GoddessGoddessby transconHe’d submitted his short story to her. No request for a picture. No request for the compulsory autograph. He’d not sullied his correspondence with such vulgar request. Just the manuscript he’d labored on in a plain manila envelope. He’d expected no response. The sending of “Goddess” was his reward. It took all he had to drop the envelope in the Post Office mail chute. He’d held the heavy steel louver open for the longest time, the precious cargo resting in bin’s bottom. A rush of heated air stymied him as the automatic doors opened to the PO lobby and a horde of strangers appeared. He closed his eyes and the louver.Chapter One.”Mr. Smith? Mr. Rogue Smith.””Uh, yes, this is Rogue, how may, who is this?””Jason Shackelford, Mr. Smith. I am a public relations secretary and I am calling at the request of Miss Scarlett Johansson.””Who, wha, who is this?” Rogue straightened immediately. ‘Oh, my God.'”Mr. Smith, Miss Johansson was so impressed with your story, “Goddess.” She’d like to invite you to the premier of “Hitchcock” as her escort. This is not a lark, nor a stunt. Your city has been selected as one which will premier and screen this motion picture. Sir? Mr. Smith, are you still there?””Yes, I’m here, but, but, but, I don’t know….”There was a rich, but sincere chuckle thru the line. “I can imagine, sir. If you’ll stand by I will connect you with Miss Johansson. She’d so like to speak to you for a few moments and confirm your intention to attend. Afterward I will come back on the line and inform you as to how this will work logistics wise….stand by, sir, Miss Johansson will be on presently…”‘Oh my God.’ Rogue felt light-headed, near collapse and so wanted to end the call. He spied the red hang up button, his right finger beginning the trek. ‘Don’t Rogue, it’ll be okay.Fine, please, please, please, please.'”Rogue?’…………the voice he’d heard a thousand times thru his DVD player…..”This is Scarlett, Rogue. I am so pleased to have made this contact with you. Your story touched me, Rogue, it touched my heart. I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me. Thank you, ever so much for sending it to me, Rogue.””I, I, I……..this is really you?”Her corresponding laughter was genuinely kind and caring. “Yes, Rogue, it is indeed Scarlett, it is your Goddess. Can you talk? Is this a good time?””Uh, well, I…….uh,,,,,,yes, I can talk.” He felt the buzzing stop, his blood began to circulate once again. He caught a reflection of himself in the wall mirror and smiled the smile his mother had always so loved. ‘I’ll be damned.'”I am so glad you enjoyed it, uh, Miss, uh, Johan…””You may call me Scarlett, Rogue, I’d be so pleased.” Her voice so feminine his heart fluttered and then caught once again.”It is just for you, Miss Joha…, Scarlett.” He’d said her name, aloud to her and he’d remember the moment forever.”Thank you, so much, Rogue. My secretary confirmed that the film does open there in your city next Thursday at midnight. Please say you’ll escort me, Rogue. I so want to meet you and thank you personally. Please, for me, Rogue?”Rogue’s body shuddered. “Nothing could keep me from attending, Scarlett.””That is fantastic, Rogue. I shall put Jason back on the line. He is so adept at his job that you won’t have a thing to worry about. He’ll also give you a cell phone number to contact him with 24/7 should any problem arise. We will pick you up by limousine next Thursday evening. Jason will designate the time and the details. I’ll bring along “Goddess.” I hope you’ll sign it for me and we can enjoy it together perhaps after the premier. Rogue, thank you so much for accepting my invite on such short notice. Now don’t hang up. Jason will be on very shortly. Until next week, good night, Rogue.””Uh, uh, uh, goo,,,,” The line went solid, and Rogue thought he’d been cut off, or worse.”Jason Shakelford again, Mr. Smith. Here is how it will work, sir.” ‘Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you God, for not cutting this line.’Chapter Two.Rogue wrote down everything Shakelford informed him of. There wasn’t as much as he’d imagined. The PR firm would be taking care of everything. All Rogue had to do was be on his front porch stoop on Thursday at 8PM dressed “neatly casual” as Mr. Shakelford put it. The phone number was given without Rogue prompting it.”Sir, Miss Johansson is major international actor, but, she is the proverbial girl-next-door I assure you. I work with many actors in the business, Mr. Smith, and there is none more down to earth than she. You’ll do fine, sir. A confirmation of this event will arrive within the hour from Western Union. Again, please call if there is anything at all that needs to be addressed. I am here for you. Goodnight, sir, and congratulations.” The line went dead.’Rogue please don’t dial that number. Please don’t. He’ll think you don’t trust him. Just wait for Western Union. Don’t do it, I beg you, don’t.’………Rogue’s fingers punched the numbers-depressed the green key and recited the Lord’s Prayer….’Our Father…'”HGI Entertainment, Jason Shakelford speaking.””Uh, uh, uh,,,just checking, Mr. Shakelford,, this is Rogue Smith. I…””Understandable sir. Absolutely. Think nothing of it. I’m pleased to allay your concerns. And please sir, call me plain ‘Shakelford.’ I’d appreciate that. And I will be there at the event next Thursday and look forward to meeting you as well. Good night, sir.””Good night, Shakelford.” This time the line held until Rogue had finished.Rogue hustled and turned on the front porch light, retrieved his copy of “Goddess” and waited Western Union.The information packet was as precise and comprehensive as Rogue had been led to believe. Promotional materiel for “Hitchcock” dominated the contents, but, there was also a full itinerary of the evening commencing with the arrival of the limousine at 8PM sharp. There’d be a cocktail party at the Four Seasons at 9PM and then they’d “Scarlett/Rogue” leave the Hotel at 11PM sharp for the premier. Afterward they’d return to the Hotel. No mention was made after that. ‘How are you going to get back home? I don’t know.’Rogue read the itinerary again, and then again, and then printed it just in case something befell the original. He thought about calling mother and father but it was late and he didn’t want them to cast doubt and disbelief at what had transpired. They were aware of, what mother called his “fixation” with “this actress” but, he’d convinced them that it was just a keen interest and not a case of fixation or stalking. “She is quite hot, my boy.” His father had whispered conspiratorially. “George!” His mother had overheard, per the usual and admonished him sternly.Rogue closed the packet and put it away in the desk drawer. As he reclined in his chair he once again read “Goddess.” He was afraid of sleep for fear he’d waken and find the desk drawer empty–his life in ruin. “Please God, I need this. Please.” He’d not extinguished the porch light after the delivery and white light shown thru the arc of six diminutive windows in the otherwise solid wooden door.”Our Father, which art in heaven,…Hallowed be thy Name…”sleep came for Rogue then with God