“Hello dear soul, this is Stella Amour. Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?” 

I always greeted clients in this way, in a most soothing voice. Having been crowned the “Love Psychic” for my company, I liked to make a loving first impression. 

“Hi, this is Amy,” a gentle, shaky voice replied. 

“Oh my dear, you’re upset. What questions do you have for me?” 

Step one. Read the tone. 

“It’s my husband. I just found out he’s been cheating on me. I knew something was up so I looked through his email while he was sleeping. He’s been talking to her for months. I even read that they had been meeting up while I was at work. He even told her he loves her. I want to know who this woman is and why she’s ruining my marriage,” her voice cracked and she heaved, letting out a cry. 

Step two. Let people talk about themselves.

I felt bad for her, I did. Having been through the same situation myself, I knew the pain of infidelity. Which made me the perfect person to give my “psychic” input. 

“My goodness, dear. I’m so sorry to hear that. Spirit tells me you’ve been unhappy in this marriage for quite a while.”

Step three. Use common sense. With the added, “Spirit tells me”.

“Well, yes that’s true,” she sniffed. 

Stating the obvious works 99% of the time. 

Taking a deep breath she continued, “We haven’t been intimate in over a year, and we barely talk anymore. I’ve tried to make things better, do nice things for him. But, he never does anything in return. I’ve busied myself with work, staying late, knowing that I was coming home to him sitting on the couch in front of the TV. I knew we were unhappy, but I didn’t think it’d lead to this. Can you tell me who this woman is? Where did she come from? I just need to know.”

Step four. What would I tell myself in this situation? 

“My dear, Spirit is making it very clear to me that this other woman- she doesn’t matter. Spirit says, despite how it feels right now, this was a blessing. It’s your key to freedom. You haven’t been taking very good care of yourself, working all of these hours. Spirit says, now is the time for you to work on yourself. Exercise, meditate, find peace. And know that your perfect man is out there. The man who will cherish you and love you the way you deserve to be loved.” 

Despite my fraudulent front, I did want to help people. And, I did believe what I said.

“Really? There’s another man out there for me?” she asked.

“There is no doubt, my dear. Spirit says you’ve learned everything you needed to learn with your current husband. Now is your time to shine. Your soulmate is closer than you think. I see everything going smoothly with your separation. Just breathe, and know that everything is going to get better very soon.”

Amy sighed. 

“Thank you, Stella. That is exactly what I needed to hear.”

“Of course, dear soul. Feel free to email me with an update. I can’t wait to hear everything that Spirit has in store for you.”

With that, we hung up. Another success for Lady Love.

I had always wanted to be a therapist. I had even been accepted to an honorable university to pursue my studies during my senior year in high school. But, when I got pregnant the summer after I graduated, my life took a different path. It was then I married my high school boyfriend, who also put his college pursuit on hold to join the workforce. He found a decent-paying labor job, and we got ourselves an apartment above the dental office in town. We struggled, but our daughter brought a wonderful light to our lives. 

We were married for twenty-five years when I found out he was having an affair. I had been working a demanding sales job at the time, working late into the evening, much like my client, Amy. I took a half-day on a Friday, hoping to surprise my husband with our favorite Chinese takeout. And, I surely did surprise him. And, his attractive thirty-year-old secretary. 

It was a smooth divorce. We split everything 50/50. I took the house. He moved in with her. We moved on. After all was said and done, I had a midlife crisis I suppose. I hated my sales job. Thoughts of my long-lost dream resurfaced. It was too late for me to pursue it. So, I called a hotline psychic for advice. 

Much like Amy, I felt a lot better after the call. The woman was smooth, telling me everything I wanted and needed to hear. I knew right off the bat the woman was no psychic. But, she talked to me like a trusted friend. “It’s never too late to pursue your dreams,” she’d said. So, I got thinking, maybe I could use my painful experience to help others in love. My years in sales had also given me the gift of gab. So I applied to be a hotline psychic and aced my interview. Five years later, I was enjoying my quiet, single, and relatively hermit life. At times, I wished I had someone to spend my life with. Somehow, I had just accepted the fact that I’d probably be alone for the rest of my life- despite the hope I would give to many of my clients about finding their soulmates. 

August 2nd, 2021

I walked into the local coffee shop like I did every morning at precisely seven. I ordered my usual, a vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso. 

“Reese, is that you?” I heard a voice call from behind. I turned around and it was my ex-husband's sister, Molly. 

“Oh, Molly!” I turned and hugged her. We had been the best of friends for the first twenty years of my marriage to her brother. She had moved away before the divorce, and I hadn’t seen her in almost a decade. 

“Oh Reese, you look wonderful. Come, let's have a hand pie and catch up!”

I woke up, intrigued by the dream. I hadn’t thought of Molly in years. It was so realistic. I supposed I should give Molly a call sometime soon. 

I took a shower, made up my face, and got ready to go to the coffee shop. 

Take Lock Street. 

Hmm. That was a weird thought. I never took Lock Street. 

Take Lock Street. 

I shook off the unusual thought. Lock Street was out of the way. The coffee shop was only a few blocks away. I walked along Corbet Street every morning. So that was what I was going to do. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I realized my keys weren’t on the key rack. I searched through my purse, in the drawers in the kitchen, and the living room. Where on earth would they be? I thought. After ten minutes of scouring the house, I could only think of one place I would’ve left them. I went out to my car, and sure enough, they were in the cupholder. A little agitated and ready for a coffee, I headed out. 

It was a muggy morning and the sun was shining bright already. It was going to be a scorcher. I walked down the alley by my house toward Corbet Street. In the search for my keys, I had forgotten the inner voice that had told me to take Lock Street. Little did I know, I was about to find out why. Just as I turned the corner I heard people screaming. 

“Get back!” 

