“Blindsided,” Chapter 29

“Um, shouldn’t you reactivate your outside motion-detector lights before it gets dark?” I sidestep the discussion he’s intent on having right this minute.

He’s leaning over the table now, his hands gripping both sides as he impatiently stares down at me, still sitting in the chair stroking my purring cat.

He exhales deeply, biting back his transparent annoyance. Barely.

“I suppose you’re right,” he temporarily relents, his eyes narrowing. “But we WILL talk about this when I’m done.”

He half marches, half stomps to his bedroom, returning — his polo shirt curiously untucked — just long enough to command me to stay inside as he opens the door to the garage to begin his task outdoors. Time shuffles its feet as I agonize over him being out there all alone tinkering with those fucking lights. I rise from my chair, gently laying a now-sleeping Stinky on it to go sneak a peek out of the living room window in hopes of catching a glimpse of him, but I can’t see anything except the sun getting ready to go to bed for the night.

After what feels like a lifetime of fretting over his safety, he saunters back inside, the job complete.

My relief is damn near tangible. It’s all I can do not to launch myself into his arms, but I stifle the urge.

JUST.

“Are you hungry?” I ask, letting the curtain fall back into place, suddenly self-conscious.

Neither of us has eaten since this morning.

“Very,” he says, leaning against the door, watching me intently.

“Would you like anything in particular?” I inquire, moving away from the window toward the kitchen.

I’m pretty famished, myself.

“Yes,” he says, pushing himself off the door to join me.

“Well,” I demand, exasperated with his one-word answers, “what do you want, then?!”

He smiles predatorily, cornering me into the island.

But I don’t feel trapped because I don’t want to get away from him.

I WANT him to catch me.

We’re not touching, but I can practically feel the heat emanating from his body, see it in those searing black-as-night eyes of his.

“You.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you.”

“I’m talking about supper.”

“I know.”

Food, I mean. Not me.”

“I could make a meal out of you.”

“You could?”

“Without a doubt.”

“I wouldn’t taste very good.”

“Let me be the judge of that.”

“What are you gonna do, bite me?”

“No. I prefer nibbling.”

“Cannibal!”

“I beg to differ.”

“You don’t beg for anything.”

“No, I don’t. Now, shut up so I can kiss you properly.”

Except there’s nothing “proper” about THIS kiss.

It’s not one of our previous pleasant little pecks or a lingering meeting of the lips hinting at what is yet to come.

No, it’s more. So much more. This is pure fusion, a marriage of mouths as he breathes into me and I breathe into him, a rousing physical and spiritual union as it deepens from an exploratory journey to a hungering need so stark, it threatens to devour our very souls even as we ardently bare them to one another.

Time slows until it is still.

The only animate beings, us, in this infinite moment of give and take. It’s … transcendent.

“My God,” he whispers reverently, momentarily releasing my bereft lips to rain kisses all over my face.

I close the short distance he creates, craving more, reveling in the feel of him, loving him thoroughly as I capture his lips, holding us both willing prisoners in a communion as splintering as it is melding, as ruinous as it is fruitful — continuously intertwining us from wholeness to incompletion and back again until, ultimately, we’re both replete.

For now.

We unhurriedly right ourselves, loath to untangle our bodies, unable to tear our eyes away from each other as we clumsily attempt to regain our equilibrium.

“I had no idea,” I begin shakily. “I never knew … it could be … like THAT.”

His trembling hands fumble through the pockets of his cargo shorts until he locates his Zippo lighter and a pack of Marlboro Reds. He clutches my hand and tugs me toward the sliding glass door that opens to the back patio more out of habit than anything else, stops short of opening it and then starts toward the garage, where he produces a heavy glass ashtray once we’re out there.

“I try not to smoke in the house, if I can help it,” he says apologetically, offering me one of his cigarettes since mine are in my purse in the master bedroom. “I usually smoke on the back patio, but given the events that have transpired since Friday, it would be unwise for us to be outside after dark. Even with the lights and the patrol units, I won’t risk putting you in harm’s way.”

I’ll smoke to that.

We light up, each savoring the pull from that very first drag, which almost always calms my nerves immediately. It’s quite understandably not doing the trick this time, though. I will never be the same after … after what just happened in his kitchen. I don’t think he will, either, by the looks of it. Of him.

“You humble me,” he finally says, flicking his ashes.

I’m not sure what to say to him, other than the obvious.

“I’m in love with you.”

There. I said it.

Again.

“So you unintentionally disclosed to ALL of us, earlier.”

And there’s the smirk.

“I can’t help it.”

“I’m not complaining.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Of course not!”

“I just thought … “

“You think too much.”

” … That you’d … “

“Enjoy being loved by you?”

“Um, well, since you put it that way, yeah.”

He grinds his cigarette butt into the ashtray. I follow suit, waiting for him to answer his own question.

“No one has ever told me they love me.”

“Not even the girl from college?”

“Not even her. Only my mum.”

“And me, now.”

“And you, Piccolo.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“You are SOOO difficult, you know that?!”

“And yet, you love me, regardless.”

“Yes, I love you, warts and all.”

“I don’t have any warts.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yes, I do.”

He smiles then, taking my hand to go back inside.

“So, um, are you gonna answer the question, or not?”

“I already have.”

“Did I miss something?”

“Obviously.”

“OK, I give up.”

“So easily? Now, where’s the fun in that?”

“It’s not funny, you … you jerk!”

“I never said it was.”

“But … but … you … “

“Treasure being loved by you.”

“You … you do?”

“For the third time, yes, I do.”

“Oh. OHHH.

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