Where In The World?byihaveacrushonyouall©
It was game day in the college town. The streets were full of young people donned in red and white and black. The bars, the shops, the restaurants, even the café were decorated in the university's special brand of scarlet. There was a bite in the air and a buzz on the streets as people filed in from the surrounding towns and the opposing team's town. Game day was a cacophony of life that the sidewalks could barely contain.
A young woman in a red hat and a lovely red wool trench coat breezed in the café doors. Her eyes were lined with paper-thin blue circles from lack of sleep and sparkled with mischief. She stopped at the counter to order a cup of the darkest roast and moved to a booth in front of the big window. She placed the mug of coffee gingerly on the table. She removed the trench to reveal a creamy ivory dress that betrayed the golden sun-soaked skin as if having recently been anywhere but the college town. She shrugged her hair free of her hat and placed the hat on the trench. She scooted in the booth as elegantly as possible and took a keen note of where everything was in the café, of everyone coming in and going out. She brushed her fingers through her glossy black waves while her eyes shifted their focus to the people lining the streets and walking past.
A clock on the café wall saw five minutes go by before it saw her show any other sign of interest.
She could see him as soon as he rounded the corner on the opposite side of the square. Most people would attribute it to the awkward walk that he had grown to constrain over the years. His right foot was clubbed and he walked with a simple hardwood cane to balance himself. His own masquerade in this town had him in cuffed, dark denim blue jeans, a red striped sweater and a ski cap. He wore it well with his broad shoulders and slim waist. Really though, she saw straight through to his brilliant blue eyes the moment they flashed into view.
The young man barely paused before his eyes caught the café sign and his eyes met hers. He pushed up the bridge of his glasses with his forefinger to hide a smile of recognition, relief and of the remotest amount of hope.
He made his way to the café counter and ordered tea. He pulled off his cap as he walked with his cup and put them to the table and looked with hard eyes at the young woman and placed his free hand to her cheek.
The years in their eyes spoke volumes. They had been the oldest and dearest friends, having been neighbors as children on the base their fathers were stationed to. They spent hours pouring over military tomes and atlases and encyclopedias and talked often about history and travel and how the world might treat them with warm arms in the years to come. From early on she had seen past his deformity and he had seen that her sense of adventure would lead her away. And it had. The first time it was because Uncle Sam had seen fit to call her father to another country altogether, still, she kept moving.
The two kept in touch through letters. Often while they were still considered children he would send her those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books and pages copied from encyclopedias that he thought she might find interesting. He would write her long tomes of his stationary, civilian life and of his dreams to take to the road as soon as he could, to see the ocean, to sit anonymously at a greasy spoon in the middle of nowhere, to get lost in great cities. She would send him pictures of the wonders of the world and then she would send him her personal journals which revealed her darkest desires to not just see many of the things she was seeing, but an inner desire to have them, or return them to the people they belonged to.
As teenagers, they had repressed, in equal measures, their greatest desire—being to be with one another. Their letters remained cordial, but there was something desperate and coded deep in her journals that he was sure he understood even though he could barely comprehend the thought. The older the kids around him got, the more cruel they became and the more his desire to run away became—the greater his desire to hide. His letters were peppered with references of their next farewell and caused her great anguish while she misunderstood him to be angst-ridden, bitter and perhaps suicidal. She was still young and hadn't the means to visit him and instead wrote him, reprimanding him, and for a while, their letters stopped.
The young man sat and the two of them waited for the barista to come by with the kettle of hot water and a creamer full of milk before they spoke a word. In unison, they thanked the woman and their voices caught. They laughed nervously and put on guarded smiles.
The young man wrestled nervously with his hands while waiting for the water to steep. After no short moment of this, the young woman put her hands on his to stop him. They did not leave his. He laughed again and sighed. The tension between them was so nervous the rest of the café's patrons almost paused like life had hit the button on a very large remote control. He picked up one of her hands and brought it to his lips and spoke directly into her knuckles, "I suppose I sound foolish to say it, but I can't believe you came."
