Happy 9th Birthaversary MLW! + A 2021 Writer’s Recap

Hi there! HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know it’s been a minute! But I’m back to celebrate with you! I hope you are well and staying safe in these very unpredictable, crazy times. On the bright side…

It’s MLW’s (michelle leigh writes) 9th Birthday/Anniversary!!! Which I’ve decided to name Birthaversary. It’s crazy to think that 9 years ago, I decided to finally start sharing my writing. I have always been scared to admit that I was a writer. Now, I proudly include it as part of who I am. Even though I’m not posting all the time. Writing will never really leave me. And whether I ever make it my career, or make money from it or any of that, no matter what, I know I will always be a writer. And a storyteller. And a believer of magic. 🙂 I always come back to it in some way. It is my way of sorting things out. Overcoming things. Making sense of things. And healing. Well that and some damn good Therapy! 🙂 It’s 2022 people. I’m telling you get on that therapy train. It’s worth it!

Happy 9th Birthaversary Michelle Leigh Writes!!!!

I know I haven’t posted consistently much, but I will still be keeping this blog alive in order to share my writing when I feel to- mostly for the longer pieces. I already have so many Short Story Series on here for you to browse. Otherwise, I will be sharing most of my writing on my writer’s instagram more consistently. So please do follow! @michelleleighwritesvibes (I shared a lot of good stuff this past year! Check it out!)

As 2021 comes to a close I wanted to just review some of the creative projects I shared. I love to do this little reflection of my work before every new year. This way I can set intentions for the next year. MichelleLeighWrites is my blog baby. I don’t post that often but when I do, it is the host of my long form storytelling. A safe place for the written word. Here are some of my writer vibes this past year.
1. Vibe With Me Podcast– a YouTube playlist/podcast chit chat of 12 lessons I learned in 2020.


2. MLW turned 8 years old!


3. Vibe Thoughts series (available on my insta! Check it out @michelleleighwritesvibes)


4. Finished my Short Stories Series- Crazy Stalker Love

You can start reading it from the beginning HERE

5. New Short Story Series premiered- Black Nightingale.

Catch up on the first 5 Chapters here on MLW before new chapters are posted SOON! 🙂

6. Wrote my first flash fiction- The Whitakers

^ (available on my insta! Check it out @michelleleighwritesvibes)


7. Completed #escapril2021 (a poem posted every day for the month of April)

^(available on my insta! Check it out @michelleleighwritesvibes)


8. Journaled the entire month of June with guided prompts. Tnx @allthingskoze

Also keeping up my Journaling every day habit…on journal #7 now!
9. Did some work on my Novel. 🔥❤ Sadie and Luke’s love story will hopefully see more light in 2022!

10. Completed the #hopewriterlife challenge.

Making time to write isn’t always easy. I haven’t always been the best at it. Especially as of late with a new job and the craziness of the holiday season. However, I am proud of the things I did get to create. My hope for the new year is to further embrace the writer in me, the artist in me. And I hope that if you feel inclined to come along and read or listen to something here on MLW that you can relate to it. This is my heart. Happy New Year, my friends! Cheers to a new year of new projects. Some already in the works, and some probably not even thought up yet. 2022…let’s do this! Stay safe out there everyone! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Stay Tuned!

All my love,

-<3-

Michelle Leigh

Black Nightingale- Chapter 5- Didn’t Even See It Coming

Black Nightingale- The Prey That Hunts Back

Due to violence, language and some sexual content.

Chapter 5: Didn’t Even See It Coming

The Next Morning

I gingerly open my apartment door. Even though Greg had agreed to let this go, I know better. After Greg’s profession of love last night, my head was spinning in a million directions. Couple that with the crazy events of last night’s run in with the Black Hawk and I guess you could say I had a perfect storm in the making.

I close and lock my door as to not make it so obvious that I’m leaving. Immaturely of me, I knew I wasn’t ready to see Greg yet. Low and behold I made it out of my door way without seeing Greg. Keeping my eyes glancing back toward the door every now and again, I rounded the corner of the hall way and out to the sidewalk. As I turned the corner of the city block, I bumped full on into a hard, toned body.

“Oh, sorry.” I say spinning around and noticing a familiar face. I smile.

“Matthew, hey. It’s been a while! How are you?”

“Nevina…The Little Luna. I’m good. It’s been a minute. How are you?” he says with a sweet smirk.

“Good…Good. What are you doing in this neck of the woods?” I ask.

“I actually moved back to the city. The suburban life wasn’t for me,” he says with chuckle.

“Oh?” I say with a raise of my eyebrow.

“Yea I mean you know as good as I do, that the country…simple town where everyone knows their neighbor was more Amelia’s dream.”

There it is, I think to myself. One of us had to bring her up soon enough. Hearing her name still sometimes hurts.

“Yea. I remember.” I say as my eyes begin filling up. Water threatening to spill over.

“Hey, I didn’t mean to upset you,” Matthew says grabbing my shoulder in an effort to comfort me.

“No…no, it’s not your fault. I just- um I don’t get to talk about her much. Partly because I sometimes just can’t and partly because my parents are still a wreck over losing her. Rightfully so. They rented an RV and just took off to go explore the world on their own terms. I just think they can’t seem to allow themselves a minute to sit still. Because that’s when the pain hurts the worst. In the quiet day to day. The days she should have been a part of,” I choke out as my voice knots in my throat, my hand wiping away a fallen tear. 

“No, I get it. It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on 5 years since we lost her.”

“Yea I know, even with the passing of time, the wound is still fresh. In a way I think it always will be.”

“For me too,” he says, his eyes falling to the floor.

I don’t know what it is. I haven’t seen Matthew in almost 5 years. I think after losing Amelia we all sort of looked inward to deal with it. Everyone deals with loss and grief in their own way, I guess. I certainly had my own way, that’s for sure. But even though it’s been a while I feel this overwhelming sense of familiarity. Déjà vu… or something.

We stand there silent for a few minutes. Stillness creeping in.

“Hey well listen, I have a meeting to get to… but it was great to see you. Let’s grab dinner soon, and really catch up?” he says breaking the silence.

“Um yea….of course. I’d like that.”

“Great, I’ll call you. Same number?”

“Yea.”

“Ok cool…we’ll talk soon.”

“Definitely,” I say as we part ways.

What a blast from the past I think as I push the door open to my favorite nearby café. Stepping up to the counter, I smile asking the barista for a small iced pumpkin coffee.

“Sure thing,” she says with a smile as she grabs a cup.

I pay the woman and turn to see if my favorite table is free. My eyes meet Greg’s who smirks giving me an awkward wave.

Time to face the music I guess.

“Hey,” I say with a weird smile.

“Hey,” he says almost sheepishly.

“May I?” I ask gesturing to the empty chair beside him.

“Of course,” he says pointing.

As we both sit there awkwardly sipping on our coffees, I hate feeling like we’re strangers.

Finally I break the silent tension by saying, “So you’ve got the day off today?”

“No, I’m on the night shift from now on.” He says

“Ah,” I say nodding.

“What about you…slow day at the shop?” he asks.

The shop Greg is referring to is my auto body shop. It was originally my dad’s. I spent so many days of my childhood there, I took a liking to cars and auto parts. So much so that I studied engineering and auto mechanics in college. When my mom and dad took off to explore, I took over the business. It comforts me once in a while, to have a place where I am able to fix things.

“Um…no not exactly. I just um…needed a day.” I say shrugging.

“Yea I can imagine…it must get exhausting chasing after serial killers at all hours of the night,” he says his voice barely above a whisper as he leans toward me.

“God. I knew you wouldn’t let this go,” I say huffing as I sit back in my seat, creating a safe space between us.

“What do you expect, Nev. I can’t just sit back and let you literally step into the line of fire…night after night. Taking it upon yourself to right everybody’s wrongs.”

“Why not? Isn’t that what you do?” I say angrily as I raise an eyebrow at him.

“Yea… but I’m a trained professional Nev.”

“Oh please… you’re always saying how most of the cops at the station could afford to be a little more diligent. This guy has been haunting this city for nearly a month and what does the NYPD have to show for their little investigation…a few blurry images and some random sightings.”

“Wow…good to know what you think about my work.” He says huffing and looking away.

