Silver Moonlight

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young girl races to bring the brother she loves back home.

Submitted: July 26, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 26, 2017






By Gail Stewart Garber



Silver moonlight spilled across the wilderness, shining like a searchlight on snow-dusted mountain peaks and filling the valleys like floodwater. Ara stood in the shadow of a tall oak, sheltered from the unusual nighttime brightness. Traveling in the revealing moonlight didn’t feel safe, but neither did the woods. Those closely clustered trees were older than her grandparents and could hide too many things beneath their dense canopy - not so much as a single drop of moonlight touched the forest floor. Behind Ara, her mare nickered. She felt the animal’s breath on her shoulder, followed by a soft nudge. She didn’t want to stand still any longer. Well, neither did Ara. She swung into the saddle, clutching a familiar strand of blue beads that had been mined out of the very mountains she faced. She heeled her mare forward and wondered for what must have been the hundredth time where Jon was now.

All he left were his kisses: kisses long into the night. Kisses deep to take her breath and a thousand nights of those that could melt her troubles away. For the thousandth time she re-kissed the kisses he left behind.

Wherever Jon was, she was buried inside him like a spirited soul in a tomb. She bent at his will and watched as he swallowed her soul like a dark hole.  When she closed her eyes the vision of Jon arose over the mountains as tall as the oak trees that surrounded her. She remembered how he adored the kisses he received from her mare Serenity and the many moonlit races they took to challenge their competitive spirit. At this moment she faced the most difficult entry to her new life. She was with child and the recent announcement of her engagement to his brother Amos meant more than devoting herself to him. Ara had to know for certain which brother fathered her child. Jon could no longer hide in the shadows of the wilderness. Ara was determined to bring him forward to stand before the town to enter his plea of innocents and perhaps claim what could be his child.

“Innocent!” For a brief moment she slowed to a gallop to tremble inside at the chilling thought that Jon was innocent. For the hundredth time she pondered if indeed he could be innocent of a drunken attack on the town’s socialite? What had caused him to leave Willow Springs and climb into the rocky caves of Mount Lava?  After all, he once committed his undying love to her. Her school-girl innocents had been his to deflower. She could see herself in him and had broken ties with her parents at his insistence and upon her high school graduation; she followed him into a shared life of pure romance and unbelievable excitement.

Ara tried to close her eyes against the deepest and darkest night. A new fear arose inside her shattering her independent confidence – why had she chosen this particular night? It was the Winter Solstice – the longest day of the year. It was also the longest moments in her young life. Earlier she had wiped the tears from her mother’s eyes. It shivered deep within to see how her mother had grown old in heartbreak. She could barely bring herself to push her mom’s tender embrace away as she ran into the night toward this desperate journey.  

“You will regret this decision if you go find him,” her mother cried! “I know… I know what desperation feels like”.

Ara turned back for a moment to see her mom crying painfully.

“I married the wrong man,” she whispered. “Your father is the only one living the great American love story…he knows little of love…he has an unrequited passion for possession. Please Ara my dear love, listen to me. Do not find this man…marry Amos. Amos is the brother who can give you a good life. Don’t relive my life. I am no more than a captive…not a romance. I have been in this life so long the moonlight has dimed in my eyes when he is near.”

“I have to go…Jon is my life”. Ara knew in her heart this was the right decision.

Somehow she had to see Jon again. His green smell was intoxicating, and more so, was this unrelenting stare into her big green eyes. He was so very tall and masculine and such an opposite of his brother Amos with whom she was promised. Her father Abram had practically sold her to Amos. She resented his constant interfering yet felt a complete loyalty to his parenting. Her father Abram had loved her uncompromisingly since the day he kissed her brow. She was his “sugar” his “plum” and everything “nice”. He worshiped her and promised her a glorious life of riches and protection. Nothing was going to stand in Abram’s way of fulfilling this promise to Ara. In particular, not someone who reigned as the town scoundrel like Jon Brackett.  From Abram’s perception, Amos Brackett, a Yale graduate who sat as CEO of the newly incorporated Grand Price Computer Global was a better choice.

