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The Necklace III

The Necklace III

London, July 1967


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Copyright © 2015 by Linda S. Rice. All rights reserved.


ISBN: 1508886229

ISBN 13: 9781508886228





Also by Linda S Rice


The Necklace – The Dusky Club, June 1962

The Necklace II – Brighton, November 1962

The Necklace III – London, August 1967

The Necklace IV – Brighton, December 1999

The Necklace V – Strawberries & Wine

The Necklace VI – Snow on the Mountain

The Harpist
































FOR Shelley Joy Bridgman-Baker and Mari Alice Richards


Acknowledgments

Many thanks to friends, acquaintances and relatives, who encouraged me to move forward with publishing “The Necklace,” the first book in the series, the sequel, “The Necklace II,” and now this third book that continues the time-travel adventures of Susan in her quest to be with James, a member of “the most famous band of all time.”

Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Nancy Flood, for her editing help and to my numerous Facebook friends, for their encouragement and time spent previewing this work.

Lastly, and most importantly, I’d like to thank my husband, Michael, for his patience while I wrote, re-wrote, revised and edited over the many months it took me to complete all three of these books.


To contact the author, e-mail Linda at: LindainMtLaguna@aol.com































Prologue


Susan’s previous trips into the past to be with the man she had secretly yearned for since age twelve, had ended in heartbreak, not so much for her, but for James, the man of her dreams and a member of the most famous band of all time.

Her first trip, back to June, 1962, where she first met James, resulted in a tempestuous, one week love affair, fraught with conflict, soaring emotions and unbridled passion. Of course, coming from the year 2014 and being age sixty-two in her seventeen-year-old body, created quite a number of complications. Susan was from an era of liberated women, used to having her way and doing as she pleased. James, age twenty, from a middle-class working family, was old-fashioned in his thinking and tried his best to force Susan to conform to what he felt was proper behavior for a good and modest girl in the era of the early sixties. Their physical attraction for each other overwhelmed their differences, however, when Susan’s rampant seventeen-year-old hormones met head on with James’s young and potent virility. In the end, though, Susan had to admit that James wasn’t the paragon she’d made him out to be in her mind for so many years, and that what she had back in the future was far better than anything she would ever have had with him.

Unfortunately, Susan made a mistake. She left her necklace with James back in the past, a silver ballerina necklace that her grandfather had given her for her twelfth birthday. It created a link between them that could only be broken if Susan were to go back into the past again to retrieve it.

Five months later, Susan again returns to the past, to November, 1962, just as the most famous band of all time is on the brink of fame. Upon seeing James, Susan is overcome once more, and James likewise, is smitten again by the green-eyed, blonde American girl. Off they go into another affair, this one much more stormy and full of passion than the last. James falls deeply in love with Susan and proposes marriage. She is so unnerved by his proposal, however, that her stunned and speechless response betrays her. When James realizes she’s lied to him and that there’s another man in her life, he becomes so incensed and anguished at her duplicity that Susan, now in danger from James’s murderous rage, is immediately returned back to the future, once again leaving her necklace behind.

Finding herself back in the present again, Susan begs to be sent back one last time, promising she will get her necklace back. Susan is returned to February, 1964, in the guise of a ballerina as the band is making their first American tour and is scheduled to be on the Ted Flannagan Show along with Susan who will dance “The Dying Swan.” James is drawn to the shy ballerina, and hoping to get her into his bed for the night, gives her a silver ballerina necklace he discovers in his suit jacket pocket. But, as he places it over her head and his hands rest on her shoulders, recognition of who she is becomes crystal clear. Before he can react, however, Susan vanishes back to the future once more.


Chapter 1

Donald’s Betrayal

Susan was pacing back and forth in the great room of her house, waiting for her son, Steven, to call her back. The news he’d imparted to her yesterday after visiting his dad, her husband, Donald, at his office, had her in a dither and angry as hell.

According to Steven, Donald was having an affair with his new paralegal, a woman named Melanie, who he’d just hired three months previously when his long-time paralegal, Amanda, had retired.

The news was devastating on its own, but the fact that Melanie was five years older than Susan and a bit on the frumpy side, was what hurt the most. Susan made it a point to stay in shape, and at age sixty-three, she still looked pretty damned good. Not a lot of wrinkles, a trim yet still shapely body and still only a few gray hairs.

An affair was hard to believe, and even harder to accept. Donald had never strayed once during their forty-four years of marriage, and Susan made a point to keep him happy, especially in the bedroom. Donald had always been a fantastic lover, and her response to him had always been over-the-top passion. She never denied him, and often initiated intimacy, much to his delight.

At least she thought he’d always been delighted. What had gone wrong? Why would he turn to another woman when she was always willing and eager to satisfy his every desire?

She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. But, most of all she wanted to know why.

When her iPhone rang, she instantly answered. It was Steven.

“Hey, Mom,” he said. “How are you doing today?”

“I’m doing okay, thanks, but your dad didn’t come home last night. He said he slept on the cot in his office. He’s been busy preparing for that huge environmental case you’ve been following.”

“Yeah, well, my editor tore apart the story I wrote on the case after I interviewed Dad a few days ago. He said it was crap sensationalism. He threw it in the trash. Dad must have given me crap information about TrinCo, that company that’s been polluting the San Diego River. I know he’s defending them, but he made me look like an idiot. And he won’t even tell me the name of the scumbag politician up in Sacramento that made an under-the-table deal with them.”

“Now, Steven, you know Dad can’t give you any details on the case, and he certainly can’t give you the inside story on his client. You should know better than to pressure him for that kind of information.”

