Something a lot like love

I wake up, rested, and with a smile on my face. This hasn’t happened in a long while, and I stretch my arms above my head with a low moan. The sun is shining, and the birds are singing their songs, announcing another hot summer day. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I turn to face you, and I am startled, and a bit embarrassed, when I see you sitting cross-legged with your laptop balancing on your knees and papers next to you. You are pinching a pen between your lips, and your reading glasses add something serious to your face. Your hair is messy and sticking in every direction, I smile, remembering how it felt between my fingers last night. I wonder how late it is and how long you have been awake. Your fingers are caressing the keys of your laptop as if they were on a mission. I nudge your knee with mine, making you smile and dropping the pen from your lips. The speed of your fingers falters, but they don’t stop.

By now, I know that you are a workaholic – a real sexy one at that, but I never had the chance to wake up with you in work mode before. It feels domesticated, and as if we are entering the next level of our relationship. At the same time, it feels as if it has always been like this; familiar. “Let me just finish this real quick, and then I am all yours, ” you say, and I nod. Your voice is low and thick with sleep. I want to crawl into your lap and claim your attention, but I am too old for that. You asked for a couple of moments to finish your business – I respect that. The words “I love you” are at the tip of my tongue, but I swallow them down. A concentrated frown is forming between your brows, and you lean closer to your screen. Intelligence is sexy, and you are the perfect example of that.

I decide not to distract you, and turning to my stomach; I fumble for my phone on the nightstand. I could get out of the bed and freshen up in the bathroom, after all, this is the first time we spent the day, the night, and the next morning together without any of us being in a hurry to get to work. We have never spent this much time together. But I want to stay in bed next to you. Your heady, sweaty scent is comforting for me. Your presence and your silent company are all I want for now. For a moment, insecurity gets the best of me, hoping that I am not a total mess this morning. In the movies, lovers wake up looking perfect, hair and makeup are where they are supposed to be, their eyes are never swollen. But I am not an actress; I am me. I run my hands over my unruly hair, matting it down slightly; after that, I run my fingers under my eyes, wiping smudged mascara away. That has to be enough for now. I am not perfect.

Concentrating on my phone again, I read the news and check my social media channels. Nothing exciting to see, and I keep scrolling until I see a picture of us. We are laughing into the camera, both holding a drink, looking flushed and happy. The caption underneath isn’t written in words; there are two emoticons: a smiling face, and a red heart. I smile, and my heart races. We had a great evening. Perfect even. But I hadn’t noticed that you posted our photo online. I don’t mind, too much, though. Until now, we were dating casually; the picture is making what we have more real and official. I like that. Butterflies are doing somersaults in my stomach. The comments are all kind and friendly; some are teasing. Some people are congratulating you on your new girlfriend. Is that what I am? Am I your girlfriend? We haven’t put a label on our relationship, but maybe that too is the natural evolution of things?

“Be right back, ” you announce, cleaning the papers from your side of the bed and tugging the laptop under your arm. I nod and get back to the social media app with a sigh. Is this it? Am I supposed to leave now? I expected a make-out session in the morning, continuing where we left off last night, but real life is not a story or a movie. I tug a strand of my hair behind my ear and push the blanket off my legs—time to get moving.

I startle when I feel your lips on my calf. One of your hands caresses my leg while your lips leave a kissing trail all over my body until you turn me in your arms. I can’t hide my happy grin.

“Good morning, where are you going?” you ask, kissing my lips. You taste like mint, and I am embarrassed that I didn’t take the time to brush my teeth. But you don’t let me overthink. You have a way of distracting my train of thoughts. My hands map your skin, touching as much of you as I can, while your kisses get more demanding. I close my eyes and feel the mattress dip under our weights. You cover me from head to toe, framing my face with your hands. I feel every inch of you pushed against me, igniting my need for you. I spread my legs, and just like a puzzle, everything falls into place. This is where I am supposed to be right now. I look at you and see an expression of love and lust. My heart is expanding and pushing every thought aside; I am pulled under in a wave of emotions.

We stay in bed most of the day. Making love, reading on our phones, talking. We just get up to eat and take a shower. The sun sets, and the moon rises.

It is Saturday night, and as my senses are filled with you, I moan the words I kept back the entire day: “I love you.” You smile, and your touches become more sensual, and the way you make love to me becomes something deeper. Something meaningful.

I rest my head on your chest after being boneless from my last orgasm. Your hand caresses my back. “Say it again,” you demand. I smile against your skin. “I love you.” My cheeks flush as the words leave my mouth. “Is it cheesy when I say that I do too?” you reply. You shuffle from underneath me and turn to face me. “Is it too early to be in love?” I burst out laughing. We are in our mid-thirties and behaving like teenage girls. You join me, kissing my forehead when you regain your breath. “Stay, I love you.” The seriousness of your words overwhelms me, but I am trying to hide it. I simply pull you into my arms. And it feels good. No words are needed. Just us. The connection between us.

We settle in for the night, watching a movie on your laptop. I haven’t worn any clothes all day long, I think before I fall asleep in your bed for the second night in a row.

make this nightmare go away (short fiction)

I woke up with a racing heart and ragged breath. I looked around myself to ground my weary mind. I had that dream again. The dream in which I saw my mother get on the bus and leave me behind. Except, it wasn’t a dream; it was a memory that haunted me since I was a child.

I was a grown-up woman, doing what grown-ups do. I worked forty hours every week – sometimes more. I met friends, went for drinks or dinner with them. Occasionally, I fell in love. More often, I craved the physical connection a body could offer. A physical connection was easy to find, love – not so much.

Someone was stirring next to me, and I couldn’t remember his name. I should have felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t. Waking up next to someone I didn’t know was not uncommon for me. I would not rely on him to distract me from my childhood memories. I didn’t trust him. He didn’t feel like the protection or safety I needed; the nameless man next to me was only another warm body to make me forget the longing and the emptiness that spread through my body like cancer. The older I got, the more cells were infected. “Go back to sleep, honey,” his gravelly voice mumbled. I snorted. Those were the exact same words my mother had said before the doors of the bus closed behind her. Or was it my imagination playing tricks on me?

I pushed the duvet off my body and let my feet connect with the hardwood floor. I needed something real, something that earthed me. Goosebumps rose on my naked skin. I couldn’t say if it was the lingering memory of the reoccurring dream, or if it was the chill from the starry night sneaking in through the opened window. I decided that it didn’t matter.

