tagRomanceFalling Down

Falling Down


Chapter 1

Karly and I laid together in the bed. I was on my back, her lovely body pressed against mine. Comfort and relaxation poured from her and into me. Something about her always made me feel at peace. Safe, and warm and comfortable.

Her head was pillowed on my chest, her hair pressed to my face, bathing me in the sweet vanilla scent that I now always associated with her and only her. Her hair tickled my nose, but I didn't care...

Well, I didn't care too much, at least not even close to enough to move her.

I was in that magical place, not quite asleep, but just starting to nudge over the edge.

"I'm sorry." She murmured at me.

Her voice shocked me awake, pulling me away from that relaxing place where we all lost ourselves to oblivion at least for a small time.

I jerked, in that way we all do when wakened from the edge of sleep, like a small slap on the back of the head.

"Did I wake you?" She whispered.

I put my hand on her head and pulled her closer to me. "Just a little baby girl."

Her hand tangled in my shirt, right above my heart. "I'm sorry. Go back to sleep."

I kissed the top of her head. "Stop apologizing. I can never be mad at you for long."

She moved away from me suddenly, sitting up on her stomach and looking at me.

She was beautiful, as always, but a cloud of worry was laid bare over her face.

Concern pounded through me and I put my hand to her face, my fingers resting over her elven ear. "What's wrong baby girl?"

She just shook her head and laid back down on my chest. She clung to me tighter.

I considered pressing her on it. Pushing her to tell me what was wrong. I decided that it would be better for her to come around to it on her own. To work her way around to telling me. We all have secrets, and worries. Some we want to share, some we feel like we owe sharing and some we dare not let see the light of day.

I put my face back to her head, "It's okay. You can tell me, or you can keep it to yourself. It's up to you. All you have to know is that I'm here if you want to talk."

I could feel her shake her head on my chest.

Finally, she broke the silence. "I'm sorry we can't have sex."

The comment was so stupid I couldn't help but laugh. "Don't make a big deal out of it." I kissed her head again. "I'm not worried about it."

I expected the comment to calm her, to allay her fears. Instead she only curled up more...

I put my hand to her face, "Hey. What's wrong?"

She shook her head. "I just don't want you to be mad at me."

The curling of her body had caused her to start to stray away from where I could properly wrap my arms around her. I decided that I didn't want that, and it also wasn't good for her, so I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her up higher.

Kissing her head, I assured her, "I'm not mad at you."

I sighed. I didn't understand. This wasn't that big of a deal. At least to me it wasn't, to her though, there seemed to be something deeper here that I didn't understand, something that I knew was desperately important.

I finally decided she was the only one that knew the answer to that question...

"Okay. I don't get it. This isn't that big of a deal. It's going to happen. I mean I'm not an expert on women's physiology but from what I understand you all shut down for repairs monthly. Something I better get used to, I figure, considering I plan on being with you a good long time."

She shook her head again. "It's just..."

She hid her face from he, burying it against my chest. "It's nothing. I shouldn't have said anything."

I pulled her face up so I could see her wonderful eyes. They were portraits of pure sorrow.

It was my turn to shake my head. "You can always talk to me baby girl. I don't understand, but I want to. What's going on in that pretty, stupid head of yours?"

My small cutting comment made her smile, a brief slash of happiness in her unhappy face, like a lightning bolt splitting the dark night, there for a moment and then gone.

I figured I wanted to see that bolt again, so I quickly ducked in and kissed her nose.

She giggled and this time her smile was more lasting.

Her hand came up to my face, tracing her fingertips from my forehead down to my lips. Sighing, she looked to have come to a conclusion. "If you don't want to hear about this, just tell me to stop. I'll understand."

Worrying a bit, I forced myself to smile at her, "You have my word."

She laid her head back down on my chest. "Mike used to get really pissed at me when I was on that time of the month and we couldn't..."

She seemed to be trying to figure out where the line was in being graphic with her descriptions of her time with Mike. Hell, I was trying to figure out where that line was...

I gave her a few seconds to work it out. "have sex?"

