She always woke up to him cuddled into her back, like a child who had been hiding from the boogie man all night. She lightly grins, remembering all the times she woke up this way. She’s afraid to stir, enjoying the warmth and smoothness of his skin on hers. He was sweet and loving. And that’s what she missed the most about him. After a minute or two of her lying still as possible, he yawned awake, sliding his slender arms around her waist, pressing his face deeper into her spine. Touching his hands, she chuckles. He moans and groans as their fingers intertwine tightly, placing small kisses on the nape of her neck. He always felt like home. Comfortable. Like she belonged right here. Nowhere else. It’s what kept her crawling back for more. As much as things changed, this feeling stayed the same. She wanted it consistently but different area codes prevented it from going any further. This time, they met in a small Texas town in a nice sized cabin in a wooded area. The weekend consisted of a lot time in bed, cooking meals for each other, whiskey and catching up on each other’s lives. But on the horizon, a reality that neither of them really cared for. Jobs. Families. Stress. It was a reality that was keeping them in bed, holding each other. Peanut butter on caramel, their limbs tangled under the covers, the morning seemed almost perfect. Something about the room was light, airy and clean, as usual after they rendezvous. A glimpse of a new life, even if it’s only for a moment.
“Can we get one last round in?” he mumbles, still rubbing his face on her back.
“Only if you make a pitcher of mimosas first.”
“On it.” He leaps from the bed. “A pot of coffee too!” he shouts as he exits the room.
She turns to her back, getting one last good look at the room, the ceiling, the contemporary décor, the flannel blankets on the bed. This could become their place, she imagined, but it wouldn’t. She needed this to be the end of them. How could she keep this going when she wanted the next step, a huge sacrifice he wasn’t ready to make. It was discussed and argued about until they were fed up with each other. So where else could this go? How many more weekend getaways? How many more random hook ups? The aroma of hazelnut coffee starts to fill the air in the room. The weekend was a good stopping point. The Airbnb she chose was immaculate and modern in taste and they worked on sexing every surface they could in it. He brought her the best bottle of whiskey, her favorite while she toted up her favorite bottle of scotch. They embraced each other for long time upon arrival, inhaling and feeling each other. They had been feigning for each other; too much time had passed and the ache was real. He inched away, to look into her eyes, run his fingers through her long black hair and kiss her forehead. Her favorite. It was sweet and real and pure but deep down, they couldn’t wait to get inside and rip the clothes off each other. She cared about him deeply but when they were intimate, the connection was blissful, electric. Magnetic. They took their time unpacking and putting away groceries, sipping and listening to a playlist he curated, smiling at each other when they made eye contact. He asked if she was hungry, while she watched him put certain things away in the fridge and offered to cook her something quick, pointing at the items left on the counter. She would never turn down the chance to see him cook; she thought it was incredibly sexy when he did. So he cooked and she watched and while she watched, they chatted. He would refill her glass in between dropping ingredients into the skillet and would kiss the spirit left upon her lips. When it was time to eat, they sat outside on the patio where the wind rustled through the leaves as the sun set off in the distance. The yellow and orange hues gave him a warmer look. She stared and adored this man while he spoke about work. She could do this every night and never grow tired. He cleans and puts dishes away while she tripped around the room to get comfortable. He stepped into the bedroom with a glass of his own, taking his shirt off and unbuttoning his pants.
He muttered, “You better be ready,” and takes a drink, pants unbuttoned and opened as he strides towards her.
“Well,” she started with a devilish grin, “don’t I look ready?” A swig of whiskey slightly burned her tongue before he rushed her, his tongue sliding over hers, diluting the heat. That was day one.
