- Mild sexual content
- Explicit Language
Archer looked disheveled. His hair was falling over his eyes, when it was usually slicked back. He had slight stubble on his chin and his eyes had thick black circles around them. I could hardly tell his eyes were green at this point because of the whites of his eyes were so bloodshot.
I knew the day he ran out of my independent study that something was wrong with his mom. It was confirmed when he had a sub all week. Steven, of course, confirmed it even more when he told me his mom was given a new assignment because her patient died. I admired Suzanna for being able to face death on an everyday basis.
I was so worried about Archer that I looked up all the O’Connor’s in town. Fortunately, there wasn’t many and it was easy to pinpoint which family belonged too Archer.
Archer moved to the living room and sat on the far left of the couch and I sat on the far right, “This sucks,” I said.
He gave me a very weak but genuine smile, “Yeah, it does.”
I loved that we had an inside joke. His hand was laying limply on the cushion between us. I reached out and very gently, very softly, put my fingers over his. I didn’t squeeze them or put my whole hand over his, just my fingers. “I’m sorry.” I said, deeply meaning it.
He looked at my hand and then back at me and then back at my hand. I was just about to pull away when he moved his thumb to the back of my hand and made a small circle. I looked at him and then to his thumb and then back to him again. We didn’t do anything more then that but we sat like that for a long while.
“I’m going to Ireland. My flight leaves in a couple hours.” He finally said.
“What’s in Ireland?” I asked hoping he didn’t mean he was leaving forever.
“Mom asked me to spread her ashes there along with my dads. In the town they grew up in. It was her way of coming full circle in life and death.”
“Oh,” I said and then, “When did they move to the U.S.?”
“When they found out they were pregnant with me.” He answered before another silence washed over us. The hurt inside of him penetrated the room with such a vivid darkness that there was hardly any color left. Happiness was color and he seemed to be color-blind. Living only in monotone.
“Do you need a ride to the airport?” I offered hoping he would say yes.
“Yes.” He said, I turned my hand over.
He laced his fingers with mine and I gave his hand a gentle squeeze, “Ok, whenever you’re ready.”
We left thirty minutes later. We stayed that way on the couch only letting go of each others hands when he needed to grab his stuff. We then, crammed it all into the trunk of my VW Bug, then we drove wordlessly to the airport.
At the loading zone he reached over and grabbed my hand, “Thank you.” He said. Archer leaned across the small car and gave me the tiniest, briefest kiss on the forehead before leaving the car.
Archer didn’t come back to school for another week and a half. When he did come back he was changed somehow. He seemed broken, moody, isolated, and I didn’t blame him. Grief was a powerful thing and it took a lot out of a person. He taught his lessons and did the bare minimum with me during my independent study. On the days I practiced after school it was like I didn’t exist. I would enter the music room, practice, and then leave without so much as a hello from him. I thought a lot about what he said about my lyrics needing more emotion and I was really struggling to achieve that goal.
September quickly grew into October and I still wasn’t able to write a new grittier song or revise any of my old ones. I was practicing all the time and the fog that had started to lift was now dauntingly thick. I was hanging out with Steven on a more frequent basis and after a couple weeks, I finally asked him what it was that we were doing. Steven looked at me very confused and said he didn’t understand what I meant. I flat out asked him if I was his girlfriend at that point feeling a bit daffy for asking. He only laughed though apologizing for not making it more clear how he felt about me. Saying that in his mind I had been his girlfriend all along.
He came over to the house a lot and Nana adored him. He even had a chance to meet Kelly and my mom for the brief few days they were in town. Steven was true to his promise about dancing with Nana. She was slow but still knew all the moves perfectly. It made my heart swell watching them because I hadn’t seen Nana that happy in a long, long time. Ms. Bellefleur said that Steven and I were great dancers and that we were learning very quickly. We had fun in her class. A lot more fun then we thought we would.
I still thought about Archer every night and every day. I missed him so much it hurt. It was crazy because I spent hours with him everyday but even in the same room we were worlds apart. It was as if all of those little moments never happened. He didn’t look over Suzanna’s shoulder and tell me that I was breathtaking, trying to disguise the fact that the compliment was meant for me not her. We didn’t have that heart to heart in his car. He didn’t tuck my hair behind me ear and cup my face. I didn’t go to his house and hold his hand. He didn’t take my hand back at the airport and kiss my forehead. Those moments while very real, now felt like movie clips. Forever committed to film but never to be repeated. The actors played their parts and now all that was left was the memory.
It was mid October when things changed for the better. Or for the worse depending on how you looked at it. It was a Thursday night after school around six o’clock. I was completely lost in my music, as usual, when I felt Archer watching me completely mesmerized. I felt embarrassed because I had finally found new lyrics to write. Lyrics that were raw, emotional, and shadowed with longing. Lyrics about him, and I wondered if he could tell they were about him. About us.
After a moment I continued as if he wasn’t there. He ignored me and had been so teacherly for so long that it only felt natural to play the innocent card and pretend I wasn’t affected by his staring. So I sang:
“Let’s raise a glass
Too all the things
We never had.
