Old 10-30-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
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Getting Away (closed)

Wish I knew you now
Like I knew you then


Sometimes life just turned out differently than you expected it to.

It was this thought that continued to run through the mind of Aldo Marin as he drove through the oncoming night. Music played quietly, just enough to be heard over the sound of the road under the tires, miles stretching out behind them, fewer and fewer left in front.

Them.

He had been one-half of 'them' for nearly a baker's dozen worth of years now, and had thought at the beginning of that time that he'd found the woman he'd spend the rest of his life with. There was no question in his mind that she was 'the one.' Aldo and Lucy, and they were perfect together.

Now she rode next to him, their headlights slicing through the growing gloom of evening, the music and the road competing to fill the empty spaces left where conversation used to be. Once upon a time their hands would be together, fingers casually interlaced through the others, and even if they traveled together in silence, it was comfortable.

When had that stopped?

Looking back on it, there was a gradual but unmistakable progression of events. More time spent at work for both of them, fewer meals taken together, less laughter, less surprise, less sex. His fingers used to spend hours sifting through her hair while she lay with her head on his lap, watching a movie, a show, or just the snow falling outside. He wasn't sure now that he even remembered when that last happened. Inches apart they sat now, but it may as well be miles.

She had been his dream, once. Somewhere he had woken up, and life had filled the void left where those dreams used to be, and there seemed to be less and less room for her. For them. Fights started eventually, but the silences were almost worse than the yelling. Hours, days, spent in the same house, the same room, with a person whose existence you didn't even acknowledge.

The breaking point was... well, nothing, really. No one event, no singular occasion that sent them to the point of too much. But with steady pressure, the weight of the water growing heavier and heavier on their heads as they sank together, they reached that end together. Over a simple meal, bowls of pasta, olive oil, some chicken, they sat across from each other and, for the first time in far too long, had a real conversation.

It was that conversation that led them here, driving through the fall dusk to a cabin they had not visited in nearly a year. He had inherited it from his family, a nice chunk of land with a nice-sized cabin built near a fairly secluded freshwater lake. The area was remote enough that dirt roads were all that led to it, and electric and sell service were a thing you escaped from while there. More than once they'd been stuck up there for a bit when heavy rains had washed out the roads or heavy snows had blocked them, but they rarely thought of it as truly being stuck. Much of the time was spent naked, the creak of the bed and the sound of their need drown out only by the crackle of fire or the crash of thunder. More distant memories.

Silence still sat heavy in the air as they bumped down dirt roads, their progression measured as much on the odometer as it was on the dropping bars on their phone. He knew this area like the back of his hand, each twist and turn in the road, each tree that seemed to hang over their path as if threatening to fall at any moment. It was nearly a half hour through thickening woods, but as always they arrived safely.

The headlights were left on so they could ignite some lamps, but first he pulled his phone from the inner pocket of his canvas jacket and powered it down, then slipped it into the center console of the car. It was simply something they did, leaving their phones behind like that. They were useless for any outside communication, but when up here they didn't want to be distracted with the games that lurked on them still. It was symbolic, perhaps, but it still felt like a severing with the rest of the word. Cut the cord, at least for a few days.

With the car off and his door standing open, it was only the sounds of the woods that swirled around them now, and the lack of words between them became impossible to tolerate.

"I'll grab the bags, you get some lights going?" he said with some approximation of a smile in the darkness.

It was what they always did, roles they had just naturally fallen into when they arrived at night for a weekend stay, but she felt so very far away in that moment, and it was the only path he saw that might hold a bridge back to her.

Somewhere.
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:54 AM   #2
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Light suddenly flared in the darkness as she struck a match. A brilliant, almost blinding, burst before it settled in the flickering flame she needed. Working in almost total darkness it was purely the fact she'd done it so many times in the past that allowed her to light the lamps without spilling oil or burning herself.

