Authors: Marion Studer
Unchain and catch
Facing the woman whose husband’s death lay heavy on my conscience I brace myself for any accusations and bitterness she will throw at me. And I will take it - all of it.
Admittedly it won’t cut as deep knowing of what she let happened to Chloe for so long and still my chest hurts like fucking hell to meet the unpleasant consequences of my actions. There can’t be anything good coming from this meeting but I do it anyway, for the sake of facing finally my fate.
I’m doomed to live my life with dishonour and I always knew I had to face it at some point, but the shame can’t outweigh the signification of Chloe being freed of a monster.
Walking into the room behind Chloe I’m close to turn around and my hold on the girl intensifies. The woman standing in the room resembles only remotely the one I can remember. The years of drinking did a number on her but for some strange reason her whole complexion looks healthier than I imagine. The worn out, distance stare is gone and if I didn’t know better I would never guess that she’s an alcoholic.
And for the first time I see something like compassion in her eyes, however it does nothing to slow down my erratic heartbeat and nervousness.
When Chloe takes a seat I still hold onto her, if for support to her or my own I can’t tell.
I watch and listen to every single word that is spoken and find my emotions jumping like a yo-yo.
I feel unable to really talk, my throat’s tick and heavy and I’m thankful for Chloe to ask questions. How much I missed my only real friend I ever had is heart clenching clear when Chloe stands up for me against her own mother. I have all but to hold myself back not to crush her into my arms.
The moment her mother tells us that all was an accident and not what I thought my wrong doing, my whole world turns. It’s as if suddenly the weight of a mountain is lifted off of my shoulders and if it’s not for the shock of it all, I would be smiling like a kid on Christmas. But instead I cry.
I cry like a little boy not the grown man that I am.
The full impact of this woman’s statement hits me so hard, my legs give way and I slouch onto the ground. Taking a hug gulp I hope it will work out the huge knot forming in my throat.
Suddenly I feel Chloe’s soft touch. She holds me until everything I have heard and felt, wondered and worried, decided and become in her absence, dissipates. She holds me until there is nothing between us, not one single tear, her hands tugged tight around my body.
Finally her soft voice whispers, “Please don’t cry Tucker. Am I doing this to you, Tucker?”
“What?” I take her chin in my hand, bringing her eyes to mine. “No baby, god no. I’m crying because I can feel how much you love me right now. In this very moment.” And that’s exactly what goes through my mind and I recognise it with every fibre of my being.
And everything gets instantly clear for me; I know now what I have to do.
A sky full of stars
Lying in the hot steaming water of my bathtub I think back on what happened today.
In the meeting with my mother, Tucker discovered that all this years of self blame and guilt was impeccable. As my mother told us what really happened that day, I suddenly remembered seeing her reaching out to stop my step dad from harming Tucker and in doing so, he fell. It wasn’t Tuckers fault and by realizing the truth, all fell into place, but instead of feeling relief, we both felt the loss of all the years we missed of our friendship.
I’m amazed I didn’t hyperventilate or that I didn’t went into a panic attack after my mother’s revolution, but I think that the sight of Tucker and his shock kept me forgetting everything except feeling his pain and agony.
A shiver runs through my body and I recognize it’s not only from the water that got cold sitting in so long, so I get out and dry myself.
After Tucker’s breakdown, my mother left the room to give us some time to talk, but promised later to take the necessary steps to clear Tucker of all rumours and false accusations. We hold onto each other like we did so many years ago with a lurking sensation of something new. I figure, now that the burden is lifted, we can finally move on with our life.
On our way back home I noticed the changed sentiment in Tucker and he told me to come over in the evening for a special celebration.
I still have enough time to blow dry my hair and to scrabble through my closet, not sure of what to wear for the occasion. Finally settling for a light summer dress, I take a last glance at myself in the mirror and images of him from the day I was painting my room emerges, letting me blush and yearn for his touch.
Walking outside the warm autumn night air washes over my skin and when I close in on his porch, my eyes go wide. There are candles everywhere, flickering and giving the illusion the night sky with all its stars fell onto the earth. Soft music waves through the air and I feel like I’m dreaming.
My breath catches, then I see the feast displayed before me. An extra table brought out, filled with salads and side dishes, the little table set with two plates on top of a white table cloth and three white candles surrounded with some greens from the garden. On my plate he placed a ‘Forget me not’, what brings tears to my eyes and I swallow hard. Did he still remember my favourite little flower?