“I just thought he’d help me out with a good story for the magazine, that’s all, Mom. I know he hates me, but to make a fool of me…”

“He doesn’t hate you…”

“Yes, he does, and you know it. He’s always liked Michelle better than me. He thinks the sun rises and sets on her, especially since she passed the bar exam. I’m a nothing little writer jerk to him.”

“Stop it, Steven! That’s not true at all and you know it!”

“Why did you want me to call you, Mom?”

“It’s about what you told me yesterday…you know…about Dad and…and…Melanie…”

“I told you what I saw, Mom, that’s all. I’ll tell you again. I walked in on them, and she was sitting on his lap and he had his hand up her dress…and they were kissing. Don’t you believe me or something?”

“I don’t want to believe you.”

“Well, that’s what I saw, and that’s probably why he didn’t come home last night. He was probably with her.”

Susan stifled a sob. “Are you sure you’re not making this up because you’re pissed at your dad, Steven? You wouldn’t do something like that to me, would you?”

“Of course not, Mom. Why would I want to hurt you?”

“I don’t believe you’d want to hurt me, but maybe you’d want to hurt your dad.”

“Get off it, Mom. She’s probably just a fling or something. Maybe you should just forget I said anything.”

When Susan did nothing but sniff, Steven said, “Hey, Mom, I gotta go. I need to pick up the kids from the movie, and then we’re going out to dinner. Don’t think about Dad and Melanie, okay? Talk to ya later.”

Steven disconnected and Susan stared down at her phone. She knew she needed to confront Donald, but dreaded the conversation. He’d called her last night to tell her he had to fly to Sacramento and would be gone a week, maybe more, and when he stopped by to pack this morning, she made sure she wasn’t home. She didn’t want to know the truth and she didn’t want to think about him and Melanie who was probably going on the trip with him.

She began pacing again, her thoughts in turmoil, and as she always did when worried or stressed, she began to pull on the chain of her silver ballerina necklace, fingering the ballerina toe shoes on the end. And, as always happened when she held onto the necklace for a minute or more, her mind began to wander into the past, and she began to think of him again…

James.

She released her hold on the necklace and took a deep breath. Yes, the memory of him and the time she’d spent with him in the past had become a dim memory to her, but what was “dim” really? A memory was a memory no matter how you sliced it, and if you dwelled on it long enough, it became less dim.

She decided to distract herself, opened her laptop and signed onto Facebook. She browsed through her timeline, looking at random posts, then stopped when she got to one that grabbed her attention and made her grasp the necklace again.

Oh my!

It was a picture of James. A picture of him when he was young. A picture taken shortly before the breakup of the most famous band of all time of which he had been a member.

Her eyes were riveted. She right clicked her mouse on the photo, making it larger, and as she stared into his beguiling eyes, her heart began to beat faster.

Dare she think of him again? Dare she distract herself from her current insecurity and worries and open the door to her forbidden dreams once more?

Why not?!

As she continued to stare at the picture, she became more entrapped in her memories. Looking at his lips brought back memories of his kisses. Looking at his hair brought back memories of running her fingers through it. And, looking at his eyes made her remember how he had looked at her and how he had loved her.

A stray tear trickled down her cheek as she continued to think of him and what she had done to him.

She closed her eyes, and it was almost as if she could feel him beside her again, touching her once more, holding her in his arms…

Forbidden and tantalizing thoughts of him coursed through her and made her shiver. She knew it was wrong. She knew she should turn her thoughts in another direction, especially after her last time travel encounter with him eight months previous at the Ted Flannagan Show. Had it really only been eight months? It seemed a lot longer.

When she finally got her necklace back, it was with a sense of relief. She had chastised herself a hundred times over what she had done to James, how she had hurt him. No, “hurt” was too tame of a word. She had crushed him, stomped his heart into a million pieces and left them laying on the hotel room floor.

Oh, how could she have been so blind to his love for her? How could she have not anticipated that he was going to ask her to marry him? It made her own heart ache to think about it.

But, now her heart began to feel something else, something she’d been trying to fight her whole life, something she thought she’d discarded after finding out James wasn’t the perfect paragon she’d made him in her mind for so many years, something she was sure had been erased when she got her necklace back at the Ted Flannagan Show.

…She still loved him.

In some perverse way, she still loved him as she had always loved him, and no matter how hard she tried to focus on why her love for him was wrong, she just didn’t have the strength to combat the yearning inside of her. It didn’t matter that he’d been overbearing, arrogant or moody. It didn’t matter that he had silly, old-fashioned ideas about a “woman’s place.”

None of that mattered…especially not now, when she was raw with pain from her current situation related to Donald in the present.

She sighed heavily as all these thoughts raced through her brain. James was seventy-three now in July, 2015. He was still insanely popular, still writing music and still performing for crowds of hundreds of thousands of people. He sometimes seemed like a curse to her, always on the news, on the Internet, on magazine covers in the grocery store. He was unavoidable.

Susan flicked off her laptop and decided to go to bed. Maybe a good night’s sleep would chase James out of her head again, and maybe she’d have time to think how to confront Donald about Melanie.

But, as she turned out the light and stared into the darkness, she again grasped her necklace, and an hour later, as she finally drifted into sleep, she was still clutching the ballerina slippers that hung on the end of the chain.

Unbidden dreams of James haunted her throughout the night.

***

The next morning still left her unsettled. Donald had called and sounded tired and worn. He told her the case with TrinCo had a lot of tails and complications and that it would take months to work out. He wasn’t sure how long he’d be in Sacramento, but said he’d let her know. When he told her he loved her and she didn’t say it back, as was their usual habit before hanging up a call, he asked her if something was wrong.

