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Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column
By Carol Ann Culbert Johnson

A Romance Story

Blind Love

I sensed his presence. My body was a whirlwind of pleasure as I smelled him.

This was the fourth day I felt his presence envelope me as I sang, and I could feel his eyes on me. It was an unnerving feeling, but it felt good as I continued singing. I wanted to embrace his presence, but common sense returned as I finished the song. I couldn’t make love to myself on the stage because of a presence, could I?

I bowed instead, and smiled as the audience clapped for me. I was blessed with a fabulous voice and being blind did not interfere with my talent.

“I’m here,” said my sister Candy. “Are you ready to go back to your dressing room?”

I smiled at her and said, “Take me to my favorite table please. I don’t think I can get around in this crowd.”

“You should just go into your dressing room and relax for a while,” Candy said.

I frowned as I sensed her mood. Candy had been afraid for me ever since a former boyfriend had thrown acid in my face after I broke up with him. He didn’t take rejection well, but payback is a bitch, and he paid me back in spades.

I had been blind for four years now, and had adjusted fairly well, but in a large crowd it was easy to get disoriented. Candy was practically pushing me toward my dressing room when I bumped into a body that felt like a tree trunk. “I’m so sorry,” I said, mortified. “Candy where are you?”

“Wait here just one minute, Zera. I’ll be right back,” Candy said as she led me to a corner and pushed me into a chair.

Suddenly, I realized that the man I had just bumped into had followed us. His scent was mesmerizing me. I had never felt anything like it before.

“May I join you?” he asked.

“Well, actually, I was just going to go out front and have a drink before we go home,” I replied.

“Then please, allow me to escort you to your table,” he said.

He took my arm and guided me smoothly to my regular table, gently sitting me into my chair. I was spellbound as I said, “Thank you for your help. I don’t know what happened to my sister.”

“I believe I saw her talking to someone as I reached you. Would you care for a drink?”

As I hesitated, he said, “Forgive me, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Bruce Greenwood. I’m a huge fan of yours. I come every week to listen to you. I think you have a remarkable voice.”

“The software genius,” I exclaimed, covering my mouth with my hand, completely overlooking his compliment on my voice.

He chuckled, and I liked his laugh. “That’s me,” he confessed.

“I have several of your programs,” I said. “I love the appointment book that sends you alerts on your computer so you don’t forget your day’s appointments. It’s very creative.”

“It’s my best one,” he said, proudly. “I like to think my programs will make a change for the good in people’s lives.

I was thrilled to be talking to this software giant that I had admired for several years. I realized I hadn’t introduced myself, so I rectified that right away. “I’m Zera Hayes.”

I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “Yes I know. Your name is on the marquee out in front. So tell me Zera Hayes, have you always wanted to sing?”

“Yes I have. I consider my voice as a gift from God that I must use and treasure,” I replied.

“It certainly is a treasure. If you’re not thirsty right now, would you care to dance?” he asked.

I wanted to dance with this man who seemed to be perfect in my eyes. There was something inside me pushing me toward this complete stranger, wanting to get closer and closer to him and his deep dark voice, but another part urged me to run, to get as far away from him as I could. What was fueling our mutual attraction? What did he see in a blind woman? I wondered about his looks; was he as handsome as that voice made him appear?

He helped me up and I followed him to the dance floor. I was nervous as we started to dance, but soon my innate sense of rhythm took over and we were dancing in complete harmony. I took a deep breath and inhaled the scent of his masculine cologne, a deep woodsy scent that inflamed me. It seemed like we had been dancing partners forever as he guided me around the floor and I didn’t miss a step with his strong arms around me.

Soon my head was resting on his shoulder as I felt the music carry me away into a world of make believe. Bruce seemed so caring and nice, and I thanked God for this moment.

We had two more dances before Bruce took me back to our table, this time sitting down next to me, so close I could feel the heat from his body.

“How about a cold drink,” he asked.

“A Coke is fine,” I said with a smile.

