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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fiction: Post Mortem Presents (818 words)

“Hey Bess?” Dean’s voice was soft from his side of his bed.  He didn’t want to wake her if she’d finally managed to drift off.  But if she was awake, he wasn’t sure if he’d have the balls to ask it later.

“Sorry, am I blanket hogging again?”  Bess answered and Dean’s heart leaped into his throat.   He’d really been hoping that she was asleep so that he could tell the curious part of his brain that it was a sign that it was none of his business.

“No—no. It’s not that.  I just wanted to ask a personal question.”

“Oh,” Bess’s voice was softer—more guarded this time, “You can ask. I can’t promise that I’ll answer.”

“Fair.  I was just wondering-uh—I was wondering if you could tell me—well, why were you and Tay there during the accident?”  For a long moment there was nothing but silence, and out of panic, Dean began to ramble. “Of course, you don’t have to tell me—if it was just something between you and Tay I understand that completely—I just wanted to ask, but I’ll just shut up now.”

“No. No, I can tell you.  In fact, I think it might be good to tell someone.  But—uh—if I tell you…you have to promise to not to tell Shauna anything.  It’d break her heart.  I mean—worse than it already is.”

Dean’s breath hitched in his chest and he felt a little sick.   Was she suggesting what he thought she was suggesting?  “Are you saying that the tabloids—I mean—that you and Tay actually were—“He cut off, unable to complete the accusation.

Bess sat up quickly. “Oh, Ew. No. God no. Taylor and I were not having an affair.  I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but he wasn’t my type.”

Dean sat up as well, relieved to hear that his mental image of his best friend wasn’t irreparably tarnished.  That being said,, he felt the need to defend his best friend.  “What? Successful, well-tanned, fit men with great personalities aren’t your type?”

“Men who are madly in love with their wives are not my type,” Bess countered with a smile, before frowning slightly.  “I miss him.”

Dean nodded but decided to try and move the conversation along, to keep them from falling into that now all too familiar silent funk.  “What am I not telling Shauna about that doesn’t involve you sleeping with her husband?”

“Uh—right. You know about The Hughs, yeah?”

Dean raised an eyebrow.  “The band? Shauna really likes them.  Am I thinking of the right group?”

Bess nodded.  “According to Tay, they are her absolute favorite.  I went to high school with their manager, so when Tay said he was going to try and get them to play Shauna’s birthday I thought introducing him to their manager might help that process along.  We were all the way out there because it was closer to her house and it fit her schedule better.  She’d already left, about ten minutes before, but we’d each gotten one last drink to celebrate that it looked like she was going to be able to convince them.  He was so happy.”  Bess stopped as her voice caught in her throat.  She took a deep breath to regain some composure.  “So—you can’t tell Shauna.  Not yet at least.  She would blame herself for the fact that he was there, even though it was so not her fault that it almost hurts to explain.”

“No—I get it.”  Dean nodded in agreement.  “It’d be too much for her.  She wouldn’t take it well.”  Dean fidgeted with the edge of the blanket, weighing the pros and cons of what he was thinking.  “Do you think we can still get The Hughs to play?”

“What?”

“I mean—we don’t need to tell her that’s why you guys were there—but we could still set up the concert.  You know, one last present for Shauna from her husband.  I think she’d like that.  And I think it would make Tay happy if we could still make it happen for her.  You know—a kind of honor his memory kind of thing.  Can we make that happen?”

Bess was quiet for a long time, thinking.  Dean waited, knowing that patience was the only way to get a decision from Bess.  “You’d think she’d like it?  It wouldn’t be too much?”

Honesty is the best policy.  “I think it might make her a little sad, but I think it would make her happier than it would make her sad in the long run.”

Bess nodded.  “I’ll talk to Ashleigh.  I’ll see what we can get together.”

Dean smiled.  “Thank you.  We should probably get some sleep now, yeah?  We should both go to work tomorrow.”

