Disclaimer: Contains adult content.
Special thanks to TSP for the wonderful editing she did on this story. Her attention to detail, and gentle encouragement made this story a joy to write.
All comments welcome @ email@example.com
When I was a child, I was always terrified of the dark. I hated the way the moon would illuminate ordinary things and make them glow eerily. My imagination ran amok, conjuring up images of monsters hiding under my bed and in my closet. When the fear became too great, I'd hop into bed with my little sister. The little brat would be sound asleep without a care in the world until I would shove her over to make room for myself.
Small angry green eyes would glare at me. "Erin, why are you in my bed? You have your own." She would whine.
"I think there might be monsters under mine." I would reply gruffly to intimidate her into not turning me away.
"I'm smaller than you are. How am I going to protect you from a monster?"
"When the monster comes out from under my bed, I'll shove you toward him, and while he is eating you, I will run to mom and dad's room." Kid logic can be brutal.
* * *
Lying in a strange bed in a lonely hotel room, I am tempted to call my little sister in the middle of the night and wake her up for old time's sake. Instead of being angry, she would be worried, and that would take all the fun out of it. Nope, I'd have to wait for a decent hour to tease and piss her off --something I still enjoyed doing. Often.
I suppose if I were an avid traveler, this wouldn't feel so awkward. If I were away on a business trip or vacation, it might be a little easier to be in this strange place all on my own. Instead, I'm a thirty-seven-year-old runaway. I saved up my cash, packed a bag and ran away from my home town and a six-year relationship that should have been over five years and eleven months ago. I had put this off for a long time, afraid of being by myself, afraid of stepping off into the unknown, but what scared me the most was sitting back and doing nothing.
I told all of my friends at work that I always wanted to visit the West Coast, just in case my ex decided to hunt me down. On the day I liberated myself, I went east like a bullet. I left her a note just so she would know that I had not been abducted, and then I left -- as simple as that.
I had managed to save up enough money to support myself for a year, but the compulsion to look for a job and regain some sort of structure in my life was overwhelming. I guess that is why I'm lying here staring at the ceiling instead of sleeping peacefully. When daylight made its way across the eastern sky, no doubt I would be on the move.
I struck out early and met with my new landlord, acquiring a small garage apartment. Fortunately, things are more relaxed in the Florida Keys, and he did not ask for a credit card to secure it. I didn't want to give away any hints of my whereabouts. With that task complete, I was intent on shopping for my new abode, when a delightful smell wafted past on the breeze.
I lifted my nose into the air and followed the scent like a bloodhound to a little bar overlooking the beach. I had no idea what was cooking, but I was going to get myself a big plate of it. Except for a few patrons dressed just like me in shorts and T-shirts, the bar was nearly empty. I sat down and waited patiently for the bartender to pay me a visit.
My former job had been hectic, filled with mounds of paperwork and a never-ending stream of phone calls. I wondered what it would be like to work in a place like this. With a little training, I figured I could adapt to serving drinks and food. I'd meet new people and make a little money on the side until I could find something that would sustain me when my funds ran dry.
I had turned completely around on my barstool as I studied the interior, when a smooth low voice called for my attention. "What can I get you?"
I turned back and felt the blood drain into my feet as my eyes settled on the bartender. She was average height, sporting a red ball cap with a long brown ponytail hanging out the back. Big brown eyes peeked out from under the bill, and her full lips lifted in a half grin as she waited for me to stop drooling on the bar and order my drink.
"Um ... I'd like a Coke and whatever that is that smells so good." I said trying not to make a complete fool out of myself.
Her grin grew larger as she reached under the bar and produced a glass. "You smell the house special; it's an opened faced roast beef sandwich with sautéed onions."
She slid the glass over to me, and I took a sip to ease my thirst before attempting to speak again. "Well then, I'd like the house special."
"You want that with the onions, I presume?"
"Yep, I'm not kissing anyone anytime soon, so I might as well."
She grinned at me again and made her way to the kitchen before tossing over her shoulder, "Well, that's a shame."
I silently applauded the way I had skillfully dropped in that I was single. I suppose most people who had come out of a bad long-term relationship would not be interested in pursuing another, but I had really been alone for years and was looking forward to loving and being cherished by someone. Of course, I had not taken into account that she might have someone special. I was feeling a little daring and was willing to hop on this train and see where it went, so I put in to play my best seduction skills as she approached me with the food.
