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There had been snow. So much snow. We weren’t sure exactly how much because the power had gone out hours ago, but the door would not open from the pressure of the inches outside. Chris and I had taken to the cabin for our monthly weekend getaway which had now officially turned into a long-weekend; to be soon turned into a week. Not that we were upset about this. It was only on these weekends that we got to see each other since we had graduated from college. He had gone north to work in advertising, and I had gone south to work in publishing. Different directions, but we always made sure there was a crossroads.
This cabin had been our hideaway during midterms. Our getaway from bad relationships. Our safe house to relax in after finals. We were never sure who it had belonged to, but had found it on one of our endless drives. There were no signs posted. There was no food in the cupboards and no power or running water to suggest that anyone had cared for it. But we had made it our home-away-from-hell for three years and had never run into anyone who claimed it.
It had been a year after graduation before I heard from Chris. Thanksgiving and Christmas had passed without as much as a card. But on the 4th of July I had received an invitation, a set of keys, and a deed. He had bought our cabin. I came back to a stocked pantry, working plumbing and electricity hooked up for some lamps, but no other changes. It had been perfect. And from that first weekend we had not missed a single one in three years.
I turned from the white that had captured my attention and looked at my best friend for seven years. Sitting in a lounger ‘fore the fire, Chris was reading a book. The only man in my life who had ever been steady. There had been an instant connection between us during our sophomore lit class that we had never really questioned. But from that first day of discussing Wurtzell’s Prozac Nation we were hooked on each other. Not romantically. Never romantically. But intellectually we were joined and there was never a doubt that I had found someone I would always be able to relate to. Always be able to turn to. My family had never been close; me the only agnostic in a family of Catholics. His family had always been just plain distant; with a mother living somewhere in Europe and a father traveling between offices in New York and L.A. I don’t think he’d seen either in a good year at this point.
But we were family. To us each others opinions were the only ones we looked for. We were to each other the only sounding board for our life decisions. Parents mean nothing when they’re never guided to begin with. It always made me wonder why relations were called family automatically. They aren’t. My mother is a relation, but has never been real family. Chris will never be related but he will always be family.
We had always been a mismatched pair. Him the popular, but studious hunk of his fraternity who spent four years chasing girls and still managed a degree. Me the quiet but intelligent GDI who never missed a class in four years. No one at school ever quite understood our affinity for each other, but no one ever questioned it either. No more than we ourselves did. We were never in a relationship. We were simply friends, and people seemed to accept that.
Chris had dated quite a bit over the years. Flitting from flirtation to flirtation without ever getting stopped long enough to form a relationship.
I had two long term relationships behind me and one quick three-week fling that was a bad idea from start to finish, but which I had surprisingly enjoyed more than the two relationships. This was one in very few trips to the cabin where neither one of us were attached. When we didn’t have our other halves to bitch and moan about endlessly (though I seriously doubt Chris was ever really attached to any other half.) And it had been one of our quietest trips. Which makes me a little sad. I don’t want us to turn into those people who only get together to complain about their lives; to talk about our wife and husband and never seem to have anything else to say. Damn it there has to be more to say!
I just keep reading. Letting the words flow over me and fill the void left where I can come up with none of my own. And I hate it. I hate the book; it’s pretentious and boring. And I hate this void. Chloe has always been the one I can talk to. The one person who always understood the rambling diatribe that seemed to spill from my mouth, but right now there was nothing to spill. There was simply quiet. The only positive in the situation was that it wasn’t a tense quiet. Neither one of us expected anything from the other. No one was simply waiting for the other to speak. We’d never had a problem with spending time in each other’s company saying nothing. But this is the first time that neither one of us has had nothing to say and it’s killing me.
I can feel my hands tense on the pages of the book. I can feel the numbness that comes from blood deprivation and spare a glance for my white knuckles making a conscience kağıthane escort effort to release my grip.
I didn’t need to move my eyes from the pages to know she was looking at me. I could always feel her stare. I could always read what was in those big blue eyes. But tonight I didn’t want to look. Because I didn’t have an answer. No explanation for my sudden emptiness. No thoughts on what could cure it. But she continued to stare. And I continued to ignore it.