There were so many little thoughts every day, and most of them didn’t matter. Once in a while, I felt as if I didn’t matter either. My weekdays were filled with responsibilities, work, and duties. There was no room for anything else. My weekends were wasted with alcohol and casual affairs who did not fill the voids I was looking to fill. I didn’t allow my mind to come to terms with old wounds. But the mind and the soul knew that I needed to take better care of myself; hence the dreams.

I was afraid to be abandoned and to be left behind. It was easier to keep everyone at arm’s length and stay distant. It was more comfortable to pretend that I was happy than to lower my masks and show the real me. In truth, I had no idea what happiness felt like. Happiness with a partner. Someone to share my life and my fears with. Once in a while, there had been someone special, but we weren’t in touch a lot anymore. Different live paths had led in different directions. And maybe my expectations were too high? All my life, I had been searching for love, for a person who made me feel safe. Perhaps I was just too blind to see him? What if I was too weak to hold on to the one who mattered most?

I took my phone from the nightstand, and the illuminated display showed the loneliness of my life. A couple of shallow notification that I wasn’t interested in; I pushed them all away with a couple of swipes.

I padded down to the bathroom to relieve my bladder and splash some water in my face, then I took my robe from the hook attached at the door and pulled it around me. I didn’t want to go back to the stranger in my bed, but I didn’t want to wake him up and throw him out in the middle of the night, either. In the living room, I sat down in my favourite chair next to the window. I could see the sparkling dots on the dark firmament.

“Are you there?” I sent a message to the person who meant more than most to me. I didn’t expect a response at this late hour; I just wanted to make sure that he would think of me when he woke up. I was about to put the phone down when it vibrated in my hand. My heart went like mad when I saw his face on the display, but I accepted the call anyway.

“Why are you still up? Bad dream?” He didn’t waste any time with pleasantries; he knew me too well. I nodded my head and added an affirmative sound.

“Are you alone?” I hated that my reply was negative, but I answered truthfully nonetheless.

“Is he asleep?”

“Yes. I am in the living room watching the stars.” I almost whispered.

“Okay.” I heard some rustling as if he was getting out of bed, footsteps followed, and then some more rustling. “I will put you on speakerphone. Just so that you know if the sound is different.” And then I heard the first chords of a piano song I wasn’t familiar with. Like a soothing blanket, it washed over me. There were no words, just music, and it was for my ears only. The sounds alleviated some of the chills from my body, and I grabbed a blanket from the couch to wrap myself in it. I nestled deep in the blanket and yawned. I was tired; it surprised me how much so. I yawned noisily again.

“Sleep tight, baby girl. I will always be there for you.” I smiled. Maybe I had found someone safe, but the thought became frayed as the music faded, and I drifted off to a dreamless sleep again. Maybe tomorrow, I would remember those words, or maybe they became a part of a distant memory too.

30 meters

Read at your own discretion… This short fiction is about a suicidal person jumping off a roof. Not for the faint of heart.

*****

I am standing on the window ledge. Outside There’s barely space for my feet. They aren’t large. It’s the sneakers which make them appear huge. Is that a stain on my Jeans? Does it make sense that I care? The wind is playing in my hair. I like that. And the wind kisses my face. It’s not cold. Not warm either. Something in between. Pleasant. I should have undressed. I should have thought about experiencing all of this naked. Naked I came into the world and naked I will leave. But I didn’t prepare this. There is no plan. The way my jacket flaps against my chest irks me. I take it off and let it glide down. I watch the black cloth as it floats down down down until it hides the gasping crowd. The people down there on the sidewalk are all looking up at me. Are they seeing me? Do they know who I am or why I am here? Are they seeing tomorrow’s headlines? I hope there aren’t any children. Parents shouldn’t gawk and watch a person jump off a roof with their children. That’s bad parenting. How will they explain to the little ones what they are witnessing when they have no idea what they are looking at?! They don’t know me and my messed up mind.

I look up into the sky. It’s grey. The clouds are moving fast. I always liked the clouds. I liked to watch them and dream myself away. Away from my life. I smile and try to touch the cotton-like clouds. But I can’t quite reach them. And yet…

I feel that I am in control. For the first time in my life. I will end here. My life, my journey – they will end here.

I can hear the wail of sirens. I can’t see them yet, but they are coming for me. Or whatever will be left of me after I landed head first on the concrete. Who are they? Firefighters? Paramedics? The police? Haha, the Police – Sting. Fields of Gold and that version Eva Cassidy sang that always chokes me up. Was her name Cassidy or Cassedy? I will look it up later. Oh right! There will be no later. I will miss Music… was my first love and it will be my last. Music of the fut-SHUT-UP!! Thoughts, shut the fuck up! This is not the time and not the place to distract me.

I check my pockets. I don’t want anything falling out and hurting my audience. Keys. Cellphone. Pen. I crouch down and put them on the ledge next to me. I get up, smile again and braid my hair. I don’t have anything to keep it together, but at least it’s not in my face anymore. I used to love the wind in my hair. Why is it irritating me right now? Maybe I should have shaved my head before coming up here, but… no. I like my hair. And I didn’t plan this. There is no plan. I run my fingers over the thick braid. My mood is shifting. From bubbly to irritated and angry.

My knees are weak. They are shaking, but it’s okay. It’s the height, I am not a fan of heights. Soon, I am going to fly. I wonder how it will feel to be weightless. Carried by the wind. That Lenny Kravitz song comes to my mind I want to get away. I wanna fly away yeah yeah… and I try to push it out of my head. I don’t want it to be my last soundtrack. Maybe ‘asleep’ by the Smiths would be good or ‘I don’t fit’ by Madrugada… I should have made a playlist before coming up here. I feel completely unprepared, and I don’t even have an appropriate song in my head. I should have planned this, but there is no plan.

I shake my head and jump. No more reason to pull off the inevitable. Goodbye, cruel world. I’m leaving you today…

30 meters

I can fly, and I am screaming in ecstasy. It’s better than I thought. I’m flying without wings. Whoohoo!! I wonder if I shut my door and turned off the music. Did I lock my car and feed the cat? I should have paid my rent yesterday. I forgot. Does it still matter?

