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.
“Erik.” I spoke into his mouth with a shaky breath. Breaking the kiss, I shook my head slowly from side to side. “We can’t do this.”
His hands wrapped around the back of my neck as he lowered his forehead to mine. “Yeah.” He sounded as out of breath as I felt. “We need to talk first.”
“No, we don’t.”
The water rushed up around us three inches deep and just as quickly drained away, leaving us buried a little deeper in our mess. Erik’s hands slid over my shoulders and goose bumps rose on my chest and breasts, a weird niggling in the pit of my stomach. Then his hands slid down until they rested on my breasts, my nipples peaking in a tingling ache. I grabbed for his hands with the intention of shoving them away, but instead, I held on.
“I should never have done that,” Erik whispered.
I flashed back on opening the van door to him on top of Gena, her legs wrapped around his waist, lots of skin. We all froze, them turning their heads to stare at me, mouths agape, me with the door in my hand, unable to make my body follow my commands to slam and run. I shouldn’t have felt so betrayed. I was engaged, right? So why had it felt like that?
“I didn’t mean—“
The anger raced over me as the next surge of surf enveloped us. “Don’t you even dare. You meant for me to find you. Why else did you do it in the van? You wanted to hurt me.” I flung his hands off and staggered to my feet. Halfway up, he drug me down, held me tight against his chest. “Please,” he whispered.
“Please. It's all I think about these days.” He shook his head, and I stopped struggling as my chest shook. “No. You’re all I think about. I'm so sorry.”
“No, no, no,” I whined in the back of my throat. “Don’t. Oh, don’t.”
His fingers dug into my back and I heard him take a stuttering breath. “Why didn’t I get it back then?”
“We were kids and you were…” I didn’t have the courage to finish the sentence.
“A dog. I was a dog.” Erik laughed in a bitter way, suddenly letting go and sitting back.
I didn’t lift my head because I didn’t want him to see the tears that were dribbling down my face. My mascara was probably running in ugly rivulets, but mostly, I didn’t want this scene to play out. Of all the fantasies I’d had about Erik and me, this was not even close to the way I had imagined it might happen. It. What was it? What did I want to happen?
My stomach churned and an icy spasm gripped my solar plexus. And before I could think what to do next, what to say to span the chasm yawning between us, he grabbed me, smashed his mouth over mine. He pulled me hard against him, mumbling my name, “Anne, Anne,” into my mouth.
He laid me back in the wet sand, one arm pinned above my head as if he were afraid I’d get way. He kissed my eyelid, my face, my neck. I reached up with my free hand, wanting to feel the stubble of his crew cut under my palms, run my hands over the back of his neck. The place where the hair cut ends and the thick, ropey muscles of the neck meet was always erotic to me. I don’t know why, except it felt like the epitome of maleness.
And it was Erik. He’d always been good-looking, but it was the long years of wanting between us that drove me in that moment. When his big hands pushed my wet t-shirt up and his fingers worked their way under my bra, I froze. My fingers dug into his shoulders in degrees until he backed off.
“I need to get up.” I pushed at his shoulders and he acquiesced.
Sitting up, my hands dropped to my low belly, holding back the spiraling ache. I looked away, down the dark beach, not seeing anything. The same doubts that had kept me from giving in all these years bombarded my addled brain: Erik was a great friend, but a terrible boyfriend. He was fun and kind, until he slept with you.
“Come on. Let’s walk some more.”
When I turned back to him, he was holding a hand out to me. I regarded it for a moment, wondering what he was offering me. Erik had been a great friend, until he wasn’t. He’d always been there for me over the years, when Dan and I split, when my grandfather died, when I graduated from college. He was the only person who made it to my graduation, driving through the snow and ice storm, finding his way to me even when the highway was closed down. Not even my folks made it. Erik had.
I grasped his wrist and allowed him to hoist me to my unsteady feet. I was recovering from my tears, the heavy, wasted feeling lifting some. My flip-flops had come off during our make out session and must have been whisked away by the tide, because I couldn’t find them anywhere. Erik helped me look for a few minutes, but shrugged.
“They weren’t special, were they?”
“No, just an old pair I had laying around.”
Erik hesitated, but then took my hand. “I’ll replace them. I’m sorry.”
I shook my head and waved my other hand as we started walking. “No biggie.”
He squeezed my hand. “I’ll buy you new ones.”
I looked up at him, momentarily taken aback by the tone of his voice. He was so serious; I wasn’t sure what to make of it…or him, for that matter. Erik was the good-time guy, always joking, laughing, fending off the fights and never taking anything too serious. But he’d known exactly what he was doing when he hooked up with Gina last summer.
He and I were supposed to sleep off the partying in his van that morning and head for his dad’s hunting cabin on the lake later that day. We were meeting his cousins and their crew for an overnighter before I headed back to the city and to Jack. Needless to say, that never happened. I got a ride with another friend to my parents’ place, slept off the hangover and the hurt, and drove away with the intention of never talking to him or Gena again.
“Why didn’t you ever call Gena…after?” he asked.