The bed placed against the wall facing the huge bedroom window gave Janie B a good view of the lake. Two willow trees one on the left and one on the right of the garden framed the garden’s center, presenting her with a surreal picture that stirred up her grey cells and made her think. She ran her fingers through her tiny afro. Massaging her scalp, she shook her head, not quite believing she’d succeeded.
The curtains clapped as a breeze from the patio swayed their movement. Janie B smiled at her imagination and gazed out of the window to observe the moon beginning to rise with its lightly reddish tint.
That she was sleeping in the same cabin where she was once held as a prisoner was no longer a millstone around her neck. The horrible experience now captured, a part of her past vanished with Paolo Mendoza taking her through the chaos to freedom. Each nightmare had become a therapeutic playground where he led her farther and farther into a discovery of the strength lodged inside of her.
Meeting him changed her heart about the way she grappled and dealt with the dangerous situation she’d experienced. His methods had given her a new life.
She would never forget his bursting into the cabin as her captor tied the last piece of purple yarn around her neck. He’d been climbing the mountain and come upon the hut. How strange that just as a stranger had captured and tortured her another stranger would be the one to save her. Now, Paolo was responsible for her lying in bed with a smile on her face. He made her take on the demons from that awful day. That was Paolo. Stern, loving, and kind, yet his gentleness amazed her.
Paolo was no big daddy. He wasn’t even sympathetic or compassionate when it came time for her to take another step toward her freedom. He didn’t let her hide behind shame. Didn’t allow her to bury her hidden wounds. Always confronting, he forced her to take an in-depth look at her heart attitude. Made her see what she didn’t want to see. No, she couldn’t hide with Paolo Mendoza.
He didn’t duck. He challenged. Like the day he forced her to drive his Aston Martin. The first time she’d returned to this cabin. She hadn’t wanted to, but he’d insisted when she started having nightmares. He even demanded she learned how to knit. It never occurred to her that he was preparing her to attack the horror of what happened in the cabin so she could free her mind. She’d knitted him a purple hat. Then, he had wanted a red scarf, and then he’d asked her to knit him some yellow gloves. That was Paolo. The leader of his team of silent raiding frogmen, his cruelty to her displayed itself in coercing her into facing whatever was hindering her from being the lively woman she’d locked behind the doors of her heart.
Janie B turned to lie on her left side and spooned herself against Paolo’s back as she gazed out the window. Sleep evaded her. Typical. Even though she’d triumphed, she couldn’t quite believe she was sleeping in the cabin. She’d just done a three-hundred-sixty-degree pirouette. Her heart was still doing somersaults as she thought about how she’d spun herself out of the last part of the terror that had befallen her. She released a deep sigh and kissed Paolo’s back.
“Why can’t you sleep, JB?”
“What happened today has got me spinning, and my heart keeps flipping.”
Grunts of laughter shook his belly region.
“You looked mighty good in that red wedding dress, Babe. In fact, you looked like my dream.”
“Umph. Whoever heard of a 42-41-48 size woman getting married in a red dress. The dress hugged my big hips. It was ridiculous.”
“I love the ridiculous, JB.” He removed her arms from around him and turned to face her. “Put on your red dress, baby, cause we’re going out tonight,” he sang with his deep throaty baritone voice while he did his best to imitate Tommy Tucker. “Put on your red dress baby cause we’re going out tonight.“
Janie B couldn’t help but screeched as she laughed and joined in “And you’d better wear some boxin gloves,”she sang back to him in her contralto voice, “in case some fool might wanna fight.
“I love it when you sing, JB. It’s a confirmation,” Paolo said and yawned.
“About your heart, JB,” Paolo replied while drawing her closer to him. “About your heart, sweet lady.”
Janie B chuckled. “Mr. Mendoza, you have a lot to do with my heart change.”
“Let’s say, I prodded you into conquering your dragons. You have nothing to fear.”
“You kept me from becoming a recluse. I’m no longer the fearful, frighten heart you found in this cabin.”
“I know. That’s why I had to marry you quickly. Didn’t want anyone else snapping you up. Never thought I’d encounter my big beautiful woman by climbing up a mountain.”
“Paolo, look,” Janie B almost shouted, glancing toward the window pane “A deer with horns!”
“Those are antlers, JB. He’s admiring you.”
“Well, he can stop admiring and go away.”
Grunts of laughter came from Paolo. He turned so he could lay on his back and gaze at the deer while keeping one arm around Janie B. “Put on your high-heel sneakers, Lordy, wear your wig-hat on your head,” Paolo murmured in his sleepy, sing-song voice, and Janie cackled like a hen gathering her baby chicks. “Put on your high-heel sneakers, child. Wear your wig-hat on your head. Ya know you're looking mighty fine, baby, I'm pretty sure you're gonna knock 'em dead.”