Friday, December 31, 2010

Miss Beckie Louise Week 32: That Night

Miss Beckie Louise

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Picture 2

Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: Both

That Night

Sitting here now, in the dark, the sun just managing to get through a tiny crack of the window, I closed my eyes. I can't remember much of that night. Just this party I went to and a guy and some lights and I also think I got naked.

I hate that I can't remember because now that night has left me with severe consequences. I'm pregnant. Yes, that's right. Eighteen and knocked up, great line for a movie, no? Either way, my life is never going to be the same again.
I won't be able to go out anymore, and if I do, I'll only be thinking of the little one. I could get an abortion.
No, I don't want to be a murderer. Adoption? And have some little person wondering why I gave them away in the first place only to have a knock at the door twenty years later with a person on the other side saying, “Hi, I think you're my mum.” I don't think so, somehow.

So now, I have no idea what to do. I wish I could remember something... That guy, all I can remember is the way his lips felt on mine, how he made me feel like the most important person in the world. How he cared for me and treated me only to have him dump me on the side of the road like nothing.

The feeling of being used and getting shoved away. The way life is always getting the wrong end of the stick and showing me the shitty end. I want the nice clean side for a change. Is that going to be possible one day?

For now, I have no idea and at the moment, I can think of one thing and one thing only.

I'm going to be a mum.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Burntcore Week 32: Trust


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Picture 2

Burntcore's Choice: Picture 1


Cory and I had been hanging out for a couple of months now since he came back into my life. I guess it was more dating but it was a slow process. I preferred it that way. Cory and I talked almost every day, sometimes for awhile, sometimes only for a short period of time. I was still keeping him at arms length. I think he understood. I think. Sometimes he seemed frustrated, but I wasn’t sure what it was directed towards.

I genuinely enjoyed our time together but I think I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. He hadn’t done anything yet to make me doubt him or his sobriety, but wasn’t that just the thing with recovering alcoholics? That there was always a chance that they could relapse? These thoughts had plagued me from our date in the park when he played his keyboard for me. Was it even fair for me to doubt him? Would I ever completely trust him? Could I ever completely trust him?

Shaking my head in disgust, I tried to push my negative thoughts out of my head. Maybe I needed counseling or something. This was just more than I think I could deal with. When he left, the alcoholism was never in the equation. I knew he had a problem but I never realized to what extent. I never realized that he was gone for so long because of the alcohol. If I wanted a relationship with Cory now, perhaps it just wasn’t he that needed to change.

Was I not a different person because of the experiences we shared and things that had happened in the two years since I had seen him last? He was undeniably different. But was I truly? Was I strong enough?

These thoughts would not leave my mind as I drove to pick up Cory. We were meeting up with some friends for dinner. We didn’t really have any mutual friends anymore, not like before, but we were getting to know one another’s friends. These particular friends tonight were some of Cory’s from his job. His friends knew about Cory’s battle with alcoholism and were very supportive. We decided to go someplace where alcohol wasn’t the focus. I had also vowed that I would not drink in front of him. Thankfully, I was not the type of person who had to drink all of the time. It was nice to have a beer now and then or a cocktail, but it wasn’t a life or death thing if I didn’t.

Pulling up to Cory’s place, I nervously ran my hands through my hair and adjusted the hem of my shirt. I had been over Cory’s apartment a few times but not for very long. His apartment seemed okay, small but okay. Before I could get out of the car, he was bounding down the steps to my car.

“Excited, are we?” I asked with a snort as the passenger side door opened.

Cory looked at me with a boyish smile as he leaned over the center counsel to kiss me. “Maybe. It has been quite some time since I have gone out on a double date.”

I smiled and stroked his check with my fingertips. “It has been a long time.”

We took off towards the restaurant where we were meeting his friends. I had met this couple once before and they were fun to be with. It helped me forget about what had happened in the past and my fears for the future.

The dinner went well. Conversation was easy and light. His work friends lived on the other side of town and had a little girl that they spoke proudly of whenever possible. It was normal. It was comfortable. It was something I definitely could get used to with Cory.

Later that night, Cory and I were curled up on my couch watching TV. There was a Bones marathon that was playing. We didn’t talk much. I was lost in my thoughts most of the night and Cory seemed to pick up on my aloofness. During a commercial break after Jack Hodgins had declared himself king of the lab again, Cory turned to me and ran a hand up and down my arm.



“What’s bothering you? You haven’t been here most of the night.”

I sighed and tried to think of a way to express my feelings without being hurtful to him. The last thing he needed to hear was my lack of faith in his sobriety.

“I just.. I’m just.. gah,” I huffed as a I pulled on the ends of my hair. “I’m just worried.”


“About you, about us, about your recovery, about the future, if there’s a future, just everything,” I rushed out, amazed that I got it all out.

His eyes widened and his hand stilled on my arm. “Is that all?”

I sighed and nodded. “Yes. I think I am going to look into counseling. I owe it to both of us. You are trying so hard to start anew and I can’t get over the ‘what ifs’ and the past.”

“You’re waiting for me to drink again, aren’t you?” he said softly, his eyes sad but full of compassion and understanding.

I nodded again, ashamed.

“That’s perfectly normal, Holly. They tell us that during our AA meetings about the effect our problem has on our family and friends, how trust is lost and sometimes is never found again.”

“How can you say that? How can this be normal? How can we have a relationship if I can’t trust you?”

He laughed softly as he resumed stroking my arm. “It takes time, Holly. Just like what we are doing now. We are taking things one step at a time. I am re-earning, regaining your trust. That is not done quickly.”

“I know,” I sighed. “But I am afraid I won’t be able to get over it. That’s why I think I should talk to someone. I was thinking about joining Al-Anon.”

Cory’s eyes burned as he locked his gaze with mine. “You’d do that, for me?”

“Not just for you, Cory, for me, for us. The longer I keep feeling this way, expecting you to fall off the wagon, the worse it is going to be. It’s not fair to keep you behind those iron bars anymore. You served your time, both physically and metaphorically.”

He did not say a word in response. The look of love and adoration on his face was enough. Cory leaned over and gently kissed me. He kissed me until I was reassured, until my fears seemed like a faded memory. My promise burned on and I vowed I would look up the meeting information on the nearest Al-Anon chapter.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kimmydon Week 32: Brian


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Kimmydon's Choice: both


AN: Flashing back to pre-wedding.

I walked into the sub shop and took a seat at one of the tables. I wasn’t hungry, but this was where he’d asked me to meet him. I fiddled with the ring on my hand, still not quite used to seeing it there.

“Mrs. Strauss,” I said and smiled. I really did like the sound of that. A young man stood at the counter ordering a sandwich. He pulled out his phone while the girl behind the counter assembled his order. Mine rang and I waved rather than open it.

Brian was younger than I’d expected. Not so much younger than Jamie and I, but most of her boyfriends tended to be older. He brought his lunch to my table and sat down.

“Beth?” he asked.

I smiled and nodded. “Yes. Brian, right? Good to finally meet you.”

“And you. Jamie talks about you a lot.” He unwrapped the sandwich halfway. “You don’t mind, do you? I’m starving.”

I chuckled. “No, go ahead.”


I watched the door, waiting for Jamie. When he was half-finished I had to ask. “When is Jamie coming?”

“She’s not,” he said and swallowed. “I... I wanted to talk to you.”

Puzzled, I sat back. “Oh?”

“Jamie. Is she... Does she... Are you sure she likes me?”

I grinned. She had put this boy through so many trials. As near as I could tell, he’d passed every one and exceeded expectations on many. Jamie was so strange sometimes, and she had an odd way of testing a potential partner. I thought it was because that was exactly what she sought. She was much more likely than me to bring home a guy from the bar who neither of us would ever see again. If she wanted sex, she got that. She was looking for more these days.

“I’m sure she likes you, Brian. Does she give you reason to think she doesn’t?”

He shrugged, slouching a little and pulling his hat a little further over his head. “Sometimes. We’ll be talking, having a really great chat, arguing, y’know?”

I nodded. Jamie was quite opinionated.

“She’ll be all intense and right there with me, and then.” He smacked his hand on the table. “She stops. Sometimes she’ll just start laughing at nothing, sometimes she’ll just get really quiet. One time she actually yelled at me. Not loud arguing, yelling - asking me why I let her question everything I said. I don’t get her.” He shook his head and bit off another chunk of sandwich.
I licked my lips and tried not to laugh. It wouldn’t be polite. How on earth was I going to explain this?

“Brian... that’s just Jamie. She’s very impulsive, intuitive. She runs on her gut. Now, I can tell you, her gut is telling her you’re the guy, which means you’re in if you want to be. But, if you can’t handle her swings, you should probably tell her soon.”

His face fell, looking at the table. “Why? Why does she jump around like that?”

I shrugged. “I used to blame her brothers. She was constantly on guard for one or the other to pull a stunt, and it made her permanently antsy. I don’t think that anymore. She’s special. She has a sixth sense for things. I learned to roll with it. My moods don’t swing with hers, but temper them. Does that make sense? She can be happy and laughing and suddenly get in a panic, and I keep laughing to bring her back. You don’t have to keep up with her, just let her come back to you.” It was really hard to explain what I’d always done.

He nodded though, wiping his mouth with a napkin. He pulled out a gift bag and pushed the wrapper aside. A ceramic mug came from the bag to be placed next to his dessert.

“Will she like it?” he asked.

This time I did laugh. “Probably. Did you think of her when you saw it?” I ran my finger around the heart of the handle.

He nodded. “Looked right.”