She wasn't affronted. She did flush, but her hands remained in his and she moved her knuckles to brush the soft skin of the apples of his cheeks. "I didn't know if I could. I almost couldn't." Her honesty brought a gloss of tears to her eyes, betraying that she was honestly scared, although she was internally at war about if it was from what had kept her from seeing him so soon or from the instant small intimacies she had never really allowed herself with anyone else.
In the years they had stopped writing, their parents took their torch, sending senior pictures and Christmas mailers and graduation pictures and keeping each other abreast of their childrens' goings-on.
The young man stayed local and studied anthropology and sociology hoping someday to study the forming cultures of small U.S. towns having anything that was considered to be "The World's Largest" anything. The young girl moved on to be accepted into West Point and studied everything she could until they forced her into the military life, where she was immediately accepted into an internship with the CIA before she could complete any time active.
It was she who reached out first. She understood that she would have to because he was always going to be in the same place and would never find her. She sent him a post card from the International Spy Museum with two words, "I'm sorry."
Immediately he wrote her parents, including his phone number to pass along. Their first conversations were short and forced and apologetic to the point where he would begin to write down what he would talk to her about. Their conversations began to, although still short, flourish. Soon, they began to express interest in meeting up after so many years apart—to make sure they hadn't imagined one another.
However, it was neigh impossible for her. Before the age of twenty three, she had been arrested and imprisoned or nearly arrested and escaped over half a dozen times by more than one government. Then the better she got at what she did, the more careful she had to be about when and where she could go. She would never tell him what she was doing; she would simply apologize with as slight an explanation as she could manage and put off their reunion.
Meanwhile, he would hesitate traveling, hoping that he would be able to persuade her to join him. After so many failed attempts to see one another, he began to lose his resignation that she was again part of his life. Their phone conversations became curt and injurious and prone to end on an estranged note.
It happened that she was able to gain passage back into the U.S. for a brief time and the first stop she made was to him, completely unannounced. Forgetting herself, she walked in to an empty apartment where she was resigned to stay until he came home. She made herself at home for a week before he walked in with a bag in hand. When he saw her, he was very frank with her that he was so hurt that she hadn't called and angry at having gone to the west coast without her. In a blind panic, she yelled at him for not understanding everything she'd been going through and for not having been home and stormed off without her things and didn't return.
She spent the next three months calling and apologizing when he would answer, even though he wouldn't say anything.
The young man poured the steeped tea into his mug and watched the whorl of milk ribbon through the brown-red liquid. He lifted the steaming mug to his lips and blew the first rise of steam away from the cup. He watched her heavy lidded eyes follow the trail of the mug from the table to his mouth and didn't try to stifle the curve of the corner of his mouth. That is, until her eyes shifted in the way he supposed she would have to, to keep from being trailed?
"I'm so sorry. I don't seem to have words. Or maybe I have so many they're all fighting to come out at the same time."
He took the mug away from his lips. She had said the words, yes, but she had said them to the crowds fighting past one another on the sidewalk. He made an awkward move of the neck to catch her eyes. "Maybe it's been too long. Maybe both of us are fighting words."
"Don't do that. I'm just trying to pick and choose my words, I think."
"Have you had anybody? Been in love with anybody? In all those years you never wrote about anyone that wasn't family or school or work related." He swallowed hard. He hadn't meant those to be the first words, but once he'd started, he couldn't stop. It wasn't time to shirk those things that were so desperately knocking around in his ribcage for all those years. As he saw it, she was sitting in front of him, and that meant it was time to be brave.
His eyes were so hard and so eager and she was so afraid of telling him the truth. There had been no one. It hadn't even occurred to her to think like that. She was always going so strong that—
"Because there hasn't been anyone I've ever wanted but you. The world has been so full of time and information and I've had so much time for learning and for experiencing, but I would have given it all up to be with you. I haven't though. So you know. I could have, but no one else was ever you." The young man could feel his insides tensing up with fear. He could feel his expression of bravery shifting to the offense, absolutely terrified about what she would tell him.