as his sentinel.Chapter Three.Rogue decided to keep Scarlett and the movie premier secret. If it went well he’d tell his parents afterward, perhaps, but, not until. He thought about telling his buddies on the NBA Basketball site he frequented, they were a fine bunch for the most part. Spurs Fans dominated the NBA Forum with Lakers Fans a healthy constant. His team, the Dallas Mavericks were represented as well. But, they’d never believe him. He’d been his most vocal about his preoccupation with Scarlett with them as anywhere. He’d posted “Goddess” there on the site and got some good input especially from a Laker’s fan who wrote stories himself and he was grateful for that input and encouragement. They were a skeptic bunch by nature, though and they’d never buy this bill of goods. No, best to keep this to himself as long as possible or as long as he could hold out.He checked his wardrobe and found the ideal outfit, tried it on and it fit perfectly. He’d always kept himself in good shape. He ate healthy and his physique was pronounced though not chiseled. He was grateful for that. The thought of his Goddess seeing him otherwise made him cringe.’She doesn’t know you’re celibate. Would that subject even come up? She wants to read Goddess with you after you return to the Four Seasons.’This was the first time Rogue had dared to recall Scarlett’s intention to do exactly that. It had been in the back of his mind, but, he dared not venture an examination of such a scenario.’I can’t think about it. It’s too much. I’ll just go along with the evening as far as I can, one step at a time. Right, Rogue? Right. Now, let’s go and check the packet again and make sure it’s real and still there. Right, Rogue.’ Rogue chuckled at his deepening habit of talking to himself since “The Phone Call” as he’d so aptly named the occasion. Work kept him busy and his mind occupied. Mother called Monday afternoon at work inquiring as “why don’t you call anymore? It’s been almost a week. Your father is worried sick about you.””Sorry, mom, work has been a quite busy. Going crazy here. I’m sorry, mom.””Well, we want you to come for dinner Thursday evening.” ‘Of course you do, mom.'”No can do, mom. I have other plans already.””You’ve met another girl.” Not a question, but, a directive.”No mom.” He lied. “I have to go now, they’re calling me. Say hello to father for me.””You should start dating aga…” Rogue hung up and went back to work.Wednesday night’s highlight was Shakelford calling to confirm the following night’s festivities.”Thomas will call for you precisely at 8PM, Mr. Smith. He’s the limousine driver as well as Miss Johansson’s bodyguard. She’ll remain in the limousine, so please be ready as Thomas will be prompt. I’ll be at the Four Seasons to receive you and we’ll go from there. Any questions, sir?”Rogue wanted to ask about his ride home, but, couldn’t find the words. He’d hoof it if need be. It was only 25 miles give or take 10 miles.”No, Shakelford, I’m all set.””Outstanding, sir. You’ll have a fabulous time, I assure you. Until tomorrow night, Mr. Smith.”Rogue lain awake long into that Wednesday night. “You should start dating again. “You should start dating again. You should start dating again.” His mother putting it to him again and again.sleep finally came and his Goddess with it.Chapter Four.Rogue had arranged to take a day of vacation on Friday. He figured he wouldn’t be getting home till the early hours if the picture didn’t start till midnight.He was in the lunch room on Thursday when his cell phone went off. It was HGI. ‘No please. Don’t cancel. Please don’t.’ He decided to play ignorant as if Shakelford wouldn’t figure it out. “Hello?” His aloofness surprised himself.”It’s Scarlett, Rogue.” ‘Oh, my God.’ Her voice was bright and cheery. ‘God bless her she wasn’t calling to cancel.'”I’ve landed in Dallas and en root to the Hotel. How are you, Rogue?”He closed his eyes and focused. “I’m eating lunch in the cafeteria. Oh, Lord….”Her laughter was muted though exquisite. “I’m so glad I caught you on your break. Just a short request that you bring your copy of “Goddess” tonight. I’d like us to each have a copy for later on. Would that be okay, Rogue?””Oh, sure, uh, uh, yes, Scarlett, I’ll make sure to bring my copy along. I promise. Is there anything else I should bring?” ‘What the Hell?’ “I’m just so nervous, uh, Scarlett.””Don’t you worry about a thing. We’ll have a fantastic time. I won’t leave your side for a moment. Tony will be there. Anthony Hopkins, as well as some local celebrities. Even some sports guys. Jason is riding in with me and he says a Dirk Cuban from your basketball team will be there with his big star, a Polish player, I believe, I can’t pronounce his name. Do you know to whom I’m referring, Rogue?”Rogue nearly busted up at the Polish reference. “Yes, it’s Dirk Nowitski and the owner Mark Cuban.” His heart hit yet another gear. They weren’t on the level of his Goddess, but, they were on the next level down.”Yes! Those are the names Jason briefed me on. Now, I’ll see you at 8 sharp. Just relax and be yourself. These parties and premiers are quite fun and I’ll take good care of my favorite author. I promise. Don’t forget your “Goddess,” Rogue. See you tonight.” ‘How could I ever forget her? Oh, oh, yeah, my copy of “Goddess.” I think that’s what she was referring to.’The rest of the work day went by in a blur. He kept busy and left precisely at 4.He stopped by for a careful trim at his barber. “Don’t mess this up, Giuseppe, I’ve got a date with a Goddess tonight.””What a you, a talking a bout? Me a not a fuck a thing a up. You a crazy tonight, uh Rogue. Giuseppe, he a good a barber.””Sorry, G, I’m a little off kilter this evening.” The elder Giuseppe changed from the broken English to a spirited Italian, but, Rogue’s ears burned nonetheless.7:30 found him situated in his chair staring at the front door, “Goddess” tucked away in a twin of the original manila envelope. ‘Please God, no tricks now. I’m so close.’ He checked himself in the bathroom mirror, then brushed his teeth for the third time and held the Listerine, full strength, in his mouth as long as he dared, his hazel eyes watering with the effort.When he sat back down he was exhausted from the strain. ‘I do not know if I can answer that door when he knocks.’At precisely 7:55 on the digital readout of his DVR a long flash of light & steel flashed across the small windows atop the front door. Rogue stood, squared his shoulders, locked his knees and caught his reflection in the wall mirror…”Let us proceed…”Chapter Five.”Good evening, sir, I’m Thomas, if you’ll follow me.”The limousine was jet black, the windows under full blackout, the doors closed. It was impressive to say the least. Rogue noticed right off that Thomas seemed familiar. He’d seen the face before he was sure of that. He just didn’t know from where. Thomas clutched the door handle, turned and spoke: “Miss Johansson is seated in the middle at all times. This is for her security.”The door opened and his Goddess spoke: “Rogue, come, sit with me.” Her voice stood a pitch of such deep resonance türbanlı artvin escort and cultured femininity