing patterns, the rubbing, the opening and closing of her eyes as the blood flow brought different sensations to her genitalia, and the way she would gaze and then sway her head. Each time she went deeper, her lips would quiver, especially the lower one, and her eyes struggled, not sure if staying closed or opened would offer more euphoria. Some have called this moment a beautiful agony. For men like me, we usually satisfied ourselves in minutes. I never thought of touching my self as an art form. Instead, as a brief duty to let out energy while have a little fun. For Claire, it was a long perfectly-timed process that just offered more and more.

I had imagined Claire touching herself more than once before, but I had failed to take into account all the different physiological dimensions. My ability to imagine her pleasuring herself was good, and my ability to visualize her doing it with me was a bit better. But this went beyond my imaginative powers. She used her right hand to stroke between her legs while closing her eyes and moaning. As a man, when I imagine this, so often I’m the one with the magical fingers. As I watched, I realized how little she needs a man. Its and art form and she is an artist without me.

The minutes passed, I’m guessing — I didn’t have a watch to look at — and she raised her wet finger to her nose, smelled it, and licked it. At this point, one thing amazed me. I wasn’t feeling the desire to materialize before her and have sex. I only wanted to watch. I was an asexual spectator. I had learned how to do this in hypnosis classes. We call it a disassociation.


As she put the picture down on her night stand, she made a strange gesture. Using her right hand, similar to the Signing of the Cross we Catholics do, she took her index and middle finger, put them together as though she wanted to point, brought them to her lips, kissed them, then touched her forehead, her heart, and finally the picture. Without thinking about it, I made the gesture. I did it several times, wanting to save it in somatic memory. I was immersed. I enjoyed being her follower, her worshipper. I was mirroring her breathing and moving my head as she moved hers.
I also noticed how her pouty lips swelled at as they headed towards climax, and while still under her control, her body relaxed as though to say, “Not yet.” I never had that kind of self-control.

!! sign of cross.

As though the scene was over, I noticed what looked or felt like a time warp in a Star Trek movie. The screen kind of got stretched, as though I was going to go into warp speed. In the blink of eye everything changed. It was morning and she was waking up. For some reason, she looked even more beautiful. No make up and only half clothed. One of her nipples was peeking through her nightie since the cloth had slipped down just far enough. As she changed her posture, she slipped her top all the way down, and gently caressed her nipples. The phrase, “common morning routine” came to my mind, as though someone in the spiritual realms, an angel perhaps, had just given me human words to describe a divine event. I loved staring at her in this pose of innocence, but still I did not feel any sexual attraction. My best guess is I didn’t have the equipment on my body to feel it.

I know. It seems a little contradictory that I didn’t have the desire to have sex with her, but my level of aware allowed me to ascertain all the energy of life around me that I had so often missed. With Linda, I worshipped only briefly because there was no real connection. She had a beautiful body, yet it came with a personality that wanted to control me. This was different — so different.

Next, I felt and heard her beating heart, and I noticed her breath and how it affected each rise and fall of her chest. Her French braided hair was a beautiful mess, her silky black hair was scattered, creating a partial veil over her face, then sprawling out to her pillow. All I wanted to do was watch, as though I was a guardian angel. As she continued to awaken from her deep sleep, she changed positions. I watched as she licked her lips to give them moisture while giving a light touch followed by a firmer squeezing of her breasts, one then the other, checking that both were intact and in their proper places.

I was kind of able to relate. After all, I do the same with my crotch when I feel a numbness in that area. This can happen when waking up or the middle of the day if I’ve been sitting too long.

Yes, the thought had occurred to me that I was a peeping Tom. But as quickly as this thought came, I remembered that an unknown power had brought me here. I saw her as complete and beautiful. Even the nipples did not create in me the desire for sex with her, only more admiration. I was aware of this, but I couldn’t explain it. It was heavenly beauty.

Her eyes darted toward her desk and I saw a familiar newsletter. It was a church bulletin, lying on the desk. Before I could move in that direction, she leaned over her desk and grabbed it. As she stared at the picture, an emotion shot through my body that was almost sexual, but it still missed the mark. The feeling was euphoric, so no word would suffice. Her face was glowing with a heavenly countenance. Her finger touched the picture again that she had admired hours earlier. She placed the frame back on her shelf, where I could not see its face, and looked at her events list for the day.

