Title: The Fire Inside
Author: Michelle Bellon
Genre: New Age Fiction
Author: Michelle Bellon
Genre: New Age Fiction
Aiden, a doting husband and father, had the perfect life - a job he loved, a beautiful son, and a loving wife. In an instant, everything is taken from him and Aiden believes his life is over. Falling into a deep depression Aiden all but gives up on his job, his friends and himself. But when a mysterious force grants him the power to heal those around him, Aiden is forced to pull himself out of his misery in favor of the greater good. When he meets Ryan, a hardened, pessimistic teenager living on the streets, and Norma, a woman whose marriage is crumbling around her, Aiden acknowledges that maybe life still has a purpose and this ability to heal may be more powerful than he ever imagined.
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I rolled out of bed at exactly 6:42 a.m., three minutes before my alarm was due to buzz. Well, an alarm went off, but not the one on my nightstand. Our plump two-and-a-half-year-old barreled into our bedroom, arms outstretched and making loud airplane sounds. Spittle flew out of his bowed little mouth. “Wook Daddy, I’m an aowpwane!”
After a split second, though still groggy, I transitioned from the dream world. Reluctant to start the day, I groaned a complaint. How anyone could be so full of energy that early in the morning stretched beyond my comprehension. I envied the child’s endless reserve and forced my eyes open, trying to focus.
I scooped my airplane son into my arms and out of the room so his mommy could catch another half hour of rest.
I sneaked one quick glance before shuffling out, smiling at the way Tess gave herself so fully to the retreat of sleep, her mouth slightly open and her caramel-colored skin warm against our crisp white sheets. My skin, tinged slightly darker, had a mahogany hue that Anthony inherited. Both Tess and I come from parents of mixed ethnicity—my father Caucasian, my mother African-American, Tess’s parents the exact opposite. This bestowed us with rich, smooth skin and curly hair which I kept cut short to the scalp. She wore her mane long and thick, blessed to have a relaxed curl.
Those locks spread about her face in disarray. I curbed the desire to slip back under the covers next to her. She needed and deserved the rest. A whirlwind of nonstop activity, Tess filled every waking hour with countless daily errands and tasks with a smile on her face. She seemed to do the work of three people. Not because she was obligated to. She loved to be busy, her bubbly personality and enthusiasm infectious, so that one often found themselves offering to help her with chores they normally wouldn’t be inclined to do, just because they wanted to be with her.
There one would be, laughing until their eyes leaked and feeling as if they were having the time of their life, and then suddenly they would look down and realize they were soaked up to their elbows in sudsy dishwater. They’d think, “Now, how in the hell did this happen? I don’t remember offering to do the dishes.” But then they’d remember, “Oh yeah.” Somewhere in between listening to Tess do a play by play of her version of watching the two feuding elderly ladies just two houses down and her description of Anthony’s recent disgusting discovery of the toilet brush, they absolutely had offered to do those dang dishes!
Meanwhile, Tess would flit about the kitchen, multi-tasking three different activities and tapping into her infamous ability to tell stories. She wouldn’t just say, “I went to the store today and got milk.” No. She would weave an intricate tale out of even the most mundane of events. “So there I was with my bum hanging out as I reached into the refrigerated section,” Tess would explain. “The last gallon of two percent milk was so far back that I had to practically crawl into the freezer. I’m reaching. I’m getting cold. And I hear a child’s voice from behind, ‘Dadda, why is that lady crawling in there?’ Well I knew instantly this child was talking about me. I grabbed the milk, but when I went to stand up, I banged my head. Then Anthony dropped his toy. Now Anthony is crying, my head hurts, I’m freezing and I’m being sized up by a curious four year old and his dad.”
On would go her story. Everything she did required an inhuman amount of energy. She did it without breaking a sweat or losing her smile.
However, in the oblivion of sleep, her entire being seemed to take one long sigh. All of that energy expended finally caught up with her the moment her head touched the pillow.
I pulled the door closed and stepped out into the hall. Anthony wriggled in my arms. “Shh, we’re going downstairs while Mommy sleeps.”
Downstairs in our sunken living room, after reading Clifford’s Big Day twice, I denied Anthony a third round. I needed to start breakfast if I wanted to be at work on time. This denial set off a bout of whining. His pouty lip tested my resolve, but I held strong, ruffled his soft curls, and plopped him onto the couch.
“Just look at the pictures, Sonny Boy, while Daddy makes you some oatmeal.”
Tess entered the kitchen as if floating on a brisk breeze. “Don’t worry about it, babe, I’m on it! You go on ahead and hit the shower.”
I wrapped my arms around my curvy wife and pulled her in, enjoying the way our bodies fit, like a puzzle.
“Mommy,” Anthony shouted, then shoved his stout little body off of the couch. He quickly toddled up and squeezed his way between our legs.
Another integral piece to the puzzle.
