Alone, Together

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“You sure about this?” Michelle asks, our first born child swaddled against her chest as she watches me put on my thickest coat and some leather driving gloves. I look at her over the top of my glasses and give my wife a tired shrug.

“Storm isn’t getting any easier, is it? If anything it’s going to get worse. So best I go now and try to beat the worst of it.”

Her lips purse and I can see how reluctant she is for me to go out in what some forecasters have said is the storm of the century. Ideally I’d have my slippers on and be lounging in front of the TV to watch the worst of it from the comfort of my home. And that had been the plan until Angela had called, alone and worried she didn’t have enough food in for the coming storm.

“Just drive safe, okay? And let me know when you get there” Michelle tells me as I hoist the bags of food we’ve packed up for her oldest friend. I kiss her cheek and tell her I will and huddle into my coat as I cross the drive to my 4×4. The wind is already biting at my cheeks and causing my glasses to mist, and when I finally get into the driving seat I spend some time preparing myself for the journey for a moment before putting it into gear. I wave at Michelle, who’s stood in a very warm looking front room, and pull off into the storm.

This isn’t something I’d normally do. Usually I’d have bitched and said that Angie should have prepared better because we’d all been warned about the winter storm coming in. I also know it isn’t as simple as that because I know that Angela is still adrift after the loss of her husband to cancer just six months ago. I know she is alone and scared and in desperate need of some help. That help probably would have come from Michelle under different circumstances, but storms aren’t a good place to be while she’s breastfeeding our son.

So that leaves me to navigate the dangerous roads, leaving the town behind and heading towards the countryside where Angela lives. It’s a journey that should take 20 minutes at most, but with the new responsibility of fatherhood making me a much more sensible driver, mixed with the treacherous conditions, it’s almost 45 minutes until I pull onto the large drive of Angela’s converted barn. There are no lights on in the house, and when I check my phone I have the weakest of signals. I quickly message Michelle to let her know I’m here and then, reluctantly, get out of the warm car and into the lashing storm.

I’d been right to set off when I did as the storm is even worse on the exposed hills of the moors. I dash for the boot, feet crunching into the fresh snow, and pick up the bags. It’s a relief to see Angela in the doorway of her home as I head towards it. She beckons for me to hurry with her hand before quickly standing aside as I barrel into the house, carrying the cold and snow with me.

“I was worried you’d got into an accident,” she tells me in her soft voice as the door shuts behind us. I place the bags down and feel the slight pressure of a small hand on my back. “Thank you so much for this, Tim.”

My glasses have misted again so I quickly remove them, but I don’t need to be able to see Angie properly to know what she looks like. Short and petite in stature, with chocolate brown eyes and light freckles on her cheeks. Her red hair used to almost reach the small of her back, but after the loss of her husband she had cut it back to something close to a pixie cut. It had been done as an act of mourning, but I had thought at the time that it made her look very cute.

I slide my glasses back on and smile at her, exhaling slowly and feeling myself relax after the stress of the drive. “It’s okay – the least we can do really. Let me help you put the stuff away before I set back off. You erm… want to put some lights on?”

“Power cut.” she says as she picks up one of the bags and heads towards her kitchen.

“Typical,” I mutter, following her and letting my eyes glance around the dark house and thinking how in the middle of a power cut the house feels even more like a tomb to her late husband. The house feels as cold as the storm outside, and I notice spiderwebs littering the corners of rooms, unopened envelopes on sideboards and a general feel of a place that doesn’t host the living anymore. It makes my heart go out to Angie that she’s alone like this.

The only sound for a time is tins sliding into cupboards and the fridge door being opened. It’s difficult to know what to say, because there aren’t any words that I can say that will help – it’s actions. And even then, what can any of us do to help her? I pause placing a tin of soup in a cupboard and look across at Angie as she puts some food into the dark fridge.

“Do you want to come back with me?” I suggest. “Rather than you being here alone. Means you’d have some company – though you will have to put up with Toby waking up in the middle of the night for a feed.”

She looks up and I can see the hesitation on her face. She doesn’t want to be a burden, I think. I smile at the woman who walked behind my wife down almanbahis the aisle all those years ago. “Come on Angie,” I say as the silence drags on. “Don’t stay here in the dark on your own.”

