He woke a little before 5am Sunday morning.
The weather had finally turned cold and so was his apartment this morning. He lay in bed, refusing to leave the warmth of the covers, wishing Her body was next to him.
They were on a “break.” She is complicated and fragile and wonderful. Her fragile reached its limit at the end of October and they decided to take a break until after the holidays. She needed time to be alone, regroup, read and sleep.
This morning He longed for the feel of Her skin.
They had shared many intimate times. Some of the most intimate had nothing to do with making love. They were travelling, experiencing joys and hardships, joking about Rick the convenience store attendant who called him “Boss” and her “Honey.” Debriefing the day and the week.
But for him the most intimate experiences He had with Her focused on just touching Her, feeling the warmth of Her skin beneath His hands.
When He woke in the mornings, She was usually facing away from him. He would put his arm around Her waist and caress the skin of Her stomach. When they made love, He would caress Her entire body with his palms.
He had told Her “touching your skin nourishes my soul.” This morning, He longed for that nourishment.
Sex is an itch you can scratch.
Love is an itch in that part of your back you can’t reach and you need someone to scratch it for you.
For two years now She had been His joy.
He was working through a difficult time. Walking through mud. Business was picking up, His long hours were beginning to bear fruit, emotionally He was tired.
They were seeing each other less to give Him time to right His ship. She had come to His last weekend and it was delightful. Monday at 6am they waved goodbye and He was back to work.
When He knew they would be apart He would take down His pictures of Her. The wallpaper on His phone and computers changed from Her smile to something that didn’t immediately remind Him of Her. Pictures that didn’t create the longing to feel Her pressed against Him, tightly encircled by His arms.
Today he put them back up again, maybe only for a day. He needed the energy, the peace, the touchless embrace of Her smile.
And for the first time this weekend, He felt joy.
I try to understand the words you’re not saying,
the soul buried deep beneath the veneer of smiles and laughter,
avoiding my gaze that sees you in spite of yourself.
Hiding is an art for you, a skill from a lifetime of practice.
You only reveal to others what you want them to see.
The confident, the wise, the controlled.
Somehow I read the tea leaves. Seeing glimpses of real.
The distance of text messages and phone calls made it easier.
No eyes on you.
Gradually you let me in. Testing the waters. Scared yet hoping.
Someone who might see you, love you as you are.
Yet waiting for the second shoe to drop.
You surrendered your body, but it was just a body.
You had surrendered it once before without being seen.
An anonymous placeholder.
We navigated together the revelations.
The hurt. The misunderstandings.
Mishearing words never spoken.
“You only pursue me because I run” you said.
Not realizing the truth:
I pursue you because I see you.
He liked to call Her “My Tall Girl.”
He loved Her length, stretched out next to Him on the bed, duvet kicked aside in heat. His eyes followed Her lines, from Her manicured toes, over Her long legs, Her torso, breasts, neck to face. Her body was art to Him.
He would touch Her with a religious reverence, and She withheld no part of herself from Him. He had never touched anyone the way He touched Her. Sensual, loving. Worshiping Her lines with His hands.
She responded in kind. Closing Her eyes in pleasure as He rubbed Her feet and legs, snuggling against Him once He was done. Caressing His chest with Her hand while lying on His shoulder. He had never been touched by anyone the way She touched Him.
This weekend they were apart. He pretended to work, but today He was mind was distracted…
…by His Tall Girl.
Want to know what I was thinking when I wrote this – as well as get other juicy, behind the scenes details from Dr. Meg and me? Click here to sign up and get on our insider’s email list.
The plan was for Him to come down Friday for the holiday weekend. She had been at a conference and out of touch, coming home in the late hours of Wednesday. He thought She would need an evening alone to recuperate before He arrived.
He had missed Her. They had been spending the vast majority of nights together, but it seemed to make Him miss Her more rather than less. They had been apart less than a week and His chest ached for the feel of Her pressed into Him.
Her text surprised Him:
Her: When are you coming? I feel a coma coming on. I miss you. 12:12 PM
Him: I’m sure you need one. I can come any time. Up to you. I have to go home Tue morning kinda no matter what. 12:15 PM
Her: Why? 12:15 PM
Him: I miss you as well, for the record. 12:15 PM
Him: I have a kinda huge week next week. 12:16 PM
Her: You’ve used kinda twice now 12:19 PM
Him: Kinda. It’s my Hordor 12:19 PM
Her: Will coming tomorrow be better? 12:19 PM
Him: Are you asking me to come today? 12:19 PM
Her: I have to work – 230 meeting then I hope to be out. 12:20 PM
Him: You’re great at indirect answers 12:20 PM
Her: Kinda. But really I just want you here for selfish reasons. I need to curl up. 12:21 PM
Him: Geez. I hate that. You’re so demanding. 12:21 PM
Him: Let me get back to you. I would love to come today, but I need to think it thru 12:22 PM
Him: I’ll let you know before 2:30. 12:22 PM
Her: Okay but don’t stress yourself 12:33 PM
Him: Thinking about seeing you is never stress. 12:34 PM
Him: You know how you like to tell me you love me when you are really feeling it? Yeah, I love you always but especially right now. 12:36 PM
Her: ❤️ I love you too right now… Can’t commit to tomorrow… 12:38 PM
Him: Of course not. 12:39 PM
So Thursday evening He drove the 100 miles to Her’s. When He arrived He pushed Her against the wall and kissed Her deeply.