“It’s not a personal attack Gavin, I know you’re a good cop.”

“Then trust me to do my job,” he says looking at me with pleading eyes.

“You and I both know why this hits home for me…” I say glaring at him, my eyes starting to fill. Today sucks.

“I know…hey…I know,” he says taking my hand in his, as he laces his fingers through mine. He brings the back of my hand to his lips, placing a sweet kiss on it.

I guess being best friends with Gavin all these years, I didn’t realize how often he did this. It was almost like second nature to me. But this time, I felt a spark and a tightness in my stomach. And suddenly, I realized, something big was about to happen. A change I never ever knew would work its way into existence.

I pull my hand away gently, Gavin noticing, he coughs, nervously as he sits back in his seat.

“5 years…and now he’s back. I cannot let him kill any more women like he killed my sister.” I say trying to keep from fully falling apart in front of him.

“Nev, we don’t know for sure that this is the same guy.” Greg says his voice kind.

“Are you kidding me Greg? Open your damn eyes. Of course it’s him. But you know what I honestly don’t care who it is. I just want him taken care of. The police force did a nice job of covering Amelia’s death. Claiming she was just drunk and crashed her car. When you and I both know that bastard killed her, and then drove her car into a river.”

“Nev, look I get that this is hard for you. I was there for it all. I was with you. And I know her anniversary is coming up and this is all a lot. I just think you need to take some time to yourself. Allow yourself a minute to breathe. And just let me take care of this. When I joined the police force I swore to you that I would do everything in my power to help find out what really happened to Amelia. And I will. But I just need to play this the right way. If what you and I suspect is true. That her death was manipulated, than that means someone was working from the inside. And that person has a motive, a link that connected him or her to Amelia. To you. To your family. That’s why I play so close to the rules, because I won’t be suspected of digging into old files and getting to the real truth. We’re playing the long game here, Nev. I just need some time. And I need you to trust me.”

I look up at him sighing loudly. I take his hand in mine, “Greg, I do trust you. More than you know. Which is difficult for me to even admit, considering everything my family has lost. But as much as I love and trust you, these girls…they don’t have time. He’s picking women off left and right, every night. In a pattern. If you noticed.”

“Dark hair, dark eyes, tan complexion. Yea I’ve noticed.” He says his eyes meeting mine.

“I have to do something. This time I HAVE to do something. Because I didn’t get to help Amelia. I failed her. And I carry the weight of that with me, every day.”

“Hey…none of this. Is your fault.”

I turn away from him.

“Hey…none of it. You hear me,” he says pulling me in closer as our foreheads touch.

He is my safe space. He always has been. Even if I don’t say it often. Even though I know I can stand on my own. It’s nice knowing I don’t have to.

I breathe in a shaky breath, my mind starting to fog. My heart dancing in my chest. I’m completely confused by this sudden overwhelming feeling of wanting to just pull him in and kiss him.

But I don’t. And we sit there, in silence. Holding onto each other for what feels like forever.

“Hey…I want you to know I hear you. I hear everything you’re saying ok? And I promise you, I will get to the bottom of this.” He says starring up at me. “After all, why do you think I asked to be on the night shift?” he says with a smirk.

I smile as I blink my tears fall down my cheeks. Greg wipes them away with his thumb and I lean in placing a sweet kiss on his lips. He stills for a minute and then kisses me back and I suddenly realize what I’ve done. I, Nevina Luna think I may or may not be in love with my best friend. And the scariest part of it all is… I didn’t see this coming.

Nev & Greg.
[my fan art dream casting manipulation]

Oh well, this should be interesting.

TO BE CONTINUED…

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Saturday!

-<3-

Black Nightingale- Chapter 4- Hidden Feelings

Black Nightingale- The Prey That Hunts Back

Due to violence, language and some sexual content.

Chapter 4: Hidden Feelings

“Help! Help me!” I scream aloud. I could easily finish him off. But then he wouldn’t be brought to justice. This…this can easily be deemed self-defense. I could hear some nearby sirens. Why this city hasn’t been under total surveillance since these attacks started, is beyond me. Yet another fail on our law enforcement’s part. Protect and serve, my ass.

“Help me, over here, please!” I say waving my hands and running out into the street. I see the gleaming lights of a cop car.

The car comes to a speeding halt, blue and red lights swirling. The siren shuts as the car doors whip open.

“Luna? Is that you? What the hell happened? Are you ok?” Greg says rushing from the car. He and his partner run over. Ok to be clear….Greg is one of the good cops. And yes, I do believe in good cops. There are a lot of them. But there are also a lot of bad cops too. And those are the ones you have to watch out for. The ones that turn a blind eye to everyday crime. If Greg was in charge the world would be a safer place for women and for all.

“Oh my god, Greg, thank God it’s you! I was coming back from a party, and I heard screaming so I went to go see if I could help. It was the Black Hawk. He tried to…he tried to kill me,” I say as I fall into his arms. Greg wraps his arms around me tightly. Tenderly. Even in my fake hysteria he was a source of comfort. After all, I mean I did just stab a man. The adrenaline is real.

“Oh my god, Nev,” Greg says his eyes glued to me. Fear etched across his face.

“Greg, Greg…I…I stabbed him,” I say shakily, The Black Hawk’s blood all over my hands. “He lunged at me with that creepy rake tool and I just stabbed him. I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do.” My eyes welling up with tears, my body trembling. Gasps for breath. Thank you Professor Julie James for the college acting lessons. They paid off.

“Hey it’s ok. You’re ok. Where is he now?” Greg asks worried as his partner follows my gaze rushing toward the darkened alley way.

“Ok, Nev, stay here. Stay in the car, lock the doors. I’m gonna call for back up and head into the alley way.”

“What? You must be crazy! I’m not staying here alone. I’m coming with you,” I say as he gives me an angry glare.

I give him a glare right back. I’ll be damned if I sit back and wait.

He sighs, “Fine, but just stay behind me,” he says as he walks towards the alley, his flashlight and gun raised out in front of him.

“Gavin, over here,” his Partner calls.

Rushing over, all we see is a pool of blood where The Black Hawk once was.

“What? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I say anger laced through my voice.

Gregory looks over at me, obviously confused.

He raises his walkie talkie, “This is officer Gavin, requesting back up to the alley way just off of Cloak Street and 6th Ave. We’ve had another Black Hawk attack. Victim was able to get away. But the Black Hawk is hindered with a stab wound, most likely on foot and armed.”

“Back up on its way,” the voice on the other end croaks.

“Let’s skim the avenue, see if we can track him. With that pool of blood, he’s gotta be leaving a trail,” Greg says.

***

Greg walks Nevina to her apartment door. His uniform jacket draped over her shoulders. He looks at her. His hands cupping her face, tenderly. His dark chocolate brown eyes deep with concern.

“Nev, are you sure you’re ok? I really wish you would have let me take you to the hospital to get checked out.”

“I’m okay. Greg. Really. He didn’t get to hurt me.”

“Swear to me?” he says looking at her.

“Pinky swear,” she says with a meek smile as she holds her pinky up. He smirks, wrapping his pinky around hers, and leaning in he kisses her hand, closing his eyes.

Don’t worry friends, the first thing I did when I got to the station was rid myself of that asshole’s disgusting toxic blood. I could tell the events of the night were weighing on him. I’ve always thought Greg was a softie. A heart too pure to deal with criminals on a daily basis. But that’s what makes him a good, and trustworthy cop. He cares. And in that kiss of my hand, I felt his fear. For me. I wish I could tell him not to worry. That I would be fine. That I’m the Black Nightingale. He doesn’t know about the prey that hunts back, but something tells me, he will. Soon. Especially after tonight’s events.

Greg sighs as he pulls Nevina into a hug. She lets out a sigh of relief, she hadn’t realized she was holding. Her arms wrap around him. He kisses the top of her head, breathing in her scent.

“Do you want me to stay with you tonight?” he asks.

“I think, I’ll be fine Greg, really. I mean your right next door too, if anything.”

“Nev…I get that you can take care of yourself, but this guy is still out there. And now he knows your face. I just…if he comes seeking his revenge, I don’t want you just at his will.”

“I am nor will I ever be…at his will,” I say pulling away from him.

