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Valkyrie last won the day on July 4 2017

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43,398 There Can Be Only One!

About Valkyrie

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    Pesky Penguin

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    Reading, writing, chatting with friends, travel

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  1. You need a green cat profile pic today :funny:  

    1. Valkyrie


      Done :D  

    2. Headstall


      Love it!! :heart: 

    3. CassieQ


      That is so adorable.

  2. February 2018 Prompt - Food Disservice

    Thanks And Danny is definitely a jerk.
  3. Was it you I was discussing drinking pickle juice with in Corrupt a Wish?  This made me think of that whole exchange.  lol



    1. drpaladin


      LOL  Yes, it was me. I'm not sure I'm up for a pickle juice slush though.

    2. Reader1810


      Val, did a search and found the convo. It starts on page 27, post 13. Looks like you started it... :P 

      Pickle juice :puke:

  4. Stalker 101

    I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this. I understand the fear and violation you must be feeling. I had a stalker once who called me on the phone so much I had to unplug the phone at night due to the relentless calls. It was before caller ID, so I never knew who it was. The calls stopped after I got anonymous call rejection. They never came to my house, that I know of, but it scared the crap out of me. I hope this person stays locked away and far from you. Moving sounds like it might be a good idea. With no forwarding address.
  5. Age and Unborn

    I like the prosody and flow of these. There's an inherent smoothness to the form that I find soothing, context notwithstanding. I learned a new word--'lief'. "Unborn" is quite clever, leading the mind one direction until the last stanza. "Age" struck a chord with me, as it echoes some thoughts I've been having lately. Nicely done, as usual.
  6. Author Promo: northie

    Northie's stories are well worth checking out. She has a unique style that seems a bit unorthodox at times, but works. The Bard's Tale is a perfect example of this. It's a riveting story and you don't need to be a LPW participant to appreciate it. Her writing has grown stronger with each 'experiment', and she features characters that are flawed, but relateable, and not typically seen in most stories on GA. Anyone who reads her stories won't be disappointed.
  7. Chapter 27