10:00 am: confession with Father Francis. It was at this point that I realized a possibility I had never wanted to consider. Did girls go to confession because it was required or for another reason? I glanced back at her as she glowed with her perfect smile. She had a secret. Confession turned her on. It couldn’t be the priest because he was 60 something.

Again, Claire stared back at the frame on her shelf and did that gesture with the index and middle finger again. I have a strong memory for visuals, so I had cemented this gesture in my mind. I recorded it as a series of pictures and a short movie. As I practiced it in my hiding place, my muscle memory was doing its job very quickly.


I wondered at that moment if any girl had pleasured herself while looking at my picture. The rich billionaire stud in me said “Yes, a lot of girls.” Really, I’m a hell of a catch by any measure. I’ve got my six pact abs, damn cute curly blondish-brown hair, and gorgeous light green eyes. Yes, girls have described me like this. At my age, we all do it. We guys fantasize about girls and they fantasize about whoever — hell, maybe themselves. In the past I had felt a bit of shame about this. Today, any type of fantasy is the best thing ever.

Going from shame to relief is pretty cool, especially the relationship with your body and sexuality.

Katy Perry’s song, I kissed a girl, came to mind.

Being there in her room and watching everything made everything ok. No guilt. Then it dawned on me, that I was seeing the world the way God or angels might see it. No shame, only a human goddess expressing herself privately. Although no one asked me if this meeting with Claire fell under the therapist client privilege, I presumed it did. Plus, who the hell would believe me anyway?

Since all I could do was watch, everything about her made me happy: her smile, hair, nipples, and smell were memorable. It almost seems impossible that I could be captivated by her smell, yet have no feeling in the genitalia area. As I mentioned earlier, intuitively I knew my sense of taste would not work in this situation. Plus, I had no idea how to try it out. I could feel my tongue was intact, but my thoughts did not go passed that awareness.

Raised as a Catholic I had been taught that almost all sexual pleasure and enjoyment in and out of the body is sinful. Now and forever, I will ignore this teaching. If I was in sin then shame on God for bringing me here. The timing of this dream, or whatever it was, was arguably good timing. Since my hypnosis meetings, I had been studying how humans are influenced. No surprise, fear is right up at the top of the list for ways to control people. This is why religion has thrived so.

As I angelically watched Claire without any fear, guilt, or other negative human emotion, I knew my life would never be the same. I had experienced during high school and university how fleeting sex was. The girls I dated were the best, sexually. Their bodies were athletic, they knew how to pleasure a man, and they knew how to move, make the sounds, and do the talk. But for me it all got boring fast. I realized that none of this had brought me the pleasure and deep down happiness I was looking for.

While watching Claire I did not feel the need to touch myself or her. In fact, as I had mentioned earlier, I had become a-sexual. I did not want to fantasize about having sex with Claire anymore. In fact, all of my sexual fantasies about her seemed less than exciting. In all honesty, I was kind of afraid to reach down and check if my penis and balls were intact. After all, I didn’t feel anything down there, especially not an erection. Strange but freeing. I just wanted to watch and be an observer. I was convinced she was worshipping God as she probed. And I was worshipping God’s creation. If you can imagine that then you have some idea of how I was feeling. My interpretation of God was changing quickly. I was starting to like Him or Her.

This scene went on for a while, but I noticed she never climaxed. Don’t ask me how I knew this, but I did. I realized, even though she had done the activity a few times, she was waiting for the right moment. And the right moment wasn’t about to happen now. She was saving it for later.

Since I was sort of reading her mind, I knew why she was saving the climax for later. If you can’t guess the answer, don’t feel bad. After all, I had supernatural insight, so I knew what she was waiting for. I was young and my mind was filled with sexually charged fantasies, but being in this trance state was beyond enlightening. Her mind and emotions were an open book to me, but nothing was dirty or sinful. It was all pure and an honest expression of worship to God, the creator. Who could ask for more?

What can I say. I was in love. God had made the rules for my encounter. He had set things up nicely. I was having the greatest dream of my life and the only one I was planning to share this with was my therapist. I would probably offer hints to Claire, but describing this in detail seemed, well, a bit too much. After all, Timothy had told me he had heard it all. I couldn’t wait for find out if this was true.

