Whispers

Whispers

Aslan had been acting oddly for days, now.  It wasn’t like him to jump at every sound or to run out of rooms for seemingly no reason.  He was a very loving, lazy cat who enjoyed sunning himself and sleeping in warm, cozy areas.  Edie would usually find him curled up on her laptop or sprawled atop the refrigerator.  At eight years old he had little use for the typical kitten-like mischief, which made his behavior that much more strange.  Edie doubted it was the move to the new house, as she was a military brat and he had been with her through three long distance moves with no issues.

Edie Moss had just finished her senior year of high school when she decided that she and Aslan were going to move to Oregon, where she would work to get her photography business up and running.  Her father was stationed in Washington, and her family had taken many trips down to Oregon for vacations.  It was on one particular trip to see Thor’s Well, that she had fallen in love with the area.  Three years later saw her settling into a small one bedroom, one bathroom house with a basement that would easily convert to a darkroom.  It wasn’t much, but it was hers, and she loved it.  Aslan, however, had started acting skittish the moment they had walked in the door.  Edie tried to console him, but nothing seemed to bring him out of his funk.  Figuring that he would adjust sooner or later, Edie went about unpacking and making the space her own.

Edie jolted upright in her bed and threw her hand out towards the nightstand, searching desperately for her eyeglasses.  As soon as they were placed upon the bridge of her nose she looked around her bedroom, desperately searching for what could have startled her out of her sleep.  She was quite a deep sleeper and rarely had night terrors, so to wake up so abruptly, sweating and feeling jittery was a rather strange occurrence for Edie.  Seeing nothing, but feeling too alert to fall back to sleep, she untangled herself from her sheets and placed her feet on the ground.  Her eyes went wide and gooseflesh erupted down her arms as she felt cool air blow across her Achilles tendons.  Clenching her fists, she popped off the bed and knelt down to see Aslan crouching behind the bed skirt.   Edie chuckled at her apparent overreaction and pulled him towards her, cradling him to her chest.  He let out a quiet mew and bumped her nose with the crown of his head.  Edie smiled and turned just in time to see a dark shadow play against the bathroom door opposite her bedroom.  She squeezed Aslan tighter and took a deep breath, convincing herself that her eyes deceived her.  Obviously the nightmare had amped her adrenaline levels and it was slow to wear off.  Kissing the armful of fluff, she turned and made her way to the kitchen for a glass of water.  As she made it to the refrigerator, there was a creaking in the living room which caused Aslan to jump out of her arms and hide on top of the fridge.  Edie hissed as his back claws had dug in to the tender skin above her breasts whilst making his escape.  Noise forgotten due to the burning sensation, Edie flipped the light on to inspect her wounds.  If she had only looked up, she would have seen the shadowlike reflection of a tall, muscular man standing directly behind her.  She turned the water on and let it warm up a bit before grabbing a paper towel and getting it damp before touching it to the three bloody lacerations.  It stung a bit, but she figured it would do until she got her drink of water and was able to head to the bathroom to clean them out with soap and apply some salve.  Unable to get Aslan down from his hidey-hole, Edie grabbed her water and flipped the light off, still not catching the figure hovering behind her.

Edie and Aslan had been living in the home for just eight days, and it had been four days since she had been wounded.  The bleeding had stopped almost immediately, but Edie kept finding drops of blood in strange places.  She’d spotted them on her bathroom counter, her nightstand, the doorknob to the back yard and on top of her dining room table.  Each time she discovered more, she attentively checked Aslan over making absolutely sure he wasn’t wounded in anyway.  He never was, but he also had yet to relax in the home.  On that note, Edie had been pulled violently from sleep every night since the first incident.  The nerves were starting to take their toll on her, with her imagining more and more often she was seeing things in her peripheral vision.

It was much too late at night for her to be up and working in her darkroom, but she couldn’t help but push herself to finish this project.  Edie knew when she took these photos that they would be gorgeous and that her family would love to see Aslan in all his glory in front of the beautiful view she had from the bay window situated in her living room.  She set the timer on her watch to alert her when she needed to take the photos out of the developer and started to ascend the stairs to the kitchen.  Her hand was shaking as she attempted to pour the coffee into her red mug.  She was hearing them again.  The whispers.   She couldn’t make out what was being said, but it was terribly unsettling.  She rubbed her eyes and sighed, then cried out as her knuckles brushed against the hot pot of coffee she was settling back over the hot plate.  She glanced down and was hardly surprised to see the skin was an angry red, already preparing to blister.  Another sigh left her lips as she turned to run them under cold water, hoping to lessen the swelling and soothe the burn.

After quickly applying some burn cream to her newest injuries, Edie rushed down the stairs into the basement and shut herself away in the dark room.  Something felt off, but she shook the feeling off and got busy finishing up the developing process.  She didn’t take more than a quick peek at the wet photographs as she clipped them up to dry, barely able to keep her eyes open.  All she wanted at that moment was to crawl up the stairs and into her bed.  Hopefully she would have a cuddle partner, if only she could convince Aslan to stop hiding under the bed.  She hit the lights and, once again, trudged up the stairs, calling for her furry companion on her way to the bedroom.

Edie woke up feeling exhausted, but excited for her day.  It was lovely out and it would be perfect to drive down and get some shots of Thor’s Well.  She was hoping she might get the perfect shot to turn into a postcard or something that she could sell to eager tourists.  As she prepared for the day she noticed that Aslan was looking disheveled.  Her tiny lion was just not himself.  She resolved to make an appointment for him to be seen just as soon as she got home from her outing.  With a behind-the-ears scratch and a kiss to the head, Edie was out the door and driving down the coast.  She didn’t notice the blood spatter on the floor beside the couch before she left.

Arriving home Edie was practically vibrating with excitement at the day she had just had.  She had been able to capture some absolutely incredible photos and even handed out her business card to a few people who had stopped to chat with her.  She walked into her home and locked the door while calling out for Aslan, hoping to see him back to himself but was once again disappointed and concerned.  He didn’t look any better than he had that morning, and in fact seemed worse.  She scooped him up and gave him a cuddle, then went to contact the local veterinarian to schedule an appointment for the next day.  Once that was complete, she noted the time and figured she would eat and feed Aslan before heading down to the dark room to start developing the pictures from today and look over the ones she had developed the day before.

She cleaned up after herself and rinsed Aslan’s dishes out, ignoring the now familiar sensation of gooseflesh as it seemed to be a constant when in her new home.  Once she made it into the darkroom, she set her camera down and went over to the photo line.  She pulled the pictures down, one by one, until she had them stacked neatly in her arms and took them over to her little table to give them a proper look over.  Edie’s wide smile dimmed as she caught a strange figure and face in the photos that most certainly shouldn’t have been there.  The more she looked through, the more she started to hear the whispers; to understand what was being said.  She looked up from the now disorganized pile of photographs and stared at the corner of the room where a tall, muscular man was standing.  Their eyes locked as he continued to whisper things to her and tears of blood ran down her face.  She could faintly hear Aslan scratching at the basement door.