Smiling, I took his hand and squeezed it. “She is instinctual, are you?”

He shook his head. “I mean, I’m not the most organized or a big planner or anything, but I don’t fly by the seat of my pants either.”

“Good. She’s going to need that. Of course, some of her has rubbed off on you already,” I said, fingering the mug again. “I can only pray some of you rubs off on her.” I rolled my eyes and he chuckled.

“Thanks, Beth. I... was worried I was barking up the wrong tree.”

“You aren’t. Trust her instincts, if you don’t trust your own.”

He smiled, liking that suggestion.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Wish I Was Esme Week 32: Love is Blind

I Wish I Was Esme

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I Wish I Was Esme's Choice: Picture 1

Love is Blind

Maggie POV

Sitting in my little spot of heaven, I started thinking of Reese. We hadn’t talked in months, not after he confessed his secret. It wasn’t because I didn’t accept him, because I did. It was because he ran away after seeing the shock on my face and refused to talk to me. To me, being transgendered wasn’t a huge thing, it just meant that he was born the wrong way. He was born as Emalia Jeanine, a girl, yet in his mind and in his heart he was a boy and always would be.

I missed him more than I wanted to admit, he was my only friend in this po-dunk town that I called home. Being close to him, I always noticed that there was something wrong with him, like he was hiding something. He never invited me over to his house or introduced me to his family. Now I knew, It was because his parents didn’t accept him, and they expected him to act and be a girl. When he spilled all of he was to me, he explained that while he was at home he dressed and did his hair as a woman. His parents didn’t make him act like Mia in public though, they knew that if they pushed him he would just move out and be himself. He was technically an adult, at eighteen, yet he didn’t have the resources he would need to live on his own.

Reese was accepted to Berkley early, receiving a full ride football scholarship as long as he kept his grades up the rest of our senior year. It baffles me how he could ever play football, though, because he would have to change in front of the other players. Maybe he had an understanding with the coach or something. All I knew was that he looked like a boy, with his strong jaw and short, light brown hair flecked with golden and red natural highlights. He was exceptionally good at football, he played quarterback and was the best player on the team. Scouts came from all over the country just to watch him play - leading the panthers to three straight state championships, and they were on their way to their fourth. Just barely though, because his game had been worse the last few months, and I couldn’t help thinking that I was the reason. After confessing that he was trans, he also confessed that he was in love with me and had been since he moved here his freshman year.

He left before I even had the chance to reply, he never realized that I would have said the exact same thing. The next few weeks I had fallen into a sort of desperate depression, I called his house at least five times a day, hoping that he would answer the phone. Instead, it was his mom, and every time I would ask for Reese, she would hang up. I would go into my room and cry, wishing that he would just talk to me so I could tell him I don’t care. That I would always be his friend. That I would always love him, no matter what he said or did.

I broke out of my reverie and stared up at the sky as it started raining, not caring that the grass I was sitting on was going to turn to mud and leave me dirty. My tears started mixing with the rain as I pounded my hands against the ground, screaming at the unjustness of it all. The emptiness in my chest growing with each tear that sprang from my eyes.

“Maggie, what are you doing?” My eyes scrambled to find the man's face. The rain blurring my vision as I craned my neck up. My breath stopped as I saw who it was.

Reese POV

I stopped when I saw who was in the meadow, sucking in my breath I fought against the flood of emotions running through my veins.


My hands started shaking as I paced back and forth in-front of Maggie, the binding on my chest shifting uncomfortably as I started sweating. I had to tell her, the urge to let out my secret was too large to ignore but there was only one person I could tell.

Maggie. With her flowing red curly hair that’s soft to the touch. The soft curves that I hated on my self, yet I longed to reach out and touch on her.

“I have something I need to tell you,” My voice cracked with emotion as I spoke the truth. “I’m transgendered, I was born female and I think I love you. My parents hate that I’m trans and that I’m not Mia Jeanine anymore and refuse to call me Reese.” Looking into her eyes, I saw shock and a tinge of disappointment. Then, I ran.

*end flashback*

After the meeting, I ran home and turned off my cell phone. That didn’t deter her though, she called the house phone day after day. I never answered, even though I knew who was calling. Knowing my mom would hang up after she heard the name Reese uttered. Sure I felt guilty, but the look in her face showed me that she could never accept me, never want me. I knew that we both would be better off if we never talked again. Come fall, I would be going off to Berkley and she would be doing something. We wouldn’t see each other after the summer so I just cut us off a little earlier than expected.

Doing this to her tore me apart, it wasn’t her fault that I just happened to become friends with her. I found myself not caring about anything. Slacking off at school and in football, knowing that it could hurt my scholarship, but finding that I really didn’t care that much. Never eating unless I was forced to. Sleep hadn’t found me in weeks, and when it did, it was because I was exhausted from crying. I couldn’t even bring myself to care that my parents had stopped making me wear girl clothes at home.

The kids at school gawked at me, taking in the changes of my disheveled state. My hair had even lost its shine, no matter how much i washed it, it came out greasy, as if my body was attuned to my emotions and started feeding off them. Coach came up to me one day and asked if anything was wrong, I just sighed and said no. He is the only one at school who knew about me being trans; I had to tell him when I first started here and got on the team. What I didn’t expect was his reaction, he pulled me into his arms and hugged me tight. Telling me everything would be Okay, while I sobbed into his chest.

He helped me to change my schedule so that I could get to the locker rooms early and change before the others got there. He told me not to worry about it, and that he had some people that would help him, no questions asked. The other kids just thought I was dedicated and shrugged it off. I always stayed after practise to clean up, so everyone was already in the individual showers by the time I got there. No one had ever seen anything, which I was glad for because explaining away not having a penis and having DD breasts would be hard.

God, how I hated having to bind my breasts every day. It hurt like hell and was what I imagined a corset would feel like. But it was necessary. Just like stuffing a pair of socks down my pants so that it looked like I had a penis. Luckily, I had unusually large feet and hands, so I didn’t have to hear people call me dainty. I learned, with time, to make my voice lower so that my peers wouldn’t bully me.

My memories stopped cold when I heard her screaming. As my eyes widened while seeing her pound her fists on the muddy ground. My heart felt like it was being tore out of my body, the pain indescribable. I ran forward, ignoring the rain pouring down and the mud sloshing into my shoes.

“Maggie, what are you doing?” I obviously knew what she was doing, yet her answer was surprising.

“I’m dying, on the inside, knowing that you wont talk to me when I know your suffering just as much as me.” I stopped, stunned that she was still upset. She was supposed to get over our friendship. It should have been a clean break; she should have found new friends that were normal.

“B-but I’m a freak,” I responded and eagerly awaited her reply.

“And I’m a weirdo, what else is new,” she huffed out, “Your still the same guy I fell in love with, Reese.” Her voice came out barely a whisper.

I choked on nothing as I heard what she said. Then stumbling forward a few steps, I knelt down in front of her. Grasping her head in my hands, I tilted her head up so that I could see her grey eyes.

“Maggie Garrison, I’ve loved you since the first time I laid eyes on you. May I kiss you?” I felt her nod her head against my hands, as soon as she stopped I leaned forward and caught her lips with mine.

She hesitated barely a second before she went wild. Grasping my shirt for leverage, she crushed against me, and even with the pain of her rubbing against my binding, I loved every second of it. Wrapping my arms around her, I grazed my hands down her back before cupping her ass and falling over from the weight. Mud sloshed on us, but we didn’t notice, we were too busy kissing each other. Tracing her bottom lip, begging for entrance, I was yet again surprised when she let my tongue meet hers. Sparks of arousal were sent down my spine. Our tongues danced in a sensuous waltz, both dominating at different times. There seemed to be a force-field around us and nothing took our attention away from each other.

That was, until we had to breathe. Pulling away from each other, we seemed to stare into each others soul.

“Wow,” we both said simultaneously, before I tucked her into my side and we sat and talked for hours.

Monday, December 27, 2010

AJ Silent Voice Week 32: A Shadow of Myself

AJ Silent Voice

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Picture 2

AJ Silent Voice’s Choice: Picture 1

A Shadow of Myself

Gaping at no form,
A downcast face to face the memory
erased with time. No way
to count the days and make them count
for much. No strength to fight what might be
as I sit down to mourn.
I am a shadow of myself.
Hazy outlines of times spent
with no words, rocking back and forth,
pleading life to take its due course
and force an end to this nightmare.
No rewrites, life’s lines are set in stone,
and I but a letter not sent.

I’ll forever wonder where you went.
I am a shadow of myself.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Destiny Cullen Week 31: Memories of a Guy in an Airport

Destiny Cullen

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Destiny Cullen’s Choice: Both

Memories of a Guy in an Airport

There he was in the empty airport at eleven o’clock at night staring at the lights above him lost in thought. He pulled the plastic bag closer to his side as he started thinking about Kelly and the time they spent together in the past seven hours.


“Come on man! It’s Christmas! You can’t give me another car or at least call another rental car service for me?” Jason said exasperated as he ran his hand through his hair.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the lady with an annoying nasally voice said. “I can’t call another service for you that would be cutting our profits.”

“Its Christmas!”

“I don’t celebrate Christmas, sir. That won’t get you anywhere with me.”

Jason closed his eyes and rubbed his temples roughly not really helping with the headache. He sighed and straightened out his back. “Thank you so much for your help.” He turned and walked out of the small, humid, and cramped business.

