Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Story of the Storyteller Part 2 (The storyteller's family and how writing and storytelling are different)

Alright, using a quick recap.  I have five children-- technically.

Megan is my oldest daughter and she has a two year old son (Alex)  he's one of the womb warped twins.

Rebecca, my next oldest daughter, is Tory's birth mother (Tory is the other half of the womb warped twins).

Hope is my sixteen year old super girl (she's graduated and taking a CNA class because she decided it was the first step she could take to becoming a nurse-midwife.  She has been working somewhere between twenty-thirty hours a week for the last seven months since she got her first job literally two weeks after she turned sixteen, and all this time she has been battling an illness that sends her to bed for days at a time.  She still always has a smile and kind words for everyone and works on her dreams no matter what's going on with her health 99% of the time-- that all qualifies her for super girl).

Peter is my only son.  He is twelve and  has battled with learning disabilities and handicaps all his life.  He's my conqueror like Alexander the Great.  Our battle this summer was restoring his sight from almost blind in his left eye to almost normal sight and correctable with glasses.  He's my almost super boy because he has had so much to overcome in his twelve years-- but his almost teenage attitudes don't quite get him there YET.  We keep working out 'tude problems, so hopefully he'll get to super boy status!

Then there is Tory, who we adopted when she was almost a year old--  She's my Joy girl plain and simple. Like her beloved 'Aunt Hopee' she always has an easy smile!

So these are my story providers for the most part.  These are the real live characters in my ongoing life story.

Tory will have a smaller part because she is still so small--  Just don't let size fool you; she is pint-size energy and attitude!  She keeps us all hopping and laughing.

Now, Megan is my super great writer person.  She is the most awesome editor!  She's the one that can take my story and add incredible dazzle without changing my story except to make it more interesting by a million! She is also a publicist extraordinaire and the person you definitely want to go to if you are trying to navigate social media and websites, or the internet in general. But by her own admission she is not a storyteller.  She can write stellar articles and she can take what I see and write down the details I have in my brain better than anyone I know, but she doesn't have that filter thing for stories.  She was the first person to give me a glimpse of the difference between writing and storytelling.

Rebecca is my picture writer.  She draws out her inner world, and journals by drawing and painting.  I can tell her what I see and she can draw it out in a picture, and she can help others to see her reality even if they do not like it. She can even draw emotion and you really do feel it.  She is the person that drew the cover for The Key to Her Heart.  Simply put, she is incredibly talented. I am not even close!  But I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination.  Drawing a decent stick figure is difficult for me.  Telling a story is not her thing though.

Hope is my researcher, tender heart, and goto person for anything to do with natural health, vitamins, and believe it or not copy center things.  She is an absolute miracle worker with children.  She seriously thought she was going to be a teacher until she spent time in a classroom as a volunteer.  It wasn't the children that made her change her mind, but the district politics she got first hand introduction to.  She is my detail person where personality comes to.  She can read a person quicker and more discreetly than anyone I know.   She pulls together what they say with their body language, and what she knows about them innately without too much thought, and she's darn close to a 100% correct. She is becoming more of a speaker than either a storyteller or writer, though she can do both.

Peter is my storyteller.  He can spin a story about anything or anyone and, unlike me, has not a bone of shyness.  He is able to tell you all about it as if it happened.  In fact the first few times you hear one of his tales you will be shocked to find that most details came from his imagination (some would say overactive imagination).  He is fun to listen to and has captivated our whole neighborhood.  They love to listen to him and he loves the attention his gift brings to him.  The only problem with it is he tends to embellish even real events, and change the facts of things he doesn't want you to find out about.  Yes, though it tends to be getting better now that he has faced a few consequences, he does lie.  I am trying to teach him to write so he has a place to take his stories.  Some of them are incredibly good.  He also likes it when I read him things like the Chronicles of Narnia and stories from a book of heroes that I've had for all my children.  He loves it when I help him write down history details and let him embellish what he's learned to his hearts content.  He will tell me that Charlemagne wanted his grandfather's kingdom, and was glad when he became the sole ruler.  Adjective, adverbs, and prepositional phrases are his best friends not because he loves English or writing, but because they give him a way to describe what he gets inside of him naturally.  I expect as he gets more comfortable with reading and writing he will be more of a writer as I am, but I don't know with his propensity to tell his stories where ever we are  he could be some kind of speaker--  an attorney, a priest, a salesman-- I don't know.  He is a storyteller, and that seems to be his strongest gifting.

