WORDS BY KAYE MICHELE
She woke up angry—incensed. Body shuddering in 85 degree weather from the chill of pure, unadulterated anger. She couldn’t believe it all ended like this.
Three months ago, she was being kissed in unimaginable places. The whispered “let go” in her ear causing her to release long moans of satisfaction and unimaginable orgasms galore, had her clinging to his white shirt, his earthy sweet smell, combination smoke, combination sexy, all surrounding her, his kisses echoing on her bottom lip like the tannens on a good pinot noir, his noir skin against her mahogany, all the memories of his wood on her mind even still as she contemplated all of the ways that she could make his emotions pay for just leaving her.
You don’t leave your soul mate, right?
She was angry.
She still hadn’t quite figured out what exactly happened; how the passion became distaste; how the love became hate—it literally happened overnight. An innocent question, not meant to be anything innocuous or malicious and suddenly, it was all over.
She hadn’t had any desires since.
She moved from day to day, night to night, event to event, meeting to meeting without any feeling. Ate food without any true flavor. She got a paper cut, watched the trickle from the accidental nick pool in a tiny, pin sized bubble and yet didn’t feel a thing. She was numb to just about everything.
He recognized numbness when he saw it. He saw her jogging in the mornings, her stride strong and true, her face an empty focus. It was an unusual combination of pride in what she did and yet emotional despair. He watched her push herself to unimaginable limits—run nearly double the normal miles she would do every other day, her legs clearly feeling the burn—her face belied nothing. No emotion. No feeling. Nothing.
He fantasized about making her feel again. Conjured up images of her body pressed against the brick wall of the neighboring house, his sweat mingling with hers, their breaths in sync and yet staccato from the movements their bodies were making, his thrusts matching hers, her feelings all over her face. Finally, he envisioned his lips to her chocolate neck, leaving his mark there, dragging his tongue to taste her where her natural salt trailed. He wanted to make her feel again.
If only he actually knew her.
He had to fix that.She stopped and took a deep breath. She woke up the morning, chest heaving and heart in a vise grip from the pain. Heartache was real—it was real and frightening and anyone who said otherwise was just being completely dishonest. She couldn’t deal with the pain, she just wanted it to go away but nothing she did to calm herself down would work.
So she ran.
She threw on her shorts, pulled on a sports bra, tossed on a tank top, and she ran. She ran past the fruit stand she usually walked by, past the barber shop, the Rite Aid, past her usual benchmark, ran until she couldn’t run anymore, until she couldn’t run anymore, until she looked up and realized that she was at least four-and-a-half miles from home.
She leaned against the storefront. Her legs were on fire. It was the only thing she could feel. She wasn’t sure she was ever going to feel anything else again.
“That was brutal,” a voice uttered.
She paused; her thoughts interrupted, and looked around.
He was standing there, leaning against the wall, sweat dripping into the crevice of his pectoral muscle, bald caramel head glistening, curious brown eyes peering at her. Smiling a lopsided smile, he said again, “That was brutal. 5.5 miles in 20 minutes… Got something to prove?”
She shook her head as if to clear it. “Huh? Were you following me? Wait…who the hell are you? And why were you following me?”
She shrank away from the wall, shielding her eyes from the early morning sun, and peered at him. His baritone, deep and true, chuckled. “We run the same route every day for the most part,” he responded. “I usually pass you by but today you blew by me. I stopped at the Rite Aid about a quarter-mile back. My car’s parked around the corner from here so when I saw you leaned up I decided to stop. So…something to prove today?”
He smiled again, a bright white tooth smile, complete with two tiny dimples in the corner of his mouth. She peered at him again. “Don’t worry,” he continued, leaning into the wall. “I don’t bite.”
He straightened, looking her in the eye. “I’m sorry,” he said, extending his hand. “I didn’t mean to catch you off guard or anything. I was just curious and I truly thought you were beautiful and I really did want to know what caused you to run twice as long as before and now I’m just sorta babbling so maybe I should just start over by saying, ‘Hi, my name is Bryan…what’s yours?’”
She looked at him for a long moment.
He stood there, hand extended, patiently waiting.
She took his hand. “I’m beautiful…is that the best you got?”
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