Lucy blew out the match once she'd lit two of the cabin's many lamps. A warm glow illuminating her, and a little of the room within which she stood. Without ceremony one lamp, the larger of the two, was lifted and carried outside to be hung in its place beside the door. A shaft of dancing light fell across the ground and the approaching boots of Aldo, his arms wrapped around their bags.
A half smile from her and a side step to get out of his way.
Then a sigh as he brushed by. It hadn't always been like this.

Time was he would have dropped the bags and the two would have kissed, pressed up against the doorframe. Or the wall. Time was they’d have been breathless and giggling, hands pulling at clothes within minutes of arriving.

Times had changed.

Back inside Lucy went about her personal routine. More lamps, more candles, illuminating the little cabin and bathing it in gold. Before leaving the last time, she'd emptied and relaid the fire. Two well-placed match strikes and the kindling in the fireplace caught. She felt a twinge of pride as the fire spread through the carefully placed twigs and larger branches. It wasn’t cold now, but in the early hours of the morning, it would be. Luckily the small size of the building meant it took little effort to warm it. The main room, with the fireplace at its heart, led into two smaller rooms. A kitchen and the bedroom. Heat from the chimney helped heat the tiny bedroom and the minute wood burning stove in the kitchen did the same.

Off the back of the bedroom was one more room, more of an alcove with a door. Aptly enough, calls of nature were taken care of in a little shack a stone’s throw from the cabin. This little room housed the ‘shower’. It was an ancient system, rigged up long before Aldo had even been born. A tank, somewhere in the roof, was heated by the chimney and provided hot water for washing. Getting water into the tank took a serious amount of effort with the hand pump but it was worth it. After all, bathing in the nearby lake was all well and good in the summer. More of a challenge at this time of year.

Stunning, with mist clinging to its surface in the morning, glasslike and reflecting the riot of autumnal colours that surrounded it, but increasing cold as autumn wore on. During the first years, their first visits, Lucy remembered the shower was rarely heated. They warmed each other after refreshing dips into the lake, entwining limbs before the fireplace, or entangled between the sheets. In later years, they still walked down to the lake, but they didn’t go in. She noticed that they showered more, and separately. All little signs that things were not as they once had been.

A lantern moved outside and she watched it sway off into the trees, no doubt Aldo continuing with his ‘duties’ and fetching wood from the nearby shed. Her brow creased as she headed into the bedroom. She loved him. She did, that was why they were there. And she honestly didn’t want to imagine her life without him in it. But when they’d fought in the beginning, as all couples do, they’d filled her with terror that it might be over. Now they just made her tired. She didn’t want to imagine her life without him in it. The scary thing was, that now she could.

Shaking her head she lit the lantern on the rickety old dresser in the corner and unpacked their clothes. A couple of changes each, some layers in case the weather turned. The next thing to do was to change out of the tailored jacket and dress she had travelled in. Aldo had picked her up straight from her office and she wanted, more than anything, to be in something more comfortable. Tights and heels gave way to jeans and soft woollen socks. Fitted dress morphed into a navy blue flannel shirt, an old one of Aldo’s. It was what she always wore. It gave her a much missed, and almost calming, feeling to feel the overworn fabric against her skin. True, she used to just wear the shirt. No jeans, no underwear even, padding around the cabin barefoot and trying to tempt him into peeling even the shirt from her body. She left his things on top of the emptied bag, and moved it to the dresser.

Rolling back the too long sleeves, the kitchen was her final stop. A small box of groceries bought on their way out of the city needed rehoming. Simple supplies that didn’t require refrigeration, or much in the way of culinary preparation either. They could fry, they could grill and they could boil. The fire in the stove was lit and a kettle of cold water placed over it. It would take a while to heat up but that was fine. She didn’t expect they’d want it just yet. Locating two very worn looking glasses, neither of which matched, she drew a bottle of wine out of the box and carried it into the main room just as Aldo appeared, arms full of logs.

“Time for a drink…?” She smiled slightly, lifting her hands to make her offer more clear.
Her eyes catching his in the lantern light for a moment or two and then pulling away.

