Today I Am Still

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Today I am still.  My phone works, tomorrow is payday, and Saturday I get to spend some time with a friend of almost 35 years.  My car works, I have caffeine in my Yeti, and I have been listening to encouraging music while working.  I am still.  Content in this moment.  I would say that very few emotions are swirling or whirling.  I simply am.

Last night it was not so.  Last night, had I had the energy to get up and dig out my laptop to write, I would have filled the page with raw emotion that may or may not have been cohesive. In fact, I composed on imaginary paper in my head, and filled it with my innermost feels, and hopes, and hurts, and longings with fairly eloquent words, given that they were not actually written down anywhere.

Now, though, I cannot recall them.  I recall the theme.  I recall that there were tears in my eyes, and I was silently crying out as I pretended to write.  I know there were things I wanted and hoped for and felt like giving up on and regretted and couldn’t let go of.  But trying to pull them out from under the calmness of today seems tiring.  Or maybe it seems perilous.

The days, you see, are very full.  I have a career, a family, a life, stresses, duties, pursuits.  They all fill that thing that needs to be filled.  And there is music or television or – Lord help us all – Pokemon Go (smile).  But at night…. well, at night when there is nothing engaging on television, and sleep won’t come, and the brain begins to think….

But never mind that.  Today I am still.

The Time Machine

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She stumbled upon a time machine.  It was sitting in a field, seemingly unnoticed by everyone else.  Walking around it slowly…one time, two times, three times, she wondered if it was real.  It certainly seemed real.  It had clocks and whirly things and buttons and lights and even a flux capacitor.

After looking to the left and right to make sure no one saw her, she slipped inside.

Now, most people, upon entering a time machine, would ponder at length over where – or when – to go.  She did not.  She knew exactly where she would go.  She turned the dials and pushed the buttons and fastened her seat-belt (for time travel can be bumpy).

It was a July afternoon, a hot July afternoon.  And her life was about to change.  The limbo that had been her days was about to end, and she had a choice.  She had several choices, actually, but one loomed above them all.

So she took it.  She congratulated and smiled and took a deep breath.  Then she peeled off her fears and turned toward him.  She told him she wanted him, she wanted life with him, she wanted time with him.  She asked if he wanted the same things.  She risked herself.

 

And he said yes.  He said a resounding yes.  So she ran to him and embraced him and started the rest of her days, leaving the time machine behind.  She’d never need it again.

If only the time machine had been real…

Still

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She loved him then, she loves him still

Inside, she knows she always will.

The way he smiled, his work-worn hand,

The things he seemed to understand.

His face when in the midst of bliss,

And oh, his long, breath-stealing kiss.

He opened up a world for her;

He made her laugh, he made her purr.

He made her want to be her best,

His words could put her soul at rest.

She longed to give him everything,

He gave her a new cause to sing.

She doesn’t know what life will hold,

And so she cannot be too bold.

No, her heart is not sure of much,

But she’d give it for one more touch.

Saving Sarah Jane

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(Photo from the movie, The Duchess, 2008)

Sarah Jane

In Ballroom Secrets, Sarah Jane is the jealous rival who sets up Lillianna’s scandal.  She is forced into marriage with Robert, a man of terrible and abusive character.

In the second Ballroom novel, I wanted to focus on poor Sarah.  Her lot in life could have broken her, but it has, over the years, made her compassionate, mellow, and a devoted mother to her son, who is now 6 years old.  Robert hardly darkened the door of his home after their honeymoon, so she has lived in relative peace, other than the rumors and stories she hears about his misdeeds.

All that changes, though, when Robert descends upon their home after an absence of nearly a year and insists upon taking young James with him to begin a boarding school.  Sarah is heartbroken, but she is powerless to stop Robert, and so she becomes almost a recluse in her southern home.

A storm tears through Florence several weeks later, and her home is all but destroyed.  A relative agrees to allow her to stay in their country home, where she is completely alone save a maid, a cook, and the single gardener employed to tend to the estate.  He is rough and strong and, to Sarah’s surprise, a poet.  Without meaning to, she falls in love with him.  If Robert discovers, their affair, however, it could mean being cut off from James forever, and Sarah must make a difficult choice to risk everything to keep those she loves.

