Horizons Ch. 06: Simmering Inferno Pt. 01
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Another installment of Jody and Ellie.
Please read Slow Burn, Stolen Moments, Smoldering Fire then parts 1 and 2 of Smoke Effects then Finding Ellie (in that order) to catch up with their story.
I decided to publish this in 2 parts, mainly because I’m not done writing it and I know people are waiting to find out what happens ( as am I ). think of this as slow burn 2. Follow me so you’ll be notified when I publish.
As always, a like and comment would be excellent.
I’m working on the last piece of their story so please comment.
The mud squished beneath my boots as I took in the vista before me. Spring had sprung and the trees in the distance were more green than bare now. I had made it through Winter. The holidays were brutal, but somehow I had made it through, alone. Today was the first day I had allowed myself to venture into the woods since the day I almost didn’t come out alive. So far, I was doing better with it than I thought I would. I sat down on a mostly dry rock and let the sun warm me and the sounds around me fill me up. I sighed deeply. I had missed this more than I realized.
The Spring race series was ramping up and Jessie and Timmy had both made me promise to go to half the races. I figured if I could make it through my first hike in more than half a year, maybe I could face whomever I might see at a race. The kids and I had settled into a good routine and life within our new normal was going forward. Work was work, Jessie and her classmates had serious cases of ‘senioritis’ beginning and the next couple months until graduation would be interesting. I was putting on my best ‘I’m doing fine’ face most of the time.
My time at home alone was quiet. I watched movies, read books and I had recently started taking a few college classes online to work on a second master’s degree. It helped fill up some of my time, was enough of a distraction to help me get through the long days and nights. I got up and made my way down the trail. I hadn’t told the kids I was doing this; I didn’t want them worried. Now I could tell them I made it up and down fine.
It was their weekend home and except for Timmy having practice we had no real plans, that I knew of anyways. They had both been asleep when I left and as I walked in, I could hear them talking in the kitchen.
“Hey Mom.” Jessie said as I walked into the kitchen. Her face fell a little when she noticed my previously abandoned hiking boots in my hands.
“Jes, it’s okay. I went up and I came down. I needed to do this. It’s been long enough.”
She took a deep breath and came over and gave me a hug. I still hated she felt she had to take care of me ever, but I was grateful for the hug. I got so few of them anymore.
“So, Mom, tomorrow 2pm the Sawyer’s house. We’re bringing a dessert.” Timmy was talking but I had no idea what he meant.
“The season kick off party. I told you weeks ago. Didn’t I? Crap, did I? I thought I did. Dad’s gone all weekend, so I need you to bring me. And you gotta stay. All the families are.”
Jessie looked at me like I might break right in front of her. I wasn’t okay with that.
“Yeah buddy, I remember now. Yep I’ll make some cookies.” I had no idea if he had told me, maybe he had, and I simply tuned it out.
Timmy had no idea what Jody and I once were. He just knew his best friend’s mom and his mom weren’t best friends anymore. He never asked me what happened, I wasn’t sure if Jessie made up a story for him or if Madi had said something to him. I didn’t think I wanted to know. Neither Timmy nor Jessie ever spoke of Jody anymore.
“Sweet. Okay Joe is picking me up like 5 minutes I need to get my gear ready. I’ll be home in a few hours.” And off he went.
“Do you want me to bring him Mom?”
“No Jes, like you said months ago, I have to get back in the world. I’ll be fine. Wanna come to the store with me to get the stuff to make the cookies?” She agreed and off we went. It was nice to spend the time with her. We made the cookies and Timmy came home and she left to be with her friends. I spent the night writing a paper for one of my classes and was in bed early. I was always in bed early now.
I could feel her heat reach me, her scent filled my nostrils. We were both naked. She was on my lap, her knees on either side of me. She offered me her breasts. My mouth took in her nipple, I held it with my teeth, used my tongue to tease the tip. Her back arched as my fingers trailed down her spine. My tongue continued to tease her nipples.
She slowly began rocking her hips, shifted so her wet pussy was rubbing along my thigh. The slickness was growing on my skin. My tongue was darting from nipple to nipple, leaving it’s own wet traces. I buried my face in the valley between her breasts, my hands on her ass, rocking with her hips. I moved my hands to her hips. She was still gliding along my thigh, putting more downward pressure into it with every sway.