Chloe was the only real family I had. With such flighty parents I cling to what we have. It’s irreplaceable. But tonight it doesn’t seem to exist. I lost it. I want it back. I want us to be twenty again. That first weekend we spent here seven years ago we had done nothing but talk, and I could still swear I heard the echoes of that conversation. But they were fainter now. As if at any moment a wind could come through and take them away forever. I try to remember what we had talked about, but nothing comes to me. It had been a conversation of nothingness, and everything all in one. No format. No reason. But I still cannot remember what.
There was no what. I can feel the grin coming to my lips. It had been why. Why did we talk so much? Truth. They had been playing Truth; a butchered version of Truth or Dare where you simply got to ask questions. Like twenty-questions with no goal. Chloe had always been shy and it had been his successful attempt to draw her out of her shell. After about an hour she had relaxed and they had talked all night. No dares to make her nervous and no boundaries to the information shared. They had admitted their fears, their dreams, and their fantasies. They had known everything about each other by the time they left the following afternoon.
Now he wondered how much had changed. How many dreams had been replaced by reality or were still floating inside that head? How many fears had been conquered? How many fantasies did she keep hidden or had they all been lived? Two days a month for nearly three years now they had gotten together and spoke mainly of other people. Of people they were dating, people they had dated, or wanted to date. It had been a long time since they’d simply spoken of themselves.
I wonder if she’d be willing to play.
I put my book down and look to where she’s standing. She had given up her silent plea minutes ago and gone back to watching the snow fall. I couldn’t tell whether she was willing it away, so they could end this time together, or pleading for it to stay long enough for them to fix whatever was wrong. I hope it’s the later, because they were going to fix it.
“I want to play a game,” I state simply.
Chloe jumps a little at the sound of my voice, having expected me to read the night away obviously. But when she turns toward me her face is smiling. A smile I’d missed so much recently.
“What kind of game?”
“Truth or Dare.”
Her laughter was infections and made me feel a slight rumble in my own chest, but I was not going to give up on this.
“Are you insane? We’re not kids any more.” Her eyes were laughing as she continued, “I think you give up rights on that game when you turn twenty-five.”
“We haven’t played since we were twenty. We have five years to make up for, and I doubt there’s anyway for a cop to get up here and arrest us for bypassing a time limit.”
“True. But I don’t remember us ever having played that game. And I’m sure I’d remember doing some stupid dare like singing Mary Had a Little Lamb while gargling.”
I laugh at the image she portrayed. Her singing anything would only have to be on a dare, her voice was atrocious when she sang. Who would ever think her normal melodic voice could turn into chicken scratch just by adjusting vocal chords. “Okay, we didn’t play by the rules exactly. But we did butcher it to fit our own needs. The first night we ever spent here, we played Truth all night. To appease your fragile sensibilities we dropped the dare. All I’m asking for is that we make up for lost time and add the rest of the game. After seven years of friendship you should be able to trust me enough not to make you sing.” I gave her my best innocent look and watched her eyes dance.
“Besides,” I add, “why would I torture myself like that?”
Her fake indignation made the deep rumble in my chest burst as she came to sit on the rug in front of the fireplace. I joined her, leaning back against the footstool of my lounge chair, crossing my legs to keep my feet warm by the flames.
“So what are the rules?” Chloe asked.
I thought for a second then spoke. “Only one. We choose for each other. I choose if you do truth or dare. We don’t choose for ourselves. Knowing you, I’d never get to come up with a dare that way. But otherwise, everything goes.”
She chuckled. “You know me too well.”
Not so much anymore, I thought. But we’re going to fix that. Right now. Even in high school playing this game had never gotten me this excited. And that was the time when you were ikitelli escort supposed to be playing this game. You were supposed to be juvenile. You were a juvenile. But right now. Tonight. I had never felt more excited about such a silly little game.
“I have an idea,” she said quickly and got up to run in the kitchen.
I was curious about what she meant and even more confused when she came back minutes later with a bowl. The beers in her hand I understood perfectly.