Whispers: Dorothy’s Story

Dorothy had lived in Yachats, Oregon for most of her life.  At 68 years of age, that was saying quite a bit.  She’d seen things change and people come and go often.  The small house at the end of her road was one that had seen quite a bit of traffic.  As a young girl, she remembered the house as being warm and inviting.  The elderly couple that lived there were always kind and she often went there after school for piano lessons and warm oatmeal cookies.  Mr. and Mrs. Walker had two children that had moved out long ago, and had their own families.  Dorothy remembered the day she met their eldest son, Geoffrey.  She had never seen the man before, but he looked quite a bit like his father.  Tall and muscular, he was a handsome man, if a bit stern looking.  She approached the house for her lessons, but was told that the elder Walkers had passed away in their sleep over the weekend.  Dorothy was distraught.  They had seemed so lively just the week before when she had seen them last.  She was slightly consoled by the knowledge that they went together and peacefully, though.

It wasn’t long after his parents had passed that Geoffrey and his wife, Margaret, moved into the home.  Dorothy hadn’t been back inside the Walker’s home since the wake.  She noted how cold and uninviting it felt, but had attributed that to the death of people she had considered friends.  Walking to her home from school, she could sometimes see Margaret standing and gazing out the window.  For some reason, this made Dorothy very uncomfortable.  Something seemed off about the couple, but she could never place what it was.  Maybe it was due to her age, or the fact that she grew up in a loving household, but others in the neighborhood knew what was going on.  She heard snippets of her parents talking quietly or the whispers of her mother’s friends when they came over for their book club meetings.  She didn’t fully understand, though, until she woke up to her mother sobbing, crying about how awful it was.  Apparently Geoffrey wasn’t quite right in the head and had killed his wife in a brutal fashion, bleeding her through cuts all over body before finally slitting her throat with a hunting knife.  He wrote notes about the voices he heard in his head all along the walls and floor in her blood, before embedding the same hunting knife into his brain.

It took years, a dirt cheap price and a young couple from out of state for that house to eventually sell.  The couple didn’t move in straight away, but took the money they had saved in the sale price and used it to completely remodel the home.  Dorothy still didn’t want to get near the house, but was happy to see the change in it, as the reminders of the horror the house had seen seemed to fade a bit.  The couple had only been living in the newly updated home for a few weeks when they suddenly packed their things and posted the house for sale.  None of the townspeople knew for certain why the young couple did this, but there were plenty of rumors going around.

For thirty years, this house was bought and subsequently put back on the market.  Dorothy had lost count of the times the property changed hands, but remembered it was the early nineties when someone bought the place and turned it into a rental home.  After the first five tenants moved in and out within the first year, Dorothy could remember thinking that the owner was raking in fees from broken leases.

It wasn’t until about fifteen years later, when a young woman and her cat moved into the home that things seemed to change.  Edie seemed like such a sweet girl, coming over to introduce herself to Dorothy, telling her about herself and her photography.  Dorothy had even met Aslan, when Edie had seen her out in her front lawn tending her small garden.  Edie was a strong young woman, stubborn even, Dorothy could tell.  She wondered how long she would stay in the home before packing her things and her cat and leaving like all of the tenants before her had.

Dorothy was out in her garden when she saw Edie packing her camera gear into her car.  She waved as Edie drove off, and wondered what she would be photographing this time.  Dorothy took her time tending to her flowers and sweeping off her porch before she went inside to eat lunch and rest.  Just before closing her front door, her eyes went to Aslan in the bay window of the house down the street, and a chill went down her spine.  That had happened before, always right before the other tenants had moved out and she assumed she’d see Edie packing her things into her car for good tomorrow morning.

She had just finished washing her dishes from dinner when she saw Edie’s car pulling in to the driveway.  Dorothy had the thought to step outside and say something to Edie; say anything to her.  She stopped, however, as she realized that any warning she may have would probably just be taken as the crazy ramblings of an old woman.  No, Dorothy thought, better to just experience the strangeness and move on with life.  She spared one last look at the house at the end of the road and turned towards her bedroom to retire for the evening.

Dorothy’s eyes fluttered as the sun peeked between her blinds.  She had the oddest sense of foreboding, but shook it off to start her day.  She carried on with her typical tasks in typical fashion, but there was something not quite right about the day.  Dusk came and she realized that she hadn’t seen Edie leave the house all day.  While that wasn’t completely abnormal, she couldn’t help but be concerned about the sweet girl that lived in that strange house.  She glanced down the street, but didn’t see anything amiss.  Dorothy shook her head and closed the blinds.  If she didn’t hear anything from Edie before supper tomorrow, she promised herself that she would head over and take a look for herself.

Swatting at the covers and sitting upright, Dorothy awoke with her heart pounding and sweat running down the back of her neck.  Although she was unsure what had caused her night terror, or even what it was about, she vowed to head over to see Edie directly after breakfast.  Dorothy hopped into a cool shower and swiftly fixed a bowl of oatmeal.  She ate and washed up quickly, before heading out the door.  She hadn’t made it halfway to Edie’s house when she caught sight of a rather disheveled looking Aslan pawing madly at the bay window.  As disconcerting as that was, the red streaks left behind on the glass were more so.  Dorothy rushed to Edie’s front door and began to knock.  Receiving no response did nothing to settle Dorothy’s panic, and she began to beat heavily on the door while calling to the younger woman.  When she heard nothing but Aslan’s frantic mewling, she used the spare key that Edie had given her shortly after moving in.

The door creaked as it opened and Aslan rushed between Dorothy’s legs.  Bending down to try and soothe the agitated cat, Dorothy was alerted to the red stains covering his tawny coat.  She gasped and stood upright, once again calling out to Edie.  She heard nothing and started to become even more concerned.  Dorothy checked room to room and came up empty.  Aslan ran between her legs for the second time and then ran to the door leading down to Edie’s darkroom.  Realizing what the feline was trying to tell her, she slowly opened the basement door.

The stairway light wouldn’t come on, and it wasn’t until she stepped on broken glass halfway down the stairs did Dorothy realize why.  Somehow the bulb had exploded, leaving the staircase shrouded in an eerie darkness.  Once she finally reached the basement floor, Dorothy saw the red light flickering under the crack of the darkroom door.  She took a deep breath and approached the door, calling out to Edie.  When no response was heard, she twisted the handle and pushed the door inwards.  The sight that greeted her was one she would never forget.

