Dare to Dream

By: Modean Moon

Chapter One

D.J. awoke on the carpet at the foot of her bed, the screams from her nightmare echoing through the silent room, her hands outstretched to the door that was no longer there.

“No,” she whimpered. “Not again. Please, not again.”

Instinctively she began the exercises with her hands that she had done for so many months. Clench, grip, extend. Clench, grip, extend. She repeated the exercises, no longer needing the rubber balls she had once squeezed as she tried to hold on to her sanity, until she felt her trembling ease, and she slumped against the bed, exhausted and drenched.

She looked at her hands. In the morning light, filtering through drawn drapes, they looked older than her twenty-eight years warranted. It was strange, she thought gratefully, how few persons ever noticed that the aging was really scarring.

She leaned her head against the bed with a moan. She might as well think about it. It wasn’t going to leave her alone until she did. Five years ago today—a dozen lifetimes and yet only yesterday; added day by day on the calendar, it had been five years since her life was torn apart.

She pulled herself to her feet and paced into the bathroom where she wrestled out of her sodden nightgown, turned the shower on full force, and let the water beat against her.

She was lucky, they’d told her when she left the hospital. There would be minor scarring—only on the hands, and a little along the hairline, easily concealable. Her hair was already growing back when she left. Darker, now an auburn, the red only glinted when struck by sunlight. Lucky. Lucky. When all she’d lost—when all she’d lost—was everything. Nothing tangible remained as evidence of the love she and Rob had shared, not even her wedding ring, lost in the confusion of the emergency room.

“Is that enough?” she whispered aloud as she toweled her hair and reached for the dryer. “Or do I have to keep going over it and picking at it?”

“It’s enough,” she said in a suddenly calm voice.

She made quick work of her makeup, a little cover-up feathered into her hairline and onto the backs of her hands, a touch of mascara and lip gloss. She parted her hair in the middle, brought wings down on each side of her face, and caught the length of it back in a smooth knot on her nape. The style was severe, but it helped to counteract the impression of youthful helplessness inspired by large blue eyes and generous, softly curved lips, by providing a somber frame for her heart-shaped face, and it camouflaged the almost invisible scars.

Soon she was inspecting her image in the full-length mirror on her closet door. “Welcome back to the real world, D.J.,” she said wryly.

She saluted the image reflected back at her, that of a composed, professional-looking woman in a teal-blue silk blouse, beige linen skirt and jacket, and trim high-heeled pumps that added sometimes needed stature to her petitely scaled five feet four inches.

“You’ll do fine,” she said with determination.

She picked up her purse, looked regretfully at the empty coffeepot sitting on the kitchen counter, shrugged, and started out the door. D.J. knelt down for the newspaper and tossed it inside the apartment. No time for that, either, this morning. She felt something soft and furry brushing against her legs.

“Are you back?” she asked with exasperation of a small bundle of black-and-white fluff. “I told you to go away, kitten,” she said, softening her voice. “Now scat! There’s nothing here for you.”

She thought of the sterile apartment she had just left. There’s nothing here for me either flitted through her mind. Heavy traffic in south Tulsa required that she concentrate on her driving, though, and by the time she reached the interstate highway that looped the city, she had banished her traitorous thoughts.

On a whim she turned onto the interstate and whipped over to Riverside Drive. It would take longer to get to her parking garage once she reached downtown, but even in traffic there was a calming quality about driving along the river, seeing the bikers and joggers on the paths in river parks, and winding through an older part of town that exuded an aura of an easier, less harried time.

When she reached the beautifully maintained building that housed the law offices where she worked, she found Marcie already in her alcove, her pert, curly head bent over the typewriter, fingers flying over the keys. Marcie looked up when D.J. walked into the alcove.

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