25 meters

Did I call my friends and leave them notes? I didn’t. How will they remember me, and will they be sad? I know, I was rather complicated, but maybe they’ll realize that they miss me and that they loved me. I just hope that they don’t forget me. And I hope they will not talk bad about me. I should have been more approachable.

20 meters

I hope I don’t make a huge mess. Poor people standing there. Oh, but what if I hit one of them when I touch the ground? Will they die too? Will that make me a murderer. I don’t want to be a murderer. Please, move!

15 meters

I am hungry. I should have eaten before climbing up the stairs. Chocolate would be nice now. Or a burger. I will miss a couple of things. Pasta… mhmm…

10 meters

My braid came undone, and my hair covers my face. I am still flying. But I can’t see it.

5 meters

Wow, this is really happening!

4 meters

It’s too fast. It’ll be over soon.

3 meters

Is there life after death. I deserve a second chance.

2 meters

Please don’t let it hurt

1 meter

*****

My mind is twisted. I am not sure where the idea for this came from.

Throwback (April 24, 2016)

Sunday night. The weekend was uneventful, and I am watching reruns of the Gilmore Girls. Half a bag of chips is gone. Half a bottle of wine makes me feel comfortable and warm. There’s a knock at the door. It’s late. Dark. No moon. I wonder if I forgot a date or something, but there is nothing and no one that I remember.
Should I open the door? I’m scared, and my eyes lose focus. Something isn’t right. I was watching TV and mute the volume now. Is it too late to pretend not to be in? Did I make a lot of noise? I pull my legs closer to my chest and forget to breathe. My ears are on high alert, and in my nervousness, I bite at the skin surrounding my thumbnail. Nervous habit. Another knock and a sound is piercing the silence. Like a wail. Was that a human sound? I don’t know. Fuck! I run my hand across my face and try to think of what to do. My mind is blank. I am scared. That much, I know. I am curious, too. Who is at my door at this time of the night, and what is happening? I put my feet on the plush carpet and move in slow motion. The sound of my beating heart is annoying. I can’t hear much else. Can I move the curtain without anyone outside noticing? Maybe if I don’t breathe. My heart races, it almost hurts. My clammy, shaking hands touch the cloth, but they don’t move it. Too risky.
I look at the door. Maybe they are gone by now?
And now, curiosity wins. This is the exact moment in a horror movie where the brainless woman is killed in a surprise attack. Still, I open the door, just a crack. There isn’t anything. Just dark. Relief floods me. I feel the searing heat that kept me on my toes vanish and make room for a reassuring cold. I smile and shake my head, looking at the floor.
There’s a liquid on my doorstep. A puddle of it. But it’s dark, and I can’t see its nature. Did someone release themselves against my door? I scoff. Drunks are everywhere. The entire time I had been hunched over and tense. Now I straighten my back, and relaxed, I turn to close the door. I will make sure to lock myself in. I don’t need this excessive agitation. I push the door, but it doesn’t close. Something is preventing it. And I see what it is. A foot. A heavy boot. I panic and push harder at the wood, but the foot doesn’t budge, and the door doesn’t close. A hard shove, and I fall flat on my ass. A man enters. He’s huge. And while I try to get my feet under my body, he laughs. An evil laugh. Deep. My gaze falls to his hand. Right one. It is covered in a crimson liquid that drips on my floor. Will I be able to get those stains cleaned up again? He is wearing a black coat. Heavy. Appropriate for the fall weather. My eyes continue their journey, and they stop on his face. A scar from left to right. From the left eyebrow to the right corner of his mouth. His lips are twisted into a sneer. I have never been this scared in my life. Specks of red – maybe blood, cover his face. No visible hair, apart from the eyebrows. His eyes are dark pits staring at me.
Wide open. Horrifying. I want to say something. Beg for something, but there is no sound. I am just as mute as the TV. It is still playing. I see the colors and the play of light and dark. The stranger closes the door with the heel of his right foot. The banging noise resonates in the silence. Why do I notice these things? The blood keeps dripping onto my floor. Is it his blood? Whose blood? More importantly, is it really blood? Blood. The world keeps spinning in my head, and the many reasons why one loses blood keep my mind occupied.
There’s no rational thought in me. But I still try to move away from the intruder. My arms and legs are of no use. The more I try to move, the more my limbs refuse to cooperate. And when the man bends down over me, I freeze. I shake my head. I want to say something. Anything. Beg for my life. But someone must have stolen the words right out of my mouth. His sneer is burning itself into my brain. No one will ever find it there. His bloody hand guides my chin to look upwards. His breath doesn’t stink, and his touch isn’t cold. It’s almost gentle. I didn’t see the blade before. But I can feel its metal now. Cold a first, it warms quickly against the skin of my throat. His eyes keep mine hostage. How can someone have empty eyes like this? Ouch. It hurts. I try to take a breath, but no air fills my lungs. There’s a strange smell, and I feel so light. As if I am losing twenty-one grams. He moves closer and kisses my forehead. He whispers something. I can’t understand him. I panic and try to get away from him, but the way he is sitting over me keeps me from moving. I realize that I am being killed. No. No. I don’t want to… Curiosity killed the…

THE END

Adrian (improvised A to Z)

Adrian sat on the stairs in front of his house; a cigarette was dangling between his fingers. Ash was forming at the tip, glowing in the dark. He took a long drag and exhaled a cloud of smoke. He looked back into the empty house. No one was home. No ever was anymore. The situation got to him, isolation. Not so much the social distance, but the physical distance. In the distance, a dog barked, and Adrian looked up.

“I know, buddy. I know,” he sighed and flipped the butt of his cigarette away. Wiping his hands on his thighs, he got up with a grunt. Life was not waiting for anyone. Even less when most people were sitting in front of their screens, waiting for their daily distracting.

Adrian went to the kitchen, took a bottle of beer, and popped the cap with his lighter, and didn’t bother to pick it up. He set up his gear, took off his shirt, and exhaled through his mouth.

He pushed “start broadcast” and smiled. “Hi there… I am Adrian, and I am going to sing some songs for you.” He grabbed his guitar from the couch behind him and began his lifestream—the first one in April.

(My usual posts will continue…)

First date (repost)

She looked at her phone again. His last message read: Looking forward to tonight. Mailed you the address of the restaurant. x
The words hadn’t changed since the last time she had read them. They wouldn’t change, but the clock was ticking, and she was running out of time. She needed the stress to get ready for a date. Loved it even.