    Galen “You seem distracted today.” “Huh?” Dr. Snowden’s voice drew my attention away from his bookshelf and back to him. “I asked about your riding. A couple of weeks ago you mentioned you’d started again.” “Oh yeah.” I shrugged. “Fine.” “Was there something in particular you wanted to talk about today?” I furrowed my brow. I was regretting my decision to keep my appointment that day. I’d almost cancelled since I wasn’t in much of a mood to talk. “Something’s clearly bothering you. You’ve barely said two words this session.” I slumped in my seat. Damn him and his powers of observation. “I’m not sure I can put it into words.” “Then let me help you.” I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. It was past my shoulders now. I’d never worn it that long before. I preferred keeping it just past my ears. Daniel set a laminated sheet with a list of emotions in front of me and handed me a dry-erase marker. “Circle the emotions you’re feeling.” I regarded the list for a minute, then circled frustrated, unsure, and anxious. “Anything else?” Daniel asked. I frowned and added angry. “All right. Let’s start with frustrated. What makes you feel frustrated?” “I don’t know. Nothing. Everything.” “Well let’s see if we can narrow it down. Tell me one thing that makes you frustrated.” “You,” I stated. Daniel raised an eyebrow. I exhaled and bounced my leg. “Sorry. That wasn’t fair.” I pointed to my head. “My hair.” Daniel looked at me blankly. “You’re frustrated by your hair?” “I tried to get it cut a few days ago, but panicked when the barber brought the scissors near me.” “Why did the scissors make you panic?” I stared at him. “You’re kidding, right?” “No. Tell me why the scissors made you panic.” “I saw the flash of metal and—” I shifted in my seat and gripped the armrest tightly. “It made me remember the pain, and I swore I heard that asshole laugh.” “What asshole? I can’t imagine the barber laughing at you.” “Michael Sullivan, but you knew who I was talking about.” I glared at him. “Yes, I did. It’s important to say his name and be able to talk about what happened. It takes away his power.” I snorted. “It’s been months and he still controls my life.” “Were you alone at the barber or was Josh with you?” “It was just a damn haircut. Why I would I need anyone with me? You know, I feel—” I looked out the window and sighed. “Everyone tells me how great I’m doing and how far I’ve come, but I can’t even get my fucking hair cut!” I pounded my fist on the edge of the upholstered chair I was sitting in. “You have made a lot of progress.” I scowled. “Don’t patronize me. I know I’ve made progress, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I’m not myself anymore, and I’m not ready to—” I stopped. Dammit. I didn’t want to go there. “Ready to do what?” I slumped in my seat. I knew he wouldn’t let that comment pass. I drummed my fingers on the armrest and bit my lower lip. “Be on my own.” “What do you mean?” “I mean I’m going to have to find my own place at some point. I don’t live on the farm. I mean, not really. Liam brought me there because he didn’t know what the hell to do with me. Now…well…I mean…I can’t stay there forever, right?” “Have you talked to Josh and Alannah about it?” “No. I’m afraid to.” “Afraid of what?” That they’ll ask me leave. Or stay. I shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I’m afraid it will mean losing Josh.” There. I said it. Daniel frowned. “Why would you think you’d lose him? He seems pretty devoted to you.” “My relationship with Josh is… complicated.” “’Complicated’ is what people say when they want to avoid dealing with a situation. Generally, things aren’t as complicated as people think.” I stared at him. Was he kidding? “We haven’t talked about Josh much. Tell me about him.” “Well, he’s an amazing cook and a good teacher. He’s managed to achieve a high level of success in multiple careers. That’s pretty impressive.” “That doesn’t tell me about who he is, though. Tell me about him on a more personal level.” I shrugged. “I don’t know where to start. If you want me to define our relationship, I’m not sure I can.” “How did you meet?” I found myself telling him about how Josh and I met, the intensity of our first encounters, the building of our friendship, and his ultimate rejection. I don’t think Daniel had been aware of the connection between Roger/Michael and Josh. His eyebrows shot up when I mentioned it. “So he chose the man that hurt you instead of you.” “He didn’t know,” I said. “It still has to hurt. How do you feel when you think about it?” “How do you think?” I stabbed the paper with my finger on the word angry. “Have you talked about it with him?” Talk? Communication was not our strong point. “No… we’ve never talked about it.” “Do you still love him?” I nodded. It hurt to admit my feelings had only intensified toward Josh, despite our difficulties. I suspected he felt the same, but after rejecting me so many times, I was not prepared to set myself up for another one. Besides, I was in no shape to pursue a relationship. The thought of sex terrified me and it wasn’t fair to subject anyone to my issues. Daniel pointed out the error in my logic. “He’s clearly dealing with your issues. You’ve been living together for months—sleeping in the same bed, and essentially living as a couple. I think you need to talk to him.” “What if he tells me I need to leave?” Daniel