Tarah walked straight into her shower without even removing her dress. She turned it on full blast and just crouched down beneath the warm massaging rhythms of the water, trying to wash her afternoon sins away.
She’d called her mother as she pulled up in front of her house and asked her to drop off Marco that evening, telling her that she wasn’t feeling well and that she was already at home. She didn’t have to get into any kind of explanation about what was wrong, so she was thankful that she didn’t have to lie, on top of almost committing adultery. She felt incredibly guilty, and she sobbed uncontrollably whilst hugging herself pathetically beneath the water that she hoped would do something to comfort her. She prayed, yet still thought of his touch. She prayed, yet could still feel his hardness between her legs. She prayed, yet could still feel the warmth of his mouth and breath on her skin. She prayed, yet could still taste his kisses. She prayed, yet she could still feel his fingers inside her. It was not working at all. She felt completely helpless and alone and had no clue how to get the feelings she was experiencing to go away. She eventually gathered the strength to stand to her feet and remove her dress. She properly washed herself, rubbing her skin until it felt sore. After she’d gotten out of the shower,she took her dress to the laundry room and tossed it in the wash, then called Lucas and begged him to come home. He was a little irritated, but she sounded as if she really needed him, so he dropped everything. He was his own boss, so all he needed to do was delegate some responsibility to make sure the things he needed to get done in his absence were taken care of. It was rare, especially in the past 2 years, for Tarah to ask him for anything or to do anything for her. He was really worried and couldn’t wait to get to her. When Lucas got there, she sat on their bed, her eyes still watery.
“Baby, what’s the matter?” he asked.
“I just need you. I just need you right now.” she said sobbing.
“Did somebody hurt you?” his tone was strained.
Anger crept in as he looked at her, thinking how beautiful she looked sitting there, just wrapped in a towel. He knew how she looked when she was in pain. He hurt her enough times to become familiar with what it looked like.
“No. no one hurt me. Please, just come and be with me.”
He went over to her, towering his massive 6′-4 ” frame over her. He touched her face, then her shoulders, then skimmed his hands across the top of her towel, loosening it, so that it could fall away from her. It had been so long since they’d made love. They’d grown accustomed to laying in bed like strangers almost every night. Since he’d had an affair with someone who she had considered a close friend, things had never been the same. It was brief and regrettable, with him expressing nothing but guilt and remorse. Even though she thought for the sake of her family that they should and could work it out and that she should forgive him, the forgetting part was a lot harder to tackle.
He’d tried many times to be intimate with her, but he was either met with out right rejection, or the experience was tainted with the tears of her pain, and her emotional disconnection from him. The thought of Lucas with another woman, had made her sick to her stomach, and she was always bombarded with pictures she’d conjured up in her mind about the two of them in intimate embraces, while he was trying to make love to her. Lucas began to resent Tarah, because if she’d truly forgiven him, she shouldn’t have been making him suffer like that, but he did understand her reasons. She had every right to be hurt, and he was glad that she didn’t end their marriage. Even their pillows acted as barriers while they slept as she would unconsciously put them in between their bodies. Those pillows may as well have been a wall, because their bodies never even touched throughout the night, no matter how cold or lonely they’d felt.
The tears in her eyes at that moment, seemed like a break through instead of a break down, as she was reaching out for him both emotionally and physically. He wanted that desperately. He didn’t care what caused it, he was just glad it happened. Without a word, he leaned down and kissed her deeply, and sighed as she reached in to start removing his shirt. He could barely contain himself when he found himself inside of her and listened to her cry out as he stroked her from the inside. Tarah laid there wrecked with guilt and pleasure, as she made love to her husband for the first time in a very long time, feeling his intensity and desire for her. It would have been everything she would’ve desired a year before, but every stroke of pleasure caused Alex’s beautiful face to come to her. She cried uncontrollably and held on to Lucas for dear life. She watched the afternoon sun go dim as he called her name in what felt like a wargasm, as it had been such a battle both internally and externally to get to that point. She closed her tired eyes with Alex’s face being her last thought and Lucas body heavy from release, pressed into hers.
“Are we gonna be ok?” Lucas asked.
“I dunno baby. I really don’t know.” Tarah replied.
He never did ask her what had been the catalyst to their moment of intimacy, but he didn’t care, and she knew she could never tell him that another man awakened a desire in her, that she hadn’t felt in a very long time. Something had to be done about her relationship with Alex. Immediately!
