Eight months. Seven days. Sixteen hours.
It’s been so long since my wife last told me she loved me and then kissed me goodbye. How was I to know that one kiss would be the last kiss, the last caress? How many times would I think of her and seek her memory out in this way?
“More coffee?” The waitress comes to stand in front of me, carafe in her hand.
I consider that she is rather adorable. Blond hair, pinned in place, which falls just below her shoulders. Brown eyes that match the mahogany of the coffee bar. Her smile, fair and inviting. So many things about this moment stir fond memories. I slide my empty mug to her. “Yes, thank you.”
She fills it with a flourish and gives it back. When I reach for it, our fingers touch.
“Do you need anything else?” she asks, a suggestive lilt to her voice.
I look to her nametag, my eyes linger a moment longer than needed. Suzie.
“Suzie? Do you mind if I ask you something?”
She lets her head fall to the side, a curl of hair springs free and teases the smooth skin of her neck. Likely, because of her job as the early morning waitress in a coffee bar, she's heard every date-proposition line a man could think of.
“Asking me out?”
I tip my mug as if it's a tumbler. It's not a lie when I tell her it's the best cup I've had in ages.
She laughs, and her eyes crease in the corners. The tone of her youthful giggle reminds me so much of the woman I loved and had to let go.
“Yes.” I smile in return though my heart is heavy, memories I wish I could forget clash with reality. I feel like I'm fighting for my balance, struggling to keep my eyes focused and my hands steady.
“Or not?” I offer, lifting my eyebrows, letting my voice hint at a way out, no obligation.
Suzie, now wary, bites her lip and looks around. “Really?”
“I could dance around it and arrive there next week, but . . . .”
She laughs again, and the memory it stirs this time is of the beach at Midnight, my lovely wife nude in the sand. The moon high overhead, the hollow pull of the waves on the rocks. Her body against mine, her voice in my ear.
When Suzie's eyes meet mine she whispers, “Where?”
Hours later, driving my car that was new come the start of World War II, I turn the corner of Weston Avenue and scan for house number 21.
Twenty-one, the age my wife was when we met. The irony almost makes me snap out of my haze and I almost turn the car around. How many times must I endure this? I don't turn away, though. I press forward. I'm not always in control.
The closer I get to her home, the further away I feel from reality. My hands touch the leather wheel without feeling, my feet press the pedals without thought.
Suzie's house is small, pleasant. It cannot be that of a young, single woman who lives alone, working in a coffee bar for minimum wage. Perhaps her parents own it, or she splits finances with a roommate. When I pull into her driveway the front door is already open and, dressed in a negligee fit for a Victoria's Secret advertisement, Suzie stands, draped in the doorway like a sculpture.
I park and sit for a moment, admiring her from a distance. What comes of moments like this when they’re said and done for other people? I know what will come next for me. My moment of bliss that I'll hang onto for as long as possible. Then, the page will turn and the clock will tick. In one hours time it will be Midnight again. Eight months. Seven days. Twenty-three hours.
“You look absolutely lovely.” My boots fall heavy on the steps to her porch.
Her eyes are wide, expectant. Endearing, much like the woman who I loved, still love, but can have no more.
Suzie steps back, invites me in. I move close, pausing in front of her, the heat from her body touches my skin. I let my hand graze her cotton wrapped side when I pass. The touch, her softness, sets my hand on fire with an invisible flame. And it's this, the light touch, the first contact, that opens her desire to me.
I can sense the fire from my touch has coursed through her veins and reached her heart. The door shuts and the lock clicks.
Time stands still.
I can see it in her eyes, sense it deep inside. Her heart races, pushing the excited blood throughout. So many times I've committed myself to this, trying desperately to fill the void. With a steady hand, the voice of my long lost love in my mind, I pull Suzie close.
Out mouths meet. So soft, so sweet. Like petals, rain, and silk. The taste, the feel, sends my mind reeling, my pulse racing. How is this not enough? How is it I always need more? In the moment it feels just right, the cure to all that ails me. I could fool myself into imagining that she’s the one with little effort.
Her hands paw along my back, barely breaking through to my awareness. She moans, softly, her throat shudders against my fingers. I swallow the sound and pull her back, away from the door. She comes willingly. So trusting, my sweet Suzie.
Her legs twine around mine and she anchors her body against me, blinded by need. Her hips thrust, pressing her sweet sex against me. Oh, the glorious wonders of the female form. So many secrets, so many wonderful things to discover.
For a moment, a moment, a moment . . . . it's not Suzie whose with me, it's my Anne. The woman of my dreams, the one whom I met, fell in love with, and married. The one whom I had to let go of so long ago.
The shape of her hips, the curve of her shoulders, the firmness of her breasts. My Anne.
It takes an incredible effort to stop, to pull away, but I manage. My heart seizes, painfully tight. “A drink?”