Then again, more passionately.
Dr. Meg and I are writing a little novella we hope you will enjoy and keep you in suspense. I wrote the first chapter, she wrote the second. The third is here. To read the fourth, go here. The fifth installment is here. Read the sixth installment by clicking here. The seventh is here. Eight here. Nine can be found here. Meg has written chapter 10, go over to her blog to read it. Chapter 11 is here. Chapter 12 is over at Meg’s blog. Chapter 13 is below – ONLY ONE MORE CHAPTER TO GO…
Chapter 13 – Lucky
“OK, but I just wanted to say…” David began.
“Not on the phone, in person. Tomorrow, 10am, I’ll meet you at Shipley Park near the fountain.” Melody’s tone was angry and resolute.
“I’m just glad you’re still talking to me. I’m so sorry. Can you just hear what I need to tell you now?” David pleaded.
“No, I can’t talk to you right now. I need to think. Goodbye until tomorrow.” With that, Melody disconnected.
David was both fearful and excited. He felt lucky she had called, wanting to see him. Still, her tone concerned him. She was certainly angry, and probably felt betrayed. He had never experienced her anger. She was a caring person, certainly she would get over it. After all, she loved the “real” him. This wasn’t a big deal.
As soon as she hung up the phone, Mel’s eyes began to tear. She felt used. She felt angry. She felt betrayed. She needed comfort and realized the only person she had in her life to now comfort her was Anton. That was too humiliating to contemplate.
She opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, called up Billie Holiday on her iPad and fell into a chair. She found herself asleep next to the empty bottle at 1am and staggered to bed.
In the morning, when Mel’s 6:30am alarm rang, she reset it for 7:30 and barely pulled herself out then. After a shower, she wandered downstairs and met Andrea waiting at the locked office door at 7:55.
“Good morning, Dr. Rivers!” then, appraising Mel’s appearance added, “are you alright?”
“I’ll be fine Andi. Just moving slowly this morning. You’re just doing the weekly billing this morning, correct?” Mel asked.
“Yeah, I should be finished by noon. I’ll stay until you get back from your workout,” Andrea answered.
“Shoot, I forgot that was today. I’m going back upstairs. Call my cell if you need me for anything.”
“Will do, Dr. Rivers. Feel better!”
As Mel climbed the stairs back to her bedroom, she pulled her phone from her pocket, calling up Anton’s texts.
“I’m not going to be able to make it today, an emergency came up.” Mel typed the lie.
Anton responded almost immediately, “Understood. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, I just have to handle something.” Mel hoped he wouldn’t press.
Anton was sure the “emergency” was David. Anton began imagining all the worst case scenarios. Had she confronted David? Had David’s continual lies pulled her even further in? Was that even her texting or had David hurt her and was using her phone for an alibi?
He tried to call her back, hear her voice to make sure she was alright.
When the call came in, Mel spat at her phone, “Won’t you leave me alone for once!” She sent it to voicemail, started to shut off her phone, then realized she needed it on for Andi.
Anton tossed the phone on the counter when the call went directly to voicemail. He paced and thought hard about the situation. He called back every 10 minutes for an hour, getting only voicemail. With each call his worry for Melody increased.
Everything he imagined had Melody in trouble. Finally he couldn’t take it any more and grabbed his keys.
David wanted to arrive early. It was a 35 minute drive from his apartment to the park. He had spent a sleepless night trying to think of what to say to get back into Mel’s heart. Leaving at 9am, he rehearsed the dialogue in his head.
“Mel, I love you with all my heart. I am the man you know, I just don’t look like…”
“Mel, we love each other…”
It was going to be tough when she realized he is David Twitchell. It wouldn’t be just his looks not being the guy in the picture, but a guy who had met her in real life. He couldn’t figure out any way to make it better with words. His hands sweat on the steering wheel while his heart raced.
“I just needed to see you in real life,” he practiced out loud, trying to sound as if he wasn’t a crazy stalker.
