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CHAPTER 14: Resolution
SPRING (May 2006)
“What the hell are YOU looking at?”
My eyebrows furrowed and I felt a massive headache coming on. I took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly, the seconds ticking by as the air whistled out between my lips. Sensing that her joking greeting had not gone over as planned, Amber fidgeted and bit her lower lip.
But even when I was done exhaling, I didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to say. I WAS, however, looking the hell at her. Three years had been very kind to Amber. She’d grown in maturity and poise without losing any of her youthful beauty. Her blue eyes were bright and sharp with intelligence. Her fine blonde hair was perfectly coiffed. She stood before me wearing a long-sleeved, ribbed V-neck sweater and tight designer jeans over black heels. The sleeves highlighted her long, slender arms. The V-neck showed off her wonderfully enticing cleavage. And then hem of the sweater was short enough to reveal a wide expanse of creamy skin, with a toned belly that would be the envy of any teenager. I saw the hint of a thong peeking above the waist of her jeans, stirring up old memories. I let my eyes drop down and truly take her in, and for a moment, she posed prettily for my viewing pleasure.
Amber was gorgeous. Three years without seeing her had altered my memories until I’d transformed her physical appearance into that of an angel descended from the heavens. The reality of her actual beauty was no disappointment. I wanted to reach out, press my lips to hers, and never let go until we had ravished each other into exhaustion.
And yet, I wasn’t her boyfriend anymore. We’d broken up, and we’d moved on. And I was so shocked at seeing her again that I couldn’t move.
We kind of looked at each in the awkward silence, and when Amber realized I wasn’t going to say anything she cleared her throat and looked at me nervously. “Uh, how are you?”
I shrugged silently.
She seemed pained to know that I wasn’t talking to her just yet, but at least I wasn’t completely ignoring her. With her eyebrows canted to the sides in a pleading expression, she asked, “Can I come in?”
I glanced back inside the house to the bedroom where Cherys and Danielle were undoubtedly in the middle of a very intense conversation. Looking back at Amber I slowly shook my head in the negative.
Her face fell and she half-turned away in rejection. But I interrupted her by saying, “Let’s go for a walk.”
Stunned, Amber simply waited in silence as I retrieved my keys and shoes to go out. A minute later, I locked up and then started walking down the sidewalk, not even waiting for her.
At the curb was a big black Mercedes S-class, not Amber’s style. She’d probably borrowed the car from her parents. It was a subtle reminder that she didn’t live here anymore. She’d left me to pursue her dream.
I walked forward at a slow enough pace that Amber quickly caught up to me. It was all I could do to not turn and embrace her in the strongest, tightest hug I could possibly manage. Three years ago she’d gone off to Stanford and medical school. Three years she’d made love to me in OUR home, then immediately flown away and never looked back.
For three years, I never got a single phone call, email, text message, or even a personal message passed along from a friend. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. I should have hated her for it.
Instead, all I wanted to do was throw her onto the grass and kiss her like we’d been separated for only two days and I’d been missing my girlfriend. But I was still angry with her. Amber had abandoned me. Who was she to think that she could leave me when convenient and then just show up on my doorstep as if nothing had ever happened between us? Did she really think she could ignore my phone calls and emails and letters for three years, and then just return and have me back?
I think I actually felt my brain *pinch*.
She could. She could have me back. I loved her. I still loved her. Amber could have shown up at my wedding to Cherys and I would have left it all behind for her.
I missed her so much…
If I just looked at her, saw her beautiful face again, I would forgive her everything and fall into her arms if SHE would only take ME back.
So I couldn’t look at her.
It would be too easy. I would be giving up too much of myself. My brain tried to tell me that I deserved better than that. And besides, I was still too fractured emotionally after being put through the ringer by Danielle and Cherys. I was vulnerable and irrational. If I was still in a relationship with Cherys and Danielle right now, how would I have reacted at seeing Amber again?
I guess now I would never know. All I had was how I felt in this moment, which was a painful mix of two urges: one, to madly embrace her in a rush of passion; and two, to shut her away and never speak with her again. I couldn’t decide which I wanted more.
Amber made my decision for me by slipping her hand into mine. çankaya escort Her touch was warm, reassuring. And when her fingers squeezed down, I turned and looked into her sky blue eyes, so luminous and liquid. I could see her own longing in her eyes, and before I could even blink I’d brought my face to hers and pressed our lips together, holding her head in my hands and kissing her like the world was about to end.
