We hear Blue telling people that the whole street is in darkness. He can’t get any power. The redhead and another guy are lighting candles as he speaks but the light doesn’t travel much further than the immediate area around the bar. He explains that the cash register is out of use but they are willing to keep serving if people have the correct change. Immediately the bar starts emptying. A few stay glued to their seats, waiting out the power outage and looking at Darlene expectantly.
“What do you want to do?” I ask Darlene, hoping that she is ready to leave.
“You can still play,” Blue interrupts. I wasn’t even aware that he was listening in.
Darlene looks between the two of us.
“I don’t think so.” She shrugs lightly. “Who would I be singing to? Nobody is listening.”
“Don’t then. I’ll sing.” If Blue had long hair it would have been whipped over his shoulder with the force of his turn. He stalks off toward the stage, but he’s halted by an arm on his shoulder. The blond guy is at least a foot shorter than him and half as wide, but that doesn’t stop him from speaking with conviction. They must be friends, I think, until Blue crushes him into the wall, his forearm at his throat. I react instinctively, wanting to separate them, but then I’m reminded of my hatred for the big fucker and I sit back, hoping that the little surfer guy is about to unleash his black belt and murder him.
He holds his hands up in defeat. Blue promptly walks away, appearing on stage a moment later as if the altercation was just my imagination. Darlene seems just as confused as me.
Sitting on a stool that looks small in comparison to his frame, Blue is hunched over a guitar, looking beaten before he’s even begun. The only light comes from beneath him and it flickers sinisterly.
“Shall we go?” I ask Darlene, optimistically. Blue’s eyes are locked on her and I want her away from him before he does something that rids the last of my self-discipline.
“Sure, let’s finish these.” She lifts up her full bottle of Corona and flops against the bar. Great.
Blue has no amp or microphone as he plucks the strings of his guitar, but with the emptiness of the bar comes the ability to hear him. His song echoes across the room, trailing over to us and wrapping around us hauntingly. He’s looking down as he begins to sing and it takes me only a second to decipher what his chosen song is. Chris Issac’s Wicked Game.
The words are an ode to Darlene. That much is obvious.But even without the words that speak of an uneasy desire it’s clear that this is a desperate bid for her. Gone is his cockiness, his attitude portraying nothing but sincerity.
I hate him more with each word.
At the chorus his eyes lift to meet Darlene’s, ignoring my own gaze that sits between them. When I look at Darlene she is staring straight back. Her face is a contortion of confusion and upset as he sings rounds of, “No, I don’t want to fall in love.”
He sings about wicked games played by Darlene, I assume, and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that his affection for her transcends anything merely physical. With the second chorus, Darlene casts her eyes down. She’s embarrassed as she tries to lose herself in the last of her bottle. I want to drag her away from what is clearly a declaration of his love. I assume that she sees it too, but knowing Darlene’s ability to overlook the men that fall at her feet I wouldn’t count on it.
Blue cunningly opts to change the last chorus to repeats of, “And I’ve fallen in love.” If I was his friend I’d slap him on the back. If it wasn’t my wife he was confessing his love to I’d congratulate him on his huge balls. If I wasn’t scared to death that his subtle dedication was working I would admire his creativity.
As it happens, I want to take his guitar and crush it into his skull.
I’m about to when I am pulled roughly from the red.
I am dragged onto the street by a flustered Darlene. The red has followed me. I’m outraged on both of our behalves and terrified that Blue has managed to chip away at whatever caused her to give him a split lip. Darlene’s cheeks are red from anger, or embarrassment, I don’t know. Her hand lets go of my arm and promptly flies to her throat, rubbing it soothingly as if it has been noosed.
“You won’t ever set foot back in that bar. Never again,” I command as we hover in the street.
She turns to look at me, shocked, but I ignore it as I walk past her, remaining slow enough for her to catch up. She does.
“You can’t tell me what to do,” she contests, stopping in front of me. Typical fucking Darlene. She can’t follow any order. She defies authority and revels in recklessness. That’s what happens when you grow up without reins. I not so silently curse her parents.
