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I need guidance and opinions!

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    leonaembers
    Participant

    I’ve only been writing for two day. Here’s my Rough draft, and I do mean ROUGH. Please let me know how it’s going?

    CHAPTER ONE

    Again, I wake up to an empty bed. My chest aches and tears blur my vision before rolling down my cheeks. How did we get this way? Will things ever go back to what they were before? The questions floating around with no answers in sight. I take a deep breath to ward off the tears, throw off the covers and head to the bathroom.

    I wipe the fog off the mirror and take in my morning appearance. My long dark brown hair was a tangled mess, like I’d tossed and turned all night. I splashed water on my face and scrubbed it clean. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I feel like I’m looking at a stranger. I lean close to the mirror, widened my eyes and stare at them. My bloodshot green eyes have a honey brown starburst around the pupil. I back up and study my features. I have olive skin, full lips, a narrow straight nose and high cheek bones. My jaw is a little wide for a girl. I see myself every day, but never feel connected to the person in the mirror, no matter how hard I study her. I shed my clothes and get dressed for work.

    On my way out the door, I dropped my phone, and it slides across the floor under the coffee table. With a huff, I awkwardly got on my hands and knees and reached for my phone. Getting down on all fours in a pencil skirt is not an easy feat. I snatched my phone and turned around to get up only to be knocked over by a large…. Dog? Screaming at the surprise, I start to laugh when he starts licking me all over. And just as quickly as he arrived, he was gone. I looked down at my outfit covered in fur and what I can only assume to be slobber.

    “I’m so sorry, are you all right? He just ran out the door. Let me help you up.” I don’t even get a chance to look at the stranger talking to me when a hard arm wraps around my body, and I’m lifted into standing as if I weigh nothing at all. The arm disappears, and I’m left a little wobbly on my heels. I inhale to respond, but when I looked up into his dark brown eyes, my breath catches in my throat. He stares at me wide-eyed with concern. His tongue slips out to wet his full bottom lip, and my eyes get caught there. I realize I haven’t answered him.

    “I, uh, Yes, I’m all right.” I realize I’m staring at his mouth and suddenly I don’t know where to look. He’s holding his dog’s collar with one hand, and his other hand is being held up in the space between us like he’s ready to catch me if I fall. I smile with questions in my eyes when he blurts out,

    “I’m moving in next door. I’m sorry! I guess I didn’t close the door all the way.”

    I look past him out the window and sure enough see a moving truck. This gorgeous man will my neighbor. Suddenly I’m giddy. I say nothing, just smile. Then my face split in two with a wide grin. Going by how he’s looking at me right now; a tilt of his head and furrowed eyebrows, I must look like a loon. I can’t remember my last genuine smile.

    “Are you okay?” He asks again.

    “Yes, I’m good.”

    For a moment my heart forgets to ache. For a moment, nothing exists but this gorgeous man and his dog. With a start remember work. I’m going to be late. I ripped my eyes away from his and rush out “Everything is fine. I love dogs! But I’m late, and you need to go.” I shove him towards the door and slam it behind him. What has gotten into me! Who IS that? Next door? He must think I’m a complete spaz. Why do I even care?

    I fight the Houston traffic and reach the office just in time for my first meeting. “Hello, Mrs. Grayson. Your first client, Mr. Sullivan, is waiting in the conference room.” My assistance informs me. “Thank you, Chris. Has he been here long?” “No, ma’am, he just arrived not five minutes ago.” I make my way to the conference room and push the glass door open. “Mr. Sullivan, thank you for meeting with me. Tell me, what does success look like to you?”

    After work, I fill the bath and open a bottle of wine. I desperately need to relax all the tension in my body. Working as a marketing consultant can be stressful and draining, but I’m thankful to have the distraction all the same. I sigh with pleasure as I relax in the hot water. My body instantly melts, and I close my eyes. Images of the man next door begin to invade the void behind my lids. I wonder when I’ll see him again. I ruminate of various excuses to knock on his door until my fingertips prune. Begrudgingly, I forced myself out of the warm water. I dry off and brace myself for the sudden temperature change when I open the bathroom door. The cold air hits my skin, causing a sharp inhale and goosebumps all over.