His face, in this place, was just too much in that instant. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him. She did.
Didn’t she?
Then why she did feel she had to keep telling herself?
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Old 11-03-2013, 05:23 AM   #3
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There was a strange kind of silence they lived in now. Uneasy, unnatural. Even when he was alone, as he was when stacking logs in his arms to carry to the house, it seemed to hang around him like a heavy, musty overcoat he couldn't quite get out of. For friends, for family, he put on a mask of smiles and everything was great, yes yes, I'll give Lucy your love. Even out here in the darkness, knowing she was inside going about her half of their arrival routine as she always did, but would be meeting him with the unnatural silence as she now did, unsettled him. Part of him wanted to drop the wood and run off into the embrace of the darkness and the trees. She couldn't leave him if he wasn't there.

Arms loaded, he did as he was supposed to and made his way back towards the front steps of the cabin, his breath fogging out in front of him as he walked. It was cooler out than he'd expected it would be, to the point that a spot of snow wouldn't surprise him terribly, and with a bit of wry irony he thought to himself that they'd not be taking any trips into the lake this time.

He was coming through the front door loaded down with firewood when she met him in the main room, bottle of wine in hand.

"Sure, a drink sounds nice," he said as their eyes met across the small room, and his lips lifted in short, somewhat forced smile.

How did it all feel so awkward? She was the person that knew him better than anyone, the single person in the world that could destroy him to his very core, and yet something as simple as this felt so out of place. Like they were dancing to different music, everything out of time and out of step with the other. Even catching her eyes in the dancing yellow that lit the room seemed to be an incident he was unprepared for and unsure how to deal with. It was a strange kind of relief when she looked away from him, and he was free to deliver the logs into their place next to the hearth.

"Grab a glass for me," he said without looking at her as he started back towards the door, "I'm going to leave my shoes outside. They're a little wet, I don't want to be tracking stuff across... the floor."

He'd almost said my floor, as in not our floor, and again that feeling of wanting to run away into the night sprang to life inside him. Instead, he stepped out and pulled the door closed behind him so he wouldn't let the cool night air in and wash away any warmth that had built up inside. Standing just to the side of the door, he stuck the toe of one boot against the heel of the other and held it in place as he worked his foot free. His eyes lifted as he stepped free of his boots, settling on the wall in front of him, and for a moment he allowed himself to remember the way her...



----------



...head was against the outer wall next to the door, his fingers knifing through her hair as his mouth crushed against hers. Their ride up here had been mostly silent, fingers intertwined except when one or the other would release them to steal a grope of the other. Laughter followed, along with a half-hearted admonition of 'Hey I'm trying to drive here' or 'Eyes on the road, buddy!' but not much road would pass before one of them was at it again.

He'd told her of the cabin for weeks before they were able to find time to come up, and as they left the paved road and made their way into the woods, the stolen touches grew less frequent as she stared around with wide-eyed wonder at their surroundings. Next to her, he simply grinned and stole glances instead.

They weren't yet married, that wouldn't come for another half dozen months, but she wore his engagement ring on her finger, and this trip was long pas due.

The bags were left behind in the car, and the beauty of nature took a back seat as they arrived. On the other side of the door was a bed they were ready to be in, and a trail of clothes that needed creating, and it had been long hours that he'd teased her with his hands and his words, telling her of the privacy they'd have and the volume control they'd no longer need. To her credit, she gave as good as she got, and he was just as demanding of her body as she was his.

The sun was low in the sky, long shadows thrown by the trees, but he saw and cared about none of it. Instead there was her taste in his mouth, and the swell of her breast in his hand, and the warm feel of her body as he held her between himself and the wall. Summer was just dying it's lasts gasps, the air still warm and he could feel her nipple against his palm through the thin fabric she wore. He was hard, and breathing hard, when his mouth at last broke from hers, and he grinned broadly at her, his eyes tracing the contours of her face so close to his own.

