Chapter 43 of The Voice In The Forest

the beginning

Hi everybody! 

So far I have a few reviews in for Cultivating Marigold and they are mixed. One person hated it and the other two loved it.

To be perfectly honest, I expected this. You don’t write an unapologetically pro-choice book and not expect some people to have problems with it.

But, this is one of the reviews so far, and reviews like this make a lot of the work that goes into writing worth it.

Review:I think this book is BEAUTIFUL. I literally cried through it, Marigold’s story touched my little heart. She lives in a religious family, when she gets pregnant she realizes how poor the sex education she has received is really poor and how having the choice to have or not have a baby is a fundamental right. She voices all of this through her poems, and alongside the friends and family that believe in her and support her she is able to overcome it, giving us that painfully beautiful bittersweet ending.

If you read the blurb, see the cover and are wondering if you should read this book, the answer is YES. No matter if you’re a she/he/they understanding the importance of choice is important. And if you’re the author: Thank you, this book is beautiful 💕

Thank you to the reviewer, and to all the people who leave reviews whether positive or negative. All of them help us authors in one way or another, just like we all hope our books help too.

Whew… geez

And I’m still behind.

So sorry, everybody.

I’m trying to get caught up, I really am.

I will keep you updated on that endeavor.

the voice in the forest

Chapter 43

“What’s going on?” Ara asked, her voice hushed as her fingers clung to me in a different way than they had moments before.

This scream didn’t sound like an argument. It didn’t sound like someone surprised in the act of falling. It sounded like abject terror and shock.

One second every nerve in my body hummed with the feel of Ara’s attentions, the next a swarming dread whirled through those same nerves.

“Ara,” I said, my voice soft and my eyes tight, “You stay here. I’ll go check what’s happening.”

“No,” she said, grabbing onto my neck even tighter, panic coating her beautiful face. She took a deep, shuddering breath. “Please. Don’t leave me.”

If her kisses made me feel alive again, her words now might have killed me.

Everything that was wrong and everything that was right about my feelings for her were wrapped in those three words.

For a moment I couldn’t answer, the words were lost in the ache inside me. Instead, I pried her hands from me and kissed both of her palms, keeping my eyes on her so she knew that right now, I wasn’t really leaving. Not yet.

“We should find out what that scream was about and you shouldn’t push yourself anymore than you already have, Love.”

Through my entire statement she looked like she was already chewing on an argument to stop me.

Until I called her Love.

Her entire face changed, all the fight leaving her, even the fear breaking down in the light of me saying one word.

“I’ll be right back,” I said, “I promise.”

But as I tried to pull away, she grabbed me back to grace my lips with a caress of her own, soft and chaste and beautiful.

My hands curled into fists on top of the sheets and I pushed myself away from her, using every piece of my need to protect her to do it as it was at war with the need building within me to never let her go again.

Walking through the hall, I wasn’t alone.

Other people, who could see each other and not me, asked everyone they met along the way what was going on.

None of them had any more information than I did. Which was exactly zero.

But the entire house was awake. Servants, family friends, family, even that damn Henry who was scanning the gathering people probably looking to get too close to Ara again.

Even though so much commotion was moving through the assembled people, it didn’t seem to give us any additional clues as to who screamed or what they screamed about.

Finally, I found the back door leading to Ara’s little walled garden standing open.

I furrowed my brow and touched a hand to the wood of the door, only stopping myself from shutting it at the last moment when I remembered no one should see me move things. Looking out the open door, I saw nothing that would give me any additional information about why it was open, nor the scream that preceded me coming down here.

Odd. The whole thing was odd and made little sense.

But I looked up at the ceiling and in the direction of the beautiful woman waiting for me, fearful about more than the phantom scream in the night. 

Zooming past all the other people milling about the house in the way only someone like I could, trusting that someone would shut the door, I made it back to Ara’s room and froze out in the hall.

Just like the door to her garden, her bedroom door stood open, the darkness in her room even more oppressive than the darkness outside.

Here, though, a soft male voice wafted out of her room and my exhausted nerves shot to life once again. This time, they grew heavy as if they were preparing me to give weight behind the swing of my fists.

Taking careful steps forward, I forced my ears to listen to the words being spoken before I broke down the door to protect her.

“As soon as you know something,” Ara said, “I would appreciate you letting me know.”

Wait, Ara was asking this person for something?

I took a breath and released my curled up fists, skirting around the door.

“Of course,” Henry said, standing at the foot of her bed as her eyes darted my way for a second, “But I will probably wait until morning.”

He gave her one of those bright smiles that made me think he was either never sincere or had never experienced challenges in his entire life. The kind that made me hate him a little bit more after every grin he turned Ara’s way.

“Good idea. And, thank you,” Ara said, a small smile on her face as she turned to look toward the door as far as he was concerned, but was actually turning to smile at me.

With a quirk of one eyebrow, she asked if I knew anything and I shook my head.

An open door wasn’t an answer. It could have been someone else who got there before me and went outside to walk the perimeter of the house to find out what had happened.

I scooted toward the bed and out of Henry’s way as he took her hint and turned to go.

“Try and have a good night’s sleep, Arabella,” Henry said as he shut the door.

Sitting next to her on the bed, she slipped her hand into mine as we both waited for a moment for him to get out of hearing range.

All the confusion of the last few moments slipped away as I looked into her eyes, replaced with the need to wrap her in my arms again.

Before I could open my mouth and say anything, she grabbed my cheeks and brought my face to hers, her mouth in a smile even as her lips brushed mine.

Well, this was a very good way to stay quiet until we were sure Henry was gone.

I smiled too as I kissed her back.

No matter the reason for the scream, someone else in the house would make sense of it while I got to hide in Ara’s kisses.

I hope you like the new chapter and hopefully I’ll have a lot more to share as I get caught up on all the things happening.

Wish me luck!

As always, Thanks for reading everybody!

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