Tuesday, July 29, 2014

So Lost Without You

I exhaled deeply as the experienced fingers kneaded my upper back and neck.  I had gone to get a massage at the spa my family has a membership at.  I had stayed focused in class and was really tense from being stressed.  Even though I didn't have any outright threats from them, the thought of Luke and Victoria potentially following me or showing up randomly was weighing in the back of my mind.

I'd had a lot of massages and was picky about who I received them from.  A lot of females, in my experience, gave light "feel good" massages.  But I like them deep.  When it comes to a massage, I live by the saying It hurts so good.  I've had the same masseuse for just over a year now.  A man by the name of Angus.  He was a middle aged Scottish man who also happened to be blind.  I had found that with him having lost his eyesight, his other senses (ie: feeling) were heightened.  He was able to feel knots and stiff muscles more acutely.  He gave the best massages.  Ever.  Afterwards, I got fully dressed (I only wear a thong to massages.  I feel awkward being fully naked.) and gave Angus a hug and a nice tip, then left.

It had been a week since I had ran into Charlie.  It had been eerily silent from Luke and Victoria.  My summer class had been over for a week and the past week I had spent in hibernation, just working at the Racquet Club, hanging out with Falon, and staying at my parents' house.  My dad would be home in a week, and the city tennis classes start up a week from Monday, so I was relaxing before having to balance two jobs.  At least I knew I'd be working with Coach and some other people from the tennis team.  The next weekend I was traveling to Florida for a tennis tournament with Cara.

It's exactly 6 weeks until Elena's wedding, and I had a fitting for my dress.  I was expecting it to fit relatively well, because I had been running the past week to stay in shape.  And by running, I mean slowly jogging.  Maddie was coming into town for today and tomorrow for the dress fitting.  Although Sarah was out of town, I was looking forward to seeing Elena, Maddie, and Elena's sister, Elle.  I hadn't seen Maddie since she went home for the summer, nor Elena since she moved out, because we'd all been so busy.

I was sitting on the couch in my apartment living room, freshly showered and relaxed after my massage.  I was wearing a teal and purple chevron maxi skirt from Target, teal lace crop tank, and simple flip flops.  I heard a knock on the door and jumped up, ecstatic to see my long lost friends.  Elena and Maddie were meeting at the apartment. Elle was meeting us at the bridal shop.  Right before I opened it I hesitated.  Why was there knocking and not the turn of a key?

I wracked my brain for an answer, moments later remembering that because only Sarah and I were officially living in the apartment for the summer, Maddie and Elena had to turn in their keys.  Though obviously for different reasons.  I flung the door open and Maddie was standing there, in all her tanned glory.  She dropped her overnight bag and jumped on me, wrapping her arms around me, hugging me tightly.  I caught her and then stumbled backwards, collapsing on the floor in giggles.  She screeched, "I've been so lost without you!"

Since most of Maddie's possessions were still there, she was staying the night with me.  Though, I had taken the liberty to strip Sarah's bed and move Maddie's sheets to her bed so we could sleep in the same room.

While waiting for Elena, we caught up.  She filled me in on her summer job of working at Forever 21 back home, and spending time with her man, and I told her about everything with Luke and Victoria, and running into Charlie.  Although we had briefly chatted a few times on the phone, neither of us seemed to catch the other at good times, so our conversations weren't much longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

Elena arrived then and whisked us away to the bridal shop for the fittings.  The same crazy-haired eccentric woman was there for our fitting.  It was uneventful.  My dress fit perfectly, still.  I had an appointment to come back in 3 weeks, just to make sure everything was still fine.

We walked up to the register so Elena could pay for the veil she had finally decided on, and were chatting waiting for Elena to be rang up when my ears tuned in to someone saying a name I recognized.  I perked up and turned around slightly to see a short lady with too much make-up on talking to a sales girl.  The sales girl had several dresses slung over her arm.  I squinted my eyes at her, not recognizing her, but my eyes widened in realization when I heard her say, "Yes, his name is Tom.  Tom Lange.  And I want our day to be perfect!"

Sunday, July 27, 2014


The past three weeks flew by.  With the start of my summer class and working at the Racquet Club, plus two of those weekends traveling out of town with Cara for tennis tournaments, I didn't have much time to breath, let alone think about Luke, Victoria, or anything else going on.  My dad only had two weeks of treatments left in Minnesota, and then he would be coming home for rest and I knew he was hoping to go back to work. 

After receiving the Facebook message from Victoria, I had spoken with Detective Stratton the next day.  He put the information into their system, as an evidence trail and asked if I wanted a protective order.  I had declined, because at this point Victoria, nor Luke, had done anything physically to me or even confronted me face-to-face.  I told him that if something more happened, I would consider it, and let him know.  He said he would tell me exactly what I needed to do, although he couldn't do it for me.

I had read and re-read the message from Victoria numerous times.  Every time I experience a different emotion ranging from embarrassment to sympathy and hurt to rage.  Falon had ideas on how to inform Victoria of the truth, but Detective Stratton had advised me not to.  So when I had told Falon that, I kept a calm demeanor and told her I agreed with him, but everything inside of me screamed Let's get that bitch!  Falon told me if I changed my mind, to of course let her know.  I really wanted to send her the "selfie" that Luke and I had taken that had been the background of my phone throughout our relationship.  He had his left hand on my left cheek and was smile-kissing my other.  My eyes were closed and I was grinning happily.  Clearly it was all a facade.

I also had received a few menacing texts from Luke, but they were sparse.  I hadn't responded to him, either.  I decided that it wasn't in my best interest.

I had grown accustomed to my empty apartment, and valued the silence when I was doing homework.  Since it was Saturday, I didn't have class, and I didn't have to work.  I had purposely not made plans with anyone so I could take a breather.  It was the first weekend I hadn't traveled with Cara.  I decided a shopping trip was in order.

With my schedule being hectic and constant, I had lived most of the past three weeks in sweats and tank tops or shorts and t shirts.  I decided to take time and actually put myself together.  It was finally consistently warm.  About time, I thought, since it was June 7th.  I wore white lace shorts and a gray tank.  I finished the look with Jimmy Choo white/cork wedge sandals.  I straightened my hair and took time to do my makeup.  When I was finished, I smiled at myself, because it was the first time I felt put together in weeks.

I did mostly window shopping.  I did buy some cheap flip flops and more shorts and a bodycon dress.  Afterwards, I stopped by a frozen yogurt shop.  While grabbing my little cup of deliciousness, I heard the ding of the bell signaling the arrival of someone else inside.  I started to walk out when I heard my name being called.  I turned to see Charlie standing there.  Luke and Nate's housemate.  I groaned inwardly and felt my body tense up.

