Vision of the Spirit Ch. 16bywilderness©
Thomas Dubois stood outside the Midway Motel office and watched the gray clouds rake across the jagged mountaintops. The leaves were gone from the trees, and with them the tourist season. Business was dead, and that left too much time to think.
It had been a busy summer and autumn; the cabins were filled almost every night. Tom handled everything alone, which didn't leave any time for self-pity. During the day, he forgot about Hannah Roundtree, but at night she haunted his dreams.
A penetrating gust made Tom shiver. The cold wind hinted snow. He turned and went inside.
After a thorough cleaning, the old house smelled much better. The former owner, Tobias Wentworth, would never be mistaken for a hygienic man. Tom now thought of himself as the motel's 'new and improved' owner. That was his goal and he focused all his attention on achieving it.
He planned on painting the cabins and the house interiors over the winter. Maybe he'd have to take a part-time job to finance the improvements, but once the ski resorts opened the place might fill up again and it would pay for itself.
The motel business had always been a seasonal occupation. The simple kind of life Tom hoped for after college -- make money during the summer and travel during the winter. But someone was missing from his life's plan.
After sunset, Tom would sit at the computer, usually with a longneck bottle of beer for inspiration, and write about the day. Sometimes he wrote pages, other times just a few sentences. But without fail, every night he sent these memoirs to Hannah's presumed email address. Last week, after a long, uneventful day, he wrote a two-page letter, explaining his loneliness and heartache. When it was finished, and the moment came to click 'Send', the pointer drifted onto the delete button and he pushed that instead, marking the end of wishful thinking.
Tonight, he dialed up the Internet, and then strolled into the kitchen for a beer. The near empty refrigerator painfully reminded him of his solitude. The holidays were coming, and they mattered this year. He had reasons to celebrate.
'Screw it.' Tom pried open the bottle, chugged a couple of thirsty swallows and wandered back to the computer. He logged into Yahoo and checked for email from Penny Skinner, Wentworth's daughter. The inbox displayed one new message. He clicked to open it, took a swig from the bottle, and then choked when the subject line appeared:
'Are you okay?' Sent by: Cheyenne4u -- Hannah's email address.
Long seconds passed while he stared at the monitor, afraid to read the message, afraid of having hope. After a few more pulls on the bottle, he steeled himself and opened the message:
I understand if you don't want to write me everyday. But send me a note once in a while, to let me know how you're doing. Please?
Tom's emotions fluctuated between elation and despair. But foremost, he experienced flat-out relief. Why hadn't she written all these months?
Quickly, he wrote a reply. 'You're alive! How are you?' and hit send.
Nervously, Tom paced behind the desk chair, pressing the browser reload button every other pass. "Come on, Hannah, be there."
Thirty minutes and two beers later, Tom was about to log off, when another message finally appeared.
Subject: All better.
The message read: Instant Message me. Hannah2u AOL.
He'd already downloaded the instant messenger program to chat with Penny about the motel business. It just took a few seconds to add Hannah2u into the buddy list.
When the text box opened, Tom played it cool, "Hannah, what's new?"
The window said that Hannah was typing, but nothing came up. She'd obviously deleted several responses, until finally she settled on an answer and sent, "Nothing much."
After all he'd written in his daily letters 'nothing much' pissed him off. Sarcastically, he typed, "Are you still in the adult entertainment business?"
A minute passed. No answer came. The buddy list still showed her connected. Tired of staring at the screen, he went for another beer.
On returning, the screen read, "I've stopped being a whore, if that's what you wanted to know. I'm a waitress in a bar, so technically I am still in the adult entertainment business."
The anger shriveled to regret. "I miss you," he wrote. "I dream about you."
"Really? I dream about you too."
That was more like it. "What do you dream?"
As she typed, he sipped his beer.
Finally she posted, "I dream about our time together, how special you made me feel, how safe. In my dreams you make me laugh and I wake up happy, like I did when I slept next to you. I dream about sex. You were the only man to make me feel satisfied. There has never been anyone in my life that made me feel so wonderful."
Tears welled up in his inebriated eyes. "Then... why did you leave?"
A few seconds passed, and she said, "I needed to get my head straight, talk to the police, and heal."
Tom began to type, then backspaced and started over several times.
Before he could put his thoughts into words, she wrote, "I want to show you something. Just a minute."
Relieved, he wrote, "OK," and waited.
The beer made him sleepy. He closed his eyes, until the musical tone indicated Hannah's new entry.
"The scratches are gone. How do I look?" said the text. After that, what appeared on his screen was a photograph of her reflection in a mirror. The camera rested on Hannah's left shoulder and the picture revealed her bare back from the neck to just below her buttocks. Not a hint of a scar was visible. Her braid was draped over the right shoulder.
Tom scanned every perfect inch and his body responded. "Hannah, you're even more beautiful than I remember."
"Well, of course I am. Because I'm not all beat up, Silly. LOL"
"No one has ever looked as beautiful to me before we met, or since."
"Aw, thank you. Just for that, I'll send another."
Wide-awake now, Tom anxiously waited. This time, as the picture loaded, it revealed Hannah's front, with the camera held next to her ear -- her smile was heartwarming, and her body overwhelming.
Thoughtful seconds passed, until she wrote, "Well?"
"What can I say that would do you justice? Words cannot express your beauty and my sadness."
"Sad that you aren't here with me. I want a closer look. Can you blame me?"
Ten heartbeats later, she wrote, "No, I don't blame you. Maybe we'll meet again, someday."
"Why don't you come back? You don't have to live with me. We could start over... take it slow." In his heart, he wanted to add, 'You belong to me,' but didn't push his luck.
