Sara heard whispering, then a gunshot and a thud as if something heavy had hit the floor. She pulled the star from her pocket and backed up against the bedroom wall. Oh my God, someone’s been shot.
Footsteps hurried from the carpet to the tile foyer. Sara readied herself. The front door opened and closed and all Sara could hear was her own heartbeat throbbing in her chest. She waited, her blood pressure soaring, her hands shaking, perspiration on over-drive.
After what seemed like forever, Sara pulled away from the wall, throwing star in hand and made her way around the door into the hallway. Nothing.
Sara inched her way down the hall until she reached the foyer and peered around the corner to the right and then the left.
There he was, laid out on the living room floor with a bullet in his chest. A crimson circle slowly spread beneath him and his eyes closed.
Sara stood on tiptoe, her toned calf muscles tightened. She placed the point of the red pen on Thursday, June 30, 2011 on the calendar in the hall closet and put a checkmark through it. Wow! Only one day short of six months.
“I can’t believe this is the last day,” she said.
Jason walked up behind her and wrapped his arms gently around her waist.
“I know. At first it seemed like it’d never come…and believe me, I wanted it to. But then, I remembered what that meant and I wasn’t sure …”
Sara turned. “I know. Me, too.” Remaining on tip toes, she kissed him, then turned and leaned gently into his arms and stared at the mirror that hung in the hall across from the two of them. Neither of them moved or spoke for several minutes.
The clock ticked away the seconds, while the refrigerator hummed and Sara and Jason’s breaths remained slow and comfortable.
“We’ll never be the same, ya know,” said Sara. “No matter what we decide to do, we’re different people now.”
Jason ran his hands down her arms.
“Only a few bruises left,” he commented as he touched them gently. He moved up and kissed her slender neck, while running his fingers though her long silky brown hair.
“You’re so beautiful. I don’t want anything to happen to you…ever,” said Jason.
He leaned and whispered in Sara’s ear. “Don’t ever leave me. I really love what we have together,” he said. “Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?”
Sara turned and smiled. She placed her hand on his chest and opened one button, then another, then another.
“We’ve got two hours before we leave.”
Pulling open his shirt, she gently placed her lips on the purplish red discoloration above his ribcage and ran her fingertips gently over it.
“No, not anymore.”
“Your body has gone through so much…and I love it even more,” said Sara.
Jason’s face contorted. “What about you. Bruises on your arms, your legs and that cute little heart shaped bottom.” He looked into her eyes. “Was it worth it?”
“Shhhhhhhh,” said Sara, placing her index finger to his lips. “It’s over and we’ll find out soon enough if it was. For me…I think it was. I have to believe that it’s gonna work out the way we planned. It has to.” She wrapped her fingers around his arm and led him to the bedroom.
Sara pushed Jason down on the bed and climbed onto his lap.
“Let’s put this time to good use,” she smiled.
She wrapped her firm, but bruised legs around his chiseled chest and slid down to his waist. Her short flowered nightie whisked across his legs and he smiled. A button popped open and Jason looked down at two handfuls of milky white flesh. He licked his lips, raised an eyebrow, then quickly lifted her over onto the bed.
“You have such a tiny waist,” he said.
“And you have the perfect size hands,” she mused.
“You know what I’m about to do with these hands, don’t you?”
“I’m hopin’,” she giggled, slipping her tongue into his ear. “And I’m ready,” she whispered.
Jason leaned toward Sara as the bright yellow orb in the night sky slowly awakened and the moon sank in the distance. A nightie and a pair of pajama bottoms fell to the plush gray carpeted floor and the bed squeaked in protest as the weight and movement of their bodies tested the springs.
“Are you okay with this? I don’t wanna hurt you?” said Jason.
“If I could put up with everything else I’ve endured…trust me, it’s a yes for this,” said Sara.
She ran her hands up his chiseled abs and slid them around to his lower back. Pulling him closer, she kissed each rib down to his naval.
My God, I get lost every time I touch him. His smell is so intoxicating…it weakens my whole body way beyond my imagination. I could live in this moment.
“I never want to lose this, Jason. Never.”
“We won’t,” he said. We’ll always be here for one another. And it’ll have to work the way we say, or we won’t do it, right?”