“At least I don’t have to listen to that stupid voice again.” But I’m out a car. He added silently. He groaned as he strapped his backpack on. He headed out on the sidewalk to search for a motel within walking distance to the airport. He’d be dammed if he was going to walk twenty miles to and from the airport.

About twenty minutes into his walk he sees a woman on the side of the road kicking the side of her car. “God dammit! Why me? Why does this always happen to me?” He chuckled when she kicked her tire again and hurt her foot making her get even more angry.

“You need some help there?” He asked as he walked around the back of the car. She glared at him. “What? Do I look like I’m on vacation on the side of the road with a flat tire? Of course I need help!”

Jason chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well, I could have guessed that. I was wanting to spend my holidays like this. You sure lucked up. Uh," he waited for her to introduce herself.

"Kelly." She huffed, her hands on her hips angrily.

"I'm Jason, it's nice to meet you," he held his hand out for her to shake. She eyeballed his hand curiously until he laughed. "It's a hand. It doesn't bite."

"Yeah, but I don't know where that hand has been," she retorted.

He looked at his hand and dropped it. "Would you believe me if I told you it's been down the Queen of England's bra?"

She didn't looked amused. "Halloween party?"

He cocked his head to the side and raised an eyebrow. "How did you..."

She shrugged. "Lucky guess."

He shook his head. "But I even have the accent to back me up!"

She shrugged again, kicking the tire once more. "Are we gonna sit here and discuss where your hands have been or are you gonna help me fix my car?"

He narrowed his eyes at the tire, really examining it before standing back up. "It can't be fixed." He started to walk off.

"But--" she stuttered. "It's just a flat tire! You're a guy! Fix it!"

He turned around and smirked. "I'm from England. I don't know how to fix anything but some tea!"

She looked back at her car and at his retreating figure. "Damn it, wait up!" She chased after him.

“You have to help me! Be an English Gentleman!” She put her hand on his shoulder and stopped him. “You have to know how to change a tire. All guys go to some type of school to learn that type of stuff.” She huffed.

“I skipped that course, and I believe you should be looking for a Southern Gentleman. He’ll gladly help you out.” He turned to keep walking when she groaned and ran in front of him blocking is way.

“What if I offered you a ride? You obviously need a ride somewhere since you are walking down the sidewalk where there are no motels in sight for thirty miles. You do me a favor, and I do you one.”

Jason made a show of thinking about her offer then said, “I don’t know for a fact that you will give me a ride. You could speed off as soon as I change the tire.”

“I’ll give you the word of a lovely, honest, American girl.” Kelly flashed a smile and batted her eyelashes. Jason couldn’t help but laugh.

“You know what my mates back in England told me? Never trust a ‘lovely, honest, American girl’ - she’ll take you for all she has.”

“Fine! I’ll give you my purse for collateral.” She ducked into her car and threw her purse at him.

“Now that’s more like it. Let’s get this flat tire fixed so we can be on our way.”

Jason walked back to the car and kneeled down to take a look at the tire. “This can’t be so bad.” He tapped the tire. “If an uncivilized southern gent can do it, so can I, right?”

She shrugged, crossing her arms as she leaned against the car. “We’ll see what you can do when we’re on the road actually moving.”

He looked back up at her. “There really isn’t a hotel for thirty miles?” He groaned.

Kelly shook her head sympathetically. “Sucks I know. I’m headed to one, too, until my flight comes in the morning.”

He stood back up. “Give me a screw.”

She looked shocked. “Is that some English pickup line? As if I’d screw you!”

Jason paused before a smirk showed on his face. “I meant I need a tool to get this tire off.”

She blushed. “Oh…um I think there’s one in the trunk.” She walked to the back of the car to find the spare tire and tools.

He wiped his hands on his jeans and leaned against the car with a smile. Maybe this holiday wouldn’t be so bad.

“I can’t lift the tire,” he heard her pouting at the back of the car.

Jason chuckled, helping her get the tire out of the trunk.

“Kelly?” He called for her once he set the tire on the ground.

“What?” He looked pointedly at the tire. “What do you want me to do with that?”

“I need you to roll this one next to the flat one so when we take the flat tire off we can put it in the spot where we took this one from.” Kelly’s eyes widened.

“You want me to touch that nasty tire? Do you know what I do for a living? I’m a massage therapist, no one wants to get a massage by a person who has calluses and has dirty hands.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

“Well I guess you’re going to have to wait for you’re Southern Gent then.” He dusted off his hands picked up his back pack.

“Fine! Look! I’m moving the stupid-ass tire to where you wanted it.” She rolled it over to the side of the car all the while mumbling about how she was subjected to manual labor and the reason she went to school was to stop her from ever having to do work that made her dirty and sweaty.

Jason couldn’t help but laugh. Kelly shot him a evil glare as she tossed the tire to lean against the car.

“Are you always like this?” he asked as he pulled the car up with the jack and unscrewed the bolts.

“What do you mean by that? Am I always at the mercy of some guy who is walking down the street? No.”

“I meant so angry, love.”

“Oh, are you so cheery all the time? Or is it just the Christmas spirit?” She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest once more.

“No actually you made me cheery. The worst day ever turned right around in a bli-” he was cut off when he dropped a bolt on the street.

“Great, now you’re losing the parts to my car.” Kelly looked like she was on the verge of tears.

“It’s almost done and look,” he lifted up the bolt that fell. “I have all the pieces right here. I know, you probably have a nice lad waiting for you at home.”

She scoffed at that. “Nice lad? Ha. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I started my massage school. ‘I work too hard’ and blah, blah, blah. You know massage school is what got me here in the first place. If I wasn’t rushing to my clients house for my final, I wouldn’t have ran over whatever I did.”

He smiled to himself as he set the new tire in place putting the bolts in place. Once he released the jack, Kelly’s cell phone went off and she rushed to answer it.

Jason heard her side of the conversation and it wasn’t going so well. “Mr. Sanchez! I’m so sorry I’m late I got flat tire but its all-.....No, sir, I’m so sorry I’ll be there in twenty minutes....please, sir, I know I’m late, but I will add another thirty minutes for free.”

Jason's face fell as Kelly turned around searching the sky for an answer. He saw her eyes start to water and his chest started to hurt.

“Please, Mr. Sanchez, it’s for my final grade,” she whispered into the phone.

A few seconds later, she dropped the phone from her ear and walked to the other side of the car in silence. He decided to put the tire and tools back in the trunk before going to go talk to her.

“Um, I can take you where ever you want to go now. The whole reason why I flew over here was for that stupid guy on the phone.” She threw the cell phone against the dashboard and it flew into the backseat.

“Love, you can drop me off at the first motel you see.” He wanted to talk to her about what happened on the phone but didn’t want to upset her even more.

About five minutes into the ride, they pulled up into a small motel parking lot, and he still hadn’t asked her about what happened on the phone.

“Thank you for the ride. Are you going to be okay?” She nodded vacantly and he wasn’t satisfied. “Whatever happened on the phone, I’m sure you can find another client before your final grade is due.” He nodded his good bye and closed the door.

She shocked him when she turned off her car and got out too. “You know you just gave me an idea.” She wiped the tears from her eyes and took a deep breath. “That is if you don’t mind helping me once again.” She rolled her eyes and laughed at herself.

He smiled and said, “I’ll help you with whatever you need.”

“Well, I needed Mr. Sanchez to sign the paper on the back of my final and fill out a report on how well my massage was and things of the nature.”

He smirked. “So all I need to do is get a massage by you, sign a paper, and fill out a survey?”

“Your accent made it sound dirty.” She glared playfully but added, “I would be in your debt. This is all that stands between me and my dream job.”

How could Jason resist? He smiled and agreed they then both went into the lobby and rented two rooms.

Once they exited, Kelly followed Jason to his room. “I have to get the bed set up so I can do the massage properly. I don’t want you to lie about this - you have to be completely truthful.”

He nodded. “I understand. If the massage rocks my socks, I’ll say so.” She glared from across the room.

Kelly layed an extra sheet on top of the bed and arranged the pillows. “Can you please remove your shirt and lay down, sir.”

“Oh, sir? I’ve been knighted,” he said playfully as he laid down, face first. She arranged the pillows perfectly, such that he wasn’t suffocated when he laid down.

“Do you mind if I warm up the oil a little bit?” she asked in a very polite and inviting tone.

“Not at all.”

He heard the microwave ding and her footfalls approach the bed. “I’m going to start on your upper back, unless you have any problem areas you would like me to work out before.”

“That’s fine, love.” He smiled into the pillows.

He felt the warm massage oil run down his back, and then her soft hands glide over his muscles, working the knots out.

He moaned in relief. Jason didn’t know a massage could feel this good! At some point between her massaging his upper and lower back, he drifted into unconsciousness.

“Jason? Jason. We’re done here.” She said very nicely waking him up from the best nap of his life.

“I’m sorry, pet. I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but you got some magic hands on you.” She smiled at his compliment. “Just hand me the paperwork, and you’ve got your dream job. You obviously know what you’re doing.”

“Thank you so much, Jason.” She rifled through her bag and pulled out a folder and handed it to him, along with a pen.

After answering all the questions, plus a person letter, he handed it back to her. She had the biggest smile when she hugged it to her chest. He felt like a million dollars - not only did he help her out, but lord knew he felt more relaxed and alive than he had in days.

She was about to leave when he took her wrist in his hand. “If you don’t have anything to do,” he paused and ran his hand through his hair. “Well, I was wondering if you wanted to spend Christmas with someone, rather than by yourself in a hotel room.”

“You know, that sounds like a great idea. Let me just put my stuff in my room.”