that he couldn’t remember getting in and actually sitting down. A few moments of actual life transpired without his knowledge or cognizant participation.”I just can’t believe you’re here with me.” She offered her hand to him and he grasped it weakly. It was warm and soft as cotton.”And you remembered “Goddess” I see.” Thomas had gotten in his driver seat and pulled out into the street. “Tommy, can you take this for safe keeping?” She leaned forward and handed the envelope to Thomas who reached back without taking his eyes from the street. “Have Jason take it up when we arrive.” She sat back closer to Rogue and whispered: “Tommy is my brother. He keeps me safe and grounded. My pa, well our pa insisted. He’s the twin, Rogue, like in “Goddess.” See?” ‘I knew I’d seen him somewhere.'”Oh, wow. Oh, my goodness.” ‘How did you know? I don’t know, I just knew.'”Let me get a look at my date for the evening.” Rogue finally had no other choice than to meet her gaze. He’d been able to avoid it to this point, concentrating instead on the back of Thomas’s head and the soft gray leather interior.She was everything. No, she was more than he’d ever seen, more than he’d ever imagined, or put pen to paper over and about. She was perfect. Pink and white and soft curves everywhere.”You are a most handsome man, Rogue.” Her tone matter-a-fact. Her eyes were clear and bright and they considered him in kind curiosity. “Thank you again for accepting my invitation. We’re going to have a fine evening, into the wee hours of the morning, aren’t we?”Rogue was speechless. He remembered though to close his mouth so it wouldn’t continually hang open. He’d begun to vibrate a little. He could feel it, he just silently prayed that Scarlett had not noticed.”My pa is my business manager and he screens all my mail. He was so thrilled to discover your manuscript and he sent it Fed Ex the next morning.” Her voice clutched then and she grasped his hand again, this time a measure tighter. “It’s meant so much to my brother and I, Rogue, to our family.” Her eyes sparkled as they misted ever so delicately.”I was so shocked to get your phone call, uh, uh, Scarlett.””It was just meant to be, Rogue. We start a 16 city tour tonight. How ironic that the premier takes place in the same city where you reside. I couldn’t resist. I’ve read “Goddess” countless times now. My copy is well worn. It’s just so beautiful and real. We’ll have plenty of time after the premier to go over it together. That will be my favorite part of our evening together, and of course meeting the author.” She withdrew her hand and pressed back into her seat. Rogue did likewise.”Now let me tell you how our arrival will be handled. Tommy will take us into the garage level where Jason will meet us and take us up to the party. Just stay close and enjoy yourself. Trust me, Rogue, you’ll do fine. I’ll excuse myself a little past 10 and we’ll go up to the suite so I can collect myself and prep for the premier. I want to show you the view from the suite. You’ll love it. Any questions so far, Rogue?” Her smile was radiant and sincere. He felt an out of body sense taking affect.She had not failed to sense his predicament.”Here, hold my hand, Rogue. That’s it.” He came to, her touch like magic.”This is quite a new experience for me.””Just remember, Rogue, I’ll be at your side the entire night. I promise.” She squeezed tighter.”We’re a couple minutes out, Jason.” Thomas spoke into a head set.”2 minutes, s*s. Jason is there.” They swung onto the access drive of the Four Seasons.Scarlett released his hand and sat stock straight.”How do I look, Rogue?” Rogue, for the second time in less than an hour was equal to the task.”Like my Goddess.”Chapter Six.Shackelford was waiting at the curb. A tall thin young man. The limousine stopped even with him. Rogue reached for the door handle as Thomas reached for his.”No, Rogue, let Tommy do it.” She grasped his forearm. Her tone had become firm and directed. “You’ll step out first–then next to Jason.” She released him with the smallest of squeezes.”Mr. Smith so pleased to meet you.” Rogue stepped out and started to raise his hand for the proverbial shake, but, somehow Shackelford had taken possession of Scarlett’s copy of “Goddess.” His stoic nod to Rogue directed him precisely to where Scarlett had previously directed him seconds before.Scarlett stepped from the limousine as once again Rogue began to vibrate. In the garish illumination of the ceiling fluorescence she looked positively surreal. ‘Oh, my God.'”Thank you, Tommy.” Thomas released her hand and closed the door.”Good luck, s*s.” Tommy leaned close and whispered ever so softly.”You are fashionably late, Scarlett.” Shackelford smiled.”For sure.” She teased with the slightest of winks.”We’ll go.” Shackelford did an abrupt about face and stepped quickly away. Rogue froze. He felt Scarlett knit her hand and arm thru his left arm. “I’m going to so enjoy our night, Rogue.””They’ve all arrived.””Tony didn’t mind arriving first?””Not at all. Sir Hopkins smiled nicely when he came thru a few minutes ago.””I’ll thank him again, right?””Absolutely.”The elevator car was fully paneled in mirrors. Rogue felt dwarfed like the incredible shrinking man. He was grateful for the sensation as once again he’d begun to softly shake. She felt it and pulled him a little closer. Their eyes meeting in the reflection, her slightest wink making a return engagement. He countered his best boyish grin. His Goddess either pursed her lips once, or, he imagined she pursed her lips once. ‘Please.’The elevator ring brought Rogue into the here and the now. ‘We’ve landed.’ He smiled to himself as Shackelford stepped severely to the side and away from the doors.She released his arm and ran her finger tips lightly up his spine thru his personally starched & pressed cotton shirt. He wanted to witness and gauge her gaze again, but, the mirrors parted and it began.Chapter Seven.He recognized the beat, the deep pounding. It was Jackie-O and her treatment of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.””Stay close, baby.” ‘Did she call him “baby? I think she did. Must have.’ Rogue turned to see the elevator doors begin to slowly close on Shackelford, a comforting slice of his right hand thru Texas air, James Dean style as the doors shut. He wanted her to take his arm, his hand again, but, an instinct told him “no.”There were large video screens displaying movie clips of Hitchcock’s work, the track lighting dimmed, but, directed nonetheless to the floor. The sensation of shrinkage held and he was ever so grateful, but, not as thankful as he once had been. ‘I could do this.’ Miss Johansson had begun to make the rounds and the going was difficult as her attendance had become knowledge. He recognized no one. But, she knew them all, or, portended such. No, she knew them. Her sincerity was apparent and appreciated by the endless string of men and women who genteelly shook her hand and/or air kissed and briefly chatted before giving way to the next and then the next. He may as well been invisible. There were a couple of quick glances, but, no, inquiring looks, or, quizzical stares. ‘What the Hell?'”Coke Zero, Miss Johansson.” A waiter appeared up thru the floor and served Scarlett.”Sir?” ‘He’s speaking to you, dude.'”Oh, a Fireball,,,,,,double, please.” ‘Hell, I can do this.'”At once, sir.”The crowd began to thin as he took the first half of the double. The force settled him and he felt the warmth radiate to his heart.”Just a sip, Rogue. I don’t drink, but, please, just for your Goddess?”She’d not spoken to him since they left the elevator in what seemed like 2 hours ago.”Rogue?””Of course.” She leaned close as he held the glass for her, nary a tremor in the vicinity.”Oh, my goodness, that’s so delicious and special. Now don’t tell Tommy. He’ll tell our parents and then I’ll get it.” She giggled heartily.”There’s Tony. I’d like you to meet him, Rogue. He’s so sweet.”As they made they way into the corner where Anthony Hopkins had taken station the small crowd around him immediate dispersed as if on some silent command. “Ah, Miss Johansson, how are you this evening, darling girl?” His Welsh accent razor sharp. “Tony, thank you ever so much for the advantage.””You Americans.” He playfully shook his index finger at Scarlett. A devilish smile in response a change. They hugged closely, then separated as he planted a kiss on the center of her forehead.”Anthony, I want you to introduce you to my escort for the evening. This is Rogue Smith, he’s a very promising writer. Rogue, Sir Anthony Hopkins.”‘Lord, this girl……firm, Rogue, do it.’They met on the square, the handshake full. He’d hit it. ‘I’ll do this.’The next day, Hell 5 minutes later as he stood at the iced urinals Rogue could not for the life of himself remember much after that handshake. Just the honest smile of his Goddess over his left shoulder and Sir Hopkins listening carefully as Rogue, at the insistence of Miss Johansson imparted the plot & summary of “Goddess.”(The Waiter) brought him out of his latest stupor as Scarlett had replaced him at Hopkins’s ear, the two, from what he could glean were sharing shop talk.”Another, sir?””Oh, uh, yes, just a single. Where is the restroom, please?””If you’ll follow me, sir. It’s on my way.””Excuse me, Scarlett, Sir Hopkins.” They gave a matched quick nod with a fast reassuring smile from Scarlett then went back to their conversation.The ice turned yellow as he relieved himself. A lemon snow cone crossed his mind as he raised his gaze and caught his reflection in the mirrors. ‘Don’t let you mouth hang open. Don’t forget. I won’t. I promise.’The restroom door opened and in walked his Champion. He stationed himself two units to the left, caught Rogue’s eyes in the reflections and nodded sharply.Chapter Eight.Rogue finished before Dirk, shook the dew off the lily pad, returned his mamba to his Fruits, zipped, turned, and took root at the one of a long line of stainless steel sinks. In mirror image Nowitski followed in–two units down to Rogue’s right.Their running water preceded Rogue, maybe 5 seconds, no more than 6.”Thank you.” His voice emboldened by Fireball|||justified by clarity of deed.”No, thank you.” The accent pronounced. A count had not been missed. No.”I waited so long.””I’m sorry it took that long.””It’s all right. It’s okay now.””Yes.””You couldn’t miss.””I could not miss.””How did that feel?””You tell me.” Their eyes finally met in the mirrors.”Unimaginable.””Yes.”Nowitski chose the infrared dryer to his right. Rogue a fine white linen towel to his left.The vibration had returned and she was not present to still it. Rogue pressed his eyes closed. ‘Calm yourself. It’s all right. It’s okay now.’ The infrared dryer fell silent and Rogue opened his eyes.His Champion was gone.Chapter Nine.She was waiting for him. She was just outside the door. ‘I wonder if she saw Dirk come out?’ She was holding his Fireball.”I came looking for you. I missed you.” He took his drink. She was so pale almost pure white and so beautiful he put Dirk aside until tomorrow if tomorrow ever came.”We’ll go up for a little while. I need a few minutes to collect myself before we leave for the theater.”Shackelford had reappeared and was next to the elevator. He punched the button with his recognition of the couples approach.”About 45 minutes, Scarlett.””Fine, Jason, Rogue will bring me back down. I won’t need the reminder and I will call down when we leave.””Very good.” The elevator arrived.As soon as the doors closed she leaned into Rogue just the slightest. He laced his arm about her waist and steadied them both.”I’m so glad that is over. One more hurdle and the morning is ours, Rogue.” She put her cheek on Rogue’s chest and closed her eyes as the elevator began it’s ascent.Chapter Ten.Rogue looked off in the distance at the lights of Dallas. ‘A stunning sight indeed.’ She’d excused herself. “I’ll be a just little while, Rogue. Please look around. There is some food by the bar. Fix me a Coca Cola and a small plate, please?” Her voice soft and pretty. She’d once again touched him as she left. This time just a quick grip on his upper arm as if she were checking his muscle mass. ‘Really, guy? Well maybe.’As soon as the coast was clear he hurried to the grub. He was famished. A selection of fresh vegetables and snacks were the bill of fare. It was still warm. This had been planned. “Wow.” Rogue dug in and quickly so as to not be caught in the act. Then put together a plate for his Goddess and fixed them each a Coke. The warm food leveled him out and he began to relax.”Come on back, Rogue, it’s okay.” She called out to him.He balanced the food and drinks. ‘Be careful. I will. Quit nagging me.’She was in the bedroom sitting in front of the vanity applying her make-up. He hesitated in the door frame.”I used to have somebody do this, but, I enjoy it and know exactly what I need.” She spoke to him via the mirror’s reflection. “You can come in, Rogue. Oh, food, you remembered, goody! Did you have some?” ‘Close your mouth. Okay.’ “Yes, it’s delicious. Thank you.” He made himself push forward and gingerly placed the plate and her drink on the vanity.Her eyes sparkled in the intense lighting of the vanity. “Are you with someone?” “No.” He lied, well, after a fashion. “Me neither.””You look so beautiful.” She’d changed dresses. This one was more formal, but accentuated her figure to the point of perfection. His knees began to buckle.”You’re so sweet, thank you, Rogue. Please sit down, we have a few minutes yet. There, on the bed, that’s fine.” He saw the bed behind him in the mirror and back peddled the few feet necessary. ‘There, that’s better.’ He’d been on his feet since leaving the limousine. She took a bite and a sip. “You remembered the Coke Zero! Rogue, to us and the night.” She raised her glass toward him. He softly tapped it with his-the Waterford Crystal he’d noted when pouring announcing the quality of it’s charge.”Do me a favor, Rogue, call down to Jason and tell him we’re leaving presently.” She nodded toward the cell phone sitting on the corner of the vanity. You’ll see him on the readout.””Scarlett, we’re türbanlı artvin escort bayan a little pressed.” Jason spoke.”It’s me, Shackelford. We’ll be coming down shortly.””Mr. Smith, outstanding.” He’d never let on.”C’mon, baby, we’re on our way.” ‘Absolutely no doubt this time.’The elevator halted the next floor down as a couple joined them in the car. Rogue & Scarlett moved aside a bit as the older couple made their way.Scarlett laced her arm with Rogue’s and leaned in. “We’re going to the midnight movies, my boyfriend and I.” She announced to the couple thru the reflection of the doors.They smiled warmly at each other then at the young couple.The doors opened to Shackelford speaking into a headset. “Tommy, we’re moving.” Their company in the elevator took a step back in unison as Shackelford reached in to separate the two parties and get the ball rolling.”Scarlett.” He lightly scolded, though his eyes a bit dark.”Sorry Jason.” They returned the way they’d arrived, Shackelford moving at a fast clip leading Scarlett by the hand, Rogue following enjoying the view. ‘Oh, my God she is magnificent.'”You’re in first, Mr. Smith.” Tommy held the door open a warm smile to them all.”You are late, Scar!” He teased as she passed him.They were 3 across as Tommy sprinted around, got in, checked it and made a fast get-a-way thru the garage level. ‘I’m closing my eyes, I can’t look. He’s going to crash us.'”Rogue, it’s okay, he’s used to it.” She giggled and clutched his arm.”Girl.” Resigned, Shackelford stiff armed the jump seat in front of him.Chapter Eleven.”Mr. Smith, by arrangement your privacy is guaranteed. You’ll remain seated there in the limousine upon the initial arrival.” Shackelford had leaned over in the space provided as Scarlett had scooted up and was in deep conversation with her twin as he maneuvered traffic speeding into Dallas, her left hand resting on his right shoulder.”Thomas will drop us and continue to the side entrance with you. You’ll remain inside until I get Scarlett seated. I’ll then come thru the side entrance and collect you. We’ll remain there in the vestibule area until the lights are dimmed. You’ll then be seated on her left,,,,,,no, check that, to her right. No pictures will be taken inside the theater seating area. Afterward we’ll just reverse the process. I’ll escort you thru the side entrance to the limo, and Thomas will pull around and pick Scarlett up in front. Thomas will then return you both to the Four Seasons, thankfully in a much slower and safer manner.”They’d suddenly become stuck fast in traffic as Shackelford’s cell phone went off once again.”Yes, yes, yes, I understand. We’re 10 minutes out. Yes, yes. I apologize. I wi….damn they hung up. C’mon, Scarlett, sit back, now.” He brought her back firmly, but gently by the waist. “Tommy, get us out of this.””No problem. Buckle up, k**s, I’m going to do this driving thing.”Rogue took the directive literally and then assisted Scarlett likewise. She’d begun to giggle then laugh as Rogue joined in. Only Shackelford remained stoic, though buckled. Thomas broke a bevy of traffic laws, at one point traversing the highway emergency shoulder for a number of miles.”2 minutes, people, according to the GPS.””You done good, Tommy. How do I look, Rogue?” She’d sobered & straightened.Rogue skipped one moment, absolutely no more than the 1. “Like a living doll.”She came in close then, as close as Rogue had ever been to her in his life and brushed his right cheek with her warm lips.They turned right onto West Jefferson Blvd and slowed to a crawl. “We’re here, Scar. There it is.”Rogue could see the flood lights tracing the area, one trained & tracking the stacked letters and marquee of the Texas Theater two blocks down. Mother and father had told him the story and he’d taken a high school field trip thru the area some years ago. The theater had been the site where Lee Harvey Oswald had been taken into custody after the assassination of JFK. The area had fallen into some distress in the intervening years, but, a renaissance had taken place of late and the people had begun to return. And there was indeed a formidable crowd in attendance this night, now this morning. It was after midnight.”You’ll remain seated, Mr. Smith. Do not move, please. Tommy? Be extra careful not to hit anyone.” Scarlett giggled, put her hand over her mouth and pretended not to. The crowd, as one surged toward the curb. Dallas PD deftly removed a wooden horse and waved the limo thru. The block had been closed off.”This is absolutely incredible, Scarlett.” She squeezed his knee in response. Hard.”Tommy, there is a valet, remain seated.””Understood.” “Here, Tommy.” The limo halted on Shackelford’s command. “Now the headlights, please.”The valet stepped forward, but, did not attempt to open the door and remained at attention.”Wait.” Shackelford was in charge. “Breathe, Scarlett.”Rogue eased back in order to take the moment in. ‘My God.'”Miss Johansson?””I’m set, Jason.””Good luck, s*s.””3,2,1.” Shackelford softly triggered the door handle and the valet broke ranks.Chapter Twelve.Tommy brought the limousine to rest just outside the side door of Texas Theater, cut the headlights and hit the locks.”How you doing, Rogue?””This is crazy. Do you ever have a situation with security for Scarlett?””Here? No way. In LA, absolutely. I just chauffer her there though I’m armed at all times. The last line of defense.” Thomas patted his right chest area and smiled bravely into the rear area of the limo. “We have a security detail in place in California. It’s crazy there. This? This is a milk run. Would you like a Coke Zero, Rogue? She makes me keep it stocked at all times.””No thanks, I’m fine.” ‘I’m having the night of my life.'”Here he comes.” The side door of the Theater briefly opened then shut again. Tommy hit the locks and Shackelford climbed in the front seat.”How’s it going in there?””Christ, it’s packed. Just the one seat left. That’s yours, Rogue.” He’d finally used Rogue’s first name.”Is she okay?” A tinge of alarm to Thomas’ pitch.”Rogue, Scarlett gets just a little hyper in large, close crowds. She’s holding up fine, Tommy. They gave her a really nice ovation upon the entrance.”Tommy eased into his seat back.”Just a few notes before we go in, Mr. Smith.” ‘Ah back to my sir name.'”Please do not fall asleep, no…matter…what. Also whatever is said to you ignore and do not respond, no…matter…what. By invitation only surrounds her and Sir Hopkins, but, you never know with a large crowd. Do not meet eye, no…matter…what. Look at the center of the forehead. Do not judge the movie, or, her performance, no…matter…what. She knows better than to put you in such a delicate position. And lastly, as a personal favor to Tommy and I, be extra kind and attentive, like I said she is a little shaky with a tight crowd. Other than that have a great time.” Light chuckles filled the interior.”Tommy, you coming in?””No, I’ll be sitting next to her in Memphis, remember? I’ll see it then. I’m going to make some phone calls, close my eyes for a few minutes, maybe even wash out a few things.”This time the laugher was deeper, everybody had relaxed.”Okay then, Rogue, I’ll take you to the end of the aisle and the usher will guide you in. She is sitting dead center with house lights shadowing her and Hopkins. Any questions, Mr. Smith?”Rogue took a deep breath. “I’m set.” Rogue reached for the door handle.”No, we’ll maintain decorum….Tommy, if you would be so kind.””Absolutely.” Chapter Thirteen.As he was nearly invisible at The Four Seasons he was a spectacle in Texas Theater. ‘Oh, my God.’ It felt like a thousand eyes turned on him.”Breathe, Rogue.” Were the last words Shackelford whispered to him before he strode away.”If you’ll excuse us.” The uniformed usher. The aisle drew their feet in as a Rockettes line. “Just follow the beam, sir.” ‘Oh, my God……Oh, Lord.’ And then she was there, she’d risen, like the Goddess in his dreams had risen in the black of so many nights. “Rogue, over here.” She girlishly beckoned with her hand and her smile and with her eyes. The circle of light that enveloped her rendered the remainder of the theater invisible. “This is him, this is my boyfriend. This is Rogue.” She excitedly whispered to the surrounding crowd. She hugged him tight, and for the first time it was she who shook. He squeezed tighter and the shaking ceased.”Thank you, Rogue. Thank you, darling.” Her eyes had misted over, her smile held fast.”Mr. Smith, can you ever get this girl to be on time?” Rogue turned to find Sir Hopkins had risen as well and extended his hand. Rogue grasped it tightly, all three sharing the moment and their laughter as the crowd broke into spontaneous applause. Sir Hopkins bowed and Scarlett waved. Rogue checked himself and joined in the applause.As they sat down, Sir Hopkins tapped him on the right knee. “Scarlett Johansson indeed.” His smile warm and endearing.As the opening credits rolled he saw her name and stole a glance to see her reaction, but, she was busily going thru her small purse.”Psst, psst, Rogue?” She leaned and whispered to him. “Milk Duds, or, Peanut M&Ms?” He looked down to see her hand filled with candy. “I love Milk Duds, Rogue.””Then I shall choose the M&M’s, Scarlett.””Oh, goody! Tommy slipped me the candy in the car.” Her eyes on fire in the darkened theater.Once the candy was consumed she moved closer to Rogue, their bodies in close contact, she laced her right arm thru his left and sealed their hands.”I’m having the most wonderful night, Rogue.” The whisper of his Goddess.Chapter f******n.Rogue found the film interesting, though he spent most of the time taking in the scene as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. She remained at his side, her perfect substance and alluring scent filling his mind with all manner of conceived deeds, some honorable, others extreme, protracted and, yes, amazingly bathed in the “L” word tormenting him from the edges of their cocoon. She brought him out of his self imposed torment:”Psst,,,,,,Roguey.” ‘Roguey?’ Only one other person had ever referred to him in that vernacular. That goofy old bastard Cully from his home Board, the NBA Forum.”Psst…” He turned and found her staring straight into his eyes. ‘Oh, Lord.'”Look, Roguey, look who’s driving me.” Her eyes tracked his back to the screen where her character was being chauffeured to the premier of the motion picture “Psycho.”The driver turned and spoke, “Miss Leigh.” It was Tommy. Scarlett laid her right hand on Sir Hopkins left shoulder as he was seated in front of the couple. He turned slightly, softly nodded and patted her hand.She sat back then and whispered to Rogue: “Tony insisted, it was his idea. This way Tommy will get his SAG card.” Then without skipping a breath she nuzzled Rogue’s cheek again and turned her attention back to the screen. ‘Close your mouth, numb nuts. Okay, okay.’ As the ending credits rolled Rogue felt the presence of Shackelford before he saw the movement to his left. He’d moved to the end of the aisle and motioned for Rogue to remain. The lights came up, and a polite, though not overabundant applause broke out. It gathered steam quickly and was quite boisterous as in unison both the stars rose from their seats and acknowledged the tribute. It was then that Shackelford beckoned him forth. As Rogue moved in front of Scarlett, Sir Hopkins reached out for him. “A great pleasure, Mr. Smith. Good luck in your future writing.” “Thank you, Sir Hopkins.” “I’ll see you soon, Roguey.” She whispered into his ear as he made his way past. The crowd had risen by now, the applause sustained, making his departure easy and unobtrusive. He’d become invisible once again.”We’re moving, Tommy. Please?” Shackelford spoke into his headset and motioned for Rogue to follow him.Tommy was holding the car door open as they emerged into the alley.”All the way over, Mr. Smith, if you’d be so kind.” Shackelford’s voice holding the same professionalism he’d displayed from the get-go.Tommy shut the door securely, spoke a few words with Shackelford before he returned thru the side exit, and Tommy got back in the front seat.Tommy started the engine, hit the locks, then turned fully in his seat: “Rogue, how’d I look?”Chapter Fifteen.They’d taken station again a half block down from the theater. A second limousine had fallen in queue behind theirs.”It’s Hopkins’s car.” Rogue strained to look as the crowd had once again taken form outside Texas Theater.”Here, Rogue, use these.” Tommy handed him a pair of binoculars, nice ones. Rogue spied the scene.”My goodness, Tommy I’m on top of them.” “Tommy, we’ll be coming out in 3 minutes. Hopkins has insisted that Scarlett go last, so he’ll pull around momentarily.” Rogue could overhear Shackelford’s chattered directives.”We’re ready, Jason.”The limo in back flashed it’s lights then pulled around, stopping momentarily along side Tommy before continuing it’s approach to the theater front. Rogue trained the binoculars back to the scene as the crowd surged forward in anticipation. “He is, he’s coming out first, Tommy. These glasses are remarkable.””Enjoy yourself, Rogue. I’ve seen it a 100 times.”Shackelford again: “He’ll go quickly, Tommy, so you may begin. Also, it would be a nice touch if you’d assist outside. It’s safe, right?””Absolutely, Jason.” The limousine began it’s approach.”There she is, Rogue.” Rogue set the glasses aside and watched as Scarlett emerged thru the doors escorted by Jason, Dallas PD officers and uniformed ushers toward the street. The going was slowed as she would stop, chat and sign for people. The limousine came to a halt. “Rogue, you know to remain here, my friend?””Absolutely.” Rogue respectfully mimicked her brother.”I’ll go and get her.”Rogue watched as it took an additional 10 minutes + to move her thru the crowd and into the limousine.”Hi, Rogue!” She quickly moved over and grasped Rogue’s hand. Shackelford leaned in as Tommy came around and took his seat.”C’mon, Jason, you can ride with us.” Scarlett waved him in.”No, I’m going to stay back. Bill and I are going to get some drinks, maybe have an early breakfast. I think he feels bad for being testy earlier and wants to make it up. He made a nice profit türbanlı escort artvin this morning. He’s a good guy. So I shall see you tomorrow, Miss Johansson. You were fabulous tonight. Just fantastic.” He kissed her right hand.”Mr. Smith, you have been a pleasure to host. Thank you, so much for being patient and agreeable. It meant a lot.” He pointed at Rogue.”Shackelford, it’s been