With a towel around her head, she walked naked from the bathroom to her bedroom. In front of the floor length mirror, she stopped and put her hands on her hips. She was just an ordinary girl. Maybe a little curvier than others, but she didn’t mind. Her hourglass figure was an asset to her. Turning left and turning right, she looked at herself. She felt sexy. A good sign for a first date with a man she had never met before. But she liked him from his emails and their calls. She opened her wardrobe and pulled out a pair of black jeans and a blouse. She threw both items on the bed and opened her underwear drawer. It was the right occasion to pull out the lace lingerie, but the question was which colour. Would wearing red underwear send the wrong signals? What if he wouldn’t see it, then she would feel attractive, and it would be her secret? What about the gray or the purple set? Or even the black? She decided to postpone the decision and pulled out bright green socks. It was a quirk, but she liked her colourful socks. She put them on her feet and moved back to the mirror. She hadn’t changed. Still naked, apart from her feet. She wriggled her toes and smiled.

A short look at the alarm clock on her bedside table told her that she had twenty minutes to get dressed, dry her hair, and put on some make-up before she had to go. She opened the other door of her wardrobe and took out a black dress. It had a deep cleavage but wasn’t too slutty. She liked it a lot. Nodding, she pulled out the red set of lingerie and a purple pantyhose. She pulled the socks off her feet again and threw them on the floor. There was no time for being tidy anymore. She wrestled herself inside the delicate pantyhose hoping not to rip it, pulled up the zipper at the back of the dress with many acrobatics and cussing, and took a final look in the mirror. With a content look, she thought: Yes, this is it.

Behind her on her shelf, she grabbed for the Hugo Deep Red and put some of it on her neck and wrists. She loved that fragrance; it was, without a doubt, her favourite. She put her bracelets on her wrist and her necklace with the star around her neck. It was said to keep evil spirits away, and although she didn’t believe in things like that, good spirits were always welcome, and she had no intention challenging the bad ones that day. Next, she debated which watch to wear, but then she grabbed the yellow G-Shock she wore daily. It was an eye catcher, and if the conversation would slow down, she could always bring up the fact that Chris Martin from Coldplay wears the same watch occasionally.

She shook her head, and the towel came loose. She let it drop to the floor and walked to the bathroom. She left the moist towel on the hardwood floor and she didn’t care if it left stains or not.
After spraying herself with deodorant, the next decision was due. Keeping the hair curly or straightening it? Thirteen minutes left and another curse-word. She put a product in her hair and began blow drying it with a brush. It took seven minutes to get it the way she wanted it. It wasn’t perfect, but she was running out of time. She put on a little bit of foundation, rimmed her eyes with black eyeliner and applied some dark brown mascara. Nude lipstick topped her looks. One last stroke of the brush through her hair and she was done, with one minute to spare. And she needed it.

She smoothed her dress against her thighs and sighed. She felt uncomfortable, and her hair and the dress didn’t look good together, and maybe she was overdressed for a casual first date anyway? She went to her bedroom again, and in a frenzy, she undressed, threw the dress and the pantyhose on the overfilled chair in the corner by the window and slipped into the black jeans and blouse she had planned on wearing all along. She couldn’t find her second sock in her haste and took a new pair out of the drawer. When she bent down to put them on her feet, she realised that her pants were too loose and she needed a belt. But where was her belt? I’m going to be late. I hate being late!! Frantically, she searched for the accessory that was supposed to keep her pants up where they belonged, and she finally found it on the pair of jeans at the bottom of the pile of clothes on her chair. Pulling hard, most of the clothes hit the floor, but she had what she needed. Her bedroom looked as if a bomb filled with clothes had exploded. She didn’t have time to tidy up or waste a thought about it.

Running down the stairs while pulling the belt through the loops, she didn’t waste time to find a matching pair of shoes. She slipped her feet into her cognac coloured boots and buckled the belt then bent down to pull the zipper from her boots. She put on her faux-leather jacket, the long scarf with the stars and grabbed the white tote bag with the red handles. Keys, phone, and off she went. She looked just like any other day, but she felt very different.

In the car, she put on her favourite song and hoped that her deodorant would keep her safe. She was stressed. Excited. And it was hot, which made her sweat. She put the music a little louder and concentrated on the road ahead.

A parking space was easy to find, but calming down her racing heart was another issue. She sat in the car. Two minutes to spare. She looked into the mirror to make sure that her hair looked good. Out of habit, she brushed the lipstick from her lips and wiped the corners of her eyes to get rid of black smudges. Her breath came in erratic pants. She felt like driving home again. But she was also excited to finally meet the man who had promised pasta and the best chocolate mousse in town. She rechecked her phone. No new messages. Which she took as a good sign. She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths through her nose and released them through pursed lips. You’ve got this. She told herself when she opened her eyes again. Rubbing her sweaty palms and her thighs, she was finally ready. Go! She whispered when she got out of the car.

She got closer to the restaurant and kept her eyes on the floor. The heels of her boots made a lot of noise on the gravel. Maybe it was just in her head, though, amplified by her nervousness. She raised her head, and there he was. He was biting his thumbnail, looking every bit as nervous as she felt. He looked in the other direction, but it was unmistakably him. She slowed down. How was she supposed to greet him? She readjusted her blouse and ran her hand through the lengths of her hair. Her throat felt dry, and her entire body was trembling. He was taller than she had imagined him to be.

He let his thumb fall from his lips and in slow motion, or so it seemed to her, he turned his head. A bright smile erupted on her face, and he mirrored it. She took a couple more steps towards him, and he joined her. Both their smiles hadn’t faltered. And her nervousness was gone. All she wanted was to be in the presence of this man. Hear his voice, smell him and maybe, even touch him.

They stopped in front of each other. Close. Closer than strangers. She looked up to meet his eyes.
“Hello,” he said. His voice was hoarse.
“Hi,” she answered and felt her cheeks blush. He bent down to kiss her cheek, at that exact moment she turned her head, and his lips landed on her lips. Her eyes went wide, and her heart rate sped up again. His pale cheeks were tinged with a red colour too. He shrugged with a smile. She smiled back. He had nice lips. Smooth. For a while, they stood making small talk about the drive to the restaurant and the weather before he suggested to get inside. He took the lead, and she liked that. A lot. He held the door for her, and she lowered her head.
No one had ever held the door for her. It was cheesy and incredibly cute. It also showed that he was born in a different generation. Ten years of age gap was already making a difference. They walked close to each other, and when they waited to be seated, their arms almost touched. But not quite. They didn’t talk. They just smiled awkwardly.

