The End – The Australian: Chapter 17

It had been almost a year since I gave into the temptation to email Ian. So why, the urge hit me so hard the other day, I don’t know. But, instead of sending an email that I didn’t expect a response to, I did the next best thing. While sitting at my office desk, I googled him.

The fourth result down held his full name. And something more…

It held the day of his death.

Time slowed.

Ian is dead. Ian is dead. Ian is dead. That phrase ran through my shocked brain over and over. Continue reading

Goodbye – The Australian: Chapter 16

Ian drove us to the airport the next morning, a heavy silence filling the car. I felt like a shell of the woman I had been when I had flown across the country just two days prior. The hopelessness was a bleak darkness, a pit with no end.

Back home, I just went through the motions. Routine and responsibilities kept me from spending day after day in bed. Ian wasn’t able to completely cut off contact. But the few notes I received via email were short, and unsatisfying.

And then I began to write. Continue reading

Stolen Hours – The Australian: Chapter 15

My flight took off and landed without delay. I had called in sick to work on my way to the airport, doing my best to sound at death’s door, when in reality my heart was singing and full of life. The plan was for Ian to pick me up at the airport and I fully expected him to be there waiting for me as soon as I walked out of the terminal.

He wasn’t.

The minutes ticked by. I repeatedly checked my watch. Ten, fifteen, then twenty excruciating minutes passed. And then I saw him walking up. He wore a white shirt tucked into dark denim jeans and as our eyes met, his adorable lopsided grin lit up his face.

“You came,” I sighed into his chest as he held me. Continue reading

Taking Flight – The Australian: Chapter 14

“I’ve never been so happy and so sad at the same time in all my life,” I told my best friend.

She had listened to me talk nonstop about meeting Ian, about making love with Ian, about Ian’s flower sending abilities and about how sure I was that Ian was my soul mate for days. The consummate friend, she had commiserated with me tirelessly. And now she offered some advice.

“Go see him,” she said abruptly as I was lamenting his departure for Australia in the next few days.

“What?” I replied, dumbly.

“Go see him. Before he’s out of the country,” she explained.

“You mean like tomorrow?”

“Yes!”

I don’t know why I hadn’t already thought about dropping everything and flying to see him before he left the country. I was ready to quit my job and move to Australia if he asked, so this would be small in comparison. But most of all I wanted the chance to be in his arms again, to feel his breath on my body, to know for sure that what I had experienced, felt, believed was real.

“Oh my gosh. I could make this happen,” I said, disbelief rapidly dispersing. Continue reading

Daydreams and Bouquets – The Australian: Chapter 13

The morning of February 14th I drove to work bleary eyed but happy. Ian and I had video chatted long into the night. His looks of longing and whispered I love yous had left my heart full even though the future was still as clear as a foggy morning in the Appalachian foothills, somewhere among the mist I felt hope.

Phones rang, paper scattered, and the general scurry of activity surrounded me. It all seemed a blur. None of it touched me. I was elsewhere, living in the future in my daydream. It was a place where Ian and I would get home from work around the same time. He, an avid cook would be preparing our meal while I tinkered on a rich sounding upright piano nearby. Our eyes would meet and sparkle, because we knew we had beat the fates and made a life together.

“Marian, there’s a delivery for you.” Continue reading

Lies and Alibis – The Australian: Chapter 12

-New part begins now-

Gripping the steering wheel, heart full of hope and confusion I drove towards home. Regan, the man I had been with for years and was planning to marry would be waiting. I had just met and fallen in love with my soulmate and I had to return to the arms of another.

The darkness engulfed me as I made the long journey to my cottage’s driveway. Home at last I pulled into the garage and sat there for a moment. Four days ago I left on what was supposed to be a simple research trip. I had returned a different woman.

Was what had happened real? Already I was questioning.

The door opened and my clueless fiance came out to help bring in my luggage. He had no way of knowing my heart was heavier than all my bags combined. Continue reading

Undiluted Cocaine – The Australian: Chapter 11

Barely able to breathe I gathered my suitcase and walked out of the airport and into the cold, artificially lit parking garage. Blindly I found my car, got in and, as one on auto-pilot, began the long trek home. The previous twenty-four hours replayed in my head over and over again. The gin-induced hangover, the horseback tour of the grounds, the first glimpse of Ian, the electricity when his hand touched mine, the invitation to ride back to town with him, canceling the taxi, being so close to him in that tiny rental car, the tour guide assuming I was his wife, our laughter, the amazing dinner, asking him to stay the night with me, the first kiss, the words spoken, our coupling, the last kiss goodbye…

Had I imagined it all? Had none of those feelings been real? Surely they had… But then why give me the wrong email address? Why leave me with no way of contacting him? The questions rapid-fired through my brain.