In alot of ways Meg and I are alike.  We are both writers and really have fun with the writing process.  But in many more ways Peter and I are identical. Seeing the world through eyes that view through details and telling an altered form to an audience seems to drive both of us internally and gives great pleasure.  Rebecca gets that kind of joy from drawing her world.  Megan gets that kind of enjoyment from singing.  Tory and Hope both seem to derive pleasure from the smiles they receive from others or helping people.  Tory though we will have to see where her giftings are as she gets older.  Maybe I'll have another storyteller-- you never know.

So that's the whole thought process I had with the differences between being a writer and a storyteller, and I hope my descriptions and opinions did not offend.  In the process I guess you really got a way too deep analysis of my life-- or maybe just the story!
Keep reading (even when I get like this) please!  This is Cat out.

The Story of the Storyteller Part 1

There is a great difference between a writer and a storyteller.

Let me explain.

When my children were young with or without a book I would sit beside their bed and tell them a bedtime story.  Sometimes it was one about my own life.  Sometimes it was completely made up and fanciful. Sometimes it was a wonderful story written by someone else.  As they got older sometimes it was something I was writing.  It was always the lure of telling the story that caused me to sit there with them drawing them into a world far removed from their own.  It also was the draw of hearing it myself.

I love stories so much that I collect books.  We have a library of over five thousand books and my family knows that the hardest thing to give up for me are my books.  It's a world of stories to read and to tell by reading them out loud to someone else.  I would by far prefer to read than to ever sit in front of a T.V., and even much prefered over that is to work on my own story.

Even now, that is what I am doing.  One of my twitter follows/ers made a statement about storytellers, and it sparked a story in me--  The story of the storyteller.  That's me.  It started when I was born perhaps????  At least as long as I have known, the need to tell the story and hear the story has been there.  It's a part of who I am.  My father encouraged it by reading fairy tales and fantastical stories from worlds I had never seen every night to me.  They became a link to the reading world, and gave me great desire to learn to read well ( I am dyslexic and did not learn to completely understand reading until I was in seventh grade.).  After I began reading something amazing happened- I remember the very day it happened.

I was standing in the lunch area at the high school I attended and I heard a girl reading a poem she had written and I realized everything written had a person behind it that was telling me a story.  So I wrote my first poem-  I was thirteen, and it had to have been within days of my grandmother's death-- my grandmother was more like my mother.

She was the reason I lived.  Her death nearly destroyed me, but it also caused me to write just for expression of my own story that I could not tell people yet.

Realizing I could write the stories inside of me changed my world!  When I would read a book, and I didn't like the way it was written I would try to write it different--  The way I saw the story going.  When I would hear a situation I would write it from my perspective.  When something happened I would journal it and that would help me make sense of it.  In a year's time writing had given me access to my soul!  The stories had always been there.  It was just that being a ghostly shy child there was no one I would dare tell them to. Writing gave expression to that which until then was stuck inside of me with no way out.  Then at fourteen my writing changed.

Another piece of the puzzle came together.  None of my scribblings were ever connected.  They were not a cohesive flowing complete story.  As I ferociously read everything I could get my hands on, I realized each was it's own story.   Even if it was a collection of stories still they all fit together to make one complete whole.  I decided that was how I wanted to write.  I wanted people to read my stories, and wanted them to think about the story. But it had to go together into one package.

