Dindi Pt. 04

byNanaya©

Since that first time I had sex with her I knew something was different. That had been weird. Good weird. I didn't remember ever feeling so intimate and comfortable in bed with anyone as I'd felt with her that day. God knows I've had my fair share of bedfellows. But with Dindi it was just...right.

She was looking at me with her brows furrowed. She cocked her head to one side, and then to the other, as if studying me. "I like you, Travis. But I don't want to complicate things. This is easy. Easy is all can handle right now." She said with a sigh.

There was this line she wouldn't let me cross. No matter how much I tried to step over it.

"You won't complicate anything. It won't change anything. It's a weekend. I'll introduce you as a friend. What could be so complicated about that?" It was a weak argument. But I didn't have a better one. I just wanted her to go with me. In two months I hadn't spent a single weekend without her, and I wasn't about to start now. Specially since it was my birthday.

Also, I knew better. That would definitely complicate things. I've never brought a girl home before. Even if I told my family she was just a friend they'd know. They'd see right through me.

Morena's gaze was fixed on mine. She seemed to be lost in her head. "Alright. I'll go with you." She said in a low voice.

I exhaled pure relief. "You will?"

She blew air that sent a curl flying upwards before it fell down her face again. "Yes, Travis, I'll go. As a friend, yeah?"

"Yes, you're my friend, Dindi! Thank you! I promise you there will be chocolate cake." I said, barely containing my enthusiasm.

"Oh, I hope so. I'm only going for the cake." She smiled that coy smile of hers, with her bottom lip trapped between her teeth. "Where does you mother live, Travs?" I was back to being Travs.

I gave her a bitter smile, thinking of home. "Staten Island."

****

MORENA

I was in Travis's bedroom gathering my clothes, which were scattered all over his floor, when he appeared. He leaned lazily on the door watching me, wearing a wary expression.

"What is it?" I asked, unfamiliar with his seriousness. He was always smiling.

He walked toward me and sat on the edge of the bed. "I want to tell you something."

I sat beside him, waiting patiently -but, anxiously- to what he had to say. Travis looked nervous, uncertain in a way I'd never seen before.

"I'm listening." I carefully urged him on, dying of curiosity but not wanting to pressure him.

He took my hand in his, putting his other one atop it. "You know my scar?" The eleven inch old welt running across his left ribs.

I nodded. It was impossible not to notice the scar; pink and protuberant, spoiling his perfect skin. I've always wondered where he'd gotten it, never actually meeting the courage necessary to ask him about it.

"I got it in a accident. When my father died." He confessed, not looking at me, not looking anywhere really. He had his eyes fixed on the floor, but it seemed to me he didn't even see anything in front of him. He looked inwards, at a memory.

I knew his father was dead. He'd never told me so, however, I knew from his reaction when I'd told him about my dad that his was gone too. He'd known my father was dead when I spoke of him by my tone of voice alone, and I had seen the same faded longing and sadness I dragged behind me on his blue eyes.

Travis fell quiet, staring into nothing. To remind him I was still there I moved closer, and encircled my arms around his left one, pressing my nose to his shoulder. By then, his smell was as familiar as my own.

"My father was a jazz musician. He travelled a lot, played in a lot of places. That day he..." He trailed off.

I could see him struggling to find the words. I took his face in between my hands and kissed him lightly. "It's alright, Travis. You can tell me." I said.

It was strange to see him so fragile, so open like that. With me, Travis had always been very caring, sweet, even clingy sometimes, but never so exposed. I had this image of him already formed in my mind and that didn't look a thing like the man sitting beside me now. He was such a big man. He always made me feel so protected and safe in his arms, I got a strange feeling of reversed roles when I became aware of his watered eyes.