The house special was wonderful, and the company was even better. She stood on her side of the bar and chatted with me while I ate. She said something especially cute, and I gave her one of my widest smiles. It was then I glanced into the mirror behind the bar and saw a big piece of onion on my front tooth. It was going to be a long recovery from that little display.
"So, are you new to the area or just passing through?" She asked as she wiped the bar down.
"Actually, I just moved here." I began to debate internally how much I should tell her. While the debate raged on, she asked more questions in rapid succession, and when she paused, waiting for an answer, I realized I hadn't heard a thing she said. With all of my seduction skills in force, I came up with the ultimate reply. "Huh?"
She just chuckled and sauntered off to tend to the rest of her customers. I felt like such a moron that I debated slamming my head down on the bar. Instead, I slapped my forehead with my hand that still held my fork and slung a healthy pile of onions and beef across the floor. "That just cinches it! I'm an idiot!" I hissed under my breath.
"I wouldn't say that." She said, standing to my left with an ear-to-ear grin. "You just seem a little out of sorts. I know this is a little forward, but I'm going out to the driving range this afternoon, and I was wondering if you'd like to join me. It always helps to clear my mind when I beat the hell out of those little balls. My name is Susan by the way." She spoke quickly and smiled shyly awaiting my answer. Of course, I said yes.
We stood on the range with the gentle breeze whipping around us. She had on a pair of shorts with balls stuck in both front pockets. I wanted to make a ton of jokes but refrained.
"Stop looking at my balls." She said with an evil grin as my face began to color. "Have you ever played golf before?"
"Nope, I'm a virgin, so be gentle." I replied with a smile as she handed me a golf club.
"All we are going to be doing out here is hitting these balls as far as we can." She bent down and placed a ball on the tee. And hell yes, I took full advantage and imprinted the image of her backside in my memory bank.
"This ball's name is Melvin; know why?" She asked as she prepared to take a crack at it.
"You like to name inanimate objects? Do you have imaginary friends, too?" I shrugged my shoulders as she glanced back at me.
"Melvin is the asshole who overcharged me for the repairs he did on my car last week, so now he gets an ass whipping." She swung the club like a pro and sent Melvin to the great beyond.
When it was my turn, I took the club and stood over my victim sitting helplessly on the tee. "This little guy's name will be "Special." I proclaimed as I prepared to take a crack at him. "I named him Special because the lunch I had is burning a hole in my chest." She giggled behind me as I missed the ball three times.
"You've played softball, haven't you?" She asked as she moved closer behind me and wrapped her hands over mine.
"How'd you guess?" I nearly squeaked as her body pressed against me.
"Because you're holding the club like a bat and swinging it like one." She repositioned my grip and explained that the club goes overhead in a wide arc. After a few tries, I finally managed to hit the ball, and it went sailing into the air to the left of us and hit a guy riding by on a bike. He gave me a one-finger salute as he peddled on.
"Oh look, he says you're number one!" She said with a chuckle as she gave him an apologetic wave.
I was really enjoying her company, so when she invited me to her place for dinner, I happily accepted. There was no way I was going to show her my new apartment. I'd gone on a shopping spree, and boxes, bags and junk littered every square inch. I was certain that when I began to sort through all that stuff, I'd find the lost city of Atlantis, the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot.
My heart sank when we entered her small beachside cottage. Everything was in order, and the floors looked as though you could eat off of them. This was something we definitely did not have in common. She opened all the blinds facing the water, letting the afternoon sun pour in. Then she switched on her stereo, and the sounds of Sarah McLachlan filled the room. I found myself entranced by the atmosphere.
I'd insisted on buying the steaks we picked up since she took care of my tab for lunch. She prepared them for the grill while I made the salads. I poured us both a glass of wine and followed her through the French doors that led to her deck. The evening was mild and breezy, and after one glass of wine, I silently begged for it not to end as the sun sank into the horizon.