“Alright, I give. What’s the idea?” I took my beer from her as she sat back down on the rug Indian style.
“Excuse me,” I asked. I was completely lost now. I think she had just made a simple kid’s game way too complicated. Which would be no shock whatsoever, because she had a tendency to make everything complicated. Sometimes her brain just worked in overdrive. Part of what I loved about her, but also a part that required a multitude of explanation on her part sometimes… like now.
“Well, it’s not fare that our fate should rest entirely in each others hands. This ensures that part of it is also left to… well… fate. Before I choose truth or dare for you, I draw a category. The question I ask, or the dare I enforce has to have something to do with the category. It can be the focus or just a minute aspect, but it has to be involved somewhere.”
Her smile took up her whole face and I couldn’t help but return it. I knew why she had done it. Chloe had never been very creative, and this would help her have a focus. It was a small cheat for her, but I didn’t mind indulging, they would probably come in handy. Most of her ideas usually did.
“Alright. I can live with that. What are the categories?”
“Everything is in there twice, so that we have doubled the chance of grabbing it. And to make it harder to tell which is which when they get mixed. There’s ‘alcohol’, ‘relationships’, ‘sex’, ‘personal’, ‘music’, and to appease you, one ‘open’, where anything goes.”
I arch my brow impressed and nod my head. She’d covered all our bases. I’m not too surprised, but I’m always impressed with her thoroughness. I take a swig of my bear and nod at her. “You go first.”
“Okay.” She shakes the bowl and pulls out a slip of paper. Unfolding it slowly, teasingly pretending to draw out the tension. “ ‘Alcohol’. Hmm.”
I watch her think and know this could take a while. I may be impressed with her thoroughness, but that doesn’t mean I like how long it takes sometimes. Surprisingly this one came quickly, right as I was getting ready to take a drink.
“Finish that beer.”
“Trying to get me drunk?” I ask..
“Just trying not to think too hard,” she said as if had read my mind.
I laugh a little and proceed to chug my beer. It’d been a while since I’d done that. Not since my fraternity days, but the talent hadn’t disappeared. In under a minute my beer was gone. “Great, dare done. Now go get me another beer.”
She laughed and took the empty bottle to go replace it with a full. She came back with three. I raised my brows in question.
“So I don’t have to get up again so soon.”
“And you are trying to get me drunk.”
“No,” she laughed, “But if we play like last time, I’ll still be getting up for more.”
True. I proceeded to pull a piece of paper out of the bowl. “‘Sex’”, I say. She just sat there waiting as I thought. I didn’t want her to think she was going to get off easy in this game with all truths, but I couldn’t think of a single dare for ‘sex’ that I was anywhere near ready to explore, so I simply opted out for a basic. “What is your favorite fantasy that has yet to be fulfilled?”
She thought for a minute and I could see the heat rise to her cheeks as she thought about her answer. Chloe had been extremely shy in college and it had taken hours of playing this game before she would even talk about sex, only to confirm what he had thought, that she was a virgin. But it had taken several more hours to get her to talk about fantasies. And now, seven years later, he knew she was comfortable enough to talk about anything with him, but that blush was always there.
It took a couple of minutes for her to finally get it out, but she did.
“I want someone to take control.”
It came out quick, like ripping off a band aid. It took me a second to separate the words and configure the sentence, but when I did I grinned. My best-friend, the shy submissive. It didn’t shock me in the least what her fantasy was. It was simply shocking that in all these years she hadn’t found someone to fulfill it. She’d been in two relationships for over two years apiece and the fact that neither one of them had ever indulged this fantasy, that was probably their own as well, shocked the hell out of him.
“You’re telling me, Tom and Dick would never grant you your fondest wish? Jesus, all you need is a Harry to say no and you’ve covered all your anal-retentive bases haven’t you?”
“Richard and Michael,” she corrected me with a scowl, since gayrettepe escort I knew full well what their names were. “And no… I never told them”
“In two years you never told either one of them your fantasies?”
“They never asked.”
