Have you missed your Nightingale?
What a silly question, of course you have!
Well I’m back, and I have a special treat. This week your Nightingale will be singing for you herself. It’s a fun story too.
Did you ever wish you would get invited in by a pretty blonde?
Maybe you won’t wish that after you meet Ivy!
file this one under Dangerous Criminals
When Ivy and David married and moved into the little house, she was happier than she had been in her entire life. In her pretty white dress, wearing her mother’s pearls, she had said “I do” to the man of her dreams. Looking into his eyes, she had seen that they would be together forever. He had carried over the threshold in his arms with a smile.
It was the beginning of her own personal fairy tale. They had the little white cottage with daises in the front yard. They had each other and were so much in love. They would have beautiful babies and grow old together.
On their first night together as man and wife, he held her gently and kissed her lips. He ran his hands over her body softly and slowly, knowing he was her first. His fingers brushed her long blonde hair as he lay her down among the pillows.
She had never seen his eyes so full of love. Never felt her heart beat so fast. He kissed her throat and her breasts as she shuddered beneath his touch. When he looked at her again, saw the smile on her face, he would see that she was overcome.
At last their eyes met and she breathed his name. On his face was such a look of intensity. Quietly, with a deep sigh he whispered, “oh, Ivy.” Then fell to one side and lay there without moving.
For a several heartbreaking moments she waited for him, just as they had been waiting for each other, but he never moved, not that night or ever again.
Dialing for the ambulance was the hardest call she ever made. The rush of people into their lovely little house, all of them there to take her David away forever was more than she could begin to bear.
She stood shaking in one corner, watching the chaos, seeing her dreams being ripped from her.
As she followed them to the door she could see all the other houses on the little street. Neighbors peered from open doors and pulled curtains. They were all witnesses to her failure and her shame.
Only days later she was wearing a new black dress, with those same pearls at her throat standing at his graveside. Members of her family and his stood all around her. Beside her, his mother wept inconsolable tears and kept looking at Ivy. This woman who would have been her mother in law kept seeing her dry eyes, her rigid face, and judging her. They all kept looking and judging. She felt the glances like heat on her skin, burning hot flashes of disdain. The only thing worse was the ice-cold touch of shame she felt knowing that she must stand here before all of them, her marriage exposed as a shattered ruin.
It may have been their pity or their condemnation but she could not find tears. She only knew that the sooner she could be out of the sight of these disapproving stares the sooner she would be able to untie the knots around her heart and grieve.
Their little house had been her dream, now it was her refuge. Getting through the front door and closing it securely behind her, Ivy finally drew a deep breath. Here she could look around and, for just one short sweet moment, let herself believe that it had never happened.
For so many nights she slept in their bed and dreamed of the night they never had. So much time passed but nothing really changed.
She was in her kitchen making the coffee cake David had always liked. The smell of warm cinnamon floated through the room and the regular liquid heartbeat of the percolator sounded from the counter. She could hear the sounds from outside of the birds singing and the light traffic on the street. Faintly she recognized the sound of the trimmer in the front yard. “He must be working on the hedges,” she thought, and went back to her baking. She had turned to check the oven when the thought struck her like a hammer blow.
How could he be working on the hedges? He, her David, was gone. But she could hear it distinctly, the sound of the clippers running in the front of the house. She was trembling all over and her head felt light. What did it mean? How could he be here if she knew he were gone?
In a blink the past months went away from her. She was back in her new little house and her new life. She reached into the refrigerator and pulled out the pitcher of iced tea she had made, found a glass and filled it. Walking toward the front of the house she could imagine him, already see him, there on the grass. He would be hot, working hard so she would bring him a cold drink. The pleasure she felt started in her smile and went all the way down to the bottoms of her feet as she opened the front door.
Outside on the step she looked around, she saw him there over by the sidewalk clearing dead branches from the hedge near the street. Of course the part so near the street wasn’t their responsibility but how like him to do it! She only hesitated the littlest bit before stepping out onto the pavers, going to him.
When she looked, she didn’t see the dark hair that should have been blonde like her own or the brown eyes where she would have expected green. She only saw him. He was here with her and it made her heart sing.
