Authors: Marion Studer
Oh god, what did just happen?
My head is screaming, my stomach clenched up and my hands are sweaty. I tremble, feeling cold in spite of the warm sun shining down on me. Tears heat my cheeks as they trail free, but I'm paralysed. I can't move to wipe them away, because he has chocked me into a frozen state. I should say something probably, but how without voice? I can't. So, what in hell could I possibly say, anyway?
In the safety of my house I let my tears fall like a waterfall on a rainy day. Dark and muggy. My back to the door, I slide down the cold surface until I hit the hard floor.
It happened again!
Oh dear god, don't let me have another anxiety attack.
My breath shallow and short leaves me with this squeezing pain in my chest. My mind wanders back to the day Tucker left my life; I was broken and shattered in tiny little pieces.
How could this happen twice in my life?
Why didn't he talk to me?
What did the horrible words of the sleazy guy at the diner mean? I don't know why this guy warned Tucker to stay away from me? Did Rob Carlson who was with that awful guy today tell him about us dating last year? But why would it even matter to him, it never got serious enough to make a deal out of it? And why of all things would it even matter to the guy whom Tucker is seeing or dating?
Arrgh, this is just another stab into my heart. Tucker doesn't date me; he just invited me to lunch. He only wants to be friends, didn't he say so? Just this morning he told me, he never stopped being my friend and it blew my mind. Did he really feel this way? But what about him placing this tiny little kisses onto each of my fingertips, letting me feel this achy tightness low in my belly? Do ‘just friends’ do such a thing? I'm still feeling his soft warm lips, feel the sincerity in his voice and the truth in his eyes. What I have seen in his eyes, it had to be more... Had to be… and it’s killing me.
First he steers up all this offbeat feelings, and then he pushes me away.
Didn't I know it will happen again?
Helplessness and sadness is all around me. Once more. This is all I can feel. It consumes me, entirely. It is what I breathe in. It is what I feel. It is what sinks deep into my soul, tumbling with the already existing million parts of shredded dreams. Helplessness is cruel and torturous. It owns me. It makes me a prisoner in my own body, in my own mind and worse in my own heart. Helplessness leaves me with falling tears and no one to catch them.
From the open window I can hear him working on the outside, hammering away like a madman.
I notice a fog-like heaviness overtaking my body and it hurts everywhere. The fog is to much to take, it sweeps in and pulls me under and in a last ditch effort I try to remember Tucker’s voice when he tried to calm me down the other day and slowly bring my breathing to a steady rhythm.
Finally getting up and pouring some water into a glass, I stay at the window, silently watching for a while, painfully marvelling at this most beautiful man I have ever seen.
I like how time has carved out his features. How his dark hair curl at the ends and his muscles are strained against his shirt. He no longer is the boy I knew, no, he is definitely all man now. Seeing Tucker has unsettled me more than I care to admit, even to myself. There's a reason we found one another again, of that I'm certain even if I try hard to deny myself such feelings for him. And if I could, I would run outside, plant myself in front of him and scream my lungs empty, to let him know what he did to me. Again.
A low dull heaviness threatens to roll from deep down, bubbling up my throat and settling in my open mouth. I shock myself, it's like I'm trying to scream and a horrific sound escapes my vocal cords. I jolt, slam both hands to my mouth, frozen in place and moment.
I miss him. I miss us. I miss the me that I am around him. And it hurts because no matter how much I heal, no matter how much I move on, that it is never coming back.
Damn you Tucker! You physically rip my heart and tear it up. Again.
Every time I see him now, I feel like someone stepped on my chest.
I can feel his eyes on me, barely able to ignore that familiar tingle and he smiles sadly at me, but he doesn't approach me, never says anything, keeping his distance.
Only Rufus runs over from time to time and gladly accepts a quick tender stroke, before rushing back to his master. Every single day going by without him talking to me threatens to split my skin open and let me bleed out, into a slow agonizing death. And I torture myself, watching him work, taking his swim in the dark or just sitting in his backyard staring into space.
After two weeks of utter self inflicting pain, I have enough. The silence finely gets to me. The days are hot and long. I need to go on with my life, need to do my work before summer ends and before I have to start teaching again.
With that in mind I turn to go put things away and force myself to concentrate on the work ahead of me. I pull my hair into a high pony tail, open up all my windows and doors and push the button on my stereo, turning it to full boost, shutting out all my thoughts and the outside world.
The mood lifting music is drifting from my living room into my bedroom where I push all the heavy furniture into one corner. Placing newspaper for protection onto the floor I search for something high enough for me to stand on. I come back with a big box which I used to move my stuff into the house, not long ago.
I place the big cardboard box into the corner I plan on starting to paint. Finding a second box I will use as table for my paint bucket, I start with a newly found eagerness to lighten up my house and maybe my dark thoughts.
Careful I step onto the bigger box, measuring the sturdiness under my feet. Knowing it's not safe it's the only thing I could carry big enough for me to stand on and reaching the height of the room. With great determination I dip the brush into the white gooey paint and smack it onto the wall. Awkwardly I shuffle on the box and smear some of the paint on the ceiling.
With great enthusiasms I swipe over the surface, having finely something close to fun and shake my butt to the uplifting tunes of the music. I should have done this much earlier, I feel finally some enjoyment.
“You know this is an absolutely stupid thing to do?”