The blue-eyed, raw-tempered Jon Brackett was a hell of an American story. His embittered soul found comfort in fighting battles that were not his.  A young novice environmentalist, he struggled against society’s negligence to maintain pure, clean water for all nations of people, he swore to resolve the energy crisis, started the town thinking about “green” development and joined the fight to protect animals and wildlife. He refused to enlist for war service and began great unresolved feuds against the town’s wealthy. He was the town’s great pain. He was the breaker of men who stole their strength and resolve. He swept his own brand of passion and wounded with his words. His was a soul-embittered struggled opposed by the wealthy. They saw his battles as uncharacteristic of a young man who lived splendidly off the fat of the land in a large plantation-styled home a mile off the great lakes. He had been raised by a council of forefathers who owned most of the real estate as far west as Texas.

How Byron and Emma Brackett had come to live in Willow Springs remained a mystery, yet unresolved due to a community of loving neighbors who grew to cherish them and give them a lifetime vote of confidence in every area of their lives. The Brackett’s plantation-styled mansion sat on fifty-thousand square feet of pure manicured landscape with an interior filled with historical Certificates of Excellence, proclamations, government awards, acclamations, applauds and numerous thank-you trophies. General Byron Lucius Brackett rode into town proclaiming to be a Congressional Medal of Honor government official appointed by the President to advise him in homeland affairs. His social-climbing wife Emma Broadbent blew into the social circle like a gush of wild winds breathing upon all with a sizable income into her exotic embrace.

Upon Ara’s first meeting with the Brackett family, she immediately lost her bearings and crashed into an expensive vase to which she embarrassingly apologized. Emma squealed out a laugh and inquired, “Why are you apologizing to the vase you silly girl”?  She then went on to explain that Ara had just quite possibly ruined an irreplaceable piece of grand old Asian art history. To Ara the vase looked similar to the affordable ones in the general store. So, in an embarrassing rush she replied, “Oh, don’t worry Mrs. Brackett the vase can be replaced. I will but a new one.”

“Silly, stupid girl…you don’t have such income to replace my furnishings. Your family lives in a rental and works for a living. Your mother and father are common laborers… what possible embarrassing family heirloom can you give to me? Silly…silly girl, just like all the other whores Jon brings home.” Emma replied.

And that comment was only the beginning of the criticisms Emma quickly pointed out whenever she saw Ara. She thought the Brackett family was a hoax. She had never seen a family dressed formally for dinner. General Byron Brackett often wore his five-starred general’s uniform to casual dinners. 

“I thought your father was retired”, she whispered to Jon at the first dinner.

“Nothing around this house is normal or casual,” Jon whispered.

Byron Brackett’s “please call me General” while sporting a decorated war veteran’s uniform was as ostentatious as everything they stood for. It was how they controlled a town of lies. He appeared always in combat. Every breath of words spoken was more of a medieval tournament stated for the pleasure of having all who admired his constant chatter to pledge high stakes.

What was unmistakably worth all the money of the town’s wealthy elite was Ara’s great birth of beauty.  No other family member had been blessed with her emerald green eyes and ivory velvet skin. Her thick auburn hair wrapped her tiny waist into a sensual sensation and her lean, tall, thin, yet wonderfully endowed body caused men to scream “thank you” to the heavens. Many swore they would pay just to lay eyes upon her. But she never graced the covers of any magazines or danced for money. She was innocent of her beauty and of life. She loved Serenity and her parents and spent most times growing up in her pink décor bedroom where she studied and watched television videos. Until a year ago, she was a normal teenager. She had never loved before nor been loved by anyone. Admiration came easily, but love had been reserved for the popular wealthy. Her father walked her to school everyday until her senior year. At her insistence, he only walked a part of the way and trusted that she would make the rest of the journey safely.

“What am I to do with you Papa when I go away to college,” she would ask.  

“Don’t worry your pretty head. Never will you leave me. Your mother and you are the loves of my life…I am living my great American love story,” he often replied.