“Nev, I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that, this guy is a serial killer. He’s killed 6 women already. I just- I just want to make sure you’re safe. There’s strength in numbers, right?”

“I guess you’re right,” I say rolling my eyes and unlocking my apartment door, I step to the side, nodding for him to come in.

He smiles, “Thanks for humoring me, Luna,” he says with a smirk as he leans in placing a sweet kiss on my temple.

A lot of women might mistake this type of male affection as one of the romantic nature. But not me. With Greg, he’s been in my life forever. I’ve lived next door to him my whole life. Went to all the same schools, even college. Which is odd for best friends. And when we both got our own places we lucked out and found two in the same building. This man has seen me in braces, and head gear and all the other odd phases in between. Gregory Gavin is in no way attracted to Nevina Luna. Sure he’s good looking in the tall, dark and handsome kind of way. But I guess knowing him for so long, I’ve just never felt that way about him. We’re just friends, and I love him for it. Sure, we may flirt occasionally, but I assure you it’s all in good fun. It’s ironic, like we’re poking fun at the fact that people think that a man and a woman can’t be friends without there being some underlying hint of sexual attraction. Grow up people. If anything Greg sees me as his old childhood buddy.

I toss Greg’s police jacket on my couch as I click on the TV.

“I’m just gonna go take a shower, wash this day off me,” I say with a laugh.

“Yea of course,” he nods, “I’ll be here,” he says with a sweet smirk.

“K, uh, help yourself to a beer, or glass of wine. I have left over Chinese too,” I say pointing to the fridge.

“Oh bless your soul, I’m starving,” he says nodding.

“Go for it,” I say with a laugh, “I’ll be quick,” I say walking into my bathroom.

I turn on the shower, as I wait for it to warm up, I set to undressing.

“Hey do you want me to heat you up food too?” I hear Greg call as I step in the shower, “Yes please! I’m starving,” I call out as the water falls over my skin. Allowing it to relax my tense muscles.

Little did Nevina know, Greg had caught a glimpse of her undressing as he turned his head to ask her about the food. The incident instantly made him blush, as he turned away quickly. A smile finding its way on his face.

A few minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom, having scrubbed my entire body 5 times over. I was clean and refreshed and dressed in the coziest pajamas and fuzzy socks.

Greg had set up two trays, in front of the TV and a buffet of Chinese food.

“Ugh, thank you. You rock,” I say as he hands me a beer.

 He smirks at me and plops down on the couch.

“Did you wanna take a shower too,” I ask.

“Um is that your way of telling me I reek?” he asks.

“Well, I mean…I did get Black Hawk blood all over you, so…” I say pointing to his shirt.

“Oh, shit, that’s right.” he says grossed out. “Sorry I didn’t even realize. I’m so damn exhausted.”

“I mean I’m just worried for you, you can shower tomorrow. Maybe just at least change your clothes. I should still have some of your clothes here from when your washing machine koncked out and you did your laundry here last week.” I say standing up.

“Oh that’d be so awesome,” he says standing up and following me.

“Here,” I say reaching into the bottom of my closet and tossing him some clothes. “You change, I’ll grab pillows and blankets for you.”

***

Greg and I sit, indulging in leftover Chinese takeout and beers. The news flashing a Special Report.

Both mine and Greg’s eyes meet. Curiosity peeking. I grab the remote, clicking the volume higher.

The newscaster is on the scene, near the alley way where the events took place.

Standing next to him is the young brunette girl that I had stumbled across earlier before my dance with darkness.

“I am here with this young woman who just had a brush with the killer himself. Miss what can you tell us about this man who has been terrorizing the New York City streets? ”

The woman is clearly exhausted, her eyes puffy and red, her body language one of fear and confusion.

“I…I was on my way home from work, I had to stay at the office late to finish up a project. I couldn’t get a cab this late at night so I was on my way to walking toward the train station. I wanted to get there quick so I took a short cut through the alley on the corner on Cloak Street and 6th Avenue. And that’s when I saw him. I just ran. And by chance I ran into this woman. She was so calm, confident. Like she knew what she was doing. Looking for him. It was odd. But she had this black bird-like mask on. Like a Nightingale or some kind of bird. She had this black leather, feathery outfit on. I don’t know maybe she was coming from a Halloween themed event or something. The city is always crawling with creatures this time of year. After we bumped into each other, she asked me where the Black Hawk was. At first I thought maybe she was an accomplice. But she said, she was a friend to women. And then she set off in the direction of the Black Hawk. I just ran. I was so scared. I feel so bad. I don’t know what else happened after that. But I knew I had to call the police. I hope the woman is okay. She saved my life.”

Uh oh. Shit. I think to myself. Here we go.

Greg looks at me. His eyes narrowing at me. His brow scrunching.

“Nev?” he says calmly.

I shut the tv off.

“Well, it’s getting late. I am exhausted. I think I’m gonna hit the hay. Night Gavin.” I say getting up and heading toward my bedroom.

“Nevina?” he says standing up from the couch his voice low. Stern. We usually call each other by nick names or by our last names. It’s something we’ve done since we were kids. When he says my full first name. I know something is up.

I turn slowly toward him.

“Where were you coming from tonight?” he asks.

“I went to a Halloween party.” I say shrugging.

“Who’s Halloween party?” he says poking around. His hands on his hips.

“A friend from work.” I say calmly. My eyes shifting to the side. Damn it, why is it so hard to lie to him.

“And you chose to walk home, alone, at midnight, through a dark alley?”

 “Actually I was just waiting for my uber and then shit hit the fan. What’s with the third degree Greg?”

“That’s funny. An uber never showed up tonight.” He says his gaze turning into a puzzled glare.

“Well, considering I was fighting for my life, it probably came and went.” I say with a matter of fact tone.

“You’re the one, that woman is describing. You’re The Black Nightingale aren’t u?” He says.

“Greg as much as I would love to take the credit for helping that woman. She and I didn’t even cross paths.”

“And how else would you explain her spot on description of you?”

“A woman in all black on a night near Halloween….your right, so out of the ordinary,” I say laughing. “Besides she was traumatized she probably didn’t even know what she was saying.”

“You know Nev, I know you. And I saw what you had on tonight. It’s not something you would normally wear.”

“Yea. Hence….the Halloween Party.”

“And if not the Black Nightingale, what were you supposed to be dressed up as?”

“A sexy cat. Duh? I had taken my cat years off for a bit at the party, I must have Ieft them there.” I say touching my head in an attempt to check for them.

“Come on Nevina. Don’t lie to me. You come home at all hours. You’re always level 10 tired in the mornings. We’ve gotten a few reports from men about this Black Nightingale haunting the city streets. There has been a few blurry images of her that we were able to pull from neighboring cameras. Blurry or not, I’d know those legs anywhere. Besides you leave a trail of black feathers everywhere you go,” he says pulling a few from his jacket pocket and letting them fall gracefully to the floor landing at my feet.

“Ok then…arrest me,” I say holding out my wrists.

“Nev…” he says glaring at me.

“Don’t Nev me Greg, ok? If you are so sure that I’m The Black Nightingale. That I’ve been as you say- harassing men, then arrest me,” I say moving closer to him.

“I don’t want to,” he says his eyes burning into mine.

“But you have to, I mean your Mr. Perfect Policeman, right? You like to play by all the rules.”

Greg stares at me…a look I have never quite seen before.

“What are you waiting for?” for I say glaring up at him. Some type of tension hanging thick in the air. Our faces just inches apart. Greg sucks in a sharp breath. His eyes looking at me tenderly. I see something new in this flicker. A hidden secret perhaps? What is this newness? An odd feeling boiling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t tell if it frightens me or if I kinda like it.

Without thinking, Gregory grabs me and kisses me, his arms wrapping around my waist tightly.

I push him away instinctively, “What the hell was that?” I say confused wiping my lips.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that,” Greg says turning away and running his hand over his face.

“Greg…what was that?”

“I don’t know, I’m sorry.”

“You do know.”

“Nev…It’s just…I’ve…I’ve been in love with you for… a really long time.”

“You’re kidding?” I say dumbfounded, stepping back, in shock, my knees threatening to give out.

“No. Not kidding.” He says his tone lacking any trace of humor.

