Have I got a treat for you all just in time for the holidays. It’s a hot, bubbling cauldron of awesome in the form of a mystery writer who has hijacked my blog for the day. Prepare to have your socks blown the f*ck off. I give you:
The house was exactly as she had described it to him. Standing in the entry, he controlled himself, his nervousness, his racing heart, his moist, shaking hands. Turning from hanging his coat, she smiled, hands demurely folded before her, hair just so, and completely at odds with her excitement as well. Only an imperceptible throb of a vein in her neck outwardly spoke of her tension. They had waited so very long.
“I like your place,” he said, his voice skipping.
“Oh, that is kind of you to say,” she replied, eyes lowering, lips curling so slightly at the corners.
They hugged awkwardly, an entirely shoulders and arms test of the waters. A brief silence turned awkward, and then stretched on some more. Brown eyes glanced up from under conservative eyeshadow. She watched him, clearly at odds with himself. His mind racing, all it seemed he could think of was how huge and how ungraceful his feet felt.
“I hope you like pork roast,” she said, taking the initiative, “I know we said dinner at the Terrace, but this felt a lot better when I had the idea.”
“I… well, uhm… but,” he stammered, now in mental ruin, all well-planned events for naught, yet somehow recovered, “Well, ok, and pork roast is one of my favorites.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize you had put so much effort into this. I feel bad, but you know,” she paused, making an equivocating hand movement, “The situation.”
The months of careful exchanges over their shared social network site buttressed her caution to him. The shy caution she showed initially blossoming into more exciting, revealing exchanges. Then came the whispered phone conversations from basements, the tearful ones detailing the deceptions, the disappointments, the betrayals. There was implied violence thinly veiled in conversations of another related in explanations. Then, finally, a business trip, a plan, and a hope.
“Yes! Right,” he breathed, “You should have – I mean, I should have thought of that. Really.”
“Relax, it’s okay,” she soothed, and he actually did.
She pointed in a reserved way at a large bag near his feet on the floor. It was the folded, flat-bottomed kind, with two semicircular paper-covered wire handles for carrying.
“Did you bring it?” She asked.
“Oh! Yes I did,” he said, and laughed, now completely relieved.
Picking up the bag, he held each handle in one hand, an offering. With an enigmatic cat’s smile, she glanced at him and reached into the bag. She took the contents in hand and maneuvered it out, flipping it around to finally view it.
Another awkward silence stretched into infinity. For him, he waited in tortured hope for an expression. For her, she racked her brain to comprehend this work. It was the work of months, arduous and perfectionist brushstrokes based on nervously-sent photos. It was her without question, rendered with the talent of a real artist, surrounded by death, glorious in her victory.
“No,” she gasped as tears erupted down her cheeks and she shoved the painting barely-caught into his hands. She vanished into the kitchen, her muffled sobs following her. His world spun, nearly tipping off the edge. He felt actual dizziness, and fought it, somehow willing his feet forward to shuffle uneasily after her.
She stood at the counter, shoulders racking in silent tears. She stirred a crock pot with a wooden spoon. He paused, just beyond arms’ reach of her. Something metal clinked. She froze when he spoke.
“I am so sorry. I… I thought after all we talked about, your amazing strength through this… this… shit,” he managed to choke out of a tight throat. Oddly, he fixed on a coppery and fleeting smell, possibly the roast. Only a few seconds passed this time, and she slammed the lid on the pot nearly hard enough to shatter it. The potholder clung tenaciously to the handle. She spun, bracing against the counter, her fist perched on her cocked hip. From under heavy brows, her eyes now shone with a different intensity through the remnants of the tears.
“No,” she said forcefully, “I meant that you’re not going to disappoint me, and I’m so very excited by that.”
“But, you just… so,” he struggled, somewhat dizzy again yet hopeful, “So you like it?”
“I think it captures the fire I feel inside me right now,” she answered, stalking toward him.
Laughter rushed from his lips as he coughed out, “Oh wow,” and caught her feminine form. This embrace, unlike the first, was heated, close, and natural. Hands wandered, and the only sound for some moments was the nasal exhalations over a deep kiss. Fingernails dug almost painfully into his chest.
“Oh yes,” she breathed, “This will be so liberating. Love me.”
“God, yes,” he replied, “Are you sure –“
“Yes, dammit, he’s gone I swear it,” she said more loudly, “Now, love me!”
He did, and with all his energy and longing. In his arms, she smiled a wicked and pleased smile. Behind them, the potholder slid silently off of the lid, while inside the wedding band fell from the boiling flesh, making a gentle clinking noise.