It was out of these thoughts that The Heart of the Family began.  It wasn't at all what it has become, and if anyone had read it then no one would have been able to stand it!  But it was in this time that every experience somehow went into my written story.  It was in this time I developed my filter-- if you will-- so that every event that happened to me or around me somehow morphed into something my characters would do or would happen to them.  I would put it together in my mind as I watched.  It slowed my reaction times, and made me think of what would happen if I reacted this way or that-- or how would the outcome be if this person had done this thing over here different or had walked another way instead.  In my writing I began to experiment with these variables and my characters became alive!  To my closest friends I would talk about them as if they were real!  I wonder how many people thought I was off my rocker?  How many of you reading this think that now?  To this day my characters are still a real part of my life, and everything goes through my filter and into my stories in some form or another.

Lately-- like since June-- I've had this new medium, though too.  That is this blog.  It's more like my journaling when I first started writing as a kid, and I love retouching this type of story writing.  In this I can take the topic of storytelling and turn it into a story about it.  As in this post.  Being a writer is awesome, but what it does is give flight to the stories that a very part of my soul!

There is a second part that I am going to begin right after I finish with this.  There are those that are writers and only writers, and there are storytellers that are only storytellers.  I have one of each in my family.  Then there are picture writers-- artists.  I have one of those too.  That is all a part of the second part of this though!  Keep Reading!  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

To stay or move: That is the question!

This blog has nothing to do with my book, but with my life.  Is it possible that the dark descent that my family has been through has to do with choices made in the last ten years?  I am a Byzantine Catholic.  I became such ten years ago.  I will never regret that decision for as long as I live.  It was a miraculous doing of God that was in process from the time I became a Christian in 1988.  What I do regret is living so far from my church. (four hours one way.)  Is it possible that my family being without community in essence has made for a continuous uphill  battle that has not let up in all of this ten years?  I have one daughter who turned to drugs and then to a, shall we say, 'alternative lifestyle'.  I have one daughter who struggles on every front and almost gave up the battle entirely.  I have one daughter who struggles with her health, and just prays to make it through the battles in one piece.  Finally I have a son who struggles with the battle of kindness.  He has a good heart, just a flippant mouth that he can't or won't get under control (he's twelve and struggling with rebellious tendencies too.).   So could being without a community of believers, or 'forsaking your fellowship' as scripture calls it cause this destruction?  Maybe this is over dramatic, or me just not thinking straight, but it seems in the time we have not had fellowship except when we could get to our church (started out every two weeks, then recently it's been almost impossible due to my youngest daughter's illnesses.) that life around here has been in a steady downward spiral.  We try very hard to maintain our Christianity, but how does a child understand when all the 'mentors' around him are not?  At pascha when we spend close to a week at our church I watch my son's whole attitude turn around, but then we have to come 'home'.  There begins the descent again, each time worse than the year before.

My second daughter's drug use started in our neighborhood with local kids, despite homeschooling and trying to provide good friends for her to be around.  Her lifestyle now is not something I have ever approved of, or would want for my child and very honest I am scared to the roots of my hair that my son is going to fall into a similar pattern if we don't change something drastically.  All the counselling in the world can't fix the situation you live in day in and day out if you don't work on it.  I'd say that is true for the community also.  My oldest daughter claims she feels likes she living in Earthly hell, and I really can't argue.  She has been through a hell that no child or adult should go through, and all of it has happened within this community.  When she went to California, even though more worldly, she definitely could see the difference and if it wasn't for her family being here I am sure she would have stayed there.  Here lies my battle.