smiled. “I can’t imagine him telling you that. I think the important question is to ask yourself what you want.” He was right, even if I didn’t want to confront my feelings and admit what I truly wanted to happen. After my appointment, I met Jody for lunch at my favorite diner. It was housed in an old train car, and the food is the same as they served in the ‘50s. Their meatloaf and mac and cheese were legendary. So were their milkshakes—handmade to order. Going to a restaurant was a concrete reminder of the progress I’d made. While my irrational fear still whispered in my ear, I was able to ignore it as long as I was with either Josh or Jody. Jo was waiting for me outside the diner, and I scowled when I saw he wasn’t alone. “Hey, G. You remember Ben?” Oh, I remembered him all right. He was the creepy stranger staying with my best friend while they renovated the historic Richardson Estate. I nodded. “Yeah. Hi.” Ben grinned and stuck out his hand. “Good to see ya again.” I shook his hand, intending to let go right away, but the burly man had other ideas. He held onto my hand longer than I was comfortable with, until I snatched it away and wiped it on my jeans. We headed inside and the hostess seated us immediately. Ben sat on one side of the booth, and I squeezed in next to Jody. She took our drink orders, then headed off to fill them with the promise that our waitress would be by soon. Ben and Jody reviewed the menu while I stared at the dessert case. They made passable cheesecake, but were known for their pies. I’d have to save room for a slice of their crumb-topped apple pie. They also had blueberry—Josh’s favorite. I made a mental note to ask for a slice to go. “Aren’t you gonna order?” Ben asked. “I already know what I want,” I replied. “He gets the same thing every time,” Jody said. “Oh? A man who knows what he wants. I like that.” Ben winked. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, thankful for the waitress who appeared to take our orders. The hostess returned with our drinks a minute later, and I sipped on my vanilla milkshake with homemade cookie crumbles on top while Jody and Ben chatted about their work at the Richardson place. A few minutes later, Jody excused himself to use the restroom, leaving me behind with Ben. I wasn’t happy being left with someone I considered a stranger, but I needed to trust Jo’s judgment that Ben was a good guy. “Alone, at last,” Ben said, smiling. I narrowed my eyes and took a sip of milkshake. Ben laughed. “You’re a bit of a shy one, huh?” He looked me over. While attention from men or women when I went out wasn’t something new, my state of mind at that time was too raw to deal with it nicely. “So, Galen…are you single?” Was I single? I had no idea how to answer. Saying ‘no’ meant acknowledging my strange relationship with Josh went beyond friendship, and saying ‘yes’ invited the clueless man to ask me out. So my response was to shrug, nod, then shake my head. Ben laughed. “What does all that mean?” “It means I’m not interested,” I replied. “Ouch. Point taken. Sorry. I know I’m a bit of a flirt. I can’t help it when I get around hot men. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” Uncomfortable? Try irritating and unsettling. Yet at the same time, a part of me liked the attention. Ben wasn’t the type of guy I usually found attractive, and his honest demeanor—while annoying—was a nice change from the dance that had become modus operandi for Josh and me. I found myself thawing toward the brash man, but I’d be damned if I’d let him know it. “I appreciate the compliment, but I really can’t handle this right now.” “Bad breakup?” “Something like that.” “All right then, change of subject. How’d you get that scar under your eye? I bet there’s a story there. I like it. Gives you character.” I flinched. Obviously Jo hadn’t told him about what happened. “Yeah, there’s a story there,” I muttered. “So, what… did you fall off your bike when you were a kid or something? Run into a tree branch?” Jody saved me from responding by returning from the restroom and sliding into the booth next to me. He grinned. “Now I have room for lunch.” I rolled my eyes. “Good to know.” Highway to Hell blared from Jody’s cell phone, prompting several patrons to shoot us annoyed looks. He tapped the screen. “Williams here. Talk to me.” He turned to look at me. “I’m sitting right next to him. Yeah. Uh huh. Seems OK. I’ll tell him. Bye.” “Who was that?” I asked. “Your other half. He says to call him.” “Other half?” I raised an eyebrow. “Tell me I’m wrong.” I scowled and dug my phone out of my pocket. “You’re an ass.” “Hot pink? And I thought you were single?” Ben asked. “I like pink, and it’s none of your damn business,” I replied. Ben held his hands up in a placating gesture. “Easy, man. No offense intended.” I sighed and set the phone on the table. “I must have forgotten to charge it. The battery’s dead.” “Here.” Jody handed me his phone. “Use mine.” I didn’t feel like talking to a cranky Josh, so I texted him instead, telling him I’d be home in another hour or so. His single word response put me in an even worse mood. I had enough on my plate without having to worry about soothing ruffled feathers. Jody and Ben carried the conversation while I picked at my meal and ate about a third of what they served me. I skipped the pie and scooped the leftovers into a take-out container. I ordered a slice each of apple and blueberry pie to go, then we headed to the parking lot and went our separate ways. Josh’s mood was exactly what I was expecting when I walked into the kitchen after I got home. He clenched his teeth and gestured sharply toward the fridge. “Dinner’s prepped. Put the roast in the oven at 4:00. 