“Sleep is good,” Bess agreed.  The both laid back down, settling into their own sides of the bed.  Dean laid there for a long time before sleep finally took him.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Family Way (Part 14) (695 words)

Marta’s pregnancy had consumed our Christmas break.  We dealt with the ramifications of being kicked out of our house, including looking for apartments to stay in and trying to decide if we could still afford the colleges we’d been looking into.  I was still practically shaking with the rage of the baby’s father’s response to Marta.  Discussions about whether or not Marta wanted to raise the child or put her up for adoption were still in their infancy.  I’d slept in my boyfriend’s bed with my sister, a guest bedroom with my boyfriend, and a couch when I didn’t want to deal with either of them for a couple of hours.  Since our birthday, I can honestly say that I didn’t think of much else.

It was such a culture shock to go back to school.   It never occurred to me that people there didn’t know what had happened.  Other than the guidance counselor we’d spoken to the other day about what we needed to do now that our parents were no longer our legal guardians who knew we’d left home, and presumably the father of the baby who knew about the pregnancy, no one knew a thing.

Marta was in her element.  She smiled and laughed and hung out with her group like nothing had happened.   She discussed the break like it’d be perfectly relaxing.  She complained offhand about an argument with our parents as if it was nothing, not an incident that left us practically homeless and her in bed for the better part four days.

“How does she do that?” Bradley asked, turning to me.  He looked as exhausted as I felt.  We’d been in school for almost ten minutes, and it already felt like too much for me.    I was so ill prepared for this.

“I don’t know.  I’ve never felt so different.”

“Right.”  Bradley rubbed a hand over his face and leaned in to give me a kiss. “I’ll see you in study hall?” I nodded and he went his way.

 

I found it really hard to concentrate on school.  In spite of my promise to Marta, any time a boy talked in class I couldn’t help but wonder if he was the jackass that cut my sister a check to cover up a mistake that was half his. Somewhere in the middle of physics, it occurred to me that my parents weren’t going be asking to see my grades anymore, so why did I give a rats ass about science?  The only class I suddenly felt the need to really understand was “Independent Living” the P.C. name for Home Ec class.  It felt really important that I knew how to do to my own taxes all of a sudden.

At lunch, Marta found me and told me she was going to go back to Natalie’s house after school.  She was going to tell the group there about the pregnancy, and if anyone asked me the father was one of Momma’s friend’s sons from the summer camp in Maine. Once she told the group, she was going to work out a plan to get it subtly told to Nathan Carpenter, editor of the school paper and one of the biggest gossips known to man.  “It’ll be everywhere by the end of the week,” Marta said gravely, “Like ripping off a Band-Aid. Just thought you should know if you wanted to brace yourself.”

I warned Bradley as well.  He teased that the people who couldn’t tell the difference tonight would probably think I was the pregnant one considering how I was the one with a boyfriend and all.  I laughed at his joke but ended up falling asleep on my arm during the hour-long study hall. It was a sign of how rough I looked that the teacher let me sleep until the bell rang and didn’t report me for after school study hall.

As I got into Bradley’s car at the end of the day, I’d barely sat down before I started to cry.    Bradley took my hand carefully but didn’t say anything.  “There isn’t even a baby yet,” I said pathetically before I allowed myself to openly sob.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Sisterly Love (1064 words)

In so many ways, I still couldn’t quite believe that this was happening.  Literally three weeks ago, I was single, living as a housemate to Finn, a man who was practically plucked from my dreams, but I was too chicken shit to make a move and sure that I’d never be able to get him anyway.  Then a mutual friend made a joke about the two of us together, and by the end of the week, Finn and I were engaged.

Okay, so we hadn’t technically dated, but we had been housemates for the better part of three years.  I’d seen the best of him and the worst of him.  Heaven knows he’d seen the best and worst of me.  And, although I never would have admitted it without his admission first, I was in love with the man.  Head over heels in love. Crazy in love.  And it was really nice that he loved me back.

So, we were getting married in about a month’s time.  Because why not? We already lived together, and neither of us wanted to do something big and overly fancy—so why wait?

