#firstchapters: Contrary Measures
First Chapters #firstchapters refers to the first chapter in this book.
Blurb: Rayna lost her entire life in a single moment. On the edge of impending loneliness, she sets out to find something ... something that will improve her new life. Clashing emotions and memories contradict each other, making Rayna wonder about what was and how she will get to will be. Soon, she finds herself nursing a mysterious man who literally drops at her feet. The connection she feels for the familiar stranger, Ethan Phillips, is something she can't even deny. Trust becomes a big issue as pieces of her old life fall into place, and yet, others disappear. Rayna wonders if she can trust herself, her feelings for Ethan, and any answers she gets about her old life. In some ways, Ethan is a big help, and other ways, he’s more secretive than she realizes, especially when she realizes that his secrets overlap with her own past.
Who took her life away and who wants to keep it buried and locked away in her mind forever?
Ethan slept through the next few days. Rayna sat by his bedside taking care of him and watching over him. As she was straightening up her living room, there was a knock on the door. She looked toward her bedroom and could see Ethan still sleeping. She quickly closed her bedroom door. “Charley? What’re you doing here?” she asked, as she opened the door. “May I come in?” he asked. “Um, I guess. Why are you here?” Charley walked in and looked around the apartment. “I stopped by the clinic to talk to you. Marcia told me that you were home sick. I couldn’t believe it. I had to see it for myself,” he smiled his crooked smile. “Why did you wanna see me?” she knew that look on his face. He was up to something. She didn’t know what it was. Maybe at one time in her life, she would’ve known, but now, no. “Something is different about you, Rayna. I’m not sure what it is,” he ran his hands through his black hair. “Charley, what is it that you wanted?” “I miss you, Rayna.” “It’s been almost year since you left me and now you’re saying that you miss me. How many times do we have to go through this? You come here every few months. I don’t miss you. You know that I can’t miss you. I don’t even remember you. What the hell is wrong with you? You know what? I’m GLAD that I don’t remember you.” “Where did that come from? You’ve never spoken to me like that before.” “I guess I’m tired and my head is killing me. Charley, you can’t show up, give me those dark eyes, and expect me to come back to you.” “If you were more tired when we were married, we may have had a chance,” Charley snapped. “You decided to come here, tell me that you miss me and then start a fight with me?” “No, no, that’s not it at all. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it,” Charley sat down on the sofa. Rayna sat across from him on the chair. “Charley, what do you really want? You don’t miss me. You have ‘little miss what’s her name!’” “Oh, Sheila? Well, that’s over.” “I’m not surprised. How many women has it been since you left?” “I don’t know. A lot I guess. I can’t seem to find you.” “Charley, you don’t wanna get back with me. You want someone to be with until the next one comes along.” “No, Rayna. I realized that I still love you,” his dark eyes pleaded with her. “Charley, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?” “Well, if I were you, I’d take me back because I’d be lonely and it’s the right thing to do.” “That’s exactly my point. No, Charley. I won’t go back to you. I don’t remember what we had together. I’m sorry. All I know is that you tried to push me into loving you and when it didn’t work, you were off sleeping with other women. In my heart, I know that I can’t be with you.” “Your heart? Since when has your heart ever had anything to do with it? You’ve been cold as long as I’ve known you!” “Then why did you marry me?” “Because, I-I, never mind, not important.” “Not important? Charley, get out! You’re no longer welcome here.” Charley stood up to leave, but before he walked out the door, he turned around and snapped. “You’ll come to your senses, soon enough.” “Out!” She raised her voice and pointed to the door. He shook his head and walked out the door. “How dare he come in to my house?” she ranted aloud. She paced back and forth for a few minutes and then she stopped. “I wish he would leave me alone!” She took a deep breath and walked down the hall to bedroom. Ethan was staring up at the ceiling when she opened the door. “I heard you talking to yourself. I didn’t wanna bother you,” he said. “Sorry about that,” Rayna said. “Don’t worry about it. You don’t know how many times I’ve done the same thing.” “How are you feeling?” “It hurts a lot, but I can take it,” he smiled painfully. “Let me get you something for the pain. I have some codeine,” she walked into the bathroom and took the pill bottle out of the medicine cabinet. She handed him the pills and helped him sit up. “Let me get you some pillows,” she opened the closet door and grabbed two pillows off the top shelf. She put them behind his head and back, so that he could sit better. “Who was at the door?” “Don’t worry. That was my ex-husband. He didn’t even know you were here.” “You don’t like him very much, do you?” “How could you tell?” “I heard you raise your voice to him a few times.” “He always comes here when he is in between women.” “Sounds like a jerk.” “Yes, he can be,” she wiped his forehead with a cold cloth. “Your fever seems to be coming down.” He touched her hand. “Ray, I don’t know how to thank you.” “Ethan, can I ask you a personal question?” “Go ahead.” “Who shot you? I mean, why were you shot?” “I can’t tell you. If I told you, your life would be in danger.” “I saved your life, so, wouldn’t that make my life in danger now?” “No one knows where I am. As long as I’m here, I’m safe and so are you.” “What’s gonna happen when you get better?” “I can’t think that far ahead. I can only live my life in the moment.” “I wish I could do that,” Rayna suddenly got quiet. “I think I’m feeling