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Someone Else's Dream -- the final chapter

Chapter 6: Harriet Meets Acceptance

Chapter 6: Harriet Meets Acceptance

June 03, 2008|By EVA NIESSNER / Pulse Correspondent

Harriet Hertz had been fired from her first job for not caring enough. She was fired from her second for caring too much.

About Thomas, that is - the co-worker who made her laugh and feel clever. The co-worker who turned into a black panther and savagely fought another panther in a dark Hagerstown alley.

After Thomas had explained everything to Harriet, after he had kissed her so beautifully and so sweetly and swore he loved her, he said he had to leave. He couldn't stay anywhere people knew about his family's feline curse, Thomas said. The man who had approached him in the pub was his cousin, and he wanted Thomas dead.

"Did you kill him?" Harriet asked. Thomas said no. He wasn't a killer. But now he had to escape, to start all over again somewhere else.

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"I swear I'll keep in touch," he promised as Harriet cried like the spoiled star she supposed she was at heart.




Three months later, she had heard nothing from him.

Eventually, she was fired from Ellington's for "distraction." For caring too much about Thomas, actually, and wondering about him.

Luckily, it was Mindy who saved the day.

"Why don't you try writing something?" she said. "Thomas would approve."

"I can't write. Writing was his dream," Harriet said. "I won't live someone else's dream."

She was still thinking of that novel he might never have gotten to finish. She didn't even know where he was.

"Try writing something you would read," Mindy urged, pushing some paper toward her.

"I've only ever read kids books."

"Then write one of those."

It came with amazing ease to Harriet. It didn't require an extensive vocabulary, just a little imagination and a little life experience. She got hold of a wonderful artist who agreed to paint the pictures for "The Cat Prince," and schools and libraries adored the story once it hit the shelves.

So, a year later, Harriet found herself sitting in a bookstore in Florida, reading it to a group of little kids.

"Once there was a beautiful princess," Harriet began, "who had everything she wanted. But she broke the rules of the kingdom so often, she was banished to a land far away."

The children loved it. Their round freckled faces lit up when Princess Candy met the sleekly handsome Prince Panther, and clapped wildly when they got married at the end, after some minor troubles with the Wicked Cousin.

After they had scurried off with their signed copies, Harriet stood up to leave. She stopped when she felt a tug on her T-shirt.

"Yes?"

A sunburned little boy with bright green eyes held out a thick envelope. "My brother said to give this to Harriet."

"Your brother?"

On the back of the envelope was written "To Harriet H., from T.V., with all my love."

Harriet took the envelope. The boy scampered away. Harriet smiled.

So maybe it had taken Thomas a little while to get a letter to her. The important thing was that he had written at all.

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