“Is Melanie with you?” she asked scathingly.

Donald seemed taken aback by the question. “Well, of course she is! She’s my paralegal; I need her. I always took Amanda with me when I had to go out of town. Is there a problem?”

“Are you having an affair with her?” Susan blurted out before she could stop herself.

“Susan, why would you think such a thing?!! There’s never been another woman in my life! You know that! I’ve never wanted anyone but you! Why would you even think such a thing?!!”

“Steven said he saw you together…she was on your lap…and you were…you were kissing her…” The words came out on a sob.

“Damn Steven! Susan, I swear to you; it’s not true! Steven is pissed at me because I won’t give him privileged information on TrinCo and the Senator who made an inside deal with some environmentalists I can’t name. I told you how mad he was last week when I refused to give him any info. He probably just made up the story about Melanie and me to stir up trouble between us. Don’t believe him, Susan, please…You’re the light of my life! I love you with my whole heart! You know that!”

Susan sniffed. “I don’t like it when you go away for so long.”

“I know you don’t, honey. I don’t like being away either, but this is an important case with severe political backlash. My clients are counting on me.”

“I know they are…and, I’m so proud of you for what you do. I guess you’re probably right about Steven making it all up. I just don’t know why he would do something so cruel to his own mother.”

“He just wasn’t thinking, Susan. He just wants to cause trouble for me and this case. You believe me, don’t you?”

Susan sniffed again. “Yes, Donald…I believe you. I love you. Call me when you can and let me know how the case is going, okay?”

“I sure will, honey. Bye now. I love you.”

“Love you too. Bye…”

Susan knew that Donald would be thrilled if she flew up to Sacramento to be with him, but she’d gone on trips like that before, and ended up being alone most of the time. Donald spent hours in court and with clients leaving little time for her other than a few hours in a hotel room. She didn’t feel like flying to Sacramento, hating empty hotel rooms and already having been to the city numerous times before. She’d seen everything interesting there was to see.

She pondered Donald’s words. She wanted to believe there was nothing going on between him and Melanie, but she still felt uneasy. After almost forty-five years together, maybe he was bored with her. Maybe Melanie wanted more of a relationship than being his paralegal. After all, Donald, with his full head of silver hair, startling blue eyes and a totally in-shape body, was still a head-turner for a lot of women.

***

Feeling melancholy, she picked up the phone and called her old high school friend, Alice, who she’d just recently re-connected with via Facebook.

Susan had lived with Alice and her family for a year while in high school when Susan’s mother, brother and she had moved out to the country with her grandparents. She didn’t want to change schools and lose all her friends, and Alice’s family was kind enough to invite her to stay with them until she finished high school.

After Susan moved in, she and Alice became like sisters, doing everything together, laughing over boyfriends, teasing each other and crying together over heartbreak, especially the heartbreak Susan experienced when James got married. And, of all things, he married a girl named Susan, making it seem even worse.

She sighed again, waiting for Alice to answer the phone.

“Hey there!” said Alice cheerfully, picking up the phone on the third ring, recognizing Susan’s number on Caller ID.

“Hey there, yourself,” responded Susan in an expressionless voice.

Alice paused. “Hey, why the sad voice? What’s up?”

“I found out something awful regarding Donald…He’s having an affair…”

“You’re kidding me! Donald isn’t the type to have an affair! He’s never strayed. Are you sure?”

“I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it wasn’t for Steven telling me.”

“Your son told you?!”

“Yeah, seems he saw Donald and his new paralegal, Melanie, embracing in his office when he stopped by to drop off an article he’d written about Donald’s current case…”

“Melanie? Isn’t she that frumpy lady you told me about a couple months ago who Donald hired when his last paralegal retired? Isn’t she like five years older than you or something?”

“That would be her…and that’s what makes it even worse…At least I keep myself in decent shape, and she’s a frump!”

“Aren’t you and Donald getting along?”

“Are you kidding me?! After he won that big court case a few months ago, he took me on a fabulous cruise. We were just like newlyweds!!”

“Gee…I don’t know what to say about Melanie then. I’m sorry. Are you sure about all of this? It just doesn’t sound like Donald.”

“Well…he did deny it…”

“You confronted him and he denied it?”

“Yeah, when I found out he was taking Melanie to Sacramento with him on the case he’s working on, I just out and out asked him. He totally denied it, but I still feel uneasy. Why would Steven make up something like that? I know he doesn’t get along with his dad all the time, but I don’t think he’d hurt me intentionally.”

“Gosh, I don’t know what to say then. I really am sorry…”

“No need to be. Steven tells me not to worry, that it will blow over. But I can’t help but feel hurt.”

“Have you thought of flying up to Sacramento to be with him?”-

“Yeah, but I hate Sacramento; it’s damn miserable in July with the heat. And Donald wouldn’t have time for me anyway. He needs to be in court, with his clients, prepare for the case, all that kind of stuff.”

“Maybe you need a break or something. Do something fun for yourself to take your mind off all of this.”

“Oh, I don’t know…maybe…but Melanie isn’t the worst of it…”

“Oh?”

“Yeah…”

“So, what’s the worst of it?”

“I’ve been thinking about him again.”

“Him? Oh no! You can’t mean James, can you? After all you told me happened last November when you did another one of those time travel things?”

“Yeah…pathetic, huh?”

“Well, I don’t know that I’d say quite that, but didn’t you both become cloudy memories or whatever was supposed to happen when you came back?”

“Dim memories…yeah, that’s what was supposed to happen.”

“But it didn’t? I thought you told me all was well, that you realized he wasn’t the right one for you anyway, that you argued and fought, and that he was arrogant and controlling and…”

“He was all those things, plus more.”