Months before graduation, the tallest man she had ever seen, was passing out flyers denouncing the government’s efforts to save the planet. Ara continued walking towards home when a shadow mimicked her every steps.

“Hello…hello…hi… I’m Jon.” He came up in a hurried rush behind her. “Hi I’m Jon Brackett. I’ve seen you walk this way every day. What’s your name?”

“Ara… Ara Silver.” She smiled because he made her smile. His breath on her neck and touch of his large hands calmed the deep tremors inside her.

“You are always here in this part of town…what are you doing?”

“I am protesting everything my father is attesting. We disagree about everything. He’s a government man… and I am a for the people man. Now with that said… why don’t we go get some ice cream or something…are you hungry?” He made a wide smile with a set of expensive white teeth. His clear indigo-tinted eyes beamed as the wind made attempts to surf his gorgeous blond mane. He brushed it back just enough to see his shy youth and hidden innocents. “I see you every day walking home from school. I want to see more of you…if you will let me.”

Ara met Jon everyday in the hush -hush of late nights and early dawns. The passion was immediately obvious and awoke a hidden desire that swept them open and burn unquenched like a gas fire through a forest. They roamed the midnight floors of the Bracket mansion finding a love-nest in every sacred room. On several occasions, she ran headlong into Amos who came downstairs for a lonely midnight feed. His deep stare and open mouth said he had lost his heart. He stared into her without apology, yet contained himself. In her eyes he could see flashes of power so magnificent it could control a town. He saw a union of stock options, yet in the secret quietness of the moment, he simply nodded and returned to his room.

“Be still my heart…you are so beautiful,” Amos breathed into her ear one night as he pushed against her to return to his room.

She ignored his adoration and ran off to Jon.

There were so many thoughts in her head about the past year. She simply could not turn her brain off. Serenity was starting to slow to a walk as the night eased into dawn.

“I know girl…we’re both very tired,” she said leaning to kiss her horse. She tied Serenity to a tree and pulled food and water from a sack. They both needed rest. The dawn would break soon and she would be on her way.

A sunlight so golden it washed her face with its sunbeams opened her eyes to the new morn. Her hands redden by the tight clutch she had on those blue beads reminded her of the reason she had left in the night to find Jon. He had sent her this extraordinary strand of stones he gathered from the mines. With it came a hastily written note of love. The brilliant sunlight washed over the darkness and casted an illuminating highlight along the trail she would travel. Serenity nudged close for warmth as Ara snuggled to comfort herself against the morning sickness. “Soon” she thought, “soon she will be in his arms and all will be right with the world,” she thought as she wiped the sickness from her mouth. A quick wash and gargle and she would be on her way.

Amos would be waiting for her by mid-afternoon. He set his clocks to the time they met each day. She was to have lunch prepared and her love waiting. He was an orchestrator of wishes and dreams. He waved his large hands over the spirit of the town and life happened. He was a man her father believed to be “focused” and “polished and powerful”. It was true; Amos knew what was in her heart. He cast a brilliant shadow over her and magically she rode the storm into greatness. She had given into him after Jon left. She followed her father’s urging to love Amos and against all arguments, she found herself in his bed wearing his engagement ring.  The diamond ring completely transformed her poor non-existent life.

Under Amos’s authoritative wings, Abram, her father, moved like a quiet thunder up the corporate ladder into a corner office at Grand Price. Lillian, her mother, stepped into an aristocratic limelight and suddenly was transformed from suicide’s door to head buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The little school girl Ara made it all possible. The beauty she was born with according to Amos “made men fall down”. He often said, “Men fall at your feet while your eyes are closed to their begging. Do you not see the mountains ahead…the elaborate possibilities. With a simple flick of your lash I will wash your feet with my tears. My brother Jon loves you without possibilities. He does not hold your heart in his hands. I, on the other hand, know your deepest desire.”

