Thursday, June 19, 2014

Novel Excerpt: Mystery by Aliya Leigh

Aliya Leigh
Today we are happy to welcome back the multi-talented Aliya Leigh to our blog.  Aliya is a fiction writer, director, producer, animator and voice over actress.  She even has an entry on the Internet Movie Database (something I've always dreamed of having).

Yesterday we had a fun and informative interview with Aliya, and today we will be sharing an excerpt from her novel, Mystery.

Their eyes meet and Daniel says, “The boss sent me here to pick you up. You have a job, remember? You were supposed to show up on Monday. Today is Friday. What happened?” 

“I met my wife,” Jeremy says.

Jeremy looks at the floor because he wants to cry, but does not want his best friend to see his weak side. The only person in the world who has ever seen his weak side is his mother. Jeremy gets a little teary eyed, but remains calm. 

Daniel looks at Jeremy as if he can look into his soul. He is in shock about what his friend says to him because Jeremy has never had feelings for a woman as deeply as this before. Daniel is speechless, but he finds his tongue and asks, “Where is she?”

Jeremy stares at the floor again. He doesn’t want to tell Daniel what happened, but he knows he has to tell him or he won’t leave. Jeremy wants to cry, but cannot let that happen. He gets control of himself. 

“I don’t know. She disappeared in Vegas one night.” 

“You got married in Vegas?” Daniel says.

“No. We were thinking about it,” Jeremy confesses in a whisper.

Daniel has a confused look on his face and cocks his head to the side. Jeremy is expecting Daniel to say something weird or crazy and is bracing himself for it.

“Wait. Are you the guy who said you would never get married? Now you’re talking about almost marrying a woman, who as far as I know, doesn’t exist. Are you on dope?” Daniel asks.

Jeremy knew this was how Daniel would react. Jeremy wants to cry because he loves this woman so much. Jeremy sometimes thinks this woman is a fragment of his imagination, but he knows better than that. He felt her, touched her, breathed her, and loved her when they were together. He knows the woman he fell in love with is real, as real as he is. Jeremy has to tell Daniel the whole story, the truth. He wants his friend to believe him and understand why he looks and feels depressed. He thinks if he tells Daniel about the woman and the trip to Vegas, maybe it will heal his soul and help him forget about the woman.

“No. This woman is amazing,” Jeremy says as he closes his eyes.

Jeremy pictures the woman in his mind. It is like he is taking out his eyeballs and placing them inside his head and watching the woman standing there looking at him. He smiles and wants to touch her; he almost stretches out his arm so he can feel her. He knows she is not there, though. His mind comes back to reality and he stares at the floor, then back up at Daniel.

“She’s amazing. She has beautiful crystal blue eyes; eyes you can see through; eyes like a glass window and the iris is the ocean. In her eyes, you can see youth, truth, and happiness, but also mystery. She’s mysterious, as beautiful as the goddess Venus, even more. I have never seen a more beautiful woman than her in my life. I love her; I still do. I felt like a man with her, but now I am nothing without her. She means everything to me.” 

There are tears in Jeremy’s eyes when he looks at Daniel. He wants to cry and he is trying his hardest to control himself, but he can’t. Tears slowly flow from his eyes. He does not want Daniel to see him like this because of his pride, but right now, he doesn’t care. He cannot control himself any longer. He takes the bottom right side of his shirt and puts it up to his eyes. After he wipes them he puts his shirt down and swipes at his nose. His eyes and nose turn red, but his face suddenly turns calm. He puts his head down because he feels embarrassed crying in front of his friend.

Daniel knows how he feels, although he has never seen this side of Jeremy before. He knows his friend is in pain and he is willing to help, as always, but he doesn’t know how. He wants Jeremy to tell him the story. At first, Daniel thinks Jeremy is playing a joke on him, but now he knows Jeremy is telling the truth about this woman he so obviously loves very much. Daniel puts his right hand on Jeremy’s back and rubs it. Jeremy wraps his long, strong arms around Daniel’s body and hugs him. Daniel leans into Jeremy’s chest and Jeremy puts his chin on Daniel’s left shoulder and starts to cry. His body is shaking and he cannot stop himself. 

After several minutes of crying, Jeremy pushes himself away. His face is red and haggard and he starts to feel embarrassed about what he did, by hugging Daniel, but really doesn’t care at this point.
 Daniel needs to hear the whole story about the trip to Vegas and the woman who Jeremy loves. Jeremy wipes his face with his hands again and looks at his friend. Daniel doesn’t know about what his friend is going through, but he knows it is serious enough.

“Well, I’m going to be here for a while, so let me sit down. I want to hear the whole story,” Daniel says.

Jeremy looks at Daniel and cannot believe that his friend really cares for him. He wipes his face again with the corner of his shirt and says, “I’m sorry, come in.”

Jeremy finally lets Daniel into his apartment.  Stepping into the apartment, Daniel sits in the black leather chair in the living room and Jeremy closes and locks the door behind him. 