“How? Wh- When?” I stammer.

“All this flirting back and forth all these years and the fact that the thought never crossed your mind, is a telling sign. You obviously don’t feel the same, and I understand. I’ll just go.”

“No hey…Officer Gavin can you just slow your roll. This is all a lot. Ok can you just give me a second to process?”

Greg looks at her.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I guess I just never let my mind go there, ya know because we’re such good friends.”

“Look let’s just forget this ever happened.”

“Even the fact that you think I’m the Black Nightingale?”

“All of it,” he says “Good night Nev. Be. Careful,” he says looking at me with worry and a protective glare.

“I will, you don’t have to worry about me,” I say.

“I always do. Always will. You call me….if you need anything ok?”

“Thank you Greg,” I say with a small smile as he leaves.


TO BE CONTINUED…

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Friday!

-<3-


Black Nightingale- Chapter 3- Flirting With Murder

Black Nightingale- The Prey That Hunts Back

Due to violence, language and some sexual content.

Chapter 3: Flirting with Murder

Nevina’s Narration:

It’s happening again. He’s back. Somehow. And this time, it’s different. Because I’ve been waiting. I’ve been preparing. My gym sessions with Greg, boxing classes, karate classes, boot camp workouts, combat training, you name it. I’ve done it. And it all started with one self-defense class. My night hustle has been part of my training too. How many men can I leave petrified? I’ve lost count. Although I guess you could say that cat calling men are not as much of a risk as a full on murderer. But then again, NO man should ever tower over you, making you feel inferior. The Black Hawk may be back. But, this time, he’s not the only bird in town. He has no idea who he’s messing with. For every woman I save…the nights can rest a little easier. And soon enough he will be right where he belongs, on death row or in the ground. It’s up to me to right this wrong. To give all the women whose lives he stole, some justice. To save others from his preying eyes. His deathly stare and his rake of death. I will not rest until he is gone. For good. Ladies…it’s time we take back our nights. Our walks. Our jogs. Our freedom. You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.

Nevina puts on her black leather costume. She shuts off the news report on the television that is describing another brutal murder. She carefully sneaks down her building fire escape, like a thief in the night. Like so many nights before. Her quest to find her prey- The Black Hawk.

Nevina’s spiked black heels crushing leaves as she walks, the full moon shining down upon her. Her head held high.

“Ahhh, ahhhhh!!! Help! Someone help me!” She hears a female shrieking. She picks up her pace rushing toward the direction of the screams.

Suddenly I see a young brunette girl, with olive complexion and brown eyes, rushing past me, clutching her chest in fear. “Run, Run, he’s coming, The Black Hawk, I saw him!” she screams and then stills as she seems me.

“Wait…who…who are you?” she says backing away, her eyes shifting all around. “Are you his partner, or something…” she says stepping back nervously.

“No. I’m a friend. To all women. Go. Run. Find a safe place. I’ll take care of this. I say reaching into my pocket, I pull out a black hair comb, with a flick of my wrist it turns into a knife. Clever right?

The young brunette girl looks on stunned as she rushes off. I don’t blame her. It’s hard to trust anyone these days.

The news has reported that The Black Hawk’s murdered 6 women so far. The police have no leads. And his recipe seems, pretty slasher standard. Stalk women at night in dark, secluded places. Each attack he makes more violent and gory than the last. Rake through the face was just the beginning for him. He’s hunting women like prey.

Rounding the corner I see him, walking through a dark alley. Calm. Cool. Collected. In that smug designer suit. Who the fuck wears a fedora anymore? His eyes haven’t met mine yet. He hasn’t spotted me. So I have an advantage. He looks rather… disappointed. Almost as if he, failed his mission to slay yet another woman. I duck behind some tall trees, removing my mask, I toss it to the side. It’s show time.

* “Murder” by Justin Timberlake begins to play*

PLAY SONG

I tuck away my knife beneath the sleeve of my leather jacket. Fluffing my hair, and adjusting my cleavage, I exit from behind the trees and bushes. Making sure my heels click, and my hips sway. After all, brunettes, olive complexion, brown eyes. Hmm, seems I’m just his type.

I see him. He stills. Turns. His eyes lock on me. The Hawk Mask is creepy. One of nature’s dark predators. Clever. I’ll give him credit. But a fucking mini garden tool. Give me a break.

He begins walking toward me, with swift, long strides. His weapon glistening in his hand.

My eyes dark. Focused on him. He freezes, suddenly confused. I begin walking toward him. My tanned legs glistening with oil.

Even in his mask, I can see his head move, looking me up and down.

“Oh, hey there. Oh am I supposed to go running and screaming or something?” I say coyly. Flirting with murder.

He nods, silently.

“Oh, but, I can’t run in these shoes, baby.” I say walking up to him, I touch his chest my fingers dancing up toward his neck, straightening his tie. “It’s a shame, I think you and I could have a lot of fun.” I say, my tongue sliding across my teeth, as I bite my lower lip.

See, I know I’m playing with fire here. But this misogynistic asshole seems intrigued. Sure he wants to kill me. But I can also sense his attraction. His eyes watching me as I circle around him. My hands sliding along his shoulders. Taunting him. He likes the chase, but this is somehow keeping his attention. Reverse psychology for the win. Ew, he’s probably one of those gross guys who likes role play.

He grabs my wrist swiftly.

“Someone likes to play rough, huh?” I say playing the part. Ugh why were 90’s slasher girls always so overly sexualized. I mean really come on.

Black Hawk, nods. I hear him, suck in a breath. He’s enjoying this. Freak. I bite my lower lip, looking up at him.

“You like taking control of women.” I say unbuttoning is suit jacket, sliding my hands up his chest. He stills. His heart beating, no pounding against his chest. He tightens his grip on my wrist, tucking his weapon away. My knife safely tucked away and velcroed to my other wrist. His hands grip my hips. As they slide across my silk slip dress, cupping my butt. His body pressed against mine. Gross. He’s liking this.

“Huh, well, do you wanna play a game?” I say, leaning into him, his neck slightly exposed. Taking it a step further, I place a dark black lip stain on his neck. He cocks his head back, and let’s out a groan.

“You like that, Black Hawk?” I whisper in his ear.

He nods, his touch becoming more intense. His grip harder, tighter. More aggressive.

“Hmm, great.” I say as I loosen his tie, unbuttoning some buttons on his collar. I place a few kisses along his neck and collar bone.

Using my feminine wiles to take notice of anything that could be a key feature. He smells like cigars and after shave. His body frame is fit, minimal chest hair, and from what I can tell, he has a tattoo over his heart. He grabs my hand before I get to fully read it.

“Off limits?” I say pouting.

He nods. Still silent. But I still can feel his heart pounding.

“You get off on feeling in control of women, right? You like playing God. Deciding which of us gets to live. Which get to die?” I say my flirting is on point. I have to say ya girl is SLAYING this interaction.

He nods. His hands sliding up my dress.

“Wait. Baby wait.” I say pulling away, pushing him gently. Pulling my dress down. Trying to cover up.

He stills, I feel his anger. He doesn’t like being led on, or told no.

“Oh no, have I upset you?”

He nods.

“I didn’t mean to. I just. Ya know. I know I came on strong. But maybe we can just slow it down a bit.”

He shakes his head no.

“But I said no.”

“No one, says no, to me” he says finally uttering his first words. His voice deep, husky and without any trace of sympathy.

“Well, it’s not a no, it’s a not right now. We just met, maybe we just need to take it one step at a time.” I say pretending to stumble over my own feet as I back away.

He shakes his head no.

“Are you going to kill me now?” I say fearfully.

He nods yes, silently. Back to the silent treatment.

“Ok. Ok, wait…we were doing so well. Let’s play a game first. You like to play games right?” I say as I continue to back away from him.

He slowly follows. His glare, dark, evil. And oddly enough, kind of familiar. Could this be someone I’ve met before? In passing. Or if slasher film history would have it, could this be someone that I actually know?

He nods. Calmly as he advances. He reaches for his weapon once again.

“Ok, let’s play, a game.” I say my voice appearing shaky.

This could easily get out of control. But I remain focused. On course. My mission set in stone. He reaches me. Standing before me, he raises his rake, and I swiftly pull out my hair comb knife and stab him in the stomach before he could stab me.

