Fire and Ice Young Adult and New Adult Books

Waiting For Dusk #3

Stealing Time

by Nancy Pennick



"Stealing Time" by Nancy PennickDrew from the past…
Kate from the present…

Two worlds collided.

As senior year comes to a close, a promise of new beginnings is on the horizon. Kate longs to head to Arizona and college until her former friend, Tyson, does the unimaginable forcing her to stay in Ohio. Her family has to pull together to keep their secrets safe. Anna wishes to return to the canyon in 1927 once more and Kate's determined to make that a reality. Summer's filled with wonderful memories and little warning of things to come. Kate's world grows darker and she must be the one to conquer the demons and save the world that is most precious to her.


 

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Teens


Chapter One

 

Present Day Ohio

 

“Katie, you know I love you.” Tyson slipped off his shirt and lay down next to her on the bed. For some reason, nausea swept over her. She turned her head, trying to avoid his kiss.

“Come on. Say it back. Say you love me.” He didn’t seem to notice her distance and kissed her on the cheek, sliding over to her mouth. “This is how it’s supposed to be. Me and you. Forever,” he whispered between the kisses.

Kate thought she was kissing him back but was not quite sure. Something in her mind kept shouting, “This isn’t right.” She tried to imagine the reason, but he kept kissing her, distracting her.

Think, think harder! She wanted to pound her head with her fists, but Tyson’s muscular body pinned them down. Now the kisses were on her neck and slowly moved down her body while his hands slipped under her, lifting her toward him. Kate felt like a rag doll with no control. Suddenly, it came to her what was wrong. It wasn’t Andrew, not her Drew. Where was he? Why wasn’t he here, kissing her? None of this made sense.

Kate struggled to get away, out from under Tyson’s strong, massive body. “No, Tyson, no.” She wanted to scream, but nothing came out. She felt her mouth open. Her breath came back at her as it bounced off his skin, but she heard nothing. He finally felt her resistance but didn’t stop, almost liking it.

Is he going to...? No, Kate couldn’t go there. He had been her friend since she was eight years old. They had gone through so much together. There’s no way he would continue on...but he did.

I need Drew. He’s going to come and save me.

 

“Drew!” Kate screamed at the top of her voice as she bolted upright in bed. Fear gripped her by the throat. She felt weak from fighting Tyson’s advances. Heart pounding, she searched the room, taking in every inch. She was alone.

“Was that a dream?” She couldn’t believe it. It was so realistic. She took deep gulping breaths to calm herself, all the while repeating over and over, “It was just a dream.”

Dreams held a different meaning for Kate and the world she now lived in. Her mom gave her a book one evening, hoping to change her daughter’s boring summer. Since that night, Kate’s life had never been the same. She was taken away to another time on an unbelievable journey. What she thought was a dream turned out to be real, changing her life forever.

Kate reached for the book, holding it to her chest, hoping it would calm her. “You gave me Drew. I was only sixteen when I first saw him...” A tear rolled down her cheek. “But I knew he was the one.” Two worlds collided. Drew from the past. Kate from the present.

Although they were just seniors in high school, Kate planned to be with Drew for the rest of her life. She didn’t know how she could live without him. He was so much a part of her everyday life, it was like breathing. And he could take her breath away.

After being saved from the past by Kate’s father, Drew had adjusted to life in the present. He changed his last name from Martin to Kelly and didn’t look back. On the flip side, Tyson, her childhood friend, had not. He had trouble accepting Kate couldn’t take the next step from friendship to love. He had no clue about her two lives or who Drew really was. All he saw was someone moving in on his territory. Not that Kate was ever his territory. She explained over and over she wanted to be friends, nothing more.

Back in December, Ty slipped into the house when no one was home and tried to force himself on her. She knew it was out of desperation but finally realized he couldn’t be part of her life. Maybe the dream was a reminder of how she could never trust him again. Everyone believed he would have forced her to have sex if Drew hadn’t rescued her. But she was still in denial. “Not Tyson. He’s my friend,” Kate told the empty room. Her chest tightened, and she placed her hand on her throat. “No, he’s not my friend.” She hung her head. “He’s turned into a stalker. My stalker. I have to accept that.”