An ecstatic cry of happiness welled up in Amber’s throat as our lips lashed one another and our tongues intertwined. But a moment later, I tore myself away and turned around, sagging to the ground on one knee and pressing my palms to my own temples in an attempt to crush my own head and end my misery.
I couldn’t take it. My mind was scrambling in a dozen different directions at once. Yes-Amber, No-Amber, Cherys, Danielle, pregnancy, single-life, and on and on and on. I’d pushed myself to the brink of insanity too many times in the past hour and finally I was about to crack. My eyes were wide in terror and I screamed, unable to make sense of it anymore.
And then Amber’s arms were around me as she urgently exclaimed, “David? David?” in a frightened tone.
All I could do was scream again as loud as I possibly could, the sound tearing out of my throat like a banshee out of hell. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Amber didn’t know what was going on, and yet she held me tightly and rocked me like a baby, her lips to the back of my head and her hands stroking everywhere.
The next thing I knew, I was standing before my front door, my arm draped around Amber’s shoulders while she alternately rang the doorbell and dug through my pockets to try and fish out my keys.
After three attempts on the doorbell and two attempts with the wrong key, the door swung open. Both Cherys and Danielle were standing there, Cherys with one hand over her mouth in surprise and Danielle glancing back and forth between me and Amber.
“Amber?” Danielle said in surprise. “David?”
My world was a grey haze. I couldn’t focus and I really didn’t care. At this moment, all I really wanted was to be asleep and make the rest of the world go away.
Cherys was asking, “David? Are you okay?”
Amber by now had shifted her balance to better support me. “He’s in shock. Can we get him inside?”
A minute later I was laying flat on the couch and a blanket was thrown over me. Someone slid a pillow beneath my legs. This was better. Much more comfortable and I was feeling warmer.
“He’s catatonic,” Cherys asked in grave concern, passing her hand over my eyes slowly. My gaze was straight up and I didn’t really look around. “Do you think he can hear us?”
Amber sighed. “I’m pretty sure he can hear and see us. He’s just not responding.”
I felt a warmth near my face and then Cherys was kissing my cheek. “I love you, David.”
Danielle’s hands were on my arm. “His skin is clammy. And his pulse is weak.”
Amber replied, “Normal signs of shock. Just give it time, he’ll come around as long as we keep him warm.” Amber’s voice quivered at the end of that, and then I heard her quietly begin to cry as the immediate medical emergency faded and her emotions settled in.
“Amber? Are you okay?” Danielle asked.
Amber let out a shivering sigh and then said, “Yeah, I’ll be fine. I knew he’d be surprised to see me, just not THIS surprised.”
Danielle said quietly, “It’s been kind of an intense morning. Your arrival was probably just the final blow.” She exhaled loudly and then looked up. “What ARE you doing here?”
There was a quiet pause as Amber gathered herself. “I had to come home. I had to see him. I never planned for THIS to happen to him.”
“What happened out there?” Danielle asked, accusing anger creeping into her voice.
“We went for a walk. One minute we were trying to figure out what to say to each other and the next he was kissing me.” Amber paused to take a breath. “The next moment he was holding his head and screaming without restraint. Then he went into shock.”
Everyone went quiet for a few seconds, and then Cherys piped up, “Remind me never to kiss you.”
Danielle snorted, and the mood in the room lightened up considerably.
I felt a hand settle onto my forehead and another go to my throat. Amber sounded relieved as she said, “His pulse is slowing down and he’s breathing easier.”
Danielle commented, “His color is coming back.”
Cherys sighed happily. “He’s going to be alright.” I felt a new hand on my arm, stroking me lovingly. When it was gone, I heard Cherys ask, “So when did you get back in town?”
“Late last night,” Amber replied. “I could barely wait until a decent hour to come here this morning.”
Danielle’s voice came softly and yet had a strong undercurrent of protectiveness in it. “And what are your intentions towards my little brother?”
I heard Cherys inhale sharply and Amber hesitated before answering. But after a while, she said simply, “I want him back. I know escort çankaya it’s terribly selfish of me, but I want him back. I transferred to the University here. I want to be with him.”