The day she was formally introduced to Amos Brackett was at Career Day at school. He had come to speak about college successes and laud his own promising career in computer engineering. As a cum laude Yale graduate in business management, he had designed a network of freelance businesses and restructured a bevy of small businesses into a landslide online triumph.  His Fortune 500 Company towered the city’s skylight. His silent, strong voice was hypnotic, the same as it had been that one night when he leaned into her.

And now she was trapped like tame wildlife in his controlling embrace once more against the hall lockers. She feared not to look up into his cat-grey eyes or touch his smooth, stiff black hair.

“I need to see you…when you are free of my brother,” he proposed. “You are so beautiful. Ara, you have my heart…let me give you my life now.” He said, holding his hand over his heart.

She had given a shy “no way!” before rushing into the spring breeze. His continued insistence waved brightly like a beacon flagging her down, wearing out her resistance.  

After graduation, she moved into an apartment with Jon to share their greatest desires. And desires tangled into butter sweet mornings during the spring and into summer. He spoke of love as if he held exclusive ownership. He was courageous and brave and held the planet next to his heart as if it were his first born. He wrapped her in his other arm and called on the stars to dance before her.

But it was Amos who appeared every aching moment. While Jon roamed the countryside to save the planet, Amos whispered throughout the fall nights of his undying love. He told of how painful it was to think of her with Jon and if given a chance, he would justify his love with a diamond moon as her tiara.

“No man will ever love you as much or burn with as much desire.” These were the words on his lips.

Emma and Byron held disdain for both sons because of such unrelenting unbridled attraction. Emma’s hatred stemmed from a “no woman will ever take my place as first lady in this town” fear along with the competition of beauty. She held to a portrait of herself dated twenty years prior that showed a perfect pretty sorority girl from Smith College. Other pictures of her reign as Miss New York and highlights of days in the Miss America Pageant covered her bedroom walls.

Byron Brackett hated Ara because she did not belong to him. “How does it feel to have every man fall at your feet,” he asked? Whenever they were alone, he would wink and call her “Fall”.

Someone did love and desire her as much as Amos. It was Jon. Her heart told her the truth. His strong heart beating next to her always spoke to the truth. She could not recall hearing Amos’ heart beat. Jon’s heart was always beating. An infant could sleep by the rhythm of his singing heart.

The sound of Jon’s heart was the only sound she could hear now in the early morn. Serenity’s breath rushed against her cheek to nuzzle her forward.  “Just follow the narrow trail girl…we will be alright,” she assured in an uncertain tone.

Serenity’s nervous body pulsated like a newborn. Ara’s concerns rested peacefully in the comfort of requited love. The sun glittered against the morning breeze illuminating the narrow trail opening up a perfect path to follow. Her determined soul reassured that she would find him.

In a closed eye beneath the blurriness of daylight, she could see him. He was standing at the mouth of the mountain, his bare chest radiating the gifts of the sun.  He would be happy to see her she knew it. The two were entwined in one soul. Jon would claim his child and return to town, apologize for past discretions and make life sweet again. He was so very close she could smell him. In her vision, he would appear as golden as a midnight sun, tan and burning brightly above all living things. Jon would be waiting for her with open arms at the inner sanctum of Oak Meadow Hill, barrels of blue turquoise stones lugged over his broad shoulders.

The thing dividing the tides of certainty was the “if only”.  If only the narrow path widen to a promising destination. If only she could bare the strain of the journey without harming the child within her. She questioned if Serenity could travel another few miles and not spill over in her own foaming saliva. Up the road was a resting area where both would take a cool drink.

Ara was determined to be happy again. Surely her life would return to wonderful in his loving arms.  He would love her as he had always loved her-endlessly. The terrifying nightmares she allowed with Amos and the town’s cry to take Jon’s freedom and arrest him for abusing the socialite would all be over. She was radiant. She stood in the iridescent mid-day sun that rose over the mountains lending a glow to the miles she had traveled and a gloss over the small valley of Willow Springs. For the hundredth time her thoughts moved stronger toward Jon, her destiny, a love preordained – a reunion that would surely get the rhythm of her life back.












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