Chapter 7

Patty teased her older brother on the way home from church but their parents were pleased that their son had been seen actually talking to a girl. He gave them a quick synopsis about Angela but he was stumped when his mother asked how they met. 'In a dream' would definitely sound weird.

"We started talking, that's all," Eli shrugged. "There's not anything going on, really."

But even talking to her was a big deal and Eli wondered if his feelings for her had become evident to his family.

"Is she the one?" Patty whispered into her brother's ear as they sat in the backseat of their father's sedan. "Is she the one you had the naked dream about!?"

"Shh," Eli warned. "I never should have told you."

Patty giggled in response.

Eli nervously went to bed that night not sure what dream awaited him this time.

He was running through the streets of Hillsboro in the middle of the night naked but the neighborhoods were deserted at that time of night so nobody saw him. He snuck in his own window for some reason instead of going through the house and he saw that Angela was there - asleep on the top of his bed, also naked.

Eli stood in the middle of the room admiring the sleeping beauty, feeling comfortable with the idea of being with her like this, even though it was only a dream.

Angela awoke and saw him looking at her. "Another naked dream?" She asked.

"I guess old habits die-hard," Eli sighed.

"But here we are talking about it while in the dream," Angela realized sitting up on the bed. "I guess this changes everything."

"It's still only a dream" Eli reminded her.

"Maybe we should resolve not to keep this as unconscious memories trapped in your dreams," Angela suggested.

"My dreams of desire?" Eli asked.

Angela left the bed and went to the window, sitting on the window bench and looking out into the night. "How long are you going to keep dreaming of us like this?" She asked.

"Do you remember Bill Murray's movie Groundhog Day?"

"Loved it," she smiled.

"Maybe the dreams will keep happening until we get it right," he theorized.

"And then we finally wake up with our clothes on?" She smiled.

Angela stood and Eli wrapped her into his arms, resting his chin on top of her head as he hugged her.

"I really do like you," Eli said.

"I know," she said, breaking from the embrace and moving back to the window. "But I have a few flaws," she warned.

"That's okay," Eli assured her. "I do too."

"Is this your dream or mine?" Angela asked.

"Well, we're naked so I'm guessing it must be mine," Eli laughed.

Suddenly, they were both clothed. "Looks like it might be my dream now," Angela smiled as she leaned into him and pressed her lips to his in a short kiss.

"Some dream," Eli grinned into her mouth.

"Maybe now would be a good time to wake up," she suggested, taking a step back to end the kiss but she winked as she climbed onto the window sill.

"What are you doing?" Eli worried.

"Relax," she laughed. "I'm not going to kill myself!"

Suddenly they were both naked again.

"Maybe now it's my turn to be Captain Naked," she grinned.

"Whose dream is this now?" Eli wondered.

"Tomorrow in the real world, the next move is yours, Eli," Angela told him.

"What do you mean?" Eli asked with confusion.

"Be as brave out there as you are in here," she advised. "Stop waiting for me. Claim me."

Angela gave him a wave before she stepped off the window sill and into the night. Eli ran to the window and saw her flying across the moonlight like E.T. until she disappeared from sight.

Eli awoke with a start, actually sitting up in the bed, not sure what to make of that particular dream - one that felt so real it literally took his breath away. He brought his hand to his lips as if he could still feel Angela's lips on them. He actually got out of bed and went to the window, half-expecting to see Angela somewhere out there. He knew she wasn't but his body was full of warm sensations from the amazing dream. He went back to bed and fell asleep thinking about Angela's words.

In the morning, Eli awoke with a new sense of resolve. Everything finally made sense and he knew the only way to stop the naked dreams was to alter reality so that he was no longer on the outside looking in.

At lunch, Eli and Roger came out of the service line carrying their trays looking for an available table. Eli spotted Angela sitting with Molly Chaisson, Candace Gemmon, Gloria Lockman, and Ivonne Stenhouse as usual.

"Let's sit with them," Eli boldly suggested.

"Are you crazy?" Roger asked but Eli was already crossing the cafeteria toward the group.

"May we sit with you?" Eli asked but he had already slid into one of the empty chairs around the large circular table.

"What are you doing?" Molly asked with annoyance.

"I'm staking my claim," Eli replied confidently as he gave the grinning Angela a look.

"He's pursuing a dream," Angela explained with approval.

"Sounds like a nightmare to me," Candace complained but Angela and Eli both burst out in laughter.

"I don't get it," Gloria frowned. "What's so funny?"

"Life as a whole, generally," Angela decided.

An uncertain Roger had taken a seat next to Ivonne who actually welcomed his presence and all of a sudden everything felt okay.

Eli leaned over to Angela. "If I had known it would be this easy in real life I would have done this a long time ago."

Angela smiled. "Sometimes it takes a little work for dreams to come true."

"Something tells me the strange dreams are over," Eli said.

"I think you're right," Angela replied. "God Bless the Crazy Lady."

"What are you two whispering about?" Molly wanted to know.

"How dreams come true," Eli replied with a wide grin.