I watch as she exhales and then silently nods before smiling back at me. “Thanks Tim. I’ll just make up an overnight bag and then we can set off.”

Angie goes off to do that while I finish packing the food, and within ten minutes she’s beside me at her front door wearing her own thick coat, a cute little bobble hat and a rucksack over one shoulder. It couldn’t be more than 15 minutes since I’d arrived, and yet we stand together at the open door of her home and look out at my car that is almost covered in snow already.

“It gets really bad up here,” she tells me sagely, and all I can do is nod blankly before we close the door.

“Well, guess you won’t be alone at least,” I say as we go back to the living room. I try to call Michelle and give her an update but the signal I’d had before is gone. Instead I send a quick message and tell her that the snow is bad and I might have to stay with Angie for the night. I click send and hope it gets through soon before she starts to worry, then remove my coat and hang it on a peg.

“I can make up a bed for you,” Angie says, coming into the room from the kitchen with two glasses of water. “Probably best to wait until the morning and see if it’s better then?”

She’s polite, I think, but there’s no soul in her words. They’re just a flat line with none of the cadence and life to them that had been there before. It had, understandably, been like this with Angie for a while now. Going through the motions and saying things without any real conviction. Like she’d lost some of herself when her husband passed. It’s a shame, I think, that Michelle isn’t here instead, rather than her best friend’s husband. I almost feel like I’ve been sent round as a sick reminder of what her friend still has, and what Angie has lost.

It does no one any good to think like that though. So I hoist a kind smile onto my lips and take the glass from the hand that still bears the rings her husband had placed on her finger.

“Thanks, I’d appreciate it. How about I try and get the log burner going? Won’t do us any good to just be huddled in the cold huh?”

I see a flicker of life behind her eyes at that moment. A response to my kindness. “Sounds good,” she says, and I feel a touch of her old self rear its head. “You do that, and I’ll see what I can do in the kitchen without any power.”

We both have our jobs to do. In the kitchen I hear the scrape of cutlery and of cupboards being opened while I start to build the elements needed to start a fire. By the time Angie returns there’s a faint glow of firelight emanating through the room. I notice she’s taken the opportunity to change, as she’s now wearing some loose tartan pajama bottoms and a t-shirt I suspect was her husband’s seeing as it’s much too big for her small frame.

“You’ve done well,” she says kindly, holding a tray with various snacks, as well as two empty wine glasses and a bottle of red. Her eyes go from the bottle to me, that smile still there. “I guess you’re alright for a drink now you’re staying?”

“Would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?”

“I think it’s the least you deserve considering what you had to drive through just to get here.”

We both laugh and I try to recall the last time I heard that sound coming from her petite mouth. I’m certainly surprised that I’ve managed to win a chuckle from her lips.

She pours the wine while I drag a small sofa closer to the fireplace where we both take a seat. I take a glass and sit beside her, the two of us facing towards the now roaring fire and enjoying the crackle of the logs burning.

“How’s fatherhood?”

“Good,” I answer hollowly, because while I’m enjoying being a dad it feels like it’s come at the cost of my marriage. Not that things were good before – Michelle had never had much of a sex drive. And there’s only so many rejections a man can take before he just stops trying. The only time she had ever instigated and wanted me was when we were trying for Toby, and that lasted all of a month and dried up just as quickly as it had come. And now we’d not been intimate for well over a year, leaving me starved for intimacy.

It’s not something that I can share with Angie but I can tell she notices something. I hear a click of acknowledgement from her tongue at my short reply. I don’t feel like there’s anything more to add though so I join her with a long draught of wine.

This is the first time I’ve been alone with Angie since her loss I realise – all the other times I’d seen her had been with Michelle. And I just don’t know what to say to her. How to act. I lick my lips and hear what I feel sounds like an impatient shuffle next to me, before I just decide to go with honesty.

“I don’t even know how to talk about your loss Angie. Kinda wish Shell was here for you.”

I hear her turn and I do the same, and almanbahis giriş I’m surprised to see a small flicker of a smile at the corner of her lips. “You know what? I’m glad it’s you,” she says kindly. “I love your wife, but she would just coddle me. And I’m so sick of being coddled Tim. I just… want to feel normal. To not have people walk on eggshells around me. Is that so bad?”