I was flying back to my home in Virginia, to break the news to my family.  I twisted the beautiful engagement ring Finn had gotten me nervously.  I wasn’t a hundred percent sure how my family was going to react.  That’s why I’d made my visit home a surprise.  Only my sister knew I was coming, so she could pick me up from the airport and so that I could crash on her couch.

I was going to tell her first—one so I could ask her to be my maid of honor and two so I could use her as a litmus test for how the rest of the family was going to respond.

So, after the welcome homes and the post airplane shower, I curled up on the couch with my sister and a glass of wine.  The engagement ring was snugly in my pocket now, so that it wouldn’t give me away, but where I could get to it as soon as I told her. “So—I’ve got some big news.”

“Oh yeah?” Grace took a sip of her wine, “What’s that?”

“I-uh,” I could feel the smile creeping up my face, even though I was trying to seem serious so that Grace would take me seriously.  “I’m getting married.”

“Pft. No, you’re not.” Grace was flippant.  I’d expected that.

“No, I really am.”   I pulled the ring out of my pocket, slid it on my finger, and held out my hand for my sister’s inspection.

“Oh, my god. That ring is perfect for you.” My sister gasped, “I didn’t think you were seeing anyone.”

“Well, I technically wasn’t.”

My sister gave me a look. “Well, if you’re not dating anyone, who are you marrying?

“Finn.  You remember my housemate?”

“So—you two were actually secretly dating?”

“Uh—no.  He just kind of confessed his love for me a couple of weeks ago, and I’d been fanning a bit of a flame for him too, so we decided to get married.”

“When?”

“I’m sorry?”

“When are you getting married?”

“Oh.  Well, we’re not exactly sure yet because we want to make sure our parents can get out to LA for the wedding, but probably sometime next month.  Speaking of, Grace—“

“Are you pregnant?” Grace interrupted.

“What? No!”  My hands immediately went to my shirt, pulling it away from my skin.  “I know I gained a little weight but—“

“No, you look good.  If you are pregnant, you can’t see it yet.  But that’s it, isn’t it? You and Finn got drunk, forgot protection, you’re knocked up and now you’ve got him by the balls.”

“Wow.  No.  I’m not pregnant, believe it or not, a man loves me even after living with me for three years and I don’t have to have him ‘by the balls’ for him to want to marry me.”  I wasn’t proud of the anger rising in my voice, but who wouldn’t be insulted by what my sister was implying?  I began to wonder if it was a mistake to tell my family at all at this rate.

“I’m sorry—“Grace backpedaled immediately, “I didn’t mean to imply he doesn’t love you.  I know he does—I could tell that even when I met him last year. I know he loves you.  I’m just shocked by the speed of it.”

“Well, I wish you would have said something last year about him loving me.  We could have started this whole thing a lot earlier.”

“But—a month?  That a real quick wedding, Bette.  Like, really quick.  You’ve got to admit that that timing looks suspicious.”  Grace stared at me in silence for a moment longer, since I didn’t really have a response for her.  Then she leaned forward a little bit and whispered, “Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”

“Yes. I’m sure I’m not pregnant.”   I was laughing now. She had a point, with a wedding this close there would be whispers, I might as well start to find it funny now or else I’d go mad.

“Well, then why are you getting married so quickly?”

“Because we’ve wasted an awful lot of time already.  We already live together and we know that works for us so why wait?”

“Not pregnant?”

“Not pregnant.”

Grace downed her wine and then stood up.  “Come on,” she ordered, crossing to the foyer area at the front of the apartment

I got up, followed her over, and found her slipping on her shoes and putting on a coat. “Where are we going?”

“If you’re not pregnant—“

“I’m not.”

“—then you won’t mind peeing on a stick.  We’re going to CVS to get a home pregnancy test.”

“Grace. You have got to be kidding me.”

“I’ve got my suspicions—and this will resolve them.  If you want me to be your Maid of Honor, then isn’t it best if all my suspicions are resolved before the wedding?” I stared at my sister in shock for a long time.  “What? You were going ask me to be your Maid of Honor, right? Because you’ll most definitely be mine.”

