1 AM. That was the time on his phone as he picked it up to see who the hell was calling him in the middle of the night. When he saw Glory’s name, though, he answered immediately.
“Hey, Glory. Is everything okay? It’s got to be 4 am there.” he said, sleepily.
“Lucas.” she said in a sobbing whisper which brought him fully awake.
“Glory, what’s wrong?” he said in a tense voice.
“I had that nightmare again. I can’t get out of it.” she whispered from across the miles.
“The same nightmare? The one with the dragons?” he asked.
“Yes.” she answered in a very small voice.
“Do you have the lights on?” he asked. He knew this is the first thing his sister did when one of her kids had a nightmare. Everything is scarier in the dark.
“Yes, they’re on, but the fear is in my head.” Glory sobbed.
Lucas sighed. What could he do for her from here? If he was there, he’d hold her and comfort her, but he wasn’t there. He shook his head in frustration.
“Tell me about the nightmare again…every detail. Let’s see if we can turn it around somehow.” Lucas said, hopefully.
There was a long silence at the other end of the phone and he thought he might have screwed this up completely.
Finally, her voice came through the phone, small and scared. “I’m in bed and it’s late. I’m almost asleep when I hear the dragon come in the room.” she said, quietly.
“Is it your bedroom?” Lucas asked. “Is it your bed?”
Glory paused for a moment. “No…it’s a camp cot. It must be at my cousin, Diana’s. Her and Holly would share her bed and they’d set up a camp cot for me.” she said, sounding a little surprised at this revelation.
“Okay, so you’re at Diana’s. Are you in the same room as Diana and Holly? Are they there with you?” he asked.
“Yes, but it’s a big room. The bed is at the far end of the room and I’m near the door.” Her voice was starting to come clearer now as the dream came into focus for her.
“Okay, so the first dragon comes in. Do you remember anything about him or her?” Lucas asked.
“It is definitely a him. I know him, but I’m scared of him. He grabs my leg to pull me towards him.” Her voice is fearful again.
“Is that when the second dragon comes in?” Lucas asked, prompting her away from the fear.
“Yes.” she whispered. “He’s bigger and he’s angry.”
“Are they yelling? Doesn’t that wake up the other girls?” Lucas asked.
“They’re not yelling. They’re quiet, but I can see the red in the second dragon’s eyes. I don’t hear the other girls.” Glory continued, quietly.
Lucas is quiet for a moment, wondering if this was just a dream or something more. Well, he certainly wasn’t qualified to deal with it if it was something deeper. All he could do was comfort her tonight.
“Then what happens.” he prompted.
“The second dragon slammed the first dragon down to the floor. I couldn’t see them anymore. But then the blood started to come. It splashed up onto the camp cot and onto me.” she said, her voice rising in hysteria. Then it dropped to a whisper. “So much blood. And red…isn’t dragon’s blood green?”
“I don’t know, babe. I’ll look it up tomorrow.” Lucas said, softly. “Then what?”
“I don’t know. That’s when I wake up, usually sweating and with my heart pounding out of my chest. I…” she stopped for a moment. “I’m sorry I’m putting this on you. I shouldn’t have called. It’s just…”
“It’s just that I managed to calm you down quickly the last time.” he finished for her.
“Yes. I thought talking to you might help this time, too, even though you’re not here.” she admitted.
“And has it?” Lucas asked, hoping that his interrupted sleep hadn’t been for nothing.
Glory paused for a second before answering. “Yes. Yes, it has. I think I can sleep now. Thank you.”
“No problem, baby.” Lucas said. “If I can chase your dragons away, I guess that makes me a hero.”
“You’re always my hero.” Glory said, drowsily. “Sorry to have woken you. Let’s talk soon.” Lucas could tell that she was already fading back to sleep.
“Yes, soon. Sleep well, babe.” Lucas said, softly and heard the line go dead.
He looked at his phone for a minute before putting it down on his bedside table. That was unexpected, but not unwelcome. He loved to hear her voice, even if it was in the middle of the night. He settled himself to go back to sleep, still wondering about the significance of those dragons in her life.
