06 February 2008

Love Will Find a Way

Do you believe in love? Do you believe somehow, someway everyone will find love? I do and here’s why.

Okay, I admit it. I got desperate. I was a teacher working at a school without any prospects of finding a man. The teacher pool was devoid of any real masculinity and the school’s elderly janitor was starting to look good to me. In fact, the best the school had to offer was the lecherous vice-principal who was married to the gym teacher. Not exactly a girl’s idea of a dream date. The parent pool, unfortunately, wasn’t much better. Whenever a father showed up at a school function, he was either (1) getting a divorce because he’d gotten caught cheating on his wife or (2) willing to “give you a little lovin’” as long as the “wifey-poo” didn’t find out. Yep, my choices for a relationship were basically non-existent.

So as I said, I got desperate. I joined a dating newsletter. This newsletter was owned and operated by an older lady (I’ll call her Muriel) who personally met all her applicants. Although the number of available men would be limited more than with one of the major online matchmaking services, I figured she’d have a good shot of weeding out the homicidal rapists. So, with my heart on my sleeve, I joined up.

I have to admit that I loved it─at first. After all, I was one of the few women in the newsletter who had no children. The men in the organization loved the fact that I came without “baggage”. In fact, it wasn’t long before I received my first call for a date and subsequent calls followed that one. I was a hot commodity and enjoying every minute of it. Then Mike (His name has been changed to protect everyone involved.) called. After screening him with Muriel who assured me that he was “a great guy”, I agreed to meet him at a very busy local restaurant.

Mike was gorgeous. I almost fell out of my chair when he walked up to the table, introduced himself as my date and handed me a bouquet of flowers. The man was a living, breathing Adonis. Amazing, huh? Yep, amazing and way too good to be true. Not only did he have the looks, he had the talk. And the manners. And the dreamy bedroom eyes. As far as I could tell, I’d hit the dating lottery.

After great conversation over dinner, Mike invited me back to his place. Yeah, I know. Not a smart move on my part, but by this time, I’d been swept off my feet. So I agreed.

Mike, however, neglected to mention a few things. Like the fact that he still lived with his family. That’s right─his family. Mike didn’t live with only his parents, but also with grandpa and Mike’s two rather odd brothers, Tim and John. The brothers must’ve missed the gene pool signup because they looked like they were closer siblings to Neanderthal Man than to any homo sapiens walking the planet now. Before I realized what was happening, I was smack dab in the middle of a Weird Family Get Together. Little did I know─as I tried to breathe while they all took turns crushing the breath out of my body with bear hugs─that the night would only get worse. Naively, I believed Grandpa copping a feel was the worst I’d have to face.

Mike’s parents, who looked normal, were anything but normal. I realized this after Mike and I sat down on the sofa─as far away from Grandpa as I could get─and they proceeded to ask me if I liked snakes. No, nix that. They didn’t simply ask me if I liked snakes, they wanted to know if I worshipped snakes.

I should have high-tailed it out of there right then and there. But I was frozen to the spot. Had they really said what I thought they’d said? Or was this a family prank they liked to play on Mike’s dates? Logic and reality went to war in my head. Surely they didn’t mean what they’d said. Surely I’d misunderstood them. But the part of me that slows down to look at a car wreck had to know. So I asked them.

Their answers were to laugh and, in my confused state of mind, I chuckled with them. It had to be a joke. But then Mike took my hand as we all rose from our seats. Like a schoolgirl unthinkingly obeying the headmaster’s command, I followed him and his family into the next room.

Wow. How I wished I’d hooked up with the lecherous vice-principal.

Inside the adjacent room were statues, pictures, photographs and other representations of various kinds of snakes. Snake posters adorned the walls while outlines of snake heads glowed from the lampshades and reptile knickknacks covered the top of every piece of furniture. Even the curtains sported images of serpents. Yet that was nothing compared to the rest. As the first hiss sent chills racing down my backbone, I lowered my eyes to the floor and saw not one, not two, but five large snakes. I have no idea what kind of snakes they were, but they could’ve starred in a horror movie.