“You’re a brat, you know that?” I finally turned to my own shoes and coat

“It’s in my job description as the little sister.  Now, to the CVS before it closes.”

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: That Psychic Twin Connection (550 words)

They weren’t expecting Mara to come through the doors.  She had retired and all the codes had been changed at least a dozen times since she’d last been a part of the team. By all rhyme and reason–she shouldn’t have been able to get in.

But then again–if anyone was going to get in–it would most definitely be Mara.  “Where’s Andrew?”  She was barely in the room before she was yelling, “Where is my brother, I swear to god–”

Diane looked at her in shock, but Ava and Colin both jumped out of their seats immediately in crisis containment mode.  “We don’t have Andy–” Ava admitted slowly, staying out of Mara’s reach, “But we know where he is, we know he’s okay, and we’re going in to get him back.”

Mara looked up at Colin, knowing that he couldn’t look her in the eye and lie, not about something as important as this.  “Do you have a good plan for getting him back?”

“We’ve had better–but this one should work with minimal complications,” Colin confirmed.

“Is there a plan that works better if I agree to be on the team again? Is there a better plan for four?” Mara demanded.

Colin didn’t answer–which spoke volumes. Mara turned to look at the other women in the room.  Ava didn’t say anything either, but Diane stood up. “Yes, we have a plan that would work very well with four trained members.” Diane walked towards Mara, “but you’ve been off the team for two years. How do we know you’re even any good anymore? How do we know that you won’t be a hindrance?”

“Mara untrained is still better than you trained,” Colin burst out before he could stop himself.

Ava waved her hand sharply and cut off Diane’s argument before it could start.  Colin even had the decency to look a little ashamed of his outburst.

“I’m sorry, Diane. Colin might have exaggerated a little, but not by a lot. Remember this was Andrew and Mara’s vision.  Together, they have been training longer than you, Colin, and myself combined.  If Mara wants back on the team, we let her back on–and go with the better plan.  Can we all agree to that?”

All three of them nodded, although, Diane did look a little grudgingly as she did so. “Okay,” Ava waved her arm again.  “Let’s all head down to the strategy room and go over the new plan.”

Diane stormed out of the room, and Ava was close behind her, preparing to sooth the wounded ego.

But Mara called Colin’s name before he could leave the room.  He stopped, stuck his thumbs in his pockets and gave her a little half-smile. “Thanks for sticking up for me to Diane.”

Colin shrugged, realizing they were very close to the thin line that they could never cross, not again.  “I just told her the truth.  Andy would have said the same.”

Comparing himself to her brother–a seemingly casual and yet very calculated move.  Mara took the hint with grace. “Well, thank you nonetheless.”

“My pleasure.  Should we join the girls?” Colin suggested quickly Mara nodded and followed him out of the room.  They’d rescue Andy, then Mara would worry about her head getting screwed on straight.   Only one panic-inducing thought at the time.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Family Way (Part 13) (1291 words)

“Do you think that if I gave up the kid, Momma would take us back?” Marta asked, curled up in Bradley’s bed.  She hadn’t left it except for a few minutes at a time since Momma had kicked us out.   Bradley had moved into the guest room without complaint or comment.  The Wilsons told us that we could stay with them for as long as we needed to get our footing, no explanation needed, but I told Bradley to keep his parents as informed as he could.  I spent my nights going back and forth between Bradley and Marta, deciding who needed me more at any given moment.    I knew we had to get out of The Wilson’s house soon, we could only impose on their hospitality for so long, no matter what his parents said or how Bradley teased it was nice to always have me under the same roof.

But, before we could do any of that, we had to get Marta back on her feet.  I had to get her thinking happy enough thoughts that she felt like she could get out of bed again.  Preferably within the next three days so we could go back to school without missing any days.

“Oh, School,”  I didn’t realize I’d said it aloud until Marta lifted her head and stared at me.  I shifted uncomfortably in the bean bag chair. “Sorry.  Got distracted.  What was your question again?”

“No—what were you saying about school?” Marta sat up, pulling the blankets around her waist some more.