At their table, he waited until she sat down, and when the waitress suggested an aperitif, she ordered a glass of white wine. He ordered a Perrier, and she blushed again. Right, he had mentioned briefly that he didn’t drink anymore. Not the best start for the evening. She opened the menu and scanned it without seeing the words she read. Under the table, their feet touched. Their eyes met briefly over their menus, but both of them lowered their gazes again. Awkward!

They sat with their menus on the plates, and she began to chuckle.

She: this is surreal, sorry.
He: yes, it is.

He laughed too. There were deep lines around his eyes, telling her that he was no stranger to happiness.

He: It’s hot in here.

He shuffled out of his suit jacket to reveal a pristine white button-down shirt when he put it on the back of his chair. She liked his look a lot. It was casual and not. With his button-down and the black suit-jacket, he wore dark jeans and black Converse shoes. His hair was tied back with a hairband, and only one lock fell on his forehead. He reached for his water, and she noticed his long slender fingers and the blue veins on the back of his pale hands. He took a couple of small sips. It was weird and cute. Under the table, their feet were still touching. Not moving, just resting against each other.
In her usual habit, she put her glasses to her left, and when the waitress came to take their order, she ordered a San Pellegrino and let the wine go back. He rose an eyebrow, but her mind was set.

She: you don’t drink. I don’t need it either.

He nodded with a smile. Apparently, he liked her thoughtfulness.

He: are you left-handed then?

He waved in the general direction of her rearranged cutlery and his watch and her right wrist.

She: Oh, no. That’s just an old habit. I move my hands a lot when I speak. Just precaution.

She blushed, admitting her clumsiness. He smiled at her.

He: I move my hands a lot too.

He took another couple of small sips of his water.

He: I have a dry throat and sweaty palms. Nervous.

It surprised her. She had no clue why an ordinary girl like her could make a man like him nervous.

She: don’t be. I’m just me.

He: exactly, and you look beautiful tonight. Gorgeous.

For a moment, she forgot how to breathe and how to think. Her eyes met his, searching for the joke in this, but all she found was honesty and sincerity. She had to lower her head to hide her embarrassed. She didn’t take compliments well.

He: look at me!

It was an order, firm but gentle. He knew exactly what she needed and how she needed to be handled. They had talked about it multiple times. She looked up.

He: just telling it as it is.

She: Thank you.

She wished for the food to be served to have something to do. This wasn’t going well. Or maybe it was, and she was too busy thinking herself down to let it happen. She sighed and gave herself an internal pep talk. All the time, his eyes were on her.

She: for how long will you stay in town?

He: depends…

He smiled, and she was saved from more awkwardness when the waitress brought their food. His pasta looked delicious. Hers did too.

He: Bon appetit.

She turned her plate 180°, another quirk and took her fork. His eyes were still on her when he took the cheese and sprinkled his pasta with it.

He: cheese?

She shook her head.

She: no thanks. Maybe later.

He put a big bite in his mouth, and his eyes closed. She almost expected him to moan. His mouth was still full when he spoke.

He: this is so good. Wow. How’s yours?

She had been busy watching the sensual way he was eating and felt caught in the act. Her food was good, but nowhere near as fascinating as her company for the evening. She felt bold when she loaded her fork and offered it to him. She had never done this before, but it felt like the right thing to do. He smiled, opened his mouth, and let her feed him. Again he closed his eyes, savouring the different flavours on his tongue.

He: spicy. Very good. Now you.

And he did the same she had done. Red sauce dripped off his fork and into her water glass. She chuckled, he shrugged. She opened her mouth, and her heart began to race. A tingle spread inside her. He took care of her, and she liked it. He tilted his head, awaiting her verdict.

Perfect, she said,

because the evening announced itself to be a success. After this, the conversation became more comfortable. And he had been right; he moved his hands a lot when he spoke. They discussed their beliefs and their faiths, and although she knew she was eccentric in that regard, she didn’t feel judged. In fact, they shared many views. Absentmindedly, she played with her left ring finger. There used to be a ring, but the man she had loved for so many years had never been as close to her mind as the one across the table. Smirking, she realised that this was the first date she had as a grown-up and independent woman. She smiled at him, and their conversation jumped from topic to topic naturally. The more they revealed of themselves, the faster her heart beat in a good way.

She was full. Half of her food was left on her plate, but as much as she didn’t want to waste the food, she couldn’t eat anymore. Her stomach was in knots anyway. Their conversation was filled with laughter but also with serious topics. It was effortless to talk to this man. She felt appreciated and attractive and completely forgot to be self-conscious. He made her feel as if she could be herself without the need to pretend to be more or less than she actually was. It was nice to lower her guards, and inwardly, she felt proud to do all of this without liquid courage clouding her brain. This was all real — her perception of reality anyway. The waitress came to clear the table, and with a simple look into each other’s eyes, they decided to wait before they ordered dessert. Conversation without words was such an intimate thing and rare too, but it was right for them. With the plates out of the way, the table looked large, and they had space for their hands. His pale hand reached out for hers. And there was the familiar embarrassment again. While his hands were pale and hairless, hers were rough and dusted with dark hair. She wasn’t the kind of woman to wear nail polish or to have long nails. She clipped them and kept them neat, but that was all she did to pamper her hands. She wanted to pull back, but he wouldn’t let her.

She: I don’t have beautiful hands. They are too manly.

He took her hands and inspected them, turning them this way and that.

He: they are beautiful. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

He ran a finger along the indentation her wedding band had left behind.

How long have you been divorced?

She: two months. He nodded and kept running his fingers over hers.

He: I have a child. Did I ever tell you about that?

It was her time to nod. There was nothing to say, just to listen as his eyes grew distant. He loved his child, it was written on his face, and she was learning to read him like an open book.

“Her mom moved them to Cyprus. I don’t see her often. I’m afraid to become the strange uncle at some point in her life. I only visit twice a year”. He took a deep breath and smiled. “But we Skype and I send her letters and little presents. I was never married.”

She opened her mouth to say something, but the waitress’s timing was awful. He let go of her hands and ordered dessert for her.

He: I told you we’d have chocolate mousse for dessert. It’s my favourite.