"Oh, hi Charlie."

"Geez, don't look so thrilled to see me!" He smiled and tapped my shoulder.

"Sorry," I smiled sheepishly. 

His expression immediately turned serious then.  "Hey, look, I heard about... you know, everything.  Nate and Luke are both pretty pissed.  But honestly?"  He looked around hesitantly, running his hand over his head.  "I'm not surprised," he whispered.  "Don't get me wrong, I like them both and they're great ballers, but they're both shady as hell about some things.  I don't know if they drugged you, or anyone else, or not.  I know they've taken things.  And I know that Nate has dealt some stuff, but it was never really harming anyone, you know?  Stuff like aderall.  That type of stuff.  And I figured being around Luke, you knew.  I'm sorry."  He looked down at his shoes and genuinely looked apologetic.

"Charlie, it's okay.  You weren't involved.  I wish you would've told me, but I know you're their friend.  But why are you telling me this?"  I honestly expected backlash from their friends.

He looked at me sadly, but intensely.  "Because you seem like a sincere person.  If you went to the police to make a report that you found drugs in their room, and you think you were drugged, I believe you.  I don't want to be associated with shit like that."

I looked at him surprised.  Based on his joking nature, and his friendships with Luke and Nate, and also the few interactions I'd had with Charlie, I assumed he was just like them, and fit the stereotype that high level college athletes on the major teams had.  I was pleasantly surprised.

"Thanks, Charlie."  I smiled happily at him, but asked, "So did Luke or Nate tell you all this?"

He sighed.  "Yes and no.  They told me a watered down version of that and having to talk to the police, but then I was interviewed by a detective.  The rest of the guys in the house were, too.  Anyway," his demeanor changed then, and he seemed ready to end this conversation  as his eyes diverted away from me, "Luke and Nate were kicked out of our house by us.  There could be repercussions on the team or through the school, but we won't know yet until the police finish their investigation."

I raised my eyebrows in shock.  I thought I was just filing a report, I didn't think this would be a full investigation.  "Oh," was all I managed.

He smiled, seemingly having moved past our just ended conversation.  "It was really good seeing you, Aleah.  If you need anything, let me know!"  He leaned in and gave me a hug then, and whispered in my ear, "And seriously, if Luke or Nate come near you, let me know."

He pulled away, I thanked him and walked out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spite and Vengeance

I clicked on the message, and my stomach started churning.  I felt anxiety, not knowing what the message was going to hold.  But before I could even read the first line, I heard knocking on my door.  I glanced at my door, then glared at my computer screen, wondering what that message held for me.

I momentarily pushed thoughts of the message out of my mind and hopped up to answer the door.  I flung it open to see Falon standing at the door.  "Aahhhh!" We both screeched at the same time and flung our arms around each other, her large tote falling to the floor out of her hand.  We rocked back and forth talking over each other at the same time, excitedly.

I took a step back and looked Falon up and down and whistled at her.  She had lost weight, grown her raven hair out to just past her shoulders, and she was glowing. She was beautiful before, but absolutely radiant and stunning now.  Even though she just had on sweats and a tshirt (great minds think alike!), I knew if we got all dressed up and went out together, we would be show stoppers.  "Girl, you look so hot!"

She laughed and waved me off.  "Oh, stop.  I joined a running group at school in order to be healthier, and I actually liked it.  So I kind of train year round to run races all over the place."

"Oh, you're one of them," I teased, although I really meant it.  I hate running.

She opened up her tote and showed me she had brought grocery items for tacos.  I laughed and told her I had already picked everything up.  We decided to just split everything we'd bought and use half of her stuff and half mine.  By the time we finished cooking, we had a smorgasbord of taco fixings.  During that time we had talked about school, tennis, and our roommates.  Over tacos, I told her about my dad.  She was so consoling and sweet.  She updated me on her family, and then we moved on to guys.  She told me that she wasn't dating anyone, although she had been on several dates with various guys throughout the school year.  When she asked if I was still dating Derek, I filled her in on him.  I then told her all about Zach and our trip to New York City, and our most recent talk.  As I was talking, she could tell how emotional I still was, and she reached over and squeezed my hand.  She asked if I was dating anyone since all of that.  I sighed and told her we should get comfortable for that. 

We went over to my couch, wrapping blankets around our bodies, and held glasses of sweet tea vodka/lemonade mix.  I told her about Luke, from the moment we met, to how seemingly understanding he was with me going to NYC with Zach, all the way to the text messages I had last gotten from him.  I told her that Sarah had called me about seeing him with his supposed cousin, Victoria, and that I had a message from her on Facebook that I was just about to read.

Her eyes widened and she said, "You didn't read it yet?"

"No!  You were at the door!"

She rolled her eyes, "Oh Aleah, I would've understood if you had made me wait out there!"  She playfully tapped my shoulder.  "Read it!  Come on!"

"Okay, okay..." I trailed off and immediately felt my nerves start to escalate. 

I opened my laptop and we both immediately started to read:

Dear Aleah, 

How are you?  Actually, you know what?  I don't give a fuck how you are.  Luke told me all about you.  I know how girls like you are.  You think you're hot shit.  Well guess what.  You aren't.  Keep your trashy, slutty self away from Luke.  He told me how he told you to stay away from him because he's engaged, and you were all over him all the time.  He told me how you even tried to put your whore hands down his pants.  You just wish that you could have his dick.  But based on what he told me, it'd probably be like shooting a hot dog down a hallway, anyway.  So now, because he told you that you are nothing to him, you turn him in to the police?  You are desperate.  He's not into you, he's with me. And don't even think you'll be trying to make his life hell next year, either.  I'm transferring there.  Look forward to meeting you, bitch.


My jaw was legitimately dropped open.  I turned to look at Falon and I could see her jaw was clenched shut, and her eyes narrowed.  She spoke first, "That bitch."



"He's such a..."

"Dick!" She huffed.

"And he's engaged?"

We sat there for a few minutes in silence then, processing what we just read.  "I just," I started, but Falon cut me off.

"Listen Aleah.  What she said isn't true.  I know you better than that," she grinned evilly.  "She apparently doesn't know that payback is a bitch."

Temporarily forgetting the current situation, we briefly reminisced about the times we had gotten revenge on various people for random, petty things in high school.  Not horrible things to ruin lives, just high school things that we thought were funny but parents of the students probably thought was annoying, such as t.p.ing.  Innocent.  But the conversation of course came full circle back to the present situation.

