Copyright 2014 Dusty Miller
This Smashwords Edition was published
by Dusty Miller
Cover design by J. Thornton
The following is a work of fiction. Any
resemblance to any person living or deceased, or to any places or
events, is purely coincidental. Names, places, settings, characters
and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. The
author’s moral right has been asserted.
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Table of Contents
About the Author
There was quite the crowd out there
Their little conversation was but one
of many. The sudden gusts of wind died for a moment. A ripple of
laughter went through a cluster of people ten feet away, but the
pair was oblivious.
“ You say you love me, but
I never know whether that’s the meds talking or whether it’s you
He couldn’t resent it, although he
might have if anyone else had said it. She really didn’t know much
about him and would dislike him on principle if he told her who he
was and where he was coming from. Rather, where he had
“ The bug-juice is not what
makes me want to take you somewhere nice, and make mad, passionate
love to you. That’s pretty much me talking, Rene. That part is all
She looked awfully downcast, afraid to
look him in the eye and maybe see a lie. He didn’t think she was
stupid or anything, not in that sense. But that’s why she wouldn’t
look up, painful as that was to know. Ben just wanted to make her
understand. He knew she liked him in some way, but then she liked
pretty much everybody. Rene didn’t have an evil bone in her body or
a mean cell either. Ben wanted something so much more than that.
She was such a fragile creature and so painfully shy when she was
around Ben. She was more animated with some of the others, even the
That had to mean something.
It was a defense mechanism, he
figured. It kept her safe or something. They were all on meds,
every last one of them, and probably most of the staff
It kept her safe from what, exactly?
The only logical answer was guys like him.
“ Please don’t be angry. I
can’t help but have thoughts, Ben.” Rene finally looked up at him,
wide-eyed and innocent, and his pulse pounded just as it ever did
when he was around her.
There was a fully-formed person in
there, there had to be. She’d been a full-grown adult once. Before
she withdrew, from the world, and from life itself. Before she
withdrew from reality.
There was a bigger story here. There
had to be some background. She would tell it in her own time, and
only to the right person.
That was the Rene he sought, the woman
who once was.
That was the person he wanted to
“ Aw. So you really care
what I think, then?” This was a novel thing, in his experience.
“Look. Why don’t we have dinner together? Something intimate, just
you and me. I’ll be a perfect gentleman. I promise. ”
Rene’s face was down. She plucked at a
bit of skin sticking out beside a fingernail. It was red and the
skin was shiny and smooth and swollen.
“ What’s an awful place
like that doing on a nice girl like you?” She looked up and tried
to smile but it faltered.
Face falling, she chewed on her lip,
eyes going back and forth, seeking some escape and yet not taking
There really wasn’t anything stopping
her. He hated to think she