“I’ll be right back with our drinks,” he told me.

I absently noticed the background noise; music and conversation punctuated with laughter as my mind roamed.

Something about Bruce reminded me of Foster, the aggrieved boyfriend who had blinded me. I had spent three years with him, believing he was my absolute soul mate before I found out that he was a jealous, insecure man who went into rages whenever I failed to account for every minute I spent away from him. He tried to make me sever contact with all of my friends, wanting me to devote my life to him alone.

How could I ever trust a man again?

“What are you doing out here?” my sister said. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Well, where were you? You just dumped me in a corner and left me,” I frowned.

“I was talking to a high school buddy of mine,” Candy said. “Is that okay?”

“I’m having a drink with Bruce Greenwood, the software developer. It seems that he likes my singing.”

“You don’t even know this man. He could be anyone.”

I smiled because I knew Candy was rolling her eyes and I wished I could see her doing it. She was thirty-five, three years older than me and a little plump. Candy, a registered nurse, lived with me, a devoted and loving sister who showered on me all the attention I could handle. Sometimes I was glad to have her leave for the hospital, just so I could have some time alone.

When I first became blind I was terrified, but with the help of family and friends, as well as therapy and specialized training, I was managing fine.
“Here we are?” Bruce said, setting the glass down so it touched my hand. I was grateful for his thoughtfulness. I hated to grope around looking for something.

“Who are you?” Candy asked with all the candor of a big sister. “There are no booty calls on this sister.”

I was appalled at her words and wanted to run and hide. “Candy, please be quiet. This is Bruce Greenwood and Bruce this is my rude sister, Candy. Please forgive her lack of manners.”

“What do you want with Zera?” she asked bluntly.

“Candy, please control yourself,” I said “What’s wrong with you?

“Zera, how about you give me your phone number and I’ll call you at a better time?” Bruce said.

“No,” I said firmly. “My sister will excuse her appalling lack of manners and then leave us alone.”

“Don’t come running to me when he uses your ass,” she said, stomping off.

“How about a stroll on the beach tomorrow afternoon?” he asked.

“It sounds wonderful,” I said, as I gave him my address. Why was I so accommodating to a perfect stranger? I just had this feeling that we were meant to be.

“Will your sister be there with her shot gun?”

I laughed at his joke. “I’ll talk to her. Candy is very protective of me. She’s protected me since we were kids and she’s gotten worse since I lost my sight.”

“I’m just glad you have someone who cares so much. I can’t image the pain and suffering you endured.”

I blinked back tears. “Foster was once a good person and I loved him. With God’s help, I was finally able to forgive him, but forgetting is very different.”

“I’m so sorry,” Bruce said.

I shook my head. “Eyesight is something most people take for granted. I never expected to be blind and I allowed myself to be a basket case for a while. I finally decided feeling sorry for myself was a sin and determined to get on with my life. My face was burned so badly, the plastic surgeon was unsure how much he could repair but everyone assures me that it looks very natural. Not exactly as I looked before, but not a monster either,” she confirmed.

“You’re a remarkable woman, Zera and I want to get to know you a lot better. You’ve learned to see with more than your eyes.”

I smiled. “Thanks.” He was piercing my soul and I welcomed it.


Bruce came over the next day and we took that stroll on the beach. He described the water’s color as we walked along, bringing the colors vividly to my mind. We also spent some time talking about our lives. Bruce was forty-five, tall, dark-skinned and handsome. I never thought I would have another man in my life, but I knew I wanted this man.

Bruce allowed me to help myself, but when it was necessary, he was right there to lend a supporting hand. It was a magical time, although Candy disapproved of our relationship and moved in with her boyfriend.


Two months flew past and the relationship deepened, but we had not yet gone to bed together. We had done some deep kissing. Bruce was a very good kisser, his lips like toffee, and I loved the taste of him. He was my everything and more.