“Then why are you thinking of him again?”

“I’m not sure, but most likely because of Donald and Melanie. I keep tugging on my necklace.”

“Your ballerina necklace? The one you gave James then had to go back and get? Do you want to think about James again? You know, whenever things get bad in your life, you’ve always run off with him, even if it was only in your head.”

“I know.”

“So, is that what you’re doing now?”

“I’m trying not to.”

“I think you really need a break. Why don’t you come visit me up in Seattle? We could graze around Pike’s Market for a few days, get your troubles out of your mind, and get James out of wherever he hides inside you.”

“I can’t just get rid of him! He’s in my heart, not my head. It’s harder to get rid of things in your heart than it is your head.”

“You shouldn’t feel that way, you know.”

“I know.” Susan sighed heavily again.

“Well, why don’t you think about coming for a visit? I’ll do my best to cheer you up, and you can still call and check in with Donald when you need to.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Yeah, well do it. Plane fares aren’t that bad from San Diego to Seattle. Go make your reservations right now then message me on Facebook and let me know when you’ll be here.”

“Like I said, I’ll think about it.”

“You don’t need to think about it. Just do it. You need the break.”

“Okay, I’ll check into flights and message you.”

“Good deal. I’ll be looking for your message.”

“Thanks, Alice. I feel a little better already. Talk to you later.”

“Loves!”

“Hugs back to you!”

They both hung up.

Alice immediately called Joy, one of Susan’s other very good friends who lived down South. Joy was also frequently on Facebook with Susan, and Alice knew Susan had told her all about her time travel experiences with James.

Joy, in fact, had been somewhat obsessed with Derek over the years, and was continually quizzing Susan about him and what he was like in the past. Susan had said only good things related to him, leaving out his relationship with Mindy and what she’d experienced concerning his “dark side.” The incident at Auntie Annabelle’s cottage when she’d dunked his new song in the dish water and he tried to break her arm, wasn’t a pleasant one. She’d tried to forget it.

Joy was concerned about Susan when Alice told her the situation with Donald.

“I told her to buy a plane ticket and come visit me,” said Alice. “But, I’m not sure she’ll do it. She really, really needs to get away for a while.”

“I agree,” said Joy. “I talked to her yesterday. She didn’t exactly tell me what was wrong, but her voice was very strained.”

“Maybe we should both go visit her, and drag her away somewhere for a week or so. In fact, I could do with a few weeks away; the weather has been awful here, even though it’s summer.”

“That sounds great! Or, maybe we could all three of us meet somewhere, like Palm Springs or something. I’ve got nothing going on until September, so I’m free as bird!”

“Too hot in Palm Springs this time of year!”

“Yeah, you’re right. Maybe we should just make Susan pick a place. Tell her if she doesn’t, that we’re going to come to San Diego and drag her away.”

“You think she’d go for that?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, might as well. You want to call her and twist her arm or do you want me to? I’m not really good at arm twisting.”

“Then I’ll call her,” said Joy confidently. “I’ll twist and cajole and beg if I have to.”

“Okay, it’s a deal then. You call her, then either message me or call me back.”

They hung up, and Joy wasted no time in punching Susan’s number into her iPhone.


Chapter 2

Plans to Return

After talking to Alice, Susan became restless and began pacing back and forth again, stopping to pet one of her cats or glance out the window from time to time. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to fly up to Seattle or not. She just wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.

Her mind strayed to thoughts of James again, and she sat down in a chair and put her hands over her face, pulling them down her cheeks and heaving a heavy sigh. Tears welled in the back of her eyes as she remembered their time together, not the bad things that had happened, but all the good ones…James singing to her like she was the only person in the room, James’s warm hand holding hers, his gorgeous eyes as he looked lovingly into hers, his sweet and tender lovemaking and their overwhelming passion for each other…most of all…their passion…

It was too much, and she began to sob in earnest. Oh, to be with him again! If only for a few hours or even a day! It would heal her pain. It would take her away from the agony and uncertainty of the present. Would it be possible for her to go back in time again? To be with him once more? Would he forgive her the pain she’d caused him? Would he…could he…love her again?

Susan knew that James had hooked up with Rita, the redhead who had her eyes on him at the Dusky Club in November, 1962. She knew they had become a couple and there had been rampant rumors of them getting married. She remembered her teenage heart at the time compressing in anguish when she thought of James with her.

James and Rita were together for almost four years and most likely would have married. That is, if Rita hadn’t come home to their house one day in the summer of 1967 and discovered James in bed with some American girl.

Susan’s eyes widened as she contemplated the scene. Rita, of course, would have been outraged. The rumor was that she had left James without a word or without throwing a tantrum or causing a scene. She’d just coldly and quietly walked out, and James hadn’t even tried to stop her. It was the end of their relationship.

It was also rumored that James had been drinking to excess and experimenting with drugs, which had also be a contributor to the break-up not only between he and Rita, but also had caused turmoil within the most famous band of all time.

Susan sighed as she once again thought of James and the brief times they’d spent together, and the more she dwelled on it, the more James invaded her mind and heart once again.

She wanted to be with him again. She wanted to be the American girl Rita had caught him in bed with. She didn’t care if it was wrong. She didn’t care about much of anything, and the more her mind spun, the more an idea of going back into the past again solidified itself in her brain.

Yes, Alice was right in saying she needed a break. But, she didn’t need a break to go visit her friend in Seattle. She needed a break to go back into the past to be with James again, to beg his forgiveness for what she had done to him.

Would he even remember the blonde American history student who had broken his heart? Would it even matter to him anymore, especially after being with Rita for four years? Would he remember her at all? If not, could she start fresh with him, maybe even use a different name?

