Oh, dearest goddess! she couldn’t hold back any more, what the hell had they been thinking?
Alex – the man with the killer smile.
The man with stormy grey eyes, where, on many a day and night, she had languished and showered herself in their promised downpour.
And hands that crafted and played her like a master carpenter or timber-jack.
The man whose original and cover songs understood and made sense of her life even before they had met on that fatal day almost a year ago in at her friend, Donnie’s, namesake basement bar.
Robyn listened now to Alex’s one and only self-published CD; listened while her whole life and soul were sung for all to hear, despite being alone. His words resonated and cut through her, playing out their meeting; their romance, their laughter and tears!
His music told of an unexpected love for her. Told of the trust she had in him, right from the start. Trust enough, to admit, as they walked together, that she had recently divorced. Not because of any mistreatment or foul play, but simply because she found herself needing to “find home” again. Her place.
A wry smile crept into her mouth as she recalled their initial meeting; telling him about her work as a legal secretary/advisor at a boutique firm in East London, working for three young lawyers whom she had seen progress from student through to full fledglings.
He had surprised her by saying that his day job was as a probation officer - while at night, or at least one or two a week, he was a regular, passioned singer here at Donnie’s.
Strange then, that they had never met before! Yet, for Robyn, it felt like she had always known him.
Her smile broadened at the memory of his words after their impromptu sex on that there same night. They had been laying beneath the sweat soaked sheets of his black and white zen-esk room.
Somehow, he had known this was not the norm for her.
Leaning lay leaning on his right arm, looking at her with hooded grey eyes he had brushed aside a stray strand of strawberry hair with his free hand, for no reason except because, and in a calm, serious tone said, “you know you’ll have to be my girlfriend now don’tcha?”
A knot had tied in her stomach.
His surprised arched brow indicated intrigue. Likely unused to any kind of resistance. “Well, I don’t allow just anyone to sleep in the bachelor’s suite.
“I’ll admit to having one-nighters”, he had told her, stroking away another non-existent rebellious strand, “but believe me, they don’t get to enter this room.”
She was still confused. “But aren’t I just another – “
“No!” His firm reply gave no room for argument.
She hadn’t known what to say;
hadn’t expected to find herself with another so soon after ….
* * *
It hadn’t only been about their undeniable passion and fiery need for each other. There had been a genuine friendship and compassion that often found them wrapped intimately together in silence, one holding the other, whether in grief or for no reason at all.
His friends had, once or twice, given warning of his wayward and dishonest traits, which she knew from the horse’s mouth. It was one of the reasons he hurt – it was also one of the sources for his self-written songs.
Then - they parted!
Albeit reluctantly. Both crushing the other, almost two months ago as they tried to talk it out in the park.
So-called friends had manged to convince him he was no good for her; that his dishonest and egotistical past would never stay there and, if he was to succumb to temptation, he would once again find himself on a dark road, crushed by his own selfishness.
That tragic day, almost 60 days ago, she had asked him why their words meant more than hers.
She needed to know.
Uncharacteristically, their lakeside park setting appeared to steal away any words he had wanted to say.
She had wanted to laugh and scream. Usually, it was her struggling to speak.
Right then though, she was having a moment and couldn’t stop. “What happened to our promise to talk things over and not run?
“Hell Alex! you – you were the one who put that in place and – “
Suddenly her vocabulary failed her;
Her mind went blank while he silently spoke to her through darkened grey eyes. Soft and sensual. Pleading.
It would be so easy.
But no – her inner stubborn streak stepped up to the plate. Not this time.
“Well?” she asked again.
There was no explanation or excuse. He simply turned his head to take a breath.
A breath that, although didn’t fully appear to calm him – or the moment – did take off an edge.
He took a second deeper breath. “Maybe they’re right. Maybe we did start this thing too quickly.
“Dammit Robyn, neither of us had long been divorced, especially you, because of a need to answer a beckoning road to find your lost sense of self”.
Unseen and unconsciously, Alex’s right arm lifted as though to reach for her, but stopped and fell back to his side. “I don’t want it to be though.
“Goddamit Robyn, it’s true that I COULD, again, betray someone who trusts in me and, quite frankly though I care a fuck about my myself on this occasion – I cannot – and will not – put another human being through that meat grinder again!
He paused before continuing in a levelled yet shaky voice, a stage whisper that got carried in the breeze from the nearby lake. “I don’t know if I can keep my promise to you - can’t promise you it won’t ever happen.”
His excuse punched her and hurt.
It hurt because it felt like he was belittling her, something he’d never done before.
“Oh! and they’re experts are they?”
“Just because THEY’VE known you longer than I have and seen you fall on more than one occasion THEY’RE qualified to tell US what WE feel, what WE’RE gonna do and what WE’RE not…”
Her anger seemed to have triggered a switch in her left arm, as it gestured with each emphasised word.
“…they’re SOOO perfect that none of THEM have ever had the joys of getting it wrong so they can strengthen their bond or learn a lesson to help them grow.”
Frustrated. Filled with electric butterfly waves fluttering about her stomach and chest, she had turned to walk away – it was all she had left.