Jason slid his hands down her sides as his tongue danced with hers and Sara wrapped her tapered fingers around an aroused and still growing Jason.
“I love you so-o-o much, Jason. You’ll always come first.”
“Not now, not if I can help it,” he said, raising an eyebrow and smiling as he slid his hand down.
“Oh my God! That’s the spot. Aaaahhhhh!” she gasped. I’ve died and gone to heaven. How does he do that?
“I love pleasing you,” he said, running his tongue from her left shoulder to her ear. While listening carefully for any requests, he continued the natural movement of his hand.
“Oh, my God, Jason.” She exhaled in small bursts, straightening her legs and wrapping his hair in her fists.
The speed of his fingers quickened and Sara moved her right hand to his chest, then around to the small of his back and pulled him closer. Her leg ran up his, she arched her back and let out a passionate, high pitched sound. Heat and perspiration slid between them as they wrapped around each other, tighter and tighter.
“We’ll always be together. There’s no way that’ll ever change. Trust me,” said Sara.
“I’m all for staying together,” he said as he lifted above her. He rested on his elbows and cupped Sara’s breasts in his hands, while she slowly guided him in.
“Together, forever,” said Jason.
He moved his hips in small circles, entering deeper and deeper. Sara’s eyes rolled back in her head as the moment brought her to a place of euphoria. I can see Jason and me on an exotic island, staying in a stilted house over the ocean, watching colorful fish swim below us as we make love in the moonlight with the winds of the sea sweeping over us.
In that same moment, the swift forward motion of Jason’s lower body caused Sara’s eyes to pop open and return to the present. Her hands reached out and pulled him toward her. Burying her face in his neck, she tasted his salty skin and breathed in the essence of Armani.
I love that cologne, she thought.
“Everything about your body…is an aphrodisiac,” she whispered, as she wrapped her legs around him. I’m here again, in the moment and what a moment it is. I want these moments to continue for years to come… forever. The fire engulfed her body as she moved rhythmically with his. Reaching a pinnacle of ecstasy, she threw her head back and screamed in delight. Jason groaned, his muscles spasmed again and again, then relaxed. Satisfied, he wrapped his body around Sara.
“We fit like two pieces of a puzzle,” said Sara.
After several moments, Jason rolled to his side and Sara nuzzled under his chin, leaving her left leg draped over his. They lay in silence, completely satisfied.
“Time to get ready, Sara,” said Jason walking back from the bathroom.
Sara’s eyes, like slits in a grape, gazed back at him. What is it about this man? I’m totally spent whenever I’m with him. On my own, I’m in charge, strong and independent, but next to him, I melt like an ice cube on a hot summer’s day. I do know why…because I’m in love with him. “Hmmm,” sighed, Sara to herself.
Jason lifted her naked body from the bed, carried her into the bathroom, turned on the shower and stepped inside.
Sara buried her face in his chest to stop the water pellets from pummeling her face and Jason laughed a nervous laugh.
He put her down and pulled her close.
“Listen,” he said.
Sara cocked her head to the right.
“Just Dance. I love that song,” she said.
She leaned her head on his chest and they swayed to the music.
“Is this to celebrate our last day?” she asked as she nuzzled under his chin.
“Something like that.”
He lathered a washcloth and massaged Sara’s back and bottom.
She purred, took the washcloth, stooped down and ran it up his calves to his thighs, then slipped her hand between his legs and gently caressed him. So firm and strong and silky smooth. I’m so lucky to have him.
Glancing around Jason, Sara saw something. Candles… wow I didn’t even notice. A pink one, a blue one and a tall skinny white one. She stood and moved close to Jason and their silhouette shimmered on the shower glass.
Jason looked down and lifted Sara’s chin. The water cascaded down his face to hers.
“None of this is gonna’ change, right? I mean I know we’re different people, but we’re different together, right?”
Sara pushed up on her tiptoes, planted her lips on his and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Absolutely, Jason, absolutely.”
Jason pushed the shower door open slightly and reached for the Kleenex box.
What in the world does he need a Kleenex for…especially in here?