"Wait until you see the inside," he said as his hand fell to hers, and he pushed the door open and pulled her with him into the dim interior of the cabin. His mouth was back on hers before the door had clicked shut.
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:05 AM   #4
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She playfully pulled back, to catch her breath and all under the guise of wanting to see the interior of this much discussed cabin. In truth, she just wanted to see him. All need and want, and all aimed at her.
Hair ruffled and eyes sharp, she almost stumbled under the heat in his eyes.

"There's no rush," She teased, stepping back and then again, increasing the space between them. Cranking up the heat in the room ever so slightly as a result. "We've got all weekend...a few...more...minutes...won't hurt," Eyes sparkled as with each word fingers unbuttoned her top a little further. More skin on show.

More teasing.

She was fairly sure she heard a growl before his body collided suddenly with hers, large strides eating up the distance she'd put between them and driving her back against a different wall. Missing the door he might have been aiming for. Lips, tongues and teeth now going to work. She kissed him back, whenever she could, pulling desperately at his shirt as his hands made light work of her own clothes. Skin against skin, hands roaming and mouths moaning.

At some point they found the bed. Long after clothes had hit the floor, long after they'd already shattered the peace with their cries of love and want and release and thoroughly tested the integrity of the cabin's walls. Windows fogged with condensation, skin slick with sweat, they had tumbled into the sheets a tangle of limbs and happy sighs.

"I'll give you the tour later," He'd laughed, pressing lips to her forehead.
"If I let you..." She'd giggled back.


----------

The giggles were long gone. In fact, if she thought about it, she couldn't really remember the last time they'd laughed. Except she didn't think about it. It hurt. It frightened her.

Wine was poured and she sat on the couch. It was big, although not overly so, and unquestionably at the end of it's life but it was comfortable and had more than enough room for the pair of them to sit.

More than enough room to lay, too.

She felt the couch shift as his frame settled at the other end and she looked away from the fire and towards her husband. A shallow sip and a smile to match.

Then silence.

Neither quite looking at each other but neither daring to look away. A pop from the fire forced her into speaking.
"The drive was easier than I expected. I thought we'd have caught more traffic on our way out of town."

Traffic? She winced inside. They were half a sentence away from talking about the weather. And they'd been doing that, in one way or another, for months now. Talking about the weather, their jobs, the cost of fruit, anything to not talk about what was happening around them. Happening to them.

"I've missed this place." She admitted after a pause, with a lot more feeling than she'd intended. Or perhaps, more truthfully, more than she realised she felt. "We should have come here more."

She wanted to say that maybe if they had, they wouldn't be here like this now, though she knew it was deeper than that. The cabin would have helped. But it probably wouldn't have changed things. Still, Lucy had to cling to the hope that it might yet save things between them. Save them.

"But we're here now..." Another smile, deeper than before, and another sip. "And, I'm sorry, I've been so busy that we couldn't come before now."
An apology was good, wasn't it? An apology was bound to help. "I just, I guess I let work get in the way of, well,"

Say, us.
Say, us.

"Things."

Coward.

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Old 12-01-2013, 02:55 AM   #5
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Three cushions. This was the space now occupied by their dance, three worn cushions on a couch older than their marriage, but holding up far better under the strain of it's years. They each occupied one, at opposite ends, with a buffer between them, a neutral zone that neither of them seemed to want to cross. Maybe neither were able to cross. Two human Koreas, staring at each other across a soft DMZ.

Except, they weren't even staring at each other, were they? As he settled into his spot, his new spot that had not been his spot until very recently, he saw her only out of the corner of his eye as he stared at the flames consume the logs. Even that heat, it seemed, could not melt the ice that had built up between them. Their shapes were distorted through it, and where once he'd seen her clearly, in sharp and beautiful focus, now she was a blurred shape of the woman he once knew better than even himself, it seemed.

A sip of wine, his tongue swimming through the alcohol, savoring the sharpness of the taste. Wishing it would spur him to words. Stop him from being a goddamned mime, nodding and shrugging and trapped in this box he couldn't see and couldn't escape.

