Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Cold fingers

Back at her apartment she pointed him toward the kitchen and went to change out of work clothes. She never knew what to do at times like this. Did you really slip into something sexy and let them know you wanted them or did you pretend this was a friendly get together? There was Theresa too. Was he still with her? She compromised. Washed her face and under her arms, freshened make up, stripped naked then put on just a pair of flannel pants and a tank.
When she came out of he was drinking a beer, checking out her music.
“Since when did you go all country?”
“It’s not all country. There’s some stuff from the old days. Probably some Floyd, something you can get behind.”
“Well there’s definitely something I can…”
He looked at her sideways with a grin.
“Yeah yeah yeah”
She headed to the kitchen. While she opened her beer she heard Madonna come up on the stereo.
They sat down on the couch and started to talk. Slowly at first but the discussion heating up. Her job, his job, him going back to school, politics, her going back to school. While she got particularly heated over a point he lay back with his head in her lap to listen. She kept talking, currying his hair with her fingers, enjoying his admiring looks.
When she cooled down he reached up to her neck and gentled her to him, close enough to breathe each other.
“You are so beautiful.”
His tongue along her lips, his lips nuzzling her face and neck. She wriggled down to lay on top of him, giving as good as she got.
Like their discussions their kissing got heated, more insistent. His hands rediscovering her breasts, hers reflexively gripping his ass. She kept trying to think that something might be wrong with this but her skin took her attention away and then he flipped her over. He liked to be on top, in control. He didn’t mind when she was aggressive but only when he said it was time for it.
Suddenly he stopped and just looked at her. Her eyes flew open. He was just an inch from her face looking in her eyes, not quite touching lips.
“I came here for a reason.”
Pounding heart joined by a lump in her throat.
“I want to tell you something.”
It was all she had.
“I’m getting married.”
There was spit caught in her throat. She couldn’t swallow it. She was trapped, suffocating. All her energy in keeping her face neutral. Had to get out, get away from him now!
He looked hurt.
“You’re squashing me, can’t breathe.”
Her face was neutral but her hands and feet were scrabbling, shoving him off her so hard that when he lifted his weight she fell onto the floor. And she could see that if she hadn’t looked so pathetic he would have laughed.
“You OK?”
Now the challenge was not to cry.
“You want another beer?”
Escape to the kitchen. Her shaking hands trying to open the bottles would give her extra time. But he heard her fumbling and came in. From behind he enclosed her in those strong arms and felt her tremble.
“Why? “ she asked.
The reasons didn’t really matter. He’d been with Theresa for years. Not as many as with Mags but steadier. Theresa was an architect, made good money. They had college, mutual friends, a dog; they’d already made a life together. This was the next logical step.
Love isn’t logical. And she loved him. Had for years on end. He loved her too. It had to be love if she was willing to break all the rules to be with him.
“You OK?” he asked again.
“Yeah. Well, no, but yeah.”
“You want this beer?”
He opened it for her and watched as she took a long pull from the bottle. A part of him wanted her to beg him not to. Give him a reason not to get married, something other than a lack of spark. Who leaves a woman after 10 years because there’s no spark? An idiot. And that’s just what his family would say and his friends. So he’d tried to ignore the spark issue. Easy enough for the most part but sparks burn and smolder. Inside him a jolly little blaze was developing from being so near Margaret. She ignited his body but also his mind and his heart and no matter the practical reasons for not marrying her he couldn’t forget her or even stay away from her.
Where do you put that sort of connection? How do you deal with it?
She wandered into the living room, stopped the CD player, turned on the television. He sat next to her. She handed him the remote.
She looked at him.
She looked away.
An hour later she was asleep, her feet in his lap and he had to go. His cell phone had been off for hours. Theresa would be wondering what happened. He needed to get back to his motel and be ready to leave on time tomorrow.
Mags woke up when he slid out from under her feet. Silently she watched him gather his things, put on his shoes. Only when he knelt to kiss her did he realize she was awake.
“I’ve got to go.”
She nodded.
“I’ll see you soon.”
“I meant what I said.”
“I know it was ages ago but I meant it. If you marry her I can’t see you anymore. I have to draw the line somewhere.”
He smiled, started to put on the charm.
“But why there? It’s just a piece of paper.”
“It‘s a commitment.”
“I was committed to her before. You knew…”
Mags’s eyes changed the smallest bit and it said everything. She hadn’t really known, not until now.
It turned his fingers cold to realize that. Changed the whole meaning of his engagement. But it was too late to stop now.For lack of anything better to do he smoothed the blanket around her and kissed her forehead. He kept hoping some words would come to him but they didn’t so he had to just get up and go.

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