Something about her tone, and her lack of confidence and the weird line of conversation hit me as funny and I started laughing again.

She sat up and smacked me on the chest. "What's so funny?!"

I pulled her in and kissed her. I figured it was the easiest way to make her forget she was mad at me...

She was intoxicating against my lips. Heaven given form. As my lips touched hers I could feel the blood rush through my body, my breath catch in my chest. Just being able to kiss her made me feel weightless...

I finally forced myself to stop and look into her emerald eyes, "You don't have to be a prude about it."

Feeling a stab of jealousy jolt through me, I forced myself to say, "I know you were with Mike before me, and while I can't say I love the thought of you with anyone but me, I know the nuts and bolts of what went on."

I shook my head at her, finally bringing my hand up and laying it back on her face. "Tell me what you think is important. Leave out what you want, but talk about the things you need to. Be as descriptive as you need to."

I kissed her again. "I want to know everything about you. Every inch of your beautiful mind, and I know there are going to be some dark corners. I'm okay with that. In fact, knowing about those dark corners only makes me love you more."

She smiled and put her head back on my chest. "Anyway, he used to get really pissed at me. He'd say things like, 'You have two other holes don't you?', he'd get pissed, he'd ditch me and refuse to hang out with me. He'd flirt with my friends..."

I shook my head. How could a person be so fucking stupid? How could they be so selfish?

I wanted to feel angry at him. I wanted to feel as if I should have wanted to go find the piece of trash and rearrange his face. Instead I just felt sad.

I felt a little sad for him, at being that person, at losing out on such a great opportunity for happiness with Karly...

Mostly I felt sad for Karly.

She was perfection. She should have never have had to deal with that bullshit. Never have had someone treat her that way.

Don't you ever be that person... my mind warned me. You may get frustrated, but don't you ever treat her that way.

"I always felt like that was his way of reminding me I was replaceable." She finally continued.

I put my face against the top of her head and murmured into it, "That's stupid. You're not replaceable. Not by anyone."

She let out a sarcastic chuckle. "I know I'm replaceable Gabby. Sweet as it is for you to say I'm not."

That made me angry, and I forced her face up. She needed to understand the truth here. I looked into her eyes to make her understand the words came from the bottom of my heart and were not some empty platitude. "You are not replaceable. Never. Nobody could be you, and you are perfect for me."

She pulled her face away from me and laid back on my chest, squeezing me tighter. "If you got rid of my today Jacky could easily be laying here within the hour."

I pulled her tighter to me and put my hand on her head, rubbing my thumb in lazy circles on her temple. "Jacky isn't you. You aren't her."

It pained me to admit it. I had hurt Jacky. I had created a debt there that I could never repay, that I could never make right. I had wanted Karly, and I had hurt Jacky in the process. That would never go away. It would never get any better. Looking back now I could see how I had made excuses. How I had called her stupid, or immature. Even wanting to take responsibility I had made excuses that it was her. The reality was it is never them. It's always you.

The thought made me realize that every person is special. Every person deserves to be loved in their own way. In a perfect world, we would all find that person that could love us just the way we needed to be loved. That person that didn't need to change themselves, that you didn't need to change yourself for. That would grow in exactly the same direction as you. Most of us will never find them, but we all deserved to.

I kissed Karly's head. "Neither of you is replaceable." I felt her tense a little bit at that.

"My Karly is perfect for me. Hopefully Jacky finds the person that is perfect for her, but neither of you is replaceable. We can all lie to ourselves and pretend that all we care about is sex, or money, or whatever other stupid fucking reason we get together with someone else, but the truth is I think as humans we are born without a piece of ourselves, and we spend a long time trying to find that piece and put it back right where it goes." I pulled her tight into me. "Mine is a Karly shaped piece. There is no other piece out there that fits exactly the same, so there's no way to replace it."

She shook her head against me. "I don't think that's true. I think you could push me out the door right now, and have her here, and she'd be so happy to have you back in her life she'd do anything you wanted her to."

I sighed at her. She wasn't getting it. I wasn't explaining it well enough to her. "I could put someone right where you are, that's true. That doesn't mean that you're replaceable."

