He was gone again, chasing his dream. Another four months on the road playing in smoky bars and clubs in front of nameless faces. Singing his bluesy-country mix in that deep whiskey siren voice that always called me back no matter how long the separation. I grudgingly rolled out of bed and reached for his worn flannel shirt, deeply inhaling and savoring the lingering scent of his cologne and sweat. I closed my eyes and imagined him on stage, playing his guitar as sweetly and gently as if it was my body, singing words written for me but shared with strangers, and I felt a pang of jealousy. I wondered if there would ever be a day when I had him all to myself. If he would ever stop searching for the adoring, screaming masses and be content with just one hopelessly devoted fan.
I didn’t want to go to the party. I knew I would run into him and I knew he would bring her. My replacement. How could he move on so soon when I still hadn’t filled his side of the closet?
You were my world. The sun rose and fell on you. My eyes reflected the goodness and the light that I saw in you. You were everything to me. And I was just an afterthought to you. It was simple. You didn’t love me the way that I loved you. In fact, you didn’t love me at all.
A Gods of P B & J Story
Hiding behind a bush, I felt my knee joints stiffen in the crisp late March air. I had somehow gotten roped into an early (annoyingly early) Saturday morning game of hide-and-seek with my children, Noah and Hannah, and my bestie Adam and his daughter Katie. Adam and I had forged a platonic bond since my ex-husband practically disappeared from our lives and Adam stepped in to guide me through the early stages of single parenthood, being a widow himself. The five of us spent a lot of free time together. Which I didn’t generally consider a bad thing. Adam was quite unaware of his attractiveness. All the moms in Noah and Katie’s kindergarten class admired his broad shoulders, his muscular build, his Romanesque features, his perpetually tousled, slightly longish brown hair, his chocolate colored eyes framed by thick, dark lashes. These were things I, of course, had never fallen victim to, being besties and all. I mean – awkward, right?
A cascade of water droplets from an overhanging tree branch rained down on my purple and grey beanie and broke me from my thoughts. “Gotcha mommy. This was so easy. You’re it!” Noah danced around while his animated voice rang out, calling everyone else from their hiding spots. I stood slowly, stretching my groaning muscles. Apparently, every single part of my body was in open rebellion because my first morning cup of coffee was still sitting on the kitchen counter, likely cold and the cream congealed. I silently mourned the loss of caffeine. The gods of peanut butter and jelly were clearly not smiling on me today.
We all gathered around the large oak tree in the middle of the park – base camp. Noah continued his dance, pleased with himself for getting the jump on me. I let him have his victory, telling him what a good hunter he would make. “You know kid, you could be an FBI agent. Track down the bad guys, find their hiding places. You’re a natural.” I playfully ruffled his hair and he beamed a bright smile at me. “Okay, I’m it. Everyone find a place to hide. And this is the last round. Then we go for breakfast.” Cheers erupted from the girls, who were already bored after the first round.
I closed my eyes, leaned into the tree and began to count. “One, two three.” I could hear footsteps scurrying away from me. There was no use in trying to figure out where the sounds led. Without my morning dose of caffeine, my mind was in a fog so concentration was pointless. “Four, five.” I let out a deep sigh and rested my forehead against the tree, wishing I was back in my warm bed, snuggled under the comforter. I loved my kids with all my heart but this single parenting gig was taking its toll. Doing it all, all the time, alone – that wasn’t in my life plan. “Six, seven.” Adam had been kind enough to watch my kids a couple of nights to give me some ‘me time’. Still, it wasn’t so much about having time to myself as having only myself to lean on. Well, except for my bestie. But I couldn’t impose on him forever.
“Eight, nine.” I jumped when I felt strong hands grasp my sides. I turned and, in one smooth movement I found myself encircled in Adam’s arms. “Shhh.” He put his finger to my lips and grinned then bent his head down and softly kissed me. My immediate reaction was to freeze. No wait, wrong game, this was hide-and-seek. Wait, this wasn’t a game. Was he serious? His lips felt warm and soft against mine, pressing gently with no sense of urgency. He was serious. I relaxed into it and my lips parted slightly, allowing the kiss to deepen. I let out a soft moan and felt a crimson blush creep over my face, which thankfully he couldn’t see since he was kissing me. I’m not certain how, but my hands ended up resting against his chest and for just a moment everything in the universe felt right. For just a moment.