He must have been very busy, while I was readying myself and a mouth watering scent from the BBQ wavers into my nostrils, making my stomach growl.
I stand very still as a hand presses lightly against my waist, the warmth of his touch bypassing the thin fabric of my blue dress and waving through my body. Carefully his hand turns me; his finger pressing into my slender waist, as he gently turns me to face him. I’m close enough to see every little detail on his chiselled face. My eyes trail over the small creases that twitch at his lips as he smiles, the strength in his clean shaven jaw and the few strands of hair that rebelliously hangs into his eyes.
As I stare at him, he lightly pulls me closer and with a low growl his lips brush over mine and with a whimper I press myself against his hard body, the feeling has a direct connection to my core and everything inside of me ignites as I melt against him. His body shudders around me as he trails his nose along my jaw, down my neck, stopping at my ear.
“You smell like childhood, Chloe, and I mean that in a good way. It reminds me of everything good and right in my life.”
“So do you.” I say trying to find my balance. Am I even standing? I’m afraid my knees are about to buckle and my finger dig into his arms.
“You hungry?” He chuckles.
My stomach grumbles at the mere mention of food and he chuckles even more. Smiling he pulls out a chair for me indicating to take a seat. I slip down onto the chair feeling like I’m in a dream.
“You remembered.” I state while taking the flower into my hand.
“I remember everything about you, Chloe.” He smiles and taps me on the tip of my nose with his finger before taking my plate to walk over to the BBQ.
My hand reaches into the small pocket of my dress and I place the small stone in my hand onto his side of the table. When Tucker returns with the food, he pauses for a moment and after setting the delicious looking dinner plate down he takes the stone into his big hand.
While brushing over the dog’s head which suddenly landed in my lap and big eyes on my dinner plate, I watch Tucker turning the stone a few times before he glances at me with his brows lifted.
“I thought you remember everything?” I say teasing. “This is the last thing I got from you before you… You know…” I try hard not to bring back the sad memories of him leaving and quickly snatch a piece of potato from my plate that vanishes in one fast bite down Rufus’ throat… and I swear the dog smiles at me again.
“I do remember. It was one of this days where I couldn’t believe how he treated you and one of many when I did swear to myself that I somehow would change the whole situation for you. I just turned into a teenager and my raging hormones left me feeling like I could take on the world. I felt like I could be your knight in shining armour and protect you against all evil, until… until…”
I can see Tucker swallowing hard and I hastily replay, “You were, Tucker. You saved me so many times in just being there, by being my friend and protector.”
“Oh no, Chloe, I couldn’t protect you from that monster. I was so helpless and that alone fuelled my rage and when he fell all I could feel was release. But it soon changed into affliction and I felt so miserable when we moved. All this years, Chloe…”
He sighs and runs his hands through his hair, then exhales deeply while falling into his chair.
I reach over the table and my finger touch the stone he’s still holding in his hand and while turning it slowly in his palm, I say, “You know the moment you gave the stone to me, I seen the divided vein as a sign of a broken heart and when you left, it symbolized mine. Only month later did I discover when you turn the stone the division isn’t visible and it’s a wholesome surface. So it kind of let me think there are always two sides of everything and I hoped for myself it to be true. And to let you know - you were my knight. Without you I don’t know how I could have survived. You were the only reliable person I ever had and I always could count on you. That’s why it cut so deep when you had to move away and even more so that I never heard from you again.”
“I’m so sorry.” He whispers while holding on to my hand. “I’m here now and I will make it better.”
My head lifts, and I look up at him. His eyes hold mine, and I can’t help but smile. “You always make everything better.”
He clears his throat and smirks at me. “Let’s eat, Chloe, so the dog beside you can stop drooling all over the floor.”
We both look at Rufus and have to chuckle. After finishing our meal he reaches for my hand and pulls me gently to a stand while his other hand pulls something out of his front pocket. Letting go of my hand he lifts a silver amulet in the shape of a heart up and I can see a smaller heart shaped red stone glistering in its midst. Careful he places the jewellery around my neck and quietly says, “I bought it at the fair, it reminds me of you.”
With one soft kiss he holds me in his arms and we start to slowly sway to the music. My arms tight around his waist, I press my face into his chest, inhaling every single fragrant coming from this closeness and I feel save and secure.