Yes, she was going to contact the Haiti ladies and see if they’d send her back into the past again. The more she thought about it, the more the idea planted itself in her head. The anticipation was overwhelming and she shivered at the thought of being in James’s arms again.

Right after composing and sending an e-mail to Marta, Susan sent a message to Alice on Facebook. In it, she said, “Change of plans; don’t say ‘no.’ Instead of me coming to visit you, why don’t you come with me on a trip into the past? I decided I want to see James again.”

Seconds later, Alice messaged back, “Are you out of your mind?! Are you sure that would be a good idea? Don’t you think he’s really upset with you after what you did to him?”

Susan responded, “I’m calling you. This is too hard to discuss this way.”

Susan signed off Facebook and dialed Alice’s number. As soon as Alice answered, Susan continued the conversation, saying, “He won’t be upset with me if he doesn’t recognize me and if I go back at a different time, like the summer of 1967. That would be almost five years after the hotel room proposal and three years after I got the necklace back at the Ted Flannagan show.”

Alice exclaimed, “1967?! Isn’t that right before the band started not getting along? Wasn’t James still with that redhead?”

“Maybe I’ll break James and the redhead up! Plus, if you go back with me, you could probably be with Derek or Ian. Derek divorced Mindy at the beginning of 1967 and Ian’s wife, Letty, ran off with Mark Tipton, remember?”

“Oh geez! I don’t know Susan. How could we go back?”

“I’ll figure it all out and let you know. I sent an e-mail to the Haiti ladies. I need to hear back from them first to find out if they’ll send us back.”

“For how long? A week seems really short.”

“Let me think about that. I’ll let you know. Donald just got a new case assigned to him, and it’s going to be a long, complicated one. Maybe he’ll miss me and give up Melanie if I stay gone for a while.”

“I still don’t believe anything about him and Melanie, but…Well…okay…let me know what the Haiti ladies say.”

As soon as Alice hung up the phone with Susan, she called Joy again.

When Joy answered, Joy said, “I tried to call Susan, but her phone went right to voice mail.”

“That’s because I was on the phone with her,” said Alice. “You won’t believe the crazy idea she has now!”

“What?”

“She wants to time travel again. She wants to go back to the summer of 1967 and be with James again. …And…she wants me to go along with her!!!”

“Oh my God! You’re kidding! 1967? Isn’t James living with that redhead in 1967? Weren’t they on the brink of getting married or something?”

“Susan said she’s going to break them up! She’s just plain crazy. After what she did to James on her second and third trips back, I don’t think it’s a very good idea to go back again.”

“Hmmmmm…” said Joy, a sudden idea floating into her head. “Didn’t Derek get divorced at the beginning of 1967? …Sooooo…wouldn’t he be single and available in the summer of that year?”

“What are you getting at?”

“Well, I was just thinking…I wouldn’t mind going back with Susan and maybe, just maybe, meeting up with Derek…especially if he’s free…”

“Joy! You’re as bad as Susan! I think it would be insane to go back!”

“You wouldn’t want to be young and beautiful again?”

“No! I mean…maybe that would be nice…but…but…”

“Ah ha! You know you’d like to be back in your young body again, especially after all the medical issues you’ve had over the years. Just admit it!”

“Well…that would actually be kind of nice…”

“Of course it would be nice! It would be more than nice! It would be fabulous! And, who knows, you might throw yourself at Ian. If I remember correctly, his wife left him at the beginning of summer in 1967 for a fellow musician friend. He would be seriously on the rebound.”

“I never really had the hots for Ian. In fact, I never really had the hots for any of them like you and Susan did. Besides, Lynn is the one who liked Ian so much. Maybe she’d want to go back again.”

“I don’t think so. She refused to go back the second time, which is why Susan talked John into going. I don’t think she’d feel this was a good idea.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

“So…Alice, how about if I call Susan and tell her we’d both like to go with her on a trip into the past? It would certainly make her forget her problems in the present.”

“For sure it would, but I still don’t know if it’s a good idea…What if she decides to give James her necklace again or they fall all in love again…and she breaks his heart again…or, worse still, he crushes her heart?”

“Hey, with both of us there, we can make sure nothing really bad happens. Plus, I’m getting all tingly just thinking about Derek. And, even if you don’t like any of the boys, I’m sure there are a lot of really hot English guys available. Come on, Alice, let’s do it. Let’s go with Susan!”

“Well…”

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ and give Susan a call right now. I’ll message you on Facebook after I talk to her.”

Joy disconnected before Alice had a chance to say anything else, then punched in Susan’s number. Susan answered right away. When Joy told her she’d talked to Alice and that both of them wanted to go back to the past with her, Susan was elated.

“Really? Oh, thank you! I’m so excited. I already sent an e-mail to Marta, one of the ladies who sent me back the last three times. I’ll e-mail her again right now and tell her you and Alice want to go too, then I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back!”

***

Susan had to wait a day before she got a response back from Marta. It said,

Grandmere isn’t sure you should do this again, but when I explained your current situation with your husband, she took pity on you. She said she can send you back for a period of time until your husband comes to his senses about the other woman. She actually thinks you and James are fated for each other in some way, maybe from a past life. She’s not sure, but because of that, she’s willing to send you back again. She thinks he needs you in some way, but isn’t sure why. Maybe you know. We need to know your details, such as age, time period you wish to go to, place you wish to go to, etcetera.

Also, you said you wanted to take two friends with you. We need to know about your friends. Grandmere would like to talk to them on Skype. Please give me their contact information. Once we have talked to them, we can arrange for your new journey.”