“Mommy, you gotta count all the way to ten.” Noah’s voice called out from his hiding spot. Adam and I tried to fight the laughter. He kissed me again. “I’ll go hide. Come find me.” He winked and trotted away. I closed my eyes, silently thanking and cursing the gods of peanut butter and jelly. I wasn’t sure what kind of trouble they had just gotten me into but I was certain I was in for a wild ride.
Writing frees me, not being able to write confines me. The simple act of putting words to paper, feelings strung together in letters and phrases, is a catharsis that I’ve grown accustomed to. When I go too long without being able to write I feel the weight of my emotions from deep inside, crushing my heart and soul. The quandary is that often times, it’s the same emotions that keep me from writing.
He came into my life like a soft spring rain, calm, refreshing, a new beginning of sorts – and left with the force of a late summer hurricane, strong, deadly, leaving nothing but devastation in his wake.
I thought love was a marathon.
He looked at it more as a sprint.
Is it any wonder we never crossed the finish line together.
The way you looked at me, it was as if you could see into my soul. When you touched me I felt shock waves travel through my skin. It was both exhilarating and terrifying to allow someone to get so close. Loving you was such exquisite torture.
I stood against the wall holding a glass of wine in my right hand, my left hand resting between the wall and the small of my back. My legs were crossed at the ankles and now I wish I’d been brave enough to wear the three-inch raspberry heels that would have set-off the silver scoop neck dress I wore to the fundraiser. Staring across the room I saw him, my kryptonite, Alexander Jenkins. No matter. To him I was unseen. A fly on the wall so to speak. After a very casual encounter eight months earlier it was clear to me that I would only fall prey to his deadly charm and love-em-and-leave-em ways. Still, a girl must hope to be noticed, admired, desired. Even if there’s a snowball’s chance in hell it will lead anywhere.
I continued my unabashed visual assault on his perfect body. Jesus. It was as if Adonis himself had passed his genes along. His dark blonde hair was long enough to run his hands through – a subconscious habit that left him with tousled looking after-sex hair. Sapphire blue eyes that were no doubt plucked from the heavens. Perfect facial features that were the envy of every plastic surgeon on the Upper East Side. He had a rigorous pre-dawn work-out schedule that kept him looking more like a superhero and less like a business savant. My mouth did it’s half wolfish grin thing just when he turned and caught my eye and my heart skipped a beat.
He locked eyes with me, returning a devilish grin of his own, and strolled over to where I stood. “Victoria, you’re looking,” he took more than a moment to look me up then down then up again, “scrumptious.”
“It’s nice to see you too, Alex.” I tried to keep my voice even, sipped from my wine to steel my nerves.
“What are you doing standing here on the fringes? A gorgeous woman like you should be the very center of attention.” He took my hand and led me forward into the crowd. Whispering into my ear, he gave me shivers. “I’ve missed you darling. Eight months I’ve looked for you. You’re quite the mystery. Don’t think I’ll let you slip away that easily this time.” I smiled with a mixture of apprehension and gratitude.
The last few days I haven’t been capable of stringing together more than a few words, maybe a sentence at most. Every futile attempt has ended in a puddle of frustration. I struggle to find a story at every turn. So I give up today and look forward to tomorrow with hope that I will find my inspiration. Perhaps like a butterfly, if I give up the chase and just sit still, it will alight on my shoulder.
I’ll let the porch light shine just a few weeks more. Maybe he’ll return in the middle of the night. I won’t ask him where he’s been or why he left. I’ll take his hand and lead him to the bed and show him how much I’ve missed him.
An AU Dean Winchester Fanfiction
WARNING: Adult Content
Hannah saw the flashing red and blue lights in her rear-view mirror and cursed under her breath. Looking down at her dash she noted her speed was just under the posted 45 mph speed limit for the dark two lane road. “What the hell?” she thought as she slowed and pulled over to the gravel shoulder. Her heartbeat sped up. Taking one last glance in the rearview mirror she saw the door of the sheriff’s car behind her open and an imposing figure exit and stretch to his full height, a little over six feet tall.