We sat on her sofa talking while Sarah's smooth voice crooned, "Your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else that I've tried," in the background. The evening was perfect. I noticed a familiar look in her eye, and before she got any ideas about kissing me, I had to get the taste of onions out of my mouth that was still hanging around since lunch. I excused myself and stepped into her tidy little bathroom praying there would be mouthwash.
When I returned, she was still sitting on the sofa staring out at the night sky. We were both relaxed from the wine and dinner, and I sensed that things were going to get a bit more personal. My hands started to sweat, and my heart rate had already skyrocketed before I ever sat next to her. She was going to have to make the first move, and if she did, I would welcome it in a heartbeat.
We sat for a while talking and laughing. I felt comfortable with her, and I think she felt the same with me. She admitted that she had been dumped six months ago by her girlfriend of three years. I was too afraid to tell her that I had left mine in the middle of the night a week ago. She'd lived here all her life and had no desire to live anywhere else. I could certainly understand why, still seeing the sunset in my mind's eye.
Without a word, she leaned over and brushed her lips gently against mine. I relaxed and simply enjoyed the tenderness of the kiss. She pulled back from me and looked into my eyes for just a moment and kissed me again. I ran my fingers softly across her neck as her tongue slipped across my bottom lip.
I pulled the rubber band from her hair and tugged the red ball cap from her head as her hair fell in dark waves across her shoulders and back. Her eyes darted away from mine. "Do you want to stop Erin?" She asked, her voice barely a whisper.
This was the moment of no return. For a second, I wondered if all I could expect from her was just this night. So many questions and doubts swirled in my head. The night was perfect, the atmosphere was perfect as I watched the flames of the candles she had lit flickering against the night. She was perfect in my eyes, so I answered honestly. "No, I don't want to stop."
She smiled as she stroked the hair from my eyes. The next CD began to play, and I recognized Loreena McKennitt as the "Mummers Dance" began to play. I was helpless against the mood she'd set and went willingly as she lay me back on the couch and covered my body with her own.
As it had been in the past, there was no rush with her. She took her time covering my face and neck with soft kisses. I wove my fingers through her dark hair in awe of its softness and thick rich texture. I could have been content to do that all night had she let me.
Fascinated by the softness of her skin, I allowed my hands to roam over her face and neck. When I found the courage, I slipped them under her shirt and luxuriated in the warmth of her stomach and back, barely aware that she was undressing me at the same time. Craving the feel of her skin against mine, I tugged the shirt over her head and pulled her close to me. The passion in her kisses matched my own, and we spent what seemed like forever reveling in the taste and feel of each one.
"I want this to be perfect." She said as she got up and pulled a blanket from the back of the couch and spread it in front of the fireplace lit only by candles. She took my hand and coaxed me down on the floor where she continued to undress me and shower me with kisses. Unhindered by clothing, our bodies met again, and the heat felt like nothing I had ever experienced.
Lost in a sea of sensation, I watched as she kissed a trail down my body. She laced her fingers through mine as she used her tongue to bring me to places I had heard of but never believed were real. I lay exhausted and weak as she crawled back and lay beside me on her side, drawing lazy circles on my sweat-covered stomach. Looking up at her, I had never felt so compelled to lovingly touch someone in my entire life.
I gently pushed her down onto her back and began to explore every inch of her skin. I watched her eyelids flutter shut as I ran my fingertips over her breasts. The feel of them under my fingers did not compare to the way they felt under my mouth. I hated to pull away, but there was so much of her I wanted to know.
I kissed her stomach, running my face and hair over the soft skin, reveling in the feel. Her breathing increased as I made my way lower, and I realized that I was matching her breath for breath. The scent and taste of her made me want to stay there forever, but when she pleaded with me, I brought her to the release that I hoped made her feel the way she made me.
* * *
I opened my eyes, feeling the crisp linen sheets against my face and the weight of the heavy comforter across the bed. I watched as the snow blew against the window and the way the moonlight filled our bedroom, reflecting off of the band on my left ring finger, its mate on the hand that held me possessively in sleep. In the darkness, I smiled sadly, thinking my little sister could not save me from this monster.
I closed my eyes and started over, picturing myself in a hotel room where warm tropical breezes filled my senses and took me to the woman I'd only dreamed of. I would imagine again how we would first meet and the magical evening that we would share. I close my eyes again and smile, once again running away in the night.
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