I spewed the beer I had been drinking right out of my mouth. “They never asked what your fantasies were?” I was almost laughing. I think that was the first thing I asked every girl I met. Of course I was usually in it for sex, so it made my job a lot easier, but hell. “Why the hell didn’t you dump those assholes sooner?”
Chloe took a deep breath, and exhaled a sigh. “I don’t know,” was the best she could come up with, and I didn’t push any more than that. She downed the rest of her beer, impressively fast, and picked a piece of paper out of the bowl while grabbing a new bottle. “Your turn,” she said, more lightheartedly. I knew she was changing the subject and that was okay. This was meant for fun after all.
I still hadn’t come up with any dares for this one. It seemed like a truth category to me. Asking personal questions. I wasn’t quite sure how a dare could come out of it, but she apparently didn’t’ have any qualms because she was ready in a heartbeat.
“I want you to personally give me a foot massage,” she said with a huge grin.
I laughed as she put her bare feet in my lap.
“So that’s how we’re playing is it?”
She nodded. “That’s how I’m playing it. Now start rubbing.”
I did as requested and told her to pick a piece of paper out for herself. I’d massage her feet until I could come up with something.
“Music,” she groaned.
Grinning, I thought as my hands worked. I wasn’t kidding earlier. I was not going to torture myself by making her sing. I don’t think my ears could stand it, but after a few minutes I laid her feet to the side and turned on the stereo behind me, which automatically began playing at the point in the mix CD she had left it at last night. I stood up and put my hand down for her.
“Dance with me.”
Chloe smiled that shy smile that said she was all too happy to accept and put her hand in mine. As we start to move the next song started. Meredith Brooks’ “What Would Happen” was one of her favorites. Slow, throaty, and too sexy for its own good, the lyrics and music flowed around the room. Around us. I kept her hand in mind, holding it on my heart. My hand on her lower back pulled her toward me, aligning our bodies, keeping us connected, and at that moment I knew only one thing. I hadn’t had nearly enough alcohol to excuse what it was I wanted to do.
I think I officially hate this song now. For the rest of my life I will never forget this moment, and this song will forever be a constant catalyst for the memory.
Not romantic. Never romantic.
This is depressing. Truly depressing. What could be the most romantic moment in my life; dancing with a man I love in front of a fire on a snowy night, is now reduced to a friendship highlight. I can feel the heat of his breath on my temple; the strength of his hand against my back; the muscle of his chest under my cheek, and all I want to do is scream.
I was never surprised my relationships turned to dust. I had given so much of my heart to this man so many years ago there wasn’t much left for me to give to anyone else. Even if they’d have asked, I doubt I would have told Richard or Michael my fantasy. I don’t want them to dominate me. I want Chris. I want him to control me. Knowingly. Unlike the way he’s controlled my thoughts for years.
I never planned on this. Never thought it would ever get this bad. I never thought that I would be so caught up in what had been a mild crush on my best-friend. During our senior year of college, when I had begun noticing quite how attractive he was, how sweet he really could be, how intelligent I had always known he was, I made myself a promise to just keep my damn mouth shut. I had finally found the family I had always wanted. I had finally found someone to share myself with. Romantically or not, I wasn’t going to let my hormones ruin it. And now, four years later, the yearn I felt had only gotten worse. Never better.
And as we swayed together on the threadbare rug, I finally knew it never would. I would never find someone like this again. I would never find someone to love like this. I would never find someone else worthy of loving me back the way I wished he did.
The song ended and I had to take a deep breath before moving away from him. Chris smiled down at me with those green eyes and gave me a brush of a kiss. The same kind of kiss he always gave me. The same kind of kiss which makes my knees tremble and my heart flutter.
Someone save me from myself was the only thought I had as we sat down to resume the game.
In seven years I don’t think I’d ever had a lustful thought about Chloe once. Surprisingly I had more thoughts of us sitting around in our golden years complaining about taxes, the trouble our kids had gotten into over the years, and what we could do to spoil the grandkids. But lust had never been there. Now it was here. Everywhere. In the way she sat with her ankles primly tucked behind her. In the way her hips had swayed against mine during that damningly erotic song. In the way her mouth covered the lip of her beer as she took a drink.
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