…The tone in her voice when she called him was a bit strange. Though he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was, he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one bit. She noticed that he was already standing next to her car when she walking through the parking lot after work. She had to firm up her stance and her emotions, because every time she saw him, he weakened her. She stood in front of him, close enough to feel his breath. She couldn’t see his eyes because he wore the infamous shades that seemed to almost be a part of him. It was really difficult to read him when he was in full terminator swag.
“We really need to talk.” she said.
When a woman uttered those words, the result was never good. He felt nauseated.
“I know.” he replied.
She felt extremely shaky, and he noticed that her hands were trembling as she got into the drivers seat.
“Lemme drive.” he said.
He got out and she climbed over to the passenger side and buckled up.
Neither of them said a word as he took off. She enjoyed not having control of the wheel, but did not enjoy the symbolism of him being in the driver’s seat and in control at that moment, and in a way, her life.
She did notice fairly early into the drive, that he was not headed in the direction of his house. She had no idea where he was going, but she did trust him, so she didn’t ask him anything. She savored the temporary peacefulness of the music that serenaded them and their verbal silence, because she knew things would never be the same after they talked. Tarah dreaded the inevitable conversation to her core.
The familiar historic sites that she hadn’t visited in a while, let her know that they were soon going to come to a stop. When he pulled into a parking spot that faced the water and the hum of her engine stopped, she held her breath. She didn’t look at him, but she could feel him staring at her. She didn’t know how to start, so she fixed her stare onto the waters. Tarah heard the car door open and saw the passenger and driver’s side windows roll up. The thud of the driver’s door closing caused her to unexpectedly flinch. He walked around the back of the car to her side, opened her door, then extended his hand to her so that he could help her out of the car. They stood facing each other for a few seconds, then he slammed her door shut and initiated the locks. He did not let go of her hand. They then started walking into Nelson’s Dockyard. She thought in her mind that this beautiful place, was going to be the back drop to what she knew could possibly be the end of something that was very special to her. He lead the way and for a while she let herself forget what was to come. His hands clasped hers firmly, and they strolled intimately into the sparsely populated area, as it was the middle of the week. The thought of someone seeing her walking and holding his hand never crossed her mind.It was beautiful and reminded them both why they lived and wanted to continue to live in the islands.
They walked around to the back and stood under the shade of a palm tree, staring off into the water. He embraced her brazenly, as if she were his to do so with. Tarah breathed Alex in as if he gave her life, then she sighed deeply and gently pushed him away.
“We can’t keep doing this. We can’t do this anymore at all actually.” she said. softly.
“I know. I promise, I’ll back off. Yesterday was fuckin’ crazy, but I’d be lying if I said I regretted it. I could still feel you and smell you on me when I woke up this morning.” he replied.
“That’s what I mean. We can’t talk like this,.. we can’t do this at all.”
She took a couple of steps away from him.
“What exactly are you saying?”
“Alex. I don’t think we can even be friends anymore. Not like we’ve been doing. I think I depend on you too much right now and I feel way more for you than I should.”
“So what if you do. We care about each other. How can that be a problem?” he asked.
“You know what I’m talking about, so don’t dismiss what I’m saying.”
“But didn’t I just tell you that I know I need to back off? I know where you’re coming from, but you sound like you’re trying to end our friendship. That’s what this conversation sounds like to me. I’m not trying to hear that.”
He walked right up to her closing the gap between them. He was close enough to kiss her. Tarah was getting very irritated. She tried to walk away from him again, but he grabbed her and pulled her close. She got annoyed enough to ball a fist and punch him hard in his chest, however, it probably hurt her wrist more than it hurt him. Tarah was now pissed off, because he was not acknowledging her plight and now she was in physical pain.
“This is what the fuck I’m talking about. How is this backing off? How is you all over me backing off? Do you know how fucked up this situation is for me? Is this a game for you? I’m married! You understand that. MARRIED! ..and yesterday I was in your bed, almost completely naked! We almost made love. You have no one to answer to. I had to go home yesterday and look him in the face. You know how much pain I could cause him if he found out about you?! I feel like an old fucking fool. I mean your fuckin’ 24 years old. You’re still getting to know yourself and I’m fucking up my life, for a guy who in a few years will probably outgrow me! I care about you soo much, but I can’t do this. I can’t fuckin’ do this anymore!”
