Pressed. Silently, we stood in his kitchen, the small of my back pressed against his counter. Arctic Monkeys plays from the living room. He breathes down on me, short breaths hitting the left side of my face. He’s stares down at me indifferently. No expression. No hitches in his breathing. His hands at either side of me, pinkies itching to be touched. He grabs my left hand, fingers weak in his strong grip. Slowly, he nibbles each finger tip, one by one, starting from my pinky, working his way to my thumb. Nerves tremble as he now kisses and sucks each tip, never breaking his stare. My lips separate as he does the deed. I envy my fingers getting such attention from such beautiful lips; oh how I’ve fantasized them on my own. The corner of his mouth twitches into a smirk as he concludes sucking on my thumb. His index is gently placed under my chin, guiding me towards the place I’ve always felt I belonged, pursed and tasted, enjoyed and savored. I lick my lips in anticipation, ready for the softest crash landing. A long time coming journey comes to unexpected stop, millimeters from home. He smiles devishly as he shakes his head no, abandoning me. He steps away gradually as my body internally crumbles of defeat. The tease leaves me shell shocked and achey. “Later.” he says before he slips out the door to join the party outside.
“The house wasn’t the same to her anymore…”
She looked upon it broken shutters and dirt ridden windows with angst. How did this happen? It only had been a few months since she left the city, abandoned everything she cared about. And the house reflected the neglect. No one she knew bothered to keep up with it anymore? She could only imagine what was waiting for her once she got inside. The thought of creatures scurrying across the floor made her skin crawl. What a tragedy. The grass had grown up, filtering through the cracks and crevices of the fence, the wood warped and rotting away. The walkway barely visible; she needed to take a weed eater to this growing jungle. The buzzing of locusts and other bugs hidden in the greenery filled her ears as she tried to unlatch the rusted gate. Once she was successful, she used her feet to clear the sidewalk of debris. Broken tree limbs and empty water bottles she knocked to the left and right of her. She may not be able to handle what’s waiting inside.
Once, she lived in this home. She took care of this house, haunted with too many ghosts of her past. Eventually she got tired of the voices taunting her, packed up her things and disappeared. She entrusted her best friend to at least drive by to make sure no one was squatting inside. Turns out she was lying about the condition of her old home. It wasn’t until the homeowner’s association finally got a hold of her to tell her she had to come back and handle it. They threatened to tear it down; she should have let them but something compelled her to at least try. Maybe the voices were gone by now.
She was startled to see that the Victorian styled door knob was polished and shiny. She hesitated, curious as to why this was the only clean item on the whole entire home. And who would take the time to clean just the door knob. She almost knocked, worried that someone was here but how could that be? The thought motivated her to push the door open. The scent of clean laundry almost sent her running back out the door to the sidewalk. She gulped, trying not to gasp, trying to comprehend what she was seeing. A cognac leather sectional perfectly centered in front of a 60 inch LED television, a throw folded neatly over the arm. Living rooms walls white as snow were decorated with tiny framed mirrors. She used the front door as support. She felt faint from the sheer shock. The stairs were polished. The carpet fresh and so clean you could sleep on it. She almost reached over to see how soft it felt but a sound from the kitchen caught her attention.
“Surprised?” a baritone voice echoed down the hallway.
What could she say? She was too astonished to voice any kind of opinion. How could any of this be possible? And who in the hell was this man in her home?
“Your friend sold me this place. Said that you up and left it to leave some voices behind. Well, are they gone?”
She hadn’t even noticed.
“You can come in here if you like. I’m harmless. Don’t even own a gun. Are you armed? Hell, I wouldn’t be mad if you were. You come here to find out that this place isn’t abandoned at all and that a strange man has moved in at made it his own…you know what? I’ll just come to you.”
She scrambled, suddenly alert, hands fidgeting at the door handle to escape. She didn’t want to see this man, didn’t want to witness that someone else made this home. She needed to leave but it was too late.
“Oh no don’t go. Shit I’ve scared you senseless. I mean I didn’t expect you just to just pop up here. She was supposed to be interfering with the homeowner’s association and…”
She quickly turned towards him, feeling him reach out to touch her elbow. He jerked his hand away, regretting the notion. First thing she noticed about him was how much taller he was than she. If she had to guess, he was about 6’5. Second, he had the softest brown eyes she had ever seen. He wore khaki dress pants and a white t-shirt. No shoes. No socks. Very clean feet. A perfect shade of brown skin. Very clean and flawless face as if he wore makeup. How did he end up here?
