Out of the Fog

Chapter 1 All Alone

Opening day and Stella was nervous. She moved practically across the entire country to start new. It wasn't about starting over, but she want to be herself and she knew how everyone would laugh at her. Now, here she was in New York City and she was opening her basement apartment as her salon. The sign was hung with chain that was too heavy, but she found it, so the price was right. The sign read; Sketchy Enlightenment. She had an eclectic shop of her sketches and her love of fortune telling. She walked around the front room, checking that everything was placed well. She noticed that she forgot to put out her business cards and she went in back to find them.

The room was a stereotypical den for fortune tellers. The heavy drapes, dark wood, deep colors. She knew atmosphere helped the non-believers. She did not dress the part though. She wore jeans and a feminine top, a little cleavage showing for the right effect. She had her auburn hair piled up on her head with some ringlets let loose to fall down the back of her neck.

While in the back going through boxes she heard the familiar tinkling of the tiny bell on the shop door. Her first customer. She went out through the heavy red velvet drapes to welcome them. When she made it out front she saw a handsome man, he looked like he could pass for any number of ages, he had this timeless aura around him. She was only in her twenties and he could be as old as in his fifties, but he could also pass in his late thirties, if dressed right.

"Good morning, sir and welcome to the Sketchy Enlightenment. How may I help you?" Stella asked.

"Good day. Is this your shop?" asked the man.

"Yes, it is. What are you interested in seeing?" asked Stella.

"You tell fortunes?" asked the man. Stella was sensing that he may be searching for something and she tried to gather all she could by his clothing and how he stood before her. His British accent gave much away, his good posture, the quality of his clothes. She answered him.

"Yes, I do. Would you like tea leaves read or your palm?" Stella said.

"Do you have a crystal ball?" he asked.

"I do." Stella answered. "I can start you with fifteen dollars for ten minutes."

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He took out a ten and a five dollar bill and handed them to her. As their hands met she held onto his for a half a minute while she closed her eyes. He stood there and let her hold his hand. Then she opened her eyes and let go.

"Follow me into the back." Stella said. She pulled open the curtain and walked with him right behind her. The curtain fell and there was a dimly lit area with a small table and four chairs around it. The table had a red cloth over it and the large crystal ball in the center. She watched to see which seat he took, the one closest to the exit, and she sat across from him.

"I'm nervous." said the man.

"No need to be." answered Stella. "Do you believe I can see something you may not?"

"I'm probably more hopeful then a true believer." answered the man. "There isn't some big guy going to jump out and beat me up is there? He went on.

"I won't call for him just yet." she said with a wink.

"What is your name, troubled man?" asked Stella.

"Aren't you supposed to tell me?" asked the man with a coy smile. Stella noticed he was making an old joke about gypsy fortune tellers and played along.

"I would know it if I already had your wallet in my hands and I read your license." Stella replied.

"But I'm not a pick pocket." she continued. Just then Stella had a vision. It was a quick flash, a day dream that played out across her head so fast she could not comprehend it. She answered the dream , more then the man in front of her.

"Wait, wait." She said. The man remained silent.

She had a phone call from her sister-in-law a night before and they talked a long time. This same vision flashed across then too and now it was back. Stella tried to concentrate. The man stared. She was not putting on a show, she was trying to retrieve a memory. When she was sure she had it, she looked up at the man's face.

"You are quite handsome." she started. "You must have many women surrounding you. You have a unforgettable face. The kind that..." she remembered her conversation with her sister-in-law.

"Sir, it takes time to get to know a person, but I want to tell you a story. Tell me if it means anything to you." said Stella.

"Alright." said the man.

"I saw the past a few nights ago. Not my past, maybe it was yours." said Stella. The man perked up, interested in the pretty woman's story.

"There was a man, thirty years ago, who was a teacher. He taught English to exchange students who came for two, four, or six week programs from other countries. Did you ever live in London?" asked Stella.

The man smiled. He knew his accent was obvious. "Why yes I have lived in London, go on." said the man as he sat back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of his chest. Stella recognized the body language, but it did not stop her.

Stella had a secret gift, a reason for her drawing and love of fortune telling. She was going to give a full fortune from the crystal ball to this man, whether he believed or not. She believed, she believed in herself.

"When I was a child I had an active dream life. I had dreams and I remembered them after I woke up. One day, my mother died after a long illness and I stopped dreaming. It took until my twenties for me for to start daydreaming. I call them visions, but they are thoughts that my mind drifts off to and a conversation I had earlier this week comes back to me now. What I tell you now, I believe was you." said Stella.

Then she continued, the man was caught up in her confession. He thought, maybe it was the dim room, the sweet scent of the tea brewing somewhere in this shop, the idea that someone could see something he could not, but he wanted to know why he was having so much trouble sleeping.

"I still do not remember my dreams. I do remember my day dreams though. This man would some into the room and go to the desk or table in front of the room and introduce himself." said Stella. She then tried to sound British, leaving him with a large smile at her poor attempt.

"Good morning, my name is Julian." she said. She said the name while lengthening the vowels as they fell off her tongue. Her failed aristocracy ended with a slight bow. Then she continued;

"I will be teaching you English for the next two weeks." he said to the small classroom with a few teens. There were two girls there, Andrea and Esther. They could not take their eyes off of this man. He was so handsome. They listened to his British accent and drank in his whole silhouette, the whole six foot five inches of him. Now, he was so handsome, that thirty years alter, they would still be talking about him." said Stella. The man smiled and then his face became serious.

"My name IS Julian. Do you have my wallet?" asked Julian.

"No." said Stella, happy with her connection. She could see Julian was still skeptical. She just continued.

"Esther was seventeen and Andrea was eighteen. Julian was twenty five." She repeated.

"The girls tried to cut class, but then they giggled over how attracted they were to him, they kept coming. After class they would go shopping, or get a bite to eat. The two girls met on this trip of exchange students, they did not come on it together, but they became best friends."

"Are you that man? Are you a teacher named Julian?" asked Stella.

END of chapter 1 Let me know what you think. I know this may be rushed, but I have a lot to get down before I go and elaborate on the decoration. Please forgive.