I knew I was ready to take our relationship further and one stormy day, as Bruce cleaned up the kitchen after cooking the best lasagna I’d ever tasted, I retired to the bathroom, taking a long shower using my new Mary Kay Happiness Bath Spa collection before drying off and slathering my body with more lotion, also thanks to Mary Kay. I got out my short red negligee, low cut and showing plenty of cleavage and sprayed myself with Romance, a new fragrance I was eager to try. I hoped it would live up to its name.

Bruce was still in the kitchen, completely unaware that I was getting ready to seduce him.

I felt my long curly braids, which I wore straight down my back because I preferred a simple style, to make sure they were in order. My makeup was, hopefully, utter perfection. Candy was a makeup pro and she had spent a lot of time teaching me how to apply makeup after I went blind.

My body taut with anxiety, I took a deep breath, reached for my cane and entered the bedroom, where I sat on the bed and waited.

I tensed as I heard Bruce call my name. I didn’t say anything, knowing he would come looking for me. I heard a quick gasp of air and knew Bruce had found me. I would have given everything I owned just then to be able to see the look on his face. “Make love to me,” I said, holding out my arms, amazed at my boldness.
Bruce didn’t need another invitation as he rushed over and swept me up in his arms before lowering both of us onto the bed. Our hands were roving madly over each other, the sparks sizzling as we touched sensitive areas.

“You’re so beautiful,” he said. “I…I…I…” Words failed him as he buried his face in my neck, his tongue sending ripples of pleasure through my body.

I loved seeing this powerful man speechless, but soon I was unable to speak myself as Bruce raised his hands to my shoulders and started easing down the thin straps of my negligee. Bruce’s soft breath on my breasts caused my nipples to harden painfully, but that was soon replaced with searing heat as his mouth closed over one nipple, laving it with his tongue, while his hands cupped the fullness of my breasts.

I gently rubbed his back, eliciting moans of pleasure from him. As I continued rubbing his back, he bit gently on my nipple, causing me to scream as white-hot sensations shot to the core of my being.

Bruce stood up to remove his clothes and I moaned as I lost contact with him. When he lay back down, he put my hands on his chest and I began to learn every inch of my man.

Bruce was well built and his stomach was as flat as five loaves of wheat bread. It felt so good to touch him and smell his male arousal. I massaged his entire body, loving the moans I elicited.

When I reached his shaft, it was as hard as a rock. I began to rub up and down on his palace of love and loud moans escaped him as I circled, teased and played with his shaft until I had him gasping with passion.

He let out a loud groan as he tensed and then exploded, warm liquid cascading down my hands as he pulled me to him for a deep kiss. We pulled back, our eyes meeting. I could see this man with my soul; I didn’t need conventional eyesight. I kissed his lips again as I abandoned myself to him. Who was this Bruce Greenwood who could come into my life, and rock it in this fashion?

I felt like I was on a roller coaster with no way to stop. I tried to pull back for a moment, but my body would not co-operate as we resumed our kissing. Before I knew it, I was on my back and Bruce was laving my body with his wet tongue. As his tongue dipped between my legs I felt the first fluttering of release and when he gave me an expert flick of his tongue, I exploded with a soft cry as my orgasm rushed through my body. Before my nerves had settled, Bruce slipped on a condom and slammed into me. He was on fire and there was no stopping this elevation of love. When he exploded in me, the thunder and lighting outside sealed our love as we cried out in satisfaction. I was deeply in love.

I awoke slowly the next morning, feeling Bruce’s eyes on me as I rolled over to face him. “Good morning,” I said, feeling a little awkward. It was difficult for me to tell what he was feeling since I couldn’t see his face.
“Hi,” he said, his voice sounding different to me, a little strange.

“Is something wrong?” I asked nervously, not sure if I wanted to hear his answer.

“I need to tell you something. I haven’t been totally honest with you?”

I was scared now. “Okay,” I said, my voice quavering a little.

“I’m not really who I told you I am,” he confessed.

I laughed nervously. “Well, who are you then?”

“Foster Hines,” he said.