“Uh…” she coughed to clear her throat, “what the hell?”
He looks at the floor with laughter, flashing the shiniest, whitest smile. “Yeah I haven’t worked out in the yard yet. I was still gathering materials to tackle that…insanity…out there. Shits crazy right? I don’t even know where to begin.”
He waves his hands around as he tries to find the words to explain the yard. She looks upon him in amazement. She needed so many answers. She needed to punch her friend in the face for keeping this from her. She glanced over the living room once again, loving the look, that something so modern came from him. He follows her gaze slowly, opens his mouth, ready to explain but before he could mutter a word, a stream of questions,
“Who are you? How the hell did you move into my house? What did my friend actually tell you prior to you moving all your shit? Did you really expect me not to return? Did you not think this could possibly be a dick move on your part?”
Soft brown eyes blink. “Well I’m Patrick. I know you’re Bre, Veronica did tell me that. She also told me that you left the house under her care and when she couldn’t take care of it anymore, she told me I could. It is a beautiful place I couldn’t let it go to shit. I threw her a few grand before I moved in. She made it seem like you knew something about it but by your actions…I guess not.”
He fixed his mouth to say something else but shut it. She could see he felt shitty about it all but he didn’t know what else to do or say. Maybe if she didn’t stand like a frightened doe, he would try to make her feel at ease a little bit. Awkwardly they stood in the entry way, avoiding eye contact. Now she was feeling shitty for her behavior towards him. It wasn’t his fault that she wasn’t truly filled in on what was going on. Besides, she left this place to rot. He wasn’t going to allow it. She should show him some appreciation for that at least. She lightly pushed herself from off the door and relaxed her shoulders.
“Patrick? I’m sorry. I – I just don’t know how to respond to all of this and it’s not your fault. Uh the place? It looks wonderful I expected the worst from outside but when I walked in, it took my breath away. All of it I mean it’s really beautiful…”
She trailed off as she saw him beam from the compliments. She also couldn’t get over how beautiful he was. Her thoughts began to wonder about his marital status or if he had a family. Who thought she would come here and discover all of this, discover him?
“I’ll give you grand tour.” He escorted her into the living room, after removing her shoes at the door, and told her of his journey to his new home.
She leads heavy hearted full of affections and angst everyday working so hard not to break to trip the weight can be too much tears live on her lids clouding her vision clouding her judgement like a veil
She tries to stay protected deflecting persons impure nothing is good enough to the untrained eye so I, I mean, she believes to stay safe she must be in a place alone how could anyone ever know
Torn and detrimental trying not to lose her mental trying not to lose her heart aching for a touch just one touch from her only…lonely and weary but waiting…
She was intoxicated. Intoxicated off the reverb. Intoxicated off the seven tequila shots. Intoxicated off his taste. Screams of joy and laughter fought through the EDM noises as lasers pierced through the smokey air. He was nestled into her neck, smothering himself as he licked and bit at her skin. The vibrations of the bass massaged her back. She stood fixated on the crowd, her nerves tingling down to the tips of her nose, her lips, her toes. How did she end up here? Who was this strange leech attached to her body? “I want to taste you.” He pants into her ear. With no response, he drops to his knees and slides underneath her floor length dress. She felt numb, too drunk to flinch so she just watched the insanity ahead of her. Couples violently shoving their tongues down each other’s throats. Arms and hair flailing through the muggy air. Shots being chased with more shots. Then like thunder building in the clouds, the urge to laugh consumed her. She cackled and hollered, laughing so hard she thought she could stop breathing. The leech blanketed by her skirt never released its hold. Suddenly she inhaled deeply, eyes wide with fright. He stood across the room, staring at her, in disbelief. He didn’t recognize the girl at the other side of the club, sloppy and sweaty. How did he find her? Why was he here?! He turns to retreat, never parting ways with her gaze. Back off the wall, arm extended, she slowly begins to chase after him, knocking the leach to the wet, sticky dance floor. He didn’t need to see her like this. She was a messy, drugged up club girl, a side he had never known, never knew existed until tonight. She whispered, wait, several times to herself as she tried to rush through the crowd to explain. This is only temporary, just a phase. Please don’t judge her. She was so much more than this lifestyle and she knew he knew that. The person he knew her as was now tarnished and she was hoping she would have the chance to fix that. Once she hits the exit, she shouts his name, watching him cross the street. He doesn’t look back. He doesn’t stop.