250 degrees for about three hours ought to do it. I already made the potatoes, so all you need to do is heat them up. We can have salad for our veg.” He headed toward the door, his posture stiff and back straight. “I thought we were spending some time together this afternoon,” I said. We’d made plans that morning to either watch a movie or have a riding lesson, depending on how I felt. If looks could shoot daggers I’d have been pinned against the wall in a sideshow act gone wrong. “So did I.” “I’m sorry. My appointment ran late, then Jo called and we had lunch—” “I had lunch ready here. Guess you can have it tomorrow. I have lessons tonight. See you at dinner.” He turned his back to me and strode out the door. I sighed. I could barely handle my own emotions, let alone Josh’s. I understood he was disappointed that we missed out on spending time together, but did he really have to act like such a jealous dick? I thought of Ben and the positive attention he had given me during lunch. While still annoying, he was looking more appealing than my moody friend at that moment. My nerves were raw after my session with Daniel, and I needed to do something to forget about my crappy life. Watching mindless TV was my solution and kept me occupied until it was time to get dinner ready. Josh’s mood hadn’t improved when he returned from teaching. I hoped he wasn’t cranky enough to take it out on his students. After showering and changing into clean clothes, he headed to the fridge and opened the door. “Where did you and Jody have lunch?” “Ruby’s. I wasn’t very hungry, so I brought the leftovers back.” He held up the clear plastic box containing his slice of pie. “You don’t like blueberry.” “No, but you do. I thought it’d go good with that ice cream you made last night.” He set it down and closed the fridge, then ran his hand through his hair. “Thank you. That was very thoughtful of you.” I couldn’t read the expression on his face. “I’m sorry about this afternoon.” His shoulders slumped. He looked defeated, and I had no idea why. “It’s OK. It’s just—well, never mind.” If I had been in a better frame of mind, I would have called him out on his bullshit. Instead, I let it go. I’d say we ate dinner, but I can’t exactly call it eating. More like we picked at our food in awkward silence, then put the leftovers away. “I have some paperwork I need to do in the barn. I’ll do night check so you don’t have to worry about it. Just leave the dishes. I can do them later.” “It’s OK. I can do the dishes,” I replied. He frowned and nodded, then headed out the door. I walked over to the sink to wash the dinner dishes, wondering how the hell I was going to approach him about our living arrangements. I spent the rest of the evening watching a movie by myself. Alannah was at Liam’s, and Josh was hiding in his barn office. My thoughts weren’t on the story I was watching, though. I replayed my session with Daniel over and over until I felt like one giant, exposed nerve. I was conflicted between my need for Josh and my need for healing. After my breakup with Jamie, I had to learn how to be independent and now that independence had been torn away from me. I wondered if I needed to live on my own again to have any chance of regaining that independence. And if I did live on my own, how would that change things with Josh? Did I even want things to change with Josh? Yes, I loved him. That wasn’t going to change. But I was broken and hardly relationship material. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to subject him to my issues. He deserved better. Josh returned when there was about a half hour of the movie left. He grunted something about being tired and heading to bed, so I decided to finish watching the movie, even though I had no idea what the plot was. Josh was sleeping when I entered our room, or more likely—judging from his posture—pretending to sleep. I grabbed my pajamas and headed into the bathroom to change and brush my teeth. The stress of my day disappeared the minute I slid my arms around Josh and settled my head on his shoulder, despite him being the cause of most of it. He sighed, releasing the tension in his body with his exhaled breath. I wanted that moment to last forever. I was afraid of the future and all the changes that were happening too quickly for my taste. It took a long time for me to settle my thoughts enough to finally fall asleep. I stirred when I felt Josh move, and frowned. I wasn’t ready to leave the comfort and safety of the bed. I opened my eyes to find Josh had shifted during the night, so we were laying face-to-face. He looked half asleep as he smiled and said, “Good morning, sweetheart.” Then he kissed me. That moment erased any doubt I had about Josh’s feelings toward me. So I did what any rational person would do. I panicked. His eyes widened as I threw off the covers and headed into the bathroom, my heart pounding. What the fuck had just happened? I splashed cold water on my face and stood with my hands on the edge of the sink. My arms trembled as anger surged through me. What the hell was Josh