“I’m not telling you what to do. I’m asking,” I reply, bowing to her unworkable obstinacy. “Please. Don’t ever go in there again. Not for a gig or for a drink.”
She looks lost in her skin as she squirms. “Why?” I know she’s fishing because she’s worried and the wounded asshole in me wants her to be.
“Because...because I’ve trusted you in Blue’s company and I can’t anymore.”
“I-I don’t get it.” She’s fidgeting with the buttons on her jacket, fear of being found out splashed all over her face.
“What’s not to get? He’s obviously a violent person, Darlene. Didn’t you see him with that guy?”
She can’t hide her relief at my reason.
“That was Zach. They’re friends,” she says with no conviction.
“If he treats his friends like that then I don’t want you anywhere near him.”
“You can’t tell me what to do.”
“NO!” My voice booms from deep within my chest, deep within the foundations of my stress. My last strand of restraint has snapped and I’m now unable to put up with her bullshit unreasonableness. “I’m not budging on this! You will not go in there again. You will not...put yourself in danger like that.”
“You’re ridiculous,” she mutters. That damn muttering. She turns and walks with determination toward our home, but she’s stopped at the doors to our apartment block by my echoing voice.
“I’m ridiculous? I’m ridiculous?! You’d rather go to that bar and upset me than stay at home and appease me?”
“Stay at home? I’ve stayed at home for five fucking months, Reid!” she screams. She actually screams. I’m both shocked and ecstatic that I have encouraged some passion from her. “That place is the only thing I have to occupy my time other than you and you’re asking me to give it up?”
“I’m not asking you, Darlene. I’m telling you.” She throws her arms out. “You’re a walking contradiction!” “I’m a walking mess!”
She narrows her eyes at me before realizing that’s my last offering. I see the words expand in her mind as her gaze flickers across my features. I’m aware that I’m frowning. I’m frowning so much it hurts, but the ability to relax is way out of reach.
“What do you mean, you are a mess?” she asks, much quieter. “Because I want you safe, with me, and you’re denying me that.” My voice trembles with the annoyance at having to explain myself over and over, and not being able to touch my real reasons for not wanting her in that hell pit. I’m so close to screaming at her that I know. I’m so close to laying it all out on the line and watching her dance all over it. She would tell me that she’s sorry but she wouldn’t mean it. She would be thinking about missing out on being with him, like she is now.
She wants him.
I have to stop her wanting him.
“You’re not to go there ever again,” I say, my voice quiet but the intensity ever present.
She shakes her head but I step closer. She matches my step, challenging me.
“You’re not to go there ever again,” I repeat, inciting another repercussion of steps between us. Her chest is inches from mine, her doe eyes wide and defiant as she holds my attention. She doesn’t blanch as my hands lift to her jaw and my fingers bend behind her ears. “Never again,” are the last words spoken.
My lips meet hers with an explosion. Heat rises up between us so fast and so tangible that we could light a match. It burns through my veins and sends a shiver down my spine. It’s the stimulus I need to pursue this. I thrust my tongue into her mouth and she greets it with her own warmth. When her hands lock behind my neck I know that she’s as eager for this as I am.
I’m completely lost in this moment, a moment that has been too long coming. I’ve kissed her this week, but not like this, not passionately and not with such matched aggression. Our bodies are fighting through what our minds can’t and it’s exactly what I need.
In the far depths of my consciousness I hear a couple walking past, coughing indiscreetly. Suddenly concerned that I am about to have my wife in the middle of the street, I release her lips, but not her body. My hands hold firm against her waist and in her hair.
“I’m not stopping this, okay? This is just suspended until we get upstairs. Yes?”
She nods, breathlessly, as her fingers trace the plumpness of her lips. She hasn’t met my eyes. She’s too busy burning my chest with a look of confusion. I kiss her again, chasing that confusion away.
“Yes?” I assert. She nods again and I take her hand in mine before she has time to overanalyze this. I check the elevator but the power is still out so we make our way up the dark stairs and corridor.
We’re panting when we reach our door, from the exhaustion or expectation, who knows, who cares. I battle with the keys as my hand shakes. Darlene takes them from me and with renewed resolve she unlocks the door and guides me inside.