A crack of splitting wood as he took another sip seemed to spur action - from her, of course, not him, never him, and he hated himself a little for it right then - and his brows lifted some as he turned his eyes to her. She was beautiful in the firelight, achingly so, and a very real part of him wanted to take her face in his hands and kiss her and apologize and apologize and kiss her again. But then he didn't know even what he'd be apologizing for. Working? Wanting more? Not fighting when it seemed she was not, either? It wasn't enough to apologize, an olive branch was useless if it just hung out there in the wind, unaccepted, ignored, and so instead he nodded, and let a sip of wine suffice for an answer instead while he worked to discover useless string of words would come falling off his lips because something had to. Didn't it?

"But we made it here now," he said too brightly, with a smile he knew instantly was forced beyond believability, "That's what counts, isn't it?"

No. It wasn't, and even as he looked back to the fire, drank a little more, felt the alcohol slipping into his bloodstream and relaxing him a little, even then he knew that it wasn't this moment that counted. It was all the ones that had come before it, the times they'd said almost nothing to each other during an entire evening alone in their house, the nights he'd spend in the garage working with various old and human-powered tools, shaping wood instead of fixing his... life.

His smile was much less when he turned to her now, a half upward turn at one corner of his mouth, his voice much quieter.

"I'm going to see if I can get some fish from the lake, so I should probably get to bed. Dawn comes early."

It was a joke where none belonged, and he drained the wine from his glass in a swallow to escape the awkward silence that followed it, then stood from the couch.

"Thank you for the drink, though. We should keep the bottle so we remember it for next time, it was good."

Next time. Ha. Now there was a joke.

Disappearing into the kitchen, he laid the wineglass on it's side in the sink and fetched the rod and tackle box he kept in a small closet. The pair was carried to the front door of the small cabin, and opening it he winced slightly at the cold air that hit him, surprised at the fall in temperature in such a short time. Using the box, he pushed his shoes a little along the wall, and the pole was leaned against the wall over it. With a shiver, he pushed the door closed and shut the cold air outside again.

It was in the dark, once she had joined him in bed, that he felt more comfortable talking. Always in the dark, like looking at her, seeing the impact of his words in her eyes, stopped it all in his throat and made it impossible to get the sounds to his lips. Staring at the ceiling, with the fire popping quietly as it slowly worked it's way down to embers, he licked his lips slowly and spoke for the first time since she'd extinguished the lamps and slid under the covers.

"I know that almost nothing here is right, that things have... have shifted, and it all isn't coming to us both like it used to, but..."

He paused here, swallowing back the urge to give it up and go to sleep, and leave this to tomorrow. Instead, his head shifting on his pillow, he turned to where he knew she lay next to him in the darkness, his eyes open but unseeing.

"Some things still feel right. Even if getting to them doesn't, once there it's..."

Again, his voice quieted, and he shifted so he was laying on his side, facing her. Reaching out tentatively, he stroked the backs of his fingers along the curve of her hip.

"I know we have a lot to talk about, and figure out, but tonight, if you don't... if you'd like..." his voice fell to a whisper, and at last he forced out what had been rolling around on his tongue. "Can I hold you tonight?"
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:17 PM   #6
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What did they call it when the conversation was something far less than even small talk? Miniscule conversation? Nothingness?

Fishing and false hope. That's all they had right then.

She frowned as she searched for something else. It was true, what he'd said, that they'd made it to the cabin in the end. They had finally managed to make the effort.

"It is a good one," She agreed when he mentioned the wine. "I'll make sure I keep the label before I stick a candle in it when it's empty." He was already up and moving before she could offer him another. So she topped up her own glass and set the bottle back down with a sigh.

In all the years they'd been, they'd kept all their wine bottles and turned them into candle holders, the bedroom had been lit exclusively with their dancing light in the past. More bottles were clustered on the window ledges, a few more on the small table. This would be added to the collection, to be decorated with dripping rivulets of white wax and then left to gather dust before they returned again. If they returned.

If.