"I feel like this girl is one of those that doesn't believe anyone but her boyfriend.  I have plenty of evidence of he and I together.  But somehow I bet it'll be my fault.  I would love to get her back and slap her right in the face with the hand of truth, but I think I should also let Detective Stratton know."  I continued, sadly, "I also feel guilty.  I swear I didn't know."

She sighed, deflated by me taking immediate, spiteful vengeance off the table.  I knew deep down it isn't that we are mean by nature, we are just protective of the ones we love.  "Fine.  But, if I need to have a talk with someone to let them know what's up, you just say the word.  And you know this isn't your fault.  Aleah, you didn't know.  Luke is the jerk in all this.  He pursued you."

I gave her a small smile.  I changed the subject then, because I didn't want to think about this right now.  I knew I would need to touch base with Detective Stratton, but that's it.  We popped in Mean Girls and spent the rest of the evening catching up more and gossiping about old and new high school drama.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I love her! She's like a martian!

"Luke?"  I questioned, almost stupidly.

"Yeah," she paused, then continued.  "He was with a girl."


"And she had a massive rock on her hand."

"Oh, yeah probably his cousin he told me about.  What'd she look like?"

"Thin.  Pretty.  Red hair.  But I don't think..."

I cut her off.  "Yeah, that sounds like his cousin Victoria.  I saw a picture of them on Facebook."

"No, Aleah.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't his cousin."


"They were sitting across from each other holding hands at a table," she blurted out.

I froze.  My stomach immediately started churning.  "What?" I squeaked out.

"Listen, I can't talk much longer.  I don't think Luke saw me.  I was at some cafe in town.  I just wanted to let you know."

We got off the phone then, and I was dumbfounded.  Could I have been that stupid to believe that Luke was a better guy than what he appears?  I started thinking back to all of our conversations, and his weird "quirks" that I had written off to him being so "private."  I assumed this is why he didn't want a "Facebook official" relationship.  Every ounce of my being wanted to respond back to Luke's texts then.  I was furious.  I felt tears well up in my eyes.  I felt betrayed.

I slammed my phone down on the bed next to me and hoisted myself up.  I involuntarily made a disgusted noise.  I unpacked, which consisted of me throwing everything into the dirty clothes.

I couldn't focus on anything except how angry I was.  I had forgotten all about Luke's text messages, and was focused on the seemingly lies and non-truths of our relationship.

Not having any of my roommates there in this moment made me feel empty.  I snatched my phone off of the bed and started scrolling up and down my contacts, not really looking at the names, trying to think of who I could call.  I knew Elena was doing some cake tasting today, so I didn't want to bother her.  Sarah was unavailable.  Maddie wasn't in town.

I sighed heavily and called Joe.  No answer.

I scrolled through my contacts again and let it stop, and it landed on the letter F.  I squinted at the name.  Falon.

Falon had been my other best friend in high school.  Kind of like Zach and I, once we went to college, we kind of drifted apart.  But during high school, we were inseparable.  We had nicknamed each other "Fal" and "Al."  She and I had similar personalities, but opposite interests.  She was much more outgoing than I, and "involved."  She was in show choir, was vice president of student counsel, and worked on the sets of all the plays and musicals.  She also had been in charge of the yearbook, and so she and I occupied the most pages.  We always reconnected over the summer when she was back from school.  She had gone to Azusa Pacific University in California and was majoring in Nursing.  She was not interested in athletics like I had been.  She also was beautiful, but had never had a boyfriend.  She seemed to always crush on guys that were "unattainable," but I think that was just her way of avoiding being hurt.  She was half Native American, with jet black hair and dark eyes.  She had kept her hair very short in high school and was obsessed with brand names.  She got along with everyone, but we always came back to each other. I loved her dearly and we had been the best of friends. No matter how much time we spent apart and didn't talk, it was like none had elapsed when we reconnected.

I figured since school was out for me, she was probably back in Nebraska now.  I clicked on her name and hit the call button.  It rang twice before she answered.


"Hey!  Falon?  It's Aleah."

There was a moment of silence.  "Duh.  Girl, you know I got your number!"

I laughed.  "What are you doing?  Where are you?  Are you back?"  I asked excitedly.  Just hearing her voice made me all giddy.

"Well, I just got to the parents' about... mmmm.. 8 minutes ago?  So basically, 8 minutes too long to not have called you, right?"

"Of course!  When will your mom release you from your grasp?"  I sat there with the mental image of Falon being pinned to the ground in a bear hug by her mom.  Falon and her mom were best friends.  As in, if I hadn't existed in high school, her mom would've been her partner in crime.  And although they were bests, I knew that Falon had felt suffocated by her mom a lot of times.

"She's smothering me already," she whispered.  Her voice then raised to normal volume, "I can probably come over for dinner tonight?"

"Yes, please!  I'll text you the address."

When we got off the phone, I sent her my address.  The past two summers when she came back into town, we had gotten together and had taco night.  It was like our thing, I guess.

I put on some black spandex athletic capris, and an oversized tshirt.  I opted for running shoes, and threw my hair up into a messy/bumpy ponytail.  I decided to run to the grocery store to everything we needed, so we'd be prepared.  I mentally made a list of items to get, and in addition to the taco supplies I noted to get sweet tea vodka, lemonade, and to try to find Mean Girls on DVD somewhere.  That our movie, and sadly, my copy had disappeared during the school year.  I knew we would just binge on food, alcohol, and movies, so I didn't need to actually get dressed nice.

After arriving back at my apartment, I cleaned up a bit and put everything away.  This was the first time either of us had "our own place," even though it was just my on-campus housing, it wasn't one of our parents' houses, which is where we usually crashed.  I happily put the copy of Mean Girls I found in the $5 bin at Walmart on the DVD rack.  After I sent Falon the text where I lived, she had told me she'd be over about 7 p.m.

I checked the time and saw it was 6:30.  I decided to jump on Facebook and see if there was any sign of Luke and his cousin/fiancee on there.  When I logged on. I saw I had a few notifications and a new message.  I always save my messages for last, because I love getting them randomly.  Falon knew this, and I figured she had probably sent me a message telling me how excited she was for tonight.

On my notifications I saw I had 14 likes on the picture I had uploaded earlier of my face with Mean Girls right next to it, and a super cheesy smile plastered on me.  There was a comment on the picture from Falon stating: That is SO fetch!

I laughed and commented back: Oh, it's like slang, from... England!

I also had an invite to play Farmville.  People still play that?  Annoying.