When Kelly came back, they had long conversations on what she wanted to - either work overseas or on a cruise ship. Jason told her all about his music career and his band back in England. They talked until ten thirty at night.

“Crap! I have to go. My plane was called in early at eleven. Did you want a ride there so you don’t have to walk in the dark?” She scrambled to get all her stuff from his room - transferred sometime during the night.

“That would be lovely.” He smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. He didn’t want the time with Kelly to end. She smiled back at him but something was missing from her smile too.

Once they made it to the airport, Kelly reluctantly said goodbye. “It was a pleasure meeting you. I hope we can meet get together again, real soon.”
He pulled her into a tight hug and kissed her cheek. “Bye, love. Hope to see you soon.”


So here he was, reminiscing on the best day of his life - pathetic, he knows. The chaps back home would laugh and yell at him for not running after her and begging her to come back to England with him.

“Flight to London, England, is now boarding. I repeat, the flight to London is now boarding.”

He sighed and grabbed the plastic bag that Kelly gave him. The contents inside were to be unidentified until take off. He smiled as he walked through the halls and into the plane. He was thinking about what Kelly would say about having to sit with all the seats crammed together, even though there weren’t any bodies in those seats.

“Sir, please, take a seat. We will be taking off soon. Buckle your seat belt.” The grumpy flight attendant rolled her eyes as if she was explaining it to a five year old.

“Ma’am, please hurry to your seat, we are closing our doors now.” Jason heard the hostess who was checking tickets say to the unknown woman.

He sighed, even though he hadn’t met the executive manager that was supposed to help his band back home; he had met someone for whom he had changed a tire and shared most of Christmas.

“This is your Captain speaking, we are taking off in two minutes please stay in your seats for your safety.” He rolled his eyes, blocking out what the Captain had to say, taking the plastic bag in his lap and untying the knot.

His brow furrowed as he pulled out a bottle of massage oil and a note.

I know we don’t really know each other but you saved my life and my career today. I wanted to give this to you to remember me by. Plus, the woman that is most likely sitting behind you right now, also has something for you.

His eyes popped out of his head as he read it over five times. It registered and he snapped his head back and looked behind his seat. His heart stopped beating.

It was her.

She smirked at him. “You weren't supposed to read it until take off.”

He unbuckled and took the seat next to her, pulling her into a kiss. “What are you doing on a plane to London? I thought you needed to turn in your final grade.” She laughed as she laid her head on his chest.

“No, I needed to do a massage for my final grade. I can fax the papers from London. I can say I had a job offer that couldn’t wait.”

He grinned. “You can be my person masseuse.”

“That’s not a bad idea Jason. Plus, all that trouble changing plan tickets, I almost missed the plane.”

Jason chuckled. “I could be some freak from London and you decided to come anyway?”

“Let’s call it Massage Instinct. No freak has knots like that in his back.” She laughed but he silenced it with a kiss.

“...and Merry Christmas.” The caption finished before the plane took off.

Author’s Note: I want to thank SnappleApple450 for helping with this story. Without her Jason wouldn’t have a sexy accent and Kelly wouldn’t have thought he wanted a screw *wink* Thanks so much SA450! <3

Friday, December 24, 2010

Miss Beckie Louise Week 31: I Love You

Miss Beckie Louise

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Picture 2

Miss Beckie Louise's Choice: Both

I Love You.

I burst through the front door, ran up to my room, picked up my bowl of goldfish and took it into my bathroom. There, I put the plug in the bath and filled it with cold water before pouring the fish into the bath. Don't ask me why I did this, it was some random thought I had in my head as I was walking home.

I cleaned the bowl and looked at the swimming fish. I sighed and sat in my bath awkwardly looking at the fish and how they looked so peaceful all the time. They don't have wars or heartbreak or anything like that. They have 30 second memories so they forget absolutely everything. I wish I had a 30 second memory or someone like “2 second Tom” in “50 First Dates.”

Just thinking about having a 30 second memory brought back the memory of what had happened not two hours ago.

I watched him play football at the beach, we'd been together for a few months and I was ready to say those three important words. I watched him play with his friends and I sat on the sand bank watching for a few hours, it was great to watch him, he was an amazing footballer. When he scored the winning goal, I jumped up and down in excitement. I was going to tell him.

I ran down the bank to him and he kissed my cheek after picking me up and twirling me around on the spot. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Once he put me down he had his congratulatory 'man hug' from the gang before they all went their separate ways.

“Can we talk?” I asked him once everyone had gone.

“Yeah sure... what's up?” he asked.

“I want to tell you something...” I trailed off, I was finally going to say the words. “I love you.”

I smiled, pleading with him to return it, but his face turned into shock, amazement, and then amusement.

“Y-You love me?” he asked and I nodded.

“Babe, I like you, but I'm not in love with you.” My heart shattered into a thousand pieces.

“Oh. Well, urm. I'll see you later,” I said before running away from him tears streaming down my face.

Why it had to be me who said the words first I don't know. I looked down at the fish swimming around me. They are so lucky, they don't get laughed at, or humiliated. They have their own little fishy worlds and no one batters an eyelid.

Who'd have thought the words “I love you,” would cause so much trouble? I lent my head back against the wall and thought about the words I spoke over and over again. My phone was in my pocket and kept ringing. It was driving me insane so I turned it off.

I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard the doorbell ring constantly for a few minutes. I got out of the bath and changed into my dressing gown before walking downstairs. I opened the door, and stood there was my boyfriend.

“What do you want?” I asked, probably more rudely than I wanted, the door only wide enough for my head to poke through.

“I wanted to talk to you,” he said.

“Then talk.”

“I wanted to say sorry, for not saying it back. I like you, a lot and I can see myself falling in love with you, but not just yet. Just know I'm starting to feel the same way. I don't want to loose you, you're the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

I smiled at him and opened the door a bit wider. He stepped up enter the house and I moved out of the way.

“Will you say it again?” he asked.

I sent him a confused look, what did he want me to say again?

“Please, babe. Say it again.” He sent me a pleading look and I understood what he meant.

“I love you,” I said and he kissed me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Burntcore Week 31: Music to Move You


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Picture 2

Burntcore's Choice: Picture 2

Music to Move You

Cory’s surprise was not what I had expected at all. I watched him with amusement on my face as he dug through the contents of the chest that he had brought out in the meadow. He said that it contained memories and a surprise. What he didn’t tell me was the two were the same thing.

So many of our memories had music affiliated with them. Movies we went to where we later bought the soundtrack, concerts we went to together, songs we listened to as we lazed around our apartment on the weekends, music we made love to, music we fought was an integral part of our relationship. When Cory left, it was hard for me to listen to music for some time. Over time, I was able to enjoy my favorite songs again. It was never quite the same, but it was something.

I sat on the grass on my wool blanket in surprise as Cory pulled out a Casio keyboard. It wasn’t one of those big professional ones but a moderately sized one for the amateur aficionado. I never knew he played. He certainly never played an instrument while we were together.

Cory chuckled as he took in my face. “I learned how to play in prison. I took out books on how to play piano from the prison library and practiced when I could at the piano we had in our common room. It was beat to hell but it was in tune and it was one of our most prized possessions there. The guards would only roll it out for a few hours a day. Any other time it was kept under lock and key.”


“They didn’t want anyone to take the wires from the piano and try to garrote someone with them,” he replied simply.

I sat in stunned silence. It was just another example of how different our lives had become. If someone had mentioned piano wires to me, my first thought wouldn’t be to use them as a weapon.

Cory continued as he unpacked the keyboard. “Sometimes, when it was my turn to play, some of the guys that knew how to play would help me with some of the tougher parts of the piano books. When I didn’t have the piano to practice on, I had a paper keyboard in my cell to play. It definitely wasn’t the same but it was better than nothing.”

I smiled softly as Cory finished his story. After the keyboard was set up, he dug around in the chest again and pulled out a photo album. He handed it to me shyly.

“I didn’t have much with me when I left, so I came back a few days later when I knew you were at work and got some stuff. I didn’t take much, just some clothes and a few photos that were my favorite.”

“I remember,” I replied softly. That night, discovering that Cory had been back, only to collect some of his things and not even bother with a note, had been rough. I curled up in a ball on my couch and cried for hours.

“When I was jailed, I had my friend I had been staying with send me the photos. I kept them on the wall of my cell for the longest time. There were more memories then just those few, so many memories. So I started this.” He gestured to the unopened album in my hands. “Any time I saw anything that reminded me of you or of us, I put it in the album.”

Awed, I slowly opened up the album. The first page was the few pictures he had taken. The next pages were an amazing testament to his devotion to me.

“As I was going through AA in jail, anytime I would start to doubt myself or want to give up, I’d pull this out and flip through the pages. It helped remind me why I was there and what I needed to do.”

One picture was a woman in a magazine who had hair the same color as mine. One page had a flower pressed between its pages: a Gerber daisy, my favorite flower. Another page had a small rough sketch of the side of a woman’s face. It looked vaguely familiar.

“That’s you,” Cory commented as he watched me look through his album. “One night I was feeling inspired and started drawing. I’m not really any good but it seemed to look like you.”

I nodded, tears welling up in my eyes. “It does.”

I flipped through the rest of the pages, bits of paper and things that Cory had collected. It was amazing. I stared at a four-leaf clover in the album and got caught up in a memory of one particular St. Patrick’s Day. It started out so well but derailed by the end of the night when Cory’s drinking caught up with him. Before I went down memory lane with that entire night, I was distracted by music coming from the keyboard.