To all the things we never did.
To the friendship
That never built
To all the lost love
Say you’ll remember me
In the moment before you die
Say you’ll remember me
Because I’ll never forget you…”
I was belting out the words stronger and deeper then I had ever sung before. I was so completely absorbed in my song that when I heard a loud noise coming from the other side of the room I looked up, startled.
Archer had tossed a music stand across the room. He was breathing heavy and his shoulders moved up and down like a maniac. He stalked toward me so aggressively that I shot up off the bench and back into the corner behind the piano. Call it survival instinct because the truth was, Archer was scaring me. He walked right over to me and put his hands on the wall lining my face. He wasn’t touching me on purpose but when he let in a big intake of air his chest smashed against mine. It only took a minute for our breathing to syncopate.
“I’ll always, fucking, remember you, Ophelia.” And then his lips were on mine. Crashing into me, claiming me, lip on lip on lip, tongues exploring every inch of each others mouths, teeth crashing, biting, wild, frantic, and hungry. I could hear his nails scratching into the wall as if he we doing everything in his power to not touch me or explore every inch of me. My hands were glued to my side with a maddening need to grab him and press him against me but I didn’t. The only thing that was touching was our mouths. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the best kiss I had ever had.
Her soft involuntary moans and desperate gasps for breath were driving me crazy. She was lavender and honey, a sweet relaxation. Her taste was brilliance in my mouth and I pressed my mouth so hard against hers because I couldn’t get enough. I felt her grab my belt and pull me in so I was flush with her small frame, chest to chest. Holy mother of….
I took a massive step back and then another one, rubbing my hands over my face completely alarmed. What was I doing? What had I done? “Ophelia, I am so sorry!” I said in a crazed tone. My eyes were bulging out of my head as I walked back towards my desk and faced away from her adjusting myself so she wouldn’t notice the affect she had on me. This was bad, very bad.
“It’s ok, Archer. I wanted you too.” She said softly.
“No, it’s not okay!” I snapped. I was such a creep. I started pacing coming completely unglued.
“Archer, calm down.”
I kicked a chair hysterically, “I attacked you. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. You can tell whoever you want. I’ll resign.” I was rambling and fragmented. The past month had been so hard avoiding her and trying to act professionally. Now I feared that all my pent up energy only made things worse.
Ever since the loss of my mother I haven’t been in the right state of mind. I wasn’t myself and after Ophelia dropped me off at the airport I knew I needed to keep my distance. After what happened at the house, mere hand holding, that made my whole body explode with desire, I had to stay away. Needed to, because if I didn’t this was going to happen. I was going to get caught up and lost in her. Despite all my precautions I still broke down and kissed her and that kiss was beyond anything I have ever experienced.
“You didn’t attack me, I didn’t say no. I kissed you back, please calm down.” She said and I turned to face her. She was near the piano and slowly edging toward me.
“You don’t understand Ophelia, this was carless and what I did was wrong.”
She paused and crossed her arms over her chest, “I don’t understand.”
“No,” my voice was flat.
“And why is that?”
“Because you are too young, a teenage girl,” I was breathing hard and my voice was heavy. All I wanted was to close the gap between us and touch her, everywhere, but I didn’t. It took every ounce of self control that I had.
“That’s rich, Archer,” She said angry now.
“What?” I said confused.
She pointed to herself, “You think I don’t know that this is dangerous? You think that I don’t know you could lose your job and any other teaching jobs because of this? You think I don’t know the age difference and that I am only seventeen!”
My heart was hammering out of my chest and I could see hers was too. She was right, I was naive to think that she didn’t know all that already. I stared at her and my eyes moved to her lips. Man, I wanted those lips on mine again. She took a step toward me and I took a step away. I wasn’t in a good headspace, she needed to stay away.
Ophelia took another step toward me and when I didn’t move back this time she ran toward me and jumped into my arms. She wrapped her legs tightly around my waist and her hands wrapped around my neck. Ophelia looked down to my face just as my arms circled underneath her, to support her weight, even though her small frame felt weightless in my arms.
I swallowed as I looked up into her eyes. Ophelia brought her hands to my face and pulled my face towards hers. Her kiss was tentative and soft willing me to surrender.
It didn’t take me long to start kissing her back. Once our mouths were on a collision course I started walking her towards the piano and setting her on top of it like the porcelain doll that she was.
My lips never left hers and I now stood between her legs. My right hand grabbed her right calf and slowly trailed upwards to her thigh and my left hand mirrored the motion. She groaned as I slid my hands under her dress. Her hands were playing with my hairline. I held her waist from under her dress and pressed myself against her deepening my kiss. I bunched her dress up into my hands as she raised her arms into the air. I slipped her simple oversized cotton dress off with ease. She sat there on top of the piano in nothing but her white silk bra and underwear. I was transfixed by her beauty, my eyes rooming every inch of her skin. It felt like an out of body experience. Something I had been dreaming about for months and now here she was.