I then smiled in anticipation of the message, and clicked on my message.  The smile immediately washed off my face when I saw who it was from.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Texting Overload

It was really tough being with my dad, but it also was healing.  It was healing in the medical sense, of course, but it also was healing for me.  I got to see his strength and hope, but I also saw his exhaustion and weakness.  I'd always put my dad on a pedestal.  And he definitely didn't come down off of it, but I saw his humanity.  The bags under his eyes, the multiple naps he took, his hair in the bottom of the shower after he was done in there:  humanity. 

I didn't cry until I was in my car driving home.  Only because I was going to miss him, not because I was scared.  I got home late Thursday night.  I walked into the apartment and my exhaustion and loneliness kicked in.  I looked around at the dark apartment, sad that my roommates were gone.  At least I know Sarah would be back in July.  I flipped on a light in the living room, and decided to leave it on, because I didn't realize how quiet it could actually be in there.  Even on the weekends when my roommates had been gone, there were still other apartments full of people surrounding me, and so there was always noise and activity.  Now, most people were moved out, and the few that were left were going to be in summer classes and/or working, so probably going to bed at decent times.

I texted both my mom and my dad letting them know I made it home safely.  I knew my mom was leaving Saturday to go up to Rochester and be with my dad for two weeks.  My brother was going to be at home, and my mom asked me to check in and make sure he was feeding the animals and in general watching over the house. He was going to be a freshman in college next year, and he was going out of state.  I wanted to spend some time with him anyway, since I wouldn't see him much starting in the fall. 

I collapsed onto my bed and curled into a ball, deciding tomorrow would be a better day to unpack.  Just as I was dozing off, and starting to have a bizarre dream involving The Purge-like attacks where I was cowering in fear hiding in the basement of some random house, I jumped awake to my phone buzzing.  I realized how tense my body was, from the lifelike terror of the nightmare.  I took a deep breath and looked at my clock, seeing it was only 11:45 p.m.  I clicked the side button of my phone and saw I had a text message.  I wondered who was texting me.

I unlocked my phone's screen and went into my texts and saw it was from Luke.  I closed my eyes, debating whether to read it or ignore it until morning.  I assumed it had to do with he and I and our doomed ex-relationship. 

Still while debating, my phone started vibrating again.  Luke was calling.  I hit ignore, and shut my phone off.  That made the decision for me.  I would check the text in the morning.

I went to sleep quickly after that, and slept dreamlessly. 

In the morning I turned on my phone and then went to shower.  I got out and laid on my bed naked, drying off.  I wasn't soaking wet, I had towel dried.  But sometimes I did that when I was alone, because I hated getting dressed when my skin was damp.  I grabbed my phone and decided to check my texts.

I frowned at my phone.  17 texts?  Good grief.

I opened my text list and saw I had responses from my dad and mom which totaled 3.  I also had 3 tests from Sarah.  I quickly read hers:


Call me.

ALEAH r u alive?  I need 2 talk 2 u.  Call me ASAP!!!!!!!!!

I knew that if it were an emergency, I would also have texts from my mom, Sarah's mom, and probably Maddie and Elena seeking me out, too.  I assumed this was just some good gossip.

I sighed and clicked on Luke's name, the keeper of the other 11 texts.

We need to talk.

Why'd you ignore my call?

Aleah, seriously, this isn't funny.

You shut your phone off?

Well, since you aren't going to answer your phone, answer this.  Why'd you fucking accuse me of drugging you?


Are you trying to ruin my life?  I could lose my scholarship.  I was nothing but good to you.  You're a nhore.  A no whore.  No sex.  You couldn't have handled me anyway.

Um, wtf?  I figured at this point he was drinking.

Aleah I'm sorry.  I promise I didn't do anything.  It's okay, really.  We can make this work.  You go undo your police statement and then we can talk and make up and we can be together again.  I'll let this go.  I promise.


Wake up.  Call me.

Fuck you.

I contemplated what to do.  I mean, he definitely didn't threaten me.  To my knowledge, Luke was back in Kansas anyway.  But I didn't know where his roommate, Nate was.  I know Nate doesn't have my number.  Maybe the police spoke with Nate and not Luke?

I decided to call Detective Stratton and touch base with him.  No answer.  I left him a message asking him to call me back. 

I decided then to call Sarah.

"ABOUT TIME," she answered almost immediately.

"Sorry, I drove back from Minnesota yesterday, and was so tired, I crashed.  What's up?"

"Hold on."  I heard her walking by talking voices and then a door shut.  "You'll never guess who I saw yesterday," she hissed at me.

"Um, I have no idea.  How would I know that?  Is someone else from here at the camp with you?"

She ignored my questions and instead spat out, "Luke."

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Sunday early afternoon I met with Detective Stratton.  We talked a bit about my dad and family before jumping head first into the details of what was going on.  He again reminded me that they wouldn't be filing charges, but it would hopefully either scare the guys enough after being interviewed that they wouldn't do anything like that again, or it would be written documentation for any future cases involving them.  I again told him everything that happened from the night I couldn't remember, and then when I found the pills in their room.  He told me they would be following up with the guys this week.  I told Detective Stratton that exams were over and I didn't know when Luke was heading back to Kansas.  He told me not to worry about anything.  He also said if either of them contacted me and threatened me or anything, to let him know.  I said I would.  Every step I took towards the door of the police station to leave, I felt lighter and lighter.  I knew that this was the right thing to do.

I pushed through the door and started digging around in my purse looking for my phone.  I ran head first into someone, and looked up straight into Detective Unknown's amused face.  He looked me up and down, and I suddenly felt out of place in my Banana dress and white open toed pumps.  "Aleah, right?"

"Uh, yeah, hi.  You remembered,"  I awkwardly stuttered back at him.  I gave him a quick look over, and my eyes rested for a moment on the gun strapped on his waist.  His fitted light blue polo not only highlighted his blue eyes, but hugged his clearly toned and muscular body.  I blushed, as I met his eyes, and he had the amused expression on his face again, watching me look at him.

"How could I forget Brad's favorite non-niece."

"Right."  I uncomfortably shifted my weight from one leg to the other.  "I'm sure you're busy, I should let you get in there..."  I started walking away.  I realized I was so awkward around attractive guys, and shook my head at myself.

"Aleah?"  He said it as a question but I knew it was a statement.

I halted in my steps and turned my head to look at him.  "I'm Aaron."  He gave me a smile that showed off his blindingly white teeth compared to his tan skin and walked into the building.