The next day, Glory was tired but in good spirits. The morning passed quickly with a design meeting and some interesting new work to start on. At lunchtime, she decided to go for a walk. It was early spring and the temperatures were warm enough to enjoy the sights and smells of the returning fauna in the neighbourhood nearby.
She had been walking for about 20 minutes when her phone rang and she saw that it was Lucas.
“Hey, babe! This is a pleasant surprise!” Glory answered, cheerfully
“I just called to make sure you’re okay.” Lucas said, seriously.
“Sure. Yeah, I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?” Glory was confused. Had there been a fire at her apartment building? Was her mom in a car accident? Suddenly, she was frightened. “What’s going on, Lucas?” She stopped walking so that she could hear him better.
“I wanted to check up after your phone call last night.” he said, sensing her fear.
“My…what? I didn’t call you last night.” she said, feeling confused again.
“You had that nightmare again and you called me…it was, like, 1 am my time, so it had to be 4 am there.” he said. “We talked for at least 10 minutes.”
“Oh, my god.” she whispered. “Oh, my god!” she said, louder. “I thought I dreamed that! I’m so sorry!”
“Don’t worry about it. I just want to know that you’re okay. You sounded really freaked out when you called, but after we talked, you seemed better, sleepy even. I guess you got back to sleep if you don’t remember.” Lucas said, feeling a little foolish for having been concerned.
Glory was quiet for a moment. “I remember.” she said, softly. “You were very helpful and very sweet. But I thought it was part of the dream. I mustn’t have been fully awake when I called.”
“I’m glad I could help.” he said, quietly.
“My hero.” Glory said with a smile.
Lucas laughed. “A little grandiose for a half asleep guy trying to deal with a nightmare long distance, but I’ll take it.”
Glory shook her head. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t be bothering you with my shit. It’s bad enough when you have to deal with it when you’re here.”
“I told you, it’s not a problem. I’m glad you feel you can reach out to me like that.” he said. “Oh, and by the way, dragon’s blood can be any colour from bright scarlet to deep purple, depending on the type of dragon.”
Glory laughed. “I can’t believe you looked that up for me! Thank you! But you know that makes you a bit of a geek, knowing that.” she said, still laughing.
“Hey, I play Matt Hunter of Special Branch. Knowing the colour of dragon’s blood ain’t nothin’ sister!” Lucas answered in a southern drawl.
Glory laughed again. “Can you talk? I’m just out walking on my lunch hour and I’d love the company.” she asked, hopefully. It had been over 2 months since his ill-fated visit in January and she had to admit that she missed him.
“Yeah, for a few minutes. Listen, I was…I mean, I’ll be in Toronto this coming weekend, and I’d love to get together.”
“This weekend?” Glory asked. “I have an art show this weekend.”
“Well, that’s perfect, then. I’ve always wanted to come to one of your shows.” Lucas said, enthusiastically.
But all he heard on the other end of the phone was silence. “What’s wrong?” he asked, finally.
“I…my family and friends and coworkers will be there.” Glory paused for a long moment again. “No one knows about you.” she said flatly.
“Well, Diana and Holly know about me.” Lucas said.
“Yes, they know that we met that night in November and you took my phone number…that’s it.” she said. “I told you I was a really private person. I’ve never told them about that weekend or anything else.”
Now it was Lucas’ turn to pause. Why hadn’t she told anyone about him; about their relationship? Even though it was mostly long distance, it was something. He’d told his friends…they knew all about Glory.
“Why?” was all he could think of to ask.
“I was never sure what to tell them about us. We’re not dating but we’re not just friends. I…thought I’d wait to see how this played out before telling anyone. And your celebrity does complicate things. I know that people always want pieces of you…I didn’t want them coming to me, too, because we’re…something.” Glory sighed. She knew she wasn’t explaining this very well to him…shit, she didn’t understand it herself. She’d wanted to tell her sister a dozen times about Lucas, but something had held her back.
“I see.” Lucas said, quietly. He paused for so long, Glory thought he might have hung up.
“Are you still there?” she asked, fearfully.
“I’m here.” he answered. “I don’t have to come to the art show if you don’t want me to, but I still want to see you. Can we work that out at least?”
“Oh, of course. Are you kidding? I’ve been dying to see you!” she said, with a relieved sigh.