She didn’t object. She wasn’t too fond of chocolate, but the way he smiled left her silent. The smile faltered on her face. There. At that exact moment, she realised that she was slipping on a mask again, to be who he wanted her to be. She couldn’t let that happen, not after the kind of evening they had spent together.

She: I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

He: You’ll like it. I promise.

And she believed him. She liked him. She trusted him too. There was just something about him, maybe it was his eyes or maybe the way he talked, maybe it was just his charming ways, but he made her feel good about herself. It was the second time that evening she realised that small fact, and while she was aware that the end of their date was nearing as the waitress set their chocolate mousses in front of them, she didn’t want to see the evening end. He waited for her to taste the sweet dish, and she scooped up a little of the brown mousse. She looked anywhere, but at him, the way he watched her was unsettling. The chocolate on her tongue melted, and he had been right. She moaned and blushed at the prominent display of pleasure.

She: Wow.

He smiled victoriously and dug in too.

He: told you so.

The light ribbing had become part of their conversation, and the way their sense of humor clicked was another indication that she was falling slowly for the man across the table. Despite having eaten entirely too much, she emptied the dessert, and he hummed in appreciation.

He: you have something on your lip.

She blushed and wanted to reach for her napkin. Moments before it had been on her lap, but now it lay on the floor. He reached across the table and with his thumb, he wiped the chocolate from her lip. She didn’t overthink it and sucked his thumb clean. He chuckled, and she ran her tongue over the pad of his thumb. His eyes widened, and she could only assume the effect this little not so innocent gesture had on him. She smirked when she released him, but she kept his eyes fixed on his.

She: delicious.

He coughed when the waitress appeared out of nowhere again.

She: I’ll have an espresso, please and for the gentleman, a mint tea, please.

He looked shocked but didn’t argue.

He: do I have bad breath?

He breathed in his palm and tried to determine why she had ordered a mint tea.

She shrugged: payback for ordering for me.

He laughed out loud, and more curls fell from his hairband. He put them behind his ears, but they sprang right back up.

He: right. I’ll remember that and for the record, don’t make me drink that herbal brew, please. I need coffee, too — even more after dinner.

Without missing a beat, she waved the waitress over and changed the order from tea to coffee. The waitress rolled her eyes but scurried away again.

She: she thinks that I can’t make up my mind. I swear I am not that complicated.

She shook her head, smiling and put her hair over her left shoulder.

“Well, maybe I am very complicated, but she doesn’t know that.”

He laughed out loud again, and she loved the sound. She really didn’t want the evening to end. But when the coffee arrived, he asked for the check. She wondered if she should offer to pay or assume he would pay or maybe she should just pay her half but wasn’t that too fussy? She sighed and watched his delicate fingers as they stirred sugar into his coffee. As always, she drank hers black.

“So,” he said her name and the way he spoke it made the butterflies in her stomach do somersaults. A warmth spread from her heart all the way down to her most intimate place. She was surprised by the impact his voice had on her, but there was no denying. And it was hot in the restaurant.

“I had a great evening.”

He played with her fingers again. An electrical surge went through her. She inhaled shakily. She couldn’t rationalise where the sudden need came from, but at that moment, she would have done everything he could ask of her. And the mood shifted. It became loaded with promises and longing. Want and need were showing in dilated irises. He licked his lips, and she mimicked him. A kiss hung between them. The atmosphere was crackling. Until the waitress interrupted the moment, they had. They broke apart and chuckled like teenagers. He reached for his wallet, and when she wanted to do the same, he glared at her.

He: what kind of gentleman would I be if I would let you pay for our dinner or even half of it? Next time it’s your turn. Maybe.

She didn’t argue, but her annoying brain was back. What did ‘maybe’ mean? That there was maybe a chance to a second date? Or he would let her pay, maybe?

He: stop overanalyzing.

He chuckled, and she felt caught again.

She: that’s just part of me.

He: we’ll work on that together.

He put his credit card on the tray with the receipt. And once again, she believed him. There was just something about him that made her feel cared for. It was like coming home. But instead of being bored by the known, he excited and aroused her with his sheer presence.

“So,” he said again. “What are your plans for tonight?”

A panoply of possible answers came to her mind, but she wasn’t bold enough to ask him to go home with her, and she wasn’t daring enough to ask him to go for a walk. She worried her lower lip and was lost for words. “Just say it,” he smiled. On his face was something like hope.

She: I don’t want the evening to end.

A bright smile appeared on his face.

He: Okay. I don’t want it to end either. We could go for a walk. You could show me your city by night?

She beamed at him.

She: I would like that very much.

The inevitable end was pushed back further into the night. He paid and added a generous tip for the waitress. It was just another piece of the puzzle that made this man her perfect match.

He: are you ready to go?

Instead of answering, she shrugged into her jacket and put her scarf around her neck. He waited for her and held out his hand. She looked at it and took it. He walked in front of her, and she followed, looking at their joined hands. And maybe at the curve where his back met his behind.

“I hope you’re enjoying the view,” he chuckled, and she blushed. He hadn’t caught her starring, he was just teasing, but since he was right in his assumption, the embarrassment was back in red spots on her cheeks.

She: very much so, thank you.

He held the door for her again.

He: likewise.

He didn’t even conceal the fact that he checked her out from head to toes. There was a gleam in his eyes. They walked on for a couple of paces when he stopped abruptly. She almost stumbled. He took both of her hands in his.

He: I’m glad we finally met in person, and I would really like to kiss you if that is okay.

It was more than okay; it was desired. She stood on tiptoes and let the moment happen. The magic of a first kiss. He pulled her closer and lowered his head. She felt his breath on her skin and his heat coming closer and closer still. His lips were dry and smooth. The kiss was gentle but persistent, and when his hand pulled her closer, she licked his lips. It was just a quick touch of their tongues before their kiss was over. She opened her eyes and looked straight into his. He was smiling again. He put his arms around her and pulled her against him. She fitted his body perfectly. She wrapped her arms around him underneath his jacket and squeezed tightly. He put a kiss on her hair, and they broke apart. It was the natural thing to do. Hand in hand, they strolled through the illuminated streets. They showed each other interesting looking things, and once in a while, they stopped to kiss again. The bells of the cathedral announced midnight in the distance, and she yawned.

“Wouldn’t it be great if this date didn’t need to end?” She mused out loud.