Her mouth opened to say something, but they were soundless. His confession should have made it so easy for her to make hers.
"If it's a matter of hiding, I know a place where they'll never find us."
"Whoever it is that has had you staring out that window since I walked in the door."
To stall for words, the young woman took a sip from her mug. The café betrayed her. The comforting smell of coffee and the sanguine color of the walls and the shushing wall of sound coming from the steamer and the blue eyes attempting to stir an answer from her were enough to rouse the truth from her lips.
"Carmen, I have loved you all along. You have to know that."
She was hopeless against those words, the way he said her name, the way he took her hand and how she melted at the steel of it, "How far is it?"
He balked as so many words were spilling now and he had to stop them to move down this new train of thought. Again, he pushed up the bridge of his glasses with his forefinger, "Put on your coat and come with me."
He was slow moving anyway, but adding the crowd and the adrenaline, the time seemed to move as slow as a snail on sand. The urgency to have her and be near her and to hear her and to confess and confess and confess was so great he almost missed the turn toward the docks. They passed massive yachts and tiny fishing boats until, at the end of the dock they came to an unassuming catamaran house boat. He lowered himself and then helped Carmen in and began to shake at the mere touch of their hands.
He freed them from the dock and began to move west. The bite in the air was met by a powerful wind that knocked her hat from her head and past the river onto the shore. She sat very close to the young man as he directed the floating home, holding his free hand and catching him up on everything she knew she would never be allowed to say to another soul. There were moments she could recognize that he was confused or saddened, but never did she see disgust on his face. Mostly he was thrilled and enthusiastic with the questions, careful not to ask anything he knew he wouldn't want to know. She didn't name names or places, but she knew she wouldn't actually have to with him. All that practice with those encyclopedias and atlases.
As they drifted further west, they brought with them the darkness. He found a dock to park at and tied them into place. They were physically and mentally exhausted and knew they wouldn't make it through the night without likely capsizing the boat if they kept on. He walked with her into the boat and found her a white tee shirt for her to sleep in. He excused himself so she could change in private.
He wasn't exactly spying on her, but he could see her shadow reflected in the surface of the water. The mere sight of her legs projected on the water brought fire to his veins. He knew he would have to restrain himself. Of all the things she had told him, she had not made any mention of the reciprocation of his feelings on her part. He felt her hand on his before he was able to gain full control of himself and as he turned around he jumped a little.
She was leaning out the door, but careful not to expose her backside, which he hadn't thought of when handing her what to wear. He could see that the friction of changing had excited her into peaks and he tried his hardest to not let his eyes drop beyond the initial upsweep of his eyes to hers.
"Oh, um. That's right. You go ahead and take the bed, and I'll go ahead and set up the hammock out here under the stars."
Without a word, she nodded and walked back inside the house boat and he felt the movement of the boat as she rocked into the bed. He set up the hammock and when he realized he was still wearing jeans and a sweater. She heard him enter and apologize. He reached into the trunk at the end of the bed and pulled out sweat pants and another tee shirt and a button-up sweater. He then walked back out. Carmen had often wondered what life was like for the young man, how he managed certain things with his foot. Here he was, unguarded, about to change on a boat, out in the open. She moved to one of the small windows to spy.
"Fuck," she heard him whisper, but couldn't see what was wrong. He first took off his sweater and she was taken aback by the bold sinews and muscles of his back. He wasn't an Adonis, but he was certainly packing heat in those arms and shoulders. It was when he pulled off his trousers; he lost his balance and shifted around, she could see that, even under his boxers, he had been cussing because he was at full mast. She panicked and ran and jumped back into bed.