“Now how about you run, and I chase you?” I say staring into his dark eyes as he falls to his knees, groaning. His rake falling to the floor.

TO BE CONTINUED…

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Thursday!

-<3-

Black Nightingale- Chapter 2- She Lies In Wait

Black Nightingale- The Prey That Hunts Back

Chapter 2: She Lies In Wait

Nevina’s Narration:

My heeled boots click clack on the concrete floor. It’s a comforting sound. Silver spikes up the back of the heel. My long legs exposed to the fall chill. A black short slinky satin slip dress, paired with a faux leather jacket with black feathers dancing along the lapel. For accessories I pair it with a pair of leather fingerless gloves donned with silver spikes, and dark black midnight lipstick. Who says you can’t look fashionable while hunting. Am I right? The final touch. The mask. Black. Bird-like. A Black Nightingale. The prey that hunts back.


Strutting about the New York City streets like I own it, you think men would take a hint. With a get up like this, it should scream fuck off. And yet they don’t. Far from it.

I still. Feeling his eyes on me. His hands just minutes away from touching my body. “Hey girl….you uh wanna need a reason to reapply that lipstick?” He slaps my ass forcefully. And I laugh to myself because well honey… he just doesn’t quite know who he’s messing with. One swift turn and kick. Right in the crotch.

“Ughhh…ahhhhh…oh fuck, girl what the hell is wrong with you?” he grunts, doubling over in pain.

“Oh, I’m sorry. You looked like you were asking for it.” I say as my knee retracts from his special place. Going around talking to women like that something tells me it’s not that special.

“Let me let you in on a little secret” I say as I lean into his ear, my voice holding a breathy whisper as I pull what can be easily mistaken for a tube of lipstick from my jacket pocket, pop the cap off and a silver shine emerges from the blade. I hold it flush against his chin, “You know what they say about The Nightingale, how it sings beautiful songs. This is me singing. For all women. The nights…they belong to us now. Be a dear and spread the word to all your pervy little friends, would you?”

Straightening my posture like the classy lady that I am, I saunter away leaving him rolling in pain and let’s be honest… fear. I know to some it may seem like overkill. An overreaction to a minor discretion. A cat call. Slip of the hand. I mean I should take his interest as a compliment. Flattery. Sense the sarcasm? The way women are treated as they walk the night is a load of bullshit. And anyone who tells you different well, they are just imbeciles. You don’t know how fucking fed up I am. Or maybe you’re starting to. Put your hands on a woman unwarranted and I will ruin you.

*Black Nightingale.* Credit

A series of images, pasted on a cork board. A map of New York City. Red X’s marking what could only be seen as hot spots. Dark Alleys, Train Stations, Parks, Jogging Trails. Nevina’s slender hand places her Black Nightingale mask on a nearby end table as she tosses her weapons down too. She lets out a sigh.

“It’s been a long night,” she says flopping down on her couch, and lifting her legs onto her coffee table. She clicks on her TV.

A newscast humming in the background of the dimly lit room.

“Just this morning an early jogger phoned in what she could only comment on as a gruesome attack. A young unidentified woman was found dead in Harrison Park. There are no concrete suspects at this time, but the NYPD did pull some neighboring camera footage and we see a man in a mask walking away. Officers are on the scene and working to bring whoever did this to justice.”

Nevina sits up, she raises the volume. Her eyes transfixed on the TV.

“He’s back…,” she says to herself. “The Black Hawk, he’s back.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Wednesday!

-<3-

Black Nightingale- Chapter 1- The New Threat

Black Nightingale- The Prey That Hunts Back

Chapter 1- The New Threat

Present Day

Midnight. Rolling fog. Slight precipitation in the air. A light fall breeze. A young brunette woman, with olive skin and brown eyes is walking in the middle of a New York City park, heading home. The lamp posts, casting a halo like glow around itself in the fog.

Her outfit- rather modest. With the exception of some classy cleavage. Suddenly she feels an eerie gust of wind that stops her in her tracks. She shivers, pulling her jacket closed. She glances behind her…nothing out of the ordinary. She turns and is met with a sleek black suited gentleman in a bird- like mask.

“You scared me. Cool costume. But it’s a little early for Halloween, isn’t it?” she says with a laugh, as she starts to walk past him.

His gloved hand stops her, his fingers clasping her wrist tightly.

“Hey, let me go,” she says pulling her arm, trying to break free.

He pulls out a small garden tool. His head tilting to the side, ever so slightly. Silent. Controlled movements. Dark eyes. He slides the small rake teethed tool down her neck meeting her cleavage.

“Get your hands off me,” she says… “What are you gonna do…rake me to death? … Fall Basic Asshole, I bet you sip on pumpkin spice lattes in your spare time. Whatever this is, it’s not sexy. Its creepy.” she says pulling her wrist free, she walks away in a huff. Her footsteps quick.

She turns back one more time and he’s somehow vanished. Gone. She sighs, relieved. Turning to go on her merry way, she’s met with his masked face yet again, starring back at her,

“What the hell do you want from me Wall Street?” she says annoyed, her fear now really starting to kick in.

He brings his weapon swiftly through her chin, the small rake splitting through her face. Her eyes bulging out of her head. The dark red blood gushing out as she falls to the cold, wet ground. Kneeling down, the masked man pulls the weapon from her head, as it makes a violent thrashing, sticky sound.

He stands towering over his victim. Cocking his head to the side, ever so slightly. Like a predator hovering over his nightly prey.

He takes a silk brown handkerchief from his suit pocket and wipes his rake weapon clean, tossing it in the blood pooling near the young woman’s lifeless body. Securing it away, he straightens his tie and fixes his collar as he calmly walks away. Back into the night. No one around to witness his violent crime.

* “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy begins to play.*

PLAY SONG

Nevina Luna and her neighbor Gregory “Greg” Gavin take turns knocking around a punching bag at their local gym.

“You’ve got it all wrong Luna…I Know What You Did Last Summer is such a better slasher film than Scream.”

“What?” Nevina says gasping as she kicks the punching bag he’s holding, he moves his face out of the way just in time.

“Ghost face really? He’s not scary. Now a guy with a hook for a hand. That’s creepy!”

“Oh ghost face is so creepy. I mean he’s not. But he is. I just think it’s the lurking and the stalking and the idea that he’s masked that creeps people out. That’s what does it for me, at least.” She shrugs as they move to the boxing ring.

Nevina comes at him with a right hook and Greg ducks blocking his face with his boxing gloves.

“Damn it, Luna. You’ve got one hell of a right hook.” He chuckles as he steps back.

She laughs. “You bet your ass I do,” she says as she throws him a sly smirk.

He looks at her. An uncertain look in his eye.

“What?” She says.

“Nothing,” Greg says looking away.

“Gavin what?” She laughs punching him in the shoulder playfully.

“You just…you have really pretty eyes, Luna.” He says seriously.

“Why Gregory Gavin are you flirting with your neighbor/best friend since forever?” she says dramatically.

“Now would I do that? What kind of man do you think I am?” He says laughing.

They share a laugh. “Come on I’m just messing with you, let’s go get some tacos. I’m buying,” Nevina says sauntering away.” Greg rolls his eyes at her as they follow her, with a longing look. A sweet smile on his lips.

“Hey are we still doing movie night tonight?” he asks.

“Yes for sure. You pick the horror film, I’ll bring the candy?”

“Deal,” Greg says smiling.

“But I do have an early morning so can we make it an early showing.” She says smiling at him as she bats her eyelashes at him jokingly.

“Yea, sure. Luna where are you always going?” he says puzzled as they head out of the gym doors and onto the sidewalk.

“Places to go, people to see, my friend,” she says smirking at him.

TO BE CONTINUED…

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Tuesday!

-<3-

Black Nightingale-Dreamcasting

Characters:

Nevina Luna” Dream casting- Jeanine Mason

“Amelia Luna” Dream casting- Gina Rodriguez

“Gregory Gavin” Dream casting- Regé-Jean Page

“Matthew Clyde” Dream casting- Michael Ealy

“Sindy Drake” Dream casting- Neve Campbell

A spooky season short story COMING SOON to michelle leigh writes!!!!