The apartment is dark, too dark, and I curse the damn black out. I want to see my wife, every bit of her. Darlene is already on it, finding a box of matches and lighting the candles on the table. She carries them by their intricate frame and lights the way to the bedroom. I follow in a daze, hypnotized by the sudden determination she encompasses.
In our bedroom, I watch Darlene as she places the candles on her bedside table and lights several more. I thank God for my wife’s candle addiction and welcome the soft aroma of vanilla that rolls through the air. It smells like her.
Darlene’s watching me, I’m watching her. We are shrouded in silence and it only intensifies the electricity that is buzzing between us. It’s palpable, it’s visual. I can feel it in the tightness of my pants and the shortness of my breath. I can see it in the flush of her cheeks and her rising chest. It’s as obvious as the candle light dancing beside us and the bed laying in wait.
The wait is over.
I’m ready to pounce when I am halted by the subtle, open-mouthed exhale that leaves Darlene’s perfectly sculpted mouth. I watch as she psyches herself up and then leans down. She pulls off her boots along with her socks, straightening up to resume staring me straight in the eye. Her big eyes are hooded and lazy with seduction. She drops the sweater from her shoulders and I watch it filter to the floor. Toying with the hem of her camisole, she eyes me expectantly, running her tongue unconsciously over her lips.
Reading her thoughts, I kick off my shoes and roll off my socks. I throw my jacket to the floor before I catch myself. Slowing down, I finger the bottom of my sweater, silently inferring my proposal.
Together, we bare our chests, and while I watch with fascination she unhooks her bra and pulls it from her heavy breasts. They sit on her chest, too large for her slim frame but counteracting perfectly with the soft swell of her hips. Her nipples are already pointed and beckoning me to take them in my mouth. I’m hungry to taste her.
She lingers at the button of her jeans and so I reach for mine, managing to unbutton them despite my anxiously weak fingers. She mirrors my actions and I unashamedly follow the long line of her legs. Their ivory pallor is flawless even in the dim light of the candles. Darlene stands there in nothing but a pale pink thong, radiating beauty worthy of novels, sculptures, masterpieces.
An artist’s dream.
My breath is labored already and I’m yet to even touch her. I step forward and finger the long curls of her hair. She leans into my touch and so I oblige, cupping her delicate jaw and angling her to meet my lips. I stop, caught off guard by the glistening in her powder blue eyes.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“Nothing at all,” she says, able to smile a little.
“Then why are you crying?”
“Because I’ve missed you. So much.” She smiles again, but it’s pained.
“Don’t ever miss me. You don’t need to miss me anymore because I am right here. Always.” I feather her lips with my own, calling on the gentility that she needs. She responds and raises her hands to land on my stomach. Her slight fingers are heaven to my skin as they weave around to my back. I press her to me, relishing in the feel of her soft chest against my firmness. She sighs into my mouth as my own fingers trickle down her ribs to her hip. Flush against me, she raises onto the balls of her feet and the friction against my erection is enough to force a sharp gasp from my mouth.
“You okay?” she asks, her lips leaving my mine only to suckle at my neck. I roll my head back in appreciation before sudden urgency overcomes me.
“Yes. I need you, Darl.”
“I’m yours.” She can’t possibly understand how powerful her words are. I long to believe her. In this moment, I need to believe her.
“Say that again.”
Her declaration is the motivation I need. My hands are quick to find her thighs as I bend and lift her onto my waist. Our centers are brushed against each other, propelling my desire further. I lower her as softly as I can onto the bed and allow myself a moment to marvel at her beauty. Her curves are accentuated by the shadows cast by the candlelight and the deep rising of her chest is hypnotizing.
“Reid, please,” she breathes, her fingers curling over the bed sheets.
Agreeably, I step out of my boxers and crawl onto the bed, settling between Darlene’s inviting legs. Immediately they wrap around my hips, entwining our bodies as we work to entwine our minds. I fall against her heaving chest as I secure a wet kiss. My eager mouth trails over the hypersensitive line that spans her neck and she shudders under my tongue.