There are infinite ways to love me.
But only one way to capture my heart.
“Where were you last night?” I heard his voice as I tip-toed across the living room floor in the early dawn hours. I thought I had been quiet when I came in the door at 5 am. I took off my red stilettos before I entered our apartment. The sun had yet to break the eastern horizon and his alarm wouldn’t sound for another 45 minutes. I thought I would be safely in bed by then. Until I heard his gravelly voice call out from across the darkened room.
I stalled for time, searching my mind for an excuse. “Can you be more specific?” Standing still where I had frozen when I first heard his voice, my heart raced with fear. I had come close to being caught before and the feeling had been exhilarating but this, this was something altogether terrifying.
“How much more specific shall I be?” His voice sounded calm on the surface, but I detected the razor’s edge on his words. “You went out with Margo and Jillian at 8 last night. It’s 5 am and you’re sneaking in the door holding your heels in your hands. You look like you don’t want to get caught. The question is, what have I caught you doing?”
My eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I could just make out his face with the moonlight through the window dancing off his profile. He was classically handsome, with short brown hair and green eyes. His face looked almost as if it had been carved of marble by one of the masters, but had enough flaws to make him human – relatable. The stubble on his face was amazingly sexy and, were it not for the circumstances, I might have crawled to him on my hands and knees and allowed him to take what he wanted.
This was a damn fine time to decide he was worth staying for. Lie or truth? Which would better work to my advantage? “Margo had way too many. I took her home and she was sick. Everywhere. I stayed to hold her head while she was sick, cleaned her up, tucked her in bed then cleaned her house.” I made a mental note to talk to Margo as soon as possible. Crossing the room, I knelt before him and stroked his thigh. “I took off my shoes because I didn’t want to wake you. I’m sorry if I worried you.” As I laid my head in his lap I closed my eyes, the flash of guilt tearing through me like a knife. I’d learned my lesson. This time.
I float on a sea of emotions. Untethered, anchorless, tossed about on the waves. Powerless, I ache for calm but only get caught in the swells. An endless swirling vortex from which there is no escape.
A Gods of P B & J Story
“Mommy, there’s water in the toilet.” Noah came running from the bathroom, crashing into my legs as I rounded the corner from the kitchen. “Of course there’s water, silly goat. There’s supposed to be water in the toilet.” I ruffled the short blonde hair on his head playfully.
“No, I mean LOTS of water. It’s going over the sides.”
No. No, no. This could not be happening. Not again. I ran full speed to the bathroom to see the toilet overflowing, water puddling on the tile floor and creeping perilously towards the doorway where the new wood floor started.
Think Kim, think. Trying not to panic I strained to think of what to do first. Normally I would yell for my husband. Except he had moved across the country with his colleague-slash-girlfriend, leaving me alone with our 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. Bastard. Okay Kim, focus. I bent down and gripped the shut-off valve. It was stuck so I grabbed a towel and put all my force into it, falling forward on my knees and soaking my last pair of clean jeans in the process. At least it moved and, thankfully, the water stopped spilling over the edge of the bowl.
I sighed a quick breath of relief before I realized the lake on the floor was millimeters from the wood floor. Reaching into the cabinet, I grabbed a stack of freshly washed towels and threw them at the advancing pool. Once I had used my supply of towels the bulk of the water was gone, leaving only a slick sheen glossing the tiles. Careful not to slip, I went to inspect the toilet. I was tempted to stop and call Adam.
Adam had been a godsend. His daughter Katie was in Noah’s kindergarten class and he was a widower. Having been unexpectedly thrust into single parenthood, Adam had stepped in and helped me navigate the rough waters early on. Several times I had thanked the gods of peanut butter and jelly for sending him my way. But it was time for me to stand on my own two feet so I fought the urge and peered into the swirling waters of the clogged toilet.