Although I didn’t have anything to write with, obviously, I made a mental note that I would attend confession at 10am. It was 7:30a, so soon my alarm would be playing one of my favorite songs. The only fear I had at this point was, “Would I remember this Lucid dream?” I’ll admit, I was a little afraid of waking up, for if I couldn’t remember the night’s events, what would have been the purpose of having this dream?

I also lost control of my trance state as I began slipping into a deep sleep.

Chapter 7 The mystery girl

I awoke with his alarm at 8 am. The dream had been so intense that I was exhausted. However, as I awoke, faint images of my dream flashed, but it was not like a movie, rather passing images that only teased.

Unconsciously, I began my postural reorientation. I felt sluggish. I knew my REM sleep had been interrupted, so I was waking up to groggy. You know the feeling, like a hangover that lasts more than just the morning. I had experienced this state before, without drinking the night before. I call it a hypnotic hangover. A message for me was lurking just below my conscious awareness. I felt it — “but how can i trigger it?”

Intuitively, as part of my postural reorientation, I did the crotch touch. The moment my hand reached the target, a gif style short video of Claire’s gesture with her middle and index fingers played multiple times. I didn’t need to practice it, because it was already in my somatic memory. Each time I practiced Claire’s version of the signing of the cross, I felt the magic of the dream. As different scenes came and went, the emotions flushed over different parts of my body.

I glanced at the clock again while practicing the gesture. Oh shit. The dream told me Claire was planning to go for confession at 10a. I had one big problem. I was tired — no — exhausted. I still had no formal plan to meet up with Claire. However, the dream had just offered the perfect, most spectacular way to meet up with her, including a location, a time, and intimate details about her life. The obvious question pop up.

What if it was only a dream?

I had learned during military training that questions like this are a waste of time when you had no other plan.

!! timeline.

“What if this is true?”

It was easy enough to verify. There was no way I could know dates and times for morning confession, since I had never attended it on a Saturday or even looked it up. I had never had any interest.

“Wow.” Staring at my iphone and the website for the church, my heart began pounding harder. “The time and date are correct.”

What if I really did see her in my dream and she is at the church? I must remember the details.

I sat down and wrote. Each time I closed my eyes to recall, the vivid details of the dream effortlessly came. I saw the painted horses on her wall, what she wore, how she touched herself, and even the movement of her lips while she was waking up. During hypnosis training I had learned how to recall details by closing my eyes and doing a few tricks. My shaking body had subsided before I was aware of it, so another 30 minutes passed before I realized the time.

Fatigue interrupted me at this point as I realized a slight headache had been mounting. A short nap was the only way to clear up my groggy state.

I hadn’t slept well in a few days because I had feared I would not find a way to keep my promise. Now I feared, I would sleep through the perfect event. What can I say, sometimes life just sucks.

I remember being forces to stay up for military missions where he had to stay up all night, the fear of facing death was often part of the pep talk before the mission began. On another occasion, a more personal note, I waited about 48 hours to confirm Linda wasn’t pregnant. In fairness, the fear was probably more based on her constant nagging and me feeling responsible for fucking her while knowing she wasn’t a keeper. After all, we had been very safe and my gut was telling me that she wasn’t pregnant. However, I remember fighting with my vivid thought life as it unnecessarily offered a short movie of mom and dad explaining my demotion at the company because of the accidental pregnancy. I even remember saying in the dream, “But I don’t even really like her!”

back to Claire.

However, this fatigue was more draining than these other events.

Using all my cognitive strength, I set the alarm for 9:40a and posted a note for my parents that I would attend a church meeting at 10a. Mom was home and her phone got the message of both times. My nervous system slowed as I nodded off, knowing I had done all I could, given the circumstances.

All I remember was blinking my eyes and the alarm was ringing. As I climbed out of bed, the fatigue had returned. My body was heavy and my mind was dizzy. The drive to church was about 5 minutes, so I stumbled into the bathroom, brushed his teeth, threw on the first church worthy shirt and pants I could find, and was out the door.

To help with the nerves, I kept repeating to himself, “You are overthinking this. Claire probably won’t even be there.” I guess you could call it a pep talk.

Another thought countered.

“Ok, so if she is there, what greeting should I offer? ‘Hi, I love you Claire.’” I laughed. Getting back into the deep breathing was helpful. It always slow down my racing mind. I’ve learned multiple techniques. More on that later.

While driving towards the church, another fear came. If she sees a bright shiny Porsche parked outside the church in the parking lot, if she comes late, she might turn back for home.