    I pad to my room and throw on some lounge pants and a T-shirt. I head to the kitchen to find something to eat when I hear a knock at my door.

    Peering out the window, I see Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome from next door. With a deep breath to calm my racing heart, I crack the door open. When our eyes meet my skin warms with a pleasant tingle that flows over my body and lands at my core. I squeeze my legs together trying to hold on to it, but it fades like a whisper swept off by the wind. I catch him glance down and notice my hard nipples. He shifts his weight to the other foot and clears his throat. He looks behind him, rubbing the back of his neck. His longish hair falls over his eyes. With a twitch of a smile, “I, uh, wanted to check on you. No damage I hope.”

    I cross my arms over my chest covering my protruding nipples. “I’m fine, really. It’s really not a big deal. I was caught off guard is all.”

    “That’s great to hear. I’m Garrett.” I stare stupidly. “And… you are?” He hedges. “I’m Ammerly.” I say too quickly. “Ammerly.” He said in a voice just above a whisper. He tilts his head, with the sexiest smile I’d ever seen, he holds his hand out. “Nice to make your acquaintance, Ammerly.” Without breaking eye contact, my hand disappears into his.

    That brief moment of contact created a pull within me as if we are suddenly tethered together by an invisible rope. I wondered if he feels it too. He takes a step towards me, and my heart skips a beat. I raise my hand to my throat. What is he doing? Anticipation is bursting within me. Mid-step, he stops. The smile falls from his face as he says, “I better get back to unpacking. I’ll see you around.” He leaves without a second glance. I can’t figure out what the hell just happened. What made him leave so abruptly? Was he going to kiss me and thought better of it? Of course not! We don’t even know each other. I stood there a moment, trying to catch up with the sudden change of course.

    In a daze, I shut the door. I skip the kitchen and head to the living room. I turn on the T.V. but I’m not paying attention to any of it. I’m stuck thinking about the man next door. His quick exit plays over and over in my mind, but I can’t make heads or tails of it. Finally, I give up and head to bed.

    I enter my bedroom where my reality comes crashing all around me. I’m reminded to ache. The panic sets in. The quiet of the house suddenly sounds too loud. My heart pounds hard against my chest and my stomach caves in. All I can hear is the screaming silence. I turn on some soft music, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. I allow the music to fill the emptiness in the air. I crawl into my cold, empty bed, and once again, cry myself to sleep.

    CHAPTER TWO

    The next morning I open my eyes and stare at the empty space beside me. My chest aches, but I don’t cry. My mind is distracted with thoughts of Garrett. I crawl out of bed and head to the kitchen. I find my mug and the already brewed coffee. I pour a cup and head to the porch. It’s fall, my favorite time of the year. The air is damp and smells of decaying leaves and earth. The wind swirls around me bringing a hint of burning wood. I inhale deeply and take in the comfort wrapping around me.

    In the corner of my vision, I see movement. I look over to find Garrett, shirtless, standing on his porch with his arms crossed over his chest. He is muscular, but not bulky, with broad shoulders and a six-pack. He’s tan like he spends a lot of time outdoors. Today he has his hair tied back, making him appear less feral. When he turns his head and catches me staring my cheeks warm. When our eyes connect my heart skips a beat. With a slight scowl, he turns and goes inside.

    Jeez, what’s his problem? A moment later he reappears, this time wearing a shirt, with his dog in tow. His dog notices me and begins to tug on his leash stepping in my direction. Garrett reluctantly steps forward. I stand up stepping off the porch to greet them half way. “What’s his name?” I ask, bending down to say hello to the dog. “Breakfast.” He deadpans. “Breakfast?” I asked, confused. Is he inviting me to eat breakfast with him?