Cory had started to play, quietly at first but with more intensity as he got into the music. I watched him as he played, his hands floating up and down the keyboard with his eyes closed. I recognized the song right away and started laughing.

It was the music that was played during halftime of the Superbowl game we watched where we went from just friends to more. I was amazed that he remembered it.

I gently put the album down and just watched Cory. I watched the man that I still loved play love songs for me, reaffirming his feelings to me. He segued the halftime music to other songs that we had both liked. He was trying to show me every time he could that he still cared and that he wanted things to continue.

I agreed, but I was scared of history repeating itself. I believed that Cory had truly given up alcohol, and was considered a recovering alcoholic, but didn’t they all have times where they backslid and found themselves off the wagon again? I didn’t want to go through that again. I wouldn’t go through that again.

The more and more that Cory tried, the more and more he chipped away at my doubts and fears. This is what I needed. I needed to be reassured. Promises were foolish and would just set us both up to be hurt... but this? This constant devotion? Perhaps I could work with this.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kimmydon Week 31: Holiday


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Picture 2

Kimmydon's Choice: Picture 1


I looked again at the brochure. Then I looked back at Peter.

“Are you serious?”

“You don’t want to go?” he asked, crestfallen.

The information was for an “eco-resort” and showed wildlife, rain forests, beautiful flowers and a beach. I wasn’t quite convinced. What made it different from any other resort? I was willing to bet that beach was covered in people most of the time and the animals frightened far from it. Still, Peter shirtless... there were benefits. He’d hike with me, and they hosted nature walks as well, with actual guides, giving him an out. If that wasn’t swamped with people, I might actually see something. I could always wander off the path a little, too.

“I didn’t say that,” I hedged. I flipped the brochure over. “No. No, no no.” I started cracking up.

“What?” he stood up from his chair and came to take the glossy paper from me while my heels drummed on the floor.

It was a girl in a tube top dancing on the beach. The telling part for me was all the people on it.

“What?” he asked again.

“You don’t think she looks like me?” I asked, still snickering.
He looked again and coughed, then chuckled. “I hadn’t. It’s hard to picture you...” he laughed, too, and I joined him. It was impossible to picture me doing that.

Catching our breath he held my hand and pulled me from my chair. “Tell me, Mrs. Strauss, can I lure you into bed.”

I shivered, still not quite used to being called that. It was possible I’d never get tired of it. “I think you could.”

There was an oddness to our bedroom. Tonight, like most nights, it was a haven of romance. I’d swapped the navy comforter for something lighter, cream with a pinstripe, and added filmy curtains to the top of the bedposts. Candles sat on the dressers and nightstands, and picking up a lighter, Peter set them alight. I pulled off my terrycloth robe to reveal the satiny nightdress I wore beneath. Not super-sexy, but certainly not dowdy either.

Other nights, though... I considered whether tonight should be one of those nights. There were ropes, cuffs, a riding crop and flogger sitting in the closet. A set of red sheets waited beneath the cream comforter if I pulled it away.

Looking up at Peter, I contemplated again. It wasn’t too late, was it? A quick glance at the clock showed the lie. We had work in the morning. Soft and gentle would be best. Still...

Sitting on the edge of the bed, I crossed my legs and arms, one finger resting on my jaw, tapping as I regarded him.

He froze in place, sensing my change of mood. “Beth?” he asked, confused. Usually we planned these things, but where was the fun in that?

“Come here,” I pointed in front of me, lips turning up in a smirk.

He complied, turning a little pink.

I had had to do some research, but I was feeling much more comfortable directing him in the bedroom. I wasn’t a ‘dominant,’ not really. He just liked me to take control here, and I didn’t mind one bit. We played safe, and I didn’t demean or humiliate him. If he wanted that, he’d have to go somewhere else. If he wanted a little pain with his pleasure, or restraints, I could provide those.

“Kneel,” I told him, still pointing.

He groaned quietly and I watched his pajama pants tent. Damn, he was sexy. I bit my lip. We didn’t need to rush that much.

Once he was on his knees, I ran one painted toe along his jaw. His eyes drifted shut, and I smiled. My foot came a little higher, my toes tracing his lips now.

“Kiss?” I phrased it as a question, but he didn’t take it as one.

Gasping, he put a hand to my heel to steady my foot and took one toe at a time into his mouth, licking the pad of each and making me quiver at the sensations. I was breathing heavily and my wrists were holding me up as I leaned back, my hair touching the bed as I arched.

Both our heads rose together and the fire in his eyes had to match my own. I fell to my knees atop him and kissed him, holding his stubbly cheeks and feeling his hands on my ass, pulling me closer.

“God, Beth,” he murmured between hot, open-mouthed kisses. He lifted me enough to edge me back onto the bed and continued to kneel between my knees, his head tipped back. His hands skated over my thighs, pushing up my night gown.

“Yes, Peter,” I answered, nails scratching his back, his scalp. I pulled his hair a little to tip his head further, kissing the apple of his throat, sucking on it lightly.

“It’s still amazes me that you’re here,” he whispered, his throat tight. “I dreamed it. Am I dreaming now?”

Lifting one hand I smacked it on his ass, hard. “Are you?” I spanked him again, making him stiffen even further. “Do you need a third?”

“Yes,” he croaked as I continued to pull on his hair. I obliged him, my hand stinging from the force of it.

“Not a dream,” I told him, releasing his hair and drawing his hands up my body, pulling away the night gown.

“Better than any dream,” he murmured, dropping his head to kiss my breasts.

“Do you think this would be better with ocean outside?” I asked, idly, teasing him a little.

“Huh?” He backed up a bit, confused.

I took the moment to pull off my panties and slide into the bed. He followed, kicking off the pants.

“In Costa Rica. The ocean will be just outside, right?” I turned, resting on my elbow.

“Oh, yeah. I guess so.”

I walked my fingers down his chest. “Maybe... in the ocean?” My lips turned up in a smirk.

“Anywhere,” he said, closing his eyes and laying back on the pillow, “everywhere. God, Beth. I’d do anything with you.”

I chuckled and shifted to rest my head on his chest, hooking a leg around his waist. “Good.” I pulled with that knee. “How about here and now?”

“Definitely,” he growled and rolled to place his arms on either side of my head. He stopped now, his brow furrowing. “Does this mean you want to go?”

I laughed, hooking my legs around his hips and hand on his shoulders. “Yes. I’d love to go. Christmas?” I suggested, thinking to run away from the cold.

“Perfect,” he murmured, lowering his face to my neck and pressing himself into me.

“Perfect,” I agreed, feeling complete.

Monday, December 20, 2010

AJ Silent Voice Week 31: Listen

AJ Silent Voice

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AJ Silent Voice’s Choice: Picture 2


“Are you even listening to me!” she yelled, oblivious to the diner patrons around her. Jake hung his head and pushed his food around with his fork. He was listening to her. Though, it seemed she wasn’t listening to herself.

“Sara, lower your voice,” Jake warned.

“Lower my voice? Why, so you can ignore me? So I don’t embarrass you?”

“No,” he said, through gritted teeth. “So you don’t embarrass yourself.

“Oh, right. Sure. Let me save myself the embarrassment.” With that, she stood up, tossed her napkin on the table, and walked out the door. Jake sighed. He turned and watched her climb in the car and slam the door, promptly crossing her arms over her chest. Her stare burned a whole through him.

Seeing as how his appetite had left him, he picked up the check and walked over to the cashier.

“How was everything, hun?” she asked.

“Fine, thanks. Sorry about...that. I hope we didn’t disturb anyone.” He handed her a twenty and she pushed a few buttons and the register clinked out.

“Aw, honey, don’t worry. It’s nothin’. You got a feisty one there, though! Oo-boy, do you!” She laughed as she handed him his change and he couldn’t help the smile that crept across his face.

“Ah, yeah. She’s a bit of a hot head.”

“Well, let me tell you.” She walked over to the desert bar and grabbed a chocolate brownie and boxed it up. “Here, give her this. Be a sweetie and hold on tight. She might take you for a good ride at first, but ya know, those ones that buck the hardest are always worth it.”

He nodded and fished out his wallet, but she stopped him. “It’s on the house.”

He thanked her and made his way out the door. Sara followed him with her eyes, madder than hell, and as he pulled on the door handle, she cracked a smile.

“Sara, open the door,” Jake demanded.

She shook her head and dangled the keys in front of him on her middle finger. Jake huffed and, though he knew it was useless, he tried the handle again. For a fleeting moment, he calculated the cost of a new handle, but decided it wasn’t worth the money.

He tapped on the window lightly. “Yes, Jake?” she answered, playfully.

“Can you open the door, please?” he matched her sugary sweet tone and plastered a wide smile on this face.

She leaned closer and cupped her hand behind her ear. “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. What did you say?”

His anger boiled just underneath the surface as he asked again. “The door, Sara. Can you please open it.”

She scooted closer and pressed her ear to the window. “Speak up. I didn’t understand what you said.”

This time, it was a bit harder to control his frustration, and it showed in his tone. “Open. The. Door. Please.”

She placed her hand on the lock and looked up at him. “You want me to unlock the door?” He nodded.

“This door?” she asked, innocently.

One more time, he thought. He smiled and nodded again.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that. You see...” she started, but was never able to finish.

“Open the God Damn door, Sara. Now!” Jake yelled, pounding his fist against the window. Thankfully, the glass didn’t crack, but Sara jumped back, frightened at his outburst. Jake stopped and huffed. “Fuck.”