I watched him walk away.  Something felt confusing about him, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was.

Back at my apartment I started packing, to get ready for my trip to Minnesota.  Sarah was packing, too.  She was heading to Lawrence, Kansas the next day to help teach at a track and field camp during the month of June plus a couple of weeks.  She would be back shortly before Elena's wedding.  She was heading down so early to help plan and set up and bond with the other workers.

After Sarah came back from Kansas, she would be staying in the apartment with me for the rest of the summer.  It felt empty already, though, because all of Elena's things were moved out.  Most of Maddie's things were, but since she was of course moving back in August, she had left her main things there.  Maddie was moving home to her parents' house for the summer.  Elena's parents had put a down payment on a house as a wedding gift for Elena and Jeff, and so she had been moving out the past week and into the new house.  Jeff wouldn't move in until they were married, though.  I still had to go check out their new place.  It was so weird to me that they were going to be married in just a couple of months.  But I was ecstatic for them.

After we finished packing, I tackled Sarah on to her bed and told her how much I was going to miss her.  Although we had seen each other in passing over the past week, and at graduation the day before, I hadn't really gotten to speak with her.  We laid in her bed and I told her about seeing Zach, breaking up with Luke, and filing the police report earlier in the day.  She was extremely happy about all three things. 

"You know that someday you and Zach are going to get hitched."

I nudged her, but a smile crept onto my face.  "Don't say that.  You're getting my long-term hopes up."

"I'm just saying."

"Well, I'm not trying to think about that.  In fact, I'm trying to push Zach out of my mind for now.  I'm just going to have fun for now.  I think I'm just going to choose to be single."

"When was the last time you were single?"  Sarah shot a side-eye at me.

"Right now.  Duh."

Sarah huffed, "You know what I mean."

"Okay, I see your point."

"You should set a minimum date to be single."

"That's lame."

"Seriously, Aleah.  You jump into things to forget about Zach.  Derek?  Luke?"

"Fine.  When school starts back up in August?"

"At least."

"Well, I think that's fair for now.  I mean, what if my soul mate enters my life tomorrow?  That is over 3 months of just getting to know each other as friends.  I think I can at least go on a date at that point."

"Oh, so Zach is coming back tomorrow?"  She stuck her tongue out at me.  "And fine.  But I'm holding you accountable.  No relationships, no dates."

"Deal."  We linked pinkies and kiss our hands, sealing the deal.  "But what is your end of the deal?"

"Um, I've been single this whole school year.  It should be that any fine, eligible men you meet, you send my way and I'll date enough for the both of us!"

I laughed.  "Deal."

We spent the rest of the evening watching movies and eating Chinese take-out. 

Monday I spent driving to Rochester.  It was peaceful and calming.  I was nervous, though.  My palms were sweaty.  I didn't know what to expect.

I pulled up to the extended stay hotel, and went in search of my dad's room.  When I knocked on the door, he opened it wide.  His eyes were sparkling, but there were bags under his eyes, and he had shaved his head.

My eyes widened, but I quickly recovered, and put on my biggest smile.  He held out his arms and I rushed into them, embracing him tightly.  "Dad, it is so good to see you."

"I made us reservations at Prescott's.  I got a recommendation for the alleged best restaurant here.  So I figured we could try it out."  He smiled at me warmly. 

I dropped my duffel bag off at the door and changed clothing quickly.  I quickly looked around the hotel.  It was nice with 2 bedrooms, and living space, kitchenette and dining area.  It was quaint and modest.  Although my parents are wealthy, they tend to "live small" and "eat big."  I smiled thinking about my family.

I was happy that I could come and be here with my dad, and have 1 on 1 time with him.  I didn't want to burden my dad with telling him about the police report, but I did over dinner.

"Oh, baby girl, you should have told me sooner.  You know I would've done anything to help you with that."  He looked at me concerned.

"I know, daddy, but I'm trying to grow up and make better choices."

My hands were clasped on the table, and he reached over and put his hand over mine.  "I'm proud of you, Aleah.  And I'm so glad you went to Brad.  He's a good friend to our family."

After my confession, dinner was lighthearted, and we talked about my summer, and my dad's plans.  I loved that he spoke as if nothing was wrong.  He told me he was even working from here, as much as he could.  Although he wasn't doing any surgeries right now, he could still work on teaching material for the fall, and was doing research on up and coming new surgical technologies and such.  This was a conversation that Zach would've enjoyed much more than me, I thought wistfully, but was very happy to be having it with my dad and tried to follow the best I could when he went into his medical terminology-laden "speech."

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.  Dad had treatment early in the morning, and I was going with him, so we both wanted to be as rested as possible.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Commencement Daydreams

May 10.  I sighed thinking I had 9 days until my summer class began.  My last final had been the day before, and I was thankful it was over.  My dad had been in Rochester, MN for almost a week.  Since this would be the calmest week I had my whole summer break, I was driving up to Rochester on Monday and coming back Thursday, so I could be there for my dad at least some of the time.  Because once my class started, I would be in class and working at the Racquet Club only until the second week in June, then I became super busy working the city's tennis classes.

I was planning all of this out in my head while waiting for Commencement to start.  I was there with Sarah, Maddie, and Elena.  We all knew various seniors that were graduating, but I was mainly there for Joe.  I fanned myself with the program, feeling the beads of sweat started to form on my brow from the insane amount of people packed all around me.  Like cattle.  We were like cattle waiting for slaughter.  Honestly, I hated graduations.  Not because of celebrating the joyous moment of people becoming "grown up" or whatever have you, but because it was always so long, and really quite boring.

I checked my phone and saw we had another 20 minutes until it started.  I let my mind wander back to seeing Zach exactly a week ago.  Pangs of sorrow shot through my heart thinking his name.  But at the same time, I knew that this is where we both needed to be.  For now.  We didn't really talk after he sought me out at our spot.  After his apology, he quickly explained he was only in town for a cousin's wedding.  He had flown in late Friday night and was leaving early the next morning, as he had finals the next week, too.  He had told me that every fiber in his being had wanted to contact me and tell me he was in town, and ask me to be his date, but he wistfully told me that seeing me and talking to me was too much, because he wanted what I did, but couldn't give me that at this point.  He and I both had a mutual understanding that those feelings are exactly why we hadn't contacted each other at all since New York.  He said to fill that temptation of calling me while he was here, he had brought one of his study partners along as his "date."  He had asked to come see me after the wedding, even if it was late.  I obliged.  I told him my bedroom window would be unlocked.  He had grinned knowingly at me, as more ancient secrets arose.  He had jumped on his bike and took off back towards his house in a hurry, to make it to the wedding.