Community, or lack there of, is important.  Maybe even more important than the best parenting--  but then isn't that part of parenting?  So then if we stay where we are am I being a negligent parent?   Knowing what I know?  I am asking the question.  Is security enough to keep us where we are not thriving?  I posed this question to my dad, and his answer was 'Baring the weather.  You make your own community.  If you don't like the weather then you should move.  But just because bad things happen...'  The weather is the least of my problems, but I do realize that the climate of the people do change my mood.  Living in a place where there is no support for the way you are trying to raise your family can it make it impossible?  And what if because of my beliefs my community that I made is four hours away?  Maybe my dad is right.  We do make our own community-- but I made mine at my church.  Isn't that then where my family should be?  Shouldn't we be among those that count us as friends?  Those that love us even when we don't make sense?  If that is the case, then what am I doing here?  Perhaps that is the reason that God has allowed us to face such dark times?  Maybe it is a way of letting us know we aren't suppose to be so far from what he has given us?  But then it has been so dark, that it's hard for me to see the light and see if my thoughts are right.  So I pose it here in this forum because, even if no one makes a response, just the writing it down helps me sort it out and figure out what to do.  I guess in final review the title to this one is:  'To stay or move: That is the question!'

Monday, October 14, 2013

How do I do this? Any suggestions from seasoned veteran writers out there?

Though I have been writing all my life-- or at least thirty years of my life (since a teen), I have never published before and now that I have finally gotten my book online as an e-book with the print copy coming out (finger crossed) in November, my thoughts turn to marketing.  How do I bring people's attention to my life's work?  How do I advertise something so important to me without sounding totaling like I'm tooting my own horn?  How do I bring it to attention for those who have never heard of me or this adventure? I have tried to be humble-- truly humble, not just sounding like I am-- all my life.  I don't like attention, and I don't want to say 'look at me', but yet everything I read tells me this is what I need to do.  There has to be a way to give The Key to Her Heart full light without illuminating me.  This is about the story, and how it will be healing to some, and perhaps fun for others.  I know my story is not for everyone, but how do I help the ones it will be good for to see it?  What avenues can I use?

Most of my extended family don't even seem to be interested.  How do I interest a public I don't even know?  How do I keep myself from being slightly disappointed that only a few people have even looked at it?  This story has been loved by those who have read it, but they are close to me, and now I wonder just how good it really is if those are the only ones even interested now that it is out there for the public to see, and no one  is looking.  Is this disappointment normal?  Is this all I should expect?  Or have I missed the way to do this?  Or am I taking this too personally to early, and wanting more than I have a right too?

I figure I have to do an excellent job marketing.  Maybe that is what I am missing, but then I do not know how to do that and stay within the bounds of who I am.  I need help, but I do not know who to trust for advise.  Point blank I don't know how to do this!!!!

Beyond everything else, I am scared of failure and scared even more of success, and most of all confused by the barrage of emotions I did not expect.  There is disillusionment and disappointment when I expected to be feeling as if I had finally done it.  I thought I would be ecstatic to just have my life's work story out there.  But it didn't feel any different than the moment before when I was only a writer and had not published.  Now it's like I'm saying 'I'll believe it when I've sold a thousand copies'.  Instead it is not enough.  Will that even do it? Or am I just fooling myself?

I am so bewildered by my sudden need to see it become 'popular' for lack of a better word.  At the same time I am in a place I have never been.  This publishing thing is one of my life goals that I made when I was just a child.  It has been my most important one, and now I've accomplished it.  Is this all there is to it?  Does this change my life?  Or do I remain who I have always been?  What if I only sell one copy?  or five? or ten? or even a hundred?  Will that ever be enough?  Are we just programmed to never accept what gifts we have been given?  Are we just greedy?  Or maybe it's just me.  Does anyone out there have an answer?  Please respond.  I need to hear from someone with more wisdom than me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Online!!!!!

Yes as the title says, The Key to Her Heart is now for sale online, or actually it will be in a few hours.  It has been uploaded and will be for sale for $3.99 on Kindle (amazon).  We are also loading onto other e-book sites, and are going to have a print copy, but that will take another four weeks as long as everything goes alright.