Luckily Noah hadn’t gone Number 2 so I could stomach what I saw. Which was water and toilet paper. A lot of toilet paper. An awful lot of toilet paper. Again. I looked down at the empty roll on the holder. Taking a deep breath, I counted to ten before I screamed his name. “Noah!” There was no response. “NOAH ALEXANDER PIERCE, you better get your butt in here now!”
His innocent angelic face peeked around the corner and he held up one hand as if to signal STOP. “Mommy, I can esplain.” I bit my lip to keep from laughing because he was kind of adorable but he had nearly destroyed my floors and my toilet so he wasn’t getting a pass. “Go get the plunger from my bathroom.”
“Um, about that mom.” Was he serious with this? Adorable would only take him so far. “Noah what did you do?”
He defiantly put his hands on his hips, a habit he had recently picked up from his older sister Hannah. “We were playing Avengers and I was Thor and I needed a hammer and my stupid cheap toy hammer that Kyle sent at Christmas broke so I took the plunger and then it broke when Ben turned into the Hulk and tore it apart.” I tried to keep up with his run-on sentence and didn’t know where to start – calling his father by his first name (Kyle), insulting his father’s choice of toys (which I secretly kind of enjoyed), taking the plunger without permission or ruining it without telling me.
Of course, this left me in quite a pickle. I had no plunger, but I had already consumed a glass – okay, maybe two glasses (a tad bit oversized) of wine that evening so I clearly couldn’t drive to the store to buy a new plunger. I was going to have to call someone. Shit. The gods of peanut butter and jelly hated me.
I picked up my cell phone and scrolled to his name. Adam. My finger hovered on the call button. I really didn’t have much of a choice. I counted the rings. One. Two. Maybe he wouldn’t answer. Three. Four. I could call Kelly’s husband. Five. I let out a breath of relief. “Hey Kim, what’s up.” Shit.
“Adam. Hi. I wasn’t sure you’d answer. I’m not bothering you am I? Are you busy?” As usual my mouth just kept making words. “I’m not busy. Is everything okay?” I could hear the warmth in his deep voice and a blush crept over my face. This wasn’t good. What had started as an innocent friendship with Adam showing me the ropes of single parenthood had evolved into spending more and more time together. I couldn’t deny his good looks, impeccable manners, respect for women, the way he smelled like he had just stepped out of the shower no matter what time of day it was, even when he was sweaty he smelled like soapy sweat. Stop Kim, focus.
“Um, well, the thing is, uh, Noah sort of stopped up the toilet and I went for the plunger only to discover that he also ruined that playing Avengers so I have a toilet full of water and toilet paper and God knows what else.” I was grateful he couldn’t see the crimson color that was covering my face and chest. “Um sorry, too much information.”
I heard a low chuckle. “It’s okay. I was going to order pizza for Katie and me. How about I bring a plunger. I’ll fix the toilet and you can call in a pizza delivery order. I like sausage with extra cheese.”
I was glad he couldn’t see my goofy teenager grin through the phone line. “Sounds good. And Adam . . . thanks.” I looked up and thanked the gods of peanut butter and jelly for coming through once again.
I was crossing Haight Street when I saw him. Sitting next to her in the café. A younger, blonder version of me. Their bodies were angled towards each other, heads bent, nearly touching. Her hand rested on his knee and he brushed her long tresses back as he whispered into her ear; something funny because her head fell back and she laughed. I was too far to hear but I imagined a melodious tinkling sound and a lightning bolt of jealousy shot through my heart.
I stood on the street corner for minutes, only partially hidden from his line of sight. As if I wanted to be caught. I wanted to stop, I wanted to walk away, but I couldn’t stop staring. It was like I was looking at myself ten years earlier. Sitting with him, in the same café, listening to the same whispers, and laughing. Most of all I remember the laughing. It doesn’t happen often to me anymore.
His hand closed on the front door knob. “I’m tired of fighting. It’s the same thing over and over. We never get past it.” Even though I knew his words were true, something in me still wanted to fight. I couldn’t let go of whatever stood between us.
He slowly opened the door and I felt the chill of the night air seep into the room. I turned my back in defiance, as if daring him. “If you walk out that door, don’t come back.” My voice wavered slightly with apprehension. The silence was killing me.
I slowly turned around and he was gone.