a trip for sure.””Tommy, slow going back. Please. Surface streets, okay, for me?””Absolutely brother. Slow and easy.””Good night, all. Tommy hit the locks.” Shackelford exited and shut the door firmly. Tommy obeyed.The interior of the limousine went dark as Scarlett immediately melted into Rogue’s form.”Just hold me for a little while, Rogue, please. I was so nervous coming out.” Her voice was strained.”Sure, baby.” He’d exchanged the salutation and thankfully she’d either welcomed it, or, missed it.As the limousine moved off her breathing quickly became steady and calm. Scarlett had fallen fast asleep in Rogue’s arms. Her weight a constant and glorious reminder of his Goddess.True to his word and guided by the gentle instruction of GPS Tommy made his way as the sun threatened to rise in Dallas. “Hey, guys, how bout a fast food sto…””Tommy, she’s sleeping.” Rogue kindly hissed toward the front of the car.”Oh, I’m sorry, Rogue.” Tommy peered in the reflection of the mirror. “I’d forgotten how much these events take out of her. Here, I’ll close the panel so she won’t be disturbed.” She snuggled closer into Rogue’s form as the rear compartment was now black and near silent.This time, in the black before the sun rose he was not alone with his dreams of her. No, this time, this time his Goddess, Rogue’s Goddess lit the darkness.Chapter Sixteen.”I hate it when things are over.So much is left undone.”15 minutes later Tommy dropped the panel and signaled to Rogue via 2 fingers, followed by a thumbs up. Rogue had not slept a wink. He enjoyed every second in watching his Goddess at rest.”Doll, we’re almost there.” He gently whispered. Rogue softly brushed Scarlett’s right cheek with his fingertips.”Where’s Tommy?” She’d woke with a slight start.”He’s fine, Scarlett, he’s driving us. He’s right there.””Oh, my goodness, I fell asleep. Oh, Rogue, I’m so sorry.” She disengaged from Rogue.”Here, Scar.” Tommy offered a hand mirror over the front seat.”Thank, you, Tommy. Rogue, can you hold this while I correct myself.””2 minutes, s*s. They assure me it’s clear. Nobody has inquired or is loitering. Their security will present themselves as we enter the property.””Will you walk me, Rogue? I’d so appreciate that. You’ve been so sweet.””For sure.””Tommy, I want you to get some rest, and I mean it. You must be so exhausted.””Oh, definitely, s*s. I’m going right to bed.” He caught Rogue’s eye with a mischievous grin. The limousine came to a calm stop in the front of the Four Seasons. A uniformed valet came toward the car and then held fast a couple feet off. “Just a second, Tommy. I’m just about ready.” Scarlett was quickly applying a touch up to her make-up. “Rogue, am I presentable now?””You are simply gorgeous.” She looked deep into Rogue’s eyes in response. An intense pressure to the moment passed quickly as she once again straightened in preparation.”Tommy, I’d rather you get the door. Please?””Absolutely, s*s. Just say when.””I’ll be so glad to get into that room.” She said aloud while locking eyes once again with Rogue.”Okay, Tommy, we’re set to go.””Rogue, if you’ll move across and out first when I open the door that will work better, then step away, but, not too far. I’ll get her out and then you take her in.””Got it.” ‘I could get used to this.’Chapter s*******n. Scarlett once more leaned into Rogue as the elevator car ascended.”Rogue, are you tired, darling?””No way. I remain wired.” His voice displaying a higher pitch than he’d intended.She softly laughed. “I’m glad, I’m so looking forward to our time together. First though, I’m going to take a quick bath so I can unwind a bit. Will you wait for me?””Forever.”As soon as Rogue heard her bathroom faucet commence he immediately occupied the other bathroom to take stock of himself. “What am I going to do if she wants to, well, you know?” He queried his reflection in the sink mirror. There was no spoken answer, just a defiant stirring in his package area. He did a quick inventory of that same area for wooly boogers, streaks, stains, etc. Thankfully he’d held his own. Nonetheless, he ran a sink of warm water and washed the wool, bone & beans. “There, just in case.” ‘I’m sorry, God, I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist this temptation. Please, G, forgive Rogue.’Back in the living room he hammered a shot of Fireball, then backed it. ‘She must have had this stocked while we were at the theater.’ “Amazing!” The double barrel warmed his cockles on contact.A firm knock upon the door caused Rogue to jump a good foot. It was room service. Rogue had forgotten he’d made the order not long after they’d returned. “A grilled cheese and French fries for me, Rogue. An iced glass of 2% milk to drink. And please whatever you’d like. Thank, you.” As she retreated to the bedroom area.He’d considered ordering a steak, but, reluctantly changed course and ordered the roast beef hash and eggs with Texas toast. And a pot of hot coffee. Rogue was running on pure adrenaline & Fireball. When he crashed he’d do so in fine fashion, but, he’d auger in back at the house, not in the company of his Goddess.”Would you like me to set this up, sir?””No, I can do that. Where do I sign?””Not necessary, sir. It’s all taken care of. Please enjoy yourself.” He’d remember her return till the day he died. She’d donned a rich beige colored nightgown. It was not a negligee, no. It covered her from neck to the floor. The makeup washed away, her natural beauty eclipsed everything, everything,,,everything that had gone before. She’d brushed out her tresses and they rested now well past her shoulders. He swiveled in his stool and away from her reflection in the bar mirror as she came to a halt, then stepped closer between his legs, her smile warming his cockles as the Fireball had done earlier.”I see the room service has arrived, Rogue.” The girl had returned. The woman dominate, yes, but not exclusive, yet.Rogue had ingeniously set it up in front of the wall of windows. The view was gorgeous, Dallas-at early morning-not bad either.”I am so hungry, Rogue. Just starving. And so relieved to be back and finally alone with my favorite author. Now eat hearty, Mr. Smith. Otherwise I’ll feel weird.” Her smile infectious, they dug in with abandon, the food melting steadily away, nourishing both souls. She informed him her next stop would be New Orleans the following night then on to Memphis and up to New York and then down the East coast. “We’ll finish up in Miami.” He was grateful she did not question him about his life. It was strange that she did not, but, also a nice respite from the regular regimen of rapid fire questions he so detested.Finished, she drew the sheers across the windows and they relaxed with their coffee. Scarlett on the couch, Rogue in the comfy padded chair. Her Rubenesque silhouette now dominated his vision, as he’d come to the realization, no, the expectation that his Goddess was most probably nude under her nightgown. ‘Oh, Lord.’She retrieved the two copies of “Goddess” resting on the table between them and handed one to Rogue. It was the copy he’d sent her, the original, and true to her word it was well worn.”I love it so, Rogue.”Chapter Eighteen.”The woman’s sweet dream was snapped. She woke up and saw something that seriously frightened her. She saw that her stomach was almost twice the size it should be,” Scarlett’s voice deep & sure.”At about 7 am that morning, a baby’s cry slashed the quietness of the sky, though the sound was very husky which was rather abnormal for a baby.” Rogue’s voice deep & sure.”A nurse walked outside the room with a newborn baby in her arms, came to the man and said joyfully ‘congrats, Mr. Johansson, you got a little princess!'” She laid her copy aside, never taking her eyes from his.