“Are you scared?”
“You know…of everything.”
He glances over to her, puzzled. She grins and shrugs as the wind throws her hair about. They were on one of their whims trips. “Hey do you know what we should do right now?” They have a lot of those…what we should eat right now…what we should listen to right now…where we should go right now. As long as someone said “ok.” They were traveling down the freeway, decided to hop to another city. She loved being his passenger; something about sitting beside him always soothed her. She felt as if it was somewhere she belonged. A band played quietly, the sound of the fury wind almost made it seem nonexistent. Texas highways always made trips seem longer with its fields, trees, and endless skies and clouds. Sparatic houses lined country roads. It was steady. Calm. She looks him over. He lightly drums the steering wheel with his finger tips. He glances over to her again.
“What are you thinking about over there?”
She shrugs, “A lot. How I get scared sometimes.”
“Of what hun? Tell me.”
She didn’t know where to begin. Life in general. Her future. His future. Their future together. Are they going to make it to this city safely…the list goes on. Her mind moved so quickly. But really, she was scared of their future. Which was silly of her to tie the two of them together…I mean they weren’t a “they” but in a way they were.
“Scared of losing you is one thing.”
“What?! What do you mean?”
She shakes her head, feeling stupid for saying anything about this but she can tell him anything. It’s just that easy. And it was true. With the way time moves, anything could happen.
“You know…you not being around. In my present…you making an exit…in any way possible.” She turns to look out the window. “Like it’s hard to imagine you not around…and when I think about that time, it scares me. Makes me sad…”
It was a series of broken thoughts. She left out a lot of what she wanted to say because in a way, she felt weird expressing this to him. It was never anything she really wanted to say aloud. Just shit she thought about when she was living in her head. He rests his hand on her thigh. It was his small gesture to show his feelings. Each time it meant something a little different. It made her tingle.
“I know it sounds silly –”
“No I get it.” He grins. “I feel the same way too. I’m lucky to have you in my life.”
When he says shit like that she fights back a big smile. To hear him say things like that made her feel particularly special. But it was only like that with him, no one else. He made her feel like the exception.
“It’s just…well –” she chuckles, “I don’t know how to really explain it.”
He laughs along with her. “No need.”
He squeezes her, gently, expressing understanding and longing. She bit her bottom lip, holding back her cheese. For a moment, they just looked at each other, smiling and giggling. Just the two of them on this Texas highway made everything seem so perfect. And right. And that’s all they needed.
He opened the door to find her standing there, crying.
He opened the door to find her standing there, crying. She was nude, dress blanketed her bare feet. He was curious as to why she was standing there, naked and crying, but he wasn’t sure how to approach her. She must’ve heard him come in right? But she didn’t move, didn’t acknowledge him. He stood awkwardly in the doorway and watched her. He opened his mouth to speak but before he could call out her name she says,
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”
That took him aback some. “Wh-what?”
“I was here, ready for you to take me and I just bursted into tears. I don’t know why.”
She started to calm herself, her breath slowing. He had spoken to her early that morning. She seemed fine then, wanting to come over as soon as he could but he had errands to run. She didn’t say what for and didn’t seem urgent. A bit of guilt ran over his skin; maybe he should have came when she asked. Seeing her cry like this pained him. But what happened?
“Was it something I did? Maybe I should have came when you said…”
“No, no…you’re fine. I just think I’m under a lot of stress but not doing anything about it you know? Like just suppressing it…”
Finally, he leaves her doorway to blanket her in comfort. He still wasn’t too sure what was going on. She hadn’t told him much about what was going on with anything but maybe he wasn’t on that level yet. They only had been seeing each other for a few weeks now. He met her in a Half Price shuffling through romance novels. He gently swayed her back and forth as she composed herself.
“So is that why you called me? To relieve some stress?” He asks with a smile, hoping it would lighten the mood.
She laughs, “Actually yeah…just wanted to beat you up some.”
“Ah I see, I see…I don’t mind being your punching bag…especially in your bed.”