He cleared his throat, turning his face away from mine. "He'd traveled to play somewhere. I don't remember where, but I was supposed to pick him up at Kennedy and drive him home for Christmas. The night before-" He stopped and I could see him squinting his eyes, chasing some fleeting memory. "I had a bad night. It'd been Christmas Eve and I was still hungover when I drove to the airport. Of course my Dad noticed I was shit. He insisted I let him drive, but I didn't." He made another pause, his Adam's Apple went up and down as he swallowed dryly. "I had this old truck, my tires weren't so good. It had snowed a lot and the roads were all slippery...I had the fucking worst headache in history. Everything was shit. My Dad, he...he put on one of those bossa nova/jazz records he loved so damn much, and the music was too loud for my liking. I wanted him to turn it off, he wanted me to wait until this one song was over. 'This is good music son, appreciate it.'" Travis mimicked his father's voice, letting out a dark chuckle. "I couldn't even think straight, I felt like my skull was being split open. We started to fight -well, I started fighting him- over the fucking music and none of us saw when the truck came our way." One single tear ran down his cheek, disappearing into his beard. He ignored it, so I pretended to not notice it, either. "I didn't see it coming, Dindi. It came out of fucking nowhere. I just...I didn't see it."

He blamed himself for his father's death?

That day at the cafe, the first time Travis and I had an actual conversation I could tell he carried a weight on his back. I would never have guessed it was something like this. Something that wasn't his fault. It wasn't his fault it had snowed that day. It wasn't his fault the truck had hit them. The fact he'd drank the night before made no difference.

Obviously, someone had told him that before. All the same, there was no point in telling someone something they were determined not to believe. If anyone knew that, it would be me.

"Oh, Travis..." I didn't know what to say to make him feel better, all I knew was that I wanted to make him feel better. I wanted to hold him to me. Get it inside that thick head of his that he wasn't to blame for his father's death.

"We were almost home. It was just an hour drive." He muttered, and I didn't know whether he was talking to me or to himself. "He was in a coma for months. He died the day before my birthday." He jerked his arm away from my hold trying to slip away. I didn't let him, though. Before he could run I had straddled him, making it impossible for him to evade me.

I wonder if he's ever told this to anyone before...

"Hey, Travis. Look at me." He was looking down at his hands resting on my thighs. I tried to make him look up, but he kept forcing his head down like a stubborn child. "Travis, please. Look. At. Me." I put a knuckle under his bearded chin and forced his eyes up to mine. They seemed to be clearer blue, glossy and red rimmed with tears he manly tried to keep away.

"Listen to me, Travs. Can you control the weather?" I asked. He just stared at me. I pressed my thumb to the soft crease deforming the space in between his blonde brows, trying to magically make it disappear under my touch. "Can you?" I asked again.

"No." He croaked.

"Do you get to decide when people live or die?" I went on, not really knowing if I could actually be much help.

"No, Dindi, but-".

"Do you think that if you'd left your dad's music alone he'd still be alive?" I cut him off. "Do you think that if you hadn't been drinking the night before he'd still be alive? Do you honestly think that anything you could've done would have prevented your dad's life from ending when it did? When it had to?"

I knew what his answer would be. If he carried that guilt around, he obviously thought he could have changed things.

"Yes. Yes, Dindi, I think I could've have." He admitted.

My forehead fell on his, and when I shook my head our skins rubbed together. How could I, me, change his mind? No one could. That had to be him, his decision. I tried anyway.

"No, love, you couldn't have. You can't predict the future. You can't change how things happen. They just do, Travis. It's out of our hands. People die when they do. It's not your fault that truck hit you." I kissed him and tasted his salty tears on my lips. "I'm sorry you lost your father, I know how that feels. But I'm even more sorry you blame yourself for it. I won't tell you it wasn't your fault -even though I know it wasn't- because it doesn't matter how many people tell you this if you don't believe it yourself."

Travis laughed. Not the usual amused sound I loved, but a sad, dark laugh. It was no good. He blamed himself and he seemed to project it on everyone else. Recalling what he'd said earlier, about not being back home in five years despite promising his mother, I wondered if his dad was the reason. Certainly his family didn't share his belief that he'd caused his father's death, otherwise his mother wouldn't insist he go home for his birthday.

"The day after your birthday." I began with a careful voice. "Is that you father's death anniversary?"

"Mhmm." Was his answer.

Was that the real reason he wanted me to go with him? To support him? Help him through it? Why hadn't he told me this before he invited me to spend the weekend? He must have realized that telling me this would compel me to say yes. Or maybe he thought I'd blame him too, like he did himself?