Glancing up at him, I feel my heart pounding in my chest at how warmly he’s looking at me and then he lowers his head and his lips caress mine.
“I missed you.” He merely moves his mouth, not willing to disconnect with me and he kisses me until I can’t breathe, until my entire body is thrumming with pure passion and pleasure of it.
Breathing heavily he suddenly pulls away. “We shouldn’t be doing this,” he murmurs while his hand circles my hips as if his body betrays his mind.
“You’re so wrong, Tucker. I want this.” I run my hands over his chest. Even though the young boy was in here somewhere, I only see the dashing man standing before me.
I mold my body against his, aware of him holding back.
“I’m not that little girl anymore, Tucker. I know what I want and … I want you.” I feel suddenly very bolt and needy. “I want you to take me to your bed and strip me naked and make me yours.” I notice a tremble move through him and know instantly that he undergoes the same despair.
“Jesus, you can’t say something like that to me.”
“Because it makes me want to carry you up to my room and do right what you just said.”
“Then what’s stopping you?”
He frowns and I can almost hear the wheels turning, his fingers bite into my flesh and conflicting emotions pass over his eyes when he adds, “I can’t just ravish you like any other woman, Chloe. You’re my friend and I can’t just…”
I smile, in spite the embarrassing epiphany that he’s the responsible one between us. He puts on the breaks when all I want is to keep things going, consequences be damned.
He growls, really deeply growls and it reverberates through my body, leaving me all wanting and hot.
“Oh Chloe, I want you so bad, it‘s just …”
It occurs to me that this guy who’s always in control is coming completely unglued, because of me. And damned if that don’t excite me all the more. I lean into him get onto my tiptoes and softly take the lop of his ear between my lips and softly bite down and then whisper into his ear, “God damnit, Tucker will you stop making excuses and instead make long hot love to me?”
His yielding moan is all I can hear when his hands clasp my thighs and lifts me up so I can wrap my legs around his torso, dark eyes lock on mine and his mouth crashes mine. And once again we experience the clash of our hearts and longings. My entire body quivers, comes alive with anticipation as he storms into the house, up the stairs and only stopping in front of his bed. There he stares at me, his eyes dark and intense on me, and I’m sure I will climax just from the hungry way he’s looking at me.
“I love you.”
My heart skips a beat. Maybe two or three. Hell, it might have stopped working altogether when Tucker whispers those three words.
“I love you so much,” I choke out before his lips find mine and my hand glide down his chest as he slowly let me slide down his front. Stopping at the hem of his shirt my fingers find their way to his stomach where soft skin over hard muscles let’s me suck in my breath and I start to tremble.
“Damn,” I whisper before I can stop myself and continue to lift his shirt higher. I have seen his body before when ever we went swimming but this here feels so much different being so close. He grabs for it and lifts it up and over his head. I bite down on my lip, holding back a whimper. He chuckles at my unscrupulous admiration and reaches out, hooking the straps of my dress with his fingers. Slowly he begins to guide them over my shoulders as the dress slides over my body. The light material easily slides past my breast and waist and pools at my feet. I thought it would be awkward to be undressed in front of Tucker, this isn’t just swimming in the lake but instead I stand before him, anticipation running through me and I think I might spontaneously combust.
Our eyes meet and hold and if eyes could touch - ours did at that very moment.
Finally he takes me into his arms and lays me down onto his bed. Standing back up he’s taking me in with his deep dark eyes. His fingers slightly tremble as he unzips his jeans and hurriedly steps out of them.
A low growl of longing sounds in his throat as he kneels on the mattress and starts to climb up my body. He settles on top of me and I relish the weight of his hardness pressing me into the soft mattress, my breath rugged I keep my eyes on his. His fingers move some strands of hair off of my face and his thumb brushes behind my ear, leaving me tremble underneath him.
“Chloe,” he mumbles almost like in pain before his mouth closes over mine. His hands explore my body and I close my eyes at the sensation, his hot touch sending shockwaves rocketing through me.
“My Chloe,” he chokes out before he deepens the kiss, sensual and hungry my whole skin covered with goosebumps. His hands trail my body, gauging my reactions to his caress and everything in his touch heats and quivers.
Everywhere he touches me he leaves a trail of fire, unknown to me, that threatens to burn me from the inside out. My eyes flatter open and the heat in his gaze leaves me nearly lost and forgetting to breathe.