“I was just thinking about what we needed to do about school. Or, really, to make Momma and Dad no longer our legal guardians—if anything since we’re technically eighteen now.” I gave a little shake and offered a smile.  It was good to see Marta sitting up, and I wanted to embrace it while we had it. “Don’t worry about it.  I’ll put it on the to-do list.   What did you ask me?”

“I was just thinking.  Do you think if I gave up the baby, Momma would take us back?  I mean, we’d probably have to go to one of those overzealous bible camps for a week or two, be reborn in the lord or whatever it is that Momma’s always going on about—but I think it might work?”

I moved from the bean bag to the edge of the bed. “Marta? Do you want to give up the baby? Do you want to go back to Momma?”

“I don’t want to be an adult.  I don’t want to deal with any of this.  I don’t want to worry about legal guardianship.  I don’t want to worry about imposing on the Wilsons, finding our own place to live, and what we’d have to buy to take care of this kid.  I don’t want to drag you down with me, but I don’t want to do this alone.”  Marta laid back down into the blankets, staring up at the ceiling, and I let out a little groan.  I was hoping I’d be able to get her out of bed, get her to take a proper shower, maybe a meal that wasn’t served to her on a tray.

“You’re not dragging me down, and of course I’m with you all the way.  But, if you’ll forgive me the cliché, it takes two to tango, Marta.   Have you tried to talk to the father? What are his thoughts on all of this?”

For the first time in all of this—Marta looked angry.  Truly properly angry, red in the face and ready to hit someone if the opportunity struck, and I didn’t know what else to do with that.  “I don’t want to talk about the father.”

“Marta?” My voice was embarrassingly weak.

“I told him.  I told him and he called me a whore.  He told me I sleep around so often how could I be sure it was him.  He told me he wasn’t going to pay for some other kid’s bastard child just because I decided I have a vendetta against him and wanted to ruin his life.  When I assured him that he was the father and offered to take a paternity test if it would make him more comfortable, he seemed to realize this was real, he wrote me a check for three thousand dollars in exchange for me denying it later, leaving him alone, and never mentioning it again.   Suffice it to say, I want nothing to do with that boy ever again.”  By the time Marta was finished with her little rant, she was practically yelling.

Do you ever get so mad that you don’t even feel angry anymore?  That’s what I felt like at that moment, strangely calm in spite of it all.  I felt, of all things, cold.  Like someone had slid a piece of ice down the back of my shirt.  I sat up a little straighter, and all I wanted to do was kill this guy.  I didn’t even think I’d feel that guilty about it.  “Who is he, Marta?”

Marta took a couple deep breaths, sat up, and took both my hands hers, and pulled them into her lap.  It was like when the other team cheated causing Marta to lose the Lacrosse State Championships.  It was only about half as calming.  “Avery. No.”

“It’s his kid too, he owes you. It’s going to take more than three thousand dollars to raise it.”

“Avery.”  Marta repeated, squeezing my hands tightly, “Avery. No.”

“It’s okay. I’m not angry.”  My voice was level. I offered her a smile.  “I just want to know who he is. I want to avoid him.”  I even slouched a little to help sell it.  Anyone else, Momma, Dad, Bradley, probably would have believed it. Marta didn’t waver, not even for a second.

“I’m going to go take a shower,” Marta countered, “I’m going to take a shower, and then maybe we can borrow Bradley’s car and go out to lunch.  Or, I guess he can come too if he wants.  Either way, we should get started on that to-do list you’ve been making. Okay?”  When I didn’t answer, Marta gave my hands a little shake, “Okay?”

“Okay.  I’m still not happy though—don’t think for a second that I want to let this drop.  This is your baby’s father.”

“Which I am going to get to regret for the rest of my life, privately.   Avery, we’re in this together as long as you want to stand by me, and I will take your advice and opinion into consideration on every other decision that has to be made.  But this time, it’s my relationship, it’s my child, and it’s my decision.  Can you respect that?”  Marta crawled out of bed and stood over me, literally having the higher ground.

“I’m still really angry.”