Before she could respond, Tom's frustration boiled up, and he typed, "Why are you doing this? You know how I feel about you. You're totally being a cock tease!" He regretted saying it as soon as the words appeared on her side of the message screen, too late to take it back.
A short time later, she answered, "You're right, I am. I'm being selfish. I was afraid you were over me, and found someone else by now. See... I'm still trying to hold onto you with sex. I guess you can't teach an old whore new tricks."
Feverishly he typed, "I don't want you to learn any new tricks. I just want the old ones all for myself!"
"LOL. Then I've got you where I want you! There hasn't been a man in my life since you, and I don't want any. But, I'm not ready to be with you. There are things I need to resolve. After the plane crash, I was like a wounded animal. The next time you find me, I'll be a healthy woman. Can you bear with me?"
Tom's throat constricted with emotion. "Yes."
"Good, then bare with me."
At first, the altered word didn't register. "Okay, I'll try to be patient. I'll wait for you."
"No, Silly," said Hannah. "Get naked with me."
Out loud, he said, "What?" Then typed, "I don't know what you mean."
"Do you have a digital camera? Can you put pictures on the computer?"
Suddenly, Tom's mouth went dry. What she was requesting filtered through the beer fog. "No, I don't have a camera."
A frowning emoticon appeared. "I wish you did. I feel like you belong to me, and I want something to remind me of what I have waiting. A picture of you in the hayloft would be a memory worth reliving."
"God, she turns me on." Tom thought a moment, and responded, "I plan on buying one to take pictures of the motel for a website. I'll write it off as a business expense."
"Fabulous! Do it tomorrow. I'm so turned on. You should feel how wet I am."
Tom muttered, "I wish", as he adjusted the erection in his pants. "I'll try. I'm not sure what the local stores have in stock. I want a resolution of at least 5 mega-pixels."
"Are you sure that's enough to get all of you in the shot? I remember you more as 7 or 8 mega-prixels." She added a wink for emphasis. Then, another picture appeared. Her index and middle fingers were deep between her legs and the camera flash glinted on her damp labia.
Tom wrote, "You're killing me!"
"Whatever do you mean?" Another self-portrait grew on the screen. This time, her wet fingers pinched an engorged nipple. "I'm doing myself, thinking of your hands on me. Am I bad?"
"You are bad to the bone! And I love it."
"Aw Baby, I'd never be bad to your bone. How is your bone, by the way?"
"Poor baby. Take him out and play with him for me."
Tom wasn't shy. He'd had a variety of sexual experiences, but never a virtual one. Masturbating to someone's written instructions felt kinky, but not impossibly so. "Does this turn you on as much as it does me?"
"More. I'm so close already."
"I wish I was there, kneeling at you feet. I'd run my hands up your thighs and drag your ass out to the edge of the chair."
"Mmmm," was all she wrote.
"You'd smell so good, I'd put your legs over my shoulders and lick you like a Tootsie-pop." He waited, and then added, "Are your fingers busy? Type Y for yes, N for no."
He smiled and had to adjust himself again. "That's my girl. Don't forget, you are MY girl now, and no one else's." He paused a few seconds, "After I licked you up and sucked on your clit, my fingers would slip inside, first one, and then two. My thumb would replace my mouth on your clit, while I kissed up your tummy. I remember how you sound. Your little squeaks turned me on -- so much. I remember everything about you, and it's making me ache." The memory burned bright in his mind's eye and he concentrated on the erotic image for a short while. "You still with me, Baby?"
"Rub your clit with the left hand and pinch your left nipple with the right, okay?"
"Good girl, that's so hot. I can picture myself doing you. I can feel your breast. My hand remembers the weight of it, the soft curve and the delicious tip." Tom shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I'd let my fingers tease, while I kissed your neck, just under the ear where the jaw and neck meet. You're sensitive there. My tongue would give you goose bumps. I loved seeing goose bumps on you. It thrilled me to make you tingle like that." He sipped his beer, picturing Hannah naked. Her hands touching where he wanted to touch. "Then... when you were near coming, when your ragged breaths and moans told me you were seconds away... I'd kiss you with all the passion I have. I'd feast on your mouth, until I sucked every drop of lust from your body. And then I'd whisper 'That's just the beginning' and hold you all night."
Minutes passed without a message. Then she wrote, "Thank you," and posted a picture, revealing rosy skin and a satisfied grin.
"Hannah, you're gorgeous."
"What about you?"
"What about me?"
"I WANT TO RIP YOUR CLOTHES OFF!"
Tom laughed. "Why?"
"You know why."
"Because you don't like the style of my cheap taste?"
For an answer, Hannah posted another picture with the caption, "I love your style. I wear your shirt to bed every night." The photo showed Hannah on the edge of her bed, wearing nothing but his old, John Denver tee shirt.
He wrote, "John never looked so good."
"You would look better on me."
"Then come here. You can wear me to bed every night."
Hannah answered with a non sequitur. "I have to work tomorrow night, until 2:00 am."
"I won't wait up."
"Buy the camera and email me some pictures -- to dream on."
"Let me warn you, I've gained 80lbs. I have a big beer belly and a rash I can't get rid of."
"You didn't get the rash from me. I've been tested." Hannah inserted a smiley, and continued, "Send the pictures anyway. I'll dream of taking care of you, in sickness and in health."
The quote taken from traditional wedding vows made Tom's face hot. "Good night, Hannah. Sweet dreams."
"Good night, Tom. I will have amazing dreams, thanks to you. I hope you do too."
'I love you' was on Tom's fingertips, but they wouldn't budge.