Sunday, March 20, 2016

As You Were - Installment 15

You have been thoroughly warned. 
If you are squeamish about colorful language, don't like sex scenes, and honest dialogue makes your hair curl, walk away now. Do not read this.

I'll be posting installments every day until the end. I don't know how many days that will be because I am still writing this story. You can read it or not, share it or not, like it or not.  It's up to you. Unlike me, you have a choice. I can't not write it.

As You Were
Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Lummis

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the above author of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Chapter 6

“You’re getting punchy.” But Erik was half-laughing himself. “You okay?”

I tried to speak, but all that emerged were those hissing sounds when you’re laughing too hard and you can’t form words. He chuckled as I gave up trying to fend it off and laughed myself out in his lap. He settled back in the chair, pulling me with him, stroking my hair until I was exhausted but giggling and breathing once again.

“Whew. Where did that come from?” I asked but not expecting an answer. I blinked away the funny tears, staring up at the few stars I could see despite the light pollution. Despite the moonlight pouring down on us.

“Probably from all those pent up emotions or the alcohol,” Erik said with quiet laugh. Then we were quiet as he continued to stroke my hair, running his fingers through as if he were trying to comb out the tangles. I settled down, my body relaxing into his in utter exhaustion.

“So you knew I was here.” I finally said. The implication was he came to this beach with his buddies for a reason. “You were hoping to what, bump into me somewhere?”

“Maybe,” he said with a teasing lilt. “Maybe,” he repeated, but the teasing was gone. “Yeah. I remembered you said you’d come here with some college friends a few times. I remembered the Brass Balls. I was going to look for you there. Maybe.”

I rubbed my cheek against his chest, rested my hand on the other side of it. “Why?”

He didn’t answer for awhile. We lay there and I thought of other nights, other quiet conversations about the meaning of life beside my parents’ pool. With him. With Dan. And Gena. The stars twinkling down on us, like so many promises of what lie ahead. We were young and the universe was ours for the taking. We could climb mountains and slay dragons. Feed the homeless. Solve all the world’s problems.

Erik shifted beneath me. “I’m going to be in a war zone in a few days.” I waited, picturing an endless desert, grey makeshift buildings, men in army boots and fatigues. Blowing sand rattling against flapping tarps. I shivered.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” he whispered. “And every since that sank in, I haven’t stopped thinking about you.”

I swallowed. What if something happened to Erik? What if we never saw each other again? Wait. What had he said? “You haven’t stopped thinking about me?” My fingers curled against his chest. “Why?”

I lay still, frozen by anticipation. Erik and I had always flirted. We’d held hands, even when he was dating Gena. After he and Gena split, we spent a lot of time hanging out in his basement watching movies stretched out on the couch, sometimes with my feet in his lap, sometimes with his head in mine. I’d always been very aware of what we were doing. I’d never been nonchalant about it, but I had assumed it meant nothing to him. And when Gena grilled me about what happened, what did he say the next day, I'd feel guilty.

Erik cleared his throat. “Because. You were the one I always thought about, when another girl would accuse me of being a heartless jerk in high school. Even after school. When I’d drive myself home from a girl’s place in the middle of the night.”

What the fuck? I pushed up, deliberately putting all my weight into the gesture. Erik grunted, but didn’t do anything about it. “So, what? What does that mean? It’s not flattering, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Could he be more of an ass? Like that was supposed to mean something to me, that he thought of me post-coitus, when he was leaving a girl to wonder what she’d done wrong.

Erik closed his eyes. “It’s not what you’re thinking.”

I shoved at him and he grunted louder this time. “What am I thinking?”

"It wasn't about the sex. It was about why I couldn't connect with anyone." He met my angry gaze and I blinked. His eyes swam with tears. “Anne, I’ve always been in love with you.”

Holy hell. I sank back on my heels between his legs and pushed the hair out of my eyes, my fingers trembling. Then I slapped him across the face.

 Continued in Installment 16...

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