Bliss Ch. 07bywanderingmindgames©
The next couple of weeks were relatively uneventful, in spite of the emotional turmoil from that Friday. Or maybe because of it. We went to Malcolm's game, had dinner with Tony and Carl, we went to work, we met afterwards most nights and I stayed over at his house. I met up with Robbie alone and then with Malcolm ( never with Tony, though that was Robbie's choice as Tony wanted to). And in all of those things it was mostly the same, but there was a new...tenderness...to our interactions. Not that we were all over each other, pawing at each other (neither of us are particularly fond of explicit public displays of affection, the sight of couples writhing together in public inciting nausea instead of desire); rather, we seemed more attuned to each other. Any touching or physical gesture was minimal; a hand on his thigh at the movies, his arm slung over my shoulders at a restaurant, taking my hand as we walked. Small things, I know, but of mountainous significance to me. To us.
And the subtle change manifested itself in other ways, as well. As the date for bringing him to meet my family neared, I grew nervous, agitated. I was beyond prickly at work, not short tempered exactly, just obviously tense. I'd told my family I was seeing someone, but made it sound far more casual than it was. And I hadn't brought home anyone – let alone someone like Malcolm – since high school. I decided on Friday morning to call and let my folks know I was bringing him with me. I grabbed my cell phone and quickly dialed before losing my nerve. When I told my mother I was bringing him with me, she grew so quiet I thought I'd lost the call.
"Mom? You still there?"
"I'm here. Just thinking, Melly."
"I didn't know it had gotten serious."
"Serious?" I scoffed.
"Hasn't it?" she asked. I didn't know how to answer, so I didn't. She grew quiet again, so quiet I was starting to think I might have lost the call again and was about to call out when she finally spoke. "Don't worry, Melly," my mom said with a laugh. "No one is going to sit him down and demand he make an honest woman out of you."
"Not funny, mom," I said with groan.
"Why don't you and...?"
"Why don't you and Malcolm come early Saturday? Your father and I would like the opportunity to meet him before Danny and Mary and the kids get here."
"What time are they coming?"
"Around three or so, depending on traffic."
"I'll see if he has anything going on. We may not be able to get there early." I didn't lie, exactly. I mean I knew his schedule inside and out and knew he had nothing after his practice. I just...hedged a bit, giving us an out. Although I think my mom was a genius in suggesting bringing him early like that.
"Well, let us know. And we'll be happy to see you when you do get here."
We talked for a few more minutes and hung up after I promised to let her know for sure. I looked at my phone for a minute, contemplating calling Malcolm when it chirped in my hand, startling me, making me drop it into my lap. I picked it up and looked at the caller ID to see it was Malcolm.
"Hi," I said, smiling.
"I'm coming to get you." No question, no doubt. Just telling me.
"I'm just about to catch the bus," I protested lamely.
"Take the day."
"What? I can't," I protested. (Even as my mind was calculating the amount of time off I would have left and what my workload would be like on Monday. Who was I kidding? Certainly not myself.)
"I'm on my way."
"Are you listening to me? I can't take the day off."
"You can and you will."
"But - "
"You're tense, and you would be worse than ineffectual at the office today." I was quiet at that, surprised that he'd picked up on it so easily, though to my credit I didn't try to deny it. "Take the day."
"Fine." I sounded far more sulky than I was actually feeling.
"I am on my way," he said and clicked off.
I looked at the phone, torn between wanting to throw it at him when he arrived and jumping into his arms and telling him I was falling in love with him. Was. Had. Whatever. Instead I just called Krissie and told her I was taking a personal day because my brother was coming to town. Which was true. For the most part, anyway.
I changed in to a pair of black linen capri pants and a red t-shirt, slipping on some sandals and grabbing a cardigan before heading to the kitchen to wait for Malcolm. I sat at my breakfast bar, drumming my fingers, feeling oddly impatient to see him, and worrying a bit at how completely wrapped up I seemed to be. (To be frank, I think it was my lack of worry at how into him I was that had me worried. If you know what I mean.) I started thinking about the last time he was in my condo, and could feel the smile spreading on my face as the heat spread in my groin. When he finally arrived, I had to pause at the door and take deep breaths, thinking about ice and snow and concentrating on listing the most effective disinfectant bathroom cleansers in order to attempt to appear even somewhat normal.