“’Yes, the baby boy is coming soon.'” He laid his copy aside, never taking his eyes from hers. “Tommy.” Her eyes filled to brimming.”Yes.””‘the girl is fated to be one of us. She’s a gift from the God.'” A tear drop fell.”My Goddess.””‘I got an idea now. How about a name like… ‘Scarlett’?’” A smile creased her moistened lips.“’Scarlett? What does it mean?’”“’Well, it’s a color, bright red.’” Her smile widened.”Like the little girl’s dress in the picture, she’s sitting in a chair. You were just a c***d.”A near inaudible gasp. “I was so happy that day. I was just a c***d.” Another fell.”Sunshine passed through the window and lightened up the whole room””Our mother and father.””The day was 22 November, 1984.” A smile creased his moistened lips.She broke their trance, her eyes dropping to the table between them.”Will you……love me this morning, Rogue?” Her voice breaking at the finish.Rogue hesitated nary a second. “Scarlett, I shall love you forever.” A fierceness to his vow.Chapter Nineteen.The bedroom was lit by a single candle. She’d gone before him. “Just give me a moment, Rogue.” She seemed to cross the room on a stream of air.He was framed in the doorway. Scarlett between the sheets, her nightgown across the foot.He quickly undressed down to his briefs then tried to make it into bed. “No, I want to see you.” He froze mid-stride. “Please, for me, Roguey?” ‘Again with the “Roguey.”‘ Cully flashed thru his mind as he chuckled to himself then obeyed his Goddess.”I knew you would be beautiful and perfect….my boyfriend…mine.” Scarlett lifted the sheet. She was as warm as he’d imagined. As bountiful as he’d dreamed. As heavenly as he’d prayed. She guided his ardent attention to that bounty. “There, darling, suckle there. I need you to. Hurry.” The tips were womanly, the c***d retreating into the shadows of the flickering candle light. “Yes.” A whisper.He took more from her, then switched to find the nipple’s twin identical.”Yes.” Near breathless now.He moved his hand.”No.” A whisper. “Soon.” Rogue’s hand retreated. He nursed then, the man he was retreating quickly, the boyfriend she craved coming into the candle light.”So beautiful. So perfect. Mine.”His heart pounded in his ears and thru his column of blood. He imagined it to be gigantic, beyond all measure known to man.The tips, the tips of her finger nails danced thru his hair, the razor sharp edges causing a roiling so deep in his core he thought he’d go right away. ‘No, boy, no. I won’t, I promise. It’s been so long. Too damn long. I know.” The roiling abated.”Baby?” ‘That’s you, dude.’ “I don’t want to wait any longer.”She was as wet as he’d fantasized in the black of endless nights.”Easy. So easy, Rogue.” Her whisper into his left ear wet and wicked.He capitulated not his essence–but his confession. Into Scarlett’s left ear Rogue confessed all of his secrets, his tributes, his dreams, his nightmares, his hopes and prayers of & to his Goddess. As the litany was exacted she marked each passage with affirmation coated in affection.”Yes.” again and again and again.A bright light in a field of pitch blazed in Rogue’s brain as his body rejected it’s own demand to stop what could not be stopped. Rogue’s endless confession ended–the a****l set free–emitting an unearthly growl of the feral b**st.The candle light extinguished.Chapter Twenty.As he rested and repaired she whispered to him. Secrets and caveats meant only for Rogue.He existed in a state of rapture between life & death that he prayed would never end and would begin again and again and again.”You won’t be here when I waken, will you, Rogue?”He’d spend the rest of his days debating with himself whether her words were a directive, or, a query.”No.””Promise me just one thing, darling.””Anything.””Promise me you’ll let Tommy drive you. Please, Rogue, for me.””I promise, Scarlett.”She softly turned on her side and pushed the sheet away. A swift jack-knifing of her leg-then her voice thru the darkness.”Please, darling, again, and again, and again.”He successfully resisted the urge to bow and capture her scent there. ‘No.’Instead the conduit they’d employed before served them once again.”Tell me, Rogue.””What, darling?””Tell me of the picture of the girl, of me, in the wooden chair.” He was ready. He knew. He’d known. God had spoken to him. Had informed him.”Such a beautiful little girl.””I was so happy that day.””A perfect little girl.””Tommy was there that day. I remember, Rogue. I remember so good.”Rogue moved his hand. “Yes, darling, now. Hurry, Rogue.””So perfect.””My mother and father were there, Rogue. We were there.””Scarlett Johansson.” He pushed and pulled in the same course of movement.”So easy, Rogue, so perfect, darling. So close now.””I won’t let you go. You’re my Goddess.”She raised then, her mouth close to his ear. A secret he’d hold forever confessed she surrendered to him and the quest he’d sworn since the day she first existed in his heart.A feral scream pierced the blackness as Rogue served as sentinel his Goddess in rapture.The Last Chapter.She slept now, Scarlett’s sentinel studying her at sleep.’Go….No. There is no more, Rogue. But,,,,Go.’A home made quilt was d****d over the sitting chair next to the bed. He carefully ensconced his Goddess in it then quickly dressed.”Go.” He whispered in the darkened room. Her gentle breathing a harsh reminder of what he’d gained and what he’d lost. Rogue rose from the chair where the quilt had rested and carefully made his way into the living room pulling the door closed behind him.”One for the road? Yes.”The Fireball took affect as he laced & tied his shoes. His copy of “Goddess” rested where he’d left it. A small white envelope had been placed upon it.”Rogue, darling, don’t forget your promise. Forever, Scarlett”Tommy’s cell phone number below the salutation. She’d known.The drive back was in silence. And Rogue was grateful to Tommy for that consideration and respect.As they came to a stop in front of Rogue’s home, they both reached for their respective door handle. “Tommy, it’s okay, I’ll get it.””Absolutely Rogue.” Rogue laid his hand on Tommy’s shoulder as Tommy slowly nodded, his eyes never leaving the windshield.Rogue slumped into his chair and closed his eyes. sleep came then, and with it the dreams, mirror images of what had come before on so many nights of blackness. When Rogue woke hours later the sun had failed the sky, the small windows in the door dark and lifeless. The tears came then, in veritable sheets, and with them Rogue’s baptism. The End

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