Hildreth opened his eyes and admired her.
I want to quote great works of literature at her. Or, at the very least, deliciously raunchy love scenes from romance novels.
I want to quote Browning and uhh…I don’t know…Longfellow poems to her. If all else fails, Neil Diamond lyrics.
I want her to see and hear and feel just how much she means to me.
“Elsie. Elsie baby, you are everything to me.”
Elsie pulled her fingers through his light brown hair to the top of his head. His hair stood in spikes between her fingers and his scalp was warm.
How can I tell him how much he affects me?
How happy he makes me.
How the sound of his laugh is more beautiful than any poem.
How his kiss makes me feel.
“And you are everything to me.”
Hildreth smiled. “Is it Sunday yet?”
Elise’s hands traveled from the top of his head all the way down to the short hair along his hairline. “Not yet.”
“Promise me one thing, Els. Just one thing.”
“When Sunday comes, you’ll touch me and love me just like this.”
“I won’t make any such promise, Mayhew.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“Because I want you, need you, far too much.”
He grinned. “Huh. Sounds like I’m in big trouble.”
Her hands moved down to his neck, to his throat. “Maybe you are.”
“I love you. Elsie, I love you so much. Don’t push me away again.”
She pulled him into another kiss.
How long will our lifetime be?
Will I lose him?
Or will he lose me?
Or will we be one of those lucky couples who pass away incidentally around the same time?
He ended the kiss.
Elsie looked into his green-blue eyes. “I want you, Hildreth Mayhew, with all of your better and every single one of your worst.”
“Vice versa, baby.”
Jeff poured the hot water into his tea cup and steeped the tea bag.
The water blossomed in a red bloom.
He sure is taking a long time down there.
Jeff removed the tea bag and threw it out. He took a sip of the raspberry flavored tea.
He carried it to the kitchen table and settled down.
Maybe I should make sure he’s okay.
But he is with the one he loves.
Jeff smiled despite his worries and fears.
I don’t want to walk into some big naked scene.
He took another sip.
“Mmm. Yeah. Don’t want to see Dweeb naked.”
He looked down at his tea and remembered Laura.
Jeff sat at a table for four, but he sat alone. His hands hugged his tea cup.
There were too many people around.
Too many voices.
And his mind kept playing and replaying Master Initskay’s death. It sickened him.
He sickened himself.
He held the tea cup a little tighter, wishing that his hands would just burn right off.
Wishing that the heat would course through his veins and arteries and bones and set him on fire. Or make him explode.
I can’t do it.
I can’t do it again.
I can’t do it ever again!
He closed his eyes and focused on just the heat.
I wish I were home.
I’d go to the training room, sit in the middle of the floor, and meditate.
I can’t do that here.
I don’t want to do it here.
But I can’t go back to that.
I can’t face it.
I can’t deal with it.
Master Shinowa is right.
If I go out on patrol again, I will die. Or be changed.
He remembered Master Initskay.
I don’t want to be changed.
I don’t want to lose who I am.
I don’t want to become a monster.
He opened his eyes.
A woman with brown skin and perfectly straightened hair stood next to him. She was close enough for him to smell the shea butter scent of her body lotion.
It was a lot closer than he was used to. He shuffled his chair away from her.
“Is this your first time at Good Grief?” she asked.
“You look lonely. Do you mind if I sit with you?”
He looked up at her. “What are you doing here?”
She sighed. “Same as everyone else. Same as you. Trying to fight my way through a loss.”
“You? But you don’t…”
She smiled. “I know. I don’t look miserable. Doesn’t mean that I’m not.” Her expression turned serious. “That’s why I’m here. I need to set free my Inner Weeper or something like that.”
“Can I ask what happened?”
She shook her head. “I’m not ready to talk about it.”
“And that’s the problem, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, it is. Oh!” She held out her hand. “My name is Laura. Laura Jenkins.”
He took her hand and held it. “I’m Jeff Farsigh.”
She squeezed his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”