I was supposed to be the woman he was currently fucking. I wasn't supposed to get involved and risk getting hurt again. Wasn't he some kind of womanizer? Why on earth was he telling me these things? Asking me to meet his family? Regardless of any of that, I wanted to be there when he needed me. It was a feeling I was powerless to fight against. If I had any second thoughts about this weekend, they had vanished the minute he told me about his dad. It explained a lot about his personality.

"You'll be alright, Travs. I'll be there with you." I promised, meaning it and surprising myself for it.

Travis sighed deeply, then hugged me, burying his face on the crook of my neck. His beard tickled and aroused me in conflicting sensations. "Why didn't I meet you some five years ago?" He mused.

I pulled away just enough to look him in the eyes, trying to give him the sweetest smile I could put on my face. "Because I lived across the ocean." I said matter of factly. "And things happen when they do, Travs. No point crying over spilled milk. I'm here now."

He was crying. I brushed my thumbs over his cheeks, wiping away the tears he gave up fighting, but still ignored. They ran down his face, wetting his diligently kept beard.

"This is getting a bit bushy." I tugged at the hairs covering his jaw, trying to lighten the mood. Travis gave me that look he reserved for sex. That look of complete amazement that made me feel special, like I was some kind of wonderful, inimaginable creature.

"You are really something, Dindi, you know that?" His smile when he said it was the genuine kind. It rubbed off on me.

I rolled my eyes playfully. "I do, actually."

Then his mouth was moving against mine before I had time to process the information. He kissed me and wasn't kind about it. He kissed me angrily, pouring all of himself into that kiss, making me feel lusted after, admired and punished all at the same time.

He stood on his feet, bringing up with him. My ankles were firmly clasped behind him.

"Stay tonight?" He asked with his lips kissing my neck. "Please? Stay? I need you."

I need you. That was a phrase I was hearing often lately.

I never stayed during weeknights. When my classes were over I went to his place and we played our routine: sex, pillow talk, food, sometimes more sex, then goodbye. Though he always asked me to stay, I never did. Never, except for one time because of a storm. I spent the weekends, never weeknights. This time, though, when he asked me, after what he'd just told me about his father, about his guilt, I wanted to stay.

"Stay?" He pleaded with such a tortured look on his face I was helpless to say anything but yes.

My eyes studied his face for a long moment. Wasn't this becoming too serious? Wasn't this going to complicate things? Wasn't I stepping over my own boundaries? I had just agreed to meet his mother, for fuck's sake. Now I was about to break another one of my rules and sleep in during a weeknight. My control was slipping through my fingers, and I was falling. I could only hope the landing wouldn't hurt to much.

"Yes." I said, not all that certain of myself.

Travis's relief was obviously stamped on his face. I felt the relaxed breath that left his chest. "Good." He said, before he kissed me again.

Later, when he buried himself inside me that look of complete obliviousness loomed over his face. He seemed to be lost inside me, forgetting about the whole world around us, and not for the first time I felt like his anchor, like his drug. Something that helped him forget and feel better. The worst part was that I liked it. I loved it. I liked to be what made him feel better, even though I knew that wasn't all that safe a thing. Not really.

****

"You're meeting his fucking mom?"

"Well, yes, but not like that."

George was sitting on the bed while I packed some clothes for the weekend.

"Not like that? What the bloody hell does that mean?" From the moment I told him about going with Travis to his mother's for the weekend, George had been relentless in his pursuits to make me change my mind.

"I'm not going there to be introduced as his girlfriend, Gee. Which I'm not by the way." I added quickly. "I'm just going with him. As a friend." The look Gee gave me should have been in the dictionary under the definition of rubbish.

"Mo. All you've been doing this past month is to pretend you're not his girlfriend when he sees you more than I do! And you bloody live with me! You keep trying to not get in too deep with him but I think you already are, and this just proves it."

"Proves what, George?" I asked annoyed, already anticipating his answer.

"You're falling for him when you shouldn't be. Travis is meant to be your boy toy, not your boyfriend."

That remark bothered me too much. What the fuck was the matter with George? He'd been the one to suggest I spread my legs wide open for Travis, in the first place.

I tossed a piece of clothing inside my bag then zipped it closed. I took a deep breath. Gee wasn't all that wrong. The thing was, the thought had crossed my mind. Travis and I had slipped into a comfort zone, a place where we pretty much behaved like a couple, but we had agreed since day one: It's just sex. Just for the sex. No strings attached. Then why did I feel tethered to him?