We actually did it!  I guess now I can say I am an author instead of just a writer, and anyone out there that is curious, now you can purchase The Key to Her Heart.  If you do, please e-mail me, or leave a comment and tell me what you think.  I would love to hear from you!

I guess for right now that's it.  It's been a long night, and I probably should be smart and get in bed for a few hours before babies and kids are up to start the day!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So close I can taste it!

Oh my goodness I am so excited, scared, nervous, and even a little freaked out!  Everything is almost ready, but we've run into a few hitches--  nothing that can't be handled, but a little more time-- maybe twenty-four hours maybe even forty-eight hours???  But within the next day The Key to Her Heart will be online as an e-book and I will finnnnnallly be an author!!!!!!  Oh my goodness!  I am so excited!  Yes, my Southern Californian upbringing is kinda showing through right now.  I am sooooo jumpy, like ready to get up and jump up and down like a little girl that's going to Disneyland for the first time (yes I went there ALOT when I was a kid-- to the point that it spoiled me so that midwestern amusement parks are a let down).  But this is big--  as in huge!  This has been my dream since I was fourteen-- and we won't talk about how long ago that was.  Now it's really happening.  So please bear with me as we make everything work.  Also please bear with my horrible grammar and typing errors as I haven't exactly had alot of sleep the last few days.  I promise The Key to Her Heart will be up for everyone to see very VERY soon!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Key to Her Heart sneak peek!

Hi Guys!

Hope's starting to mend.  As you may have noticed September passed, and though my goal was to get The Key to Her Heart out online, it didn't happen.

Well-- We ran into a few snags, but The Key to Her Heart I am pleased to say is on the mend also.  Meg and I should have it for sale as an e-book by --of all days-- October 7th --my anniversary.  This makes perfect sense to me since this was the day eighteen years ago that the heart of this family began, and the series I am writing is called The Heart of a Family.  So what better day to first publish my first novel?

Well, to give you a little sneak preview I thought I would post Chapter 8.  I hope you enjoy, and get ready for the great unveiling!  Yes!  I am so excited!  I hope you are too.