Susan immediately responded with both Alice’s and Joy’s contact information and messaged both on Facebook, telling them to expect to be contacted.

Within an hour, Alice was on the phone to Susan.

“Well, that was sure interesting!” exclaimed Alice. “That Mika lady asked me about a zillion questions. I thought it was really funny when she asked me how old I wanted to be and what I wanted to look like. I told her that you were going to decide on our ages, but that I wanted a great body and really awesome boobs. I’ve always wanted nice boobs like you and Joy have. I’ve always been a little envious.”

“Yeah, well I was always envious of you for your great family. Mine was dysfunctional and yours was so nice. I just loved your mom!”

“Yeah, she was the best, wasn’t she? …Anyway, I answered all of Mika’s questions, so we’re all set to go as soon she talks to Joy and as soon as you finish with all the details of where we’re supposed to go, our ages and whatever else they need to know.”

“Great! I’ll get a hold of them right away.”

“Are you sure we should be doing this? It sounds quite exciting, especially for me, who hasn’t had a lot excitement happen lately, plus being sick and having all these medical issues. But, I’m sure looking forward to being young again, even if it’s only for a while.”

“Yeah, we definitely should be doing this. It sounds like you need it as much as I do, and I know Joy is just dying to meet Derek. Tomorrow is Friday. The first two times I did this, I left at midnight on Friday. Does that work for you?”

“Yeah, I just need to tell my daughter, Terrie, I’m going on a trip. I’m not going to tell her what kind of trip, just that I’m going somewhere with you and that we might be gone awhile.”

“That’s cool with me. So, let me finalize things and I’ll message you and Joy. We’ll all need to get on Skype at the same time, probably about 11:45 tomorrow night.”

“Okay then. I’m getting a little nervous, but okay. I’ll talk to you, I mean, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“Sure thing! Bye!”

“Loves!”

“Hugs!”

Susan contacted Joy on Facebook, filling her in on plans and to let her know that Mika would be contacting her.

As Susan signed off, her heart began to flutter. Was she really going to see James again? What would she say to him? What would he say to her? Would he remember her? Would he hate her? Would he hold her in his arms again? She shivered before signing onto Skype and contacting Marta.

It took fifteen minutes to finalize plans for the new journey into the past. Susan was going to be twenty-two years old and both Alice and Joy were going to be twenty-three. Susan and Alice were going to be dancers, Susan a ballerina and Alice an interpretive dancer, with the Royal Dance Company of London. The company was housed in the BMI (British Music Industries) building, the same one where James and the boys had their recording studio. Joy was going to go as an actress in training, as the Royal Theatre Company of London was located in the same building as well. The girls would be staying in a dorm which was also in the building. Susan, worried that James might remember her and what she had done to him, decided to go by the name Suzanne.

Susan didn’t know what talents or physical attributes Alice or Joy had requested, but she asked for the same things she had previously, to be able to sing, dance incredibly well and play the piano.

They were set. Now all Susan had to do was wait until tomorrow. She went to bed feeling as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Not only was she going to get to be with James again, but the burden of her present circumstances was going to be lifted from her, even if for just awhile. She slept better than she had for days.

***

Susan was antsy the minute she got up on Friday morning. She paced around the house and checked off a mental list of everything that needed taken care of while she was gone. Her neighbor would take care of the cats, making sure they got fed and the litter box got scooped.

She washed her hair and shaved her legs, but omitted make-up, knowing James didn’t like it, not that it really mattered since she wasn’t going back in her sixty-three-year-old body anyway.

She wondered if he’d changed in the five years since she’d been with him when he had fits about her wearing make-up, putting on perfume, wearing jeans, short skirts, and she couldn’t remember what else. Oh yeah…swearing…But he might not care about those things anymore.

She rehearsed the words she might first say to him and imagined the first words he might say to her. She hoped, if he recognized her, he would forgive her for what she’d done to him or if he didn’t recognize her, that they could start fresh. With a different name and being older, she thought there was a good chance he wouldn’t recognize her and remember their last painful moments together. At least she could hope.

The day dragged on, but finally 11:45 arrived. Susan had signed onto Skype at 11:30 to be on the safe side, and she saw that both Joy and Alice were also on early. They all stared at each other for a minute before bursting out in laughter.

“Just like the old days, isn’t it?” remarked Alice. “You and your crazy stories and ideas.”

“Hey,” responded Susan. “You were right there with me, you know!”

“Oh yeah, I remember all right. We sure had a lot of fun, didn’t we?”

“We certainly did. I think this is going to be even better. Just imagine! They’re over-the-top famous and popular now, and we’ll be in the same building as their recording studio. How long do you think it will take for us to meet them?”

“Knowing you, Susan, it won’t be very long,” chimed in Joy. I imagine you’ll be meandering to their recording studio within minutes of our arrival. By the way, where exactly are we going?”

Before Susan could respond, the Haiti ladies, Marta and Mika came onto Skype. The three women ceased talking and looked into their computer monitors waiting for instructions.

Marta was the first to speak. Susan could see Mika in the background, lighting candles and waving around what looked to be incense.

“So, ladies, are you ready?” Marta asked.

“As ready as we’ll ever be,” said Alice.

“I’m ready,” said Susan.

“Me too!” exclaimed Joy, not able to hide the excitement in her voice.

“Very well then,” responded Marta. “Here are the details. At precisely midnight, you will be transported back to July in the year 1967. You will be deposited in front of the BMI building, which houses the Royal Dance Company, the Royal Theatre Company of London as well as the recording studio for James and his bandmates. You girls will all live together in a dormitory room on the fifth floor of the building.”