I snapped out of my daze to hear the president of the University talking.  I knew we still had a long time more to be sitting here.  I jumped forward in my thoughts of that night.  I had awoken to an arm snaking around me, and the familiar arousing smell of Zach mixed with a light booze-y smell.  I knew Zach well enough to know he wasn't drunk.  He was too driven in school to risk being hungover the next day when he needed to study for finals.  I groggily peeked at the clock to see it was only 11:30 p.m.  I was tired and had gone to bed relatively early.  I smiled sleepily to myself, feeling Zach spoon himself around me, pulling me flush against his body.

"How long do we have?"  I murmured.

His breath was warm on my ear when he whispered back, "Not long enough."

I snuggled up against him and fell into a comfortable sleep. 

Sarah nudged me just then.  "Aleah," she hissed.

I shook my head and grinned sheepishly at her. 

"You aren't even looking at the stage!"

I focused on the stage and saw graduating students crossing the stage.  I listened for the name they were on.

"Patrick Brown," came over the P.A.  Joe still had awhile, as his last name starts with a P.

I drifted back into my daydream.  I had awoken to Zach's alarm on his cell phone going off.  I opened one eye to glance at the clock.  3:45 a.m.  I sadly sighed, and Zach squeezed me tightly.  Zach placed his lips on the exposed part of my neck and lightly kissed from just behind my ear down to my collar bone.  His arm draped over my body moved, and his hand ran up my stomach to my breast, and rested lightly on it cupping it.  I felt my nipples harden, partly due to the coolness of the room, but partly due to the sensation of his hand over the thin material of my tank top.  I had shifted onto my back, encouraging Zach to continue.  His hand gripped my breast a little more firmly, and his lips met mine.  

I became very aware then that what I was allowing to happen was so wrong.  I hadn't ever really cheated on anyone.  I quickly justified my actions mentally by stating the relationship was already over for me, I just needed to officially end it.  I refocused my attention onto Zach and his deepening kisses.  

"Kirby Olson," was the next name I heard announced.  I focused on graduation then, knowing Joe was going to be coming up soon.  I sat through multiple more until they finally announced Joseph Peterson.  The girls and I all cheered and hollered loudly.  I was so excited as I watched Joe walk across the stage, but felt tears welling up in my eyes, sad that my best friend boy wasn't going to be around on campus next year.  Joe was having a party at the house he was house sitting that evening, and the girls and I were going to it, so I had that to look forward to. 

Knowing there was still quite a bit of time left of commencement, I thought back to the rest of my time with Zach.  It didn't go any further than some heavy petting and making out.  He stealthily climbed out of my bedroom window at 4:05 a.m.  He and his study partner had to be at the airport at 5:30 a.m., so they were going to be leaving at 5:00 a.m.  Even though it saddened me to watch his figure climbing out of my window, I felt at peace, knowing we were still on the same page.  We weren't waiting for each other, per se, because that wasn't fair to ask of each other, but we were still hoping.

On Sunday evening after lounging at my parents, and studying for finals all day, I had headed back to campus.  Luke had been blowing up my phone since I told him I needed to talk to him, but I didn't respond because I didn't feel like it.  When I arrived back to campus I went straight to his house and luckily, he was there.  We sat on the porch and I told him that it just wasn't going to work with us.  I told him I didn't trust him, there were just some suspicious things that had happened that I didn't want to get into.  He asked me if it had to do with "the New York guy," and I told him no.  Maybe to an extent it did.  I didn't know if I could fully commit myself to anyone, knowing how much I loved Zach, but at some point, maybe I would be willing to try.  However, I didn't feel as if I owed Luke any explanation after the likelihood of me being drugged had been brought to my attention.  He shrugged the whole break-up off, as if the relationship didn't matter at all.  That stung a little, but I ignored it and left without too much emotion out of either of us.  I hesitated when I got to my car, debating whether to confront him about the pills, but I figured he would find out soon enough when I filed the police report. 

I called Detective Stratton that Monday after to tell him I wanted to file the report, but wanted to wait until after my exams.  He said he'd be willing to go in that Sunday and take it for me if I wanted, and I had said that was fine.  And that is where my thoughts were left when commencement ended.  The next day was when I would be officially filing the police report.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Waves of this World

There were many days in high school when Zach and I would take horse rides across our families' properties.  Day long trips at a time.  We would pack "backpack lunches" and leave in the morning, and stay out well past dusk.  We would race our horses through the fields during the spring, before crops were planted or sprouting.  During the summer we would allow our horses to lazily stroll side by side while we tried to grasp each others' fingers and talked about our innocence-filled dreams of the future.  And in the fall we would wear sweats and pack blankets, and trek through the leafless woods to our "special spot."  Behind the woods at the very back of Zach's family's property there was a little clearing that Zach and his dad had spent a lot of time, sweat, and father/son bonding to build a tiny little cabin.  It was big enough to fit a wood burning stove and a futon in.  That's it.  Really non-functional for everyday living.  But for a quiet retreat away from everything for a night?  Perfect.  They had built that when we were in middle school, before love and courting overtook our neighborly friendship.  And then?  It became our special spot. 

It became our special spot the first time we held hands, as Zach shyly looked at me while I blushed uncontrollably.  It was our spot the first time our lips grazed, Zach becoming confident in his changing teenage body while I felt like the nerdy girl with a crush on the football star.  It became even more our spot the moment our bodies interlocked for the first time, passion begetting passion, lust learning to love.

And that spot is where I mindlessly guided Maxwell.  I blankly looked around at the surroundings, the old lawn chairs spread around a haphazardly constructed fire pit.  The looming trees, branches covering over the roof of the little cabin, seeming to draw it in and protect it from the cruelties of the elements.  I smiled, lost in thought of the wonderful memories, that seemed more real to me than the truths of the past weeks.  I slid off of Maxwell, dropping his reins to let him graze.  I automatically walked over to the porch swing that had been make-shifted into a "branch swing."  I sat down tentatively, making sure the branch and seat would still hold.  I bounced lightly a few times, and after it proved sturdy enough, I curled my knees up to my chest and leaned my head to the side on the back of the seat, and closed my eyes.

Instantly, reality hit and all of the actualities of my today crushed into me like a strong wave, forever dancing in the ocean.  I felt small and weak.  Tired and empty.  A sob escaped my lips.  And then another.  As each ugly wave of tears passed out of my body, I felt like the weight of pain and sorrow was lifting with it.  I accepted that my future with my dad was unknown, but I still had him now.  I knew that my future with Luke was over, and that brought me relief.  I also knew with perfect clarity that I needed to file the police report.  If not for my sake, for the potential protection of other females.  And I knew that my heart belonged to Zach, but there was no immediate future with him.  And I needed to accept that.