    “Yeah, his name is Breakfast.”

    With a giggle, I give Garrett a questioning look. “I can’t believe you named your dog Breakfast. How’s you come up with that?”

    I grab both of his ears and scratch causing Breakfast to open his mouth with a doggie smile, drool sliding to the ground. He’s white except for a splash of brown around his left eye and ear. He’s big and muscular like his owner.

    “I was driving one morning to grab some breakfast, and he was in the road. I nearly ran him over. I couldn’t just leave him there. I3nstead of getting breakfast I got a dog and named him Breakfast.”

    I’m talking gibberish to Breakfast when I hear him chuff a laugh. A little embarrassed I straighten myself. I catch Garrett eyeing my breasts, and I’m suddenly aware I’m not wearing a bra. Screw it, let him look. I want him to look. I resist the urge to cross my arms.

    I clear my throat, “What kind of dog is he?”

    “He’s an American Bulldog according to the vet.”

    A moment of awkward silence passes by before I ask “How’s moving going?”

    “Slowly but surely it’s coming together. Where’s your husband?”

    Surprised, my eyes widen. How does he know I’m married?

    Reading my face, he says, “You’re wearing a wedding ring.” He nods towards my hand.

    “Oh, I guess at work.”

    “You aren’t sure?”

    “Yes, of course, I’m sure. He’s been working a lot.” I’m not sure, but I’m not going to tell him that. I haven’t seen him in days. He comes home after I’ve gone to sleep and leaves before I wake up. The only evidence he’s been home at all is the brewed coffee I find every morning and the fogged mirror in the bathroom. I turn the subject back on him, “Do you need any help?” He considers for a moment and stretches his answer, “Suuuure.” Like he isn’t sure at all. “Let me change, and I’ll come over.”

    Tossing open my closet I pull out a Grateful Dead T-shirt with dancing bears on it. I slip on a bra and pull the shirt over my head. I find some old distressed jeans to wear. I throw my hair into a messy bun and slip on some classic one stars.

    When I knock on the door, I hear Breakfast bark and scratch at the door. Garrett opens the door with a “Hey, come on in.” I look around and take in his house full of boxes, some unopened, some empty.

    “Where will I be most useful?”

    “Eh, you can help with the kitchen. Being able to make food would be a godsend.”

    I follow him into the kitchen and spot boxes labeled “kitchen” sitting on the counters and on the floor. “OK, I’ve got this.” He flashes a tight smile without saying anything and walks away. He doesn’t say much, does he? As I start to open the first box, I hear music. It’s upbeat and puts me in the mood to move. We don’t say much to each other while we work. I can see him through the breakfast bar though. After a few stolen glances at each other, I can’t stop smiling. Is this considered flirting?

    I grab some plates and reach up to place them in the cupboard when I feel him behind me. He’s so close I can feel his warmth against my back. He stretches above me to place the bowls. I take a small inhale when he moves away. I turn back to the box and grab cups. He does the same. Side by side we begin to put them away. The back of my hand skims the back of his causing butterflies to swarm my belly. I feel like a teenager meeting my first crush. We do this dance around the kitchen, and I feel every touch like the lick of a flame. When there’s nothing left to put away, I face him. He licks his bottom lip, and I bite mine. I imagine him wrapping his hand around to the back of my head to pull me into a kiss. He looks away and says “Thanks for the help, Ammerly. I’ve got from here.” Disappointed, I take my cue to leave and head towards the door. “Anytime. I guess I’ll see you later?” Clipped he says, “Yeah, sure.”

    Jesus, I can’t keep up with his mood swings. He’s hot and cold. Whatever!

    CHAPTER 3

    I can’t stand the thought of going back to my empty house, so I get in my car and head to the fishing pier. I park my car and turn up the music to max volume. I watch the waves crash ashore and inhale the salt in the air. I feel the vibrations of the music and close my eyes mouthing City and Colour’s words….

