Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Things Change...

She looks the same, almost exactly the same, he thinks. He hadn't seen her in almost a year and she looked the same. He wants to put his arms around her, hold her, but is afraid. Ironic, that. After all they'd been through, done to each other, with each other, how they had explored every crevice of each other's body to be afraid to give her a hug, a fully clothed hug was the pit of irony.

Forget about a kiss, kiss her, kiss that mouth, that beautiful mouth he had... oh god. Don't go there. Don't remember that mouth, the way she kisses with that mouth, like no one else he'd ever kissed, New York style, Philadelphia style and the dreaded, perfect San Francisco style.

San Francisco kisses. He closed his eyes, the memory of her kisses on his lower torso, the way she used her tongue on him. No one else ever had done the things she'd done. Not before, not after. No one else, ever.

He shook his head to clear the ghosts. Her hair was a bit different. Shorter? No, maybe it wasn't her hair, something more subtle. Makeup, tan? No. It was the way she stood there, the very fact that she stood there, so still. He'd never gotten all the way inside before; she'd always greeted him with those kisses, blocked the doorway. Only after she'd been kissed to saturation did she say hello and by then they were inside, naked.

And now? Waiting. No hug, no kiss. It hurt. It hurt more than not seeing her. Because she is real, here. He could smell the tang of her skin, her peculiar musk mixed with her favorite perfume. She tasted like vanilla. Well, her neck tasted like vanilla. The rest of her was just her. He'd never thought about it before, that her neck tasted different. His wife, his other girlfriends had tasted pretty much the same all over, so why did her neck taste like vanilla?

She stood there. Maybe that was the difference, this serenity and quietude. Larger than life, whirling dervish, his whirling dervish, the energy she put into everything, he wanted that, he missed that. He missed the electricity of being with her. He felt more him when he was with her, felt bigger, deeper, smarter even.

"Hi. I've missed you."

She nodded but didn't speak. Eyes on the floor, she folded her arms across her chest.

"Nothing to say? That's a first. I have lots. I don't want to, but I do. I tried not to, oh, how I tried."

She smiled at that, a small smile. "Tried not to? No pleasing substitutes? New playmates didn't work out?"

He didn't want to admit to her that there had been no substitutes, no new playmates. He was ashamed of the torch he carried. Yeah, he'd gone out, scanned the web, gone to bars, placed ads, driven all over and ... nothing. A big nothing. The women would put their arms around him, press their lips to him and it was nothing.

It made him want her more, the other women. When did it happen? They'd been going along fine. So when? When did a convenience turn into an obsession? Was it when she left? Was it before? He was so angry, angrier than when his wife had threatened to leave. Of course, he knew that was just a threat, his wife was full of idle threats. But her? She didn't believe in idle threats.

"There were no playmates." He stared down at his hands now. She'd loved his hands, his long thin fingers, his fingers that could reach so far inside her and find all her sweet spots, make her cling to him, clamp down on him, biting his shoulder to stifle her cries. She'd leave his shoulder black and blue with her teeth marks. He couldn't look at her, let her see how much he wanted her.

But he was here, of course she knew. She knew that one day he'd call her. Just like she knew that she could ask him anything and he'd comply.

"Oh come on. You expect me to believe that? A whole year? No one? I wasn't born yesterday. I've got a bridge right over here if you're interested."

"No playmates. Not anyone else. I couldn't." Did he really say that out loud, admit that? "I couldn't. They all, they all weren't you." Tell her about the times he had tried, despite te Gordian knot in his stomach, taken some whoever's clothes off and nothing? The bodies that didn't feel like her, the kisses that tasted sour, the feeling that he was trying to fuck a wall of cotton batting and it was going to choke him? Tell her about the drinking, waking up in his car so lost it gave him an excuse to use the GPS she insisted he buy? Tell her that? "No. There were no playmates. None."


"And you? Break a few hearts?"

She looked away but didn't answer, which was an answer in itself.

"Not answering is also an answer, Bad Girl."

"Don't call me that! Don't say that! She's dead! Dead, dead, dead!"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. Oh god, I am so sorry, Cassie. Please don't cry. I'm sorry. Oh god, what did I do?" She was heaving dry sobs, crying without tears. He put a hand on her shoulder, stepped closer to embrace her. She felt so good in his arms.

"Don't you say you're sorry! Don't you touch me! You just leave me alone! You go back to whatever rock you've been hiding under for the last year and you just leave me alone!" She pushed him away, turned and covered her face.

"I really am sorry."

"Go home. Leave."

He nodded, helpless. She's crying and he can't even comfort her, hold her. He touched her shoulder again. So warm. He could feel her heat through the fabric. ‘I'm sorry."


"Can I call you? Someday?"

"Oh darling, don't you get it?" She looked up at him, first time since he'd gotten there that she'd really looked at him, mascara streaks down that beautiful face. "Don't you see? Someday never comes. And Bad Girl is dead. So mourn, mourn for all the things that'll never be, all the things that never were."

"Cassie...I really am sorry. Please. Can I hold you? Just for a minute?"

Standing so close, he felt her go limp against him. Put his arms around her to keep her from falling, careful to keep his hands at her waist and shoulders, not let them wander to anywhere more intimate.

She sighed, then pushed him away. "No, don't. I'm fine. I've been fine. I just don't want to hear any more of your BS. You lied to me, even the articles and prepositions were lies. Why should I believe you now? You just...I dunno. You just can't leave it be. You'll say it and then you push and push and push and before I know it, I'm right back there. I can't do that. I can't."

"I'm sorry."

"Sorry? Sorry for what? For not having a twit to fuck, to play your games? What?"

"No, I'm sorry. Sorry for making you feel that way. I am. I've missed you. You, Cassie. I missed you. Yeah, I know you don't believe me."

"None of this matters. Just go. This wasn't a good idea, letting you come here, seeing you. Not a good idea at all. Just go." She pushed him in the direction of the door.

He put his hands in his pockets, those hands she'd done so many things with, those hands that just wanted to touch her one more time. "Can I call you sometimes? Can I? Please? Just to talk. Please."

She shrugged in response.

"Cassie. I'll put your number under Cassie."

She nodded her head and gave him a wan smile. "You do that. Under Cassie."

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