Marta smiled. “I’d be insulted if you weren’t. I need you to promise me that you aren’t going to figure anything out, that you are going to harass people behind my back. You can rant and rave to Bradley, you can write all kinds of nasty things about my mystery man in your journal. You can do whatever you want in your own space, but I need you to promise.”

I didn’t want to, but Marta was right.  Technically it was her decision.  It was a stupid decision, it was going to haunt her, she was likely to regret it, but it was hers to make. “I promise.  But I reserve the right to re-discuss the decision with you three times.”

Marta took my hand and shook it.  “Deal.  For now, I’m going to shower.  Go talk to Brad, make some plans.  I’ll see you in a half hour.  I stink.”

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Sibling Bonding (99 words)

A quiet understanding passed between the twins.  If Mara suggested this and Andrew tried to get that, then their father would counter so far below the mark and their mother would compromise.  They’d seen it work a hundred times, figuring all the variables quickly so that the compromise was exactly what they’d wanted in the first place.

It was complicated and sometimes a little bit tricky. A few times they almost missed. But it could be done, and it would be done.   Another look between them.  A wink from Andrew, a small smile from Mara.  And then–

“But Dad!”

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Too Soon? (1489 words)

She wasn’t expecting him to kiss her.  She was just prattling on about the movie they were going to go see while she was doing the dishes, more just to talk than to expect him to be actually listening.  But then suddenly he was there next to her, taking the baking sheet out of her hands, and before she could even think to ask what he was doing, he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her.

At first, there was no reaction because her brain could barely process it, let alone formulate a reaction.  But then, soapy hands be damned, she wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing up onto her tiptoes to reach him better, kissing him back.

Far too soon, he pulled back, breathing heavily.   He rested his forehead against hers gently. “God, Michelle, you don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do that.”

“Adam.”  She said weakly.  She wasn’t sure why, except maybe to make sure it as really him–that she wasn’t dreaming. He’d really just kissed her.

“I mean—Michelle—I’ve been into you for so long.  But I didn’t know if you’d be into me-or if you’d ever date someone younger than you and then you were with Alex and I had to hope for the best because you seemed so happy with him—and that break up was bad—real bad. And maybe I should have waited even longer than now but you were talking and so wonderful and beautiful and I just couldn’t help myself, so the cat’s out of the bag now.”  Michelle turned her head up just slightly, to try to get a better look at him, but she saw his eyes were closed.

“Adam,” she repeated, and he gave her a little squeeze.

“Can I ask you for one favor, Michelle, a favor I don’t really deserve?  If you’re about to tell me that you don’t think of us this way or that we can’t be together, as a favor to a friend can you please just wait ten more seconds? Can I please have a moment to hold you close and pretend that you might love me? And then you’ll never hear word one about it again, I swear.”

Adam’s eyes were still closed.  Michelle considered waiting but decided it wasn’t worth it.  She tightened her grip around Adam’s neck, pressing into him again, kissing him gently.  After a moment, a much shorter moment than their first kiss, she stepped back, opening her eyes to look at him properly.  This time he let his arms fall away from her.

“Adam—we need to talk for a second,” she tried again

Adam deflated a little bit in front of her, opening his eyes and offering her a small smile. “Well, that was officially the shortest romantic relationship of my life.” He sighed, trying to pass it off as a joke.

“I really hope not.”  Michelle blurted, and Adam gave her a really strange look.

“Okay. I don’t know what’s going on.” He confessed.

“Let’s sit down,” Michelle grabbed a dish towel and headed towards the kitchen table, where Adam had been sitting before he decided he had to kiss her.  After drying her arms and hands off, she offered the towel to Adam and he wiped the soap suds off the back of his neck.

When they were all cleaned up, Adam folded the dish towel neatly and placed it on the table.  “Chell, the suspense is killing me. What are you thinking here?”