He ran his hands down her soft arms, showing that he was there for her. He was in no mood to have sex with her. He felt right now, in this moment, she needed way more than that. In the few weeks of knowing her, he grew to care for her and he wanted to show her that. It’s not always about physical intimacy. He was hoping she could read that right now. And right then, she squeezed him while nuzzling into his chest. There it is: the next level. He steps away to pick her dress from the floor.
“Here. Put this on. Let’s go have a drink. If you want to talk about it, I’m all ears.”
She grins as she takes the straps of the dress from his fingers. She slips it on and says,
“Yeah actually that’d be great.”
Who the fuck is calling my phone.
He awakes to TV on the PS4 screen. The Kung fu movie he fell asleep to had been over for hours now. He can hear his phone vibrate on the floor beneath him. Sleepily, he runs his hands along the carpet until he discovers it. It was her, the girl he had currently been spending his time with. Fuck. It was about 11:30. He definitely wanted to sleep in longer than this, especially on his day off. He wanted to spend the day making beats, smoking, and trying to have some sort of peace but she’s calling.
“Yo.” He answers. Good bye original plans.
Since he couldn’t do exactly what he wanted, he would try to fit in buying records in with what she wanted to do with the day. Should’ve just told her I wanted to be left alone. But he was trying not to be that guy anymore. He was trying to show he could be interesting and not so antisocial. He didn’t know how he could even find the time or the willpower working two jobs, all he wanted to do was nothing. He was stressed out and being out and about stressed him more. No one can drive in this area of Houston. He hits a long drag from his cigarette as he glances over towards her. She sits idly by, flipping through Facebook on her phone. He fights to roll his eyes but they win. I should’ve just stayed the fuck at home.
He parks across the street from Cactus. He heaves a huge sigh as he unbuckled his seatbelt.
“Are you ok? You seem annoyed.” She asks.
“I’m straight.” He replies getting out the car.
His mood was fucked and he couldn’t explain to her why. She wouldn’t understand. Really it would just hurt her feelings and he didn’t want to deal with all that shit. She reaches for his hand as they walk towards the store. He casually moves his hand towards his back pocket to reach for his wallet, hoping it wasn’t obvious he was avoiding holding her hand. She begins to chatter about some shit she went to the other night. He gives his best effort to listen. On and on, giving every detail, he nods and responds where he needs. He looks towards the window, noticing a shirt he hadn’t seen in a few years. A black Tee with a band design on the front. Up from the shirt he sees long greyish hair. He frowns, trying to figure out who could this be. The grey hair transitions to black, big gold hoops shining through as she pushes some hair behind her ear. She is looking down at a record behind her large thick framed glasses. His girl’s chatter has become distant as he focuses on the girl. It can’t be… He’s stopped in his tracks, staring. He thinks he knows who she is but it can’t be. She had moved away, right? It would makes sense; he knows that shirt. That is his shirt. Suddenly, she looks up from the record, towards the window and he’s spotted. Oh fuck that is her! She continues to look at him, startled and anxious. It has been years since they’d seen each other. Hell even spoken to each other. His heart is racing but he can’t let it be visible that he’s freaking out.
“Hey what are you looking at?” His girl grips his arm. The girl inside looks away quickly, putting the record back and starts shoveling again.
“Nothing.” He continues the walk back up the sidewalk into the store, dragging her along.
“Why were you staring at her like that?!”
“Who is she?!”
“Why won’t you tell me?!”
“Because it’s not fucking important.” He says stern enough for her to shut up.
“Fine. I’ll be over here minding my business.” She barks, thinking it will make him change his attitude but shit like that doesn’t work. Especially not today.
“Do that then.”
He leaves her in the front of the store and makes his way to the records. This can’t be her. He hesitates by the entrance, seeing her there alone in the rock section. She continues to dig, not phased by seeing him coming into the store. Act natural as possible.
What the fuck is he doing here?!
She knew she had a chance of running into him here but deep down was hoping that it wouldn’t happen. She tried to see him before she left but he responded like he usually does, “yeah sure I’ll come by,” but he would never show up. You’d think after the 100th time it would hurt a little less but nope. Hurt like the first. Ugh and then he would be with his new girlfriend to add insult to injury…the fuck. But there was no way to escape the situation. She watched him from her peripheral walk towards the R&B section. She kept her trembling hands on the records to hide her nervousness. His lips twitched to say something. He continued to look upon her. She couldn’t tell if he was checking her out or if he was in disbelief that she was actually here. Ugh fuckin say something already!