She sat rigid in the bed, trying to calm down from the nightmare. The room filled with bright sunlight, unusual for March in Ohio. It reminded her of an Arizona morning at the canyon. She watched the sunrays dance across the floor as they peeked through her blinds. She tried to clear her mind and wished at times she could wipe the slate clean as easily with Tyson. But it was too late. He changed everything with his behavior. She’d always have that day tucked away in her head, reminding her of how Tyson could truly be.

Kate flopped back into her pillow, reviewing all that happened in the preceding months. After the return from the past on New Year’s Eve, she vowed to live the simple life with her family. No more drama. That’s when she told Tyson he couldn’t be in her life anymore. She saw the hurt in his eyes but decided she had to be selfish and take care of herself first.

Lindsey and Jordyn, her best friends, were very protective and always by her side at school. They both knew what happened with Ty and didn’t buy Kate’s story that she had things under control.

As the weeks turned into months, the memories eased. Kate finally felt in control again. She told the girls to stop hovering. She was perfectly capable of handling things on her own. After all, she was a married woman...in the past, that was.

Jordyn didn’t know that fact, only Lindsey. She knew of Kate’s two worlds and was there for Drew and Kate’s 1927 wedding last October. Too young to get married? Maybe. That part felt like a dream. She had to smile as she thought of her life at the Grand Canyon. It always made her happy.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock and Drew’s voice coming from the other side. “Are you awake?”

“Yeah, come in.” Kate sat up, wrapping her arms around her knees.

“You’ll never guess who already called me this morning.” Drew threw out his hands in frustration.

“Good morning to you, too.” She smiled fondly at him. In this world, they were just a high school couple worried about friends and homework.

“Oh, sorry, good morning.” Drew walked over and kissed the top of her head. “It’s just so frustrating, Kate. Tyson’s called me every day for the past two weeks, begging for the chance to restart our friendship. I gave him a tiny bit of hope, barely a sliver, and he’s all over it. You know I agreed to consider, and I say that word with much emphasis, just consider letting that jerk back in our lives. I don’t care what you say he did or didn’t do last December. He tried to…” Kate shuddered as she recalled the dream she had. “Are you alright?” Drew sat on the edge of the bed searching for her hand. “I didn’t mean to bring up any bad memories.”

“No, it’s not that. I’m fine. What were you saying?”

“Tyson called and asked if we’d meet him for lunch tomorrow. He wants to mend fences and be friends again. He’s going to swear on his family’s life that he never intended to hurt you. He wants the chance to prove he can be a good friend.”

“Well, enough time has gone by that I would consider it.” Kate giggled as she used the same word he used in his speech. “And it’s Saturday so we have plenty of time to finish our history paper. I guess we can meet him for a short lunch.”

“Alright. I’ll call him back and say we’ll meet up with him tomorrow, but you better talk to your dad first.”

Kate’s dad didn’t want her to have any contact with Tyson ever again. “That boy has tested my last nerve!” he had yelled. “He’s not welcomed in this house for the rest of his life.” She didn’t want to face her dad alone.

“You have to come with me.” Kate slid out of bed and threw on a hoodie. She took Drew’s hand, and they made their way downstairs.

Her dad had started the morning coffee and stood in the middle of the kitchen, waiting for it to brew, while reading the newspaper. “Good morning, you two. Sleep well, Katie?”

Kate hesitated and brushed aside the nightmare she just had. “Yes, Father, and you?”

“So formal today,” he teased and set down the paper. “You look like you have something to say.”

“Drew and I are going to meet Tyson for lunch tomorrow and work out our issues.”

“What? Did I hear you correctly?” He slammed his hand on the counter. “Andrew, you can’t be on board with this.”

“I’m doing it for Kate.” Drew put his arm around her.

“Come on, Dad, you’d probably forgive your brother if he showed up at our door right now and invite him in.” She stared intently at him.

“He’s been dead a long time so I don’t really know.” He was right about Uncle Albert being gone for a long time. Jackson Roberts was from the past, born in the early 1900s, when things were quite different.

“You know you would. You probably already have.” Kate took her father’s hand and led everyone into the family room. She sat down with him on the sofa. “You’ve had so many life experiences, learned so much this past year. You have a different perspective on things...you must admit.” She hoped her father could see the similarities between Tyson and Albert.

