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From “Once Wild”
Author of the ‘Breaking Out Series’
Maria sat down in the grass and Shaun followed sitting beside her. Maria tucked her knees into her chest and then wrapped both arms around them. As he focused on her, he took a deep breath that filled his lungs with fresh air. He inhaled again almost tasting a faint smell of sweet wildflowers and herbs that came from the surrounding woodlands. Shaun leaned back on his arms.
“Dinner was great,” he said in a tone that mirrored the serenity of the green meadow. Shaun wanted to make love to her right here, but looked away from the temptation.
Maria studied his relaxed posture and his triceps that rippled with the natural pose. “Yeah it was good huh?” she answered. “Shaun if I would have paid more attention …to… you know…”
“What…?” Shaun asked leaning back up, snapping a piece of grass from the flourishing lawn. He slipped the end into his mouth and looked at her curiously.
“With you…when you were growing up…”
He turned to look at her. “What are you getting at?”
“I wish I would have been there for you…”
“Maria, I appreciate that…and that would have been great, but you never would have seen me.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” she answered, her tone somewhat defensive.
“I didn’t mean anything by it…it’s just that we were born on different sides of the track. You had a better life than me.”
“You mean money don’t you?”
“No, that isn’t what I’m saying. I wouldn’t have cared if I was wealthy. It’s just that maybe if I would have had a father that gave a damn about me or friends that were there for me, things might have been different. Although, I have to say that I did mess up with the one person who cared and who I considered a brother, but unfortunately I can never tell him how much I loved him.”
“I could have been a friend too, Shaun,” she added gazing at his profile that was focused out on the perimeter of the woods.
Shaun slowly turned his face towards her. “Maria, I was too angry then. I would have never been a good enough friend for someone like you. If you think you could have saved me…” Shaun stated looking away from her and then finished. “…well, I was too far gone.” Shaun sensed that she realized what he said was true. Eight years ago all he felt was a constant rage that had consumed him for too many years. It was only after Matt’s death that everything within him exploded in one final bang.
Shaun took out the grass and wiped it against his pants. His eyes turned towards her and once again, he observed her innocence. She froze as he leaned twisting towards her and his lips found hers. His lips brushed loosely over her mouth as he placed one hand behind her head. His fingertips lightly stroked her hair, feeling the silkiness of it. Her hand reached out touching his hand that supported his weight. Blindly her hand trailed up along his arm where it stopped touching the rigid, strong muscle of his triceps. Maria lightly dragged her teeth over his lips.
Shaun pulled back opening his eyes. “Maria, thanks for the welcome home,” Shaun acknowledged once more.
“Who said we are finished with that…” she mentioned pulling his neck back towards her. He smiled before her tongue invaded the wetness of his mouth.
“Mmmm,” A deep, raspy vibration sounded through his throat.
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From “Far From Over”
“Turn around?” he repeated dumbfounded. Was she joking?
“I mean, you presently can’t remember much, so why not change the way you believe yourself to be? Kinda like wiping a slate clean.”
He scoffed at her simplistic thinking in yet another attempt to make his life straight and on the narrow. But what did he believe himself to be exactly? Angry, insensitive, or plain fed-up with life? His vision scanned the lavishness of the rustic but ornate cabin filled with expensive décor. What would she even know about pain, suffering or doing without?
“You’re doing it again,” she added, eyeing him with a passionate scorn.
His eyes squinted and a brow rose. “What?” he asked innocently.
“Looking at me like I’m stupid,” she replied frowning.
“Alright. I’m gonna give it to you straight. You believe with your goody-goody mentality that a person ingrained with something all their lives can suddenly change it? Wipe it away?”
She got up with a shrug, leaving him to think about it.
“Well, I don’t think anyone can simply wipe away a past.” He watched her walk across the room and into the kitchen. The light went on and several minutes later, she came back with a cup in her hand.
“It’s just that—a past. Who says that someone has to live it forever?”
“And you know how that’s done, huh?” He stared at the cup that was held out in offer for him to take.
“Drink this, it will relax you. Chamomile tea…”
He gazed up surprised at her thoughtfulness in such a simple gesture. He reached up for it and mumbled, ‘thanks’.
“I don’t have all the answers, Mr. Pessimist. I’m just saying to build that bridge you have to actually step on it and then gradually move across,” she said as she sat down on the couch next to him.
He forced himself not to move from where he was. “Wow, that seems easy enough. Why didn’t I think of that?” he mentioned irritably. “…Mr. Pessimist, huh? If we’re into name calling now, I would prefer ‘sweetheart’…Oh, that’s right I don’t know you well enough…”
“Don’t be so cynical.”
He thought of a thousand other comebacks but for some reason he held them in as he gazed at her softened silhouette from the dim lighting in the room.
“All I’m saying is there is more in front of you than what’s behind you. You start over that bridge and before you know it, you’ve made it to the other side.”
He smirked. “And when I get over there, what then? What will there be exactly?” He knew what would be there—nothing. Already he could sense the manifesting signs of emptiness deep inside the pit of his stomach.
“Maybe something, but then again, there might be nothing at all. Reach out. You’ll never know what you’ll find.”
Restless, his spine squirmed against the back of the couch. His posture straightened along the cushion. He didn’t want to talk of goodness and things that would all of a sudden become bright and cheery, especially when his hope had already seen nothing but pitch-black.
“When someone goes through a great deal of struggles, they become wiser. The strong only become stronger; a better person from it.”
Damn, I must be perfect, he thought as he focused on her face.
“You’re doing it again,” she stated impatiently.
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