Breathing heavy, her mouth falls open, weakness in her legs makes her cling to me. She finds the strength to smile and drop down from her tiptoes.
“Of course. Wine? Coffee?” Her smile returns, lighting up her eyes in the most comforting way.
“Wine, please. Thank you.” I watch as she moves through the living room to the kitchen. The thin cotton barely veiling the cleft of her backside. Such perfection.
“Is this your parent's place?”
“Sort of.” She stands on tiptoe to retrieve glasses from the cabinet, her top rises to reveal her smooth belly. “ My uncle gave it to them when he passed away. It's better than being in the dorms.”
I look around, noting the clean state of things. “No room mate?”
“No, no room mate.”
No sooner does she pour the glasses of wine and brings them to the coffee table do I have her in my arms again. I tried to make the casual distance last, but the urge is too strong.
I slide my hands underneath her cotton top, taking her heat in through my fingertips again. She climbs onto the couch as I sink into the cushion, her legs straddling my thighs. Her heat, intense, stirs my lust again. The fiery lick is welcomed as it runs through me, from her mouth to my toes.
Her hands in my hair, a soft touch, like so many women before. Like my first, my love, my Anne.
I grip her round backside and thrust myself against her. The sensual soft sound in the back of her throat is intoxicating. I do it again to hear it play out. Then again.
She pulls away from the kiss and tugs at my shirt, frantic. I lift my arms and let her slide it up and off, and I return the effort by taking the lacy straps of her top and sliding them down, off the curves of her shoulders, over the crook of her elbow.
Smiling, Suzie sits back on my lap. We take each other in, her eyes travel to the scar over my heart, the one I gave myself, the effort that set my new life in motion. My eyes fall to the soft swell of her breasts, her perk nipples, the way they catch the light from the other room.
Leaning forward, I slide one arm behind her and hold her close as my mouth finds her. She groans when I take her in, running my tongue over the smoothness, biting softly. First one, and then the other. Her hands tighten in my hair and she rocks her heated sex against me. One and then the other. Groaning, Anne tightens her hands in my hair and grinds against me.
“Fuck,” she groans. “You're driving me crazy.”
I open my eyes and find Suzie, her soft brown eyes half-lidded, her cheeks slack with passion. “Am I?”
“I've never been so turned on.”
With a begging sigh she pushes off my legs and stands. Then she slides her fingers just inside the band of her panties. Then she stops, suddenly unsure of what to do. Her eyes go to the far corner of the room, to the darkened hallway.
Suzie draws her lower lip into her mouth, thinking. “Do you . . . ?”
“Where ever you're most comfortable, Suzie.” I say her name for myself more than for her, a reminder of the reality even though it will soon dissipate.
She looks at me, unsure, and then smiles. Holding her hand out for me I take it and push up from the couch, leaving my shoes behind. Her fingers are small and gentle, the contrast is something I've always loved.
Motioning to my scarred chest she asks, “What happened?”
I shrug and deliver my well rehearsed line, “Car accident a long time ago.”
“Oh.” Her forehead puckers with concern and she traces the raised line, stirring memories I desperately wish I could wipe away. “Well you seem to have survived pretty well.” She giggles and smiles.
My thoughts travel back in time; to that last day that turned into one endless night; to the heartache I tried to quell after lowering my Anne to her grave; the reality I woke to when I found the wound had healed.
She leads me down a narrow hall, through a door, into her sparsely decorated bedroom.
Awkwardness makes her movements unsure, unsteady. She turns and tries to laugh through it but its of little use. Her ardor faded just enough for her to consider things like being committed to a stranger.
“My name's Tristin.”
Her unease shifts to a smile and her body relaxes. “Tristin? That's different.”
I step to her and slide my hands along her sides, over her curves, up to her neck. She relaxes into a kiss again, her hands clutching my arms, her breasts pressed to my chest. Her pulse is heavy enough to mask that mine is slow and steady. I breathe in her scent of coffee, sugar, and cream.
Her steady hands find the buckle of my belt and she slides the leather from the brass and then the zipper pull down the row of teeth. She watches as she shuffles my pants down and one warm, confident hand finds my cock.
I close my eyes, letting my body drift with the sensation of her hand on me, stroking me. She seems delighted with the way I feel, and the moment I sense her mouth on me I pull her up. It's too much. That one act is too much for me to cope with. I have to keep that particular pleasure locked away forever.
Gently, I pull her up from the floor. With her against me—soft, warm and willing—I wrap my hands around her sides and guide her toward the bed. She goes willingly, without question, with complete trust. Trust I could so easily forsake, but I don't. As she goes I slide her panties over her hips, down her thighs.