“Is that really you?”
She tried to resist a grin. “Uh yeah I think so.” She picked up a Cream record.
“What…what are you doing here?”
She turned the record over in her hands, avoiding eye contact. “Well I finally bought a record player so I’m buying records…”
“No what are you doing in town? Didn’t you move away for school?”
“Oh you remember that? Didn’t think you would since you act like I don’t exist.” Of course she had to be a bitch about it. Finally she looked up at him. He hadn’t changed a bit. She loved that. Damn he still looks good.
She put her hand up, “Nah you really don’t have to.”
Fuck she looks really good. She really hasn’t changed much.
He couldn’t help but stare at her. He only saw her through a screen on her social media sites. He knew she was nervous; she couldn’t stand to look at him long and kept digging through the records to hide her shaking hands. He didn’t know what else to say. He really wanted to explain why he couldn’t see her before she left. He couldn’t deal with the thought of her actually leaving. Thought it would be best for him not to see her at all. Couldn’t deal with the emotional turmoil it throws him in. Like right now.
“Your girlfriend is pretty I guess.” She laughs. “Damn I’m still a jealous ass ex after all this.” She shakes her head.
“That’s not my girlfriend.”
She scoffs, “Oh my god are you still keeping that up?! Jesus…”
“What I told you before…”
“Again you don’t have to.”
She waves him off again as she moves over to another section.
“It’s really good to see you.”
Fuck you let that slip out really?! She laughs loudly, surprised to hear him say that but he knows a smart ass remark is in retort. It makes him wish he kept that to himself.
“Oh that’s nice to hear after 3 years…”
She knew how to push his buttons. He was already in a shit mood because he was out of his bedroom. Now he had to deal with her smart ass mouth? A small part of him missed it though he did hate to admit. He hadn’t even looked at one record since being in the store. Just gazed upon her trying to be less anxious and more angry at him. But that’s not what he wanted after all this time. It was good to see her. He really missed her. He misses her.
“Yeah…it’s good to see you too. You see I’m still wearing your shirts,” she pulls on the t-shirt, “the guys I’ve dated hated that,” she laughs again. “Ah well fuck em it’s not like they stuck around…”
She stood still for a bit, drumming her fingers on the shelving. Something in him moved him. Slowly, he walks over to her with clenched fists. Something in him wanted to touch her again. Hold her. When he stood before her, he calls out to her,
Her eyes made contact with his as he started to wrap his arms around her. She inched backwards.
“What are you doing?”
Don’t you dare say it.
“I miss you.” He inches towards her.
“What? No you don’t…” She keeps moving.
“I really do. Now put your fuckin arms out.”
She stops. Relunctantly, she puts her arms out towards his neck. He scoops her up into him tightly. This was something he should have done years ago. She buries her face into his neck. Feeling the warmth of her breath on his skin relieved him. Fuck I really do miss her.
Being back in his arms feels like home.
They hugged for what seemed like hours. He felt so good on her skin. Just like old times. If they lingered here long enough she would want to kiss him. Her lips were already about his neck. Fight it. All of a sudden he squeezed her tighter around her lower back. This was a 3 years too late hug and it was making her sad. She wanted out soon. She didn’t waste tears on him anymore.
“Can you let me go now? Please?” She choked. He shook his head no. “I really don’t want to cry in front of you…”
He sighed as he let her go but it was too late. The tears were already running. He took his hands and started rubbing them away, which only made her cry more. She missed him doing that.
“I love you. I still love you.”
She cried out, “Shut the fuck up. Why the fuck are you doing this to me?! I was good. I was ok. Why are you saying all of this now?!”
“Because I think you should know it never went away. I thought I should let you go so we could live our lives. But I never stopped loving you.”
She covered her cries with her hands as he confessed to her. He knew this wasn’t an ideal place to say these things but when else would he have the chance? It was breaking him to see her cry like this. All he could do was help her wipe them away. Shortly she started gathering herself, the tears slowed down. Her breathing became calm again. She glared up at him.
“You’re a fucking asshole.”
“Yeah that hasn’t changed.”
She tried to fight back a laugh. “Yeah I see.” She sighs, “I still love you too.”