“You look so hot doing that!” Ivy shouted at the man clipping the hedge, “Wouldn’t you like something cool to drink?” She held out the glass and the ice popped just as he shut off the trimmers.
What he saw was a petite blonde in a blue dress with a pearl necklace. Her long hair was tied back and her blue eyes were wide. She was holding the glass out to him and her arms were bare so that he could see her pale skin. She had the kind of body that begs for a man’s hands, on her full breasts or her small waist or her slight hips.
He took the glass from her. When he had finished the tea, she put a hand on his.
“Why don’t you come in for a while? It’s too hot out here to be working so hard.” The look in her eye told him she wanted him to do more than come in and cool off. Looking at her, he figured cooling off was the last thing that he would be doing anyway, but he followed her into the house.
Inside was a hallway and he could see the bedroom through an open door at the far end. He decided to just go ahead and give her what she obviously wanted so he scooped her up into his arms. That was the moment he expected her to struggle or shout. Instead, she melted into him wrapping her arms around his neck.
When he lifted her Ivy wanted to cry with joy. To have this moment, of all moments back! She put her head on his shoulder and let him carry her, of course he knew the way as well as she. Soon he was settling her onto their bed. Now she would feel his kiss, finally know his sure, gentle touch.
She reached for him but before she could even move he was almost on top of her. He was pushing up her skirt and she could feel the hardness of him pressing against her stomach. She was gasping for breath as his lips found her throat his mouth hot and wet against her skin. How could her David be so rough? How could he treat her this way?
As he drew back, reaching down to unbuckle his belt while his other hand moved to her breast Ivy finally saw him. Finally saw clearly the man with her. This man was not her husband. In a surge of anger and fear she reached out with one hand and grasped the silver picture frame on the bedside table. She brought it around and down onto his head in one sharp blow.
Then he was still and quiet there on the bed, just as David had been. Dead, just as David had been.
Looking at him she remembered what it had been like before when the ambulance came. How they had stormed through her house wrecking and spoiling her life. The hand that had been moving toward the phone stopped. How could she go through that again? And what would it be for? This man was obviously past saving. What would people say about him being found in her bed—that thought finally settled it. She wouldn’t call anyone. No one would ever know about this.
Ivy carefully wiped the picture frame clean, taking a moment to look at the image of her wedding day it held, and then put it back into its place by the bed. Then she straightened her hair and smoothed her dress. Finally, she looked at the man on her bed.
She didn’t mean to call anyone but she had to clean up the mess that was left.
Looking around, taking stock of her options, she made a quick decision. Pulling the big rug over near the bed, she rolled him off onto it. The thump when he hit the floor made her wince but once she got going she stopped thinking about what she was doing. It just became a thing to be done. The rug slid easily over the hardwood and getting to the kitchen was easy. The door to the basement was across the room. She propped open the door and pulled the rug, with its burden, over to the top of the stairs. From there she just dumped him down. She closed her eyes and listened to the repeated bumps until they stopped then closed and locked the door.
Pressing her back against that closed door, she made another decision. She decided that it had never happened.
Then she went back to her room replaced the rug and changed the sheets on her bed.
That night she dreamed of losing him all over again, of the funeral where everyone pointed and accused her. She woke up in her empty house. Slowly she fell back into her routine.
She spent each night in their bed, dreaming of him and the night they almost shared. She went to bed early and slept late as the weeks went by.
On a night when she was in her kitchen, looking for something she wanted to eat for dinner, she heard the noise on the porch. With a fond smile she thought, “He’s forgotten his key,” then went back to opening cupboards. When she turned to look in the refrigerator, she stopped cold.
How could he be at the door? She had lost him utterly, he didn’t have a key to forget. Yet she could clearly hear the sound of someone fumbling on the front steps. It had to mean something but her heart was racing and she couldn’t grasp it.
Between one breath and the next the pain and the knowledge of her loss were gone. She had her life back as if none of it had ever happened.
Turning on her heel, she ran for the front door. She already knew what she would see before she even reached it. Her David would be there, silly smile on his face as he fumbled for his key.
Outside the door she found him, he was fumbling in his pockets with one hand and in the other he held a large flat box. The smell of pizza rushed through the door. Ivy didn’t see the too long hair or the too young face. She couldn’t see the look of confusion on the young man’s face when she smiled and welcomed him in. All she saw was her beloved David, come home to her.