The Unwanted Guest

It had been two hours since Patrick had left.  Anna acutely watched the clock.  She had been back from Cheryl’s for two weeks. Though Grace had asked several times why she had been gone she couldn’t bear to talk about it.  So after a few days the questions stopped and Anna was alright with that.
Now it was late June, and still she didn’t feel comfortable with anyone.  Quietly, she wrapped her arms around herself and held back the panic that wanted to come.
No longer could she wear a watch nor have her grandmother’s key hang from her wrist, so she wore it around her neck as her grandmother had.  Anything coming near her wrists made her jump and sent her back as if she was still in that horrible bedroom tied up and unable to escape.
Groups of people were the most uncomfortable.  Tonight she was suppose to be helping to get ready for a party here at Gracie’s apartment.  A ‘summer get together’ she called it, but she knew her friend well enough to know it was a party.  There would be fifty people here in another hour or so.  She would gladly escape, but what frightened her more than anything else was Wolffe finding her alone and defenseless again.  She wanted safety even though she didn’t want to deal with how ever many people would be arriving shortly.
“Are you ready?”  Gracie asked as she came back into the room.  Anna glanced down over herself.  Slim fitting faded jeans and a bright pink tunic tied with an equally bright orange sash making a statement of its own.  With her short nails painted with the same pink as her shirt and her hair hanging loose down her back and down to her waist; there was no doubt of the rebellious streak that had taken root in the last weeks.
“Do I look ready?”  Her hands perched on her hips.  Grace arched one brow quizzically. 
“You look ready to slam me for asking such a stupid question.”
“Good guess.”
“Gosh, you are different in the last few weeks.  You disappear and come back like another person...”
Anna walked away from her friend instead of giving any kind of answer.  She was a different person.  Wolffe’s violence had killed who she was.  She’d realized since there wasn’t a prayer of resurrecting the person she once was, she had to embrace this new person.  She wasn’t even sure how she would face her church or the youth once she was home in Chicago.  What would her brother think?  She shook her head as if she could make all the uncertainties shake right out.  They stayed and she walked back from the hallway into the living room once more. 
Gracie was staring out the window with a grimace. 
“What’s wrong?”  Quickly she turned back to her, then looked up to the wall where the clock was.  Anna snuck a peak out the window and noticed who was walking close to the apartment.  She barely held back the tremble inside of her.
“Tonight we’ll be sisters.”  Gracie informed as if it wasn’t a choice, but a fact.  Here we go again.  Anna didn’t let her thoughts be known.
“But Patrick will be here, won’t he?”  With a flip of her hand, Gracie dismissed the worry.
“You know Patrick will play along with us, and no one else knows the difference.” She grasped the door handle.  Anna stewed over what was happening in front of her.  Then she knew.  Gracie never gave out her real name.  Why was that?  What did she fear?
“What, the Paige name again?”  Anna asked.  It was one thing using a different last name so no one would connect her to her life back in Chicago.  It was entirely different just using the name on a whim at a party with people that were supposed to be ‘friends’.
“Why can’t we just be who we are?”  Though she in no way wanted anyone to know anything of her other life. 
“Of course, the Paige name.”  Grace piped up, ignoring Anna’s question. 
“At the gallery I never give my last name to my customers. You know that.  So, some of these people know me from the gallery.  I just feel safer, Anna.”
“Yes, I see.  You don’t feel safe around the people you allow in your life.  If you ask me it’s stupid.  Why invite people you don’t trust into your home?”  Anna retorted.  She was learning though, not to trust people with her true feelings.  Right then she was slightly glad for Gracie’s deception.  Grace nodded. 
“Tonight we’ll be the Paige sisters.  Tomorrow I’ll clean up my act.”
“Paige again.”  Anna groaned.  She was tired of the double life.  Why had she even stayed this long?
“You know some of these people, Anna.  They already know you as Anna Paige.”
“They will see right through us!  We don’t look anything alike!”  She complained.
“A smile always keeps people from seeing insecurities.  Just smile and introduce yourself as Anna Paige.  Here’s your chance.”  The doorbell sounded and Gracie opened the door.  Sure enough, there was Wolffe.  Nausea threatened.  Her soul shook.
“No.” Even for Gracie she could not, would not, stand there and pretend everything was alright.  With that thought, she spun and walked away.  She stood alone on the small balcony outside Gracie’s dining room as she listened to the door bell time and time again.  She’d purposefully left the sliding door open, even though it let in the hot summer air from outside.  Why did closed doors freak her out now?  She stood out there until Gracie found her. 
“Oh, here’s my sister!”  Grace exclaimed.  Anna groaned. 
“I think I’ll go back to my friend Cheryl’s house, Gracie...  I’m not good company tonight.”
“Nonsense!  Come meet...”  Gracie pulled her away from the balcony as the name she spoke was part of the wind.  She introduced her to half the people there.
“Are you THE Anna Paige?  The World Stage model?”  Anna wanted to groan, but instead smiled.
“Yes, Anthony Wolffe was a good friend of mine before he passed.  He will forever be missed.”  Every chance she had she turned the conversation away from who she was.  The last thing she wanted to talk about was herself. 
“His creations were incredible weren’t they?”  Then they were talking about the newest line scheduled to come out at the end of summer.  She smiled.  She remembered the days when she, Cheryl, and Anthony had worked on it last Christmas, but she said nothing.  That was her own secret and none of these strangers needed to know about her life.
“Do you think his son is as gifted as he was?”
She shook her head as she swallowed the choke inside of her. The question reiterated the large consuming void created by Anthony’s absence.
“No.  No one could be as gifted as Anthony.”  Not seeing Wolffe, Anna spoke boldly. 
“Matthew tries to imitate his father’s genius.  It’s not possible to do.”  A gasp went up in the crowd she was standing in the middle of.
“Would you say that to his face?”  Anna groaned. 
“Why?  Is he standing behind me?”  A couple of the people nodded.  Slowly she twirled around to face Matthew Wolffe.  He stood tall and formidable with his arms crossed.  But she had already faced him at his worst.  He’d already done the damage, and so there was nothing that could scare her about him now.  She looked up to him without flinching away.
“You’ll never be the man your father was.  It doesn’t matter what you steal.  It doesn’t matter who you get rid of.  It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks.  I know the truth.  I know just who you are.”  Matthew shook his head and started to turn away. 
“You are so full of--”
“And what scares you more than anything, is you know that I’m right.  You can’t measure up to Anthony.  You never have been able to.”
The people standing around gasped as if shocked to hear her speak so bluntly.  She didn’t care.  The one thing he could never take away was the truth, and what none of them knew was the company he claimed no longer belonged to him.  Anthony gave her the provision before his death, and she had followed through three weeks ago.  He was stiff and silent.  Anger blazed in his gaze.  She didn’t care about that either.  Walking away, she left everyone around her stunned.  Without stopping, she walked into the kitchen.  It was the only quiet place in the apartment.  A moment later Wolffe stormed into the room. 
“How dare you!”  He grabbed her arm, but she yanked herself away.
“No!  How dare YOU!”  Taking a step toward him, she stared him down. 
“I will speak out against you every chance I get.  I will do all in my power to bring you down.  If I were you I would stay away from me, because there are no lengths I won’t travel to serve you back your own medicine... TIMES TEN!”  His hand came up. 
“What?  Are you going to hit me?  There.  That’s another difference between you and your father.  The only power you have is violence.  And you know what?  You can only scare people for so long!  So go for it!  What’s another bruise when I’ve had so many?”  Anna stepped back to regain her composure before returning to truly show him who he was.
“But you...”  Her gaze flashed angrily at him.
“You will never be anything but a snake.  So don’t compare yourself to Anthony-- You aren’t even close!”  He raised his hand up again resorting to what she knew was his only defense.  She barely kept herself from flinching before the kitchen door opened.

