DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters, though I wish I did. They would have a better life down at my place.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sara and Sofia moved to NYC, don't ask me why or how, they just did because I wanted them to.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Books can only reveal us to ourselves, and as often as they do us this service we lay them aside.
--Henry David Thoreau
When I saw her walking through the glass doors of the coffee shop I should have known. When her lips touched mine and left behind a desperate longing which I had kept hidden for years I should have known. When I left her apartment at dawn and she was still on my hands, on my lips and on my mind I should have known. But when I looked into your eyes and saw your love I knew that I had already forgotten.
It's been two years since the first time you let me sleep in your bed and it's been three since I fell in love with you. I knew you were perfect the night I told you about my insomnia and you listened, silently, and when I finished you simply touched my cheek and quoted Thoreau.
"I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark."
Those where his words over a hundred years ago and those were the words you whispered to me as the soft light of the summer morning began wafting in through the blinds. You held me then as you do now, but now you're asleep, lying next to me in the bed, your sheets rumpled around you but your arm having a firm grip on my waist. I know that I have hurt you, that I would hurt you if I told you why recently I've been withdrawn, gazing out at the trees while you're telling me about your day or what we have to buy when we'll get to the store. You've noticed my detachment but didn't protest, silently accepting my solitude as long as it was only in my head.
It was a lazy Thursday afternoon in late September and the last remnants of summer were still in the air. She ordered a large frappaccino and the entire time she was waiting in line, paying, moving over to the side in order to wait at the counter until the college boy behind it handed her the styrofoam cup, my eyes never left her body. I knew she was a cop before I even saw her face, her classy black leather jacket, black slacks, boots and auburn hair that was almost too short for my liking paired with the confidence with which she carried herself gave away her profession almost too easily. As she turned around, her dark brown eyes wandering over the tables looking for an empty spot, her gaze lingered on me for only a second, but its intensity bore into me like a burning ember, setting my insides on fire. My mind was frozen in shock.
Hastily averting my eyes I turned my head to the window and pretended to look outside even though every ounce of my being was focused on the woman inside. Still I jumped when suddenly she stood in front of me, smiling, and motioned with her hand to the empty seat at my table, asking me if I would mind her sitting down. I opened my lips but my mouth was parched, so I simply shook my head no. She nodded and loosened her scarf while pulling back the chair and sitting down. For an instant I wondered why she had bought cold coffee when she was already dressed for cooler days, but when I pulled my eyes away from her and let them drift over the rows on my right, noticing there were still a couple of perfectly unoccupied seats and tables, I wondered why she had asked me in the first place.
Brown eyes rested firmly on me when my gaze returned to her, silently answering the unasked question I still held in my mouth. Embarrassed like a kid caught with its hand in the cookie jar I let my head drop down, staring at the vapor emitting from the cup in front of me, and for a while we were sipping our drinks in quiet unison. Each time I looked up her gaze was still on me, heavy and intense. And each time I wanted to bail. Instead I remained in my seat, clutching my drink and praying that I was not as easily readable as I felt I was. I must have been though, for when she had finished her coffee and stood, right hand resting on the back of her chair, there was not even a hint of unease in her poise. The certainty in her voice when she asked if I wanted to come home with her stilled my doubts and banished my fears.
Her apartment was only a block away and even though I remember being chilled to the bone despite the remnants of late summer heat, I cannot recall what exactly happened before she pressed her lips to mine. Soft and almost chaste at first as if asking for permission, but women like her never ask and neither did she. Her lips left mine without warning and moving away from me she swiftly discarded her jacket on the couch before opening a door I could only guess led into her bedroom. Turning in the doorway, her hand still resting on the knob, she studied me for a moment, and it was only then that I noticed the holster slung on her hips. A faint smile grazed my lips at the confirmation of my previous assumption, when suddenly her mouth opened and my smile vanished as she spoke the words.
"What are you waiting for?"
Her voice was low and raspy, and I felt the hairs on my neck stand up and my knees grow weak. I would like to believe that I was waiting for you to call me on my phone, that I was waiting to hear your voice echo somewhere in my brain, telling me to stop and come home until it was too late. But I wasn't waiting for you and I didn't hear any voices except for hers and then I moved forward and when I reached the door she took my hand and led me to the bed. And if I hadn't been in love with you I would have fallen for her.