With Sara in front of him, he placed the box on a ledge out of way of the water. His hand was shaking.
“Jason, what’s wrong?”
He held his finger to her lips. “Shhhhh! Sara Ann Parkins, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.” He placed his hand on her heart.
“On the inside and out. My life was nowhere until I met you. Sure, I had money and prestige, but the thrill of that ended when I had you hating and fearing me after we met. But you gave me a second chance. You’ve saved my life literally and figuratively. I don’t know what I can do to let you know how much you mean to me. But I can promise you that each and every day I will be there for you and I’ll show you in every way I can, how much I love you.”
Sara’s eyes glued to his every move, mesmerized by this display of affection. Her pupils grew and her tear ducts opened.
“Sara, will you marry…?
“Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes,” she said, throwing her arms around him.
Releasing her grip, Jason reached in the Kleenex box and pulled out a smaller box and opened it toward Sara.
“Ohhhh, Jason, it’s beautiful. It’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen,” she cried.
“It’s a Starfire by Ville Valo and the saying that went with this ring is, Love is a flame that cannot be tamed. It’s you, Sara, you are this brilliant bright flame that I would never want to tame. I love you.”
He slipped the ring on Sara’s finger and she cupped his face in her hands and kissed him hard.
“I love you too,” said Sara through tear filled eyes.
Jason’s smile simmered a bit and he took a step back.
“I want you to know, this is a two-fold proposal, Sara.”
“Two fold? What does that mean?”
“You’ve said, yes and I’m thrilled, but I’m gonna hold the ring until after our first endeavor and then I’ll ask you again. I want to make sure it’s what you really want.”
“You don’t have to wait, Jason. I’m sure. I wanna be with you forever, with no question.”
“It’s important to me that I give you some time and I know you’re sure. But, as soon as we’re through our first one, I’ll be asking you again.”
“And I’ll say ‘yes’ again. In fact,” said Sara, tilting her head to the left. “I’ll do you one better. I’ll ask you.”
Jason’s full-blown smile reappeared. He returned the ring to its box and shut off the water.
“I wanted it to be special, to be intimate, because that’s what I think of our relationship,” said Jason.
“It is, Jason, and it was beautiful.”
Little goose bumps appeared on Sara’s arms and legs as she stared at him.
“You’re freezing,” said Jason. “Let’s get you a towel.” He stepped out, grabbed a big bath size and wrapped Sara in it. He wrapped a second one around his waist.
Sara’s smile filled her face, her eyes beaming and her body relaxed.
“I’ll get dressed in the bedroom,” he said as he nuzzled her neck and squeezed her bottom. “You’re too distracting.”
She remained in the bathroom, putting on makeup and fixing her hair.
Sara smiled at him in the mirror and watched him leave. His hair still wet and mussed. Beads of water dripping off his shoulders and down his back, he turned and his smile lit the room. Sara continued watching in the mirror as the towel dropped away to the floor. What a gorgeous man. And the inside is twice as good as the outside. I can’t believe he’s gonna be mine forever. I don’t know what I did to deserve him, but I’d sure do it all over again.
Sara stepped into a pair of black panties and walked toward Jason.
“Can you help me with this? She held up her black lace strapless bra and smiled.
“I’d rather be helping to remove it, but sure.”
Sara held it in front of her and turned around for Jason to clasp it. He slipped both hands around to the front for a quick squeeze and then clasped the bra.
Sara giggled, “Thank you.”
She stepped into her tight black jeans and threw on a loose black spaghetti strap tank top. Jason donned his blue jeans and a gray polo shirt. She made her way to the front door with Jason right behind her, when she stopped, turned and leaned against the door. Jason thrust himself against her, and kissed her passionately.
“We stick together. No matter what they say, right?” said Jason.
“Yes. It’s our way or it ends here,” said Sara.
“What if it does end?” Jason asked as he placed his hand against the door behind her.
“Then it does,” she said. “Trust me, Jason, I’ve learned a lot from my father and the things he would have changed if he could.”
“I don’t know how you stay so strong,” said Jason. I envy that about you, but it’s also one of the things that attracts me to you.”
Jason cradled her head in his hands. “I want you to do what makes you happiest.” He pressed her to his chest, kissed her head and brought her back.