I took a deep breath and heard Maxwell snort, and I looked up to see him sidestepping away from the trail.  And entering from off the trail was Zach.  On a bicycle.  Wearing a suit.  I started giggling and wiped the tears off my cheeks.  The sight of Zach dressed so perfectly on a mountain bike was definitely giggle-worthy.

"How'd you know where I was?"

He pursed his lips and cocked his head sideways while looking at me, as if to say, where else would you go?

Zach dropped the bike on its side and briskly walked over to me.  He knelt in front of me, taking my face in his hands, and pushed his lips against mine.  The site of our first kiss, and once again here we are.  And hopefully, not our last.  The tips of our tongues lightly played a teasing game, and he pressed his face harder into mine, moving his hands back along my face until his fingers were tangled in my braided hair.  Everything went numb and silent, as we kissed.  The world around melted into a blur of colors.  There was no one.  Nothing.  Just he and I. 

Our lips slowly separated, but our foreheads still touching.  Our noses pressed against each other.  Our eyes closed.  Just listening to each other breath.  Feeling our warm breath mingling and touching the others face.  His hands squeezed my head, pulling my hair.  I sighed into his mouth.  His lips connected with mine again, just for a moment.  Too quickly to savor, but long enough to feel his love.

He pulled away, intensely gazing into my eyes.  "Aleah, I'm so sorry."

He didn't clarify, but he didn't need to.  I knew exactly what he meant: for everything, and for nothing.  And that's all I needed.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ridin' Dirty

James and I ended up not playing tennis that night.  We didn't actually kiss, either.  We stood like that, not moving, frozen in each others' presence until James heard a customer at the front desk, needing to pay for their court time.  I stayed at the Racquet Club with him until he locked it up, but we just talked.  It seemed more intimate than usual, but it felt right.

Before I started my car to pull away, I leaned back in my seat staring at my phone.  My fingers hovered over the keyboard, as I thought out how I wanted to word the text message.  I decided to go as simple as possible.  We need to talk.  Then I hit send, hoping Luke wouldn't see it, or at least not respond, until the next day.

I felt a sense of calm come over me.  I thought to myself how much subconscious stress my relationship with Luke had caused.  How underneath his calm, cool, and collected demeanor, he was really demeaning, disrespectful, and cocky.  Even though based on our history, it seemed as though nothing would evolve between James and I, it brought to my attention that I wasn't fully committed to Luke, and I deserved better.  I had never put myself into a position of temptation like that before.  Not even with Derek and his unwarranted accusations.  And I squirmed with unease that if James had tried anything, I wouldn't have stopped him.  Plus, with how much I already had planned for the summer (between working at the city tennis courts and the Racquet Club, taking a summer class, traveling to tournaments most weekends with Cara, and spending time with my dad due to the unknown), I didn't have the energy or desire to even attempt to put in the work it would take to make this long-distance relationship work.  And in addition, I didn't trust Luke's integrity or intentions anymore.

I decided to drive home to my parents'.  I already had all of my books with me for my classes so I could study for exams.  I had clothing still in my room at my parents' house, so I was all set and didn't need to swing by the apartment.  I sent a text to Sarah letting her know I wouldn't be back until probably Sunday, and then shut my phone off so if Luke did try to get in touch, I could avoid it for now.

I didn't get to my parents' house until 1 a.m.  All of the lights were off, so I knew I'd need to be quiet.  I also made a mental note to find some scratch paper and leave a message for my mom next to the coffee pot so one of my parents would know I was there and it wouldn't freak them out in the morning.  As I threw my bag of books over my shoulder, I wistfully stole a glance down to Zach's family's house.  Though our neighbor's, it was still about half of a mile away.  I squinted, because it looked as though Zach's bedroom light in the back second floor corner of the house was on.  However, since they had a massive house, and due to living in the country and it being pitch black with no city lights to help outline the buildings, I couldn't tell for sure what light was actually on.  I became acutely aware of how quickly my heart was beating, at the thought of Zach being near me.

I slipped into the house then, and after leaving a note for my parents, went to sleep easily.

I stretched out, with my hands raised far above my head, smiling to myself, at how relaxed I felt.  I sat up in bed, hearing nothing.  I placed my bare feet on the hard wood floors, naturally looking for my slippers before remembering that they were at my apartment.  I padded quietly through the house, not hearing anyone, or seeing any sign that any of my family members were home.  I went to the note I had left for my parents, and then chuckled, seeing a note written back to me by my mom:  Golfing with your dad.  So glad you're home for the weekend.  Egg casserole in the fridge.  Will be back in time for dinner.  Love, Mom.

I grinned, feeling happy to actually have a quiet house to myself.  I looked at the time and saw it was 11.  I was not surprised, as I had felt so tired without any means of catching up on sleep recently.  I stepped outside and felt it was warm-ish and sunny.  I went in and turned on my phone, to check the weather.  It was 63.  I knew it would just continue to get warmer.  I made an executive decision that I would go riding, and then come back and study. 

I changed into riding boots and boot cut jeans.  I threw my hair up into a ponytail and braided it, and put on a long sleeved tshirt.  I knew I could roll up the sleeves if I got warm, but at first it would keep me the perfect temperature.  I washed my face and brushed my teeth, then grabbed my phone to slip into the waistband of my jeans while I was riding, so I would have it with me.  I looked and saw I had 4 text messages, but ignored them. 

I usually rode my horse, Prada, a rare (the color) and beautiful black thoroughbred, but my parents had bred her and she was due any day now.  I stopped by her stall and let myself in, to scratch the spot between her eyes and give her a carrot.  She took it gently, her lips tickling my hand.  In high school, I had shown her, but hadn't since in college.  I rubbed her side, surprised by how big she really was.  I hugged her neck and walked out, latching her stall closed.

I then went to the stall of Maxwell, a Buckskin gelding, that was my mom's baby.  People who met my mom were always surprised to find my mom barrel raced.  When she was younger she show jumped.  In fact, we even had an indoor horse arena attached to the barn that had the ability to be set up for jumps.  In my mom's off time as a nurse, and before she went back to work again, she would give private riding lessons.  Our third horse, Clover, was my brother's, and I didn't ride her.  I found her a bit unruly and she liked to throw people. 