I jumped out of bed, getting caught up in the bedcovers and falling to the floor, screaming as I fought to unwrap them and get myself somewhere safe.

Foster grabbed me and I screamed in fear. “Get out!” I shouted, tears of pain and betrayal running down my cheeks. “What kind of joke is this?”

“Zera, please listen to me,” he begged, but I wasn’t having anything to do with him as I fumbled for the phone and put my finger on the 9, ready to call for help.

“I want you out of my house right now or I’m calling the police. If you ever come near me again, I’m calling the police. Do you understand me?” I asked harshly.

I couldn’t believe I’d been fooled like this. How could I not know I was making love to Foster? Was I really so stupid and blind? “Get out,” I wept helplessly. “Now!”

“Please, let’s just talk about this,” he said softly. “After last night, don’t you see we belong together?”

“Get out,” I repeated.

I heard the soft rustle as he gathered up his clothes, dressed and left the room, all without saying another word. As I heard the front door close softly behind him, I fell to the floor, crying as I thought about the lies and deceit Foster had heaped on me. He had played me for a damn fool. How could he think he could just walk into my new life after he had been the one who had destroyed my old one? I sobbed even harder as I realized the grim truth; I was still in love with him.


May turned into June and I was still upset and saddened that Bruce was Foster. He called me several times until I finally threatened to get a restraining order on him. He still came to the club, although he never said a word to me. I could feel his presence and I kept my eyes turned away from him as I sang my sad songs of love lost. How could I possibly continue my life with someone who had blinded me? Who took my eyes away from me?
“Let’s go out for dinner Zera. You’ve been cooped up here too long.”

“Leave me alone, Candy,” I snapped. “I told you I don’t want to go anywhere. If you’re hungry, go ahead.”

“Zera, I need to talk to you and I want you to promise me that you won’t say a word until I’m finished. Will you do that for me?” she asked.

How could I refuse her anything? She had put her life on hold for several years while she helped me rebuild my life. “Of course I will, Candy,” I said, reaching out and grabbing her warm chubby hands with my cold fingers.

“Remember, let me finish talking,” she warned, squeezing my hands. “Foster called me last week and asked me…no, he begged me, to talk to him. I refused and hung up on him. After several more calls, I finally gave in and agreed to meet him at Starbucks. I figured there would be plenty of people around if I needed help.” She paused to get her thoughts in order. “When he came in, I took a good long look at him. Now that I know, I can see that he’s Foster, but Foster with a difference. This new Foster is gentle and kind. I saw that firsthand while he was at the counter getting his coffee and a little girl ran into him, spilling her drink down his pants legs. She fell back on her little butt and started to cry. Foster sat right down on the floor with her and made silly faces until she started to giggle .Her mother ran up, all apologetic and offered to pay for dry cleaning and he just told her to forget it. There was still a smile on his face as he started walking to my table.

“Now Zera, you know what the old Foster would have done. He would have been screaming at that baby and her mother, threatening to sue and I don’t know what else kind of madness. Suddenly, I was ready to hear what he had to say.”

I was getting interested in spite of myself. Candy was right on the spot with the reaction of the old Foster. I kept my mouth shut and waited for her to go on.

“He sat down and there was an awkward silence for a few moments, neither one of us sure about how to start. Then Foster started to talk, slowly at first and then as he saw I was listening to him, he sped up. The story he told me convinced me that he’s a changed man. I could tell you the story, but I think you need to hear it from him. Would you be willing to meet him somewhere and listen to him? I’ll go along and if you get uncomfortable at any time, we can leave. I have his promise that if, after you hear his story, you still want him out of your life, and he’ll leave and never bother you again.” Candy sat quietly for a moment, waiting for me to speak.

“Do you truly, in your heart, believe I need to hear his story?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said simply, and in that word I heard her heartfelt belief in Foster and I felt my heart give a little flutter of hope.

“All right, Candy. I’ll listen to him, but I’m not making any promises,” I said sternly.
“That’s all we can ask for, baby. Can I call him and ask him to come over?”