*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*

For daily updates on this project follow me on instagram @michelleleighwritesvibes

Happy Monday!

-<3-

Michelle Leigh Writes- Short Story Series Collection [UPDATED 2021]

Hey guys, I know it’s been a while since I last posted. I have decided to keep this blog going for when I wish to post long stories. I believe the kids are calling them Serials, these days. I’ve featured quite a few *NEW* Short Story Series on this blog since my last Collection Update, and I thought I’d do a new post including little summaries of each and the links to start reading them! In case you feel like diving into some dramatic love stories. So please, read at your leisure. 😉

These stories are for a more MATURE AUDIENCE- Reader Discretion Advised.

Mysterious Attraction (12 Chapters-3 parts each)

mysterious attraction poster
movie poster new

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: Lexie is a power house, a femme fatale with a rather dangerous job description. She is soon forced to balance her need for control with her ever cryptic view on love and happiness. As an overly intense affair comes to light with a handsome yet kind man named Carter. Their attraction and pull strong. Lexie is forced to face some harsh realities about who she is and what she really wants her life to be. Her feelings are growing and it isn’t something she expected. Falling from lust to love with a married man was not part of her plan. What scares her even more…he’s falling back.

A Broken Heart For Christmas (6 Chapters)

broken heart for christmas
Lucy and dean 3

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: Dean Sanders broke Lucy Michaelson’s heart years ago back in their home town of Oakland Valley, Minnesota. And since then she’s moved on- moved to New York, started her dream career. And so has he, or so they both thought. Everyone knew their story, knew their love was lost. But little does everyone know…there was always more to their story, more than Lucy ever let on. Follow their journey through awkward run ins and past memories- both good and bad.

Love Conflicted (12 Chapters)

Official full cast photo movie poster
Love conflicted new poster

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: Maggie is the crisp, clean, girl next door. Always playing it safe, always doing the right thing, risk is not a word she would use in her everyday vocabulary. But when she falls in love with Ricky- a man in the mob, she realizes that life is not always black and white. As danger creeps in, emotions heighten in this thrilling, yet sweet love story.

On The Run (10 Chapters)

ontherunposter
New poster

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: When Sage Renly finds herself running for her life, a mysterious stranger shows up in just the nick of time- Charlie Steinfeld. He becomes her ally and confident against her better judgement. It seems like their connection is unexplainable-almost as if it’s out of their hands.  This is more than your typical two strangers finding each other by chance and falling in love, story. There are dark secrets hidden in the eyes of these characters, and as every mystery goes- there’s always more than what meets the eye.

*Welcome Home (9 Chapters)

Poster 1
Cast poster

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: Melanie Evans was so close to having it all, and then tragedy struck. Something that years later she still can’t overcome. There is only one person in the world who can help, who can understand her-Oliver King, her college sweetheart. And yet he is miles away- both literally and figuratively. When Melanie returns to her hometown, old memories stir up old feelings. So many different feelings. Will she be able to get out of her own way to achieve the happiness she’s dreamed of all along? Or will she stay in isolation and despair unable to let go of her painful past.

*MOVE (30 Chapters)

Start the series from the beginning-HERE

Summary: Liam Whitmore is a wealthy business executive who goes through the motions of working in his corporate world day after lousy day, making deals and kicking ass at it. However he often feels uninspired, and unable to do what he really loves. Until one day he meets a younger woman named Aria Lenz, struggling to become a dancer. Her simplistic yet driven nature strikes up a spark of inspiration in him, and he makes it his mission to get to know her. Little does he know, it’ll be the hardest “transaction” he’s ever had to make. They’re worlds apart- will he finally get through to her, or will his fire fizzle?

*CRAZY STALKER LOVE (21 Chapters)

Start the series from the beginning- HERE

Summary: Henley Hendrix is a badass who doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do. She has always had an intense and complicated history with her ex boyfriend Hunter Stone. Some may even go as far to say, that his love for her has always exceeded any normal standard. They have a painful past that she can’t seem to get over, but she also can’t seem to let him go either. While selfishly hanging onto their intimacy, in the mist of her on again/off again relationship with Hunter, Henley starts seeing a new, dark, mysterious Mr. Perfect. But everything isn’t always as it seems to be.



*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits.*

*All short stories are of my own written content.*

*For more updates on my writer’s journey follow my writer’s instagram @michelleleighwrites_vibes

-<3-

Happy Golden Birthaversary MLW! + Writer’s Update!

Happy New Year!!!
“A new year full of cheer my dear!” 🙂

It has recently dawned on me that today is MLW’s (michelle leigh writes) 8th Birthday/Anniversary. Which I’ve decided to name Birthaversary. It’s crazy to think that 8 years ago, I decided to finally start sharing my writing. I have always been scared to admit that I was a writer. But I’ve realized over the past 8 years that is part of who I am. Even if I’m not posting all the time. Writing will never really leave me. I always come back to it in some way. Being that I am celebrating MLW’s 8th birthday on January 8th, I wanted to do a little GOLDEN birthday inspired post to celebrate.

A GOLDEN BIRTHDAY is when the stars align and you turn the same age as your birthday – (8 on the 8th).

It is said to be lucky. So cheers to some luck this new year. We all know we could use it after 2020.

Happy Birthaversary Michelle Leigh Writes!!!!

I thank you for being my safe place. My heart. My memories.

And although I haven’t posted consistently much, I will still be keeping this blog alive in order to share my writing when I feel to- mostly for the longer pieces. I already have so many Short Story Series on here for you to browse. Otherwise I will be sharing on my writer’s instagram more consistently. So please do follow! @michelleleighwrites_blog (I shared a lot of poetry back in April for “Escapril”)

My most recent Short Story Series “Move” was finally finished in 2020 here on MLW. So I wanted to give that a bit of a shout out!

Feel free to start it from the beginning HERE

FOR A MATURE AUDIENCE!!!

I created a December Series called Writer’s Wonderland over on my writer’s instagram @michelleleighwrites_blog. I’ve been a lot more consistent on that platform. I’ve been sharing a lot of my writing on there this past year! My Writer’s Wonderland consisted of sharing poetry, short story series read a-louds on instagram stories, Short Story Excerpts, and lastly as mentioned in my last post, I wrote a children’s audio book- CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ! 🙂

I also have my New Year inspired Short Story Series Collection HERE too! If you wish to stick to a bit of a holiday theme! 🙂

I’ve learned so much over this past year. I’ve done so much reflection, wondering, healing, and I’ve been so much more open to change. Because the truth is, this past year, we had very little control over what was happening in the world, and that made me really understand that we really only have control over how we handle things. How we react or respond. So breathe, pray, talk it out, feel what you need to feel, play your music loud, dance it out, binge watch all the Netflix, video chat your loved ones, eat the chocolate, drink the wine, laugh. Because the now is important. The present moment is important. However, I also feel it is important to note, that if your present moment isn’t a happy one, know that pain is temporary. Better days are coming. Cheers to a new year. I am sending love and light and many prayers to all of you out there for a safe, happy and healthy year. Stay safe, wear a mask!

And in MLW fashion…I leave you with an inspirational song…

Thanks for reading!

Stay Tuned!

All my love,

-<3-

Michelle Leigh

Move- Chapter 30 (The Final Chapter)

MOVE poster

parental-advisory-explicit-

Previously on Move– Read Chapter 29 HERE

Catch up from the beginning HERE

A Month Later

Aria stands in front of a painting of a beautiful woman. Caramel complexion, golden eyes, a red flowy dress, painted as if it’s whipping in the breeze. Her expression one of ease, yet determination in her craft. Arms and legs shaded and toned. A flower gently planted in her hair. Sexual, Sensual, Spiritual. All wrapped in this one being.

She stares at it in awe. Her golden brown eyes fall on the card posted to the side of the art work. Artist- Anonymous.

“Aria,” he says. And she immediately knows his voice.

She slowly turns and gives him a small smile.

“Liam,” she says.

“I’m surprised to see you here, Lov-” he says and stopping himself before finishing his word of adoration for her.

Aria looks away obviously uncomfortable, her hands folding in front of her chest.

“Sorry, habit,” he says smirking that sexy smirk.