There, sat at her reviewing table, was Edie.  The girl’s eyes were blown wide open and blood covered almost every pale inch of her face.  Dorothy couldn’t believe what she was seeing.  It was terrifying and her body was frozen with shock.  Blood was pooled around the chair Edie was sitting in, her clothing drenched in it.  There was so much blood, Dorothy thought, there was no way she was still alive.  She tremulously made her way towards the younger woman and gently laid her fingers on Edie’s neck to check for a pulse.  Although Edie was cool to the touch, Dorothy could detect a faint pulse and she immediately pulled her hand away.  As quickly as she could, Dorothy took off up the stairs and called 911.

Not more than fifteen minutes had passed between trying to describe the scene to the emergency operator and paramedics rushing into the house.  Dorothy couldn’t even bring herself to go back down to where she had found Edie.  She had scooped Aslan into her arms and sat, rocking herself back and forth on the couch.  When the paramedics and police had entered the house, she just lifted a shaking hand and pointed towards the basement door.  She tried her best to answer the questions the police asked her, but she really didn’t know much.  The only things she knew for certain was that there was no way in hell she was ever stepping foot in this house again and that she would never be able to erase what she had seen, no matter how desperately she would try.

Tales of a Smut Slinger

Phallus Frenzy

Portland, OR Summer of 2005

 

I’m surrounded by cocks.

 

Literally.

 

I’m on my knees, sweating in this poorly lit room, hands working in a frenzy. Just forty-five minutes more of this and you can go home and crack open a tall boy of PBR, I tell myself. That should get this awful taste out of my mouth. I give myself a mental shake and attempt to get my head back in the game. The lights flicker and I furrow my brow in agitation.

 

Seriously? How’s a girl supposed to work in these conditions? It’s hotter than sin back here and I can barely see a thing. One of these suckers is going to fly out of my hand and put my eye out! I envision myself in an eye patch and snort. The look I am given clearly says, “what the hell?” I ignore it.

 

The stench in this room is overwhelming, yet I push through it to finish my task. I’m exhausted by this point and it’s obvious. I’ve been at this for the last nine hours, and the enthusiasm with which I started my work day has long since faded. I got screwed out of my lunch break and I’m alarmed to notice I’m shaking a bit and it’s not due to incredible pleasure. I guess the protein I got earlier just wasn’t enough…go figure. The door swings open and I’m hit with a gust of cool air and the sounds of Peaches’ Fuck the Pain Away. The breeze feels incredible on my overheated skin and I let out a sigh.

 

“Alright, let’s wrap this up and head out for the day. I can’t take much more of this,” Dan says.

 

He’s only been here for three hours and all he’s done is walk around, barking orders at us. Orders that, honestly, make no sense. How the fuck did he get this job? Oh, that’s right…nepotism. Boinking the owner’s daughter obviously has its perks. It’s clear to the rest of us that Dan is a chest hair celebrating, gold chain wearing asshat who enjoys the sound of his own voice too much. He met the company owner’s daughter on the set of some cheesy disco bush porn in the mid-eighties and has been harassing lowly grunt workers, such as myself, ever since.

 

Sighing out of both frustration and relief, I toss the King Dong suction cup dildo down onto its rightful pile. My coworker and friend, B, glances over at me and smirks. Dick.

 

“What’s wrong, Bitsy? Got your hands full? Had a long, hard day?” He chuckles at his own penis puns.

 

“B…I love you, I do. But if you call me Bitsy one more time, I will gouge your fucking eyeball out with that new anal speculum in the case up front,” I tell him.

 

He winces slightly as I smile a crazy little smile. We work together to compile our inventory lists and sign off on them, checking behind the other. After a quick high five we exit the back room arm in arm, almost running right into Carlos, one of the janitors. I clue him in to the faulty air unit and the light bulbs that need replacing and he promises on get right on it. I give him a “good game” ass pat and continue on the way to freedom.

 

We’re so close to clocking out and grabbing those PBR tall boys I can almost taste it. That is until one of our regular customers stops to beg for us to impart our knowledge of his nasty little habit to our new coworker. She’s been here two days and half the time she looks close to tears. It probably doesn’t help when B and I run that one video of the guy taking two fists and a foot up his ass on loop behind the front counter.

 

Oh well, nothing phases us anymore.

 

I digress. This customer is a fan of amyl nitrite “poppers”. They smell fucking awful (that’s what caused the stench in the back room…a whole case exploded in the mini fridge) and cause terrible headaches, but apparently it makes his time in the glory hole seem that much more well… glorious. I quickly run through this information, including his favorite brands and clock out right before B and I are asked anything else. We grab our bags and our porn we’ve rented for our days off and hightail it out of the back exit.

 

“Fuuuuuuuuuuck. Please tell me your girlfriend is staying away tonight,” I pleaded.

 

Lisa’s a bitch who despises me for…actually I have no idea what her issue is with me. She hates the porn industry with a passion. Some sort of belief that every female involved in the business has some daddy issues or some such shit. I think she needs to fuck off, but what do I know?

 

“Yea, she’s at her place for the next few days.”

 

Oh thank fuck! I light up a smoke and step away from my friend. He’s sensitive about these things. Heaven forbid I smoke near him. The secondhand smoke may kill him off before his love for nitrous oxide whip-its do. Walking up the last few stairs to his studio apartment, I stub out my smoke and toss it in the cat shaped bin he leaves out for me. I haven’t made it completely through the door when I hear the DVD menu music for I :heart: Big Toys #8 playing and the distinct sound of two tall boys being cracked. This would be a good night.

 

 

Whisky Dick

Portland, OR Autumn of 2005

 

“Uh, Bitsy…what are you doing?”

“What does it look like, B?  I’m reorganizing the lube case.  We got a few new brands, and I want them front and center, you silly fucker.”

“No…no, I mean…I know that you’re fixing that up, but I was wondering more about the huge, sparkly red cock you’re…wearing.”

“Oh, you like it?”  I stood up and attempted to helicopter the massive dildo without knocking myself over.

“Uhh…”

“Yes? Is that a yes?  I think it looks great!  Look, it even matches my lipstick!”  I was really proud of myself.  It took a long time to get the right shade of red lipstick and then painstakingly glue glitter to my lips.  Now they looked like Dorothy’s slippers.

“Uhh…” Apparently speaking was not B’s strong suit today.  I walked over to him and planted my hands on my hips.  I was just about to question him on what he thought of my sweet dick, but I heard someone tap on the case that contained all of the Phallix blown glass dildos.  I loved selling these babies.  Not only were they beautiful, but they were so sanitary and they cost a shit ton of money.

“See anything you like?  If you have any questions about those pieces, feel free to ask me.  I have a lot of experience with those,” I told the couple that were perusing the hand blown works of art.  They smiled at me and started to look back at the case when they caught sight of my bobbing boner.  I watched their eyes widen and smiled.  They quickly looked back to the case, and I was a little bummed.  I mean, if they were going to look at my cock like that, doesn’t general courtesy demand you compliment it…or something?  Oh, well.