My scream died in my throat as John (Mike’s oldest and strangest brother) spurted an insane giggle and reached down to scoop up one of the larger snakes. After bestowing a kiss on the reptile’s nose (or whatever the end of their head is called), he began to wrap the thing around his body. I shuddered as Tim did the same with a different, even longer snake. Taking a step backward, I prepared to make a fast dash for the front door. Granted the neighborhood wasn’t the safest in town, but at that point, I’d have chosen a confrontation with street gang over hanging around with this loony family. But Mike had other ideas.

Just as I started to sprint, he took my hand again and compelled me to look into those bedroom eyes. But I wasn’t fooled any longer. I knew there was little else but crazy ideas in that handsome head of his

“Will you bow down and place yourself in their service?”

My mouth fell open as I tried to understand his words. “What? What the BLEEP did you say?” (I’ve cleaned up the language for this report).

“Will you show our Masters that you recognize their superiority and offer yourself to do their bidding?”

I blinked as I wondered how I could’ve been so terribly wrong about this guy. What did he expect me to do? French kiss them on their forks tongues? Hunt mice for them? How exactly does one do the bidding of a slithering reptile? At last, however, my mind snapped into gear and overcame my curiosity. “Are you BLEEP kidding me?” (I’m not normally a potty-mouth, but certain situations simply call for it).

It was then that I realized I needed to learn to keep my mouth shut. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I’d made a crucial mistake. The entire family turned to face me and the looks on their faces were not pleasant. A scene from a slasher movie flashed through my mind and I gulped at the prospect of what might happen to me. If I didn’t worship the snakes, did that mean I’d become their next meal? “Uh, I mean, no thanks.” (Yeah, I know. Too little, too late.)

Mike, the gorgeous, courteous, wonderful dream date, had transformed from Hot Hunk to Mad Mike. “Are you disrespecting our gods?”

I stammered a moment, glancing around to find anything I could use to defend myself, and came up empty on both words and weapons.

Mike drew his body straighter, tossed me a tight condescending smile, and then reached down to pick up one of his “gods”. As he lifted the snake close to my face, fear finally found its way from my brain to my feet and I ran.

I heard Mike and his family calling for me to stop as I threw open the front door and ran out into the night. How I was going to get home didn’t concern me. All I wanted was to get away from this modern day reptile-loving cult as fast as I could. As I ran, I began thinking of the tongue-lashing I’d give Muriel.

The shouts coming from Mike and his family died out as I put distance between myself and them. After a few minutes of running in my heels, however, I felt safe enough to stop and ponder how I was to get home. You see, I’d left my purse with my cell phone and money inside on their sofa and there was no way I was going back to get it. They could keep everything I had. I’d gladly cancel credit cards and change locks rather than face them again. Still, alone and miles from my home, I had no option except to knock on a door in the strange and not-so-safe neighborhood.

When the door opened, I thought I'd once again won the lottery. Standing before me was the best-looking guy I'd ever seen. In fact, he made Mike look small and pitiful. But this time I was cautious. I accepted the use of his phone while standing outside on his porch and politely refused all offers to come inside. Yet by the time the cab had arrived to take me home, I was giving thanks for having gone out with Mike the Snake Lover. After all, if I hadn’t gone out with Mr. Loony-Tunes, I’d never have met Mr. Right. You see, although it wasn't an official "date", I'd already fallen for the man behind the door.

Two years later, we were married.



Beverly Rae – www.beverlyrae.com
Giggle, Gasp & Sigh with a Beverly Rae Romance


TOUCH ME - eBook at http://tinyurl.com/397k8j
In print 03/25/08 at http://tinyurl.com/2zand4 (Amazon.com)

WAILING FOR LOVE - Coming from Samhain Publishing 03/11/08
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