Last week was Teaser Tuesday and I shared a snippet of a short story WIP that was titled Big Red.  I have since completed the story and thought I would share it with you for this week’s blog post.  For those of you that were good and teased last week, here is the full story with its new title.

The Clearing

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev

    By the waning light of the moon and instinct alone, I make my way through the thick woods until I reach my favorite clearing.  It is my haven from the helter skelter, transporting me to another time and place where the hustle and bustle of the chaotic world melts away.  A thin veil of mist shrouds the clearing as the cool rain dances across the sun baked earth.  No longer sheltered by the intertwined branches and lush summer leaves, I tilt my head back, relishing the feel of the rain against my face.

  Away from prying eyes, I slowly peel off the shorts and t-shirt that cling to my clammy body.  Once I am down to nothing more than my bra and panties, I move into the center of the clearing.  The rain glistens in the moonlight like hundreds of microscopic sprites floating down from the sky.  I close my eyes and stand with outstretched arms, welcoming the tiny rivers that run down my body.  Laughing gaily, I throw my hands over my head and begin to twirl and dance in the rain.  Lost in my own world, I don’t hear the approaching footsteps or see the figure lurking at the edge of the clearing, watching me.

    It’s not until I feel a hand slide across my throat and an arm wrap around my waist that I realize I am no longer alone.  Unable to move, my body tenses and my heart begins to pound in my ears.  A panicked cry gets lost in my throat, beneath his grip, and nary a sound passes my lips.  I can feel my uninvited guest’s breath caress my earlobe before his lips glide across my cheek.  The heady aroma of his aftershave travels along the warm breeze and instantly puts me at ease.  I reach behind me, grabbing a handful of curly hair and sink into my captor’s embrace.

    “How did you know where I was?”

    “I followed my heart.  It always leads me to you.”  His cinnamon scented breath tingles my nostrils, while his silky smooth voice reverberates through my core.

    “So you thought you’d give me a good scare?”  I give his curls a playful tug before lowering my arm so that it traces down the curve of his neck.

    “Not at all.  But who can resist joining a forest nymph when they find one dancing in the rain?”  He turns me around so that we are face to face and I gaze up into his green eyes.  “God, you’re beautiful.”  The words are barely out of his mouth before his lips are on mine.  What I expect to be a quick, sweet peck, turns out to be a toe-curling, heart-racing, lip lock.  His kiss tastes like the Big Red that he is always chewing; the residual flavor numbing my lips ever so slightly, enhancing the sensations coursing through my body.  When he pulls away, it takes a moment for me to catch my breath and I rest my hand against his chest to steady myself.

    “And you have on far too many clothes to be dancing in the rain.  Not to worry, my devious little dryad, that can easily be remedied.”  I glide my fingers over the buttons on his shirt and along his throat until my hand comes to rest at the nape of his neck.

    A devilish grin spreads across his face.  “You don’t say.”  I watch as a drop of water beads and drips from the tip of his nose.  With a gentle plop, it lands on my cheek and he uses the pad of his thumb to wipe it away.  Despite the humidity in the air, the caress causes a chill to run down my spine and the flesh on my arms erupts in goose bumps.

    “Come dance with me, Derrick,” I shout, swinging my arms out and backing away from him, hoping the distance will be enough to stop my heart from pounding so profusely.  With slow, deliberate movements, he unbuttons his shirt and I freeze, watching him through rain soaked lashes.  My breathing is ragged as I inhale deeply.  He doesn’t have six pack abs or rippling biceps, but his body is lean and defined and I can’t help but admire its beauty.  Stripping down to his boxers, he pulls himself up to his full height, casting a shadow over me.

    Like a predator after his prey, he takes a determined step forward.  Instinct kicks in and I take off running towards the opposite edge of the clearing.  Knowing that he can easily cover the distance between us anytime he wants, I dance around the perimeter of the clearing, just out of reach.  I can feel his eyes on me, watching my every move.  Little puddles have begun to form on the ground and I splash through them, sending water flying everywhere.  He makes a few half-hearted attempts to grab me, but I slip through his fingers time and again, all the while laughing and enjoying the chase.  Our game of cat and mouse comes to an end when he makes his move and swoops me off my feet.