That word made her feel suddenly sick.
It wasn't over. It couldn't be. She wouldn't let it.
She'd fought for everything in life, for friends and family, for herself and her career. There was no way she wasn't going to fight for him, for them, but she couldn't do it alone. Eyes watched him cross the room and put his fishing gear outside. Gasping slightly as the cool breeze reached her where she sat. With barely a word he headed into the bedroom and she heard him move the bag from the bed followed by the soft rustling of clothing and then bedding. Sighing she set her still half full wine glass down on the table. She didn't feel like having any more. That nauseous feeling was still lingering in her stomach.

Moving to the fire and kneeling down she built it up with fresh logs and then set the fireguard in front of it to stop wayward sparks setting the cabin ablaze while they slept. Last job was to blow out the lanterns, no sense wasting oil, leaving the room in just the light from the fire and she crept into the bedroom.
It was darker in there and it was experience and memory alone that stopped her from stubbing her toes on the bedframe or from walking into a wall.

Soon she had slipped under the sheets, jeans and socks gone but with his shirt still in place. She allowed herself a small smile as she'd shimmied out of her bra beneath the shirt with ease, a knack that used to make him blush and harden with equal speed when she'd done it in the movie theater. Or at a club. She hugged herself slightly as she struggled to remember the last time she'd done it.

She knew he wasn't sleeping. The pattern of his breathing wasn't deep enough. So his voice coming to her soft and low through the night wasn't overly surprising but the words were. She felt him move and knew he was shifting to face her, she did the same. Warm breath tickling her face as his words continued then the feeling of his hand on her hip.

Lucy wanted to cry. It felt so familiar.
He asked to hold her and she hoped her voice wouldn't give out on her.
"Please." She whispered just as quietly as he'd asked.
He drew nearer and she slipped easily into his arms, her head resting somewhere near the crook of his neck. One of her arms slid around to rest on his waist. The other was bent at the elbow bringing her hand near her face, palm on his chest rising and falling with his breath.

"I've missed this." She murmured, her voice barely audible. Worried she might spoil it somehow. She tilted her chin slightly so she was looking towards his face. She knew he wouldn't see her clearly but she wanted to know he heard her, that her words didn't get lost along the way. "Missed us."

Then she kissed him. She pushed herself up in the bed, feeling her way to his mouth, pushing against him in the process. The kiss was soft. Lingering. Her lips were trembling. It wasn't passionate. But it was real. More real than anything they'd shared in a long time.

"I do love you." She whispered when at last the kiss came to an end and she snuggling back against his chest. Suddenly feeling a little of the tightness leave her body.

One kiss didn't make it all better. But it did mean there might be something there to make better in the first place.

And so she slept in his arms for the first time in months, waking only when the wind blew over his fishing tackle by the front door, and sleeping better than she'd done in months.
When the cool light of dawn crept in through the window she was still wrapped up in his embrace and she didn't want to leave it. Not least because her cheeks told her how cool the air in the cottage had become overnight when the fire had finally died.

But. She wanted to make breakfast. She wanted to give him a little sandwich to take to the lake. She wanted to make the effort.
Silently she slipped from beside him, looking back as she pulled her jeans back on and smiling at the softness of his features and the ruffled quality his hair had. He was even more handsome than when they'd met, he'd matured and done it well. She did still want him. She did. She'd just grown busy...and exhausted...and then it felt bad to ask things of him when they'd barely had time to talk to one another.

Leaving him to sleep a little longer she headed straight for the fire, blowing on the dimly glowing embers to breathe life back into the fire, adding more and more kindling until it caught and the fire began to heat the room once more.
She frowned as she took the wine and her glass into the kitchen.
"Must have drunk more than we realised," The bottle was almost empty as was her glass. "Then again, hardly standard measures were they..." She chuckled looking at the tumbler he'd used and the highball that had been hers.

Kettle was set to boil and by the time she heard him moving around in the bedroom, she'd made him a little snack to take to the lake. Sandwiches wrapped in a little grease proof paper package, and some shortbread biscuits she'd sneaked into the supplies as a surprise. As footsteps brought him towards the kitchen she turned to the door with a smile. A real one.