"Hey," I said, opening the door. I was going to try for nonchalant, but any pretense died as soon as I saw him. He was dressed in tan cargo shorts and a tight black t-shirt. Not rent-boy tight, just snug, perfectly fitted, as if it was woven to him. He hadn't bothered to do more than run his hands through his hair, and I had a startling image of me running my fingers through his hair as I pressed his face to my pussy.
"Pack a bag," he said, stepping in and closing the door behind him.
"Alright." I instantly turned and walked quickly to my bedroom, going to my closet to grab a small suitcase. I leaned out and put it against the wall, turning back to my closet to look over my clothes. I grabbed a sundress, a cream colored, whispy cotton thing with an empire waist and green and blue embroidery on the bodice. I hung it over my arm, scrutinizing my clothes.
"How long am I packing for?" I called out over my shoulder. It wasn't an unusual request, not really, even though I had clothes that had migrated to his house and seemed to have taken up residence there.
"A couple days," Malcolm said from right behind me. I squealed and jumped, turning around to face him. He seemed to...loom... in the doorway of the closet.
"Don't do that," I said, my hand pressed to my chest to try and slow my heart. I was visibly shaking.
"Sneak up on me like that."
"I didn't." He stepped to me and cupped my face. "Why are you so nervous?" he asked, forcing me to look at him. I just shook my head, unable to decipher his expression. He frowned at me, but didn't push the matter. "I'll wait for you in the kitchen." He caressed my cheeks with his thumbs before dropping his hands and leaving me to pack.
I finished quickly, grabbing a couple more changes of clothes just in case, and heading to the kitchen. Malcolm was sitting at the breakfast bar, one leg stretched out in front of him and the other bent with his foot resting on the rung. His head was turned and I could study his profile, the small bump on his nose from when he broke it in his 20s, the full softness of his lips, the fringe of his dark lashes. "Are we ready, then?" he asked, not turning to look at me.
"Yes." He slid off the stool and took the case out of my hand, gesturing towards the door with his other hand. He followed me out, and I could feel him watching me closely as I locked my door. I slipped my keys in to my purse and turned to him, smiling up at him even though he looked a bit pensive. "Let's go."
"Let's," he said, taking my hand in his and weaving our fingers together. It was a simple gesture, one probably done by millions of people every day, but the natural way it was done, as if it was instinctual, soothed me. We stayed connected like that, holding hands, as we rode the elevator in silence, and I felt some of the tension I'd been carrying around the last few weeks start to lift by the time we reached the ground floor.
We made our way to his car, Malcolm seating me inside before putting my case in his trunk. He got in and put the keys in the ignition, but didn't start the car up right away. He sat for a moment, hands on the wheel, just looking ahead.
"Malcolm?" I asked, wanting to lay my hand on his thigh but unsure.
"What's been bothering you? You've been jumpy and irritable all week."
"You have, poppit." He looked at me seriously. "You've been a right bitch at the office."
"Alright," he said with a nod, looking forward again and starting his car. He turned to look over his shoulder before pulling away from the curb. He made his way to Aurora and waited to turn left. "Do you think you will ever be able to trust me?" he asked quietly, not looking at me.
"What?" I turned in my seat and shook my head at him. "I trust you. I trust you completely. Jesus, Malcolm, how can you even ask that?"
"You don't," he said, making the turn and heading north on Aurora. "Not really." I snorted at that, turning back in my seat, but he continued before I could say anything. "You trust me with your body, granted. You trust me when we're...intimate. I will concede that. But you don't trust me when we're not. No matter how close we are, no matter how open you are in my bed, outside of it you close yourself off to me. Why?" His voice sounded both hurt and angry.
"I don't mean to," I said quietly, watching the 'no tell motels' roll by outside the window, catching glimpses of the locks and Ballard. I blinked, surprised to feel tears on my cheeks.
"Why don't you trust me?"
"I do," I turned my head to look at him, but he didn't look back at me. "I do," I repeated with a heavy sigh. I glanced around, noticing for the first time he was getting on the interstate heading north. "Where are we going?"
"For a drive," he said, still not looking at me, the clipped tone of his voice made even more noticeable by his accent.
