I stepped quietly into the hotel room, my head buzzing from the wine, bourbon and kisses. The Woodsman lay on the bed, curled up, facing away from the door. I slipped off my heels and padded barefoot to the bed, not able to tell if he was awake or not. Off went my skirt and blouse, so I was left in only my spaghetti-strapped, slim-fitting black slip. Sliding in bed next to him, I gently kissed his shoulder and felt him stir under my touch.
“You’re back,” he said, turning so he could wrap his arms around me.
I nestled, but only for a moment. He had to know about the evening before I could relax in his embrace, provided he still wanted to offer it. Moving so I was out of reach, I sat up, crosslegged on the bed, ready to tell my tale. He leaned back, relaxed, against the pillows looking at me with a smile.
“Well,” he said, in his deep baritone, “How was it?”
“It was amazing,” I exhaled, “The conversation, the food, everything… so many of my questions were answered. He didn’t hold back. There was really special connection. An intense one.”
I could hear my words coming out in a staccato beat, rushing… getting to the part he had to hear, and I had to tell. Or what we had begun to build between us would be a sham.
“And I kissed him.”
“I knew you were going to,” he said calmly, his demeanor not changing, “You told me you might before you left.”
“Yes, but it wasn’t just a quick kiss,” I continued. He had to know all of it. I couldn’t accept his grace, his love without him knowing. I swallowed. And told him the details of the kiss—how I initiated it, how I wanted it, how his lips had made me feel, how I had wanted more, how I had let him touch my breast, how breaking away had been difficult, how I had told that I had a man in my room, how I had stopped.
I paused for breath.
“I love you,” he said tenderly, carefully staying very still on the bed.
“You really do, don’t you?” I said, feeling my heart crunch and soften.
Was this possible? I had been completely open, ignoring the dominant side of me that screamed just tell him enough so that he thinks you’ve told him everything. He won’t want you if he knows everything. How could he? He’s been nothing but good to you, and look what you did. I know what I did, continuing the internal argument. You don’t deserve him. I know I don’t. What could you possibly offer him? What could possibly equal what he has given you? Nothing. I have nothing. Exactly. And now you’ve probably hurt him by being so damn open. When has being open ever led to anything but hurt? I don’t know. I’ve never been open. I’ve never felt safe enough to even try it. Well you are a self-serving bitch aren’t you? Someone cares about you enough so that you feel safe and look what you do. You leave him to meet another man. You kiss another man. And then you tell the one who loves you how wonderful it was! I know! I know! I may have blown everything up. But I couldn’t not tell him. I love him too much to let him love a sham. You love him.
“I love you,” I said.
The door closed and I knew this was a defining moment. If this had been a movie, there would have been a few seconds of flashback montage, highlighting points in the past of us together and my individual defining moments. All intending on building hype to the impact of which path the story protagonists choose, individually and together.
It played through my mind at a pace I could not consciously follow. I knew instinctively how things were now that they were fact. I’d known that for a week, before it became fact. But this was still a defining moment.
Similar to that moment when a response from admissions arrives via mail. You applied for entry into the school, and envision the response – acceptance or rejection – but it’s still abstract until you actually open the letter and read the response. You have a good, confident idea of the result but it’s still intangible until you read it.
That is what this was. I already knew what the letter said; I needed her to read it to me – no matter what it said. If she would read it to me, and make it real instead of abstract, without misdirection or lies, that would be everything I needed.
It didn’t matter that she had kissed him. It didn’t matter – except in good ways, for her – that it was wonderful. Just because it happened, and it was good, didn’t mean it took anything from me. She came back to me; she exposed her vulnerability by trusting me and telling me completely. A kiss is fleeting and fades with time, trusting and telling the raw truth takes courage – and builds true connection. She did that out of love for me.
He smiled and opened his arms. I bridged the distance I had been maintaining and clumsily crawled across the bed toward him, nestling in the spot that waited for me. My spot. The coupling that followed… well, you don’t get to read about that. I’m sorry.
That is ours.
But maybe, just maybe, I’ll tell you a little about what transpires when he comes to visit me. Which just happens to be… tomorrow.