Shame flooded through him and he raked his fingers through his hair. He laid the bag with the brownie on the hood of the car and walked away. He vaguely heard the car door open and shut lightly, but he didn’t turn around. He rubbed his temples, took deep breaths, and it took a minute, but he finally felt in control enough to open his eyes. Sara stood in front of him, but when she reached out to touch his face, he turned away from her hand.

“Don’t.” She drew back quickly.

“I’m sorry, Jake.” Her voice was weak, scared, and it fed the guilt rolling in Jake’s chest. He never wanted to hurt her, never. He hated being what he was...

“It’s my fault. Don’t apologize. I shouldn’t have yelled at you.” This time, he reached out and took her hand in his, pulling her to him. The second he felt the lines of their body connect, the tension and guilt flowed out in one long sigh...for both of them.

“I shouldn’t have yelled at you either. But you don’t listen, and you don’t...” This time Jake silenced her with his mouth, pouring all his passion onto her lips, pushing his hands over her body, till he’d felt every inch. Finally, and only because the needed to breathe, he pulled way, but she lingered a second longer, placing small, sweet kisses on his jawline, and finally one last one on his swollen lips.

Much to Jake’s surprise, she opened her mouth to speak again, so he gently laid a finger across her lips and shook his head. Her eyes went wide, and she nodded in return.

“I’m not asking you to marry me today, Sara. Just tell me you feel this. Tell me that some day you’ll be ready. That’s all I need. Let me in.” She closed her eyes as tears leaked out the sides.

Instead of words, she placed her hand over his chest and her ear against his heart. The soft sound of beating calmed her worries and assuaged her fears. “I hear you, now,” she whispered.

“It’s yours, Sara.” Jake rested his head on top of hers and let her relax to the rhythm of his chest. Minutes passed, cars passed, and people stared, but he didn’t care. Finally, she lifted her head and looked up at him.

Her face was hesitant, but resolved, and she searched his eyes for any hint of indecision or fear. All she found was a grin and a light in his eyes that she knew was only for her.

“Move in with me,” she said.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Destiny Cullen Week 30: Somethings You Don't Need to Hear

Destiny Cullen

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Destiny Cullen’s Choice: Both

Somethings You Don’t Need to Hear

I can’t do this anymore.

I thought as I ran from my house to the park near by. Why do they always have to fight? I do my best in school so they can be happy and be proud.

My thighs burned and my lungs felt heavy and constricted. I stopped in the soccer field full of grass trying to get more air. Once I stopped I felt as if all the problems in my life: parents fighting, girls at school picking on me, and not knowing what to do next felt like it a crushing weight on my back and I crumbled to the ground.

Why? Why me? Why couldn’t I have a normal life, with normal parents and actually have a friend I can talk to? I wouldn’t wish for a sibling, god knows I can barely handle them why wish that on my little sister or brother?

A breeze blew through the field and I lifted my head feeling the cool wind caress my over-heated face. I took a deep breath, one after another and finally calmed myself enough get back to my feet and head to my original destination.

The basketball court is always empty since my parents decided to move to the worst neighbor hood in town. Again. I always keep a set of my favorite chalk on the side for the unbearable days like these.

My eyes almost popped out of my head at the scene that awaited me. A boy was playing with my chalk. My chalk! The worst day ever with a cherry on top.

With steam coming out of my ears I stomped over to him and glared down at him as he was making some time of design on the concrete.

“What are you doing with my chalk?! Didn’t anyone ever tell you NOT to use stuff that doesn’t belong to you?!” I punctuated it with my hands on my hip, rolling my eyes and scoffing.
Waiting for a retort that never came I looked back down at him and he never even acknowledged me! I bent down and took his face in my hand and made him look at me.

My breath caught in my throat for a second as the most striking pair of blue eyes looked at me. I shook myself and remembered that he was using my chalk.

“What are you? Deaf? I said you’re using my chalk!” I said as slowly and bitchy as I could.
But once I started moving my mouth he took his eyes off mine and stared at my lips. Shocked I frowned tried once more, “I said! Are. You. Deaf?!”

His eyes found mine once more and nodded before he started going all hyper speed in sign language. I gasped embarrassed.

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry! I didn’t think you really were deaf!” I backed up but my foot slipped on a piece of chalk and I fell down on his drawing.

I moaned in pain as I sat up. I looked at my clothes and they were covered in chalk dust and I started tearing up.

Could this day get any worse?

As if on cue the boy scrambled to help me up, he bent down and offered his hand and I took it. “You know this doesn’t make up for you using my chalk.”

Once I was standing next to him I could appreciate him. He had black, semi long hair that got caught in his eyes with the breeze. And he was a good head taller than me.
But the most shocking? His smile. He was laughing at me, even though no sound came out I knew he was laughing. “Oh you think this is funny mister?”

I bent down and threw a piece of chalk at him and he smirked as if I just issued a war and he knew he would win. “Oh no!” He raised is chalk covered hands and clapped them over my head and the powder rained down on my hair and face.

I glared and he started up with his soundless laughter again. The look in his blue eyes were unmatched. I’ve never seen happiness in someone’s eyes before. It stirred something with in me. Something foreign.


As that though made its appearance known, my cell phone rang. I frowned as I saw it was my dad calling me. Guess the noticed I was gone. I let it ring and sighed.

“Well, I gotta go. I can’t call you deaf boy so I’ll name you Clark Kent. You remind me of him with your black hair and blue eyes. And most important super good looks” I blushed. “Good thing you can’t hear me.” I waved good bye and he did the same but his face fell clearly not knowing why I was leaving. The joy wasn’t clear on his face anymore and I felt a twinge of uneasiness.

I need to learn sign language so I can talk to him.

Two Months Later

It’s been two months and still no progress with my sign language. But everyday I get to see Clark at the park. I tell him all about my parents and how they fight and my plans of a better life after high school.

Today the fighting was even worse, they brought me into the fights. I’m no good and I’m just a burden to them. Never amount to anything. Not even worth loving. An accident.
I want to run away but I have no where to go. With my eyes burning with tears I hope Clark is there making one of his awe inspiring murals.

As I come up to the basketball court I see him and I choke on a sob. I can always depend on him. His back was turned so he couldn’t see me coming but I tackled him anyway.

“Thank god you are here! I don’t know what I would do without you!” I sobbed into his chest, soaking his shirt with tears. I told him all about the hurtful things they told me until my hiccups wouldn’t let me talk anymore.

He just held me close and rubbed my back soothingly. Once my sobs were under control I took a chance and glanced up at him wondering how I looked to him.

I’m probably forever branded the crazy chalk chick on the basketball court. But when I met his eyes all I saw there was understanding and…caring?

He held up a finger to tell me to hold on and I nodded. He smiled and bent down and picked up a piece of chalk and wrote on top of his mural.

He backed up and motioned with his arm to look at his work. I gasped as I realized what he drew.
It was me. I was outside a bakery called “Sweet Nothings”. I could comprehend what I was seeing.

He heard me. Every word that left my mouth he heard. I told him that I wanted to go to culinary school and have my own bakery called “Sweet Nothings”.

My eyes threatened to water again but this time the reason would be happiness.
What did he write at the top of the mural?

“You are worth it.”

My heart felt swollen with all the emotions I was feeling. But I couldn’t resist. I pulled him to me and kissed him. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you could hear me!”

He smirked and motioned with his hand that he couldn’t talk. I rolled my eyes. “But you could hear.” He smiled again and shrugged.

“I really need to learn sign language.” He grinned and nodded before he pulled me into a kiss.

Admin note: Sorry for the late posting!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SnappleApple450 Week 30: The Funeral

SnappleApple 450

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Picture 2

SnappleApple 450's Choice: Both

The Funeral

My dad always loved the San Francisco Bay. We’d come down to the rocks and just sit here, watching the cars pass on the big bridge. We’d pick a car and make up a story for each driver. We were too far to see the cars specifically, but we had played this game since I was a little girl.

“I think I see a minivan. Where is she going?” He’d ask.

“Hmm…I think she’s going to a soccer game for her son and she’s going to be on the stands cheering for him as he scores a goal. And she’s going to be so proud of him when they win and she’ll take him out for pizza.”

“Pizza!” He’d tickled me, making me laugh. “How about we go out for pizza too?”

Even into my teenage years while I was being a difficult child to my parents. He and I would pull out our truce of father and daughter and just enjoy our moment together. Who knew our time together was numbered?

“Kayla?” I heard my brother yell from the car.

I didn’t move, just staring at the waves on the water. I heard the crunch of his shoes as he attempted to walk down to me.

“What are you doing out here? The funeral is in an hour....” Max faded out as a lump in his throat rose.

I curled my legs up to my chest. “You know, we’d always come out here. Every Sunday like clockwork.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I’m going to miss him, Max,” I whispered.

“We all are…. Mom’s taking it really hard.”

I scoffed bitterly. “It really sucks that it takes a death to bring us all together again.” I jumped off the rock, heading back to the car.

“You know that’s not true, Kay.” He followed me.

I turned around angrily. “It’s not? She could have come home for the holidays, the weekends, whatever take a week off from work! But she didn’t, okay? I get it, you’re in the army and I really hate it, so much,” I wiped my eyes, brimming with tears. “But she doesn’t have an excuse.” I took off running, past the car.

“Kayla wait!” He yelled, but I only pushed my legs faster.

I was in flip flops—and I cursed myself for it—but I was a good runner. I kicked the shoes off and ran faster, running home. Cars were parked all on the road and in the driveway, it was dead silent even though people were everywhere.

“That’s his daughter,” I heard one person whisper.