He returns with a tray that contains the pitcher, two champagne flutes, two large mugs of coffee and a bowl of fruit. He’s grinning ear to ear, very proud of himself on delivering a tiny breakfast for them to munch on. She squirmed internally as she laid out on top of the duvet. It was killing her that this will be their last go, that she will never have breakfast in bed with him again. He sets the tray at the foot of the bed, hands her a glass and feeds her some pineapple. Squirm some more. Look at that face, that smile. He moves in for a deep, sensual kiss and the pain seeps deeper. When he attempts to pull away, she pulls him back in by his chin. She wonders if he can feel the seriousness of this farewell, her attempt to say, “I’m going to miss the shit out of you but I can’t do this anymore.” Their mouths release. She takes a hard gulp of mimosa to fight back the ache. He stares upon her face, trying to read her.
“What’s going on in that beautiful head of yours?”
She shakes hers, as she finishes the glass and hands it to him for more. “Nothing. Kind of had a moment…”
“I know. I don’t want this weekend to end either. It’s been one of the bests we’ve had in a long time.” He hands her glass back as he sips out of his own.
The last time they met up it was brief and full of distractions. They were almost busted so they put off their weekends for almost a year. Her job kept calling, wanting her to proof manuscripts while his daughter and his girlfriend kept inquiring his whereabouts and when would he be back.
“Definitely after our last fiasco. But I’m glad we got this chance with no disturbances. I really missed you. I just don’t want this morning to end.”
She sets the glass on tray and picks up a mug. But it has to end. And once it’s over, it has to stay over. No going back anymore. She fails to look him in the eye as she ponders and drinks. The warmth of the coffee soothes the ache in her chest and throat. It’s becoming harder and harder to say what she needs. Breaking her train of thought, he slowly takes the mug from her hands, sets it down, and pulls her back to the head of the bed. Never breaking eye contact, he pulls back the sheets, climbs in and grabs her. He wants to console her but really it was just making her sadder. He can feel her. They bury themselves deep under the covers. They kiss as she tries to hold back tears and when she couldn’t take it anymore, she turns away from him, quietly wiping at her cheeks. She knew he was hip to her crying but didn’t address it. He was going to say something about it, in due time. They lay still for a bit until he couldn’t take it anymore. She could feel his breath, his lips sweeping over the top of her back. His arms squeeze her at the hips, continuing to kiss her shoulder blades, some lasting longer than others. He was trying to fight through the tension, persuade her to focus on a different feeling. The skin on her back began to prickle and tingle as he journeyed from one shoulder to the other. Heavy sighs. Deep breaths. Bodies writhe and create a friction. Fingertips slide across skin. She turns to face him, everything on fire. The tips of their noses nuzzle as he whispers, “C’mon.”
They had sex as if it was the last time. Hard but sensual. Deep but slow. Eating the fruit and drinking in between kisses and cries of pleasure. She sat beside the tray, partially dressed, wondering if there was a need for words anymore. The champagne glass trembled in her grip. He paced about the home, in and out rooms, straightening up before their cars came to carry them away in opposite directions. She loved him but never uttered the words. A waste of feelings, time. It would do no good; he had a whole life without her and there was no room for her in it. Many servings of mimosas were going down to prevent her voice from coming out. But she should say her peace right? She was no coward. Finally, she puts the glass down to put on her blouse and finishes packing her bag.
“You sure you have everything?” he grabs her bag, closing the bedroom door behind him. She stands at the patio door, staring into the trees.
“Everything important, yes. If I forget anything, I’ll just buy when I get home.”
God this place is beautiful, she thought to herself. Maybe one day she’ll come back alone or maybe with someone else. Make new, less sad memories. She almost laughed aloud at her tipsy thought. No, this place is done.
“The cars are still about forty-five minutes out. Have a seat. You’re kind of swaying over there.”
She sits on the plush couch and pulls a throw over her legs.
He leans over the back of the couch, “I’m still waiting for you to talk to me…”
“About what? I mean what else is there to say?”
“Plenty I believe. You just won’t let it happen.”
She looks over her shoulder at him. “I’m just going to miss you…I mean who knows when or if this will happen again.”
“It can happen whenever you want it to.”
Her eyebrows burrow, “That’s bullshit and you know it.”
“I mean whenever we both have the time.” He comes from around the couch to sit next to her. “I can make time for you.”