Her hair spreads over the center of the bed, scattered like a fan of tangled silk threads. I stand and take in the view: the valley of her breasts, the supple dip of her belly, the rhythm of her quickened breath. I want to tell her thank you for this moment, her trust, but know that in this country it would seem strange.
I crook her legs with my hands, smooth and silky, and lift them over my shoulders. The scent of her sex, tangy and sweet, brings back long lost memories. My mouth waters and my cock hardens further. Does she have a clue how intoxicating it is to have her in front of me, so willing and needy, so many similarities between her and the woman I truly love?
When I close my eyes, reality shifts again, and I skim my nose over Anne's swollen sex. She hisses in a breath when I kiss. I tease her clit with my fingers and taste her again and again. My tongue parts her lips, reaching deep. Needful, I suck and kiss and taste and stroke.
Her heels dig into my back and she presses into me, begging softly for more. I give my Anne all she needs, she can have anything she wants as long as she stays here with me in this stretch of borrowed time.
With my mouth still kissing her sex, my fingers stroking her clit, I slide two fingers inside, stroking the heat. Once, twice, three times, and when she tightens around my fingers and her body stiffens, it's like a victory for my soul. My Anne, I live for you!
My body shakes with anticipation. As her pleasure eases I take another deep breath and kiss the inside of her thigh, enjoying the moment before I have to open my eyes and shift into reality again.
But Suzie is still pleasing to the eye, her body like Anne's in so many ways. The dip of her naval, the round jut of her ribcage just above the sweep of her sides. I kiss all these places and eventually find my way to her mouth—careful not to meet her eyes—which I take with a long dormant ferocity.
Reaching down, I grip my aching cock and touch the tip to her sex, sliding it along. Sensitive skin against sensitive skin.
Then, just as I come to her needful center, I ask, “Do you still want to?” I have to ask, I can't just take, Anne would not approve.
“God, yes, Tristin. Fuck me, please
Even Suzie's voice sounds kin to Anne's when she begs, that low sexy rasp, the sound of pure desperation.
With anticipation making it hard to concentrate and Suzie's hands against my chest, I guide myself inside her. The invisible flames flare to life and surge through me. The heat, nearly searing, makes me gasp. My calves tense, my thighs flex, and when I'm fully inside her, I pause to adjust to the sensation.
When her eyes close I close mine too, drifting away once again. Anne's hands slide against my sweat soaked skin, one hand laces through my hair, the other falls to my side.
I shift my hips, sliding back, and then I take in a breath just before I thrust forward again. She takes me in smoothly, a divine welcoming. I thrust forward: again, again, again.
She whimpers softly and lifts her legs to lock her ankles around my back. I want to open my eyes, hoping to see Anne, but I keep them closed and feel her instead. Her racing heart, her muscle flexing, her breasts, slick with sweat, against my chest.
I brace my arms alongside her and whisper in her ear, “This is heavenly.”
That scent of coffee, sugar, and cream in her hair is vitalizing and such a comfort. I crave it, the memories it brings.
Her body tense, she clings to me, and I get lost in the rhythm, lost in her body against mine. The friction becomes more intense, sparking and flaring. It's like entering a roaring fire that consumes all of my energy.
When the moment that I've been searching for finally comes, the peak of my release, I open my eyes. I see her: surrounded by the darkness that pours from my wounded heart, that gushes from my wounded soul, my river of eternal pain, wreathed in beauty. I see her. My Anne.
Gripped with intense passion, she cries my name. I fight back the tears that threaten to destroy the beauty of the moment.
Bliss. It hangs in the air, pure and untainted for a small moment that lasts forever. I'm with her again, my Anne.
Her soft curls, her hands on my skin. Our racing hearts, our heated breath. I look her over, creating a new memory, healing my wounds.
Then the darkness around us shimmers and my body slows. Before this rapturous moment ends, before it's gone, I crush my mouth to hers, kissing deeply. Her lips are petals, her body is my bread and honey. I close my eyes and lose myself in her, nourishing and soothing myself.
Quaking from an unsteadiness in my muscles, I slow and soon bring myself to a stop. The pressing dark has dissipated, the energy leeched from the room.
With a smile, I open my eyes, and again give a kiss. I nestle my face to the valley of her breast and listen to the air rush through her lungs. I keep my eyes open.
Shortly after, the glass of wine now drunk, I head to the door.
“Thank you, Suzie.” Here, now, it seems less strange.
She smiles weakly. “How long ago did she die?”
I smile at her perceptive mind and touching concern. Running my thumb over her bottom lip I answer, “A very long time ago.” Ninety-three years. Eight months. Eight days.
Suzie politely offers up her home and her heart for me to return to, and I kiss her once more. As I pull away from her I wonder: If I come back to her will she be the one able to end it all? Can she silence the ticking of the clock and write the last page of the book, end the curse?
Perhaps tomorrow night, again between the hours of Midnight and Noon, I'll find out.
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