I saddled up Maxwell and guided him out of the stable.  Since Zach's family and mine were so close, and our properties touched, we had shared using the property for various reasons.  One of those was because at the back of the Andrews' (Zach's family's last name) property there was a small wooded area that they had cleared trails out of for riding four wheelers, but it also worked perfectly for riding the horses through.  I mounted Maxwell and we walked down the road towards the Andrews' house.  About twenty-five yards before coming to his house, I guided Maxwell into the field to head back towards the woods.  I was excited to get away and be able to collect my thoughts and sort through all of my emotions regarding my dad, and Luke, and whether to file a police report regarding Luke and his roommate, Nate.

Maxwell was trotting, and I already had drifted in my thoughts when I heard some laughing.  I looked towards the Andrews house to see Mr. and Mrs. Andrews coming out of the house.  I raised up my hand to wave, but stopped mid motion to see Zach walking out of the house behind them.  I couldn't suppress the smile that spread across my face.  I wondered why Zach didn't let me know he was back in Nebraska, and took the reins to head Maxwell towards them.

But I immediately yanked on the reins, stopping Maxwell, as I saw the tall, slender, long-haired blonde walk out of the house behind him.  My jaw unwillingly dropped open, and my face crumbled.  It was too much.  I looked towards the woods and tapped Maxwell's sides with my heels, causing him to take off in a canter.  I cautiously looked back at Zach one more time, before his family disappeared behind the edge of the house.  His parents and the girl were standing there talking.  Zach's back was to them, as he was facing me, watching me ride away.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Long Lost Feelings

"Aleah.  Thanks for coming in."  Detective Stratton pulled out a chair for me at a table in a sterile room.  I glanced around at the blank walls, feeling the cold of the metal chair against my skin as I sat down, through the thin material of my skirt.  I had a black and white striped sleeveless maxi dress on, and was wishing I had brought a sweater, as the room was chilly.  I nervously wrung my hands, seeing the handcuffs chained to a hook on the floor, presumably for a perpetrator interview.  I looked at my hands fidgeting, and moved them to my lap, noticing my hands left moist imprints on the metal table.  I looked up at Detective Stratton and he was leaned back in his chair with his hands interlocked behind his head, clearly amused by me and smiling.  "Geez, Aleah, take a deep breath.  You look more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!"

I laughed, nervously.  "Sorry, I just feel so... out of place."  I took one last look around the small interview room.

Detective Stratton jumped right in: his face instantly became neutral, and he was sitting forward in the chair, linking his fingers on the table in front of him.  "So here's the thing.  Those pills are rohypnol.  Date rape drug, as you might know it as.  I think we should take a police report, hence why I have you in this room so I can record it.  But that's really up to you.  Honestly, nothing will probably come of it.  We could get a warrant, but we would need some sort of admission from one of those guys, first."  I slumped down in the chair, feeling helpless and like this was pointless.  "Hey now," his voice softened, "don't get discouraged.  I just want you to know what the odds are of justice happening.  The problem is that we can't just raid their house because the prosecutor would look at it as 'he said, she said' and no Judge would sign a warrant based on you saying you found them there.  That's why we would need an admission.  And by the time that happened, I'm sure word would get back and anything that's there would be disposed of.  I completely believe everything you told me.  And we can still file a police report to have it on record, bring those guys in and anyone else out with you that night for interviews and/or as witnesses.  But without an admission by one of them, there is nothing we will be able to do about prosecuting.  Especially since it's way past the timeline to screen your urine."

I sighed dejectedly.  "So really there's no point to even file the report."

"There is.  Because interviews with them may serve as a warning to them to get their acts together.  Or, if they don't, there will be record in case something like this ever happens again and someone comes forward with either of their names, and a traceable history."

"I don't know what to do.  I don't want to ruin their lives, but I also don't want any sort of backlash on campus if this gets out."

"Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that.  However, my assumption is that they won't want it getting out, because it could affect their scholarships and athletic prowess." 

"Um... could I have a day to think about it, maybe?  I'd like to talk to my parents about it, I think."

"Of course.  But since it's the weekend, just give me a call or text me on Monday and let me know what you want to do.  And Aleah," he reached over and put his hand on top of my hands, that I had clasped and resting on the table, "I'm really sorry to hear about your dad.  He's a good guy and has so much strength.  I know he'll get the best medical treatment there is.  If you need anything, let me know."

"Thanks, Detective St.. I mean, Brad."  I smiled innocently at him. 

On my way home I decided to stop by the Racquet Club and talk to James.  I had been so busy all week with classes and papers and studying, that I hadn't had a chance to pick up a racquet since the Big Ten Championships.  When I walked in, he was behind the desk on the phone.  I waved at him and he made an effort to noticeably look me up and down and smile broadly at me.  I shook my head and started perusing the clothing shop.  I always carried my tennis shoes in my car with me, but I didn't have anything to play in.  I grabbed some of the new tennis skirts, tank tops, and dresses they had gotten in since I'd last been in there, and went to the fitting room to try them on.  While I was pulling the first dress on over my head, I heard a knock on the door and James voice coming through, "You better be coming out to model all those outfits for me."  I grinned to myself and kept changing.  I walked out wearing a Wilson white dress, that has a criss-cross back with purple print on the very top and on the straps.  It hit me a few inches past my butt, hugging all of my curves.  I knew it fit me well and I flung open the door and strutted out.  I paraded like I was on the catwalk and did a quick turn and headed back towards the fitting room.  I didn't bother looking at James, as I was just teasing him.  I started to shut the door when James hand quickly flew inside and he stopped me from shutting the door.

"James!" I flirted, grabbing his wrist and trying to playfully push his hand out the door.  He freed his hand and in turn grabbed my wrist.  He then grabbed my other hand with his and slowly guided me back into the fitting room against the wall.  I became acutely aware of how shallow my breathing had become as James lightly pushed his body against mine, holding my body against the wall.  He leaned his head down to mine, pressing his forehead against mine, our noses touching.  He smelled like a delicious expensive cologne, and peppermint gum.  I closed my eyes, as much wishing for his lips to touch mine and for him to walk away. 

He rubbed his forehead across my face to my temple, slowly pulling away, and I turned my head just slightly to the side, and I felt his lips graze my cheek.  They were slightly parted and I could feel the warmth of his breath on my face as he gently traced his lips across my cheek bone over to my left ear, leaving a burning trail of lust on my face.  He finally paused his mouth right below my ear lobe.  He lightly kissed my skin, setting off sparks of desire, and raising feelings that we had both long suppressed.