Slightly paranoid, I decided to park on the road, out of sight from any one entering in our out of the main door. The church was located on Lake Shore Dr. It had the perfect view of Lake St Claire. I heard that Claire’s parents had named her after the lake. The lake was one of the most cherished sights in the city, so no surprise.

I arrived, parked, and walked toward the front door of the church. Some people call it the back door because it opens to the back of the church. When you walk in that way, the seating starts there, so you see everyone’s back. Since the focus during the mass is the priest, this design makes the most sense.

Heart racing, I arrived at the main entrance and reminded himself to not overthink this. It was time for a whispered pep talk. “Mike, she may not even be here. It was only a dream. She probably hasn’t been to confession in years, like me.” This self-talk worked well. When I pulled the door, most of my stomach butterflies had diminished, so I confidently strutted towards through the foyer towards the next door.

I was in the church, with only 1 more door to open. It was the only barrier that hid me from the main seating area, ——————-. I pulled that door opened and walked in. As I entered, my heart started to throb, shooting up to about 110 beats per minute. It took a few seconds to get past the blinding light of the sun because it was gloriously bathing the inside of the church from the stained glass windows. I walked toward the center isle, trying not to be too obvious, and stopped in my tracks. I felt a stare. Her eyes were wide open with the jaw slightly dropped. Ok, I’ll admit it. This may have been what I think I saw or perhaps a description of me.

Claire was there. I needed to get closer without being too obvious. I wanted to see how accurate the dream was. How do you look cool and relaxed in a situation like this? I’d never had training for a moment like this. I’ve had guns pointed at my head and heart; once at my balls. Somehow, this took my breathe away in a scarier kind of way. Death is one thing. Going to talk to someone who has the power to change your life in a positive way, is yet another phenomenon all together.

While returning a partial wave and smile, what I did next, shocked me. When entering into a church, there is always a bowl of holy water near the entrance. Church members know the rule. As tradition requires, I dipped his fingers, index and middle, into the bowl, but instead of doing the gesture called The Sign of the Cross, I did the gesture I saw in the dream. The second I finished, I realized the mistake I had made. Every Catholic knows the proper way to cross themselves when entering a church. If she had been watching, she knew I had done the wrong gesture. I was in auto pilot, using somatic memory.

Setting my gaze back on her by reflex, I again saw a momentary shock on her face. She hid it quickly as we both tried to force a smile. There was only one thing left to do. I started walking towards her, fatigued and scared. I was no longer cognitively calling the shots. I had to trust my micro-second responses.

When I was this tired, my wit was strained and the number of stupid things that I say typically goes up. Oh shit! Can’t turn back now. I dont know if this was a thought only or a whisper. But I guess it doesn’t matter unless she could read lips from several yards away.

Her eyes went wide as she watched me approach. She didn’t look happy to see me.
I took a seat in the bench located behind her. This was common back in the day. She was sitting by herself, so I decided to wait for the invite to move closer. The invite never came.

“Hi. Good morning.” I tried to sound relaxed, but my voice broke.

“What are you doing here?” Her tone broke also. She cleared her throat and decided to try again. “Sorry. I’m a little surprised to see you here this morning. How are you?”

“Good.”

Her curiosity was getting the better of her.

“So, you got a big bad confession for Father Francis?”

“No. But my mom told me its good to go once in a while, so here I am. Do you attend often?”

“Not often.”

Without looking directly at me and probably full of nerves, she asked the question that I knew had to come sooner or later.

“When you entered the church earlier, what was that gesture you made with your fingers? You know that is not the sign of the cross.” She framed it perfectly.

“Oh, I think I saw it in a movie or. . . dream. I’m only on about 5 hours of sleep, so I’m not sure what the gesture was. I just flew in from West Point and didn’t sleep well last night.”

“A dream?” She couldn’t not ask the question. Her voice cracked again. “What do you mean?”

Her stare made me nervous. She was asking questions and demanding answers. Her mother’s genes gave her baby blue eyes, and they were staring right at him.

“I’m only guessing.”

I leaned back into his seat a little, trying to distance myself from her. She looked so different from the dream. In the dream she was peaceful without a worry in the world. Now she was fully awake and interrogating me. There was no beautiful smile on her face. Instead a look of determination to get answers.