“Yes,” I said, feeling the little spark of hope ignite as I heard Candy dial a number and speak softly into the phone.

A minute later the doorbell rang and I turned an accusing face on Candy.

“He just happened to be in the neighborhood Zera,” she said, her voice sounding as innocent as a baby’s. I heard her open the door and greet Foster. “I’ll just be in the kitchen if you need me.”

Once more I felt his presence in the room and, not getting up, invited him to sit down. I heard him drag a chair over so he was facing me and after he sat down, he waited for a moment to see if I wanted to say anything. When I didn’t speak, he cleared his throat and started talking.

“I spent a year in jail for what I did to you Zera. The first few months were hell as I fought with anyone I could egg into a fight. Then one day I had a visitor, a preacher from the local church who came to visit the inmates every week. I practically spit in his face that first day and figured I’d never see him again. But he came back to see me the next week and the week after that. He never asked me what I had done to wind up in prison, just talked about God’s eternal love and forgiveness for all men. As the weeks went on, I realized I wanted to tell the reverend about you, to see if he and his God could still love me as he said they did after he knew what I had done. When I was finished, he sat and looked at me for the longest time. There was no condemnation in his face and as I looked into those gentle eyes, I realized the enormity of what I had done to you. You would never again be able to see such goodness in a person’s face, never see your child smile or even laugh at a cute puppy trick. And I was ashamed…too ashamed to even stay in the same room with Reverend Banks. I rushed from the room, but he followed me, telling me that God knew I was sorry and was giving me this chance to rebuild my life. I didn’t deserve to have a life after what I had done. And I knew I’d never have any peace in my life until I was able to try and make amends to you.”

There was silence in the room, but I still didn’t say anything. I knew there was more and I was determined to hear it all before speaking.

“I only had a couple of months left in prison, but I used that time to study computers. I found out I was very good at writing software programs and when I was released, Reverend Banks helped me find a job at a software company. Within a year, the owner offered me a partnership and I jumped at the chance. The talking calendar was created with you in mind. In fact, all of the software I create is intended to make life easier for handicapped people. We donate the software to any organization that requests it and make it available at discount prices, or even free, for anyone who has a need for it. Both my partner and myself feel we owe our success to God and we make regular contributions to Reverend Banks’ charities as well as volunteer our time teaching inner city kids how to use the computer.”
He paused, waiting for me to say something, but he had still not said anything directly related to me, so I kept quiet.

“So that’s what I’ve done with my life since I blinded you. I make a lot of money these days, but I don’t keep too much of it. I do have a substantial amount set aside for you, to use as you see fit. I’ve been reading and talking to doctors across the country, sending them your medical records and I have one I’d like you to see. She thinks there may be hope of getting at least some vision back for you. You would probably have to wear glasses the rest of your life, but you could see.”

I felt my pulse leap…a chance to see again.

Foster went on. “I also came back to see you again and beg your forgiveness. Now I have to have it twice after what I did to you last month. I came to the nightclub just to see you. I had no intention of talking to you but when you bumped into me and didn’t recognize me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to be with you. When you asked my name, I panicked and gave you my partner’s name.”

“Why did you change your appearance if it wasn’t for the chance to make a fool of me?” I asked. “Candy didn’t recognize you.”

“All I did was grow my hair in and shave off my beard and moustache. The voice change happened gradually as I gave myself over to God and felt the anger draining from me. I no longer have any reason to scream. So Zera, I ask you one more time. Will you please forgive me? If you don’t want me in your life, I promise not to bother you again, but I am begging you to forgive me.”

I was astounded when I felt him move and realized he was kneeling in front of me. I reached out and his hands were clasped as if in prayer and suddenly I felt a white light shoot through me and I knew everything would be all right. With a cry, I launched myself from my chair and into his arms, feeling them close around me, drawing me to his chest and holding me as if he would never let me go. I felt his tears on my face as I raised my face for his kiss, realizing I didn’t care if I never regained my sight. After all, love is blind.

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Blind Love

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