I tucked my blonde hair behind my ears and didn’t make any eye contact, going straight inside.

“Do they have any sliced ham?” I heard one man whisper to another.

Good to know people could eat while my dad was dead; and what a way to go, too. I felt I was to blame for his death. Not completely, but partially. I should have forced him to go to the hospital when he started getting weird symptoms, but he convinced me he was fine. How stupid I was to believe him. He had a brain tumor and it got so large… It was too late for the doctors to do anything and it happened so fast. Everything was a blur to me.

“Darling!” I heard my mom’s voice from the top of the stairs.

I walked right past her and my brother, going straight to my room to get dressed. She followed me.
“Sweetie, you have to talk to me sometime.”

I opened my door and glared at her. “I don’t have anything to say to you. So, if you don’t mind, I’m a little busy.” I shut the door again and went to my dresser.

“Kayla…baby please. I’m just as upset as you are. If I had known…I would have come back…but my job - as a journalist I have to travel. You used to understand that.” She talked through the door, not caring that everyone downstairs was probably listening. Everyone loved a good drama, good gossip to tell tomorrow.

I picked up the picture of me and my dad, arms slung around each other with a bat in my hand and a glove on his. I was 13 when this picture was taken, still wearing pigtails and a smile. Now I was 18 and leaving the house. I refused to stay in the house that held so many painful memories for me. I loved my dad with all my heart, but everything I needed was in my heart. I didn’t realize he had a will until his lawyer told me. He had given me the house and other possessions, dividing other stuff with Max and my mom. I didn’t want any of the stuff.

Almost in a daze, I got dressed; wearing a black dress and my converse, pinning my hair into a bun. My dad and I loved converse. Even when we’d go to fancy places to eat, he’d be wearing a suit and I a dress, with black converse on our feet.

A car was waiting for us outside to take us to the graveyard. That word never meant more than a place where ghosts lived. Now it was a dark, painful place to think about. My dad would soon be buried in the ground of the graveyard. A lump formed in my throat, but I kept it down, keeping my face blank.

My mother and Max were in the car, waiting for me. Quietly, I got in and buckled up as the car pulled away. Nobody said a word to me, nobody spoke period. The cemetery was quiet and peaceful. I walked alone up to my dad’s coffin, closed. I refused to have my last image of my happy-go-lucky father...pale and cold.

A tear slipped from my eye as Hallelujah began to play. My dad and I would cry with this song every
time we’d hear it play. Like on Shrek - when the song came on, we’d both try to deny the lump in our throats and end up laughing instead. I couldn’t pull myself to laugh anymore.

The pastor started to speak and I tuned him out. I didn’t want to hear it. We never went to church anyway so I couldn’t understand why he was here. Everything was backwards. My dad wasn’t a sad person, he was strong and happy. Always ready to go on an adventure, like camping on a Monday just because he didn’t want to go to work. The way this man spoke, he made it sound my dad’s life was one to mourn, not celebrate.

Finally it came time to say our last goodbye’s to him. I took a rose and set it on his coffin as it went into the ground. I couldn’t stop myself and tears started to hit his coffin. I leaned over and just broke down crying. First time I’d cried and it all came out. I couldn’t stop myself. People walked around me, dropping roses on his coffin and leaving. Max wrapped his arms around me and I wiped my eyes, standing up and walking over to my mom.

“I’m sor—“ she pulled me into a hug and soothed me.

“Baby, it’s okay, I miss him too. I’m so sorry I wasn’t here for you before.”

I just cried in her arms as the people walked away to their cars. Hallelujah continued to play, and I continued to cry until no more tears came out.

“Come on, Kayla. Let’s go home,” Max whispered, trying to hide the tears in his eyes. He was supposed to be strong, he was a soldier, but the tears came without his permission.

I nodded, walking back to the grave. “I’ll miss you dad, but you’ll forever be with me. No matter what happens, you’ll always be with me.”

I looked up to the sky as the sun came out of the clouds and shined down on us. I smiled slightly, knowing my dad would always be my shining sun.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Burntcore Week 30: Surprises


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Burntcore's Choice: Both


After speaking with Moira, I felt a little better about the situation with Cory. We covered several truths during our session with her crystal ball. She was a litlte kooky but I loved her that much more for her indivuality.

Moira said she “saw” several things in her crystal ball about Cory and I, of our past, present, and our future. The way she said “our future” made it sound like our ftures were entertwined. She made a comment that Cory and I were like barbed wire, seemingly in union with one another but with the occasional snare breaking the wires apart. The snares were moments of strife or discord in our relationship. All of this was wrapped around a budding flower of love, whose petals could be easily bruised if a snare got too close or became too numerous.

She started to lose me as she continued to ramble about barbed wire and roses and the wire gotting to close to the flower and smothering it. The gist I got was that Cory and I were connected, even with the occasional ups and downs, through the alcohol and separation, and with careful consdieration, we could move on and nuture our little flower of love.

I rolled my eyes at Moira’s mystic bend and just appreciated that my friend was trying to tell me to go for it. It was amazing that such a simple thought could be stretched out into an entire evening with star charts, crystal balls, tarot cards, and wine. Lots and lots of wine. However, it made me more sure than ever that I needed to give Cory a second chance.

He must’ve been feeling the same way. By the time I returned from Moira’s that night, there was an email from Cory waiting for me. I hadn’t heard much from him this week but I was glad for that. He had sent a quick email on Sunday thanking me for meeting up with him and that it was great to see me. Cory added that he’d email me again later. Apparently Thursday was later. He knew me well though, he knew as Moira did, that I needed space to work something out. If he had started emailing me a bunch right off the rip, it would just frustrate and push me away.

I sat in front of my computer and read his email. It was friendly and polite, as his others had been. There was still an undercurrent of hope and it seemed like there was a lot he wasn’t saying, that he was holding back for now. I appreciated that he seemed to understand that things needed to go slow if it was going to work. My love for him had never gone away but my trust had. He had to earn it back for our relationship to have a future.

Cory asked to meet again this weekend, but this time at a park in the area. I also noticed that he was keeping everything out in public places. I wondered if this was for my benefit or his. I typed out a quick response agreeing to meet at Lincoln Park at two o’clock on Saturday. He said he had a surprise planned for me. I was intrigued. In the past, surprises by him had always been pleasant. Now that so much time had passed, I could only imagine what he had store for us.

I tried not to think too much about our “date” at work on Friday. Thankfully the Center was pretty busy so I was able to keep my mind occupied most of the time. It was only on my break that my mind started to wander. Unfortunately, my mind had a tendency to run off on its own quite frequently. I tried to keep it reined in but it was easier said than done. Before I knew it, my overactive imagination had gone through several scenarios involving our future. Some were good, some were bad. All served to get me wound up tighter than a virgin the day of her wedding.

Thinking of weddings and sex was not a good idea. It made me remember too much what it was like to be with Cory. When things were good between us, things were good. I definitely did not have any complaints on his ability as a lover. I was saved from that track of thought by the clock. My break was over so I took a deep cleansing breath and returned to my desk. In the span of the hour, my desk was covered with files. Groaning, I plopped down in my chair and pushed thoughts of Cory to the side.

Saturday I was a bundle of nerves. I wasn’t really sure why. It wasn’t like this was a first date or anything. Regardless, I took more time than usual to do my hair and make-up. I even put on a dress. So I wouldn’t freeze in the fall temperatures, I grabbed a wool blanket to take with me.

Driving to the park, my hands pounded out a staccato rhythm to the songs to the radio. My nerves were having their way with me and it seemed like there was nothing I could do to stop it. At least the music on the radio was good.

There weren’t very many people at the park this time of year. It was sunny out but still chilly. I grabbed my purse and my blanket as I got out of my car and scanned the area. I finally saw Cory across the field near the trees, sitting on a steamer trunk. How did he get a steamer trunk out here without a car? Seeing him in this manner instantly eradicated my nerves. With a laugh, I walked towards him, never taking my eyes off of him as he never took his eyes off of me.

“How on earth did you get this out here?” I asked as he hopped down from the trunk.

Cory smiled at me and gave a little wave. “I asked my sponsor to help me get this out here. He knew it was important.”

I blushed and played with the edge of my blanket. “What’s in it?”

Cory looked down at the grass, suddenly shy. “Um, just a few things. Memories, and maybe a surprise.”

I quirked an eyebrow at him as my curiosity was piqued. He always did have the best surprises. Emboldened, I rushed over the few steps between us and hugged him. Cory’s body stiffened in my arms in surprise but quickly relaxed as I felt his arms wrap around me.

We stood there for several moments, wrapped in each others arms in comfortable silence. I heard him sigh softly in relief and pleasure, his breath brushing past my ears.

“Holly, you have no idea how much I have longed for this,” he whispered. “I have no expectations but I hoped, I hoped so fervently that I could touch you again, that I could hug you and hold you in my arms. I never thought I’d get so lucky to have you in my life twice.”

I buried my face into his chest and tried to fight the smile on my face. His words made me happy but we still had a long ways to go. I didn’t want to just blindly jump in. If he hurt me again, I wasn’t sure if I could survive it again.

While I tried to keep myself anchored in reality, his scent enveloped me. I held him tighter and just allowed myself to exist with him in this moment. Right now, we weren’t separate individuals. He wasn’t a recovering alcoholic. I wasn’t jaded about life. We just were. We just were there together.

I liked it. I liked it a lot. I really hoped Moira was right.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kimmydon Week 30: Spat


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Kimmydon's Choice: both


Beth was up early, again. I rolled over, trying to go back to sleep, drowsy. I felt lips on my cheek and smiled, making her giggle.