    “How much would you bet that if I tried hard enough, I would spontaneously combust

    I wish I could disappear and run away from all of my fears. I think I’m comin’ undone.”

    NEW YEARS EVE 8 YEARS AGO

    SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS

    The first time I saw him, it was through the flames of a bonfire at the beach. Time stopped for just a instant. He was holding a red solo cup talking to a group of guys. My best friend, Piper, bumps into me and started to drunkenly whine loudly that she had to use the bathroom. We came with friends so neither of us had a car to drive back to the restrooms. “Pee in the water.” I suggested. “It’s too cold to go in the water!” She slurs. I look around for the girl we came with, but she’s nowhere in sight.

    “I can take you.” Says the man with a solo cup.

    “We don’t even know you.” Piper says suspiciously

    “Corben Grayson.” He says with a panty-dropping smile.

    “I’m Ammerly, this is Piper. I appreciate the offer, but…”

    “It’s no big deal. Come on.” He says cutting off my rejection. Piper trips over someone’s shoes, and Corben catches her before she face-plants into the sand. My gut wrenches with jealousy. You have no claim on him, Ammerly. Get a grip. He opens the back door for Piper. She plops in with a giggle. He shuts her door and opens the driver door. “You can sit up front if you want.” I take his offer and get in. It takes a little over 5 minutes to reach the restrooms, but no one says anything the entire time.

    We all climb out of the car and head in. I tell Piper to bend over the sink so I can splash some water on her face. “No more drinking, okay?” I plead. “Ok MOM!” She spits sarcastically. Rolling my eyes I push her to a stall. “Ammerly, I love you!” Smiling I return her sentiment.

    We meet Corban back at the car. This time Piper takes the front seat, so I climb into the back. We have small talk about who invited us to the bonfire. Surprisingly, we don’t have any mutual friends. He keeps looking at me through the rearview mirror, and I helplessly stare at him while we talk.

    When we get back to the fire, Piper screams, “Nick!” And clumbily jumps out of the car to meet her boyfriend. I feel some relief that he’s finally made it. I don’t have to babysit her anymore. “Don’t move.” Corban says as he opens his door. Before I can respond my door opens, and he’s telling me to scoot over. He crawls in beside me. “UH?” Is all I get out.

    “It’s loud out there. Do you mind if we hang out back here?” He asks.

    I can feel the excitement course through my veins. I shake my head a little, beaming. “It seems you’ve already made that decision for us.” Our eyes lock hard. “You don’t mind missing the party for awhile?” He asks. “No, not at all.” His hand brushes mine before he links his pinky with mine. “Pinky swear?” I erupt into laughter. We spend the whole night, pinkys locked, talking about the simple stuff. Turns out he came all the way to South Texas from Illinois for work. He made fun of me for pronouncing the S at the end of Illinois. I made fun of him for calling coke “pop.” The night seems to pass in the blink of the eye when we hear the countdown outside,

    “TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX…..”

    I look at Corben hopefully. Will he kiss me at midnight? Corben smiles and joins in quietly,

    “FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE!”

    Everyone outside roars, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

    Corban’s eyes are glued to mine when he says, “Happy New Year, Ammerly.” Even though he doesn’t kiss me, I’m still smiling. “Happy New Year, Corben.”

    All too soon the party dies down, and everyone is leaving. Corben insists on driving me home. “I need to know where to find you again.” He says. Of course, I let him. I want to spend every second I can with this man.

    We pulled up to my house, and I waited a moment for him to kiss me, but again, he doesn’t. I reluctantly get out of his car and thanked him for the ride. He waits for me to open my door before driving away. I abruptly realized I don’t have his number. I don’t know where he’s staying. After two months pass, I succumb to the idea that I’ll never see him again.

    PRESENT DAY

    I open my eyes and decide to call him. “Corben?” I say when he answers. “Yeah, what’s up?” His tone is short like he’s too busy to talk to me. “When will you be home today? I haven’t seen you in days.” I wonder if I sound as pitiful as I feel. “Soon, I’ll be home soon. I gotta go.” And with that, the line goes dead. I take a deep breath to ward off the tears and put the car in reverse.