I laid flat, lifted and bent the bahis firmaları leg she wasn’t on, exposing my throbbing clit to her. She inched her way towards my middle, her grinding becoming more frantic. Our juices began to mix as she held on to my bent knee and ground her clit into mine. Every few passes sent shock waves through my body as our clits collided.
She leaned down. Kissed my nipples, then me. Whispered, “I love you. Forever and always.” Then faded away.
I woke in a cold sweat. I checked my watch, 3am. I hadn’t had a dream about her in weeks. In the beginning I had them every night but in the months since, they had dwindled down significantly. I could almost taste her on my lips after that dream. I took my blanket into my arms and willed myself back to sleep. The pit in my stomach that had reopened with that dream wouldn’t go away.
I managed a few more restless hours before giving up and going upstairs for coffee. I filled the morning with laundry and cleaning and before long Timmy was telling me he loaded his bike on the rack and it was almost time to leave. I didn’t even know who would be there, but my anxiety level was rising with every mile as we drove across town.
We were greeted by Kat as we walked in through the garage. I brought the cookies in to the kitchen and got a few hugs from the various team moms I knew. I hadn’t seen most of them in many months. I looked around and saw most of the kids on the team, including Madi. Kat offered me an adult drink, I opted for a water. I hadn’t had anything to drink since the night that tore my life apart.
I awkwardly stood around the kitchen, listening to the kids and moms and their conversations. It seemed the dads and coaches were all out on the deck. I started to relax and stepped up into the conversations. Everyone was asking what I had been up to since last time they saw me. I knew they really meant since my marriage went up in flames, but I didn’t call them out on that.
I was telling them all about work and how I was back in school part time. That life was moving on when I heard her voice. She was walking in through the garage, talking to someone. I froze for a second, shifted myself so I was semi hidden by Kat and the other moms. I could feel her before I could see her.
She was carrying cupcakes when she came into my view. Her hair was longer, it had been shorter last time I had seen her in the Fall. She hadn’t spotted me yet. I didn’t want her to. There was no where for me to go though. I stayed trapped between Kat and refrigerator. My heart rate jumped up and I was certain my face was flushed. I wondered briefly what these moms thought. They all knew Jody and I as best friends, or at least that we were for awhile. I was wishing I had let Jessie just bring him.
New conversations started up around me. I stayed as hidden as I could in a room full of people. I wasn’t sure if she had seen me, but I couldn’t imagine that she hadn’t. I could hear her voice cutting in every once in awhile. I was half listening to the other moms but not joining any conversations. I tried to keep her in my peripheral. To be able to move myself if and when needed. I had no desire to make any part of her life harder than I already had. I also knew I couldn’t keep letting my son down by not showing up, so I was stuck.
James came in from the deck and told everyone the grilled food would be ready in 10 minutes. Kat and a few of the other moms started moving and getting all the side dishes set up and ready. I found myself exposed in the kitchen as the crowd around me thinned out. There was no hiding now. We locked eyes for a brief moment then Jody turned and went to help get the food set up. No part of me was capable of being that close to her so I didn’t go help.
Maybe we would be able to just orbit around each other and pretend. Maybe.
I needed to compose myself and made my way to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and went back out into the fray of people. I positioned myself off to the side. I was here but I wasn’t really a part of the activities.
“Did you get food Ellie?”
I turned towards the voice and saw Joyce, one of the kid’s mom.
“Um, no I was waiting till the line died down.”
“You may wanna get some before the kids all decide they need seconds and there’s nothing left.”
I gave her a little laugh and shook my head yes. I didn’t have much of an appetite, hadn’t really in months but especially today. I’m not much of a potluck person but I knew all these people and had no reason to not trust their food. I joined the end of the line and put a little food on a plate then made my way into the perimeter of the room, almost in the living room.
Everyone ate and laughed and talked. Desserts went around and I had managed to stay out of the way, barely seen by anyone. Kat announced it was time to watch the slide show they had set up. Since I was already basically in the living room, I just shifted myself fully inside and stayed in the back while the team filled up the floor kaçak iddaa in front of the TV. The adults all took up the rest of the space in the room, I took a few steps back to give them more room. I stayed hyper focused on the television, tuning out the rest of the world.