“One of the best things about these toys right here, is that they are made from medical grade borosilicate glass.  Basically that means that they are the most sanitary toys out there.  You can even stick it in the dishwasher when you’re done with it.  Freezer or boiling water for temperature play with no worries.  You could probably bludgeon a home intruder to death with no concern for breaking your Phallix.  I mean, I don’t recommend that, obviously.  That would be a little awkward next time you went to use it, but what I was getting at is that it’s incredibly strong.  You know your Pyrex baking dishes?  Yea, that’s borosilicate glass as well.”  I continued my spiel and they made their choices.  Lucky me, they bought two.  That always looks good on the sales reports.  I may not make commission at this store, but I had my pride to think of.  Today was just getting better and better.

“So, now that we’re alone again, what do you think of my cock, B?”  He just turned to me and sighed.

“It’s really…big…and red.”  He gives me a big, fake ass smile and two thumbs up.  I scowl and tell him where to shove those thumbs.  It’s not my fault he’s jealous of my dick.

“Seriously, though.  Isn’t it getting in the way, Bitsy?  I mean, how are you not knocking shit down with it?”

“Uh, B, should you be used to this issue?  How do you work every day without knocking things down with your peen?”  Seriously?  He asks me this?  I’ve never seen his, and don’t have the desire to, either, but his question has me concerned.

“No.  I do not have that issue.  First off, my cock is not almost a foot long and secondly, I wear pants.  Even if I did walk around with a boner of that magnitude, it would be contained in said pants.  Why are you even wearing your strap-on right now?”

“Why aren’t you wearing a strap-on right now?” Ask silly questions and I answer you with silly questions.  I have no time for this, I have lube to harmonize.  As I start to walk back to the case I catch B’s thunderstruck face. “Your face is going to stick like that, you know.”

“I am just dumbfounded by you sometimes.  You make my brain hurt.”

“Is that a compliment?” He makes me smile.

“Not particularly.  So, any new flavored lube?”  Of course this is what he asks.  His girlfriend has a strange obsession with fruit flavored fellatio.

“Yea, there’s apparently a whole line of cocktail flavors.  Hmm…here they are.  We’ve got ‘Cumming Cosmopolitan’, ‘Mai Tai Me Up’, and ‘Sex on the Beach’, look they didn’t have to alter that one at all!  The rest get progressively worse.  They should make a whisky flavored one and call it Whisky Dick.  I’d buy that.”  I would, too.  Hilarious and quite possibly delicious.

“Are you opening one of each as a tester?” Smart boy.  Some of these taste fucking horrible.  We tried one once that was supposedly ‘vanilla’.  We thought, vanilla is one of the least offensive flavors, right?  WRONG!  It tasted like a vanilla milkshake made with chunky, rotten milk.  So foul.

“Yea, I was going to wait until I’d finished, but if you let me know which you’re interested in I’ll hop on that now, I suppose.  So, choose wisely.”  I bet they all taste like shit.  Although, I don’t like those types of drinks for the most part.

“Hit me with the ‘Mai Tai Me Up’.  Those are Lisa’s favorites.  Maybe she’ll like this one.  Apparently she’s bored of all of the Good Head flavors, and apparently giving head without lube is a no-no.”

“I don’t get it.  If I wanted fruit, I’d eat a piece. If I wanted a drink, I’d mix one up and enjoy one. If I’m giving head, obviously I want to taste cock. Just tell her to assume the position and get the fuck over it.  I bet she is offended if you try to use flavored lube on her when you go down. Right?”  Hypocritical bitch.

“…yea.  But most of those flavors are gross anyway, so it doesn’t matter much.”

“It’s only good manners to treat someone how you’d like to be treated.  Like oral sex without faux flavoring.  Just saying…”

 

Soggy Kitty

Portland, OR   Winter 2006

 

“I love watching you suffer through this.  It makes no sense.  Is it really worth it?”

“Fuck you.”

“I mean, honestly.  You look ridiculous.  Are you a masochist? Oh wait, I already knew that.  But, seriously?”

“Fuck you, B.”  He’s really starting to piss me off.  I’d love to punch him straight in the throat…repeatedly.

“It’s nice and toasty in here.  I’d say it smells better, but we both know that I’d be lying.  At least I can feel my fingers, though,” he taunts.

Did I mention how much I’d love to punch him?  Too bad I can barely bend my arm to lift my smoke to my mouth with how bundled up I am.  I just scowl at him, but it’s unclear as to whether he can actually see it or not.  It may seem ridiculous to him that I put on fifteen layers to come out here and attempt to enjoy my five minute smoke break per hour, but I need it when dealing with the fuckery that abounds in this place.

“Come on Stay-Puft.  Let’s get you inside.”  He tugs on my arm and I just barely manage to hit the ashtray with my flying cigarette butt.  As the door closes and we near the emergency exit for the jack shacks, I hear a noise.  Not just any sound, but one that immediately sets my neck hair on end.  It’s one of those noises that signifies impending doom.  My feet stop moving forward and both B and I stumble, as he’s still holding on to me.

“What the hell, Bitsy? We need to get back to the counter before some shady fuckers come and steal all of our poppers and Extenze packets.”

“B, it is 3am.  There is no one in the store right now, and I heard something.  Something creepy,” I mutter.  I give him the big, watery “save me” eyes, and he hesitates.

“What did you hear?  As you said, no one is in the store with us.” Now he’s starting to look a little twitchy.  I don’t blame him, though.  I don’t want to deal with some scary ass porn store ghost, either.

“It was this eerie, wheezing type sound. It almost sounded like a tiny Darth Vader with emphysema, but,” I was interrupted by another noise.  This one was slightly louder, and I watched B’s eyes widen. “You heard it, didn’t you?”

“Uh-huh.  What the fuck was that?!” B looked terrified at this point. He raised his hand and pointed towards the potted plants that partially blocked the arcade’s emergency exit.  The overgrown…shrub…thing rustled and we clasped hands.

“We’re going to die, aren’t we? I’m too pretty to die, here, B,” I whimpered.  This was not how I was supposed to go out.  I was trembling by this point and I thought I might wet my pants, which would be both gross and eventually cold.  I didn’t have a chance to contemplate pissy-pants anymore because at that moment this grey, sopping wet creature stumbled out of the foliage.

“Ugh!  What is that abomination?!  Seriously, what the fuck is that?” B’s face was expressing his thorough disgust with the tiny beast.