He felt the boat roll again and inclined to ask, "Carmen, are you okay in there?" She murmured, he thought, in the positive and pulled up the sweat pants, being careful to avoid his flagrant, taunting member. He pulled on the sweater and tried to talk himself out of his excitement—that he wouldn't want to injure himself trying to get into the hammock. It was a stunt he'd managed to pull off several times without grace, and once landing successfully on a soft penis that kept him on the ground for about ten minutes in agony and fits of shallow breathing. He grabbed the down blanket and placed the pillow where he would want it and carefully sat, waiting for the hammock to settle before he settled into it.
Carmen could see from the bed, the shadow of his excitement projected from the rise of the moon and hear his stifled, tortured groan as he lay down. She even saw his hands grope the sides of the hammock. She found herself unsure of how her sympathy leaned. It was unmoving. When she blinked it was there. When she rolled over and then rolled back over, it was still there. She had to give him credit; he was being a gentleman about it. Meanwhile, she had to cover her mouth with a pillow to muffle her giggling.
On the other side of the wall, there were no words for the agony of restraint. He would not let her hear him relieving himself on the first night in years he had her near. So he closed his eyes and raised his hands to his neck to trap them and keep them from doing anything while he slept.
The spectacle through the window did not end. When she first hopped in bed, she had spotted a clock saying it was ten o'clock at night. An hour had passed since, and at least ninety percent of that hour, he was there, in all his glory, unmoving. The more she watched it, the more she analyzed it, it's size, it's girth, how it would feel against her belly, against her thighs, inside her, she realized she, too, was experiencing a full mast. She was excited just knowing that he was. She rubbed her legs together and found herself thinking if he would mind that she was slightly prickly. She sat up and whispered to herself, "What? It's not like..."
"It's not like what?" she thought to herself. She thought of all those unsaid words, of how often she had spent nights looking at the pictures his parents had sent, of how when she saw him walking up to his apartment, she had planned to strip him down the second he walked in the door, of how when he stopped writing...
She rolled off the bed and discarded her panties on the bed. She had found a roll of tube socks and slipped those on before padding across the boat and out to the hammock. His breathing was shallow, but she knew he wasn't asleep yet, his eyes barely fluttered closed. She lightly pulled off the down blanket and he jumped awake, knowing how exposed he was.
Everything was a blur. He could still feel the blind panic in his chest, in the moonlight, he could see tears on her cheeks, he was almost certain she wasn't wearing panties. It was all a little surreal.
"Relax. If you stiffen...um, if you harden...shit. Just relax or when I try to get in, you'll roll over, and I don't think that's what you want."
She put a hand on either side of the hammock to steady herself, putting her hair directly under his nose and he breathed in the scent of her. She raised one leg over and he could see her lithe, Cuban thighs, and thanks to the moonlight and the large neck of the tee shirt, every beautiful space between. She hovered above him until the hammock stopped moving.
"I love you Carmen, you know you don't have to be here, don't have to do anything. I can stop at any time..."
She closed her eyes and relished at the body heat underneath her, felt him strained against her belly. She didn't have to be there, but she knew more than anything she had ever planned for her life, this moment was the one she was the most versed in, the one she was most passionate about.
He picked up his hands and took her face in them and brought her down to kiss him. She tasted like day-old coffee and felt as real. She moved her hands under his sweater and under his shirt to feel everything. He tasted mild and minty and his kisses were so sweet and so tender that if she hadn't already been shivering, teary-eyed, she'd have started tearing up over again. He was so careful to touch her respectfully until she finally sat back on his legs and her calves and pulled her shirt off.
It was impossible for him to get harder. It was another thing for him to contain himself after so long. She could see the look on his face, and still she grabbed his hands and placed them on her breasts. The weight of his hands was comfortable, like he was made to hold her like that. He sat up and kissed them, one and then the other and then back until he could feel her hips swiveling in anticipation above him. He reached between her thighs and asked her if she wanted to stop. He had nothing on him and she would be risking so much if he couldn't pull out...in time.