“Pumpkin, when did you get wiser than your ol’ dad?” He put his arm around her. “Who’d have thought a book would bring this family closer together?” Her dad put his head back on the sofa, appearing to be deep in thought. “You know I was upset when your mother gave you the book to read. I didn’t want you involved in that world. Now I believe it was the smartest thing she ever did. It’s like you’re the connection to both worlds. There’s a balance now.”

“Well, I almost ceased to exist on New Year’s Day, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Kate rested her head on her father’s shoulder, shuddering at the memory of what happened just a few short months ago.

“You realize when I left here before Christmas I had every intention of making it back in time.” Her dad squeezed her tightly as he spoke. “I waited almost twenty years for that telegram and was determined to go. Never in my wildest dreams did I think anything would happen. I was a fool to think I was indestructible, hopping from one century to the next. Nothing ever went wrong in all those years. I felt like a superhero doing good in the world. I would right the injustice my brother caused and come back to my family. I’d rip open my shirt, expose the large S on the shirt underneath, and everyone would cheer.” Her father placed his head in his hands. “What a fool.”

“Was the S for Superman, Dad? Because if it was, you’re Superman in my book. You rescued Drew and got here just in time to save me. I think that’s superhero status in anyone’s book.” Kate pulled her father’s hands away from his face. “Keep the faith. I did.”

“Jack, remember what you told me about the book? No one has all the answers...we’re almost at its mercy.” Drew got up and went into the kitchen, pouring coffee for everyone and returned with a tray of mugs. “This magical book brought us together...for that I’m eternally grateful.”

“You’re right. I need to remember that,” Jackson whispered as if he was trying to convince himself.

Kate looked quizzically at her father. “What did you tell Drew about the books? This is the first I’m hearing of it.”

“Well, let’s see.” Her dad rubbed his chin. “I guess you’re referring to the time right after your rescue from the river. Am I right?” He looked over at Drew.

Drew nodded. “We were sitting around a campfire, waiting for the sunrise, so we could begin the climb to the top of the canyon.” He glanced over at Kate. “I thought you were up there, waiting for me. Little did I know you were here in Ohio and used the book to time travel back to the constant, never-changing year of 1927,” he laughed. “I didn’t believe a word out of Jack’s mouth...until he told me you were one of the time travelers.”

“Then you became a believer?” Kate teased. This might be just what they needed, a discussion about time travel. Her father loved to talk about it. Perhaps it would put him in a better mood. She decided to leave the Tyson discussion on the back burner for awhile longer.

“Yeah, I guess I did. We spent the night discussing the powers of the book and how it worked. It seemed like your father and Carl Sr. sat up many nights dissecting the ins and outs of the book.”

Kate sighed at the mention of Carl’s name. Married to their friend and neighbor, Maya Johnson, he was such an important part of her journey, yet she never knew him in the present. He had already passed away before they moved into their home. “Carl, the first traveler.”

“We wouldn’t be here without him.” Her dad patted her knee. “Always be grateful to him. He was a brave man. Carl came to this country from Sweden, knowing little English, and found his way to Arizona. His carpentry skills got him the job at the boardinghouse where he discovered the books.”

“And he was the first to come to the present.” Kate was in awe as she thought about it. Carl did it all on his own. “Thank goodness he met Maya on his first trip.”

“They were the first past and present couple,” Drew chuckled.

“But not the last,” her dad said. “Your mom and I made the second, and now...” He squeezed Kate’s hand. “You and that one.” He cocked his head toward Drew.

“That one!” Kate laughed as she threw herself against the back of the sofa. “I love it.”

She leaned forward and looked at her dad. “Now tell me the story. You and Carl put your heads together to try to figure out the book.”

“We tried things first-hand when we could. Experimentation, you might call it.” Her dad sat up as if he had renewed energy, gesturing with his hands. “We finally formulated a New Year’s Eve plan, for lack of a better name, but never put it in motion. Carl became too ill and, as you know, passed away. I lost the motivation to continue. Anyway, we have most of our answers now.”