“Do I have to get up?” I whined, cracking my eye enough to see her silhouetted in the early morning light. I thought I’d never get enough of seeing her like this, but somehow, sleep seemed more enticing.... How odd.

She sighed quietly. “No, you can sleep.” I felt her weight shift as she sat on the edge of the bed. I didn’t feel her weight leave, but she was gone when I opened my eyes again.

Dragging my butt, the smell of coffee lured me down the stairs. Beth wasn’t in the kitchen either.

“Shit,” I swore, pouring myself a cup and slouching at the table. She’d gone fishing this morning. Her Uncle Terry was in town, and she’d wanted me to come with her. I’d met her uncle, but she wanted to visit him whenever he was at the cabin. “Why did she tell me I could sleep?”

Taking the cup upstairs with me, I searched out my phone. She’d left a message.

Don’t sweat it, really. Just be ready to clean fish when I get home. -B

I smiled, but still felt uneasy. I’d slept in too many weekends, missed too many sunrise hikes, been too slow to join her on those outings. I looked at my feet and considered. She would have taken my car to the lake. I could cab it.

Decision made, I showered and found something suitable for the cabin. The cab wasn’t cheap, but we weren’t hurting for money. I made a note to myself to find a good nature site for a vacation, something that I would like, too. Costa Rica, maybe? Brazil? Lots of nature, lots of warm temperatures and skimpy bikinis. I could watch Beth watch birds.... I liked this plan.

I was lost in these thoughts when the cab stopped. I hopped out and headed for the dock, seeing two people sitting at the end. As I got closer, I realized both wore ball caps. Beth rarely wore one. She preferred something with a broader brim. Also, both sets of shoulders were wide. My feet on the dock didn’t turn heads.

“All dry, Beth?” Terry asked. “Or did you not find anything that fit?” He turned his head slightly, showing a grey, brush-like moustache. “Oh! Peter! We didn’t expect to see you today. Beth’s in the cabin. Her catch tried to reel her in!” He and his friend laughed.

I chuckled, too, knowing Beth wouldn’t have been troubled by taking a dip in the lake, not when it was still nice and warm. “Hi,” I said, extending a hand to Terry’s friend, “I’m Peter, Beth’s husband.”

“Yeah, the city-boy. Beth told us about you. Dan,” he said, shaking my hand. City-boy? What had Beth told them?

“She in the cabin?” I asked, looking back the way I had come.

“Yeah, probably scrounging for something that isn’t huge. I don’t think there’s anything of hers out here anymore,” Terry answered, casting his line again.

I turned and walked back to the cabin. The door was open and I walked in to find Beth sitting on the floor and pulling on argyle socks. She wore only a T-shirt, giving me a shadowed, but unobstructed view of her panties.

“You know, you left the door open,” I said.

“Oh my God!” she breathed, startled. “Peter!” She jumped to her feet. “What are you doing here?” She ran over and hugged me. Her hair dripped onto my arm, still damp.

“Visiting you and Terry... and Dan. You left the door open,” I repeated.

She backed up a little, shrugging. I swatted her bum, reminding her she wore no pants.

“There’s nothing here to fit me. Really, Peter, how many people are out here? Who do you think is going to walk in?”

“Hello?” Dan said behind us, and I raised a brow.

Beth rolled her eyes, but pulled my button-down off my shoulders, tying it over her hip. It would do.

“Hey, Dan,” she said. “Nothing in the way of pants. Unless you have something that is a little tight?” She grinned at him.

I felt decidedly out of place, and more than a bit jealous as he chuckled and pulled off his cap, scratching his head.

“I don’t really wear anything tight, Lisbet.” Lisbet? Who called her that? She chuckled though and walked away from us. I didn’t take my eyes from Dan, so I saw the way he followed her exit.

“That’s my wife,” I reminded him.

“Uh, yeah, I know. I just... well, remember when she was littler. She sure grew up.”

My jaw worked, teeth clenching. Thankfully, Beth returned in her pants, hanging my shirt on my shoulders and kissing my cheek.

“Thanks, Pete. They’re not comfortable, but I can wear them.” They were still very wet and clung to her. I closed my eyes and swallowed, trying not to think about Dan watching her and knowing he was. I opened them to find her bent, pulling on her shoes and his eyes on her backside, his arm outstretched to her. It meant he was there when she wobbled and caught her arm to right her.

“Whoa, Lisbet. Balance hasn’t improved, has it?”

She laughed heartily. “Not a bit.” She turned to me, her smile still bright. “Remember me falling on nothing when we were walking out here?” She shook her head, embarrassed at herself.

Dan hugged her shoulders and then headed out the door. “That’s how you end up in a lake, you know.”

She smacked his ass as he left rather than give the witty reply I would have expected from her. That really burned. I felt my hands clench into fists.

Her face fell a little and she took the fists into her hands, teasing them open. “Peter? What’s wrong?”

“Can we go for a walk?” I didn’t want to talk about this here.

“You want to walk?” she asked, surprised.

“Yes!” I snapped. “Is that so strange?”

Her lips thinned, and I knew I had erred. “Actually, it is.” She crossed her arms under her breasts and turned to the door. “On the other hand, I enjoy walking, so let’s go.” Her voice was hard. I hated it, but I stalked after her, trying to ignore it.

As soon as she exited the cabin and found the trail along the lake shore, she relaxed, closing her eyes, listening to the shore birds singing nearby.

“I’ve accepted that you aren’t going to change, Peter. You don’t enjoy nature hikes. You aren’t a fishing person. That’s fine,” her voice was hard, just resigned, “but why do you ruin what I enjoy?” she asked, turning to look at me, her dark eyes full of hurt.

I’d done that? “I didn’t mean to! I came to fish with you, Beth. I felt terrible about leaving you on your own for another weekend morning. This is our time together, now that we work on different floors, and I’m leaving you to spend them alone. I don’t want that.”

She nodded, softening further and taking my hand. “I understand. I was thrilled to see you, at first. Then you seemed to go cold, get angry. That made me angry. The way you snapped at me, and then at Dan. He’s an old friend, Peter. He and Uncle Terry.... I think they’re...” She clammed right up, embarrassed.

“He is not gay,” I said emphatically. Not with the way he’d been looking at her.

“No,” Beth agreed, shaking her head. “Not that. They’re best friends though. I’ve known Dan since I was five. He’s as much my uncle as Uncle Terry is. Do you see? I know he’s always surprised to realize I have breasts now, and so he stares sometimes, but I’m still Lisbet, the little girl that fell down and scraped her knees, got twigs in her hair, fell in the lake.” The last she said with a laugh. “I’m definitely still that.”

I chuckled, too, my jealousy evaporating. “I can understand that. I’m sorry I showed up and jumped to conclusions. The way he was looking at you, how familiar the two of you are.... I guess sometimes I think I’m the only one who should be that close to you.”

She laughed loudly at that. “You want to be as close as Jamie? Listen to me crab about cramps and PMS? Or Mary, and hear all my complaints about the witches on the Admin floor? I’m close to all of you, all in different ways.”

I nodded, understanding. “I get that. Dan and Terry are your ‘nature’ friends.” She nodded, smiling at me. “And I’m not.”

“No,” she argued. “You could be, could have been, but this isn’t something you enjoy.” She gestured to the path. “I’ll still drag you out sometimes, just because I love it so much, but I’m trying to be sparing, so I don’t pull too hard.”

I held her shoulders and kissed her temple. “You can pull a little harder. I need more fresh air.”

She grabbed my shirt and tugged.

“And let’s get a couple changes of clothes out here for you,” I suggested strongly.

She laughed. “That’s a good idea. I love you, Peter.”

“I love you, Beth. Is Dan the only one who calls you Lisbet?”

She chuckled. “Yep. Don’t know why he latched onto that, but he’s always called me Lisbet. Better than Liz.” She shuddered. I made a note never to call her that.

“Or Betty?” I wondered.

She stuck out her tongue. “Yes. No Betty, either.”

“I’m going to stick with Beth,” I told her, taking her hand again.

“I don’t mind Mistress,” she said with a wide smile that set my heart racing. “You can still call me that.” She reached up and tugged my hair, tipping my chin up and exposing my throat, which she licked and sucked.

“Oh, yes, mistress,” I answered.

A while later, her pants drier still, she pulled me back out of the bushes. I was covered in leaves, dirt, and scratches. She looked unscathed, probably due to being atop me.

“Make-up sex with you is odd,” she said, putting the scarf back around her neck.

“Why is that?” I asked, pulling my shirt on.

“Because I’m in charge. Doesn’t that seem odd?”

I shook my head. “I think I needed to remember that you’re in charge, that I trust you. It was perfect.”

She grinned. “True. What happens next time? Especially if I’m the one in the wrong? Are you going to punish me?” she asked.

“Would you like me to?” I asked, taking her in my arms.

She shook her head. “But maybe you could let me make it up to you, recompense.”

“You say it like there will be a next time.”

She glared up at me. “You honestly believe there won’t? Peter, we’re married. We’re going to step on each other’s toes once in a while. It happens. We just need to know how to deal with it.”

I nodded. She was right. I could remember my parents after Sarah’s death not dealing with it. “Well, I’d say for our first fight, it went very well.”

She chuckled. “This wasn’t a fight. It was barely a spat.”

I pulled her into my arms again. “Well, then, I can’t wait to see what a fight brings for recompense.”

She laughed and squirmed in my grip.