“Okay, let’s do it.” He grabbed the door handle, turned and pulled it open.
As they walked down the carpeted hallway, Sara reminisced. I can’t believe how long it’s been since Jason and I first met. Our paths were meant to cross and now I know why. He means everything to me. And I’m not about to give that up. This is my only chance to be heard and say what I want and I’m gonna take advantage of it. It’s so strange…two things that I want so much, but may not be able to have both.
Sara’s hand found his and she squeezed hard.
Jason pressed the elevator button with his left hand and pulled Sara in close to him. The elevator door opened and the two stepped inside in silence as Jason hit L and leaned on the back wall.
I know he’s nervous, thought Sara. It’s like he’s here, but he’s not. I hope he’s not doing this just for me.
The L lit up and the two walked hand in hand through the lobby out into the street.
A soft wind blew through Sara’s hair and the sun warmed her face.
“Wow, not a cloud in the sky. It’s a beautiful day. I hope it’s a sign that things are gonna work out,” said Sara.
“There’s Frank, always on time,” said Jason as he lifted the handle of the black sedan and opened the door for Sara. She slid in and he took his place next to her.
“Hey, Frank,” said Jason.
“Hey, Frank,” echoed Sara.
“Why hello there, Mr. Forest, Miss Parkins,” he said, smiling. “How y’all doing on this fine morning? Ready for whatever the world shoots out at ya?”
Sara smiled at Frank. I should be used to his new dialect by now. We’ve been here for six months already and he’s picked us up every morning. But it always sort of makes me twinge. I don’t know, maybe because it makes me wonder if I really know the real Frank or just one of his aliases.
“I think so,” said Sara, coming out of her thoughts. She hesitated. “Actually, no, I take that back. I’m definitely ready. I know what I need to do.”
Jason looked at Sara, cocking his head slightly to the right and Sara squeezed his hand.
Turning his head toward Frank, he rested his elbow on the back of the seat.
“Frank, is there anything you might suggest we do on such a wonderful day?”
“Hmmmm…Well, it’s no Millenium Park and there ain’t no bean to view the city in, but still there is McClean Central Park, which is a beautiful place to enjoy a sunny day. Y’all can sit and reminisce about moments that you’ll always remember.”
Frank pulled up to the curb, one block from the entrance. He slipped his arm over the seat and shook Jason’s hand. “Good luck.”
They exited the cab and walked slowly down the street. The glass building took up the entire block. Grass and then a black metal gate ran around the perimeter. After reaching the halfway mark, Sara backed Jason up to the fence.
“Have you been doing all of this just for me? Or is this something you really wanna do too? Jason, I really need to know.”
His face softened, his shoulders relaxed and he cupped her face in his hands. “When you smile, you light me up inside and when you’re truly happy and I mean for real…it doubles for me. So, I’m doing this because it’s what I believe will always keep us together and happy.” His eyes glanced at the ground and he paused. “Am I afraid of the future? Yeah, I am. Because I only know what’s in my heart and I don’t know if I’ll be good enough for this.”
Sara grasped his arms and shook him gently. “Jason, you are so far beyond ‘good enough,’ it’s not even funny. Your father was a doctor and you followed in his footsteps to make a difference in the world. That’s what I wanna do. I wanna be more like you.”
Jason bit down on the inside of his cheek and looked away. “I know why Frank mentioned the bean. He was reminding me how you figured everything out when I got shot…and that this is a skill that you have because it’s in your blood. And I want you to know that I do understand.”
Sara turned his chin toward her. “No, you don’t. This would mean the world to me, yes. But…” She waited until Jason’s eyes met hers. “You mean more. So I meant what I said, when I said, if it doesn’t happen, it ends here. There are a lot of ways to make a difference. And just so ya know…what Frank said, I didn’t get that at all. I think he brought it up, to remind me how sick I was when I thought you’d been killed. It made me think. Would I want to put you through that?”
Jason smiled and kissed her gently on the lips. “We should go.” He locked his arm with hers and they approached the entrance. Sara paused on the steps and stared at the door. This may be the only time we go in the front door, depending on their decision, that is. This is where our lives may change forever.