05 May 2008

Untitled, Part One

Part one of my short story. I will label it--the only labeled post--as Untitled for easy perusal if you miss it before the new installment falls off the page. Comments always welcome. Enjoy.

"How are you doing today?"
"Fine, I guess. It's just hard."
"Harder than last week?"
"Yes."
"How so?"
"He would have been twenty-five today."
"Do you want to talk about him today? You've been avoiding him since our fist meeting."
"Yes. I think I'm ready. Where should I start?"
"How about from when it began."
"What, our full relationship? That's quite a lot of reminiscing. I don't know that I can face those memories yet."
"How about when the romantic part started?"
"Oh. That's easier, I guess."


"Surprise!" the crowd cheered as Mom and I came through the door. The banquet room was filled with family, friends, and co-workers to celebrate my mom's life. Not only did she turn fifty-eight, she was sporting a shiny new head and a handcarved cane to support her frail frame, tired from chemo.

Dad came over and escorted Mom slowly to her place at the head of the table. Like a ghost, Devon glided up next to me on the heavily carpeted floor, his shoes making no noise. I jumped when he whispered in my ear.

"Did you get it?" he asked. I reached into my bag and tapped a small plastic box. Since Mom and Dad had missed a milestone anniversary last month due to chemo, the group had collected enough money for the two of them to go to the coast for a weekend, all-expenses paid. I was holding the reservation for the hotel, the rental car, the spending money, and the name of a nurse living in the area who knew my Mom and her condition well.

"They're going to be so surprised," I said. "Where are we sitting?"

He gestured to a table nearby that was empty, save for my sister and her boyfriend. "Where's Heidi?" I asked, confused. Devon and Heidi were getting married in a few months, and she said she'd be here tonight. She was practically family.

Devon's eyes clouded over and a tight smile replaced the broad grin he was wearing. "We'll talk about it later," he said, clearly upset.

As the night wore on, the crowd thinned out. We presented the gift to my parents, whi cried and smiled and thanked everyone copiously. After dessert was served, the dj began to play some music--the birthday party was quickly turning into a wedding reception. I was on my fourth glass of champagne when Devon gestured for me to follow him out into the lobby. We found a bench in a quiet corner, shielded by a row of ornamental plants and tucked into a small alcove away from prying eyes and the party going on inside.

"She left me," Devon said. "She told me that she didn't think I was in love with her anymore." He took a swig of his beer, his eyes bleary. If he wasn't drunk now, he was getting there quickly.

"But-but that's crazy, Dev!" I grabbed his hand in sympathy.

"No, it's not." He looked at me. "She even told me who I was in love with."

"Did you tell her she was wrong?"

"No."

"No? Why not? She is, isn't she?"

"I don't think she is."

I leaned back against the wall heavily, my swimming head trying to digest this. Devon was staring out over the half-deserted lobby, my hand still in his. His calloused thumb made small swirls along the ridge of my knuckles absently.

"She said she's known for years, that she thought I would get it out of my system. She thought I had when I proposed."

"I would think she would have realized you do love her completely."

"Actually, quite the opposite. I kept calling her by the wrong name when we'd get into arguments over little shit planning this wedding--name tags, place cards. That's when I realized she was right."

"So, Devon, who is it?"

"Andy, you don't know? It's you." Devon finally made eye contact with me as he leaned over and kissed me softly. All the years of me fighting to not see him as a potential love were lost in that second. I kissed him back, fiercely, the emotions I'd held in check for years bursting forth and overriding all common sense.

"Devon," I breathed, almost in prayer. He kissed me again, harder, his lips claiming my mouth. It was my undoing.