the effects of that pill. Can you help me lay down?” Rayna removed the pillow from behind his back and held on to him as he lay down. “Get some sleep,” No sooner did she say that, Ethan closed his eyes. She sat back in her chair and looked over at his blood-soaked clothes on the floor. She picked them up off the floor and brought them out to the kitchen. She emptied the pockets and put the clothes in the sink, so she could wash them. She added detergent to the sink and filled it with water. She stared at the items that she pulled from his pockets. A key, wallet, and a thimble laid on the counter. She opened the wallet and his driver’s license identified him as R. Ethan Phillips. She also noticed that he had several twenty-dollar bills in his wallet. She was tempted to go through his entire wallet, but instead she closed it up and set it back on the counter. She picked up the thimble and looked at it. Engraved on the outside of it were the letters R E P. On the inside, the thimble was the letters R E L. Funny, those are my initials, she thought. I wonder why he has something like this in his pocket. She picked up the items and brought them into the bedroom. Ethan was still sleeping, so she put them on the bedside table. She went back into the kitchen and washed out his clothes. After she hung up the clothes to dry on the line in the bathroom, she sat on the sofa and turned on the television. Suddenly, sirens on the street were drowning out the sound from the TV. She walked over to the window and saw several police cars down below. A few of the police cars were driving up and down the street slowly with a spotlight shining in the doorways and alleys. “Ray!” Rayna ran into the bedroom, “What’s the matter? Why are you shouting?” “What’s going on out there?” “I think the cops are looking for something.” “Probably me.” “I know you won’t tell me, but what kind of trouble are you in?” “I-I’m not in any trouble with the law. That I can tell you,” Ethan tried to sit up. “Oh,” he winced. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t say anymore. I hardly know you.” “You may not know me, but I know you quite well,” Rayna smiled. “You don’t have to tell me anything that you aren’t ready to tell me. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t ask when I wanna know something.” “Does that go both ways?” Ethan smiled. “If you want…” Rayna was interrupted by a knock at the door. She walked out of the bedroom and closed the door behind her. She took a deep breath and answered the door. “Can I help you, officer?” “Yes, what is your name, ma’am?” he said, looking down at his notebook. “Rayna Lansing.” “Really?” he looked up and smiled brightly. “Yes, do I know you?” “Um, I’m Officer Tom Vogue,” he touched the tip of his hat. “Do I know you?” “Um, we knew each other about a year or so ago.” “Oh. I’m sorry that I don’t remember you. I had an accident. I’m surprised that you remembered me,” Rayna licked her lips light and smiled. “You left an impression with me, a big one,” Tom smiled. “Why don’t you come in and have a seat?” Rayna said. “Thank you. How are you doing, well, since the accident?” “I’m OK. I have to create a new life for myself. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything in my life prior to the accident.” “Really? Nothing? I’m sorry to hear that.” “Don’t be. I can’t miss something that I don’t remember. So, Tom, what can I help you with?” He cleared his throat. “Well, we’re looking for a man. He has dark hair, green eyes, about six feet tall, medium build, and a tattoo of a brain on his right arm. He goes by the name of Ethan Phillips.” “What did he do?” “Um, we’re looking for him. We got a tip that he may have been shot and now he is missing,” his dark eyes turned cold. “Oh, sorry. I haven’t seen anyone, but of course, I’ve been at home sick. I haven’t been outside, well, except to go to the pharmacy.” “Oh, how are you feeling? You don’t look sick,” Tom smiled. “Actually, you’re very pretty,” he nervously touched his unshaven cheek. “Thank you. It’s nothing serious.” “Good. Well, I better get going,” Tom stood up. “Um, Rayna, would it be wrong of me to call you sometime?” “No, go ahead,” she took his notebook from his hand and wrote down her phone number. “You can call me in a few days, if you want.” “I will,” Tom said, as he closed the door behind him. She went into the bedroom, “Ethan, something is going on. Why are the cops looking for you? They think that you’re missing.” “Good. I’ll be missing for a little while longer.” Rayna sat down on the bed beside him. “I wanna help you,” she gazed into his eyes. He reached up and touched her face. “You have been my angel. I don’t know what would have happened, if you hadn’t found me,” he took her head and slowly pulled her into a kiss. She kissed him back, no thinking involved. She kissed him back. She knew that she had never been kissed that way before, the way his lips caressed hers, were so soft and tender. Gently, she pulled away, “What was that for?” “I’m sorry. I didn’t–” Ethan started to say. “That’s not what I meant. I didn’t mind that you kissed me, I wondered why you kissed me.” “I felt it was right,” Ethan smiled. Rayna leaned over and kissed him again. “This is gonna sound stupid, but I don’t think I’ve ever been kissed like that before.” “It’s not stupid. I’m surprised. You’re beautiful, smart, and strong. Definitely strong. Who else could have gotten me here all by yourself?” he stroked her hand. “Ray, it’s a stupid man to let you ever get away.” She blushed. “I’ve never thought of myself as any of those things. I have so much about myself that I’m trying to change. So much that I don’t even know about myself,” she brushed the hair out of his face. “I’m glad that I found you. I’m very glad that I found you when I did.” “So, am I. Will you sit here with me a while? I’m a little tired, but I don’t wanna be alone.” “I won’t leave until you fall asleep.” ***
Hope you enjoyed chapter one of "Contrary Measures." You can purchase the book to finish by clicking on the book cover.