“Susan, you will be in your twenty-two-year-old body and will be an intern ballet dancer with the Company. Alice and Joy, you will both be in your twenty-three-year-old bodies, endowed with the physical attributes we talked with you about, and, Alice, you will also be an intern dancer with the Company, but you will be an interpretive dancer. You will both be on paid contracts with the Company, but it will not pay much, as it includes the free dormitory room and meals in the cafeteria on the main floor of the building. Should you need additional funds, they will be available to you at the Bank of Cheshire, which is in London.”

“Joy, you will be an actress in training, as you told me that is where your interest is, and you will also be on a small paid contract.”

“Susan, you will have your iPhone with you, and it will hold the required charge for the period of time you are gone. You will be able to check the status of your husband or send messages or call him if you want to. Should you wish to return at any time, you will have a ‘Return’ App on your phone that you simply need to activate. As before, if you want to return, you must all do so together and should any danger come to any one of you, you will all be transported back to the present immediately. Do you have any questions?”

“Where will James be?” asked Susan.

“That is something we do not know. All we are aware of is that the recording studio is in the building where you will be housed and take classes, and is also the same one in which the band records their music.”

“Oh, I hope they’re working on a record then,” said Susan wistfully.

“They will be,” chimed in Alice. “I looked it up. “They’re working on ‘Hi Dude’ and ‘Insurrection,’ which is going to be released in September, and also on all the songs for the Purple Album, but that’s not going to be released until around the end of the year. I think they all just got back from some mystical retreat in Pakistan or something.”

“Well, at least they should be in the recording studio a lot then. Whoa! Okay then, let’s go for it!”

The three ladies stared into their computer screens at Mika and Marta.

“Lay on the floor and close your eyes,” instructed Marta.

The ladies laid down.

“Now close your eyes,” Marta continued.

Susan, Alice and Joy could hear Mika start to chant. They all got chill bumps up and down their arms and took deep breaths as they waited.

A moment later, all three of them began to glow and become transparent, then suddenly, as had happened before with Susan, they burst into thousands of sparkling bits, just like confetti, and floated up, outward and away.


Chapter 3

Blasted into the Past

When the girls opened their eyes again, they were standing at the top of a wide flight of stone steps in front of two massive doors. Susan turned her head and saw a taxi driving away down the street. When she looked down, she saw a suitcase on each side of her.

Then she looked over and saw Alice and Joy, who also had a suitcase on each side of them. Her eyes opened wide in surprise.

“Oh my God, Alice! Joy! We’re here! We’re really here!!! Can you believe it??”

When Alice didn’t respond, Susan looked over at her.

“Wowee, Alice!” she exclaimed. “You look awesome!”

“Huh?” responded Alice, still appearing to be in a bit of a daze.

“You should see yourself! You’re gorgeous!”

“I am?”

“Yeah! A flawless complexion, beautiful eyes and hair, what looks like a perfect body…but…Hey! Wait a minute! Where did you get the Dolly Parton boobs??!! You can’t have Dolly Parton boobs and be a dancer!!!”

Joy, who also appeared to be coming out of a daze, looked over at Alice and started to giggle.

Alice looked down at her chest and smiled. “Well, I did ask for really, really awesome boobs… I never had big boobs like you and Joy did…”

“Well, geez, Alice! Those are too big!” exclaimed Susan. “Really, I mean it! The only kind of dancer you could be with those boobs would be something like a pole dancer in a strip club! We’ve gotta do something before anyone sees you!”

“But we’re already here!” said Joy. “I don’t want to go back just to fix Alice’s boobs!”

Susan thought quickly. She had been about to ring the bell next to the right-hand door, but whipped her iPhone out of her purse instead. She quickly texted Marta, explaining the problem.

Marta responded immediately. “Tell Alice to close her eyes again,” she instructed in a reply text.

“Close your eyes,” Susan said to Alice.

“Why?”

“Quick! Just close them.”

“Okay,” Alice responded, doing as she was told.

Instantly, Alice began to glow and become transparent. As Susan and Joy watched, mouths agape, Alice exploded into thousands of fragments of sparks that swirled around and around before re-forming into a transparent and glowing body again that began to take shape.

Within seconds, Alice was back. Minus the Dolly Parton boobs.

Alice looked down at her chest. “What the…” she began.

Susan looked at her critically. “Ah! Much better!” she said.

Joy burst out laughing.

Alice groaned. “But I wanted nice boobs like you two have!” she wailed.

“You do have nice boobs!” said Joy.

“You’ll be fine with them, believe me,” said Susan. I’m gonna have to bind mine up somehow if I want to do this ballerina stuff, but I wanted to keep my real twenty-two-year-old boobs because James liked my seventeen-year-old ones so much and these are pretty much the same.”

“Yours look just right under that blouse you’re wearing, Alice,” commented Joy. “You can check them out more when we get in the dorm room.”

Susan reached over and pushed the bell next to the door. The girls waited to see if someone would come. It was past midnight after all, and Susan didn’t know if they were expected in the middle of the night.

A few minutes later, however, one of the doors opened and a sleepy-eyed, older woman looked out at them. She rubbed her eyes, staring at them questioningly for a moment, then it was if a light went off in her head and she grinned from ear to ear.

“Ah, loveys! You must be the new dance and theatre company interns from America!” she exclaimed. “Come in! Come in! We were hoping you would arrive earlier, in time for supper, you know. But, that’s all right…come in!”

The girls picked up their suitcases and came into a large entry hall that looked more like a lobby to an office building. The older woman beckoned them to follow her.