The sex was so fucking fantastic. Weird, but not a bad kind of weird, just different. Easy. Natural. Those were good things. We fitted together well. It was just...good.

Whatever people thought of him, man whore or not, Travis was a good man. He was sweet, caring, thoughtful, and his biggest fault was that he didn't seem to know that himself.

Sometimes I felt like his cornerstone though. That when I didn't want to have to bear his weight on my back. I wanted to be under him and keep things as simple as that.

"George." I said after a long pause. "I like him very much. I admit that I enjoy our time together. Yes, things are a bit more serious than they should be, but I've got both my feet on the ground. This time things will be different. I know better now. I know that eventually this will end. Right now I know what I'm doing. And what I'm doing is helping a friend out. That's all."

That was rubbish. Lying to myself wasn't something I was prone to do, except when it came to Travis. The fact was that I wanted to go with him. To be with him. Because when he told me about his father and how he felt guilty about it, all I wanted to do in the world was hug him and try to convince him that it wasn't his fault. At the same time, I didn't want to do it. I wanted him to do it himself.

In other other words, I was completely and utterly fucked.

"Gee, I have to go." I said, throwing my little bag over my shoulder. "I'll call you when I get there."

He stood up to his full height and opened his arms for me. I stepped into his embrace. Gee was just as tall as Travis, if only an inch or two shorter.

"You're my favourite person in the world, Mo. I don't want you to get hurt again." I exhaled heavily on his shoulder. George liked to overworry about me, and I hated to worry him. Be that as it may, I could never deny he had a bit of reason to be worried. The last time I had my heart broken, he'd been the one to pick up the pieces. He knew the extent of the damage that caused in me.

"I know what I'm doing, Gee. Travis won't hurt me. I won't let him."

George pulled away and his hazel gaze met mine. "I wasn't talking about Travis, Mo."

I ignored him, whatever he meant.

"I know what I'm doing." I said again, giving him one last quick hug before going out the door.

I know what I'm doing.

Isn't that precisely what people say when they have no bloody clue what the fuck they're doing?

****

I was lying belly down with my chin resting on Travis's back. He had the sort of skin that refused to tan. Instead it coloured scarlet then left inumerous freckles in its wake. I loved those. The summer had brought out even more of them. Points of light brown over light skin. They dotted a path from one of his shoulders to the other in a random pattern like stars in the sky.

"You need to use sunblock." I said, drawing circles on his bare back.

"Why?" Travis was lying prone on his bed, exhausted from the mind blowing orgasms he had just given me.

"Why? Because you should. Too much sun is bad for your skin. If you get sunburned I won't be able to touch you. Also, you'll get older faster, not to mention the skin cancer danger and..."

"But I like the sun." He interrupted me.

"You're getting freckled." My fingers traced the little dots, connecting them.

"You love my freckles." He mumbled.

"Yes, I do. They're lovely. But you'll look like raisins by the time you're forty if you don't take care of yourself."

It was hot as hell this time of the year, and he kept running around without sunscreen or a shirt.

"Well, it's a pity we all don't have such lovely skin." He said, turning to lie on his back and exposing his chest to my roaming fingers. They drifted to his scar like a magnet. He shivered, but let me touch it. He always let me touch it.

"I use sun block, you know." I declared mildly offended. "Just because I'm brown already it doesn't mean my skin won't burn, too. Besides I have more melanocytes to turn into cancer cells, and..."

"You are such a nerd."

"What?"

"You're a nerd." He said again, matter-of-factly.

I moved to straddle him. "No, I'm not. I'm simply stating a fact that is known by every human being in the world but you. Too much sun is bad for you. Too much anything is bad for you." He put his hands on my hips, stroking up and down my sides.

"Even too much sex?" He teased with that smirk that drove me crazy, making me laugh and lean over to kiss him.

"Unfortunately, yes. Even too much sex." I said with my lips so close to his, they touched when I spoke.

Travis rolled on the bed, pinning me beneath him. "I don't think that's accurate, Dindi. You're very smart, but in this you're wrong. There's no such thing as too much sex. Certainly not with you."

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