“Excuse me?”  A dark haired man gingerly peeked into the room.  Exasperation filled Matthew, but he kept his cool, bringing his hand back down to his side. 
“This is a private conversation.” He explained with as much control as possible.  The man didn’t seem to really notice his warning or him as much as he did Anna as he continued to enter the room.  The intruder’s presence seemed to cause her rage to dissipate, an unwelcome change in emotional climate.  Her frenzy sustained him and he always loved how a simple word could rile her up.
“Anna is everything alright?” She nodded, but a slight remnant of fear remained.  Was she afraid of him?   Was that what drove her into her tirade?  As the stranger reached toward Anna, Wolffe interceded before he had the chance.
“Hi, I’m Matthew Wolffe.”  He reached out a hand.  The man gave a strong handshake.
“Patrick Rueschel.”  Matthew watched as Patrick’s clear green gaze stayed on Anna.  His longing for her was apparent, but that would disappear if he knew she had already been claimed by another man.
“A pleasure, I’m sure.  Listen, Anna and I were just leaving here…”
He wrapped a hand around her small waist, fondly remembering their night together. She would always be his and no one could take that away from him.  Her attention suddenly yanked back to him.  Her eyes flavored with renewed anger that he basked in.  He loved knowing that the vehemence he could inspire was incomparable to that of any other bloke.
“Keep your filthy, no good hands off of me!”  She yelled. Patrick moved himself between him and Anna.  Did he really believe he could protect her?  This little boy actually wanted to play war with a seasoned veteran.
But of course… let’s play your game.  Patrick could calm her, perhaps, but only he could cause her heart to beat wildly, whether it be from fear or anger.
“My father could get you to stick around.”  He taunted with calm words as her blue eyes radiated with deep hatred.
“Your father was my friend.  You’re just a bastard.”
“Oh, that I am, but a bastard that has what no one else ever will.”  Leaning back into his stance, a secret joy filled him.  She was closer than she thought to giving in.  This Patrick Rueschel did not comprehend, but he was just a simpleton.  The dark haired man looked to Anna, trying to understand what he meant, while desperately trying to deny what he already knew.
“How much does it cost?”  He goaded. 
“That’s enough.”  Patrick held his hand against Matthew’s chest, keeping him from Anna.  The touch of someone so far beneath him made his skin crawl, but he pushed past him.  He had no rights, and they both knew that.
“What does it take, Anna? I won’t take no for an answer...”  He slinked behind her, drawing closer to her, feeding on her crescendo of emotion. 
“I came here for you.  You must know that, of course.”
“That’s enough, I said.  Go sleep it off, or whatever.”  Once more Patrick intervened quickly pushing him away from her.
“I’m not for sale, asshole!  Not obtainable or stealable! Get out of my face!”  The sound of her resorting to such crude idiolect kissed him like a sweet breeze.  It was a level to which he had never driven Anna to before.  Her defenses were crumbling and he knew she could never erase their bond. 
“You were almost an exclusive for World Stage Clothing.  You were paid for your attention and you loved it, Anna.” Matthew thought aloud.  Anna gasped.
“You can’t have me! You will never have me!”  She yelled. 
“What was the senior Wolffe better in the bedroom?  He definitely had more experience.”  Anna jumped around to him, as her hand came up in a loud slap across Matthew’s face.  Patrick leaped in between them, only to be met eye to eye.  For a moment the piercing eyes stirred a quiver of panic in Matthew, but he swiftly disregarded it.  What he and Anna had was private and he knew he had time for her to come to him.
“You can protect her this time, but she’s mine.  I had her first and you won’t always be there.”  He turned his attention to Anna.
 “Will he Anna?” 