Danielle’s voice came back confused. “But you only had one year of school left at Stanford!”
“Yeah,” Amber sighed. “But I want to be with him.”
Cherys sighed. “That may be complicated. A lot has changed since you left.”
“I can see that. You, for one thing. When are you due?”
“Did you two go to a sperm bank or…?”
“You didn’t know?” Cherys asked in confusion.
“We… we haven’t really kept in touch. And E-Beth won’t talk to me about anything having to do with David. It’s complicated.”
“David’s the father,” Cherys said plainly.
Amber gasped. It was right about then that I started to blink. But the girls were occupied enough that they didn’t notice.
“I see,” Amber’s voice fell, realizing the extent of my relationship with Cherys. “Well, I guess I’ll be going then,” she said dejectedly as I heard her gathering her things. From the tone in her voice, Amber sounded practically suicidal.
“No, it’s not like that,” Cherys interrupted. “Well, not anymore.”
By now I turned my head just in time to see Cherys slide her hand into Danielle’s and stare at her lovingly. “The baby is mine and Danielle’s. David was just… well, he’s special.”
“Does he have a girlfriend?” Amber asked with barely-concealed hope in her voice.
“No one but us,” Cherys said in a possessive tone, but Danielle coughed conspicuously and Cherys’ voice softened. “He’s a free man. We don’t have any hold over him.”
I croaked, “Yes, you do.”
“David!” All three girls managed to exclaim at pretty much the same time. Cherys was instantly by my side, stroking my cheek while Danielle helped me to sit up. Amber hung back, her arms twitching forward in desire to help me but she held herself back. She didn’t consider it her place anymore.
Instead, Amber darted out and came back a few minutes later with a glass of water. “How much of that did you hear?” she asked tentatively.
I took a long swallow and then looked up at her. “Everything, I think.”
I held up my hand to stop her, and then took a few deep breaths as I sat up straight and gathered my focus. Barely an hour ago I’d been making love with Cherys, dreaming of building a family with her. Now, those dreams had been dashed and an old dream had made an unexpected return. I didn’t know how to deal with that.
I wanted Amber back. I REALLY wanted her back. But I didn’t yet know what that would do to me. The last time she left I was just an empty shell going through the motions with Brianna. My flailing heart had tried to latch onto Claudine, and then E-Beth. And even as close as I became with Cherys and Danielle, the love we shared was never meant to last. Even then, I’d nearly pushed Danielle aside to sate my own desire for permanence and companionship.
Amber had loved me and then left me to pursue her dream. Even though she was back now, she would always have other forces pulling her in another direction. Even if Amber had returned, how long would she stay this time?
And if she didn’t stay, how much would it destroy me? I couldn’t handle losing her again.
My head hung low while I kept my hand up, preventing anyone from speaking just yet. At last, I looked up and stared at the beautiful blonde across from me, as lovely as my dreams of her had ever been. “You really gave up Stanford? You really came back here for me?”
“Only for you,” she answered.
I breathed slowly. “I thought WE weren’t ready for that kind of commitment. I wouldn’t have wanted you to give up your dream.”
“I know. But my dream now is you. I can’t go back to Stanford, but I can still become a doctor. I’d rather be a doctor and with you than be a Stanford-graduate without you. Don’t you see, David? I came back only for you, that’s how much I’m committing to this. Three years ago I wasn’t ready. I am now.”
I groaned. “I’m not sure what to do with that right now. It’s all just too much to take.” My head hurt and I frowned. “I think I need more time.”
She reached forward to take my hands into hers. I remembered how I always held a woman’s hands whenever I wanted to reassure her of my intentions. But as she approached, I pulled away from her. And Amber’s face fell in worry. But still she said, “I will wait.”
Amber sat up straight and nodded her head. “I will wait.”
With that, she got her things and left.
And once the door closed, I lay my head back against the couch and closed my eyes. I needed to do some heavy thinking… later.
Right now, I just wished I could turn off my brain.
“I’m going to miss sleeping beside you,” Danielle ran her hand along the sheets as I finished tucking them into the mattress.
“Well, it IS your fault,” I teased.
“Is not!” Danielle retorted. “You’re çankaya escort bayan the one who insisted on moving back to your room.”