“What was the plan? The New Year’s Eve plan?” Kate was curious. “If you had conducted that experiment, you might have the answer. The only one we’re not sure about.” Then she hung her head. “Never mind. I think I was the experiment. We do have the answer. If someone stayed at the canyon into the New Year, I wouldn’t be here. Your life would have continued on in the past. You could never return to the present. Mom would be a distant memory. Someone you remember meeting in 1927. And me...never born. I was fading away that last day. I could feel it...” Kate had to stop herself before she said what really scared her. No one would remember her because she never existed.

“Enough! We’re done talking about it. No need to bring up bad memories.” Drew held up his hand. “We’ll never let that happen again. No one will ever go to the canyon that time of year.”

“But I still want to know.” Kate looked at her dad with sad puppy dog eyes. “What was the New Year’s plan?”

“Actually, it was a silly little experiment. We planned to take a cat or dog back in time, leave it closed in the master bedroom of the boardinghouse. We planned to go back in January to see if it was still there.”

“A dog from the future going back in time? Too science fiction for me!” Drew howled with laughter.

“Not that far-fetched. The space program used animals before they let humans go into outer space.” Kate defended her father. “You still have to catch up on your history, Drew.” She winked at him.

“Thanks, Pumpkin.” Her dad gave her a huge grin. “It does sound a bit crazy. We didn’t know if the animal would transport back to the canyon. We were working on that part when…”

“Carl became ill.” Kate finished for him. “I can see how you didn’t want to continue without him. He discovered the books and was the first to travel and unravel the mysteries of the book. I’m so glad I got to know him, if only back at the canyon. Carl may have passed away, but he lives on there.”

“Another mystery.” Drew shook his head.

“One we’re grateful for.” Kate’s dad raised his mug in the air.

“We could’ve used his guidance a few months ago.” Drew held up his mug in response.

Kate decided to keep focusing on the positive. “Luckily, you made it back to Ohio just in time. We never had to find out what would’ve happened to me. I know you made the decision to live in Mom’s world. I’m so glad you did.” Kate patted her father’s face. “You were afraid, and rightly so, that I might not have been born if you hadn’t gotten back in time. But I would have never forgiven you if you left Drew behind.”

Suddenly Kate felt a cold chill sweep over her. The time travelers had had that discussion before. You may only have one chance to come to the present to stay. Her father and Drew aged here in Ohio, in the present. They couldn’t keep starting over. Kate wiped a tear from her eye as she thought of her Drew…her handsome, dark-haired, emerald green-eyed Drew being left behind, unable to come to the present ever again.

“Kate? Kate, are you okay?” Drew was now sitting beside her.

“Oh, I was daydreaming, I guess.” She took his hand. “I was thinking about how you wanted to marry me in another time, got here and realized it wasn’t going to happen.” She took his hand, hoping he’d believe the little white lie. Drew knew she was still preoccupied with their dual lives. When he came to the present to live, Kate found he had strict values. No sex until marriage. She devised a plan to get married in the past, hoping Drew would accept those terms. He did, in a way. His rule now was no sex in the present. They weren’t married.

“But we still got married, didn’t we?” He gave her a wide grin.

“Yes, and it was wonderful.” In their hearts, they were committed to each other, no matter the decade. Drew, with his old-fashioned values, wouldn’t make love unless they were at the canyon where he considered them married. She tried hard to change his mind, but he wasn’t budging.

Kate sat up and stared at her father. They’d gotten off track, and she thought it was a good time to bring up Tyson again. Talking about Uncle Albert may have hurt her case, but she decided to forge ahead. “Well, Dad? I’m waiting on the Tyson decision.”

“He gets one more chance, and that’s it.”

Kate kissed him on the cheek. “See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

* * * *

“So we’re all friends again?” Tyson rose from his seat at the diner and walked over to pay the bill. “This is on me.” He smiled at them, but Kate thought there was a touch of sadness behind it.

Drew put his arm around her. “Happy?”

She nodded. Maybe all could be right in the world again. Karma just had to be on their side. Ty apologized over and over. He said he’d never do anything mean to Kate or hurt her in any way. “He does live across the street. It’s not like we’d never see him. And what’s the saying? Keep your enemies closer? Easier to keep an eye on him.” She rested her head on Drew’s shoulder as Tyson returned.

“All set. See you in school.”

Kate was surprised he acted so normal. “Ty,” she called out to him. “Thank you…for everything.”