“Oh!  Um, is that…it is.  That’s by far the most hideous cat I’ve ever seen.”  That was a true statement.  This…cat…was small and grey-ish with large, bug-like eyes and a face so flat is was damn near concave.  The animal was not only wet from the freezing rain outdoors, but around its mouth and nose was slick with mucus.  I slowly loosened my grip on B’s hand and stepped towards the unsightly little thing.  “Here ugly, ugly, ugly.  Come here, you foul little feline, you,” I called to the soaked cat.

“NO!  No, no, nope.  Do not…WHY would you call that thing over towards us?  What are you thinking, Bitsy,” B questioned me.

“It’s so ugly it’s cute, B!” I squealed.  Oops, the kitty didn’t seem to like that.  I took a moment to shed some of my protective layers and pushed them into B’s arms.  “Sorry, sweet heinous kitty.  Come here, sweetie,” I cooed as I knelt down, gently rapping my fingers against the ground.  The cat inched its way towards me as B inched his way backwards.  Pussy.  Finally I was able to scoop the drenched critter into my arms.  I pulled the cat close to my body, then flipped it to its back, checking to see what sex it was.  Girl.  Righting her in my arms, I stroked the top of her head.

“What the fuck is that noise?  Ugh, it’s disgusting!  What is it doing,” B asked.

“I think she’s purring…kind of.  Listen, she’s obviously sick and is doing the best she can.  I’ll take her home with me, tonight and go and get her checked out in the morning,” I reasoned with him.

“Okay, A it is the morning, and B I can’t believe you are touching that thing!  You’re going to get some sort of super AIDs or something just from touching it.  If you’re going to keep it with you, you should probably get yourself checked after you hit the vet.”  I was really glad to see that B wasn’t overreacting at all.

“Yea, I’ll make sure to do that.  Listen, we get off in thirty minutes and we need to start closing out the till and putting returns away.  Which do you want,” I asked him.  He didn’t respond right away, so I looked up to see him holding back laughter.  “What?!”

“You said we’re getting off in thirty minutes,” he gasped out before guffawing at his own joke.

I shot him a bitch brow before turning and walking towards the restroom to blow dry my kitty.  I was instantly glad that I had kept that little gem to myself and hadn’t said it out loud.  That I would have never lived down.  I could still hear his chuckles as the door closed behind us.

“Oh, poor, sweet, hideous little thing.  You need a name, don’t you,” I spoke to the beast as she tried to rip my arms to shreds.  Apparently the sound of the hand dryer wasn’t soothing. I dried her off the best I could while still keeping my skin intact, and left the restroom.

“It looks slightly less offensive, now, so…there’s that,” B said from behind the counter.  “Hopefully you’ll have better luck getting the guys to accept it.”

I stopped instantly.  Shit!  He was right.  I lived in an apartment with my current beau and two of our male friends, and they already put up with my two cats.  I wasn’t sure how they would respond to another cat being brought home.  No, that’s a lie.  They would be pissed, especially with this one being sick and just plain ugly.

“They’ll get over it, B, I’m sure of it.” I wasn’t sure of it.  “It won’t be that bad.” It was going to be horrible.  They would throw an epic bitch fit.  Oh, well.  Fuck ‘em.  B shrugged and I carried on and set the little beast behind the counter while I closed out the till.  A few moments later I heard a rustling sound and looked over to see the cat playing in my bag.  I had no worries as she couldn’t possibly ruin anything I carried to work.

“What’s it doing, Bitsy?”  B had apparently snuck up behind me.  I elbowed him in his gut and turned to look at the cat again.

“She’s just playing in my bag, B.  No worries,” I told him.

We finished up closing out and explaining the cat to our coworkers who had stumbled in…five minutes late.  I went to collect my bag and the cat when I saw her backing away, something glinting in her mouth.  I kneeled down and called out to her, but she wouldn’t come to me.  I guess it wasn’t that strange, considering we’d just found her, but I needed to go home, and wasn’t in the mood for some persnickety cat shit.  I stood up again, and walked towards her when she started growling.  Oh, hell no.

“Is that…is it growling at you,” B asked.

“My, you are quite astute, aren’t you?” He flipped me off and continued to watch the cat growl.

“Fuck it,” I said and continued on towards the pissed off pussy.

Her growling became louder, but I honestly didn’t give a shit.  I scooped her up and flipped her onto her back.  She had one of my rings in between her teeth, and she didn’t look the least inclined to let go of it.  I tried to pry it gently from her mouth, but that didn’t seem to be happening.  Her growl subsided mostly, unless I tried to get my ring back.  Little bitch.

“I figured out what I’m going to call her, B,” I said.

“Oh, yea?  What’s that?”

“Smeagol.”

 

 

 

Dancing Sky

The sky danced with color.  Green, blue and purple streaks swayed and rolled, churning above me.

My time here was coming to an end; I was being called home.  I closed my eyes and moved with the colorful waves.  Sighing, I opened my eyes and turned to the willowy form of the female behind me.

“You’ve accomplished your mission, young one.  It’s time to take our leave,” the gentle voice of my Watcher said.

“I know.  It’s just so beautiful here.  I feel…whole.”  My voice was no more than a whisper, but I know she heard me.  We hear everything.

“It is.  You know, this won’t be the last time you come to this place.  You stay for a cycle, and then leave for a cycle.  Only eleven years will have passed here, by the time of your return,” my Watcher soothed.  “You will be very busy with your upcoming mission, so the time will pass quickly.”

“Of course, you’re right.  Shall we go?  I think I’m ready, now,” I say.  I will miss it here, but my Watcher is right.  It won’t be so long until I’m back.  I’m thankful she understands me; understands what this feels like.  Not all of the Watchers are as caring as she.

The’a nods and turns away, walking gracefully towards our departure sight.  I look up at the sky once more, taking in the beauty one last time.

“Come, Ri’ix.  We have much to do,” my Watcher says.

I take a deep breath before turning and walking towards The’a.

“Good bye, Earth, for now,” I whisper.

Firelight

The night air was cool, but her body was warm.  Seated in front of the bonfire with her body pressed against mine was one of my favorite places to be.  She looked beautiful in the glow from the flames.  Her skin seemed lit up from within, as shadows played across her legs which were splayed out before us.  The smile that graced her face was bright and brilliant.  It was also contagious.  It was rare to see someone resist the compulsion to grin when she unleashed her smile.

She shifted against me, and I held her tighter.  I thought back to the times when I was pulling her out of herself; when I was piecing her fragile self-esteem back together.  She was strong, now, but she wasn’t always.  Maybe that’s not true.  She had always been strong, but somewhere along the way she had forgotten that.  She knew it was the truth, now, though.  That was what was important.

Her chuckle pulled me from my thoughts and brought me back to the present.  She slowly unwound herself from me and danced out of my reach when I tried to bring her back to my side.  Smirking, she raised her hand and crooked one finger in a come hither gesture.  Unwilling and unable to do anything else, I stood to follow her retreat.