    Maybe he IS busy. I try convincing myself. Don’t take it personally.

    On my way home, I decide to make dinner and detour to the store. I never know when he will be home, so I haven’t been cooking lately. Today I can at least have something waiting to be heated when he gets here. I take my time at the store. When I get home, I take a long hot shower and put on a dress I know he likes. I add some makeup and curl my hair. I do a once over making sure everything is perfect. I’m determined to get his attention today. I’ll stay up as late as it takes.

    To my surprise, he arrives just as I’m pulling lasagna out of the oven. Excitement is bubbling under my skin. I’ve missed him so much these past few days. “Smells good.” He says and walks past me to get the table set. “Yeah, I made your favorite.” I state timidly. The air is thick with tension, making me uncomfortable. My excitement fades into desperation. Just one good night. I silently pray.

    Dinner is eaten over requisite small talk about mundane things. He talks about work, how busy he is, and I tell him about our new neighbor and his dog. Neither of us asks any questions to further any particular topic. This awkward, forced conversation has me discouraged. I start to pick up the dishes when we are done. “No, I’ve got it. You cooked, I’ll clean.” He has always insisted on that rule. That familiar routine brings me small comfort.

    I go to our bedroom, kick off my heels, and slip off my dress. I reach behind me to remove my bra when I spot Corben in the mirror. He’s leaning against the door frame with lust in his eyes. I slowly remove my bra and let it drop to the floor. My breathing is shallow, my heart palpitates as I turn to face him. I’m terrified I’ve misread him and am making a fool of myself. I desperately cling to the hope that he isn’t going to reject me. He steps toward me and lowers his stare to my breasts. He wraps his strong arms around me pulling me against his body. Without saying a word, he wraps his lips around mine in a ferocious kiss, and I breathe him in. I groan in satisfaction and run my hands through his hair to the back of his head. He breaks the kiss and shoves me onto the bed. He tells me to remove my panties while he gets undressed. He crawls above me grasping my breasts hard. Without warning, he pushes into me with a grunt. I gasp at the unexpected fullness I feel inside me. He’s punishing with his thrusts. He slides his hands up my back to grasp my shoulders, pressing our bodies together. He lowers his head so I can’t see him. I wrap my arms around him and hold him tight. We’ve never fucked this way before and I kind of like it. I feel my pleasure building with every thrust. Our skin becomes slick with sweat, and I dig my nails into his back. I feel him hardening on his way to his climax bringing my orgasm to the peaking point. One more thrust and it’s mine. Abruptly, he pulls away from me. On his knees with his eyes squeezed tight he pulls out to jack off. With a growl, he comes all over my stomach.

    Without even a look in my direction, he climbs off the bed and heads for the bathroom. A moment later I hear the shower.

    “You’re the only girl that hasn’t made me want to wash my body. I’d bathe in your juices if I could.”

    My stomach cramps with that memory. The truth hits me hard. He’s washing me off his skin. He didn’t want to look at me. I don’t understand what just happened. He’s always waited for me to come first. He’s never pulled out before, there’s no need. He didn’t even give me a towel to clean up with.

    My heart breaks with his coldness. I’m hurt and angry. I don’t deserve this! I grab his shirt and use it to clean off my stomach. I get dressed and snatch his pillow off the bed and storm down the hall to the bathroom. I hurl it at the door and scream, “Sleep on the couch!” I stomp back to our room and slam the door. I turn the music to full volume and play Dallas Green’s cover of Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. I close my eyes and let the mellow tune calm me. But when he starts to sing, the tears begin to flow.

    “You’ve abandoned me. Love don’t live here anymore. Just a vacancy. Love don’t live here anymore. “

    I crawl into bed and ugly cry until I run out of tears. I stare at the wall asking myself what went wrong over and over.

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