Damn it, Aria thinks as her heart beat quickens just being near him.

Aria smiles simply. Poker face she thinks.

“You look…amazing,” he says his eyes looking her over, as she notices he can see her fidget under his gaze.

“So do you,” she says her eyes meeting his.

“Aria. I-” he begins to say.

“Look Liam, I don’t think I can do this, I’m gonna go, Congratulations on the new business,” she says turning away. Liam catches her hand. She freezes at the feel of his touch.

“You can’t what? You can’t talk to me?” he says not letting her off that easy.

“Look, we just don’t belong together, and we need to both just accept that and move on,” she says looking away from his intense glare.

“Oh you mean like you did with Marco?” he asks his jaw tightening at the mere thought of her with another man.

Aria looks at him, “That’s not…you don’t know what you’re talking about,” she says shaking her head at him and huffing.

“Aria we weren’t even broken up a week before you slept with him.” He says his eyes burning into hers.

Aria pulls her hand away from his, her eyes flickering a mixture of anger and offense.

“This conversation is over,” she says turning on her heel quickly, as she struts off.

Liam follows quickly after, his determination clear.

“Aria…. Hey…” he says yelling after her.

“You have no idea, what you’re talking about. I never slept with Marco. Maybe you should get your facts straight.” She says placing her hands on his chest and pushing him away.

Liam grabs her hands, holding them against him.

“You didn’t?” he says, his heart melting.

“Do you honestly think I could do that to you, to us? You and I…you meant more to me than that. I couldn’t just hop into bed with someone after what we had. And it sucks that you don’t know that.” She says rolling her eyes and pulling away from him.

“Hey,” he says pulling her back toward him, so close that they are breathing in the same air. “I’m sorry, I overheard people at the office saying how they knew he had a crush on you, and how he had been wanting to ask you out. I guess I just…I let my mind wander. Besides what am I supposed to think when you leave in the middle of the night after we have sex and you leave me a good bye note. I mean really love?” he says annoyed and not caring if he uses his sweet pet name for her.

“You know what Liam that just goes to show that you and I, we don’t know each other. And clearly we don’t trust each other,” she says glaring at him.

Her words hit Liam hard. “You don’t mean that,” he says wrapping his arms around her waist, as he leans in inches from her lips.

“Liam…don’t” she says her eyes flickering up to meet his.

“Would you stop me?” he says staring right into her soul.

Aria stills, she couldn’t move even if she wanted to. He wasn’t letting her go.

“Let’s find out,” he says brushing his lips against hers gently, and then kissing her passionately once he felt her relax into his arms.

Aria wraps her arms around his neck as Liam tightens his grip around her, his hands gripping her hips.

Suddenly Aria pulls away.

“Stop. What are we doing?” she says covering her mouth.

“Aria, I love you, ok, that hasn’t changed. Whatever issues there are between us, we can work them out.”

“I’m not sure that we can, Liam. All we do is go in circles. And nothing ever gets solved. It’s exhausting. I can’t do it anymore.”

“You don’t even wanna try? Do you not love me, anymore, is that it?”

Aria looks up at him, tears in her eyes.

“This isn’t about that.”

“I need to know Aria. Do you still love me?”

“I do love you. But our issues are bigger than you think. Liam you and I are from two entirely different worlds. You are used to having everything go your way, and everyone worshipping at your feet. I am used to the opposite. I’ve really had to work hard for what I have. And I’m not saying that you haven’t, but I need you to acknowledge your privilege. You grew up in a wealthy family. Money opens doors Liam. And I’m not trying to judge you for that, but that’s not how I live my life.”

“You’re acting like I throw money at everything Aria, that’s not fair. Since the day I met you, I’ve always respected you.”

“I know you called in a favor for the showcase, Jennifer Lopez was never scheduled to show,” she blurts out.

Liam stills, “Aria, let me explain…” he says reaching for her as his eyes soften and his voice drops.

“So what was it? Did you not have faith that I could get an offer on my own?”

“Of course not. I think you are incredibly talented. I just wanted to help increase your chances. I knew how much this all meant to you, how much Jennifer meant to you and I just-” He says as he sees the pain in her eyes.

“You know part of me thinks that maybe you’re ashamed of me. That maybe you agree with your mother and the rest of high profile society. That maybe you don’t necessarily think I’m cut out to be your wife the way that I am.”

“Aria…that could not be further from the truth. I adore you. I love you. All of you. Everything about you. I wouldn’t wanna change you, ever.  How could you even think that?” he says heartbroken.

Aria shrugs her shoulders.

“Look somewhere deep down, we both knew this thing had an expiration date.”

Liam laughs sarcastically, “Really? So every night that we made love and we’d exchange I love yous, that didn’t mean anything to you?” he says glaring at her.

“It fizzled. Liam. Ok. Just get over it.” She says.

“No. It hasn’t. It never will. And that’s why you’re pulling away. Because you’re scared. No I’m sorry, petrified.” He says his hands on his hips, challenging her. Pushing her into an emotional corner.

Aria looks at him, her eyes beginning to tear up.

“I get that this is a lot. I get that we are different. That you’re scared. I get scared sometimes too. Do you think I went to that event expecting to fall in love? This whole thing has made me into a completely different person. In the best possible way. I never expected to ever feel like this about someone. This connected. This in awe. You are everything I never knew I needed. And that is scary. Because I know when you love someone as much as I love you, there’s always that fear that now there’s something to lose. But Aria when I weigh it all out, the scariest thing I can think of, is not being with you. Because whether you want to believe it or not, you are the love of my life.”

Aria looks away, tears spilling onto her cheeks.

“Liam I just-”

“It’s ok, you don’t have to say anything right now. Take your time,” he says lifting her hand and placing an engagement ring in the center of her palm. “Call me when you’re ready to talk,” he says as he gives her a sweet kiss on the cheek before walking towards his little office in the back of the gallery.

Aria stands dumbfounded as she stares at the ring in her hand.

***

Aria walks into the art gallery. Late one night. Just before closing.

Liam spots her instantly as he excuses himself from the last few visitors lingering around.

“Good evening,” he says rather professionally, but a slight smirk on his face.

“Hi, do you have a second to talk?” she asks.

“For you? Always.” He says cocking his head toward the back room, as he leads the way, Aria follows.

Liam sits at the wooden desk, as he gestures to Aria, “Have a seat.”

Aria smiles and sits across from him.

“So what did you want to talk about? Is there a painting you’re interested in?” he says with a smile.

“This is all very business-y.” Aria says waving her hand between the two of them.

“Well, I know how you don’t like mixing business with pleasure, so I just assume you were here for a painting,” he says rubbing his hands together. A hint of a smirk playing on his lips.

“Don’t mess with me, Whitmore,” she says narrowing her gaze at him.

Liam laughs, “Oh see now I’m offended, you didn’t see anything that you liked?”

Aria gives him a sassy, annoyed look.

“I was talking about the art work, what did you think I meant?” he says with a smile.

Aria rolls her eyes rather dramatically and looks away with a huff.

“Hey,” he says his voice softening as he leans forward, “Just talk to me.”

“You know what, now that you mention it, there is a painting that I would like to inquire about.”

“Hmm, really?” Liam says with a smile, “Well by all means, lead the way.”

Aria walks ahead as Liam watches her hips sway, she calls over her shoulder, “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing?” she says as Liam chuckles and follows.

Aria and Liam stand in front of that same painting of the woman in red. By this time the gallery has fully emptied and Liam’s Coworker had left a note saying that she locked the door behind her.

“Look at this painting. Look at those colors. She’s such wonder. She’s so free and empowered. I wish I could dance like that. I wish I could just be half as mesmerizing as she is.”

Liam looks over at her, his eyes flickering a look of pure love, “You are.”

“Liam…you don’t have to-” she starts.

“I’m not. I’m just telling you the truth. The girl in the painting, she’s you.”

“What?” Aria says confused.

“You’re my muse.” He says smiling and shrugging.

“Wait you…you painted this?” she says looking at him in awe.

“Yea…” he says his voice above a whisper.

“Liam…it’s breathtaking. Honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it,” she says looking at the painting.