Two blocks ahead, a wall of water explosively shot into the air, bursting through the street. I gasped. I could hear sirens in the distance. It was the biggest water main break I had ever seen. A man walking by had been knocked down and another man was walking him away. I stared in awe. Had I been any earlier I would have been caught in the explosion. I stood there for a few minutes until the crews arrived. I guessed I was going to take Lock Street after all.

Ten minutes later I got to the coffee shop. Everyone inside was murmuring about the water main break. I stepped up to the counter to order my latte. 

“Reese, is that you?”

I turned around and Molly was standing behind me, just as she had in the dream. I was starting to get weirded out. 

“Oh my goodness, I was just thinking about you!” I said, embracing her. 

“Come, sit. Let’s have a hand pie and catch up.”

We sat down at a booth and talked casually about ourselves. I omitted the fact that I was a fraudulent hotline psychic, but told her everything was going well. We chatted for quite some time.

“Rick and I are going to be buying our first house! We found one right on the edge of town. An 1890’s schoolhouse at a great price. It’s so charming and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it!”

Tell her not to buy it. 

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” I said, hesitantly.

She caught my vibe. 

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

Tell her not to buy it.

“Um, no. I don’t think so. I just have this feeling that maybe you ought to look around some more. Don’t settle for the first thing you see,” I replied. 

“Rick says the same thing. But, he says whatever makes me happy. Do you really think we should look around a little more? I mean I really love this house,” she said.

“Yeah, I think you should look around.”

“Hmm, okay. I guess I’ll take your word for it. Well, look at the time! I better get going. Let’s keep in touch okay? This was so lovely,” she gleamed, standing to hug me. 

We parted ways, and I went home. Feeling uneasy about these weird things that were happening. 

It got weirder as the days went on. These “messages” would come through when I was working on the hotline. Nothing ominous. Just names, faces, locations, and the like. I would hesitantly give the information, which probably made me sound even more like a fraud. Because after all, I was a fraud. Wasn’t I?

Two weeks later, Molly called. 

“Oh my gosh Reese, you’re never going to believe it. The schoolhouse went up in flames! The neighboring house caught fire and it spread. The old wood caught right away. I can’t believe it. Thank goodness we didn’t buy it!”

I got messages from people more often. That my predictions were correct. Still when they came through, “Stella Amour” didn’t quite believe it. Lately, another message had been relentlessly picking at me. 

Go to the river.

That one freaked me out a bit. I used to frequent the boat launch by my house with my husband and daughter when she was small. I also spent a lot of time there when my husband and I first separated. There was a path along the river just past the launch, with plenty of big rocks to sit on. Sitting by the river was so peaceful. Especially on summer evenings. I hadn’t been back since we separated.

Go to the river. 

After a long day of calls, I finally gave in. I didn’t know why I was supposed to go to the river. It was probably nothing. I slipped on some sandals and headed down the main road. 

I got to the launch and stood there staring at the water. There were a handful of fishermen with their lines in the water. The air smelled like the river- a muggy, fishy scent. A wave of nostalgia washed over me. My daughter’s favorite thing to do was sit on the boat dock and put her feet in the water. I remember telling her she had to settle down the splashing so she wouldn’t scare away the fish. She’d laugh and splash anyway. I headed down to the dock. 

I sat down on the end and slipped my feet in the cool water. I drew in a breath. It was so peaceful. 

Why am I supposed to be here? I thought. 

Perhaps I just need to unwind. Since all of these premonitions had come to me, I’d been so busy relaying messages that I hadn’t taken any time for myself. The moment was perfect, yet, a little sad. I leafed through memories of my young family spending time together at this very spot. 

“Reese Ridley? Is that you?”

I hadn’t heard anyone call me by my maiden name since I was a teenager. I looked to my right where a fisherman stood, staring right at me. His face was familiar, but I couldn’t put a name to a face. 

“Jack Lane. Remember? Highlands High?”

Oh my dear goodness, I thought. Jack Lane. My very first true love. He had moved away my junior year in high school. 


I stood up on the wobbly dock and headed over to where he was posted. He gave me a huge bear hug, picking me up from the ground. 

“What are you doing here, Jack? I thought you moved to Michigan,” I said, heart racing at the look of him. He looked the same as I remembered him, just taller, buffer, and bearded.

“I came back a few years ago after I split with my wife. There was nothing there for me anymore. What about you? I heard you got married the year after I left,” he replied. 

“Oh, he’s long gone. At least he stuck around until our daughter was grown.”

“That’s too bad, I’m sorry Reese. It’s hard. I was married for twenty years. I didn’t know what to do with myself when we split.”

Yeah, I didn’t either. I wasn’t expecting to become a hotline psychic, that’s for sure.

“Yes, I know what you mean,” I said. 

“How would you like to go get dinner? I’m starving and I haven’t had a fish bite all evening,” he asked. 

“You know what, Jack? That would be perfect.”

He grinned, looking into my eyes. 

“This is perfect.”

Another success for Lady Love.

January 05, 2022 18:29

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Allison Hannah
23:29 Jan 14, 2022

oh! I really enjoyed this. It flowed so well. I like happy endings.


Lucy Newman
17:01 Jan 21, 2022

Thank you Allison!😊


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Rich Hosek
19:55 Jan 13, 2022

Hi Lucy, I'm leaving this comment as part of the Reedsy Critique Circle, I hope you are participating as well. What can I say? I very well written story! I especially liked the beginning. The enumeration of the steps your character employed to do her readings worked extremely well! I wonder if you could have continued that device in other parts of the story? It would have tied your extraordinary beginning to the rest of your great story, and I can't help but imaging the one of the last lines being something like: Last Step: He grinned, l...


Lucy Newman
21:15 Jan 13, 2022

Thank you so much for the feedback Rich!


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