She led them to an elevator remarking over her shoulder, “Hope this works now. The lift breaks down quite often…gets stuck between floors now and then…just got fixed this afternoon…”

“Aren’t there any stairs?” asked Susan, her voice several octaves higher than normal. She had a terrible fear of elevators even when they were in perfect working order. She didn’t know why, but she’d just as soon climb up ten stories of stairs than get into an elevator.

“Yes, there’s stairs, but with those suitcases, you’re better off taking a chance on the lift.” The woman pushed a panel to the right of the elevator and the doors opened. She went in first, followed by Alice and Joy. Susan was rooted to the floor of the lobby.

“Come on in, lovey. It’ll be fine,” said the woman.

Susan took a swallow then stepped in. The doors wooshed shut behind her.

“Right then,” nodded the woman as she pushed a button on a panel inside the elevator that was marked “5.”

“I’m Penelope Bodkins. Most girls refer to me as Missus Bodkins, but I don’t mind being called Penelope. I’m the housekeeper for the dormitory rooms for RDC and RTC, and will be in charge of you girls.”

Susan, Alice and Joy nodded.

Penelope went on. “Since it’s so late, I’ll just take you to your room so you can get some rest. I’ll come back in a few hours, right around 7:00 or so and fill you in on the dormitory rules, then I’ll show you the cafeteria where you can have breakfast.”

The elevator suddenly came to a jerking halt. Susan was ready to scream, but just then the doors opened. She just about leaped out into a rather dim hallway.

“This way, girls,” said Penelope, stepping out after Alice and Joy and heading down a hallway to the right.

They passed several doors before she stopped in front of one at the end of the hall. “You’re very lucky, you know; your room is right next to the loo and shower. It’s one of the most coveted dormitory rooms.”

Susan looked at Alice and Joy, raising her eyebrows and thought, “We don’t even have a private bathroom? Ugh.”

Penelope opened the door to the dorm room and flicked on a light switch. A lamp that was sitting on a small desk under a window, turned on. She flicked another switch and a brighter overhead light came on.

“Here you are then, loveys. I hope you enjoy your time here. Some of the dance class instructors are rather demanding and rough, but the choreographers and directors are very nice. The theatre director and the drama coaches are all quite personable. Your schedules are over there on the desk. I believe you have the early classes, Susan, while Alice and Joy will have mostly afternoon classes.”

“Hooray for that!” exclaimed Alice. “I’m really not much of a morning person.”

“Me either!” said Joy.

“Well, I am!” declared Susan. “So, this will work out great!”

“Once you’re cast or selected for a role in a performance, rehearsals are usually in the evenings or on weekends, so don’t plan on going out on the town too much,” said Penelope winking. “And, make sure to get your rest. You’ll find you’ll be needing it. Some of the classes can be quite grueling and the rehearsals sometimes last past midnight.”

The three girls looked at each other then back at Penelope.

“I think we can handle it,” said Susan.

Alice and Joy nodded.

“Well then, I’ll be off. You girls should be getting in bed now. Wait until later to unpack your suitcases. You’ll be needing to be bright and fresh in just a few hours and I know there’s been a big change in time for you. Good night then!” She smiled at them then closed the door behind her. They could hear her footsteps fading away down the hall.

They looked around the room. It was quite small, with a bunk bed against one wall, a single bed on another and a large window on the wall opposite. Susan climbed up on the top bunk and Alice on the lower one. Joy tossed her purse on the remaining bed.

“Just like old times!” remarked Alice, remembering back to when Susan had lived with her and her family while they were both in high school. There was a bunk bed in her bedroom and Susan had the top bunk.

“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” replied Susan.

The girls looked around the room. In addition to the beds, there was a small table with two chairs, a desk with a lamp, a dresser with a mirror over it and a bookcase. There were two doors opposite each other, one leading out to the hallway. Susan assumed the other to be a closet. The girls looked at each other. Susan started to giggle.

“I can’t believe it! We made it!” she said excitedly. “We’re really here!”

Joy sat down on her bed and bounced up and down on it a few times. “I think I need to pinch myself,” she remarked.

Susan jumped off the top bunk and walked over to the door opposite the one leading into the hallway. It was a small closet and was filled with empty hangers. She was happy to see it was still roomy enough for all the girl’s clothes.

Alice was speechless for a moment, then she too started to giggle. “This is awesome!” she finally said.

“Oh my God! I can’t believe it. I’m so excited!” exclaimed Susan.

“Me too!” chimed in Joy. Then she spotted some papers on top of the desk, walked over and picked them up. “These must be our schedules,” she said, handing one of the papers to Susan and another to Alice.

Susan took it from her and looked at the list of classes she was scheduled to take.

“Holy crap!” she exclaimed. “Stretch and Pilates at 7:30 with Makarova, a regular ballet class with Minkus at 8:30 until 10:30, Pointe and Variations with someone named Anthony at 11:00 to 12:30. And that’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Then, on Tuesday and Thursday, the same thing at 7:30, but then class with Blankenmere from 8:30 to 10:30, followed by Pas de Duex from 11:00 to 12:30. I’m going to be dead!”

Alice’s eyes widened as she looked at her own schedule. “You think that’s bad?! I start my classes at 1:00 in the afternoon every day except Saturday and Sunday, and they go continuously until 6:00 at night!! And the names of these instructors…Rankle, Turbot, like a fish??? Ha, ha! Jeffries and Samson. Ugh! You think you’re going to be dead?! If there’s rehearsals after that, you’ll be picking me up off the floor!!

Joy was quiet as she read her schedule.

“Well?” asked Susan, looking over at her.

“I start at 1:00 every day except on weekends too,” Joy responded. “And, in addition to the drama classes, I have Fencing and Stage Make-up. Why would I have to take Fencing?”


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