I watched her hips sway as she sauntered down the beach.  Her silhouette was illuminated by the moonlit ocean.  I watched as her long dark hair blew in the slight ocean breeze.  Finally she stopped and turned back towards me.  Her smile, now, was hesitant.  I made my way to her and wrapped my arms around her, turning my face downwards to look into her eyes.  Her eyes slid shut as she sighed.

“I hate leaving you to go home.  I wish I could stay in your arms, always,” she whispered to me.

“I know the feeling.  The days when I wake up to you are the most wonderful,” I tell her honestly.

“Can I…can I stay with you?  What I mean to ask is, can I move in with you,” she asked shyly.  I was surprised, but overjoyed.

“I would like nothing more than to make my house into our home.”  Her responding smile was quite possibly the brightest I’d ever seen.  Her eyes glistened with tears, and I ran my thumbs beneath them to catch any that managed to escape.

“Hold me for a bit longer,” she requested as she turned in my arms.

“You couldn’t get me to let go.”

The Me I Used to Be

I used to spend hours, hell maybe an entire day in silence.  I enjoy the quiet.  I’d curl up with a good book or maybe my journal and just…escape.

 

I used to sleep until whenever I had to get up and get ready to go to work.  I went to bed when I pleased and woke up when I pleased.  As long as I made it into work on time, there were no problems.

 

I used to wander around nude 95% of the time, when in my own home.  If there no reason to be properly clothed, then I wasn’t.  I was very comfortable in my own skin.

 

I used to masturbate as soon as I felt the inclination.  Any time was a good time for some self-loving.  I would drop whatever I was doing and rub one out.

 

I used to eat whatever sounded good, whenever in sounded good.  Brownies for breakfast and filet mignonette for dinner?  Why not?  If I didn’t want to cook, shit…I would eat chips and salsa for dinner, if I so pleased.

 

I used to shower at least once a day.  Long, luxurious showers with decadent soaps.  If I had been to work, I probably had a quick rinse off afterwards.  I was always so fresh feeling.

 

I used to get up and go whenever the urge struck.  If I had free time and felt the need to get out and about, I did.  I had no one to answer to, so it made no difference.  If I wanted I would hop on the bus and go…wherever.  I didn’t always have a destination in mind, and that was okay.

 

Then I fell in love.  My days weren’t as quiet and I got myself on a more “normal” schedule.  I wore clothes a bit more often and masturbated a bit less and only at certain times.  I adopted a regular meal schedule and ate appropriate foods at appropriate times.  I traveled a bit less freely than I had, but that was okay.  Right?

 

We got pregnant and got married.  We were excited!  We planned and moved and decorated.  What I read changed a bit, as I needed to know everything I could about pregnancy and birth.  I started sleeping a bit more, but I’d heard that was typical.  I wore clothes more because I was a bit uncomfortable with the changes in my body.  I went through cycles of being insatiable and then being completely adverse to the idea of physical intimacy in any of its forms.  I ate things I was assured were healthy for me and my baby, with an unhealthy addition of grape soda and pizza.  My showers weren’t as long, but my cream regimen took up that extra time and then some.  Traveling was mainly relegated to doctor’s visits, grocery trips, and the like, but that was okay…wasn’t it?

 

Our daughter was born, and we were ecstatic!  We were also very, very exhausted.  I read when I nursed, and I slept whenever I could.  I wore clothes every minute of every day, unless I was showering.  Between the leaking of my breasts and the horror of my body, I couldn’t stand to be nude.  The very thought of sex or masturbation were abhorrent to me.  I ate what was healthy that also agreed with my daughter, as we had found out she was completely intolerant to anything remotely spicy.  I showered when I got a chance.  Quick showers with a lot of peeking out the curtain, thinking I had heard the cries of my infant.  My outings still revolved around doctor’s appointments and grocery trips.  I was just being a mom and doing mom stuff.  That was how it was supposed to be, so that was okay.  It was okay, right?

 

Life went on in a similar manner, even as my daughter grew a bit older.  Life stayed pretty much the same, but with the focus being on my child and my husband.  And then we got pregnant, we were…terrified.  Happy, yet terrified.

 

I read any time I could, but I’d find myself repeating paragraphs and whole pages sometimes.  I had a lot of playing with and teaching my daughter to do.  I slept at night and woke early in the morning.  Although close to my pre-pregnancy size, my body wasn’t the same, so the clothes stayed on.  I loathed the intimate touch of my husband, and masturbated maybe once a week.  I ate healthy meals in relatively healthy portions.  My showers were still relatively short, and not near as decadent.  I drove to doctor’s appointments, the library, the playground, and to get groceries.  I was lonely and craved adult companionship, but all parents feel like that, right?  I’d be okay…wouldn’t I?

 

Our son was born, and we were overwhelmed, but so happy.  I went back to reading when I nursed, and sleeping whenever I could.  Although having a toddler who wanted to play and a newborn who just wanted to be attached to my nipple, sleep was difficult to come by.  My body was once again a leaky roadmap of stretch marks, dips and valleys, and just generally alien.  Clothes were a necessity.  The idea of achieving orgasm was a joke.  I didn’t want to be looked at or touched, and who has time for self-love with two young children?  I ate food.  It tasted like food.  Our son didn’t seem to be affected by anything that was passed through my milk.  Showers were taken when I had another adult around to watch the kids and were short and efficient.  Doctor’s visits, food acquiring, and any other necessary errand were the only reasons I left the house.  I was struggling, I was sad, I was…convinced I was failing as a mother, wife and adult in general.  I wasn’t going to be okay, was I?

 

As my son became more mobile, I discovered that my daughter was pretty great at being a helper in most things.  They were content to play as long as I sat with them, so I read as they played around me.  Sure I was interrupted frequently because they liked to crawl on me and I had to yell things like, “no, don’t put that in your mouth,” or “please don’t pull your sister’s hair,” but it was alright.  Sleep was less elusive, so that was nice.  My body was still very different, but I had mostly grown accustomed to it.  I didn’t particularly like it, but it was what it was and it stayed covered.  I still had absolutely no lustful inclinations, so my husband and I were drifting apart.  I didn’t typically partake in breakfast, myself, but I did eat the leftovers from the kids’ lunch and I cooked dinner almost every night.  I ate.  I showered every few days, unless there was some direct reason to clean my person immediately.  When I did bathe, it was robotic and quick.  I ran out when I had to for adult like reasons, but there really weren’t any frivolous excursions for me.  I was better, I guess, but I wasn’t great.  But that was alright…it was part of being adult, right?