Ophelia moved her hands to the front of my shirt and started to undo the top button, then the second, and then the third. My breathing was savage and so was hers. We were starving kids in Africa, sex-slaves in India, Mexican immigrants smuggling into America, and everything else wrong with this world. When my shirt was completely open I rested my forehead on hers and looked into the canvas of her face. She ran her fingers across my bare chest and torso like she was painting the Mona Lisa. I was jubilant and rabid all at once. As my shirt fell to the floor I grabbed her face with my hands, my thumb on her cheek bones, and kissed her ever so slowly. Tracing every tooth with my tongue, pulling her lip out and then pushing it in, sucking and nippling and savoring her flavor. I swear I felt the world move when my hands lowered to her back and unclasped her bra. I was an animal unable to escape myself as I slipped the straps off her bra and tugged it free. I looked into her eyes as I did so and pressed her to me so I could feel every inch of her breasts and her nipples before I looked. Before I…
Geez! What was I doing? Again?!
I pulled away suddenly and grabbed my shirt quickly pulling it back on, “Get dressed Ophelia.” I said quietly. My pulse raged and breathing was unnaturally intense. All I wanted to was turn around and get lost in her again and see the breasts that I had just felt on my chest but I didn’t.
“Archer what’s wrong?” She asked her voice sounded confused and agitated.
“We shouldn’t be doing this. You need to go home,” I sad sternly.
“Archer, I thought we covered this already. I’m saying yes.” I heard her awkwardly fumble off the piano. Part of me wanted to laugh because I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her barely five foot four frame to get down from the tall piano, but this wasn’t a laughing matter.
“I don’t do this sort of thing Ophelia.”
“You can turn around. What sort of thing?” When I turned around her cheeks looked flushed and her dress hung strangely.
“Hook up with girls and have meaningless sex.” I said aggrieved.
Her eyebrows lifted and her face looked stricken, “And I do? I hook up randomly and have meaningless sex with people?”
“That’s not what I was saying.”
“Then what are you saying because I am at a loss here.”
I paced unable to explain myself. How did I explain this to a young woman? “I don’t date much or at all really. I know you saw the thing with Suzanna but I swear that was nothing and a fluke. I have dated a couple women before but only one was serious. She was the only girl I have ever been with. It ended badly when I realized she wasn’t the one. I still feel incredibly bad about it. After that relationship I promised myself I wouldn’t kiss another woman unless she was going to be my wife. I also promised myself that I wouldn’t have sex again until it was my wedding night.” I finally said feeling more vulnerable then I ever had before. Ophelia was the first person I had ever told this too.
“Nobody thinks that way anymore.” She said lightly.
Of course she didn’t understand, “I know its an old-school way of thinking but my dad instilled these beliefs in me. He loved my mother his whole life and he loved her so deeply, and so completely that I wanted that kind of love for myself one day. When I asked my father how he was able to love my mother so wholly, he said it was because he guarded his heart and hers. He said to not take pieces of a woman’s heart away from them because I was unsure of myself or because I wanted to have a little fun. I didn’t guard the last girl I dated heart. I took a piece of her and she took a little from me. I know it doesn’t make sense but I only want to give whats left of me to one woman and one woman only. The woman that will be my wife. I shouldn’t be doing this with you, Ophelia. As much a I want to, it isn’t right. You deserve so much better then a causal hook up.” I let out a huge sigh not expecting her to get it.
She was silent for a long time before she finally said, “Is this causal to you?”
“Then I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t because you’re only seventeen.”
“What does age have to do with this?”
“Everything Ophelia! It has to do with everything.”
“Do I mean something to you?”
“You mean more to me then you’ll ever know.” I said sadly.
“Then what is the problem?”
“Ophelia, it’s late just go home.” She was never going to understand.
“No Archer, explain yourself to me.” She said in that same spitfire way she spoke the first day we met.
I let out a deep sigh, “The next person I want to be intimate with in any kind of way will be the girl I marry.” I tried to explain again.
“So…” She looked so lost.
“When I commit myself to someone again she will be my wife,” I said the words slowly and clearly.
After a long moment of silence she said, “And that person isn’t me?” Her question was quieter then a whisper. A broken song. A bird who couldn’t fly.
“I can’t expect that from you, Ophelia. I am at that stage in my life and you aren’t. You are young and have a lot of life left to experience. I won’t take that from you Ophelia.” The brokenness in my voice was transparent.
She nodded slowly and walked over to collect her things in silence. When her things were gathered she walked to the door and then turned to look at me, “You terrify me Archer, because you’re a man not a boy. I knew that if we ever got involved, that if there was ever a chance for us it would be serious and not some random relationship. When I see you a fog lifts and I become me, a me I never knew existed until I meant you. My Nana and Pop loved each other since they were diapers. They experienced everything together and never loved each other less because of it. I may be young Archer but isn’t it my choice how I spend my youth? Isn’t it my choice whom I love and when I love them? This wasn’t meaningless to me, I am not that kind of girl either.” She opened the door and then with one foot in the room and the other aimed to leave she added, “You should have given me the choice.”
Thank you all for reading this! I will post another health/beauty tip on Monday and chapter 10 next Wednesday! (catch up on the other chapters in the tags below!)
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