thinking? We were friends, right? After everything we’d been through, he had some nerve pulling this crap. Josh was gone when I re-entered the bedroom, so I changed into my barn clothes and headed into the kitchen. Relief flooded through me when I saw the empty room. Then I felt guilty. Josh and I desperately needed to talk, but I wasn’t ready to at that moment. My stomach was roiling, so I skipped breakfast and went right to the barn. Alannah arrived as I was putting away the feed cart. “Ye’re here early, love.” “Yeah. I got up early so I decided to get a head start.” “Is everything OK?” My expression must have given away my state of mind. “What happened?” “Josh kissed me,” I mumbled. She grinned. “Well it’s about bloody time.” I scowled. “Are you kidding me? I really don’t think I’m in the best shape to be starting a new relationship.” Alannah rolled her eyes. “New relationship? I know people who have been married for years who aren’t as close as you two. And I’ve got news for ye, love. Ye’ve been sleeping in the same bed and running a household together for months. Ye’re already in a relationship.” “This isn’t my home. Liam just dumped me here because I was too fucked up for him to care for me. I’m going to have to leave at some point,” I replied. It wasn’t exactly how I wanted to approach the subject, but there it was. She raised her eyebrows. “Are ye bloody mad? Ye’ve become an essential part of this family, love. This is your home just as much as it is mine and Josh’s. There’s no need for you to go anywhere.” I looked at her doubtfully and grabbed the hose off the rack to fill the horses’ water buckets. She was wrong. My attack had changed me, and I needed to find my new identity outside of Josh and the farm. Josh had helped me heal to the point where I could function again; it was time to find out if that healing extended beyond his arms and the comfort and safety of the farm. My restlessness extended beyond my need to find myself again. I was broken. The thought of having sex made me physically ill. I couldn’t subject anyone to my issues long-term, no matter how much I loved them. Josh deserved better. I was sure of it. There was only one thing to do. During my lunch break, I packed a bag and put it in the hall closet. Josh stayed at the office until late evening. I knew he was avoiding me—putting off the inevitable discussion that I was avoiding myself. I was already in bed when he returned and slid in next to me. I pretended to be asleep, and for once, we didn’t end up in each other’s arms. I woke before him, as I planned, and slunk out of bed without waking him. I changed and grabbed my bag out of the closet. I stopped when I entered the kitchen; I hadn’t heard Alannah enter the house. She looked at me, then my bag and raised an eyebrow. “I have some things to work out, and I can’t do it here,” I said softly. She nodded. “Does Josh know?” I shook my head. I wouldn’t be able to leave if he did. “Ye should tell him.” “I can’t.” “Where are ye going?” I shrugged. “Not sure.” “Let me know when you get there?” I nodded. “Yeah, I will. And I’m sorry.” “I know, love. And don’t stay away too long, yeah?” “I’ll try.” She rose and embraced me. “I meant it when I said this is yer home.” I grit my teeth to hold back the tears threatening to form. “I know.” I broke our embrace and headed out to Betsey. I barely remember the drive south, until I came to a stop in front of a large farmhouse. I pulled out my cell phone and scrolled to a number, hoping it wasn’t too early to call. “Hi, Eddie. It’s Galen.” “Hey, good to hear from you.” “It’s not too early to call, is it?” “Nah. I’m usually up pretty early. What’s up?” “I was hoping I could come visit. I need to talk to you.” “Of course! When were you thinking?” “Well, um… is now OK? I’m kind of parked in your driveway.” “What?” The curtains of the window facing the driveway parted, and I could see Sheriff Bailey’s face peeking through them. “Well what are you doing out there? Get your butt in here!” He disconnected the call, and I exited Betsey and headed for the door.
  8. Chapter 26

    Thank you A good support system is essential to recovery. Galen is definitely lucky to have such good friends.
  9. Chapter 21

    Thanks for reading and commenting You've summed up the story quite well. There's a lot of hurt going around, and we'll see how it all plays out.
  10. February 2018 Prompt - Food Disservice

    I have a lot of respect for good wait staff. It's not an easy job. I hope he meets up with the customer again, too.
  11. Featured Story: Predator Prey

    This is an excellent story and well worth reading. Parker takes a person who appears utterly unworthy of sympathy or redemption, yet Great review, Spikey.
  12. February 2018 Prompt - Food Disservice

    Parts of this prompt are based off an actual job that I had. I lasted about a week before I quit. I am most definitely not cut out to be a waitress. You are right about it being difficult to stand up for yourself when you are the center of attention. Thanks for commenting!
  13. Chapter 13

    Your comments are pretty spot on. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and I'm glad you're enjoying the story.
  14. Chapter 9

    Thanks I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far and appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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