He caught her arm.
Robyn recalled with a chill the clumsy head, heart and stomach clashed dance which had been triggered by his touch. “Let go!”
“No! he growled. “Hear me out.”
“You!” she scoffed, shaking off his grip despite her being shivering like an autumn leaf, “sorry but I don’t know who - YOU – are, you’re not the man I know; the man I love, he would know I don’t want perfection, that I don’t want an angel – fuck it Alex,” she cursed in a low, controlled anger, “your past is your past. I know what you did and what it done to the family you had, and what it done to you. I’ve never held that against you – never?”
An expectant silence waited.
“Baggage Alex – we all have it. D’you ‘onestly believe I entered into this – “ her left arm swung up from the elbow and pollenated her hand, “whatever it is, wearing rose tinted glasses like some kinda twenty-teen or lovestruck groupie?”
Her anger was beginning to eat her insides; she couldn’t, as much as she wanted, stay like this.
Again, he caught her wayward arm as she turned to leave.
This time his grip missed allowing her to break into a run toward the park gate.
He had been quicker.
Hence, he grabbed her around the waist and held on to her in a wrestler-type hold, restraining her struggle.
They’d fallen against an old, nearby tree.
In spite of the fire in her belly - aware of his hard, betraying need, Robyn wriggled and fought, refusing to look at him because she knew what she would see. Whatsmore, knew full well where it would tempt her. “Get off me!”
Relentlessly, Alex in fact done the opposite.
Instead, he pressed himself against her.
It came as an order, his left hand lifting her face to his.
Oh! the gods.
Why did she crave him so?
Her eyes shielded themselves from him in battle while, in calming tones, he gently prized his knee between her legs making her head spin.
He repeated his request into heightened ears, hot breath caressing her neck, “hear me out.”
Butterflies and moths ran a frenzy. Her anger, though, began to take a bow as tears burned behind their armour.
“Robyn – I love you – I don’t want to hurt you.”
She began to fall.
He held on to her.
His warm breath sent another spine-tingling caress along her left earlobe. “Open your eyes Robyn - please.”
With reluctant obedience, she did as he asked and met his dark electrocuting gaze.
“I know you don’t expect me to be perfect,” he told her, his voice low as he removed his hand from beneath her chin. “But I don’t want to do wrong by you, I’m sick of hurting those I love.
“I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this again” he admitted, “after the humbling and stark realisation that I couldn’t have my cake and eat it.
“After almost losing everything, including the respect of my kids - I swore I’d never put anyone else, or myself, through such distress again.”
They were still pressed against each other, his dense grey eyes boring into her – the added torment of his left knee still comfortably resting – intentionally or not – on her aching parts.
A flash thunder storm stood at her eye line.
Waves tested their breach as he continued.
Two Runaway freights within their chests.
“I know you know about my past and accept it as part of who I am, yet,” he paused, fractionally relieving his knee to walk into her soul, his request now crystal as to its intention.
She was to not only hear his words, but feel them. “Right now, it’s not enough.”
It came as a strangled plea from her tight throat. “Why?”
Then – again – as a silent question, before his curse.
A curse that shook them like a high-Richter earthquake.
They searched and swam in each other’s respective midnight blue ocean and stormy winter grey storm.
Strangely, a surreal calmness enveloped them.
He moved in to kiss her forehead.
She closed her eyes at his intended tenderness. Her insides swirling together in a cotton candy twist.
He placed a hand on her beating chest. His own eyes filled with the impending downpour.
“Hand on heart – “, he said in pure tones, “hand to heart – I love you Robyn, I have done since our first night. You know that.”
An acknowledging half smile curled her lips. A lone tear ran down her cheek.
“Yet – I don’t feel I deserve you right now. Why - I don’t know.”
Had she nodded –
or had it been somebody else? It was hard to recall clearly. If she had, it was because of an unheard plea.
Boldly, she took a deep gulp of courage and kissed him on the mouth; wanting, needing him to realise this wasn’t over.
Needless to say, he had responded in kind.
When eventually she spoke, it came in a low smoky tone. “I agree to your proposal, but I have terms.”
He’d grinned that humbled sexy grin.
Oh, shameless goddess!
Her bloodstream ran hot like molten lava.
Despite this, she continued. “I agree to a truce – I agree to part from you so we can think about what’s happening, what’s happened, with one condition.”
He that not-so-innocent quizzical brow.
“If any one of us at any time feels we’ve done the wrong thing, that we’ve acted on impulse rather than reason, or we begin to realise we deserve this thing offered to us, we come back to the other without question, with an open book and a clean page, warts an’ all.”
That wicked, predatory smirk. “Warts an’ all!” he echoed.
“Yep – the entire estate – everything.”
“Including the kitchen sink?”
They had laughed in relief, lifting the heaviness, and touched foreheads.
They had stood like this for a moment, barely breathing, until Alex conceded to her terms – the thumb of his left hand brushing her brow, before a parting kiss on the forehead. Then…
Almost 60 days ago, she had watched him walk away.
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