I stop mid-stroke, holding my breath and nothing short of an earthquake can move me. My feet feel as if they are encased in cement, which seeps into my veins, slowly filling my body with a heaviness that is righteous painful. I can't move when hearing his voice, because it hurts. I can't move, because I have nowhere to go. I can't even swallow, because my mouth dried up. I can only wait.
“Jesus Christ, Chloe?”
I feel him standing in the room, can feel his eyes on me.
, oh good! I have barely something on my body, because of the great heat and the task on hand I wear only shorts and an old blouse, knotted together and pushed up to my bra-less breasts. I feel heat creeping up my face and I push my forehead onto the back of my hand holding the wall for support. Why is he here? What does he want from me? Can’t he just go away?
“Chloe? Look, I overreacted the other day. I have a tendency to do just that these days. And I owe you a big apology for it. I'm sorry. I really am. I can't stand this silence any longer, it’s killing me. I miss you.” He takes a big audible breath. “ I brought you the blackboard if you have a question for me, or if you just want to curse at me for being so stupid.”
If I have a question? Is he serious? If. I. Have. A. Question?
I have so many whirling around in my head; I wouldn't know where to begin! And it’s killing me too! My heart starts to skip a few beats. Did he say he missed me? How could he not know the effect he has on me? How could he not know what, he missing me, does to me?
I blow out the breath I'm holding and stretch my arm towards him without changing my stance. I'm not ready yet to face him. A heavy stillness follows; I could think he left could I not feel him next to me, his nearness, and his gravity. I can smell him around me, not cologne but just clean, male and all Tucker.
I feel him pressing the board into my outstretched hand and I take it and write
. I thought you don't want to be my friend anymore. I thought you don't want me period
I straighten up, collect all courage I can muster to finely face him and turn.
That's when the box crunches beneath my foot, giving way, and my foot breaks through the top.
Brush flying I hold on to the arms encircling me as I crush down. His arms are solid around me and I'm safe.
Tilting my head up I stare right into his eyes. This close, I can see the exact point where his dark brown irises spill into tiny pools of black and my breath catches. Like pulled on invisible strings my hands slide up his arms, over the notch of his elbow, the swell of his biceps the bunched muscle of his broad shoulders, revelling in the feel of him. I close my eyes at the sensation of being so close to Tucker and my heart gets unglued once again. How can this be? Just one single word, one single glance and I fall right back into this emotions. I feel his muscles tighten under my palm, feel him tense, his breath catching, and pull back slightly, opening my eyes.
“You okay?” he asks hoarsely, his control thin, his arms tightening even more around me, his eyes flashed, hot and hungry. My fingertips are digging into the muscle of his shoulders, clutching him as our breath mixes, lips parted. There is only a whisper of space between us and I stare at his chin where the short stubble on his jaw line makes me want to feel its slight roughness with my fingertips. Then my eyes fall on his lips and I swallow hard.
He his aware of me looking at him.
“I don't know if this is a good idea,” his voice a whisper, close and rough. Hurt of his rejection I only nod letting my eyes close shut. I know this would bring this whole idea of friendship to a very different level, but I can't help. My feelings are probably written all over my face and I press my eyes shut even harder, a painful huff escapes my lips.
“Don't” he breathes out, “don't hide your eyes from me, Chloe.”
My eyes fly open again, pleading into his and something seems to register within him. His head dips and with an betraying growl his lips brush across mine – just for a moment – just a sweet barely there kiss and then he deepens the kiss and my toes curl, my world spins and all my mind goes out the window just before he steps back. I hear another deep growl rolling off of him, before he pulls back another step, his hand shoving through his messy hair. He looks like he is ...in agony? He probably is sorry for his misstep already.
Hot and flustered I press my blackboard into his chest, as I blow annoyed an errant strand of hair off my face.
He reads and his head snaps back at me, taking a big breath he growls. “Shit! I never said I don't want you, Chloe. I never could say such a thing to you. You just felt how much I want you.”
All I can do is slightly shake my head. I not really believe him, because he had me all mixed up inside and I don’t know what to believe anymore.
My head drops in frustration and my eyes close. Long hold in tears escape and I hate myself for it. I slowly turn, debating where to escape.
“Wait,” he is lifting me out of the broken box and pushes me against the wall. He then takes my hand and pulls it into his manhood. “Can you feel that?”
My head snaps back up, my eyes big on his.
“I do want you. Oh god, how much I want you. I want to make love to you until you cry out my name Chloe, or even if you not” he whispers hoarsely into my ear, his warm breath tickling my skin, “I want to feel myself in you. I want to look into your gorgeous eyes when they cloud over as you come for me.” My eyes start to flatter, my lips go dry as his words sink in and my knees buckle.
He takes a step back, “I know you want our friendship and I want the same, Chloe. My friendship you have already, that won’t change. Ever. It will never change, even if I'm an ass of showing it to you. But there is so much more, I know you can feel it too. I'm going crazy without you, Chloe. The nights are long, especially when all I can think about is you. Having you so close and not touching you makes me crazy,” he gently lifts my face, staring into my wet eyes. “I just think we need to take it slow, start over and learn about each other again. I know it will take a while but I‘m patient. Lets start with me inviting you to a BBQ again. I would really enjoy a dinner with… my best friend. And for any other questions, bring your little board and ask away.” He turns around and walks away, calling over his shoulder, “and by the way, I have a stepladder for you to use, before you break your little pretty neck.”