It felt good to smile like that. She just hoped it was returned.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:19 PM   #7
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Why did the daylight make things harder? Talking to her in the dark, holding her in the dark, it all seemed to come so much easier than it did when the sun was up, when light filtered through the windows and yellow squares were projected onto the floor. The little cabin still held a bit of chill in it, his cold toes the first thing he was aware of when consciousness came trickling back to him.

Clinging to the last tendrils of sleep, he slid a seeking hand towards her side of the bed and found it cold. A pop of firewood told him she had been up long enough to bring the fire back to life. Still he stayed there, eyes closed, his hand laying palm up in the spot she had occupied, fingers slackly curled, letting his mind rest on the feeling of the night before. He felt like they were stumbling around each other in a dark room, feeling their way around a place where the landscape continued to change unpredictably, and for a brief time they had managed to grasp each other, cling to each other, and feel some sense of safety. It was all too fleeting, morning always came, but for the first time in too long, he had fallen asleep with the scent of her hair in his nostrils.

The daylight was growing, though, and the fish weren't exactly eager to jump out of the lake and onto his hook. Bringing his hands to his face, he dug his knuckles into his eyes to rub the sleep out of them and then stretched, extending his arms and legs to the limit. Stifling a yawn, he tossed back the covers and set his feet on the floor, shivering at the familiar cold that met them. Pulling a t-shirt over his head, he padded his way towards the kitchen, stopping for a moment to warm his bare arms and legs by the fire. Boxers and a t-shirt, it turned out, did not much protect against the cold. The goosebumps chased off his skin, he stopped in the doorway to the kitchen and found her smiling at him, a little package of food already made. And he...

Smiled back.

It was a reflex, action undertaken without thought at the sight of her standing there, but it felt good, warming him inside more than the fire possibly could. Their problems were still there, issues and hurts still needing to be handled, but it felt like there may be a pinprick of light making it's way into that dark room.

"Good morning," he said, rubbing his hands through his hair and stifling a yawn before stepping close to kiss her cheek. Morning breath was one of those parts of married life they never told you about, like socks on the floor or dishes left in the sink, but still he tried to spare her when he could. Lately, that had been rather easy to do.

"I'm going to head down, see if I can't get a few before lunch. Do you mind putting some tea in the vacuum flask for me? It feels like it's going to be a brisk morning..."

He had started back towards the bedroom to dress for the morning - he'd shower after, to get the fish smell off - but paused when he saw the small package she'd put together for him, and kissed her cheek again.

"Thank you, for that."

He paused, smiled again.

"And for getting the time off to come up here."

There was more to be said, always more, but it didn't feel like the time or place, and so he left it there for now. Returning to the bedroom, he dressed warm, flannel-lined jeans and a flannel button down shirt, and pulled on thick socks. She was waiting in the main room when he came back in, and found her waiting with the pack she'd put together for him. Pulling open the door to collect his boots, he stopped short and stared at the empty doorway for a moment.

Brows furrowed, he leaned forward and looked out to find his pole standing up seemingly where he'd left it, and his boots standing side by side next to it. Shaking his head, he hooked his fingers into the laces and pulled the boots in, shutting the door before he crossed to sit and put them on.

"I could've sworn I heard the wind knock stuff over out there, but it was all standing just now. Maybe it was a dream or something," he said, looking up at her as he pushed a foot into one of the boots. A frown crossed his features when his foot settled in uncomfortably, and he looked down to discover that the boots were arranged backwards, his right foot now stuck into the left shoe.

"Huh."

It was all he said as he pulled his foot free and reversed their order before stepping into the right one, confused at how he could've possibly mixed them up after pulling them off the night before. Had they really had that much to drink? Or.. wasn't that before they'd started drinking?

Was it?

It was strange, whatever the answer may be, but he then he was up and moving on, another kiss left on her cheek, another whispered thanks before he was out the door and on the way down to the lake for the morning.
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:40 AM   #8
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Lucy leant against the door framed and watched him go, the bobbing of his head winding down through the trees until it and he were out of sight. Arms wrapped around her upper body slightly she stayed there for a few more minutes. It was so quiet and calm. She'd forgotten.