“Michael, you are not a good liar. We all dream about movies and other stuff. I just wonder where you saw that gesture because I’m trying to place it now too.”

“Huh?”

She changed her tone, trying to be a little more friendly. “We may have seen a similar movie that used it. I’ve just never seen someone do that gesture when entering a church.”

She was fishing. Then something wonderful happened. One of the ushers gestured for us to be quiet because people were starting to enter the confessional. The rule was, those waiting should be praying before they go in to see the priest.

We hushed, got on our knees, and pretended to pray. I enjoyed my position from behind while she was kneeling. It gave me time to catch my breath and to watch her. She was restless. The dream had been accurate, so I was still getting used to it.

Although the dream did not offer a specific timeline of how long Claire would be in the confessional both, my prediction was about ten minutes. Father Francis, behind the vale, would recognize her voice and the way she answered questions. She might even say her name to him.

I relaxed more as the seconds passed and I was ready to make another comment to her. I guessed the perfect time to make a comment would be when she was ushered into the confessional booth.

I closed my eyes for no more than 30 seconds, but when I opened them, she had quietly made her exit from her seat and began speaking with Father. I glanced down at my watch, to check the time. She exited in about 5 or 6 minutes.

As soon as Claire exited the booth, I was ushered in. I had learned how get in and out quickly, so my visit with Father was similar to Claire’s, only shorter. As I exited, I noticed Claire had left the building. She had not returned to her seat.

“Oh shit” I whispered. I rushed to the same door I had entered by, exited, and hung my head in defeat. The sun was bright, so as I exited I was greeted by a blinding sunlight, causing temporary blindness. Iwas used to this, so I walked slowly and waited for my vision to adjust.

“Michael.” Startled by the voice I loved to hear, I gave my full attention.

“Hi—Claire.”

“So did you confess any big and bad sins, or did you lie and make one up?” It was a probing question.

“No. I was honest. I confessed to a couple of lies I told recently.”

“Oh?! Telling lies, huh?”

“Anyway, you told me you had a dream where you saw a certain hand gesture.” She was persistent.

“Yeah. I remember the talk inside. Let’s go for a walk.”

She only walked with me up to the sidewalk, which was located near the main street, Lake Shore Dr. When we arrived, she stopped. It was time for Claire to play the cards she had promised herself early. She wanted to be pursued. She wanted to watch me beg.

“Good seeing you today Michael. You seemed to make yourself scarce. Except Christmas time, I hadn’t seen you in about a year or so. I was afraid you may have forgotten my name.”

“Don’t count on that.”

“So anyway, it’s a beautiful June day. It think I’m going to walk home. Hope to see you soon. Although since you come and go from here so mysteriously, I just never know.”

She turned the opposite direction of where I was parked and headed towards home. However, Claire was not the type to walk away from a conversation if it wasn’t finished.

“Claire, how’d you get here?” I already knew the answer.

“I walked. It is a perfect morning.”

I looked out at the lake and into the sky. “It is a perfect day.”

“My car is just down the street,” She gazed pretending to look, but she had already seen it. “Let me give you a ride home, or wherever.”

She paused, looked up at the sky again, exhaled, and nodded agreement. Of all the girls in my life, I began took a guess or two about why Claire was the one who had been in my dream. His mother had been right about Claire. She didn’t need anyone and she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. She knew that I liked her, but she didn’t know how much. We had never dated, so it was hard to draw a lot of conclusions.

She took the lead and started the short stroll towards my car, her ride home. When we arrived at the car, I walked towards the drivers side. Something was wrong, so I looked over my shoulder. She was staring at me, with her arms folded, ready to ask another question.

“I’m trying to remember where I saw that gesture.” And the fishing trip continued.

I figured, sooner or later, I would tell her everything. But I had also learned that too much, too soon was not a good policy.

“If you see it in a movie or a dream, what’s the difference? I mean they probably feed on each other.” I paused. My goal was to spend more time with her without giving up too much too soon. “I’ll take my best guess to answer your questions, cause i have a feeling you won’t get in the car until I answer you.” She nodded agreement.

“I had a strange dream recently.” He looked away, pretending to think and recall. “I don’t remember who the person was but she was beautiful. I think that is where I saw the gesture. Like you, she had braided hair. She also had a light green sleeper.”

!! details from the dream

After I made this comment, I hit a button on the fob to turn off the car alarm and start the engine. The noise was intended to offer a distraction. It worked well.