She sniffled, and I knew it meant that she was weeping. That tore my heart apart, but I knew that saying something wouldn't make her tears stop, they would just be driven beneath the surface.

"Mike found a way to replace me. As soon as he couldn't have sex with me he found something else Karly shaped."

I shook my head at her stupidity.

The thought hit me then. "So, you could replace me, just like that?"

Her head snapped up, her eyes locking on mine. "No. Don't you ever say something like that!"

I smiled at her as I saw the thought dawn on her. The realization of what she was saying.

I gave her a smartass turn of my head, "See? That's what you are to me. I have to total package here in my arms. Do I want to make love to you? Fuck yeah. Can I refrain a bit because you can't?" I ran my thumb over her cheek. "I'll do anything in the world to make sure you keep remembering that I'm just as irreplaceable as you are."

She smiled and crawled up so she was sitting on me, her hips on mine, her chest pressed against mine. She wrapped my head in her delicate hands and shook her head at me. "I love this big ol' stupid teddy bear. I may have found him beat up and discarded..." She shook her head and tears dropped from her eyes. "But he's all I ever wanted."

I felt a stab of pain and love course through me. She was so perfect and what she said made me somehow found a deeper love for her right there in that moment...

Chapter 2

We were making dinner together. She had picked up supplies on her way over and was showing me how to make something she called pinwheels. They were a mix of meat, cheese, olives, jalapeños, and cream cheese inside a tortilla. They were delicious. After dinner, we sat at the table and worked on homework together. Being in the same classes made the process so much easier...

We were working on the Calculus equations. Well, she was working on the Calculus equations. I had finished them up about twenty minutes ago. I was really just quietly staring at the book, letting my mind wander. I didn't want her to feel self-conscious about how long it was taking her to get done...

She looked up, "What did you get for number 5?"

That was about midway through the assignment and I had to flip back a couple of pages to find it.

She stopped me, "Let me see that."

I handed her my spiral notebook and she paged back through it, shaking her head. "You're done?"

I was embarrassed. I looked at the table and nodded my head. "I think they're right. They look right. I mean, they look right in the way that school math always seems to look right. You get all these crazy inputs and you do all the miracle math and the answer comes out as five... it's always five and never like, four-point-zero-seven-six-three-four... you get the point..." I trailed off.

She set the notebook down beside her own work and started to compare our answers. She hissed in frustration and took an eraser to her own work.

Panic surged through me, and I started to reach over and stop her pencil, "Don't do that. I went too fast, I'm probably wrong."

She looked through her eyelashes at me. "You're not. I can see the mistake I made."

I hated my brain. People saw me do things, thinking things and they always looked scared. People expected it out of some skinny kid with horn-rimmed glasses. Seeing out of one of the biggest kids in school seemed to intimidate them more, like I had no right to be smart and strong at the same time...

I didn't want Karly to see me like that. I nibbled at my lip and refused to meet her gaze.

She stood and came to me, spreading her legs over me and sitting in my lap.

I wrapped my arms around her more from a sense of obligation than anything else.

She smiled at me, a twinkle in her eyes as she ran her hands up my body, starting at my stomach...

They ran up my chest, on to my neck. It felt so good... my trepidation forgotten.

My eyes drifted closed as her fingers found my face, her nails prickling over my skin. Finally, she flattened her hands out and ran them over my short, stubbly hair.

I opened my eyes and looked at her, nibbling at my lip, nervous once again...

She shook her head at me, smiling on one side her of mouth.

"Your mind..." She started to say.

I reached up and grabbed her hands, pulling them away from my head. "I feel like a freak."

I was still holding her hands so she darted in and kissed me on the forehead.

"You are a freak, freakboy." She smiled and took the sting out of the words.

Then her lips were on mine, and I forgot all about my worries. I let her arms go and wrapped my arms around her once more. There was no obligation about this hug, I simply needed to feel her beneath my arms. She wrapped her arms around me once again, pulling me tight to her. When she finally broke from our kiss, she looked at me, a sense of wonder in her eyes. "I love the way your mind works."