She scoffs, annoyed he hit her with that line. “Bullshit,” she shakes her head, “I can’t do this with you anymore.”
“Wait…what do you mean?”
“What I said. This is it. I can’t endure this anymore like emotionally. I’m…I’m just too…” she wished in this moment she had another drink to knock the words back into her chest. Her grip tightened. “I’m too into you. Like, I can’t keep doing this. I want more! I want you!”
“But you have me. Right here, right now. I’m yours.”
She jerks up from the couch, “Nooo. You know what the hell I mean. Why are you playing dumb right now you know I can’t stand that!” she begins to pace in front of the couch.
He stares down at the floor, fingers clenching the sofa cushions. He has no words but this is it. Now or never it is time to lay it all out once and for all. He doesn’t have to say anything but she was going to say what she needed to give her peace of mind. He didn’t have to acknowledge her but he will hear her. She still paces, knotting her fingers and playing in her hair. The words rested on the tip of her tongue but saying them could get her nowhere or they could get her further than she’s ever expected. But she didn’t want to find out. As much as she was brave, she was always afraid of the aftermath. She falls to her knees before him.
“Look,” she starts as she gathers his hands, pulling them off the cushions, “I’ve always wanted to say this to you but I honestly don’t know how…well, I believe that there’s no real reason to. I’ve always felt it didn’t matter, but you should know this. You really should. It’s just really hard to say!”
Slowly, he looks her in the eye. “You love me, don’t you?” Her mouth falls open. He took her moment away. She coughs, trying to shake the shock. “You do. Say it. Tell me.”
“Then what? If I say it, what will happen? Nothing. We will part and it will be hanging in the air forever. There will be no progress just common knowledge shared between two people. Of course I love you. If I didn’t, these quickie get away trips wouldn’t be happening. I take any chance, any opportunity to be in your presence. When we’re not together, you’re all I think about. I imagine what you’re doing, what you’re wearing, if you’re doing the same with me. So yeah, I’ll say it. I love you. Ok?”
There’s a knock at the door. It was time. Of course it would end like this.
“I thought you said forty-five minutes.” She stands abruptly, straightening out her blouse.
He’s looking back at the door. “I guess it’s been forty-five minutes.”
“It felt like fifteen.”
She looks down at her hands, visibly shaking now. That took even more out of her emotionally. She wanted to break; she bit down on her lip to choke back the cries clambering out of her chest. She wanted to run out of the door and get away as quickly as possible. But no flight, only fight. He goes to the door and tells the driver to give them a few more minutes. He hands the driver their bags, pointing whose goes to whose. While he’s doing that, she gets herself together by clearing her throat and fanning at her eyes. She slips on her Chucks, takes a few deep breaths and heads to the foyer. But he stops her before she reaches for the door knob. Millimeters apart, his lips tremble at her ear. He pulls her into him, firmly.
“Wait.” His voice hushed and deep.
The tension is thick and hot as she takes a hard swallow. Any more words would make her collapse, fall to pieces. Her breath was shallow and palpitating. No movement. Just staggered breathing and heat. It seemed as if he kept readying himself to say something but kept hesitating. She put her weight on him and they drop onto the wall. As they embrace, they snuggle and kiss, whimpering when they came away from air. Out of nowhere, he clutches her wrists and pins her.
“Ugh,” he growls out, “I love you too. And I don’t know how to leave you. I don’t want to leave. But…”
The sound of his cell cuts him short. They groan in unison then chuckle. But of course. A reminder that it was time. He doesn’t answer; it just rings as he stares at her admiringly. She lifts her back off the wall to reach for the door. Through sight, they exchange that they have to part. The words hung in the air, just like she said they would. With a click, daylight pours in as she guides him out by the hand. They walk to her car, first, in silence, running and ready to carry her away. He takes ahold of her, breathes in her scent, strokes her hair and kisses her on the forehead one last time. Once she’s in the car, she kisses his fingers and buries her face into his palm. She mouths, I love you, into it before he closes the door. And as the tears she had been fighting all morning flow freely down her face, she doesn’t turn back.