The slide shows started, and I was enjoying seeing the pictures, some from races I hadn’t gone to. Sprinkled in were pictures of the parents at the races and other events and up popped one of Jody and I. We looked so happy. It was gone almost as quickly as it had appeared. I had to turn my head away from the TV and take a deep breath. That’s when I noticed she was standing only a few feet to my right. I was hit with an overwhelming need to leave the room.
I weaved my way out of the living room, going the long way to avoid having to move into her space. I went into the fridge and grabbed a water then made my way outside. I needed air. I needed to not be there. I went out and sat down at the end of the driveway where they had two Adirondack chairs. I could feel my chest getting tighter and I tried to will myself to not have a panic attack. Not here, not now.
I was taking deep breaths to calm my body when I heard footsteps. I didn’t turn my head, I figured it was likely Kat. She was the overbearing but super protective type of person. I got my breathing regulated as I saw a figure sit in the empty chair next to me.
“You don’t have to always hide or run away from me, Ellie.” Her voice sliced through me.
What was she saying? Yes, I did have to. I moved to get up.
“Ellie don’t. Look at me. Let me talk.”
I couldn’t look at her. I kept getting up and walked back inside. I heard her follow me inside, but I went right to where Timmy was with his friends.
“Mom, there you are. We are gonna go ride okay?”
Crap. I didn’t want to be here any longer. “Think someone can bring you home? I have schoolwork I should get done.”
Just as I was asking him Kat came over and said either her or James would bring Timmy home after the ride. I thanked her, she gave me a quick hug and a ‘don’t be a stranger’ and then I left for my vehicle.
I got inside and shut the door. I turned the music on and took a few deep breaths. There was a knock on my window. I turned and it was Jody. Why was she doing this. She motioned for me to roll it down. I shook my head no and put the car in drive. I pulled away slowly, left her standing there. The tears started right away.
I didn’t understand why she was doing this. I couldn’t talk to her. I couldn’t look at her without reliving everything I had done to fuck it up with her. There was never going to be a way for us to inhabit the same area. I was going to have to let my son down, again.
I got home and Jessie could tell I had been crying.
“Jes, just let me be. I’m going to my room. Let me know when your brother gets home please.”
I crawl into my bed and cried myself to sleep.
I woke up a few hours later. It was only 9pm. I got up and started walking to the living room when I heard Jessie talking to someone. I did not want to deal with her friends tonight.
“She’s sleeping. I think. She had been crying when she got here. What happened? You said you were just going to try to get her to talk to you. No. No. Jody it’s been months. She’s better in some ways and not in others. Not really. I know. She won’t listen to me. I don’t think you should. I don’t want to worry about her every time she goes for a walk or is home alone again.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Were they in touch all this time? I was stupid to think otherwise I was realizing. I kept walking past her room, not bothering to be quiet. I heard her door open behind me.
I turned to her, “yes.” I knew she knew I had heard her. I could tell by the look in her eyes.
“Timmy texted. They were going for Froyo then he’ll be home.”
“Okay.” I had no other words tonight. I went and got myself something to eat and then looked for a Tylenol pm. I found 1. Finding pills in this house wasn’t an easy task since the day I swallowed almost a whole bottle on the trail. I just wanted to be able to go back to sleep.
“That’s CRAP Mom. You promised me you would go to half the races. You didn’t go last week you have to come this week.”
I had promised and I felt like shit telling him I wasn’t going. He wasn’t buying the excuse I gave him about me having schoolwork to do.
“I think it’s time you and Jody figure out how the hell to exist in the same space Mom. This is bullshit. I don’t know what the fuck happened with you two and I don’t care.” I watched as Jessie shot him a look.” No Jes, I’m done walking on eggs shells around it. I’m sick of it being why you are not there for me, Mom. You didn’t die like you wanted to that day, but you may as well have with how detached you always are.” His words hit me like a slap across the face.
I stood there, unmoving as he walked out of the house. Joe was kaçak bahis in the driveway, was his stand in parent as well as coach for the race.
Jessie came over, looked me in the eyes and said, “You have to forgive yourself Mom, before your guilt ruins what’s left of this family. I’m going to his race. You can come with me or you can stay here alone, and I can wonder what I’m gonna come home to. Your choice.”