"No destination in mind?"
"No." He drove in silence for a few minutes, and I was about to break it when he did. "What's been bothering you?" he repeated.
"I'm a bit nervous about tomorrow."
"Are you afraid I'll embarrass you?"
"What? No! Of course not."
"Afraid your family will?"
"No." I sighed. "I mean, I've told you about my family, they're really outgoing...gregarious. Sometimes that can be a bit overwhelming. Especially when it's one new person in the group, although I think you're going to fare just fine," I grinned to myself at that. "But my family's great, really. Friendly. And once you meet them...well, you're kind of instantly brought in to the fold."
"I can see why that would make you nervous," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "No deep, dark secrets or skeletons you're afraid I'll uncover?"
"No, of course not...well...except...I haven't introduced anyone I've dated to my family in a really long time."
"College?" he asked, glancing at me skeptically as he merged on to the 525.
"Senior year of high school," I said quietly, watching his face closely.
"I see." He stared straight ahead, his hands on the wheel. "Why?"
"I never cared for anyone enough to," I admitted softly, turning my face forward but watching him closely out of the corner of my eye. He gave an odd sort of grimace and I turned my face towards the window and closed my eyes, not wanting to see any more. I felt the car slowing down but resolutely kept my eyes closed. I could tell we were on surface streets again, could feel the sun heating my face even through the tinted glass, but I didn't want to see anything.
After what seemed like a long time we came to a stop, and Malcolm turned off the car. Neither of us made any sound for a while, until he gave a big sigh and I heard him get out of the car. I opened my eyes to see an expanse of beach and the Sound laying beyond. My door opened and I looked up at Malcolm. He was looking down at me, his face not mad or disgusted or...anything, really. At least nothing I could decipher. He held his hand out to me and I put my hand in his hesitatingly, not sure if this was a gesture of affection or civility. He pulled and I obediently got out of the car, feeling relief wash over me when Malcolm once again threaded our fingers together as he closed my door. He pulled me along with him as he walked towards the water.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"Meadowdale Beach." He stopped at the edge of the beach, glancing around at all the people there. It was a popular destination on a warm summer day. He turned and started walking south, towards a huge cedar that had been uprooted from somewhere in a long past storm and washed up on the beach. We walked slowly in silence, leaving the people behind as we went. The beach became more and more rocky, and the beachgoers seemed to prefer the smoother sands on the north end.
"This reminds me of England," he said, waving his free hand towards the beach. "Some parts of the coast are so coarse and rocky."
"Yes. But very few mountains and forests as close to them."
I laughed at that, looking at the way the trees did seem to march right down to the water's edge. It was something I'd never noticed or even thought of before. I glanced around, the wilderness I'd grown up with, lived with my entire life, seeming wilder, and somehow exotic. We reached the downed tree and walked around it, pausing to look at it's roots at the water's edge before continuing back up towards it's top.
"That's why I like coming here. It reminds me of home. Holidays at the beach with my family and mates."
"Wasn't it too cold?" I asked, trailing my hand over the tree trunk. The bark was long gone and the wood was a polished white-gold, made smooth by time in the Sound and wind.
"We have summers in England," he said, the laughter in his voice drawing my attention to him.
"I know." I looked at him, confused for a moment while he smiled at me and waited. "Oh," I eventually said when the lightbulb finally clicked on. "You mean holiday as in vacation. Not like Christmas or New Year."
"Very good," he said, giving me a wink. He turned to face me fully and started walking again, moving backwards, and I was struck by the playfulness in his eyes. "So delighted to see we're moving past the language barrier at last."
"I'm not daff," I said, giving him a smirk at throwing his own term back at him.
"No," he said, suddenly serious. He pulled me to him hard enough to push the air out of me with an 'oomph'. "Neither of us can be accused of that, can we?" I shook my head. "No. In fact, some may say we are too smart for our own good. We over-think, we over-analyze things. Wouldn't you agree with that, poppit?" he asked quietly. I nodded, afraid to speak and break the spell he was weaving around us. "Yes. And that can be a problem, can't it?" He grabbed my other hand and started pushing me back away from the water and towards the woods at the edge of the beach. It wasn't shoving, it was more like gently forcing me back. "It can keep us from saying the things we want to say, the things we need to say, to each other. We stop ourselves, don't we? Thinking about all of the possible implications of what we want to say to each other, considering all the negative repercussions, making them bigger, giving them the greatest of weight in our considerations." The Sound disappeared behind a screen of dense ferns and trees as Malcolm maneuvered us through the woods, his eyes flicking away from mine for the briefest of moments as he directed where he wanted us to go.