After he left, she turned her attention back to Drew. “So, husband, ready to go home and report to my dad? I’m sure he left instructions to call immediately if anything happened.”

Drew could only laugh as he waited for Kate to slip out of the booth.

As they walked into the house, the first thing she did was to announce they were home. “Dad, we’re back safe and sound. Come out wherever you are!”

He rounded the corner of the family room. “Just watching television…basketball game. I can turn it off. Tell me how everything went.”

“Mmm, aren’t we supposed to not want to tell you about our social lives? I think I read something about helicopter parents. They hover too much,” Kate joked.

“I have every right to hover after what I put you through.”

“Dad! You’re not going to start that again. I thought we cleared the air.”

“Maybe your dad still needs to talk. Do you, Jack?” Drew turned to Jackson and put his hand on his shoulder.

“Maybe I do. But Katie’s right. You kids need some privacy. You don’t need your ol’ dad lurking about.”

“Hey, don’t talk like that.” Kate hugged him. “And remember I want to be called Kate now, please.”

“Old habits die hard, kiddo. I’ll have to stick with Pumpkin.”

“Pumpkin will do.” Kate laughed and grabbed his hand, leading her father to the dinette table. “Sit. I’ll make you some coffee. Didn’t Maya drop off some cinnamon bread?”

Soon they had her dad laughing and making plans to go back to the canyon with Drew during spring break.

“I like that we’re getting back to normal.” Kate smiled at the men in her life.

“If normal includes time travel, I’m right with you.” Drew took her hand. “But it has to be with you, no one else.”

Kate’s dad rose from the table. “I think I’ll leave you two lovebirds alone.” He walked over to where she was seated. “Thanks for forgiving me. I’ll never intentionally put you in harm’s way again. I’ll protect you with my life as long as I live and breathe. Did you hear that, Andrew?”

“Dad! Stop being so dramatic. Drew would never put me in danger.” Kate saw the hurt and guilt in her father’s eyes again. “You need to let it go. I have.” She got up and pulled Drew with her. “Homework!” She headed for the stairs. “Love you, Dad!”

When they reached her bedroom door, Kate turned to Drew. “I thought we had this settled. Am I going to have an overprotective father now?”

“I think he’ll get over it. Just give him some time.”

“Time. Sometimes I think it’s on our side, and then I feel it works totally against us. I felt a gigantic clock ticking inside me the whole time we were at the cabin. It was awful. On the other hand, I can’t wait to get back there and see everyone. I miss them.”

“I know what you mean.”

“You’re going tonight, aren’t you?”

“We agreed I shouldn’t tell you when I go.”

“Well, this is special circumstances.” Kate pretended to pout, stomped over to her bed, and sat down.

“Special circumstances?” Drew slid in next to her.

“Yes, I decided I need to know where you are at all times.”

“I’m right here.” Drew’s lips found hers as he pulled her close. “I’m not going anywhere, Mrs. Martin.”

“So you’re not going to the Grand Canyon tonight, Mr. Martin?” Kate whispered between kisses. She loved using their names from the past.

“Yes, I am.” Drew took a deep breath. “Darn! You got me!”

“Maybe I can persuade you to stay here.” Kate giggled.

“I’ll do whatever you want.”

Kate suddenly realized she felt fragile after the weekend. The dream, discussing New Year’s and meeting Tyson brought back a lot of memories. It wasn’t fair to place her fears on him. “You go, and have fun. I’ll be here when you get back. Can’t wait to hear about it.”

“Okay. You’re sure?”

“Yes, positive.” Kate walked over to her desk. “I really do have homework.”

“So do I. I’ll see you at school tomorrow?”

“Of course. Tell Lindsey to call me so we can plan a shopping trip.”

“Senior Prom, right?” Drew smiled. “I didn’t forget.” He headed for the door and then turned. “I love you, Kate.”

“Love you, too.” She waited until she was alone and placed her head on the desk. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she heard the ticking clock...slowly counting down the minutes left in her life. “I beat the clock,” she said defiantly.

Tears filled her eyes, and she wiped them away. There was no real reason to cry. She was safe and alive. She had Drew, and life was back to normal. Wasn’t that every girl’s dream?