The knowledge that I can still do this to her after every issue that has amounted between us is empowering. It’s what urges me to descend further and take her tight nipple into my mouth. Her pleasure is instantaneous and I wonder briefly if I can make her come like this but I’ve waited too long to taste her again, and I’m going to taste all of her. As my lips trace the contours of her subtle abs she trembles in anticipation. When my tongue finds her sex a spluttering of breathy tributes pour from her lips, to God, not me, but I share her gratitude.
Her smell is a gift from heaven itself and her sweet taste is delectable. The way she grinds her hips in response to my lapping is so unbelievably hot. I love her greediness, her impatience, her appreciation, because it means I’m doing it right. I fleetingly wonder if anyone else can make her come like I can but I force the destructive thoughts from my mind and clamp down on her center, using my teeth to illicit a cry from her panting mouth.
Needing to hear her come, needing to hear her scream my name and cancel out any other name she has ever panted recently, I intrude on her opening with my fingers and curl them against her. Moving, rubbing, curving in a repetitive action that has her twisting in the prelude to her climax. She thrusts against me before tightening around my fingers and wailing my name. My name on her trembling tongue is a sweet song and as it repeats in lazy rounds I tease out the last of her release.
Bringing myself over her body, I revel in her post-orgasm state. Her eyes are closed and her sweet mouth open. I waste no time in sharing her taste, coaxing her idle mouth with my eager tongue. She springs alive with a gentle moan. “You have no idea how good that was,” she whispers as my mouth sucks on her earlobe.
“Your pleasure is my pleasure, baby. I felt how good that was.”
“No, let me make you truly feel it.” Her shaky hand teases a line down my torso but I pull back.
“No, no, I want you, now. I’m desperate to be inside you. I’ve waited too long.” She sighs happily at my words as I pull her hips to me. I center myself at her opening and push in with restrained slowness, savoring every inch of my length inside her tight heat. Her moan is low and the most erotic sound I’ve ever heard. How Darlene can use her voice to produce such overwhelming responses in me is magical.
“You feel amazing, Darl. You were made for me, a perfect fit.”
“I feel it, I know it.”
God, I hope she knows it. I want to prove how good we are together, how despite the lust she may feel for someone else she will never be loved like I can love her.
I grind into her, slow and with purpose. I allow her to feel all of me as I feel all of her. My lips feast at her neck, breathing variations of compliments against her blazing skin as my hands caress her perfect curves. I have her sweet ass cupped and tilted to meet my thrusts in one hand and a full breast filling my other. Her melodic moans are coaxing me into an early release and so I still myself, wanting to prolong the pleasure for as long as I can. I need her to be wowed by our magic. I want our reunion to last all night until we are incapable of moving.
And even then, I’ll find a way.
Her heels are digging into my ass, pulling me deeper into her and her nails are clawing at my back. She’s as lost as I am. She’s a vision in the throes of pleasure. She’s so fucking hot that I can’t hold on much more.
I pull back, resting on my heels as I lift her to straddle me. “Lean back, baby, I’ve got you.”
She complies, rolling back until she is arched and supported with my arm. My other hand pulls at her nipple as we work together in perfect unison; our hips meshing together through her wetness, our breath coming in fast unity, our moans in harmony.
She’s made for me. She has to see that.
She tightens around me and I allow myself to ease the restraints of my control, pushing into her harder and faster as we ride out the release together. She comes undone in my hand, calling my name. And with that I’m burying myself into her depth, shuddering with a guttural groan. She lifts herself, cradling me in my release with her dainty hands, stroking my hair from my forehead before kissing me so honestly that I want to take her again. I will.
“I’ve missed you so much,” she whispers. When I open my eyes I realize that she has tears in her blues. I stroke them away as they fall against her cheek.
“No more tears. I’m here, you’re here. That was perfect and it’s not over. I’m going to love you all night, Darl. You’re my wife, and for that I’m going to show you my gratitude.”
I’m already moving inside her again, needing no more coercion than her sweet words. She takes my jaw in her hands and empowers me with the sweetest smile. “I love you, Reid.”