“I know, I know,” I conceded, holding my arms up placatingly. “I just think this will be good for us. Reestablish some ground rules. That room is yours and Cherys’.”
“You’re still welcome to sleep with us whenever you want,” my sister said seriously.
“Yeah,” Cherys pouted from the doorway. “The next time I need a cock, I’m going to fuck you until you pass out in our bed.”
I smiled and slid on a clean pillowcase before reaching for the comforter. We were reestablishing that Cherys and Danielle were the ones in a relationship, but all three of us loved each other (and lusted for each other) too much to completely sever our ties. It would be awkward, but we were family. We would figure it out. “Maybe… but not tonight.”
Danielle nodded and walked to the door, wrapping her arm around Cherys’ waist on her way out. But before she left, she turned her head back to me. “I left you a fresh box of tissues. Promise me you’ll enjoy listening to us.”
I nodded and waved the girls out of my bedroom. “Good night ladies.”
And then I was alone, just me and my thoughts.
“Dude, that’s fucked up.”
I sighed and waved my hands helplessly. I’d just finished explaining the ‘Stealing Cherys’ story to Kevin and Jen and I leaned back heavily.
“Go ahead,” I waved to Jen. “You can say it.”
She cocked her head. “I told you so?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“I’m sorry, David.” Jen reached out an patted my knee. “I wish I hadn’t been right.”
“No… it’s okay. You were right. My dad was right.”
Kevin chimed in. “So what’s going to happen now? You need to crash here for a bit?”
“No. I think we’ll be okay. It’s not like Cherys and I are breaking up per se. Officially, we were never together. We’re just confirming that she and Danielle are together and I’m just the roommate.”
“Does that mean you and Cherys are going to stop fucking?” Kevin asked in a serious voice.
A sly smile slid across my lips as I mumbled, “Well…”
“Man-slut!” Kevin spat good-naturedly.
But just as soon as I started to feel happy, the other serious issue came crashing down around me.
As my shoulders sagged, Jen was instantly on alert. “What?”
I sighed and said, “Amber’s back.”
“Hi gorgeous… Hi Dani…” I said as I came through the door. It had been a week since I moved back into my own room. I won’t say that it was the worst week of my life or anything, but being separated off from my roommates after months of wonderful togetherness wasn’t exactly pleasant.
Plus, the lethargy that had been dogging me the last five workdays still weighed heavily on my shoulders. One of my projects had gotten off-track and everyone was working overtime to catch up. And even when I had a free moment, my thoughts inevitably drifted back to Amber and I would throw myself back into my work to distract myself.
Unfortunately, for all their psychological insight, Kevin and Jen didn’t have any workable solutions for me and Amber. They cautioned me to be careful and make sure I had my emotions under control before I seriously considered how to approach any new relationship. And they offered a sounding board for me to vent my frustrations over the situation. But that kind of help only went so far.
As a result, I’d been wound up tighter than anything for the past week and my brain was seriously hurting.
As I came through the door and said hello to the girls, Cherys and Danielle said their greetings in return from their spot on the couch. The two beautiful young women cuddled together in front of the TV while my sister rubbed her girlfriend’s belly. Danielle called out, “There’s a plate for you in the fridge.” She started to move off the couch.
“Don’t get up. I can handle it,” I told her.
Once nuked, I brought my plate to an armchair and watched TV with the girls. Every now and again, my gaze would flicker over to them, scantily clad in comfortable pajamas. The garments were designed to be comfortable, not titillating. And yet, there was no hiding the fact that neither wore a bra beneath the thin cotton. And with the recent warm weather, both outfits were suitably brief.
After screwing both girls almost at whim for the past few months, going an entire week without getting laid had felt like a prison sentence. But internally, I quashed my feelings. It wasn’t my place to initiate. The girls had their trust issues to work out with each other. They had to firmly establish themselves as a solid couple without me once again before their relationship could handle outside influences.
Besides, as the resident fuck-buddy, I was at their beck and call, not the other way around.
At the end of the night, I said my goodnights and stepped into the shower. The hot water was a wonder at soothing my aching muscles, but even that only went so far. And so when I went to bed early, I found myself staring at the ceiling, lost in the abyss of my own melancholy.
I heard Cherys and Danielle puttering around outside, the toilet flushing and the shower running as they went about their nightly rituals together. They still had each other. But I was on the outside again.
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