Tarah quickly wiped the tears that seemed to have a mind of their own. They wouldn’t stop falling. He wanted to go over to her and comfort her, but he dared not, knowing it would only push her further away from him.
“I’m not trying to fuck up your life Tarah. I’m very aware of your situation. Trust and believe if I wasn’t, you would’ve already been my woman and there’s no way you would’ve left my house yesterday without me being inside you. I’m sorry that things got out of hand, but I promise you, I’ll respect you. I’ll do what ever I have to, to make sure something like yesterday won’t ever happen again, unless you want it to. I’ll never let it happen again, but you can’t just cut me off.”
He walked over to her. She’d turned her back so he couldn’t see her tears. Alex grabbed Tarah’s shoulders and spun her around. He looked at her closely, intensely, but then suddenly noticed 2 tiny love bites. One was on her neck and the other just above her collar bone. He was instantly angry.
“You fucked him last night didn’t you?”
Tarah didn’t answer, which caused his eyes fill. He was never more grateful for those shades.
“I thought you said you guys weren’t intimate anymore.”
She still didn’t answer.
“You went home yesterday and let him fuck you after what we shared?!”
“Do you hear yourself?! He’s my husband! What the fuck are you talking about? Exactly what did you think? Because I wasn’t having sex with him, that I should start with you? Didn’t you think at some point him and I would get past our issues. I’ve never told you that I didn’t love him. I’ve never, EVER lead you to believe that Lucas and I would break up!” she said slowly dying inside, because she did think they would’ve broken up, and that they would never make love again.
“You and Lucas haven’t been fucking for months, maybe even as long as we’ve been friends. You never told me exactly what went down why all that shit is happening, but I know you haven’t been fucking with him,… yet the same day we almost make love you go home and let him touch you? Tarah when he was fuckin’ you, ….
She pushed him away from her, and started walking away…. He grabbed her and pulled her back..
“Don’t you fuckin’ walk away from me. Don’t be a fuckin’ coward! Be a woman and look me in my face.”
She sobbed uncontrollably and he yanked his shades off, so that she could look directly into his eyes.
“Tarah! When he was fuckin’ you, tell me that you didn’t wish it was me. Tell me that you weren’t thinking of me.”
He grabbed her hand and put it on the front of his denim pants, that had an obvious protrusion. She pulled her hand away as if she was scalded by fire and didn’t answer. He put his face right up to hers.
“When he was stroking you last night, tell me that you weren’t thinking of me.”
She didn’t answer.
“Are you happy?! Does he make you happy?”
She still didn’t answer.
“You see. You can’t!” he yelled.
“And that’s the fucking problem Alex! I shouldn’t be thinking of you, I shouldn’t be wanting you… shouldn’t be…”
“I’m in love with you and if we stop talking, its gonna kill me inside.” he said flatly cutting her off.
She was right. The moment the words came out of his mouth, he knew she was right. They could no longer be friends.
“I’m in love with you too…and its fuckin’ killin’ me now. I don’t have the strength to resist you anymore. I can’t keep tempting fate. Do you really wanna be in a relationship where your woman goes home to another man. Do you think I can tolerate being intimate with two men at the same time. I can’t do it to myself. I can’t. We can’t talk anymore, I can’t take you home anymore, we can’t give each other advice anymore, we can’t love each other anymore… we can’t…”
Then Tarah broke down crying like she hadn’t in 2 years. The last time she cried that hard, was when she’d found out about Lucas’s affair. She sat on the grass with her head on her knees and cried and there was nothing Alex could do about it. He stood there looking down at her, with the sun setting over her, and wiped his own tears away. He put his shades back on. After a few minutes, she tried to get herself together. Alex walked around and stood in front of her, just staring. She looked up and saw his hand extended yet again. She reluctantly took it and he helped her up. They looked into each others faces and knew it was over. Alex never let go of her trembling hand. They somberly walked back to her car like injured soldiers after a brutal battle. He lead her back to the passenger side, and resumed the driver’s seat. Nothing was left to say. As he drove to his house, she felt him clasp her hand and she held his hand tightly, taking in what was possibly the last bit of energy she’d get to feel from him. He turned up the stereo.
He didn’t bother to switch the engine off. He leaned over, turned her head to face him, then kissed her as he’d never kissed her before. That kind of kiss should have been a prelude to making passionate love, not to say goodbye, but that was all they were going to have. They could taste each others tears in the goodbye. When he gathered enough strength, he pulled back, touched her face and said..