I turned into the driveway of my empty, dark cottage, cut the engine, rested my head on the steering wheel and inhaled. Ignoring the sharp pain in my chest, I focused on his scent that still coated my body. It was as if Ian’s ghost was in the car with me. If only the ether of his being could hold me now, when I needed it so. Continue reading

There Is No Light – The Australian: Chapter 10

The drive to the airport with Ian was too short, although it seemed to take an eternity. I kept thinking of things to say, yet no words would come. The silence from the driver’s seat did nothing to free my voice. Already, the bleak loneliness of leaving him was creeping in, barely held in check by his warm hand on my thigh. There, on the curved muscle, I felt the connection. I focused my thoughts on that hand, memorizing it’s lines, scars, shape and marks, the feel of it, the weight, its gentleness.

“I don’t know how to say goodbye to you,” came a whisper from his tight throat, “or even contemplate it.”

I looked to the left, just in time to see the sunlight catch the tear falling from his cheek. Continue reading

And the World Fell Away – The Australian: Chapter 9

I could hear my heart thudding loudly in the silence of the room, the blood rushing to my face. Ian lay on his side in the bed, his head still cradled in his hands. A million thoughts raced through my mind. I remembered how careful I had been to avoid any questions that would lead to him having to tell me if he had a girlfriend, or worse, a wife. Maybe it was simply that I did not want to risk breaking the magic of the moment, of the meeting, of losing the possibility of making love. I knew, intellectually, that the question would come up, no matter how hard I tried to ignore the possibility. Looking back, I realised that he, too, had been stepping around that question. Neither of us wore rings, but in my case that certainly did not mean I was free and clear. Even though the man I had been seeing back home had not proposed, our relationship seemed to be heading in that direction. And then this day had happened. I was ready to abandon everything and everyone for Ian. But he still hadn’t looked up.

“Are you married,” I asked gently?

He finally met my gaze. Continue reading

Taken – The Australian: Chapter 8

“What?” Ian asked with a smile, his Australian accent making my world tilt violently.

“You’re beautiful,” I said, eyes wide, taking in the man before me.

“You’re gonna make me blush,” he chuckled, and closed the gap between us.

Carefully Ian bent and gathered the hem of my long, clinging black dress and lifted it up my body. I held my arms aloft as the fabric slid up and over my head. He knelt before me and lifted a foot, gently removing the black high heel encasing it before repeating with the other. Still kneeling, his hands began at my ankles and traced up the outside edges of my calves and thighs, under my black satin spaghetti-strapped slip to the waistband of my hose. Ever so slowly, he pulled them down, stripping me of the sheer black bindings. As I stood there, in just my slip, he wrapped his arm around my waist and rested his head on my abdomen. Tenderly I ran my fingers through his thick dark hair, massaging his temples. He looked up at me.  Continue reading

Unbuttoning and Unbuckling – The Australian: Chapter 7

The kiss deepened slowly, as if we both were savoring the moment, trying to lengthen each second. The feel, the scent, the touch of him, it was as if he had been designed especially for me. I knew his touch already, his taste. I remembered him. Something deep inside me responded at a level I was unfamiliar with, a level I was unaware even existed. The beautiful hotel surroundings ceased to exist. All that mattered in the universe was us.

When Ian lifted his head, I smiled up at him, and without reservation knew I would give him everything within me. No holding back. No games. I didn’t know what this was, but I knew it was a gift, one not to be squandered. Continue reading

Homing – The Australian: Chapter 6

‹‹ previous chapter

Ian piloted the rental car though evening traffic into the heart of the historic downtown district, the setting sun casting a blinding glare in our eyes, while I gave him directions to my hotel. Along the cobblestone streets we bumped, laughing over my shoddy navigation methods and moments we had shared throughout the day until we reached our destination. Ian pulled in under the canopied awning and the red-jacketed valet came trotting out to open my door.

“Welcome back Miss Green,” he said before dashing around the car to give Ian the claim ticket.

Together Ian and I strode up the old brick steps and through the open glass door into the expansive lobby. We walked under the massive crystal chandelier that gave off an array of shimmering light, past the magnificent curving staircase and to the iron gated elevator. A pianist softly trilled strains of Mozart on the mahogany baby grand. I pressed the pearl finished lift button and we waited. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Ian take in the opulent surroundings. This was the America I wanted him to see—one rich with the patina of aged elegance where the atmosphere was as gracious as the people.

Up we went, my heart rate getting faster and faster the closer we came to my room and then, we were there. Golden rays from the setting sun filled the yellow and blue room with an amber glow. Ian made himself comfortable on the stripped settee that was adjacent to the four-poster cherry bed while I gathered what I planned to wear, stepped into the bathroom, shut the door and locked it. Continue reading