Leaning in, I whispered into Tess’s ear, knowing my breath would tickle. She giggled and simultaneously pulled me closer.
“How about you hop into the shower with me?” I asked.
She tucked her head in and flashed me that teasing smile. “Mmm, you know I would love to, but one thing would lead to another and then you’d be late for work, babe.”
I wanted to keep the flirtatious dialogue going and nuzzled in further. Anthony, still squeezed in between our legs, piped up. “Late for work, babe,” he repeated after his mother. We both laughed. Our little boy listened more than we’d imagined. Still reluctant to break contact, I kept Tess firmly in my grasp. “What do you have planned for the day?”
“Well, I have a few errands this morning. I need to grab some things for dinner. The main agenda item for the day is to swing by that new preschool. I want to check it out and decide if it’s the right place for Anthony. If so, then we need to get on the list before it’s too late.”
I noticed only the slightest bit of apprehension in her eyes as she glanced down and ruffled Anthony’s glossy curls. We had decided that she would go back to work part-time as a special education teacher, and although I knew it was what she wanted, the decision still weighed heavily on her. She’d been a stay-at-home mother from the moment we welcomed him into the world. The idea of not being around for every milestone, each new discovery, was tough for her to swallow.
“Tess, you really don’t have to do this yet. We can go another year. We can tap into our savings if things get too tight. It’s not like we’re strapped financially.”
She shook her head. “No. I want to go back. Really. It’s just going to be a little hard at first. I don’t want him to ever think I won’t be there for him.”
“Well, he won’t, because you always are. Besides he’s ready for social interaction with other children his age. And you’re going to be part-time, so it will be perfect for the both of you. I don’t want you worrying over this. Now come on up to the shower with me,” I said, nibbling on her neck, wanting to distract her.
“Ouch!” I yipped and pulled back laughing, my brows furrowed. “Why’d you pinch me?”
“Because you’re nothing but trouble and you are going to be late for work. Now go on while I get breakfast started.” She stood smiling with a devious look, daring me to take our teasing to the next level. Though tempted, I knew she was right. The morning was moving along rapidly and I had work to do.
Anthony tried to climb my legs, tugging on my plaid pajama pants. I snatched him up and tossed him into the air before plopping him back down. “Daddy’s going to get showered. You listen to your momma and be a good boy.”
Anthony gave a wide grin, nodded his head, and ran off in search of his next adventure. I leaned over and gave Tess one last kiss before she pulled out a stainless steel pan. “You just wait until tonight. I have plans for you,” I teased before stomping my way back up the stairs.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like my job. I usually just had a few minutes each morning where I dreaded the routine.
As an accountant for a well-established law firm located in downtown Chicago, I was well aware that my job was less than thrilling to a majority of people. Most of my friends would rather have a tooth drilled without Novocain than do my job.
I found contentment in the endless pursuit of balancing a budget for a successful and growing company. It was geeky. But I didn’t care. I’m kind of a geek by nature. I’ve never denied it. I always liked the simplicity of the language of math. It spoke to my left brain. It made the chaos of the world seem not so senseless.
The fact that my wife, Tess, loved and appreciated my math skills because of her lack of them only fueled my passion that much further. She claimed it was sexy. I seriously doubted it but figured, if that’s what made her tick, then so be it.
So, I set off to work ready to tackle another day of monotony. I sat in my office chair and fired up the computer. Hopefully, I thought, it would go by fast and then I could head home and finish my earlier conversation with Tess. Maybe even get lucky.
An hour later the world fell out from under my feet.
One minute I plucked away at the computer; the next I absentmindedly reached for the phone as it broke my concentration.
“This is Aiden.”
“Umm, there are two police officers out here. They would like to have a word with you. Should I send them up?”
My focus remained on the dusty computer screen. “Uh, yes, yes. Go on ahead and send them up.”
Hearing their approach, I swiveled in the chair to face the gentlemen who stood in the doorway. They looked far too serious. I didn’t know why they were here but wanted to get on with it. Rising from my chair, I jutted out a hand. “Hello, come on in. Would you like to have a seat?”
The older looking of the two spoke up. “No, thank you. I’m Officer Williams and this is my partner, Officer Jefferson. You are Aiden Rollins, is that correct?”
“That’s right. How can I help you today, officers?”
Facial expression stoic, Officer Williams spoke. “Mr. Rollins, is there somewhere more private that we can speak?”
My brow furrowed. “Uh, no, not really. This is about as private as it’s gonna get. This is my office. Feel free to say what you came to say.” I paused, looking them up and down. “I’m sorry, what was this about, again?”
He straightened his spine then turned to shut the door behind him. As he faced me, he clasped his hands together in front of his waist. “I’m so sorry to have to be the one to deliver this news, but … there was an accident … a car accident, this morning. Your wife and son were involved.” He paused, his body stiff. “Sir, your wife and son did not survive the accident. I’m so sorry.”
My mind clicked off. Unable to focus, I plopped back down into the chair.