I sighed and let my head drop back. "I don't. Most of the time it won't shut up. I worry all the time, and it just seems to run and run. People look at me like I'm a freak, and I hate that, because I know it's true."

She kissed me on the end of the nose. It was still sore from the breaking it endured down in Reno. She knew that so she was gentle.

Then she nodded, "It is a little freaky. It scares me some times."

Her hands came up and rubbed once again into my hair. "I get the sense if you wanted to be a bad person, between that beautiful mind..."

Her hands ran down and settled on my shoulders, "And this body, you would be a really scary person."

I chuckled at her. "Most people think I'm pretty scary."

She smiled that electric smile and lit up my world. "Only until they get to know you, the really real you."

She kissed my nose again, "Then they figure out you're a big ol' teddy bear." She smiled at me. "I love that about you."

I let my head drop. I really wanted to be a good person. I wanted to be the person she saw when she looked at me.

She pulled me in tight. "I wouldn't change anything about you."

Finally, she slid back, "Now get your freak brain over here and help me figure this shit out."

Chapter 3

Karly took me to practice the next day on her way home. She had stayed the night with me. It was nice to have her in my arms all night long, even if I couldn't make love to her. Practice was long and hard. It was still enjoyable, however.

I rode the bus home after practice. Joe offered to take me. I was kind to him about it, but I declined all the same. I was done being a drain on people, and I was especially done with people pitying me.

Bustling about my house I made myself busy cleaning. I put on some music and cranked it loud to entertain myself. The knock on my door came as a surprise.

Karly had plans with her mom through the afternoon, and plans with Tish in the evening. She wasn't due back today. Maybe things had changed...

I opened the door and was shocked to see Jeremy standing there. He wasn't on the team, and I hadn't talked to him since my "friends" had ditched me. I was sure he was in on it. I had specifically called him and his phone had gone straight to voicemail.

My eyes narrowed and I started to close the door.

"Wait!" he put his hand on the door and stopped me.

My jaw set and I had the very strong impulse to slam it in his face.

"I had nothing to do with what happened the other night!" He shouted.

That brought me up short. I stopped trying to close the door in his face.

He smiled at me, a nervous, anxious smile. "I was out with my parents. They made me go to dinner and a movie with them. I had nothing to do with them ditching you."

I wanted to hope... it just hurt too much to though...

I shook my head, and a thought occurred to me. "So, you're saying you would have, what, talked them out of it? Gone against the group and insisted?"

Jeremy was a decent enough guy, but he was not a leader. He wasn't one of those guys that was going to go out and stand on his own. He was usually right there in Sep's shadow. Sep told him to jump and he was in the air before he asked how high. There was no way he was going to go against what the group wanted.

Jeremy took his hand off the door and shook his head. "I really want to say that I would have spoken up... I really do." He looked me in the eye and I found a new respect for him. "I probably wouldn't have."

He sighed and looked at the floor. I had hurt him and while I wanted to think I was a good enough person to feel bad for that, a part of me was thrilled.

He looked at me. "But I didn't."

His jaw set, and he nodded at me. "And I'm here now. And I'm telling you, I won't ever do that to you."

Finally, he smiled at me.

I wanted to close the door in his face. I didn't want to let anyone into my circle. If they never came in, they couldn't hurt me. Let no one stand behind you, and you never have to worry about a knife in the back.

I stood there for a second, trying to work out what I wanted.

He sighed, "I get it. I wouldn't want to be around me either." He shrugged, "I just figured you might want someone to talk to."

He started to turn and I shook my head at how stupid I was being. "Get your ass in here." I finally said.

He turned to me and smiled. "Thanks man."

We went into my bedroom and sat down. I gave him my big old comfy chair and sat on my bed, cross-legged.

I scratched my nose while I tried to think. I really didn't know what to say. He looked every bit as uncomfortable.

His eyes roamed the room, as if he were trying to think of something to say.

I chewed on my lip while I decided how much to tell him, how far into my defenses I wanted to let him slip...

I finally decided that if I was going to make this work, I just needed to be honest. "Look, man."

I shook my head, trying to will myself to speak. I scratched my nose again.

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