“Listen.” Lucas said, after a moment. “If Diana and Holly don’t know about anything but me taking your number, we could still make this work, if you’re willing. I could have just been coming in this weekend and called to see if we could get together. We don’t have to let them know about…everything else.”
Glory paused for a moment to think about this. Was she ready for this? To go public with this? It wouldn’t really be going public, though…it would mostly be friends and family at this thing. Her co-worker, Desirée, was organizing it and had asked her to put up some of her work. It was a small show at her yacht club and a lot of the artists were ones she worked with.
“Maybe, if we could keep it platonic.” she said, doubtfully.
“Absolutely!” Lucas said. “Tell me more about this art show.”
“Well, Desirée is a co-worker and an artist and she organizes this art show at her yacht club every year with proceeds going to the local Humane Society. It’s a lot of our co-workers as well as some of her yacht club buddies and it’s usually a lot of fun. I’ve gone in the past, but this is the first year I’m participating.” Glory said.
“Sounds great. Anything I could do to boost the proceeds? Maybe I could do autographs?” Lucas suggested.
“I did do that Matt Hunter piece right after I met you…you’ve seen it, it’s up on my website. I wonder how quickly I could get some prints of that done up for you to autograph?” Glory said, starting to plan.
“I love that piece! Yeah, look into it. I’ll cover the cost of the prints and that will be my contribution to the cause. What should we charge? What would you charge for the prints themselves?”
“Ten bucks, maybe fifteen, depending on the size. What’s your autograph and a chance to take a picture with you worth?” Glory asked.
“Depends.” Lucas said. “At some of the ComicCons, they charge hundreds of dollars for the photoshoots. I’m thinking maybe 30 bucks for the signed print…?” Lucas suggested. “Photo ops are free.”
Glory mulled that over in her mind. “Okay, I’ll get on the prints this afternoon. Maybe I’ll get a bigger one done for you to sign and then get it framed for the raffle.”
“That sounds like a great idea!” Lucas said enthusiastically.
Glory smiled, then frowned. “But we’re going to keep things platonic, right? There will be enough questions as it is. I’m not prepared to let everyone know about our sexual relationship.”
“Not a problem, babe. I’ll call you dude, slap your butt and flirt with other women…how’s that for platonic?” Lucas joked.
Glory laughed. “Sounds perfect. When are you getting here?” she asked.
“I’m coming in on Thursday afternoon…can I stay with you again or should I get a hotel?” Lucas asked.
“I think you can stay with me.” She paused to think about that. “I want you to stay with me. I just hope it doesn’t raise any more questions.” She frowned, thinking about how inquisitive her sister could be sometimes.
“Well, if I’m asked, I’ll be illusive.” he said.
Glory giggled and the sound made Lucas smile. He loved to hear her happy. “I can’t wait to see you.” she said in a husky voice.
“It’s been too long.” Lucas answered in the same tone. “And last time was way too quick!”
“Thursday, you say? And today is Tuesday? You’re not giving me much notice.” Glory scolded him.
“Well, I would have talked to you about it last night, but you had other things on your mind.” he said.
“Yeah, and I wouldn’t have remembered it anyway.” Glory said, her voice sounding a little bit disturbed.
“Hey, if you have the nightmare again this weekend, at least I’ll be there to hold you. And for 5 nights! I’ve got a flight out on Tuesday.” He sounded excited to be able to spend so much time with her.
“There’s so much we can do!” Glory said, with equal excitement. “It will be such a treat not to have to feel rushed.” She checked her watch and realized that she was going to be late back to work.
“But I am a little rushed now…I can’t believe how long we’ve been talking! Can we talk some more tonight?” she asked.
“Let’s Skype…I want to see your beautiful face.” he said, softly.
“’Kay.” she whispered. “Bye.”
“Bye.” he whispered back and hung up.
Glory took a deep breath as she started back to the office. This was the end of her secret relationship with Lucas Wolfe. She’d have to tell Desirée so that she could set up a table for him for autographs and she’d have to talk to her mentor, Marion, to see where the best and quickest place to get prints was. She sighed to herself…she should give her mom and her sister and her cousin a heads up, too. At least then she’d get to explain things a little bit in a more private venue than at the art show. She was excited and terrified at the same time.