The Fate Of The Muse

By: Derrolyn Anderson


I jumped to my feet, lips tight, fists clenched.

“Marina,” Lue’s sad eyes looked up at me with a warning, “Don’t give in to anger. Anger is poisonous.”

“Not when the cause is just,” I spat out bitterly, thinking about how anger gave me the strength to overcome Peter, “Sometimes it gives us the will to change things.”

“Ah,” he said, “But it is a fire that can consume even the vessel that holds it.”

“Don’t worry about me,” I said, patting him on his hand, “I can handle it.”

I went back to Ethan’s stand to find Abby engrossed in conversation with Ethan, her hands on her hips. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who was angry.

I kissed Ethan goodbye and drove Abby home. She was fuming, seeing the government’s plans to seize Lue Khang’s land as a personal assault on all that she held dear. The farmer’s market was Abby’s favorite place, and she loved visiting all the local organic farmers, many of whom were her friends. She wasn’t about to take the news lying down. By the time we got home there were big plans in the works. We were going to stage a protest.

“What if we made it a fund-raiser?” I asked, “For Lue Khang’s legal defense?”

Abby smiled brightly and I could see the wheels turning, “Yes! We can have entertainment… and speakers, and food.”

“Megan could sing!” I added.

“We could get the local news to send a reporter… When people find out what’s going on they’ll be shocked! Maybe Congressman Hill will pull his support if the public turns against him.”

Abby and I spent the rest of the afternoon coming up with names of community leaders we’d want to speak at our rally. By the time Ethan and Dutch showed up for dinner, the date was set and some phone calls had already been made. We’d have the event a week after school got out, the day before I had to leave for Paris, which would give us two weeks to get the word out and organize.

Dutch and Ethan took over the kitchen duties while Abby and I made to-do lists. She was on fire, full of creative energy and enthusiasm. By the time we sat down to eat she had turned her attention to where we should hold the event.

“What about the park?” asked Cruz, “You could fit a lot of people out there.”

Abby looked thoughtful, “We might not be able to get a permit for that.”

“What about Lue’s farm?” I asked, “There’s plenty of parking, and people could see what they’ve come to help defend.”

Abby smiled broadly, and it was a plan.

Ethan was touched that we were all getting involved, and his outlook grew a little less gloomy, “I’ll check with Lue tomorrow,” he said with a grateful smile. We finished dinner, with everyone excitedly brainstorming different ways to get publicity for the event.

Finals week was going to keep us on our toes, and I could see that Ethan was tired, worn out from a long day at work. He also needed to study, so I took him firmly by the hand and led him out the door. He wanted to stay, but I insisted.

“I’m fine,” I said, “You get some rest.” He’d been working after school every day lately, and I was worried about him. All he’d been doing was working and watching over me, and as I slowly came out of my funk I realized just how hard he was driving himself. He hardly ever went surfing anymore, and I knew it was all my fault.

Before he got in the truck he embraced me, “Did it occur to you that you were, uhm… inspiring Abby?” he asked.

It had, but it was starting to bother me less and less. She wanted our plan to succeed as much as I did, and I didn’t care if I had an unfair advantage. I’d do whatever it took to protect Ethan; I loved him more than anything else in the world. The situation with the land had exposed my mercenary streak, and I began to understand the way Evie operated a little better.

“If I’m encouraging her, good,” I said defiantly, “That land is rightfully Lue’s, and after you pay it off, you’re going to build a beautiful house and an amazing nursery on it.”

He chuckled, “I’ll make sure it’s a big house.”

“We don’t need a big house,” I said.

“Tell that to our six kids,” he grinned at me, “And besides… I’ll have to build a giant closet for all your shoes.”

I stretched up to kiss the smile off his face, “Good luck with your finals,” I murmured in his ear.

“I’m already the luckiest guy in the world.”

I kissed him again, hoping he was right.





CHAPTER THREE


ANGER





“It’s a bitchin’ gallery, and Susan’s a really cool lady. She’s totally into your paintings,” said Bill as he handed me the business card. I’d stopped by his coffee shop after school to replace a few paintings that had sold, sitting down for an espresso after refilling his wall with my colorful wave paintings.

“Thanks,” I said, slipping it into my purse, “I’ll be sure to give her a call.”

“She wanted to know if you made any bigger ones. She says she has clients looking for super big art,” he gestured with his arms wide.