Monday, February 14, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - Lost in the Forest

For your reading pleasure, a short tale of love on Valentines day.

"You've got a piece of my heart on your face."

My wandering mind snapped back to the present. "What?"

"You've got a piece of my tart on your face, I can see it, so don't try your 'Miss Innocent' act with me." Justin's hazel eyes twinkled with delight at having caught me so completely unaware.

I flushed, both with guilt for having filched his tart and for having been caught daydreaming about him. We were best friends in high school, lost touch through the college years and had just met up again recently. Unfortunately, he seemed only interested in taking up our friendship where it left off.  I, on the other hand, was having embarrassingly vivid fantasies involving the two of us: a deserted island with an amazingly well-stocked hotel room and a hammock strung between two palm trees.

"Sorry, I got hungry while I was waiting for you. Did you get it?"

"Oh man, you won't believe it, Cass, I got it! I thought the guy wasn't going to part with it but once we started talking, he realised I wasn't just collecting for the cash value but for the love of it ... he let me have it for a song!" He laughed at his play on words.

"So, show me."

He carefully pulled a box from the backpack sitting on his lap, setting it on the table between us. His voice filled with a passion I wished was reserved for me alone. "This is a seven-inch vinyl record, released in 1955 by Bell Records, in mint condition." As he pulled the record from its protective sleeve, a small sigh of appreciation escaped him. "Cab Calloway, side A - Learnin' The Blues, Side B - Unchained Melody. Can you believe it, Cass?"

The unvarnished pleasure on his face made something inside me squeeze. It was easy to create intimate fantasies about the two of us; he was sexy in that 'boy next door' kind of way. You couldn't help but want to have a taste of all that yummy goodness. But I had been careful not to let my daydreams wander farther than his sculpted body. Once the heart gets involved, you're lost. I was determined to stick to the path; the forest is only scary when you're lost in it alone.

"That rounds out your collection now, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. It's kinda bitter sweet, you know? So much of my spare time has been spent collecting all of Cab's records, recordings, anything with him in it or on it. It's done now."

I could see the bitter half of the sweet inching its way onto his features, making him look like a lost little boy, and that painful little squeeze happened again.

"We need to celebrate. What do you say to a cheap bottle of wine, Chinese take-out and The Blues Brothers?"

He raised an eyebrow in question of my choices.

"What? This is your celebration so it should be done with the things you like best. Besides, I ..."  I finished my statement on a mumble.

"What was that? Did you admit to liking The Blues Brothers?"

I nodded, rolling my eyes upward and pursing my lips to suppress a grin to match his.

"I knew it! I knew you were a closet Jazz junkie."

"I wouldn't go that far but the movie was funny and it's not all that wonky scat stuff"

"Wonky? Wonky! Just for that I get both fortune cookies."

Our banter and laughter carried us out of the cafe and continued while we picked up the evening's entertainment. My stomach kept doing flip-flops every time he touched me, and the tight little squeezy sensation came back and took up residence near the vicinity of my heart.  A fat cranberry-scented candle burned between us. Its mellow light flickered, creating interesting shadows on the plains of Justin's face as he laughed at my dismal efforts to use chop sticks.

He came around the table to show me how to hold the recalcitrant pieces of wood. His large warm hand enveloped mine. His deep voice sent small tickles of pleasure through me. His eyes sparkled and seemed to be speaking of more than friendship. I cursed myself as eight kinds of fool when he returned to his side of the table.

Sometime between the second glass of wine and the middle of the movie, I finally admitted to myself that I was in love with Justin. He was my best friend and I had no idea what to do about my newly acknowledged but not so new feelings for him.  I was well and truly lost in the forest.

When the movie ended, Justin chattered happily about Cab Calloway's part while he helped me straighten up my apartment. His voice washed over me, sending me drifting right into one of my favourite fantasies as my hands washed dishes on automatic. I came back to reality in time to catch only the last half of his question. Heart racing, I turned towards him. His eyes radiated uncertainty.

"I'm sorry, could you repeat that?"

"Never mind, it was silly. I never should have said anything. We're great the way we are, aren't we?"

"Yes, I mean no, I mean - just ask what you asked again, please."

There must have been some of the desperate hope I was feeling reflected on my face because the strained worry left his and he flashed one of the sweetest, most dangerous, smiles I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

"I asked if you thought there could ever be anything more than just friendship between us."

My answer came out as an extended sigh. He stepped forward and placed a tentative kiss on my lips. The world tilted. I giggled from the overwhelming release of my pent-up emotions and threw my arms around him. I told him about being lost in the forest, scared because I thought I was the only one in love. He in turn told me of how he was in love with me in high school and had been thrilled to find me again. He'd been hoping for the chance to change his image as 'just a friend' into something more substantial.

We talked, cuddled, kissed and did it all again. I wanted to ask him to spend the night but I was worried it might be too soon. He must have read my mind. Laughter and love twinkled in his eyes as he spoke the words that would send us tumbling into my bed and towards our future filled with so much more of both.

"Seeing as we're lost in the forest together and it can be scary when you're there alone ..." His love filled-grin had my head nodding with anticipation before he even posed the question. "Would it be okay if I crashed here tonight?"

Picture supplied by Dreamstime


Ian Ayris said...

Lovely stuff, Rain. Really well written - tight with great dialogue. Feels like it could be part of a novel. Not my normal stuff but, like I said, so well written twas an absolute pleasure to read.

Keep em comin :)

Wench Writers said...

Ah, Ian, you just made my heart go pitty-pat. I'm grinning :D Thanks so much, this means a great deal to me coming from you.


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