I closed my eyes. Their words stung but they were not wrong. Forgiving myself was not going to happen but I had to show up for my kids better. I took an extra CBD, grabbed my purse and went outside hoping Jessie hadn’t left. She was sitting in the driver’s seat of my vehicle. I climbed in the passenger side giving her a look.
“Hey, heated seats win over my rust bucket every time.”
I smiled at her a little and settled in. It was a 2-hour drive and I was glad I didn’t have to do the driving.
I had successfully avoided being near Jody for almost the whole day. We circled around each other without incident. I was wondering if Jessie or Timmy had said something to her but honestly, I didn’t care. I was happy to watch the race. It was almost time for the podiums and Timmy had come in 3rd. I was glad I made it to this race to see him get his medal. Everyone was over watching the rest of the age groups get their medals, I was waiting until it was time for Timmy.
I heard a voice behind me, “El. Please don’t leave. Please. You don’t even need to turn around, just let me talk for a second. Please.”
I was frozen in place. My only exit was behind me and I couldn’t turn to face her never mind walk by her.
“I hate what happened. I wake up every day and wish I could go back in time and see you were spiraling down. I missed the signs. I missed them and it all went to hell because I missed them.”
I slowly turned around, tears pooling in my eyes. “Stop. None of what happened is because you missed anything. I did this. I fucked up everything. I can’t change it.” The tears started to fall as I spoke.
“I miss you Ellie. I miss my best friend.”
“Stop. Please. “
She started to take a step towards me, and I instinctively backed up, hitting a chair, jamming the arm of it into my leg and tipping it over, me going down with it. “Fuck!” My leg was throbbing as I was splayed out on the ground.
Jody came towards me with her hand out. “I’m fine. I don’t need your help.” I hissed. I was in pain and embarrassed. I tried to untangle myself from the chair and get up, unsuccessfully.
“Stop being stubborn Ellie. Let me help you.” She put her hand out again.
I let her help me up and grabbed the back of my thigh. I was going to have a bruise if I didn’t already.
“Can you walk okay? I think Timmy’s group is soon.”
“I’m fine.” I said as I started to limp over to the podiums.
“Ellie. I don’t hate you. Stop hating yourself.” She walked by me and joined Madi in the crowd.
I made my way to Jessie who gave me a questioning look when she noticed I was limping. I didn’t respond and watched as Timmy’s name was called and he stood on the podium. He was so happy. I was proud of him and managed a full real smile, the first in a long time.
“Come on let’s get a picture with him.” Jessie pulled me towards Timmy.
“Oww. Give me a second Jessie.” I said as I made my way slowly over to where Timmy was. By the time I got there the whole team was around him, and the parents.
“Give me your phone, I’ll take a picture of you 3.” Kat said as she took my phone out of my hands. She took a few pictures and I said thank you.
We got done and Timmy took off to get his gear loaded into Joe’s truck and Jessie and I headed to my vehicle. I was still limping a little and Jessie was ahead of me when I felt a hand on my arm. I turned and saw Jody. What now?
“Unblock my number Ellie. Please.” She slowed down only enough to say it and then kept going past me. I watched her climb into her Jeep as I made my way to my Kia.
I climbed in the passenger seat and Jessie asked me what I happened to my leg. I didn’t want to tell her the whole story, so I just told her I tripped over the chair.
It had been a week since the race. I hadn’t unblocked Jody’s number. I contemplated it every time I picked my phone up. There was no race this week, so I planned to go hiking. There was a segment of the Appalachian Trail I was itching to tackle. Jessie made me promise to share my location and check in, often. I hoped we would get to a point soon where she didn’t worry about me.
I packed up my bag, grabbed my boots and headed out. The parking near the trailhead was empty except for me. This was the longest hike I had planned to do since I had allowed myself back in the woods. I cinched up my bag and headed in.
A little more than 4 hours later I had reached my destination. I sat down, opened my bag and took out the lunch I had packed. I texted Jessie before I started eating to let her know I had reached my turn around point. My ultimate goal is to do a longer segment that requires an overnight but that was something for the future, when I trusted myself more. For now, I would be staying here for awhile writing.
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