My head shakes at her question. “I don’t think so. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on grief, or whether there is one. I think it’s fair to want to feel some kind of normal at some point.”

“I’d like that soon,” Angie sighs. “Even if I don’t think it will ever be possible, I’d like it. Sorry that this new normal means that you have to sit in the dark and cold with me though.”

I chuckle softly. “I’d just be sat in the dark at home most likely – it’s no big deal.”

“But you’d be with Shell,” Angie replies. “And there’s things you can do in the dark as a married couple.”

I look away then as my thoughts drift to the lack of sex since we’ve had since the birth of our child, and it gives my previous thoughts away. Angie makes an “Ah,” sound and my shoulders slump slightly.

“It’s okay,” I say. “I do understand and do what I can to help. But there’s only so much I can do because I don’t have the right parts for Tobes. And there’s no pressure on her,” I quickly add, not wanting to seem utterly fixated on my own loss when it doesn’t compare to Angie’s. “Just… It’s hard. Or it isn’t I guess in my case anymore.”

Angie snorts and I look up to see wine dripping from her chin. Then she starts to laugh, her hand covering her lips. “Oh I’m sorry Tim,” she says, still chuckling. “I know I shouldn’t laugh. I understand it must be hard.”

On that last syllable she breaks out into laughter again. It’s infectious, and soon my own deep laughter joins with her giggles and the sound echoes through the old barn. It’s so nice to hear her laugh like this again, I think. Shell would be ecstatic, even if it was at our expense.

When Angie finally starts to calm down she wipes the tears of laughter from her face with the ball of her hand and fills our glasses up once more.”I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that,” she admits to me before taking another long sip from her glass. “Probably from before Harry started getting ill.”

“And all it took was me sharing my misery.”

She snorts again and shakes her head vigorously while planting a hand on my arm. “Please don’t. My stomach already hurts from laughing too much.”

I smile at her and it’s returned, and I see the woman I remember from before grief claimed her. I also notice the lingering touch, and how her thumb smooths across my arm before she almost reluctantly removes her hand back to her lap. Even a simple touch like that is as good as I’ve had for the best part of a year.

Another thing I notice is the wine going down too easily, only exacerbated by the fact that the snacks she’s provided have hardly been touched. When Angie goes to fill us up again and only finds drops leaving the neck of the bottle she tuts.

“Well this won’t do. Do you want some more? I have some bottles that have just been collecting dust.”

I can’t drink like I used to and know sharing a couple of bottles of wine on an empty stomach will make tomorrow morning bleak. So I know what the correct answer is.

“Sure,” I say, giving Angie the incorrect answer.

“Want to come help me pick?” she asks as she stands up, offering me her hand which I duly take. She helps me to my feet and our hands remain clasped as she leads me from the living room to the kitchen. I know I should pull my hand away, but a combination of knowing how hard being alone has been for Angie, and my own isolation from intimacy with Michelle, makes it hard to do so.

Clearly it’s something she needs too, because when we get to the kitchen her hand still remains around mine. Maybe she thinks I need this as much as she does? Either way it’s nice, if a little dangerous.

Her hand only slides from mine when she reaches down to pick two bottles from the cupboard. She turns around and holds them up in front of her. “You choose,” she asks me, the bottle held either side of her chest. My eyes glance at the labels, but also the subtle sign of her nipples poking through her shirt. The cold, I tell myself. But it’s hard to pull my eyes away as I point to the bottle in her right hand.

“Good pick,” Angie says, voice suddenly thick. I meet her eyes and time stands still as I feel a dangerous urge to kiss her. Our eyes are locked and the chemistry I’m feeling tries to poke me towards my wife’s friend. And then she licks her lips and breaks the spell, only to bend over to place the unselected bottle back in the cupboard. Without thinking, my hands are on her hips and my groin against her small ass.

We both freeze. It wasn’t even a conscious decision to grab hold of her, yet I did. I look at my hands at her slight waist and wonder how to almanbahis giriş explain this to Angie. I’ve had a drink, but not that much. Not enough to justify holding her like I am doing.