"But do we give as careful a scrutiny to the consequences of not saying what we want, what we must?" His hands squeezed mine as he stopped our progress. I shook my head, unable to form any coherent thought past I love you. "And the consequences of that can be so much worse, can't they?" I nodded at him, biting my tongue to keep from saying anything. "In fact, the more we fight against saying what we want to, what we so desperately need to, the harder it becomes." He stepped up to me, forcing me to tilt my head back to look at him, and put my hands behind my back. "So why do we do it?" he dropped his voice to a whisper.
We stood like that for a while, a long while, just looking at each other, so much unsaid in each other's eyes and just behind our lips. I squeezed Malcolm's hands as they held mine captive behind my back, and he gave me a slightly questioning look. I licked my lips, my mouth suddenly dry and the sound of my quickening breathing drowning the sound of the woods and beach around us.
"I love you," I said, the words spilling out breathily.
Malcolm gave the barest of smiles and bent to kiss me lightly. "I know," he said, his voice low. He took my lower lip between his teeth and nibbled on it as he moved one of my hands to grab the other. He slid his hands along my waist to my stomach before pushing my t-shirt and bra up roughly, exposing my breasts. My eyes widened in alarm, but I offered no protest and kept my hands clasped behind my back.
He let go of my lip and put his forehead to mine, his fingers finding my nipples and playing with them, twisting and pulling at them roughly. His eyes stayed on mine, the affection in them telling me he loved me, too. Though I ached to hear him say it, I felt it in the way he looked at me and the way he touched me. I had to let that be enough. I could feel myself starting to get aroused, and welcomed it, a happy distraction.
His hands left my breasts, and I was about to bemoan the loss, when suddenly my nipples were being pinched tight – so tight! – in my clamps. I threw my head back with a moan as the intense pleasure shot straight to my clit, making it throb. I hadn't had them on in a while and the initial sensation was so intense.
Malcolm stepped away from me, moving towards a young maple tree to my right. He pulled a branch down and peeled off a smaller one, about three feet long. He stood in front of me, slowly peeling off the leaves and twigs. His movements were deliberate, calculated, and he kept his eyes on mine as he prepared the switch. He tested it, slicing it through the air with a most wonderfully wicked sound, and I could feel my mouth start to water. I closed my eyes, cursing myself for responding so even as I was trying to keep from shivering in anticipation.
"You love me?" he asked quietly, bringing the switch down on top of my clamps.
"Yes!" My entire body jerked at the contact.
"You've been afraid to tell me," he said, punctuating with the switch on the underside of my breasts. I gasped but said nothing. It wasn't a question and I was too busy concentrating on the stinging heat radiating out from my breasts as he continued the torment. "I am happy" – whack – "you told me" – whack – "even if it took" – whack – "so fucking long" – whack. I moaned with each contact, each time getting closer to orgasm. My legs began to feel weak and I was afraid I would fall. I looked at him and he grabbed my face, kissing me, his tongue coaxing mine, and I drew strength from the kiss.
"Drop your pants," he said, letting go of my face. I untied my capris and pushed them down my hips, letting them pool at my feet. "Turn around and grab the tree." I turned, surprised to see a large maple behind me. I leaned forward and grabbed around its trunk, my arms not quite encircling it.
"Do you have any idea what you mean to me?" He bounced the switch lightly on my lower back as he spoke. I shook my head, afraid to speak. He seemed to be full of nervous energy; I could hear him pacing back and forth behind me. "No?" he asked, punctuating his question with the switch on my right butt cheek. "You are a treasure, a jewel, my jewel." He brought the switch down on the left cheek. "Harder than diamonds" – whack across my thighs – "more beautiful than rubies" – whack across the top of my ass – "more precious than emeralds" – whack whack across the middle of my ass. "The rarest gem, brilliantly cut, and all mine."