 

I guess what this is about is that while I love my husband and children very much, and I do not regret them at all…I miss the me I used to be.  I miss being relatively selfish and indulging myself in whatever the hell I wanted.  I miss the quiet and spending a whole day reading or writing.  I miss staying up until the wee hours of the morning and sleeping in late.  I miss my body being slender and muscular and sexy.  I miss the feeling of wanting to be intimate with my husband and not just myself.  It isn’t his fault, yet he’s suffering for it, and I feel guilty.  I don’t really miss eating chips and salsa for dinner, but I do miss not having to make meals three times a day.  I miss taking super long showers with expensive soaps and feeling like a damn queen while doing it.  I miss the opportunities to just go out, by myself, anywhere the wind blows me.  Sometimes when I think about it, I cry.  I cry tears of frustration because I’m overwhelmed.  I cry tears of loss over the young adult I once was, who answered only to herself.  I cry tears of guilt because I feel like a bad mother/wife/adult for feeling this way.  I cry because…life is hard.  I want to do and be better, and I think in some ways I have gotten better.  Maybe one day, I will be all I want to be and I will be proud of everything I’ve done.  I’m working on it, but for now…I’m just going to take a minute to remember the me I used to be.

Serendipitous

I saw you at the corner store on 82nd and Powell.  You were tall, comically tall even, and you had your dirty blond hair in one of those newly fashionable man-buns.  Your ears are gauged and you are covered in tattoos.  You were wearing this amazingly nerdy tee with ears on it.  Vulcan, Elf, Nerd.  It made me smile and my heart flutter a bit.  I couldn’t tell the color of your eyes behind those thick black frames of yours, but I bet they were stunning.  I wanted so badly to talk to you, but I rolled poorly for my charisma.

 

I saw you at the bus stop at MLK and Stark.  You were a tiny, little thing with dangerous curves.  The shirt you were wearing was perfect, as it had the words ‘Huge Tracts of Land’ stretched across your…well, huge tracts of land.  Your blue-black hair was so long, it almost completely blocked my view of your perky ass.  The tunnels in your gauged ears were royal blue, which is my favorite.  I was going to use that as an excuse to talk to you, but when I got close enough I could hear Anamanaguchi blaring from your earbuds.  I was so shocked by your superb taste in music, that by the time I got myself together, you were boarding your bus.

 

I saw you again.  This time you were leaving Game Stop (102nd and Halsey) with a new purchase and a huge smile.  I couldn’t help but smile at you, even if you couldn’t see me.  I was across the parking lot, and although I tried to make my way towards you, I was unable to get to you before you left in your grey Zombie Outbreak Response vehicle.  I’ll be at Ground Kontrol this Friday from 9pm until closing.  I’ll wait at the Doctor Who pinball machine wearing my DC Girl Power tee from 9:30 until 10.  If I don’t see you, I’ll take it as a hint to stop posting these.  I really hope to see you.

 

It was ten minutes until ten and Olivia was getting very nervous.  Her hazel eyes continuously roamed the room, hoping to find the cute nerd boy she’d seen around the city.  The room was lowly lit, except for the flashing lights of the surrounding pinball machines.  She looked down into her beer and sighed.  Maybe he wouldn’t be showing up.  She took a big gulp and almost choked when she glanced up to see the boy she’d been crushing on from afar not that far away.  Quickly swallowing her mouthful of beer and wiping her mouth, she smiled just as he made eye contact with her.  He smiled back at her, the look in his eyes revealing his excitement.

“I’m Xander and I am so excited to meet you.  I didn’t think I would ever get this chance,” Xander stated.

Confused, Olivia responded, “you came here to meet me, so why would you think that?  You read my I Saw U and followed it here to me, right?”

“Yes, but I didn’t know who you were.   I actually posted my own I Saw U…about you,” Xander admitted.

“Wait, what?  What do you mean,” Olivia was extremely confused.

“You were at the bus stop, listening to Anamanaguchi, and wearing a tee that said ‘Huge Tracts of Land’.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of you, and I wanted to talk to you, but you got on your bus before I could gather my courage,” Xander told her shyly, smiling.

“Oh!  I…wow!  How serendipitous for us.  That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it,” asked Olivia.  She felt like the smile on her face wouldn’t ever go away.

“It really is,” Xander said.  “Now, how about I challenge you to some pinball?  I have to warn you, though.  I am the Pinball Wizard.”

Olivia burst into laughter and agreed immediately.  They spent the next four hours playing pinball and getting to know one another.  They had a lot in common, from their favorite restaurant (Montage) to their favorite cartoon of the ‘90’s (Captain Planet), and didn’t seem able to run out of things to provide interesting and entertaining conversation.

Unwilling to call it a night, Xander and Olivia left the arcade hand in hand and decided to grab a bite to eat.  After realizing that it was too late to catch the bus, they shrugged and headed off on foot to make the twenty minute walk to Le Bistro Montage.  Along the way they talked about anything and everything, wanting to know as much as possible about the other.  Xander worked at a popular adult store as the assistant manager and Olivia was a bartender at one of the most frequented strip clubs in Portland, so there was certainly no shortage of funny stories to tell the other.

By the time they reached the restaurant, they were more than ready for some grub.  They were seated surprisingly quickly, since it was quite busy, and had made up their minds on what they were going to get right after receiving their menus.  Ordering their cocktails and their dinner, they continued to talk in the dimly lit restaurant.

“One Blanche Deveraux and one Kentucky Waterfall, guys.  Your dinner should be out in just a minute,” the cute blonde waitress said, breaking the couple out of their heated stare.  Olivia sat back with a small blush on her cheeks.  Xander chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck.

“Thanks,” they said simultaneously, causing the waitress to chuckle and wink at them.

Olivia leaned in to take a sip of her cocktail, humming in pleasure at the taste.  Xander’s grey eyes were riveted to her face.  He couldn’t help himself but lick his lips as he watched her enjoy her beverage.  The seemingly innocent act was so erotic to him, he felt himself harden in his jeans.  He cleared his throat and picked up his beverage for a taste.

“Have you ever tried one of these, Xander,” Olivia asked as she looked up at him with her straw still in her mouth.

“Uh, no.  No, I haven’t,” Xander responded.  “I wouldn’t mind a taste, though,” he said, a bit suggestively.  “We could share, if you like?”  Olivia’s eyes widened a bit and then she broke out in a flirty smile.

“Okay, that actually sounds perfect.”  She slid her drink to Xander’s side of the table and he did the same with his.  She took a small sip, and coughed out a bit. “Wow, that’s something.  It’s good, but it’s a bit intense,” she said.

“Maybe so, but yours is so damn sweet I think I’ll lose some teeth over it,” Xander chuckled.  “Okay, sharing drinks may be something we’re not quite suited for, but I’ll let you try my crawfish jambalaya if I can try your alligator mac and cheese.  What do you say to that?”