For his part, he saw a beautiful woman in a yellow dress, pearls at her slender throat. Her blonde hair tumbled down past her shoulders in soft waves and curls and her blue eyes were as clear as jewels. Her body made his react just looking at her, and for some reason she kept putting her hand on his arm or his shoulder. She had a voice like running water.
“Darling your timing is just perfect,” she sat beside him and placed the box on the coffee table. “I was just looking for something for our dinner! But you’ve thought of me and now we will have the evening together without any interruptions.” As she said that she moved nearer to him and slipped her arm beneath his so that he had no choice but to put his around her.
“But I don’t know if we should,” was all the resistance he could offer. “What about the pizza?”
“Oh the pizza!” She laughed, “We can reheat it later.” As she spoke she was moving closer, nuzzling his neck. “I’ll even open a bottle of wine.” Her fingers had wandered onto his knee.
He couldn’t help it, couldn’t stand any more. Turning he kissed her, pulled her to her feet. Her arms were around him and he felt her pressed against him.
She took his hands and pulled him down the hall to the bedroom, tugged him down beside her on the bed.
She began to open the buttons down the front of her dress as she looked up at him. His fingers traced the line of her jaw and ran down her neck, making her shiver. One warm hand closed gently over her breast and she sighed as she pushed up against him.
His touch was just as she remembered it. So gentle and sweet, but why was he so tentative? He seemed to be unsure that she would welcome him. That idea was just too silly. Maybe he thought she wanted to be bold. It was a thought that made her smile. She unbuttoned his pants and ran her hand inside.
At her touch the look on his face changed from one of happy pleasure to surprise and something like panic. Suddenly her hand was hot and wet, there was a mess between them and he was stammering. The sound of his voice cleared her head and her vision. How could she ever have thought this was her David? Feeling disgust and panic of her own she grabbed the silver picture frame, swung it in a short sharp arc and struck him in the head.
He fell forward into the pillows. Now he was still and quiet, as her David had been still and quiet.
She never even considered whether she would call anyone.
This time she went through the motions of tumbling him onto the rug and dragging it through the house almost without thinking. When the last thump was quiet at the bottom of the stairs she closed and locked the door.
Then she went back upstairs to clean up herself and her bed.
Afterwards she opened a bottle of wine to go with the pizza for dinner.
That night her sleep was broken by nightmares and she stayed in bed late into the next day.
After a few days, though her routine had begun to return to a kind of normal. As the weeks passed in a sort of gentle haze Ivy became accustomed to her solitude. She never had visitors but she didn’t want any. She didn’t even read her mail.
If she had been reading her mail she would have been expecting Daniel. She would have known that her David had a brother, that he was coming here. The two had been separated since they were children and now Daniel had been looking for the David. When he found out what happened he decided to come to Ivy, to find out what he could about his brother that was lost.
If she had been reading her mail Ivy would have known that, but Ivy had stopped reading her mail just like she stopped answering the phone or expecting guests. All Ivy did was go from room to room like a ghost.
On the day that he came to her door, she was sitting in a chair in the front room with a book. She didn’t answer the first knock, even though he could see her through the window. So he called out to her.
“Ivy,” he shouted breaking into her thoughts, “Ivy, can I come in?”
She knew the voice at once, there was no mistaking it and her heart leapt. She rose and went to the door, smoothing her hair and skirt as she went. When she opened it she was looking at him, her imagination didn’t have to change a single detail. His hair was as blonde as hers, his eyes as green as bottle glass. He was taller than her so that her head came just to his chin.
“Oh, it’s you,” was all she managed to say.
It didn’t surprise him, he had written her so many letters that he expected her to know who he was. It didn’t even surprise him that she seemed to expect him to be there since he had mentioned coming by. The only surprise was how lovely she was, how sweet and innocent she seemed for someone who had dealt with such grief all alone. There was a tear forming in one of her eyes even as he watched and he couldn’t help himself. He opened his arms to her, felt her enter his embrace and whispered into her hair, “oh, Ivy.”
Inside the mantel clock was ticking, the only sound in the quiet room, as the two of them stood holding one another.