I was weak when I should have been strong and there is no taking back my mistakes. She was a cop just like Morgan, the woman I fell for in college, the first woman I ever kissed and the woman who opened my eyes to a world I had been blind to before. Being with her reminded me of my time with Morgan, and I wish I could tell you as much as myself that part of me needed closure and that this was the reason I went home with her that day. But I know it would be a lie and that I would be hiding when instead I should take full responsibility for the things that I have done. I craved the ravenous feeling of being alive, the deception that I could be anyone I wanted to be if I just tried hard enough. Untainted hopes and dreams which after college we forget, lay to rest amidst the losses of our childhood and teenage years which were careless and free.
Touching her brought back those feelings and I kissed her, letting my hands roam over her body, claiming her in ways I had only claimed your body before. When I kissed a soft trail up her inner thigh and felt her squirm I prayed the feeling would last. My brain was high on lust and passion, life was pulsing through my veins and the overall feeling of invigoration kept me going, kept me thrusting and licking, flicking my tongue over her softness and my fingers curling up inside. Her breathing increased as did mine, but when her hands were in my hair, clasping the back of my head and I felt the first waves of her orgasm approach, my feet grew cold and numbness started creeping up my legs, relentlessly making its way up my spine and into my arms until settling on my brain. Every time she came a part of me died.
It was already dark when I stepped outside, but the streets were still crowded as they were on any other day in New York City, and I let myself disappear into the masses of strangers, the constant flow of people steering me home. Once inside I locked the door behind me and took a deep breath, but the numbness wouldn't fade. I made my way into the bathroom, strewing my clothes around me as I walked, and stepped under the shower, flinching when the hot water scalded my skin. Trying to wash away the traces she had left on my body was easy, getting rid of her image in my head proved impossible. Still I tried, letting the water pelt down on my face, over my breasts and down my stomach, but when I closed my eyes and lifted my head up against the stream of heat her face was still there, sharp and clear.
When you met me the day after you commented on the redness underlying my face, but I didn't tell you about the water, about the memories I was still struggling to bury, nor did I tell you about the woman I had fucked the night before. I hid the conflict in my eyes behind a mask and you never asked again.
Two weeks later I ran into her on the street and followed her home without a word. She undressed me in front of the bed, pushed me down on the mattress and started kissing my stomach, but I stopped her before she had reached the rim of my panties. Grabbing her wrists I turned her over and on her back, surprised that she would even grant me that much power. I climbed on top of her, my legs resting firmly on each side of her hips, and bent down to kiss her. Her eyes fluttered shut as my lips touched hers, and I sank my hands into her hair.
Everything about her reminded me of women I had been with before and nothing reminded me of you. Where your blonde hair would graze my skin and hide the satisfied expression you always wore while making love, her cropped brown mess accentuated strong cheekbones and a prominent nose. Where your lips were small and smooth, hers were full and lush and matched my own almost perfectly. You were strong and toned in places that were soft on her, and when she came she screamed a name instead of the low and husky moans escaping your mouth. It wasn't my name flying from her lips but I didn't mind, if anything it reassured me that what we shared would have no repercussions and neither one of us was taking this for more than it was.
Nothing cured the numbness, though, which claimed my body every time, and nothing washed away the image of her face whenever I closed my eyes. When I came home I stood under the shower for almost an hour, and when you dropped by after work you saw the redness of my skin and the mask on my face but still you did not ask.
Our lives went on as though nothing had happened, and after a while the images grew blurry and your scent began to fill me up once more. I knew I wouldn't go home with her again the night we made love under a crystal clear sky and when you came your eyes flew open instead of shut and I saw myself amidst the stars inside your blue depths. She had reacquainted me with feelings I had long since forgotten, but in revisiting the past I realized that what I needed lay ahead and my place was here with you. I said a silent prayer and then I held you, my hand stroking your face, brushing away an errant strand of blonde hair, and I remembered a line from a book I once read.
"After the first blush of sin comes its indifference."
I must have said it out loud because you sleepily gazed at me and whispered 'Thoreau', and I smiled at you and nodded.
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