I’m pierced with emotion and the pain ripples through my body. I work it out with each thrust as I tell her over and over again, show her over and over again, that I love her. I’ll always love her.
Lured from my sleep by the awareness of being alone, I reach across the bed and find Reid gone. In his place, a note.
I didn’t want to wake you. You look too peaceful. I just wanted you to know that while I’m at work I will still be thinking of you, loving you. Last night was heaven. I love you, my darling.
I smile a face-aching smile as his words coincide with the raw aftereffects of our marathon reunion. I’m surprised he managed to walk this morning let alone make it to work. I look at the clock and realize it is closer to noon than I’d like. Moving lazily from the bed, I head straight for the bath, needing to soak the post-sex aches.
In the heat of the bath I remember the heat of our passion. It was unmatched in ferocity, in depth. We’ve made love hundreds of times before and it’s always been amazing, but last night was epic. It was poetic. A million things that needed to be said were spoken through our bodies and the words consequently followed.
This outcome was a complete surprise. I could only imagine terrible things happening after Blue and Reid were forced into the same room as each other. I mean, Reid has no idea why he should hate Blue, but for some reason he does. And Blue, with his goddamn song. If he was trying to scare me, it worked. If he was trying to wound me, it worked. If he was completely genuine in his declaration then I am in far more trouble than I realized. Blue doesn’t strike me as someone who gives up easily. Last night proved that. But absence will make it easier, regardless of what his intentions were before.
I don’t plan on going back there. Despite my arguing with Reid I had already decided on that before we left the bar. I just hate it when Reid tells me what to do. When anyone tells me what to do.
I wrap myself in a bathrobe and grab some cereal for breakfast, or maybe lunch. When my phone starts vibrating to the tune of Can’t Fight The Moonlight I laugh and hurry to answer.
“You changed my ringtone.”
He chuckles. “Yes, yes I did. Do you like?”
“I love you.”
“So you said.”
“I wanted to say it again, and again and again and…”
“There’s no need,” I interrupt through a laugh. “I can still feel how much you love me,” I say as I uncross my legs.
He hesitates. “Are you sore?”
“A little,” I admit, but I don’t care. The pain in no way deducts from how phenomenal last night was.
“No, you’re not.”
“No, you’re right,” he laughs quietly. “I’ll have to take it easy on you tonight though. Did you want to do anything?”
“Yeah, food and a movie.”
“I like that plan.”
We manage to talk a little more before he has to work some. He says goodbye with an obvious smile and I match it.
Would you believe that after all the hesitance I have shown I actually chose to go running on my own today? No, me either, but I did. It was actually quite nice not having to match Reid’s eager pace. It was a lazy jog but a jog nonetheless. Reid is proud when I text him to tell him.
After I have showered and vegged out I head to the nearest store and pick up the ingredients for homemade pizza. I can control the calorie intake this way. I stop on the way back to get a coffee. Ordinarily, I would delight in the instant warmth it would bring to my hands but I’m surprised to find that I’m not suffering in the cold today. I look to the sky and see blue, bright with the sun rather than heavy with clouds. I feel a trace of heat on my face and I close my eyes to savor the moment. It’s been so long since I have been graced with the sun that I briefly wonder if my neglected skin will crack in its return.
Not willing to let go of the warmth just yet, I find a bench in the park and sit, watching the fountain as it too rejoices in the beams. It’s not particularly warm, in fact there’s a bitter breeze, but when it breaks I can at least pretend. How coincidental that the sun should return along with the warmth in my marriage.
Is winter behind us?
I can only hope so. I stretch my legs and close my eyes again, wishing I had my iPod with me to throw on some Sheryl Crow.
It takes me several minutes to realize that someone is sitting next to me. I hear a long exhale and when I turn to look I see Blue blowing out sheer smoke.
“How long have you been sitting there?”
“How long have you had your eyes closed?”
I sigh, annoyed. I guess when we live almost opposite we are bound to run into each other occasionally. I suppose complete avoidance isn’t going to be possible after all.
