Monday, March 21, 2016

As You Were - Installment 16

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

Holy hell. I sank back on my heels between his legs and pushed the hair out of my eyes, my fingers trembling. And I slapped him across the face. He nodded, a tear trickling over the faint stubble on his cheek, over the red finger marks.

“Don’t you dare blame me for your emptiness. Females have also been just a plaything for you and that’s not my fault!” My voice rose, a little hysterical. “That’s all on you, bub. I was always a good friend to you, tried to talk some sense into you because I saw what it was really about.” I sprung up off the chair, picked up my empty soda can, and flung it at him.

He didn’t dodge it. The can bounced off his forehead and clattered onto the deck. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

I spun around, my back to Erik, my rage sputtering out as I realized what I’d done. Oh God. What was wrong with me? I hid my face in my hands and took quieting breaths. I heard the chair creak and felt Erik close behind me. He didn’t touch me and I didn’t blame him.

“I know what I am, Anne. I know what I’ve done. I don’t blame you. I’ve wanted to slap some sense into me for a long time.”

I dropped my hands, fighting the quiver in my chin. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” I took a deep breath and blew it out. “I shouldn’t have hit you or thrown that can at you. It was a pissy thing to do and I’m sorry.”

Erik tentatively touched my shoulder. I flinched and he immediately pulled his hand away. “I know I’m not relationship material and God knows my timing couldn’t be shittier, but I had to tell you. I still love you, Anne. And I’m not blaming my lack of morals with women on you. I didn’t mean it that way. I’m not saying I couldn’t have a relationship with anyone because I was in love with you. I didn’t know I was in love with you, okay? I just realized it over the past year.”

I stood there, the endless ocean in front of me, a definitive past behind me. A long car ride with Erik one summer when I was touring colleges played out in my mind. He was DJing with his new iPod while I set the cruise control.

Two hours,” I’d said. “If we don’t hit any traffic.”
“You know what I like best about road trips?” Erik had asked.
“It’s like you’re in between things, like everything else doesn’t exist. Your past, your future, your problems. Poof. Gone. At least while you’re on the road.”

I turned to face Erik in our present, at the beach. “So you came here to tell me you loved me?”
Erik looked away, his lips drawn into a thin line. He shoved his hands in his pockets. “I know how this all seems. It’s selfish, right? But I.” His words caught in his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed. “I can’t stop thinking I’ll never see you again. I can’t…die…and not have told you, Anne. I don’t want to blow up or bleed out in a foreign desert and never have said the words to your face.”

I rubbed my forehead with a shaky hand. “You’re not going to die,” I whispered in a hoarse voice. 

But I didn’t believe my own words. He could. Die. I gazed up at his face with the five o’clock shadow, the too bright eyes, the muscle in his jaw flexing as he fought to control his emotions.

Contined in Installment 17...

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