“Oh.” She jumped.

When we finally made eye contact again, she had already been leaning away from the car. Perhaps she had changed her mind about getting a ride.

“It’s such a beautiful day. I really want to walk.”

Fearing I had totally blown it, but not ready to give up, I tried to regain control.

“Hold on.” We made eye contact again and she saw my eyes tearing up. I couldn’t stop staring.

Then she baited me. “I know you’ve been seeing a girl named Linda. . .” She stopped in mid-sentence as I nodded no.

“Rumors. There is only one girl I really like but I’ve never told her so. I’ve only hinted at it.” I jokingly thought, if you’re not getting the idea that you might be the mystery girl, you are really slow.

“You are a confusing young man, Michael Hanson.”

“Mom says I act like a young teenager too much still.”

Claire took a couple steps towards me, but nowhere near the passenger side of the car, and her arms were still folded.

“So who is this mystery girl? Do I know her, or is she from a different city, or country? I know you get around.” The negotiation had begun again.

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll answer more of your questions about who she is but I do not have to give you a name. However, you have to let me give you a ride home.”

“No deal.”

My heart stopped.

“Why?”

“I don’t trust your driving while you talk about topics like this. We might get in an accident.” She smiled, suggesting she didn’t believe her own words. The Porsche we were standing next to was worth about $200,000 if bought from a dealership. It was actually worth more because of some hidden security features, but more on that later.

Without thinking, I tossed the fob in the air. With the same reflex action, Claire snatched them out of flight and looked at the driver’s seat.

“One more condition handsome.” I nodded. It didn’t matter what the condition was. “I get to choose where you sit in the car.”

I bowed.


Michael’s parents had taught him an important lesson about young independent women: they don’t need him. What they need is to know that the man they will fall in love with and marry is a person they can trust. Claire was testing a boundary. If she was the one for Michael, he knew more of these little tests would be coming.

“So I get to be your chauffeur—-take the back seat.”

Upon command, I jumped in. I never felt so happy to ride in the back seat of my own car while being driven around the city I loved by the girl I had formed a crush on more than 4 years earlier. The day could not have been turning out better.

“Before you get started with your questions, I’ll give you a few details about the girl.”

Claire was very nervous to be driving the car, so she didn’t want to take any risks. The engine was also revving, so she couldn’t hear every word I spoke. The plan to distract her was working nicely.

!! hypnosis
I was ready to brag about how lovely Claire was. This is one of many methods we use in hypnosis. You get to talk about the person while pretending to talk about another person.

“She is from Michigan. She is smart, from a good family, and my parents know her and like and her family very much. She is the type who is already very independent and she doesn’t want to waste her time with men who don’t know what they want.”

A little back and forth went on, but she forgot to ask any serious questions related to the comments about the two-finger gesture. My plan was working well because by the time we arrived at her house, Claire had mostly focused on the thrill of driving. If she had wanted to ask more questions, she could have. We both had used this time well to build intensity and not reveal too much.

As Claire drove into her driveway, stopped the car, and turned it off. Her mother was inside and noticed the Porsche pull up outside. Her mother waved from the window, but she was on the phone, so she did not come to the door.

“You can come to the front seat now if you want.” I followed the suggestion.

“Hi. You’re a good driver.”

They gazed at each other, close enough to lean in for a kiss. Time to change tone. I leaned back while stretching my arms, giving myself an excuse to offer her private space. Then I watched. Within a few seconds, unconsciously she responded by mimicking my postural reorientation. The gestures were not identical, but the physiology had the same purpose. Tone change. She exhaled. She was definitely not ready for a kiss.

“Michael, I’m happy to see you.” I noticed her eyes water. “I want to say more, but I never know what to say. You are a mystery. After I get out of the car, when’ll I see you next. Maybe 6 months. Maybe a year. Maybe never?”

“How about tomorrow for lunch. I graduated from West Point. I’ll come and go on business trips, but my home is Michigan, until further notice. As I mentioned before, there are some things I need to tell you.”

“After I saw you at Christmas, and you left so abruptly. I was angry. You have no right to walk into people’s lives, say nice things, and leave. I have your phone number, but you never even sent a text that said hello. That made me so angry.” She paused to collect her emotions. “I don’t have the right to tell you if you did something right or wrong. I’m not your girlfriend. At times I’ve even questioned if we’re friends. I know you don’t owe me anything. I know that. I can only tell you how I feel. So sorry if I sound like I am accusing of something.” She sighed.