He: it doesn’t have to end. You could come home with me.

As much as she wanted to say yes, she declined his offer. It was too much too soon. The mood shifted to one of regret. A missed opportunity created a distance between them as they walked back to their cars. Inwardly, she scolded herself. She had ruined a perfect date, or that was what her brain was trying to tell her. In front of her car, he turned her in his arms again.

He: Thank you for this perfect evening.

And he kissed her again. They said goodbye, promising to get in touch as soon as they were home. She got in her car and watched him turn away. She cursed and exhaled deeply in the sanctuary of her car. She started the engine, and when she was next to him, with his hunched shoulders and lowered head, she stopped.

She: the night doesn’t have to end like this. Would you like to go on a second date?

He turned to face her.

He: yes. When?

She: Now. Get in; I’ll take you on our second date.

He: are you sure?

She: yes.

Her heart beat too fast again, but she couldn’t stop the smile on her face. The second date with this man who was buckling his seat belt next to her was about to happen. She drove them to her house and saw him blink.

“Home,” she explained, and he grinned. “Are you coming?”

He: not yet, but I am sure I’ll be there in no time.

The suggestiveness of his words made her smile, but it had been exactly what she had wanted to hear — a perfect first date. And the second date would be successful too, she was sure.

The Chemicals Between Them

She looked at him. He was more than she had ever expected him to be — a lot more. His green eyes were so pale, and his ginger hair was just leaning enough to the blond side to look beautiful. His fingers were long and slender, its tips worn and hard from playing his instrument daily for more than three decades. There was something very gentle about him. It wasn’t just the voice that was deep and a little raspy with a sensual lilt. His hands were animated when he spoke. There was life inside this man. A light that shone brightly. There had always been something mysterious, vulnerable, strong, and sensual about him. He knew many demons by name. Some, she knew too. He was known for being difficult, too sure about his talent and himself, but that confidence was something she had always admired. And now she sat face to face with him. When they had talked on the phone for the first time, she had been starstruck. But soon it became normalcy to talk to him weekly, sometimes only monthly. There was a bond. Too many similarities to ignore. For both of them. She didn’t want to be his groupie, and she didn’t feel like it either, but now she didn’t only like his music and his lyrics, she had grown to like the man himself too. With all his flaws. They made him human with all his arrogance that shone through too.

She didn’t know what he saw in her, but since he had repeatedly told her that she was beautiful and that he liked her mind, she didn’t question it. There was no use. He saw things in her she didn’t see. And he inspired change within that she hadn’t known to be capable of.

Sometimes they didn’t speak in months. During these months, she felt lonely and unhappy. Incomplete. Even though they shared this connection and this inexplicable bond, she wanted to leave him his space. She saw the music as being his job. There were times when he didn’t do a lot and other times when he was too busy to do anything but write and record a new album. She refused to intrude. She took it as a gift when he spent time with her, and she was content that he always seemed to come back to her.

Like now. He had insisted on making time for her tonight, even though he was working. It was the first time they sat face to face. But it was apparent that the chemicals between them were stronger than she had ever anticipated.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

He looked at her. He had loved many women in his life, had been engaged twice too. Opening up to this woman and trusting her the way he did had been a challenge. She had touched him at a moment when he had craved connection. Something had made him take his chances. And he knew how risky it had been. There were still one-night stands who wrote less than nice things on the band’s Facebook page. She was not like them. She was respectful of his work. And she had put him in his place once or twice when he had become too cocky. He liked that. He also liked the undivided attention she offered and that she didn’t conceal how much she loved his talent. She was the one he had always missed, but he hadn’t known it until she had become a constant part of his life. And gorgeous. She was gorgeous. Her brown eyes were full of emotions and her hair; it was gorgeous. There was no other word he could think of to describe her. Her skin was unblemished. No tattoos, no piercings. So different from the girls he took to the hotel for one night only. Of course, he knew about the self-harming scars, and he had seen her many beauty spots on her olive skin. She was a little chubby, but he wasn’t thin or muscular, either. He was soft around the middle and conscious about it. And then she had told him that she loved his hairy belly. It had made him smile. It was then when he had realised that she was so very different. At first, he had had no intention to meet her. It had been a fantasy. A game. But there was something very mysterious about her. The connection grew, and that bond too – a bond he had only felt with his siblings. He felt safe with her. He had offered to meet at one of their shows, and she had immediately said that he was working, and she didn’t want to intrude. It had made him want her even more. She took herself back and was respectful, polite, and there was a sense of humour that matched his own. She was so much more than he had ever expected her to be. And now they sat face to face. Around them, people were busy getting the venue ready. Lights were checked, guitars were tuned, the bar was stocked, and the stage was set for its final look. And he only had eyes for her. He had promised to make time for her. And he needed to know that when he played in her city, that she would be there. He wanted to look into her eyes at one particular moment. When they would play a new song for the first time. She had no idea the song was for her, but he knew she would know as soon as she heard the lyrics. He had used words she had said to him. After the show, when his duties were fulfilled, he intended to take her out. Maybe for a walk under the winter’s sky. Maybe to the hotel. Who knew where their journey would lead. At first, he had been afraid that she was just another groupie. Now, he was scared that he was about to fall in love. She smelled so good, and her smile brightened the dim room. His heartfelt something he had sworn it would never be allowed again. There was no use fighting it. The chemicals between them were so much stronger than he could ever have anticipated.

Love.

*throwback* cold coffee

I pushed the door open with my foot, startling you. Your eyes were filled with sleep; mine were full of mischief. I came to your room with the intention to wake you up with the smell of coffee, but seeing you like this; naked, hard, embarrassed; it did things to me.

You were a guest in my house — a friend. The polite thing would have been to apologise and leave. But I couldn’t. I was hungry. Starving. And not for food. You looked at your erection, then at me. I licked my lips and tried to find a safe place for that cup of coffee in my hand.

You sat up and reached for the sheets to cover yourself. I shook my head. “Don’t, ” I croaked. You rose an eyebrow, probably intensely aware of the situation too. I kept my eyes on you, avoiding to see myself ungracefully join you on the mattress through the mirror on the wall.

“Hi, ” you said as if you were seeing me for the first time. Your hand was already in my hair, pulling my head; my lips, to yours.

Outside, rain was joining the wind that had been up all night. Inside, we were joining too.