“You and hubby looked cozy last night,” he continues, rolling his cigarette between his thumb and finger.
“No thanks to you. You think you’re funny singing shit like that?”
“I wasn’t trying to be funny. I was trying to tell you how I feel the only way I know how.” He turns to look at me, his eyes wide and honest.
“You cannot be serious?”
He shrugs his heavy shoulders and looks away, taking a long drag on the last of his smoke.
“What happened with Zach?” I ask, needing so desperately to change the subject.
“Last night?” he affirms. I nod. “He had an opinion on something that had nothing to do with him, and I didn’t like it.”
“Had an opinion on what?”
“There is no us.”
“Ouch,” he winces.
“What did he say?”
“He’s been bugging me about you,” he shrugs again and I curse his nonchalance. No wonder Reid hates mine so much.
“He knows how much I like you. How much I’m falling in...”
“Don’t you dare,” I interrupt and stand, tossing my coffee into a nearby trashcan and smoothing down my clothes. “You can’t turn this into something that it wasn’t, Blue. And you have got to stop trying to compete with my husband. He will always win. This, whatever it was, is over.”
I walk away with my head held high and my heart in my throat. I know I don’t have anything other than lust for Blue but that doesn’t make turning my back on him any easier. He’s a good guy, misguided, but good. There is evident chemistry between us but it doesn’t transcend any further than the stage or the bedroom. And even then, he doesn’t compare to what Reid can offer me.
Sex is always better when there is love involved.
After prepping the pizza and putting together a salad I sit and wait for Reid to come home. I wait much longer than I’d like before I get a text to say that he’s running late and to eat without him. I don’t. Instead I put everything in the fridge and curl up on my chair. I force back the belief that after just a couple of days with my Reid he is slipping again.
I don’t want to believe it.
I don’t believe it.
As the clock strikes nine I begin to believe it just a little.
A glass of wine eases my anger a touch but it does nothing to limit the upset. As if sensing my thinning resolve, Blue chooses this moment to text me.
-I know you said we were over but I can’t accept that.
I miss you, way more than I should. B-
-You have to. I miss you too, but your inability to accept it’s over
is what is keeping us apart-
-You sure are ;-)-
-Haha. Am I going to see you in The Nest again?-
-No. I can’t-
He doesn’t text back and I’m grateful. I don’t know where that conversation could have gone. I turn my phone off and head for bed. I don’t want to fall asleep out here and give Reid ammo for an argument. Not when I’m the one with the reason to be pissed off.
My eyes have barely closed when I hear our apartment door click shut. Soft padding feet line the hall and then our door is opened. I hear shuffling of clothes before the bed is jostled under a weight. One warm hand slips around my waist and hot lips brush against my shoulder. My annoyance is melting away but I hold on with cold fingers.
“You said I would never have to miss you again. I missed you,” I whisper with as much attitude as my thawing tenacity will allow.
“I’m sorry, baby, but I’m only partly sorry. I like to hear that you’ve missed me. It means that I’m not alone in my desire to be with you all the time.”
“And besides, I worked late so that I could work from home tomorrow.”
I turn at his announcement. “Really?”
He nods before hovering over me, trailing his nose down mine and stroking my lips with his for just a second. “After last night and tonight I think we’ll need to recuperate, right?” His lips find mine again, but with more ferocity, an apology.
I accept all night.
I can’t remember the last time we had such a perfect morning together. Mornings lately have either been spent rushed and silent, or alone. Today we enjoyed a lazy morning. We ate, we ran, we bathed together. It’s been wonderful. Reid is attentive and I’m open and we are everything we haven’t been and everything I have missed.
Reid has regretfully taken up in his office this afternoon to race through the manuscripts before his work dinner tonight, and so I am left picking at my guitar on the sofa. I’m going to miss performing at The Nest. Performing in general. It’s such a part of who I am and while I don’t wish for it to be a career I can’t imagine not having it in my life. It’ll be easier when I’m teaching again though. I get the same buzz from teaching as I do when I am singing in front of an audience. But I worry that since it is not my choice to quit performing like it was the last time, maybe the need won’t surrender so easily.