“I know and I understand how you feel. The good news is I’m not going anywhere. We can have a good talk tomorrow. I’ve been waiting 4 years to spend more than 10 minutes in a car ride with you. Can I walk you to the door?”

“Sure.”

Before I could ask, she reached for me and gave me a hug. My heart almost stopped. I had never been so close to her, and she had initiated it.

She put her arms around my neck, pulled me close, and felt my muscular physique closely. As she did, she felt the need to cry, but she held it back.

I finally whispered what we both knew, but what she needed to hear.

“You are the mystery girl.”

I felt the tremble go through her body after I spoke this. Before releasing me from her hug, she kissed me on his cheek and whispered, “We need to take it slow.”

We released our embrace and I looked into her eyes. “By the way, I’m trying to avoid too much attention on social media, but I’m not sure how I can avoid it. We can discuss it tomorrow.”

They parted, she turned, opened the door, and walked inside. “By the way —” She swung around to make it formal. He looked at her, ready to obey. “I must go eat lunch now. I have a busy day planned today, but I did enjoy seeing you. Thanks for the ride. I enjoyed driving. That was fun. And most important, thanks you for keeping your promise to see me in June. You know how to make an unforgettable entrance and how to make my heart jump — but I need more than that.”

Her posture changed and she looked right into his eyes. She went from serious to playful. “You must keep your lunch appointment with me tomorrow or I’ll ask my father sue you—and he will.”

After this, she giggled, turned away, and closed the door.

I jumped back into the car and sent her a text message:

I’ll pick you up at 10a for lunch.

I’ll make a reservation for the yacht club

If you prefer another place, let me know. I don’t care.

I understand you’re angry at me and I’m sorry. Sometimes I do stupid things. That’s why mom says I need a strong woman who can help me.

As I told you at Christmas, I’ll make it up to you.

For the first time in her life, she felt like she was in control. She wanted 2 things in life, to make her parents proud and to choose a man that she would be proud to call her husband. But this man must be able to love her in her times of strength and weakness.

Sitting in her kitchen, she made the choice that she would share soon with Michael a short list of struggles her family experienced because of her father’s job.

She launched her imagination into how such a chat might go.

“Honey, Michael.”

“Yes sweetheart?”

“You know dad has been oversees with the case in Europe.”

“Of course. How Can I help.”

“He needs funding and I want to be there with him. Will you be angry if I’m gone a month?”

“No I’ll go with you for part of the trip and I’ll look into his current funding needs. Promise.”

Claire loved to hear Michael say the magic word “Promise” because it was one way to test his devotion to her. Her mind shifted to her past— her life with David. It just didn’t compare. She never felt the feelings with David that she felt with Michael. It wasn’t fair. She didn’t want to need someone, a man, as much as she felt the need for Michael. It was an addiction. As her mother served lunch, her mother asked the obvious question. “Why didn’t you invite Michael to have lunch with us?”

Claire loved being honest with her mother in most things, especially when she felt the need for support.

“Because I’m afraid.”

Claire turned to look at her mother. ——— knew this look. Her daughter was going to be dead honest and was looking for support.

“I know where this is going—fulfilling my dreams. But he’s not the boy I met in high school. He looks different, acts different. Social media is filled with gossip about him. He is a different person from the boy I had a crush on in high school. I’m a girl from a small town in Michigan. Until today, I have never spent more than 20 minutes talking with him, you know, like on his boat.”

“Claire,” her mother looked into her eyes as she brushed her hair away from her eyes. “So what’s the real problem?”

“What if I’m not good enough?”

“I don’t know what that means? You are more than your father and I could’ve ever asked for? Good enough for who? You have a lot to learn about life, but so does everyone else at your age.” She laughed, “I have a feeling you’ll have the resources to learn those lessons a bit faster now. And remember, Michael is good at being dramatic. He has a lot to learn also. There is one thing you can count on Claire, you and Michael will be learning many lessons together.”

She kissed Claire on the forehead. “Your father is in Europe right now. That place is being torn apart. I worry about the 2 of you all the time. Now Michael is in your life. Trust me. We all have our worries. All we can do is take the journey together and support each other.

Chapter 8

coming soon