Everything fit. Profoundly. Almost overwhelmingly. The natural flow of things didn’t take us back. It didn’t leave room for doubts or vanities. Every touch meant something. Every time I felt your tongue on my heated skin, it felt as if I was becoming a part of you. Your hands explored my body as if they had never done anything else. The weight of you on my tongue was exactly right, and your taste made me swallow you as often as I could. I was drowning in our lust.

When you finally penetrated me, it only took a moment before the world exploded for me. Shivering, sweating, swearing, I encouraged you to keep moving. But you didn’t. You lay on top of me; your hands were caressing my hair, your eyes were searching my face for something that I couldn’t pretend wasn’t there. A smile appeared on your lips. Proud of yourself and how you had undone me, you kissed me. You were pulsating inside of me, but not moving. Heavenly torture. I begged for more, gyrated my hips underneath you, but you were stubborn. And too close to be consumed by our lust too.

Two micro moves later, you stopped breathing. Your sweat was dripping down on me from the tip of your nose; your eyes were closed. A strangled noise left your lips just before you started to breathe again.

I had seen you. I had felt you. And it left me breathless; and not only because your full weight was on my body now. The beauty and surprise of us in this situation was overwhelming. You kissed my temple and rolled off me with a loud groan and a chuckle. Your arm covered your eyes, and your hand was running up and down your stomach. The most handsome man who I had ever been with.

I put my head on your chest, your heartbeat sang a song for me, while I retraced the pattern of the tattoos on your skin. Your eyes were filled with sleep again. I covered us with the crumbled sheet, making sure that the wet spot we left was covering me and not you.

In a while, I would worry about the meaning of it all, but right then I decided to go with the flow and let it happen.

Only the coffee had grown cold.

*Repost* Come

I run, and I run. My legs are burning. They are heavy as lead. But I keep running. I run towards the dark alley that is calling my name. An alley I would avoid at all cost every other night. Not now. Not tonight. You are calling me. And I have to find you. I need you.

“Come, Cathy!” I hear it loud and clear. And I keep running and running. Because I want to catch you. You are my safe haven. I need to find you. Your presence will give me peace. And I keep running towards the dark. And the unknown. Edged on by the hope to find you, my love.

“Come, Cathy!” And I want to come to you. But I can’t reach you. No matter how fast I run, you are never there.

“Come, Cathy!” It is beginning to be frustrating. Devastating. Desperation sets in. How can I reach you? And I run and I run. Until I can’t run anymore and I stop. Everything is dark. There is no sound. Claustrophobic. Empty walls are closing in on me.

“Are you there?” I whisper. It sounds like the loudest scream in this absolute silence. I can hear my blood pounding in my ears. And I realise that I am afraid. Fucking scared, actually. Of this silence. Of this void. Of this emptiness. Of you not being there.

“Are you there?” I whisper again. There is something cold and wet on my cheeks. Tears? And I can’t fill my lungs with enough air to breathe properly.

“Are you there?” I turn around several times. Turning in never-ending circles. I don’t know where I am — lost and confused. And I am so alone. And so cold. Cold and alone. Inside, and outside too. Lost in the dark. In the unknown. Inside my dream.

“Come, Cathy!” But I can’t do what you want me to do. I am not there. I am not real. Nothing is.

I wake up drenched in sweat. I remember the voice loud and clear. I know the voice. Your voice. My heart is pounding against my ribs, and I can still hear my blood’s flow in my ears. It makes me deaf to every other sound surrounding me. Around me, the bedroom is bathed in a red hue from the sun touching the closed blinds. “Come Cathy!” resonates behind my eyes, and between my ears. I don’t know what it means. I can’t remember a thing. Nothing that matters. And in my agitated state, it feels as if someone is watching me. I am at peace. I am safe. Because this is real, and you are not there.

cold coffee

I pushed the door open with my foot, startling you. Your eyes were filled with sleep; mine were full of mischief. I came to your room with the intention to wake you up with the smell of coffee, but seeing you like this; naked, hard, embarrassed; it did things to me.

You were a guest in my house. A friend. The polite thing would have been to apologise and leave. But I couldn’t. I was hungry. Starving. And not for food. You looked at your erection, then at me. I licked my lips and tried to find a safe place for that cup of coffee in my hand.

You sat up and reached for the sheets to cover yourself. I shook my head. “Don’t, ” I croaked. You rose an eyebrow, probably intensely aware of the situation too. I kept my eyes on you, avoiding to see myself ungracefully join you on the mattress through the mirror on the wall.

“Hi, ” you said as if you were seeing me for the first time. Your hand was already in my hair, pulling my head; my lips, to yours.

Outside, rain was joining the wind that had been up all night. Inside, we were joining too.

Everything fit. Profoundly. Almost overwhelmingly. The natural flow of things didn’t take us aback. It didn’t leave room for doubts or vanities. Every touch meant something. Every time I felt your tongue on my heated skin, it felt as if I was becoming a part of you. Your hands explored my body as if they had never done anything else. The weight of you on my tongue was exactly right, and your taste made me swallow you as often as I could. I was drowning in our lust.

When you finally penetrated me, it only took a moment before the world exploded for me. Shivering, sweating, swearing, I encouraged you to keep moving. But you didn’t. You lay on top of me; your hands were caressing my hair, your eyes were searching my face for something that I couldn’t pretend wasn’t there. A smile appeared on your lips. Proud of yourself and how you had undone me, you kissed me. You were pulsating inside of me, but not moving. Heavenly torture. I begged for more, gyrated my hips underneath you, but you were stubborn. And too close to be consumed by our lust too.

Two micro moves later, you stopped breathing. Your sweat was dripping down on me from the tip of your nose; your eyes were closed. A strangled noise left your lips just before you started to breathe again.

I had seen you. I had felt you. And it left me breathless; and not only because your full weight was on my body now. The beauty and surprise of us in this situation was overwhelming. You kissed my temple and rolled off me with a loud groan and a chuckle. Your arm covered your eyes, and your hand was running up and down your stomach. The most handsome man who I had ever been with.

I put my head on your chest, your heartbeat sang a song for me, while I retraced the pattern of the tattoos on your skin. Your eyes were filled with sleep again. I covered us with the crumbled sheet, making sure that the wet spot we left was covering me and not you.

In a while, I would worry about the meaning of it all, but right then I decided to go with the flow and let it happen.

Only the coffee had grown cold.