“Funny…the whole reason I started painting again was because I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Seeing you dance, watching your face light up, because you were doing something you loved, something you are so completely meant to do. You just sparked something in me. That, and you know you’ve got quite the body, love. I definitely had fun watching you from afar,” he says giving her that sexy smirk of his as his eyes glance her over.

“Hmm, isn’t that something stalkers usually say?” she says pursing her lips as she places her hands on her hips.

“Can I kiss you yet?” he asks breathlessly as he reaches for her.

Aria smiles and nods as Liam sighs, pulling her into a kiss.

“I love you so much, and I just wanna be with you,” Aria says looking up at him.

“I love you too, so much, so so much” he says cupping her face and kissing her again.

Aria smiles against his lips as they continue to kiss, each one more intense then the next.

“Take me home,” she whispers her hands sliding from his neck down to rest on his chest. Their eyes locked in a heated glare.

“You read my mind, love,” he says as he grabs her hand and pulls her toward the back door that leads to the parking area where his car waits.

“Wait…” he says stopping and turning toward her, “You promise me that this is it right? We’re really doing this? You and me? Forever?  Because I can’t keep losing you,” he asks cupping her face in his hands as he stares into her eyes.

“Forever,” Aria says as she leans in and presses her lips against his.

“Where’s that ring?” he whispers against her lips.

Aria pulls away and smiles as she reaches for the thin chain around her neck, she unclips it and slides off the ring handing it to him.

Liam stares at her his eyes filling, he smiles, as he kneels down on one knee.

“Aria, you are my everything. I cannot imagine my life without you. You ignite a light in me that I didn’t even know I had. I love you with everything I have, and I just want the chance to make you as happy as you’ve made me. Will you marry me?”

“Yes,” Aria says as the tears spring from her eyes, Liam’s smile is beaming. He slides the ring on her finger as it glistens in the florescent lights.

Aria cups his face as she pulls him up into a kiss.

***

Aria sits still on her and Liam’s marriage bed. Her left hand glistening a diamond ring and matching band. Her eyes land on their wedding photo on her nightstand.

Their wedding was planned rather quickly, it was simple, yet beautiful, with just a few close friends and family. Gertrude even attended and managed to muster up her congratulations. But there is still a long way to go in mending family fences. Evelyn “Sky” was the bigger person and started the conversation.

Aria’s bags are all packed and set by the door. Suddenly she feels unable to leave. Her heart heavy, her mind hazy.

But how can I leave for a year? We just got married? She thinks.

As if he could hear her inner thoughts Liam comes into the room, a small smile on his lips.

“Hey you, you about ready?” he asks and then his smiles turns to a look of concern when he sees the tears building in her eyes.

“Hey hey, Aria, love, what is it?” he says walking over to her as he kneels before her.

“I don’t feel right about this? About leaving you for a year. Seriously what was I thinking saying yes to this? We JUST got married,” she says standing up in frustration.

“Hey…we talked about this. You agreed to this before we got married. And it’s okay. We’re gonna be okay.”

“What if you resent me later for it?”

“That’s never going to happen.” He says shaking his head.

“What if you meet someone else when I’m gone and you realize she’s…?” she says, her eyes avoiding his.

“That’s NEVER gonna happen,” he says glaring at her sternly as he takes her hands in his. “Aria, we’re married. You’re my wife. The love of my life. This is forever.”

Aria nods.

“Being away from you is definitely not my ideal situation. But we’ll find a way to make it work. Like we always do….together.” he says, his voice low, his stare gentle.

Aria’s eyes soften as she melts into his arms.

“I love you,” she says hugging him tightly.

“I love you too,” he says smiling as he kisses her forehead. “And you know…there are a few things that you’re forgetting…” he says peering down at her.

Aria looks up at him expectantly, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Phone sex and frequent flyer miles, love.” He says with a sexy grin.

Aria throws her head back with a laugh.

“Absolutely,” she says raising her eyebrows and pulling him into a kiss.

***

3 Months Later…

Aria throws a pillow at her dance mate as she laughs.

There’s a knock at the door, “I’ll get it,” Aria says getting off the bed and reaching for the hotel door.

Aria’s face falls in shock as a smiling Liam leans against the hall way wall. A duffle bag at his feet.

“Liam!” she screams jumping into his arms.

Her dance mate peeks her head out from the closet.

“As in hot husband Liam?” she asks, hanging up her dance gear and joining them.

“Yes, in the flesh!” Aria says happily turning to him as she places her hands on his chest, “What are you doing here?”

“I had some downtime this month from the art gallery, so I figured, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen my wife in person.”

Aria pouts, her heart melting.

“Are you surprised?” he asks his smile big and bright.

“Yes, and I’m so incredibly happy!” she says doing a little dance.

Liam laughs as his eyes flicker a sign of all the love he has for her.

Aria turns to her roommate, “Hey…Monica, do you mind…”

“Leaving, so you guys can get it on? Yea I’m already gone,” she says laughing as she exits the room, closing the door behind her.

“Thank you!” Aria calls after her. She smiles once the door closes. Turning swiftly on her heel she faces Liam.

Sighing dramatically, they both fall into a passionate kiss as they frantically start to undress each other.

“I’ve missed you,” Aria says breathlessly against his lips as hotel sheets wrap them in their own private oasis.

“I’ve missed you too, my love. So much,” he says cupping her face in his hands and kissing her deeply. As if he was making up for all the time they’ve spent apart. Their bodies move together in perfect unison.

Liam reaches his hand for hers as he intertwines them above their heads, his wedding band glistening on his left hand. As her rings match the glisten with a sparkle of their own upon her hand as it grips his neck.

***

Aria and Liam lay on the hotel couch before a crackling fire. Wrapped up in comfy white hotel robes.

“So you’ve been over to see Yolanda, yes?” Aria asks looking over at Liam as she takes a sip of her wine.

“Yes. I stop by at least once a week,” he says nodding with a smile.

“How is she feeling? Any morning sickness?”

“Don’t you talk to her every day?” he says with a laugh.

“Yes, but I just wanna make sure she’s not downplaying things because she knows if she needs me, I’ll be there…”

“Aria, baby. She is doing really well. No morning sickness. But love you’re forgetting something. Both you and Yolanda, have husbands now.” He says with a smile.

“Ugh, baby I know. I love you, and I am so grateful I bumped into you that day at that catering event,” she says with a laugh as she cups his face. “But…it was just Me, Yolanda and Layla for a while and they were really my only family. Before I met you, they were the ones that got me through everything. I guess I just want to make sure that they know I would drop everything for them, the same way they always did for me.”

“They know. Don’t worry, they know.” Liam says with a sweet smile as he lifts her hand to place a kiss on it.

“And how’s Layla? I know she got her own place. Is it as cute as the pictures she sent? Did you hang those shelves for her? And-”

“Mounted the TV, put together her futon, made sure her locks were secure and that all of her smoke detectors had batteries….yes,” Liam says smiling at his wife as he lists all his brother in law duties.

Aria pouts, “I’m being a nag, aren’t I?”

“No, I know you worry about your family, but baby, I’ve got them. They’re my family now too, love,” he says looking at her in a way that gives her butterflies still til this day.

“Ugh,” she says grabbing his face into her hands, “God, I love you,” she says giving his a sweet kiss on his lips.

Liam smiles against her lips, “I love you too,” he whispers. “So…while we’re on the subject of family…I was just wondering…when do you wanna start making some little ones of our own?” he asks his eyes full of wonder.

“Hmm,” Aria says making a surprised yet intrigued expression. “I don’t know. I mean, I feel like my career is just finally taking off…”

“Do you not want to have kids?” Liam asks, his eyes casting down.

“Of course I do. I just don’t think I have a timeline in mind for that yet. But we can definitely start talking about it.” She says with a smile.

“Mmm how about we table that conversation for now. We can revisit it after the tour ends.”

“Hey, I didn’t mean to upset you, I do want a family with you,” she says cupping his face in her hands.

“Well good.” He says with a chuckle. “Now, how about I just kiss you until I have to leave?” he smirks covering her lips with his as he pulls the rope on her robe.

Aria moans in agreement as she wraps her body around his once more.

Their love continuing to grow with each kiss, each breath, each movement.

A love story…that has only just begun.

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-The End-

*I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or otherwise.*

-<3-