Devon slid his hands up and along my arms, circling around to my back. His left hand found its way up my spine, where he cupped the back of my head and pulled me closer, twining my hair in his fingers. I couldn't think, couldn't breathe for wanting him. I slid my arms around his waist, pressing my body full-length against him. I heard the sharp intake of breath as my breasts grazed his chest, and felt a fire start in the pit of my stomach. I was acutely aware of my low cut dress and the thinness of his cotton dress shirt as he pulled me on to his lap. I reached up and pulled his head closer to mine, kissing him insistently, while his free hand began to roam along my waist, my thighs, my hips; finally, he cupped my behind in his hand. He gently pushed me closer and held me tighter in his lap until all I could breathe in was his cologne, feel his desire growing underneath the sheer fabric of my skirt. He began to stroke the base of my skull in the same swirls he had tattooed on my knuckles, and I ran my fingers through his thick black hair, pulling him closer to me as I writhed uncontrollably on his lap, feeling him growing harder with each slow circle. It was madness, it was torture, and I couldn't stop.

We sat there, locked in this dizzying embrace for what seemed like forever, kissing and exploring, when we heard a small cough from beside us. Disentangling his hand from my hair, we turned to see who had interrupted our tryst. My heart plummeted when I recognized the shortly cropped curly hair and the long, lithe runner's frame. Heidi.

I jumped to my feet, face hot with shame. Her eyes, stony and cold, gazed past me to Devon, who was sitting there, pale and silent. I brushed past Heidi silently, cheeks flaming,and headed toward the lobby bathroom. The door didn't even close when I heard the fight begin. I took my time fixing my dishelevled hair, touching up my makeup, and using the facilities. I was ashamed that I had let my emotions override my common sense. I stared into the mirror, angry with myself.

Devon is your best friend, I told myself, not a lover. Besides, he's just confused and lonely and Heidi and he will make it right. You have to leave in just a few weeks for your internship in Chicago. Let it go. Let him go.

I finished up, unable to linger in the bathroom any longer. Heidi and Devon were nowhere to be found, so I slipped back into the party, which was winding down. Mom was half-asleep in her chair as the guest of honor, while Dad was still hugging and thanking the well-wishers. I walked over to Mom and tapped her on the shoulder.

"Time to go, Mom," I said softly. She opened her weary eyes and smiled at me.

"So soon?"

"Yes, it's almost ten. I'll see you and Dad home, okay?" She took my hand and I led her to the van outside. Arranging her comfortably on the backseat, Mom began to doze, and I went back inside to settle the tab, sending Dad out to keep watch over Mom. My thoughts were full of Devon; had he left with Heidi? Had they reconciled? Did she accept his apologies of a drunken mistake? Did he use being drunk as an excuse? Whatever had happened, they were gone.

I slid into the van next to Dad, who pulled out on to the deserted street. His attempts at small talk dissolved as it began to rain, and I began to brood over what had happened again and again. Devon--he was all I could think about. I knew it was going to be a very long ride home.

"We're out of time, but I have a few questions."
"Umm, sure."
"You were unaware of his feelings toward you?"
"Yes."
"Was he aware of your feelings for him?"
"He knew I had a crush on him at one point, but it was years ago, like eighth grade. I had thought that I was over him as well."
"What happened when you got home and were alone?"
"I masturbated for the first time."
"The first time? You are 27, yes?"
"Yes. I was..well, I was a virgin, and I had always believed that it was a sin. I was saving myself."
"And that night?"
"All I could feel was him. I couldn't sleep until I had calmed that desire."
"We'll pick up there next week."

12 comments:

Lara said...

Oh wow. This could be a book. Awesome beginning.

Do you have other stories here too? If you write this well, I'd hate to think I missed them!

The Immoral Matriarch said...

Ohhhhh! Ohhh! I loved it! More!

Kimberly said...

That was so intense! Love the characterization...great pace to the plot. Could do with a bit more physical description to really bring it alive but the potential for this is huuuge!

loveyh said...

lara--thanks! No, nothing on the blog other than this....this story is making me crazy because I can't work on my other manuscript until I get this one calmed down.

maria--thank you! I'm still waiting for part three of yours, by the way...;)

kimberly--should be coming. I'm not a fan of decriptions laid out chapter one, page one, so I tend to shy away from them.

Kimberly said...

Good point, Lovey. Can sound a wee bit too contrived if you're not subtle with them. It's a hard area to find balance in.

holly said...

wow! clearly i need to pay more attention! holy cow! okay. on to the next, as i'm hooked.

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