I knew she had issues, specifically with touching. It was obvious that she went out of her way to cover herself in public. She wore baggy pants and long sleeve shirts in the middle of spring. In summer she ventured to wearing capris. I enjoyed watching her bask in the thrill of showing off her ankles. She looked lively for once.
I would just stare at those ankles and wonder what the rest her legs looked like. My line of sight drifted up her body, outlining her silhouette under those jeans and graphic tee shirts. Her hair spilled over her shoulders in tight curls. If she thought she was hiding her face, she was only making herself more appealing. She'd never actually cover her face. She would always tuck it behind her ear while she drew, revealing that secret grin only those closest to her were allowed to see.
I let my imagination get the best of me and wondered how that red hair would look against her freckled pale bare back.
Then my eyes met hers. She caught me staring at her with want. Her cheeks blushed red. She pulled up a blanket lying over the sofa to cover her body as though she were naked. I looked away, feeling like a leech. She changed in the next few minutes, coming back to wearing her pants. She never wore capris again.
That one was my fault.
I was surprised that she had come back in the room at all. After thirty minutes, she was back on the sofa with that smile I adored and those blushing freckles that made me melt.
If there was one thing I learned about her, it was how patient she really could be. The woman was a queen at it. Sometimes I wondered if she was doing it to frustrate me but then I'd remember that she's not like that. She had her ways of distracting me. She knew what I needed from her, since physical contact was out of the question for now.
One thing did bother me about all this, aside from the lack of physical contact. It was one thing I couldn't ignore much longer. Something was going, or had gone on, to drive her to this. I didn't want to know about her past, but I needed to know. I would keep hurting her if I didn't understand and she would keep getting hurt if she didn't let me help her.
Asking her questions and prying her wasn't going to work. I'd already done that in the past and she shut herself away from me for a frustrating week. It wasn't a punishment to me but more like a recovery period for her.
Whatever happened to her in her past messed her up pretty good.
I told her that's what I was here for, to be her support, but she still hesitated telling me anything. It made me wonder if she even trusted me at all or did she just consider me as another bag of flesh ready to jump her bones?
I wasn't that. I wasn't just another guy.
I was hers and she was supposed to be mine.
It started when we were ice-skating. She always seemed more alive in the winter, now having an excuse to wear layers and layers of clothing without getting weird questions that would make her shut down completely. By that time we were on hand holding terms. I felt like a middle schooler with the facade of a full grown man and a job. She knew how to test my patience and I let her. I wanted to prove to her I was more.
I wanted her to know that I wanted all of her, not just her skin. Not just her body.
"I still suck at this," she said as she wobbled, gripping my hand tightly in hers. She used me for support as she took to the ice like Bambi. I found it adorable. She found it frustrating. "Who ever thought it was a good idea to put sharp blades on your feet and slide across-"
She slipped backwards with great speed. I let go of her hand quick enough to sweep my arm around the small of her back and wrap the other one around her front. I pulled her up against my chest for stability as she grounded her feet again. "You alright?" I asked.
The fact that she didn't like being touched wasn't even at the forefront of my mind at that point. I was just glad she hadn't smacked her head against the ice and bled out.
Her hair flew in my face when the wind picked up and I inhaled the scent of her cucumber-melon shampoo. Her neck was so close to my lips. I could have kissed it just to feel what her skin was like but I didn't. I refrained.
She pushed off my chest and created three feet of distance between us. All the while she gave me a glare like I was the one that had caused her to slip in the first place. It hit me then that maybe I'd held onto her for a little too long, lost in the idea of just holding her.
"I'm fine," she said, in a tone that she used when she was about to retreat. She turned her back to me. "I gotta... I'll be right back." She skated away from me, towards the bathrooms.
If it weren't a public area I would have followed her into those bathrooms. Other ladies were walking in and out and I would have only gotten thrown out. But I would have made sure she wasn't crying and if she was I would have tried to make her feel better. Instead, all I could do was sit on the bleachers and wait for her to come back out, which took an agonizing twenty minutes. What could she be doing in there?
She emerged with red splotches on her face from crying.
A pit in my stomach grew, I had done that to her.
No, not me. Someone, something else had done this to her. What was I supposed to do? Let her fall? No. That's not how it works. I was supposed to catch her when she falls. But somehow, knowing this only made things worse. I wanted to reach out and take her into my arms. I wanted to hold her and apologize to her for hurting her. If I could have run my fingers through her hair and massaged her head into relaxation, God as my witness, I would have. But so much as showing my urge to do that would have only made things worse.