Patrick’s fist curled, but she quickly pulled Patrick and herself out of the room before they both took out all their rage on Wolffe.
“He’s scum... not even worth it.  Just get me out of here, alright, before I deck him!”  He nodded and then turned her to face him.
“Are you o.k.?”  She took a deep breath and then hugged him. 
“I’ve never seen you like that.  You were ready to attack him.  You’ve never become that angry-- ever.”  She just raised her brows then let them drop and said nothing. 
“Anna, are you alright?  I want an answer...  Why did you disappear?  Then you come back like someone I don’t know.  Nothing adds up.”  Groaning, she pulled him with her as she attempted to leave the apartment.
“First we get out of here.  I’ll tell you all about it, but not here.”  Grace ran up to them as Anna grabbed her keys from the small table by the door. 
“Where are you going?”
“Go deal with your guests.  I can’t do this.  I told you that earlier.”
“I’m getting her out of here, she almost punched some guy--” Patrick intervened once more. 
“It won’t be pretty if she stays.”
“Patrick...  You should be talking her down, not encouraging her further.”  Patrick looked around the apartment as if searching for a quiet corner.
“No place to do that, Grace.  Not here.”  His tone was the most sarcastic Anna had ever heard from him. 
“Too many people.  Bye.”  He waved quickly, and then the two of them escaped.  Anna laughed as they ran to her car.  All along the street, on both sides, cars were parked. They were all there for Gracie’s party. 
“I can’t believe you!  You are just incredible!”  She reached up to him and kissed his lips then hopped over to her car and quickly unlocked the doors. 
“Get in; I know a quiet place where we can talk.  Beside there is someone you need to meet.”
He got in the car, and shut the door.  Then she started the engine and sped down the street.  A minute later she was on the freeway heading south.  He carefully stretched the seatbelt over him and clicked it.  She’d never dared to drive with such a vengeance in Sheldonburg.  Something in her had changed, and it had happened just recently.  As she drove he studied her.  She had an anger in her that did not dissipate even when the target was gone.  What was it?