I’m about to let go when I feel the slightest pressure of her bum against my groin. It’s so subtle, almost as if she’s terrified of doing this. Fuck, I know I am. But then she does it again, more firmly, and after so long of not being touched like this, a noise catches at the back of my throat and I groan out. my cock immediately going hard.

My grip on her waist becomes tighter and I pull her back against my groin and hear a soft whimper come from Angie. She leans up from the low cupboard and closes it, but she doesn’t move away. Instead she grips the counter and grinds her hips firmly back against me, forcing another low groan from my lips.

Instinctively I know this is so wrong for many, many reasons. But a fog of lust has shrouded any kind of logic I have and all I care about is how good this feels. And after so long without, it is so good to hear a woman breathe heavily because of my actions.

Even if that woman is my wife’s recently widowed friend.

The friction between the coarse denim of my jeans and her pajama bottoms reveals her bare behind to me and it arouses me further. I lean myself along Angie’s body and rest my head on her shoulder while we both continue to grind against one another. She lets out another whimper and slaps a hand behind us, gripping onto me and keeping us close.

I hear the shuddering of her breath close to my ear and an almost silent “Fuck” whispered from her lips. My own lips find her slender neck and I’m rewarded with a shaky moan just before she pushes her body back and forces me to break contact with her.

Angie turns and there is an almost infantesimal moment where we both look at one another – Angie against the counter, me a step or so away. A moment when this could stop if we weren’t so horny. But it’s microscopic because we’re both on one another immediately after, our lips colliding passionately with our hands in each other’s hair as I press her back against the counter once more.

Her moans ripple against my swollen lips as we make out, my hands under her baggy shirt and resting on her soft stomach. Angie melts into me, tongue eagerly pushing against mine as she starts to pull at the hem of my shirt. Reluctantly letting go of her, I lift my hands up and break the kiss so that she can remove my top.

It’s something I have to help with but it’s soon cast aside with my glasses, and then it’s my turn to remove hers. As soon as it joins the floor with my shirt my hands and lips are back on her, hands groping her small pert tits and squeezing them with a relish I didn’t know I had for her body. Angie cries out and nips my lower lip before she leaps up into my arms. I easily catch her, feeling her bare chest against mine, before she whispers a word against my lips.

“Living room.”

I should stop but I can’t – the feeling of her hard nipples pressed against my chest is far, far too good. I carry her back towards the fire and place her down ungracefully on the sofa, lips moving to her neck, shoulder and then her gloriously hard pink nipples. I suck on them greedily, flicking it with my tongue and teeth and feeling Angie’s hands pull on my short dark hair. Her back arches and her hips raise from beneath me, fingers hooking into the waistband of her pajamas and pushing down.

My mouth lifts from her breasts and I help pull the pajamas from her pale legs and toss them aside. I look down then – watching how she spreads her legs and offers her pink sex to me. How her small chest rises up and down in her obvious need. How she looks at me with a hunger I barely recognise anymore.

Then it’s my turn. I undo my trousers and pull them down past my knees until I can step one leg out of them, my cock springing free before I fall back above her. Our eyes meet as one hand guides myself to her labia, pressing the tip there and feeling her arousal. Her hands are on my chest, her lips parted.

“Yeah?” I ask, giving us one last chance for an out.

“Yes.” she answers.

We kiss as I push into her sex. Her limbs wrap around me as I fill my wife’s friend with my manhood, groaning as her tightness envelopes me. Any thought of any of this being wrong is forgotten – all I care about is getting what I’ve needed for a year. Someone to touch.

Someone to fuck.

The first thrust into her breaks the kiss and Angie cries out, a sound that only fills me with more lust. With one hand on the arm of the sofa behind her head, and one foot on the rug before the fire, I impale her deeply and start to take her vigorously, grunting loudly as I stroke my cock hard into her slickness.

I watch how she moans. How her lips part and how she keeps her dark eyes on me as I fuck her. Feel how her fingers grip and dig into my shoulder blades and how she moves her hips to meet mine. She looks, and feels, incredible.

She pulls me down into another kiss as I continue to drill into her, the sofa creaking with every move I make. The sound is only drowned out by my grunts of exertion and the cries ripped from Angie as I fuck her relentlessly and with the hunger of a man starved of this for far, far too long.

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