Instead she reached out, took my hand and pulled me to a stand.
"I'm sorry," I said. I didn't want to lose her, not now. Her holding my hand was a good sign though. It meant I didn't scare her, right?
"You shouldn't be," she replied in a whisper. "I... I have something to tell you." Her face reddened and tears graced her eyes. "Can we talk somewhere else?"
I nodded and followed her to where ever her hand took me, which so happened to be to the side of the building where there wasn't a crowd. We were alone. She let go then and leaned her back against the wall. She crossed her arms in front of herself, shutting herself away from me like she always did. "You need to know what I've done. Why I don't let you touch me. It's... it's not fair to you."
When she paused in thought for a good few minutes I said, "I'm listening."
Her face scrunched up and she started to cry again. "This is so embarrassing. You're going to leave me when I tell you." She swallowed back another set of tears. My throat caught and I shook my head.
"Tell me anyways," the words left my lips before I could stop them. "If I ever left you, I never deserved you." I added in hopes that I didn't sound like I was planning on leaving her. That was far from any of my priorities.
It worked. She opened up and started bluntly and quickly like a band aid. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she told me about a dark childhood that I never knew about, things that no child should have ever had to go through.
No wonder she never let me touch her. By the time she was finished, the phrase 'you need to know what I've done' stuck in my head.
She still thought this was all her doing. It made me sick in the stomach to think this entire time she thought it was all her fault. I tightened my fists by my side.
"Who?" I said. "Who did it? I swear I'll kill him." She retreated again, burying her face in her hands. I reached up and peeled her hands from her face. "I'm sorry babe, please don't do that. Don't hide."
"I don't want to hide from you," she said, keeping her hands in mine. "But you don't know how it feels. It's already been dealt with but... it's going to take time. I'm really not worth the time. I'm not worth the wait." She squeezed out another tear. I raised a hand to her cheek, slowly, so she knew it was coming and had time to object.
She trembled, more tears rolled down her cheeks. My palm hovered inches from her face. I started to pull back. She reached up and laid a hand over mine, pressing it against her cheek. For the first time I felt her soft skin beneath my palm. I wiped away the wetness of her cheeks with my thumb. "You're going to have to stop saying bad things about my girlfriend."
The worried streaks across her face faded and she cracked a grin.
Mature content filter on for the subject matter. It's about abuse. There is no abuse being performed in the story though.
Don't have much to say about this one y'all. Thanks for reading.
And yes my dear watchers, I posted this earlier, deleted it, and then re-posted it. I'm that fickle.
This story and characters belong to me. No taking them... This should be redundant by now, but copying and pasting even if you give credit without my permission is still stealing, so don't do it.
Thank you *DailyLitDeviations for featuring this as your pick of the day! Words cannot describe how much it means to me that you've chosen this piece. Everyone, please take time to visit their page and read the other deviations featured in this news article![link]
I'm a sucker for a guy that can make a girl stop crying with a joke. It's a quality I love reading because that's how people really are.
Now to the serious bits. Did you do research for your female character? Or did you just wing it?
I ask because you've written this in a way very different from other abuse fiction I've read. It sounds like you actually spoke with someone that suffered from abuse as a child and has learned to live with it. Even if that life is somewhat segmented.
I still, to this day, don't like people spontaneously touching me. Jesse and my cousin are pretty much the only one's that can get away with it.
It's honestly remarkable how you've captured this woman's life and she's certainly found her prince charming.
Oh mai. Em, this was great. I haven't read something that pulled me into a realistic situation like that in a long while.
The lay out was perfect. You introduced information so smoothly. And the patience of this man. Oy. I really fell in love with the characters, but I was satisfied with the end even if I wanted more. I hope they stay together. I hope she gets better.
You must do as I command, and tell which pieces to read every few days when you don't submit. I mean it.
i'm really not sure what to say, as i am so often inarticulate. but i think, ultimately, that this is very beautiful. i have issues with trust, not quite like this, but i found her to be really relatable. being told the story through her boyfriends eyes is great as it keeps the mystery of her past somewhat out of reach. if that makes any sense. i'm talking rubbish already, but i just wanted to say i adored it. congrats on your well deserved dld = )
Your words are more than articulated. Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me when someone can understand this and take it for what it's worth. I often feel like you though, it's difficult to explain just how much it touches me when you say such kind words as these.
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More