The Kiss

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She is lying in her bed alone, gown bunched around her hips, hugging the 6’ long pillow that has been a part of her bedding since her first pregnancy, when her belly was too large to be comfortable.  Now it provides a whole different kind of comfort.

 

Still….she imagines being on her right side, propped up on an elbow, watching him sleep.  Hearing the soft inhale through his nose and little puff of exhale through his mouth as he lies on his back, right arm by his side and left hand resting on his chest.  She imagines tracing up and down each of his fingers with hers, drawing around his hand like a child draws one of those Thanksgiving turkeys.  The hair on his chest tickles her fingers, and he stirs a bit without waking when she brushes her hand over it.

 

She watches his adam’s apple move as he swallows, and she sees his tongue flick out to lick his lips.  Her hand is drawn to his face, where she uses her fingertip to touch his lips.  They purse slightly, and she stifles a giggle.  Then she traces the whirls of his ear, tugging a slightly at the lobe.

 

He opens his eyes and turns his head, smiling sleepily.  “Whatchoo want baby?” He said, stretching a bit but not moving his hand off his chest.

 

“I want you to kiss me,” she says, blushing slightly.

 

“You do?” He smiles again, this time with a twinkle in his eyes.

 

Bolder now, she wiggles her eyebrows and feels her eyes dilate.  “I do,” she says, her voice dropping half an octave.

 

Now he rolls to his side, and his right hand reaches for her.  “You’re so sexy,” he says.

 

“I am?” Her eyebrows raise.

 

“Oh please, you know you are,” he teases as his arm goes around her.

 

She rolls onto her back and he follows, covering her. “Then why don’t you kiss me?” she teases back.

 

Then his face lowers, and he does.  Oh my…he does…

More Words from the Personal Writing Archive

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(warning, somewhat explicit)

We face each other, and there is a charge in the air.  The culmination of anticipation.  Your arms come around me, and you lower your head in what feels like slow motion until your mouth touches mine. I open mine, expecting the kiss, your tongue, pressing against me.  But instead your hover, just barely touching, a hair too far away for me to reach.  I feel the whimper in the back of my throat, and though I don’t make a sound, I can feel you smile.  Your tongue flicks out once twice, barely teasing.  And then your head descends that last inch, and your mouth consumes mine.  I wrap my arms around you, and I feel your hands moving up and down along my arms before your hands move to my hair and grab two fistfuls.

 

We dance this way, standing flush against each other, kissing, teasing, coming together, pulling subtly apart.  I can feel you hard against me, and my breath catches when your hand eases up my ribcage and stops just short.  You pull away slightly, and you look at me in the way you always look at me…as if you truly see me, truly want to see me.  Then we kiss again.

 

When you direct me to sit on the bed, I smile.  You crouch on one knee and slip off first one shoe and then the other, kissing my ankle, my shin, my instep.  Then you lay me onto the spread and cover me; I so love it when you cover me.  You continue to kiss me and run your fingers through my hair, pulling back to gaze at me in a way that makes me melt.  You sit up and pull your shirt off in a swift motion, and I do the same.  Soon we are both naked.

 

As I lay back, you lie over and beside me, your fingertips tracing paths down my arms, across my collarbone, between my breasts.  You watch my body and your hand, and I watch you.  Your hands are a man’s hands – a real man’s hands.  And yet the touch is so gentle.  Goosebumps appear in their wake, and my body arches.  Finally a finger circles first one nipple and then the other.  I feel the touch deep inside.  You seem fascinated by the way my breasts look and feel, the way the pink buds pucker under your touch.  And then you lean down to lick one, then the other.  Back and forth your mouth moves, adding a kiss, a lick, before taking it fully into your mouth.  And though I want to watch, my body arches and my head falls back, overwhelmed by the sensations.