“I’ll always love you.”
She couldn’t say anything. The thud of her car door slamming shut, was too much to handle. She eased over to the drivers side and sobbed uncontrollably. It was at least 5 minutes before she could gather her emotions, and get her eyes clear enough to see. He stood from his bedroom window for the longest time staring at the car, hoping against hope, that he would see her get out and run upstairs to him, but that didn’t happen. She drove off with screeching tires and he tossed himself across his bed, looking up at the stars that started to glow slightly, as it was beginning to get dark. He didn’t cry, but water just rolled from his eyes freely. He felt gutted.
Weeks flew by quickly. At first it was very painful and very difficult to get accustomed to the lack of correspondence. They used to talk everyday, several times a day, and she found herself dialing his number and stopping herself midway through on many occasions. She totally changed her office timing. She went extremely early, and would be done by early afternoon. They never saw each other at all. She was reduced to scoping out the few pictures he had on his facebook profile, just to get a glimpse of him. It killed her. It hurt her to her soul, when she noticed several wall conversations he seemed to suddenly be having with some girl, who had a facebook moniker of ‘The One’ .Her profile picture was very pretty.
Things had gotten better between Tarah and Lucas for maybe two months, but it didn’t last. She tried to try and make it work. They had been intimate several times, but she felt so hollow inside, that she didn’t have too much to give. Lucas knew it too. They lived their lives and went through the motions, hoping for some seismic shift in emotions, but they moved about like good looking zombies, only rotting from the insides. Outwardly, it was picture perfect.
A little after midday one Thursday, she made a quick stop to grab some paperwork that she’d left at her office. She also searched for a few more files on her c drive that she needed and saved them to her memory stick. She was there a bit longer than she’d expected, but not too late. As she exited the main building a little after one, she saw him standing there. She felt frozen. It would be her first time seeing him, in close to three months, since they’d basically told each other their painful goodbyes. He was standing outside a white car, leaning over the passenger side window, talking to a young woman. She died a little inside when she saw him lean in and kiss her softly on the lips. She tried to move, as she saw the white car drive off, but her brainwaves seemed to slow down, because of the pain of seeing him with someone else. The signals never got to her feet in time, so that they could move before he noticed her. When he turned around and saw her standing there, he too felt a kick like sensation in his torso. The smile that she assumed the young woman had put on his face, quickly dissipated. Another re-emerged, one that she knew was formulated for her and he began to approach. Her feet immediately got the message, and she sprinted towards the parking lot. He ran behind her and caught up with her just before she reached her car and grabbed her.
“Whats the matter? We haven’t seen each other in so long, and now you see me you run? I thought we still cared about he other. I miss you.” he asked confused.
“Yeah I see how much you miss me.” she replied in a snarky tone. She knew she wasn’t being fair to him, but love had no logic.
“Am I missing something?” Are you upset with me? I thought you wanted me to stay away? You know how much not being able to talk to you hurts me?” he asked.
“You think everything is honky dory on my end? You think I don’t think about you? You think I don’t miss you?” she replied.
There was silence for what seemed like forever, before she spoke again.
“Is that your girlfriend?”
“I dunno what she is. I like her a lot though.” he replied.
“Have you been with her?” she couldn’t stop her jealous mouth from speaking.
The look on his face answered her question.
“Well good for you.” Tarah said sadly.
She turned to walk away from him, but he grabbed her.
“Does that bother you? What am I supposed to do Tarah?Am I supposed to fuckin’ wait for you and pray that you and Lucas will break up?”
She shook her head no.
“I’m sorry Alex. I am. I want you to be happy.”
“I’m sorry too.” he said, knowing she was hurt.
Without thinking, he leaned in and grazed her lips with his, slowly. The electricity was still there.
“OMG.. I’m so sorry Tarah.”
“It’s ok.” she said.
He stepped back away from her, and let her walk to her car. Alex watched her drive away, knowing immediately, everything needed to change.
Tarah avoided the office for the rest of the week and the following week as well. She avoided facebook too, and seriously contemplated removing him from her already almost non- existent friend’s list. She was never more stunned to see an e-mail from him 2 weeks after they’d seen each other, telling her how much she’d changed him, how much he still loved her and would never regret her, how much he wished for her to find true happiness in her life and that he’d left Antigua to give her some real space and peace and was on a quest to find some for himself.
She was in total shock……