David parked the Taurus out of sight of the fountain at 9:38. He didn’t want her to see the car. At 9:50, thoroughly out of rehearsed lines, he walked to the fount and waited for Mel to arrive.
Anton’s black Denali arrived at Mel’s just as her Acura pull away. He followed at a distance, trying to avoid her detection. He already upset her, and he needed to keep her safe without upsetting her more.
Right at 10, Mel’s Acura pulled into Shipley Park and settled on the pavement near the fountain. Anton didn’t see any other cars as he pulled off onto the grass 100 feet away. He could see a man standing behind the fountain, but he couldn’t make him out. He was obscured by the spray.
Anton reached for his telescoping baton and cracked his door, ready to spring to action.
David intentionally hid himself behind the fountain, trying to delay the inevitable reveal of his true identity. Melody approached deliberately, straight toward him. When she got within 20 feet, she spied a man, stopped short, and asked, “David?”
David emerged from the curtain the of the fountain.
Mel’s eyes widened in shock.”David Twitchell! Oh my God, do you lie about everything?” Her mouth gaped in disbelief.
“I’m sorry, Mel. I never meant any of this…” David said sheepishly, his head down.
Mel covered the distance between then and stood directly in front of him. “Look at me! I can’t believe you did this. I can’t believe you did this to me. Was this just some kind of game for you? Breaking my heart?”
David slowly raised his head. As he did, and their eyes met, she remembered his striking blue. Looking now, her own hazel eyes began to tear and her lip began to quiver.
The tone of David’s reply was calm and soothing. “It wasn’t a game. At least, not for a long time now. Yes, it started out as an experiment, but I fell in love with you. I think you feel the same. I’m so sorry I’ve hurt you.”
David shrugged as he added, “Now that you know, we can move on to a real relationship.”
He reached for her hand, but she pulled it away.
“I don’t love you, I hate you right now!” Mel’s eyes raged while tears flowed down her cheeks.
Anton, viewing from the distance, could tell the encounter was escalating. He exited the SUV and hurried toward them, baton in hand.
“Mel, please, we can get through this. You’ll see. It was just a mistake. Now that you know everything, we can have a genuine relationship.” David tried to sound confidently reassuring.
“You son of a bitch! Do you think after all your lying, all your deception, I will ever speak to you again? I only came here to tell you what a terrible human being you are and to break this off like an adult.” Mel turned on her heel and started for her car.
“Wait, you just need to listen!” yelled David as he grabbed her arm, spinning her around. “You can’t leave me! You can’t act like this! It wasn’t that big of a deal! I didn’t mean it!”
Mel was frightened. Her tricep hurt where his fingers dug in. “Stop! Let me go! I never want to see you again!”
“This bitch can’t do this to me,” David thought. With that David raised his other hand to slap Mel hard across the face. At the sight, Anton broke into a sprint.
Mel’s training instinctively kicked in. With one smooth motion, she pulled her arm free, parried his blow with her left arm, shifted her weight to her right foot and then put her body into a blow. She hit David cleanly in the neck. It was a move she had practiced with Anton often, designed to quickly disable an attacker.
His hyoid bone made a discernable “crunch” as it collapsed beneath the powerful punch. A “lucky” direct hit.
David fell to his knees, gasping for air. Melody dropped beside him, as Anton arrived behind her.
“Oh, my God David, I’m sorry. Just breathe. Take deep breaths. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Mel watched as David fell forward, holding his weight with one hand, while grasping his neck with the other, desperate for air.
“Are you alright?” Anton’s voice was breathless as he pulled Mel to her feet.
“Oh my God, Anton, help him!” Mel pleaded and knelt down again next to David.
Anton quickly felt the neck of the wheezing David. “You’ve broken his hyoid and crushed his windpipe. He will die.” Anton’s resigned tone was surprisingly calm.
“We have to call 911!” Mel pleaded, taking out her phone.
“No, it is too late.” Anton said, grabbing the phone from her hand. “He will be dead in seconds.”
Mel sat helpless and in shock as the two of them watched David take his last breaths, his body go limp. Melody was a mess of shock and dismay. She couldn’t fully grasp what she had just witnessed.
“Oh, David,” she whispered, covering her mouth.
Anton grasped her by both shoulders, forcing her to focus on his face. “Think, Melody,” he said in his thick Romanian accent,”did you tell anyone you were meeting David today? Anyone where you were going?”
“What?” Melody was confused.
“I need to know if anyone knew you would be here today. We don’t have time for me to explain, just tell me.” Anton shook her.
“No…I…I don’t think so.” Melody said.
“Go now, you can see my SUV parked over there,” he pointed, “in the back is a rope. Go get it.”
Melody just looked at him bewildered.
“The rope, Melody, get it now!” he commanded.