 

Your hands moves as your mouth sucks.  You are in no rush.  You trace up one thigh and down the other.  Then you reverse  Your fingertips graze the hair between them, but you do not touch yet.  I whimper a bit, wanting you to touch me, but I am patient because I love this slow slow journey.  I love the wonder that you seem to have over my body, the way it makes me feel beautiful.  I love the feel of your skin under my fingertips, the long line of your back, your chest, the way your nipples also pucker under my touch.  The soft feel of your hair as I reach behind your head and hold you to me.

 

You suck in a rhythm, and every few seconds I feel the sharpness of your teeth.  My hips move because they have to move, but you do not stop. You draw out every sensation.  I feel your mouth move to my neck, my chin, my ear.  Your hand slips downward again and this time I feel you slide between my thighs and touch the wetness there. Your finger slides up and down, then finds that bundle of nerves and presses, flicks, circles, until I am writhing and wound tightly and on fire.  You continue to move your finger and your tongue in rhythm until I feel myself rise inside and crash over the peak.  Every spasm  feel like something for which a word hasn’t been invented.  Your mouth moves to mine and you hold my chin and throat in place as you kiss me hard, sucking and invading with your tongue.

 

Then I feel you press and slide against my opening.  Your hand moves between us, and you guide yourself inside.  I can feel every inch of you as you slide in and out, in and out, holding me closely.  You tell me to look at you, and I see the intensity in your eyes.  The blue is almost swallowed up in black, and you continue to move.  In and out, side to side, around, touching every part of me.  Words of passion and lust and love pour out of my mouth because they have to, and you respond in kind.  I want to touch your face, your shoulders, to kiss you.  You shift, placing a hand under each buttock, and you fuck me in earnest.  I feel every slap against me, and I feel you inside me, faster and harder.  I arch my neck backwards as the wave overtakes me again, and I cry out, not caring who hears.  I feel your body tense, and I open my eyes. You hold me in place, pinning me with your gaze.  I see your face become taut, and I see you approaching your own peak.

 

And then that primal groan.  The sounds fills my ears and makes me feel powerful and victorious and passionate, and I feel the heat inside me.  And when you fall against me, I feel covered and held and protected and sated.  I love lying there as we recover, listening to our breathing and feeling you twitch inside me as your body comes down from its climax.

 

We never fully disconnect as you raise up off me, and you pull me into your arms where I can curl up and smell that smell of YOU in the crook of your shoulder.

 

It is perfect.  It is bliss.  It is everything I dreamed.

Clean…

The water is hot – almost too hot as she steps under the spray. But her body relaxes as it adjusts to the steamy wetness, weighing down her hair until is plastered against her neck and continuing down her curves to the floor.

The cloth is carefully soaped, and then small circles begin.  Behind her ears and gently scrubbing her neck, and then it continues across her shoulders, washing her collarbone and sternum, and then sliding up and down the valley between her breasts before settling on one…then the other. No rib is missed, her belly is scrubbed.  When a cloth covered finger dips into her navel, she stifles a giggle.  Hip bones are caressed through the soapy fabric.

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Her left thigh is thoroughly cleaned, up and down, up and down, stopping at her knee to scrub small circles over the cap.  Down her thigh to her ankle the cloth continues, until her foot is lifted and every inch cared for.  The heel, the arch, the ball, and the pad of every toe.  The cloth follows the same path down her left leg, ankle, and foot.

And then she turns, pressing her forehead against the wet tile, her feet planted apart.  The freshly soaped cloth scrubs the skin at the nape of her neck, flowed by one shoulder blade and then the other.  The space between them is massaged, and she feels the tension evaporate.  Down her spine to the small of her back every part of her skin is washed.  She jumps almost imperceptibly when the cloth passes between her thighs and into the valley between her cheeks.  The circles continue on her backside and down each leg.  She is surprised that the bend of her knee is so sensitive.

She stands under the spray again and feels the suds run down her body, washed away by the still hot water.  Her skin is smooth, the faint smell of soap still clinging.  And she smiles as the water traces a thousand paths down her face.

She is clean.