“I’m not ready yet.” Michelle said, “I mean, you saw me and let’s call it how it is—Alex really fucked me up.  And I haven’t recovered enough for this to be healthy, Adam.  And if we’re going to do this, Adam,” she said his name slowly, she’d always loved the sound of his name in her mouth, maybe that should have been a sign, “I’d want this to be something healthy. I’d want it to be something that could last.  Wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah,” Adam added quietly.  “I’d want it to be good. I’d want it to last.” He took a deep breath and laid his hands flat on the table, “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.  I just—“ he stopped and shook his head.  “Please, take your time. Be where you need to be to give this its best chance.”

Michelle reached out and put her hand on top of Adam’s.  “That being said, I don’t know how long this will take.  I don’t want to make you wait by the phone at night while I decide whether or not I want to start dating again.  I don’t think that’s fair to you at all.”

Adam smiled down at his hands.  “Oh, Michelle.”

“What?”

“Whether you ask me to or not—whether it’s fair or not, I’ve been waiting for you since the day we met.  And now that I know I have a chance—I don’t care if it’s days, weeks, months, years, or even centuries until you are ready.  For a chance to be the one who makes you happy—I’ll wait as long as you want.” Adam flipped his hand over and entwined his fingers with her.

“And what if I had said no.  What if I said this wasn’t something that I could consider?”

Adam gave a shrug with one of his shoulders. “It would hurt. I mean—it always hurts to hear you aren’t loved that way, doesn’t it?  But—I don’t know. I’d move on I guess.  Knowing there’s no chance would eliminate me from daydreaming that it might happen.  I’d find a way to be more platonic in my love for you.  I’d be the best friend I could be and hope that you wouldn’t abandon me or think I was too awkward.” Adam gave her a smile.  “I know you don’t owe me anything if that’s what you’re asking.  I’m not going to throw a friend-zone hissy fit if you want to go ahead and confess now that you just don’t think of me that way. I’m not Charlie.”

“Oh, god, Charlie.”  Michelle rolled her eyes. “That was a train wreck of a friendship, wasn’t it?” she chuckled and Adam smiled at her.  She gave Adam’s hand a little squeeze.  “I wish I could be better.  I wish I could trust anyone right now.  You’re a good man, Adam, and I wish that I didn’t have to make you wait. But I do.”  Michelle chewed on her lip.

“Hey.”  Adam frowned at her, looking concerned, “Don’t beat yourself up over that.  It’s not going to help anything but make you feel like you need to rush.  I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true that you are worth waiting for.”  He reached up and pushed a piece of her hair behind her ear.  “Now—I want you to forget all about this.  I want you to not even think about dating until you’re completely ready  And when you are ready, if you decide that you want to date someone else, go ahead. You owe me nothing, and I am in charge of my own happiness.  But, if you decide you want to give us a chance, give me a call.  Or, if you want me to be all old-fashioned, you send me a daisy and I’ll ask you out.  Whatever you want.  Now!”  Adam dropped her hand and jumped out of his chair with a clap.  “Has our heart to heart made us miss our movie?”  He checked his watch, grinning from ear to ear.  He was every bit the same Adam that came over earlier that afternoon, no air of pretense or putting on a show in spite of their conversation.  And Michelle kind of loved him for it.  “Oh, if we hurry we can still make this showing.  Do you think the rest of the dishes can wait for after the movie?”

“Yeah.”  She would have preferred to get them done, but she did really want to see this movie. Besides, the change of venue might help her break some of the tension in her own head.

“Excellent.  Shoes and coats and out the door.”  Adam headed for the door himself.

Michelle did want to break the tension, but not until she’d said one last thing.  “Hey, Adam?” He stopped halfway between the door and the table and turned back to her with a questioning smile.  “I’m really glad you kissed me.”

He smiled, sticking his hand’s in his pockets, chewing a little on the corner of his lip.  She tried to think back to who had that habit first—did he get it from her or did she get it from him.  “Yeah?” he asked hesitantly.

Michelle smiled back, a wave of that giddiness from the first kiss washing over her again. “Yeah.”

“Good.  I’m glad I kissed you too.” He rocked back on his heels for a second, before starting to the door again.  “C’mon. Let’s not miss our movie.”

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Stories

 

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