Daniel enjoys being in Jeremy’s apartment. The furniture is comfortable, unlike his furniture at home. The leather chair is soft and when you sit down, your body melts into it. Daniel scans the living room and sees the apartment is not clean, which is unusual for Jeremy because he is a clean freak. He even cleans the silver faucets on the sink in the bathroom and kitchen until they are spotless. Even when Jeremy goes over Daniel’s apartment and something was out of place, he rearranges or cleans his whole apartment.

Daniel can see his friend is depressed and needs serious help, he just doesn’t know how to give it. Daniel figures if he can hear the story, maybe he can at least be supportive to his friend, even though he wants to do more. Jeremy has helped him so much in the past he wants to return the help. He already feels bad not calling or coming by sooner.  

Jeremy walks into his kitchen. He looks at Daniel and his facial expressions tell him exactly what he is thinking, this place is a mess.

Jeremy scans the living room and cannot believe he has let his apartment get this dirty, but he’s happy that his best friend came over to see him. He realizes he needs someone to talk to. He needs comfort. He needs help. 

“Daniel, do you want any coffee?” Jeremy asks from the kitchen.

“Yes, please.”

Daniel and Jeremy are both silent. Daniel never saw this side-the sensitive side-of Jeremy. Daniel thought he knew his best friend and co-worker. 

“Do you want anything in your coffee?” Jeremy asks from the kitchen.

“No, I take it black,” Daniel says.


Jeremy takes the two mugs of coffee to the living room and hands one to Daniel. Jeremy walks over to the couch and moves his clothes to the other side. He puts his coffee mug on the floor and sits down slowly. Jeremy stares into space, but Daniel knows he is thinking about the woman he had met in Vegas.

The mood is the classic psychiatrist and patient scene: Daniel sitting in the chair and Jeremy lying on the couch. 

Daniel has two sips of coffee and then stares at Jeremy. “Man, I want to hear everything.”

“Okay, well you know about the meeting at work before my long vacation, right? After I insulted the project manager and that sales guy, Arnold?” Jeremy says. 

“Well, David wanted to talk to me in his office. He told me to apologize to the project manager and to the sales guy in an e-mail or I could lose my job. He also told me after I apologized to them he was giving me three months off with pay. He suggested that I take a drive. He recommended Las Vegas. I e-mailed the project manager and the sales guy and told them that I was sorry about what I said and I started my vacation that evening.”

Jeremy and Daniel were working non-stop for six months straight programming a program for the stockbrokers who worked in their financial firm located on 99 Water Street next to the South Street Seaport. At the meeting, Jeremy and Daniel showed the final build of the program to the president of the stockbrokers’ department, the project manager, sales rep, and the president of PSD. At the meeting, the project manager and sales rep were happy that the program was finished and worked effectively, but they wanted to change the colors, the font, the title, and they thought it could be programmed and could work a different way, plus they wanted to add more features.

Jeremy got upset. He yelled at the project manager and the sales rep. Jeremy’s boss was not happy at how Jeremy took control of the situation; he could have argued with them in a different way, but he was happy that he said what he said to them.

Jeremy lays on the couch and impatiently put his coffee mug on the floor.

Jeremy moves his body on the couch to get comfortable and then he starts to tell the story. “She’s beautiful.”

Jeremy stares into space again as he thinks about her.

“Jeremy, come back to Earth,” Daniel says. 

Daniel is eager to hear the story. His eyes open wide and his body shifts to the edge of the chair like a child receiving presents on his birthday. Daniel wants Jeremy to get to the point of the story or he was going to burst into a million pieces. 

“Oh yeah,” Jeremy says shaking his head. “Daniel, she could have been my wife.”

“Jeremy, how could you say something like that? Think about it. You had mottos: “You need to screw and then lose. Marriage is for the deranged and insane.” Daniel takes a hard look at Jeremy and cocks his head to the side. He is trying to figure out whom he is talking to. The man in front of him looks like his best friend, but now he doesn’t know who the man is.

“So how could you fall in love and think about marrying a woman you just met? What happened?” 

“Man, it happens. I didn’t believe it myself, but it happens. I knew if I married her, she would be mine forever. I didn’t want to lose her. She was better than ten women put together. She was the one, my one true love. Yes, you may think I’m insane right now, but if you saw her, you would go insane, too. This woman is beautiful, smart, funny, exciting, and an amazing woman. If I find her again, I will marry her. I don’t want to lose her again,” Jeremy says.

Daniel sits in shock to hear what his friend says. The same guy who mocks marriage now wants to get married.

“So, what’s her name, where does she live, does she have a job?”

“Man, did you know your name tells someone what type of person you are?” Jeremy asks.

Daniel’s mouth opens wide; he is still in shock. Jeremy is goal-oriented, business-minded, analytical, and hated people that thought freely non-analytically. Now, Jeremy is open-minded and thought freely. Daniel is afraid Jeremy will get off the couch and start doing yoga, which Jeremy will definitely not do in a heartbeat, but Daniel can see a different side of him emerging. 

Thank you, Aliya, for sharing your talent with us!

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