“That I think I can do,” Olivia said through her giggles.  He made her smile and laugh like no one else she had ever met.  They understood one another, and hadn’t had one awkward silence the whole night.  The very obvious sexual tension was pretty delightful, too.  She wouldn’t sleep with him tonight, but soon.  She truly couldn’t wait for that time to come.

“This may seem presumptuous, considering this date still isn’t over, but would you like to go to the Saturday Market with me tomorrow?  I go every weekend, at least for a little bit.  I have a friend who does these amazing hammock massages, there,” Xander started to ramble a bit towards the end.  He was a little nervous that Olivia would turn him down, although they’d had a great night so far.

Before Olivia could answer him, their food was delivered to the table and the waitress checked to make sure they had everything they needed.  When bouncy blonde had left, Olivia turned to Xander and gave him a coy smile.

“I would love to go with you.  And, hey, think about it this way…after tomorrow we’ll only be one date away from spending the night together,” she stated coquettishly.

Xander’s eyes blew wide and he almost choked on a bite of his jambalaya.  Well, shit.  He was already starting to plan their third date, now.  He was not letting this little firecracker get away from him.

Unrequited

She longingly watched him walk across the parking lot towards his old gray VW Bug.  He was unassumingly handsome with his short, curly nut-brown hair and bright hazel eyes.  His face was gently angular with a Greek nose and a mouth that looked like it was perpetually pouting.  He was incredibly intelligent and witty, too.  There was nothing about him that Katerina found displeasing.  Well, except for the fact that she couldn’t have him for her own.

She’d subtly hinted towards going out together, somewhere romantic, but was brushed aside and she hadn’t brought it up again.  She could see the gentle dismissal for what it was.  It seemed that she just wasn’t what Trenton was looking for, although that knowledge did little to stem her budding love for him.  Still, she enjoyed his company and his dry humor when they worked together at the Yearbook Club meetings.

“Come on, Kat.  Let’s go grab some ice cream before study group, okay?” Katerina’s best friend, Julie, had been incredibly supportive when she decided to try and get Trenton to take her out.  Julie had made sure to let Katerina know that she was beautiful and strong, and that his disinterest in her didn’t make her any less wonderful.

“Yea, of course.  That sounds great,” Katerina replied, wiping her eyes and trying to inject excitement into her voice, but failing miserably.

Julie just smiled and hooked her arm around Kat’s waist, leading the way to Katerina’s sea green Honda Accord.  Julie jumped into the passenger seat and slung her book bag into the back seats, making Kat chuckle.  She popped open the back door and gently sat her messenger bag down before getting behind the wheel.

Not much was said on the way to the local ice cream parlor, but the mood was significantly lighter as they walked towards the double doors that would lead to frozen, creamy bliss.  They entered and took their place in the que, not once glancing up at the menu.  Julie and Katerina always got the same thing.

“Two cups, please.  Two scoops coffee ice cream each, with hot fudge on both,” the teenage girls said in unison.  Max, the middle-aged owner of the parlor, smiled at the girls and nodded his head.

“Yes, ma’ams!  Just grab a seat after you hit the register and I’ll have Lottie bring those out to you as soon as they’re finished,” Max called out.

Katerina and Julie thanked him and payed for their desserts, found a booth and settled in.  Gossip was shared and giggled over as they waited and even through devouring their frozen treats.  Once the paper cups were scraped clean, they tossed their trash into the bin and headed back out to the car.  Kat took a deep breath to prepare herself for spending the next two hours at Eli’s house.

Eli’s home was a large, plantation style house with an attached sunroom spanning the entire rear wall of the building.  It allowed a lovely view of the manicured back lawn and enabled the home’s occupants to take in both the rising and setting of the sun.  The center of the room featured a large, low table and multiple oversized, square pillows for seating.  The arrangement made for a comfortable and functional set-up for the students’ study group. They were able to spread out around the table with books and notes, snacks and drinks and still easily converse.

Eli had the door opened before Katerina and Julie had even made it up the stone lined walkway leading to the front porch.

“Hey guys, head on back and get settled in.  Tessa’s just finished getting some chips and sodas set out.  We’re just waiting on Trenton to get here.  He said something about dropping his mom off at the tire place so she could pick up her car.  Should be here any minute,” Eli greeted.

The girls both nodded their heads and wiped their feet before continuing through the front door and down the hallway to where Tessa, Eli’s girlfriend of two years, was.  The three girls greeted one another and took to prepping their work space.  No more than five minutes passed before Trenton and Eli appeared in the doorway.  Eli had a big smile on his face and Trenton wore a small, bashful grin.  Kat didn’t think she’d ever seen him smile that way.  It was beautiful, but it made her wonder what could have caused it.  It wasn’t like the times he would smirk at a joke that had been told and it didn’t remind her of the way he smiled in greeting.  Tessa calling everyone to order cut off Katerina’s contemplations and focused her attentions on AP Calculus.

Two and a half hours later, the teens were packing their things and readying themselves to head to their respective homes for dinner.  As they made their way to the door, Katerina caught Trenton gazing at Eli while he was saying his goodbyes to his girlfriend.  When he turned to exit the front door, he bumped into Kat, and as he apologized she saw what looked like pain in his eyes.  This confused her, but instead of saying anything she simply smiled and told him she was fine and that she would see him tomorrow at the Yearbook club meeting.

Julie caught a ride home with Tessa, allowing Katerina time to puzzle over what she saw tonight.  It was right there, but her brain couldn’t quite grasp it.  She was quiet throughout dinner, to the point her father looked to her mother in concern.  Her mother shrugged, but had a sad smile on her face.  She might not have known for sure, but she was pretty certain that her daughter’s quiet demeanor was due to boy trouble.  She would give Kat a chance to come to her about it, but she wouldn’t wait forever.

As Katerina lay in bed that night she continued to ponder Trenton’s reactions at Eli’s that evening.  They were confusing, but familiar in a way.  Giving up for the night, she burrowed under her covers and let sleep take her away.  She didn’t dream, but when she woke up it was with a knot in the pit of her stomach.  She couldn’t shake the discomfort, even though it didn’t make sense.  After showering and eating breakfast, she hopped into her car and drove to school.

Pulling her car in next to Trenton’s Bug, she slowly collected her things and stepped out of the vehicle.  With both feet on the asphalt and her bag slung across her torso, she started to close the driver’s side door.  Her eyes moved up to see Trenton staring off into the distance, pain etched on his face.  When she followed the direction he was looking, she saw Eli laughing and throwing his arm around Tessa.

Tears welled up in Katerina’s eyes and then slowly ran down her cheeks.  She understood the feeling in the pit of her stomach.  She had finally figured out why Trenton’s expressions had seemed so familiar.  She wore the same ones every time she watched Trenton.  She got it. It hurts when you have someone in your heart, but you can’t hold them in your arms.