    The rain has slowed to a mere mist, but we are both already drenched.  He carries me over to a semi-dry patch of grass, laying me down under the cover of the trees.  His sandy brown curls drip water on me as he leans in for a kiss.  I can feel the heat radiating off of his body, he is so tantalizingly close.  Craving the feel of his skin against mine, I arch my back, lifting myself towards him.

    “Alexandria…”  His tongue caresses my name, while his hands caress my body; the combination overwhelms my senses.  I reach out to pull him closer to me, unable to stand even the smallest of spaces between us.  “I’m caught in your gravitational pull; drawn to you by some unseen force.  I couldn’t resist you even if I wanted to.”  He covers me in kisses between words.

    “I hope you never want to.”  The words come out in a breathless whisper and I’m not sure he hears me.

    “Never.  I love you, Alexandria.”

    I cling tighter to him, wishing it was possible for our bodies to meld, for our souls to become one.  “I love you too, babes.”  I almost forget that we are lying on the forest floor.  The world around us falls away and nothing exists but us two, me and the man of my dreams.  And therein lies the problem.

    A loud, obnoxious buzzing sound pulls me from a deep sleep.  Reluctantly, I open one eye, taking in my surroundings.  With a grumble, I hit the snooze button and turn my back towards the clock, bringing me face to face with an empty pillow on the other side of the queen-sized bed.  Unconsciously, my hand reaches out to the empty space beside me, searching for something and finding nothing.

    The alarm goes off again and I fight the urge to hit the snooze button once more.  Instead, I shut it off completely and throw back the blanket, dragging myself out of bed and down to the kitchen to get the coffee started.  While it is brewing, I head into the bathroom for a quick shower.  Standing under the steady stream of hot water, I try to recall my dream, but as usual, I don’t remember anything specific.  There is only a lingering sense of the overwhelming feelings that it has stirred.

    An hour later, I am heading out the door, on my way to work.  My nose is buried in the latest e-book I’m reading and I navigate down the block using my peripherals to guide me along my routine path.  The further I get, the more foot traffic I encounter, but my nose remains glued to the story I am reading.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a figure walking towards me.  I pay him no mind until I catch a whiff of his aftershave.  There is something strangely familiar about it, but I can’t place where I might have smelled it before.  I lift my head slightly to sneak a peek and find a pair of stunning green eyes looking me over.  They are breathtaking and I audibly gasp.  His gaze has me squirming until I note the way he is looking at me.  Just before he passes me by, he stops and I lift my head the rest of the way to look him square in the eye.

    “I know this is going to sound like a bad pick up line, but, have we met before?”

    “No.  At least, I don’t think so.”  The more I look at him, the less certain I am, although I have no clue where I might know him from.

    He runs a hand through his thick crop of sandy brown hair.  I find myself mesmerized by the way his curls bounce back into place and I fight the urge to run my own fingers through them.  

    “I really can’t put my finger on it, but I swear I’ve seen you before.  But that can’t be right.  I don’t see how I could possibly forget someone so beautiful.”

    Normally, I would roll my eyes at such a cheap and blatant attempt to charm me, but instead, I feel my cheeks warm as I blush at the compliment.  “Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you.”  

    “Do you mind if I walk with you for a bit?”  I shake my head, close the case on my ereader and put it in my purse.  There is a sense of hesitancy about him, but he tries not to let it show.  He fumbles around in his pocket as though he is looking for something.

    “Would you like a piece?”  Taking his hand out of his pocket, he extends it towards me, opening it to reveal a pack of gum.

    My heart begins to pound and I get an overwhelming feeling that I have forgotten something important.  I stop walking and turn to take a really good look at my companion.  Noticing that I am no longer walking beside him, he stops to watch me, while removing a thin red strip of gum from its foil wrapping.  My lips begin to tingle and I could swear they have gone slightly numb.

    Bits and pieces of my dream start coming back to me.  I can practically smell the nonexistent rain, feel the dampness in the air.  And that’s when I know.  I know why this stranger has gotten under my skin.

    “You know, I don’t think I introduced myself.  My name is…”

    The sound of the traffic dies away, the air stills and nothing exists but us two, me and the man of my dreams.

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