She'd forgotten lots of things, it seemed.

Like how his smile made her feel a funny little tingle at the back of her neck, it spread and tickled down her spine and into the heart of her.

Like how his lips felt on her skin. He'd only kissed her cheek but it was as if she could feel them. A ghost kiss lingering long after he'd left her.

There were lots of ghosts lingering around. Some wanted and some definitely not.
Ghosts of arguments and angry words, of sniped comments and disappointed sighs.
She had hoped they wouldn't have been able to follow them here, ghosts couldn't go in cars, right? But it seemed that a few had snuck into their bags. She could see them, hovering near the edge of that sad smile Aldo kept wearing, creeping behind her and whispering the things she'd wanted to say to him but...just...hadn't...

Shaking off the spectres for now she headed back inside. He'd be hours at the lake if memory served and she was only going to get cold while she waited. And so she set water to boil ready to wash up their glasses and another pan ready to heat up some soup. She'd take some down to him when the other chores were done.

Next came the task of refilling the wood basket. Apparently they'd used more than she'd realised to get the fire going. It was almost empty, despite being full on their arrival. Carrying the large wicker basket on one hip she headed out to the woodshed, a small lean-to built across the clearing from the house. Flipping back the tarp that served as a door of sorts, she set about filling the basket with some of the carefully cut and stored logs. Once it was as full as she would be able to carry, she took it back in. Popping back out with a small tin to collect some of the bark scraps and shavings for kindling.
"Should probably get some larger logs though, if we're going to use so many," she thought.

Beside the wood store were several large branches, collected when they fell during storms or from when trees had been cut down for the purpose of burning. Hauling one over to the block, beside which rested the axe, Lucy quickly plaited her hair loosely behind her and lifted the handle. Like many things, she'd forgotten how heavy it was. Stepping back and taking a vague aim, she swung her arms around and brought the axe down just beside the branch.
"Oh, come on." She grumbled, readjusting her grip and stance. "It can't be that difficult, surely."
Fixing her gaze on the wood as if that would somehow help her hit the target, she swung again. This time the dangerously sharp edge struck the wood and split it halfway through. She smiled, proudly. Wiggling the blade free she swung the axe again. Her smile widening as a large log now rolled away from the rest of the branch.

Again and again she swung. Not every one striking where she wanted but it felt good to do it. A kind of stress relief she knew you could never find in the gym. It felt like she was smashing her way through some of the walls that had gradually formed between them. She worked her way slowly but surely through three large branches before she stopped. With her face flushed from exertion and body warm, she carried the wood inside, having to leave several large logs by the door, and put the axe back by the huge stump they used as a chopping block. There was no way they'd get through all of that wood in a hurry. She felt proud of herself and was a little surprised to find she hoped he would be too.

Back inside soup was put on to heat and while it did, she took a moment to freshen up slightly. Combing her hair and pulling it up into a loose and slightly messy bun behind her head. A blast of deodorant under each arm and a brush of her teeth. She knew Aldo wouldn't be nearly as fresh after hours near the water and if he'd actually caught anything she knew he'd be even worse but she didn't care. It felt good to make the effort for him.

Pulling on her jacket and boots, she took their other thermos filled with the creamy tomato soup she'd warmed up and some bread in her small backpack, and headed down towards the lake. Hands in her pockets against the slight chill in the air, she followed the winding path down through the trees towards the water.
The lake wasn't huge but it was big enough, it's curving shape meaning a lot of it was out of sight from the beach they had direct access to, and made it seem larger than it probably was. The beach was mostly sandy with several large rocks that were dotted along it, with more large stones in the water itself. Like giant stepping stones she smiled as she saw them, remembering previous visits where they'd leapt from them into the water. No swimsuits required to bathe here of course. Towels and clothes left on the sand just as they left stresses and worries in the city.

Shaking off that niggling feeling that they hadn't been so successful on that score this time, she smiled as she saw him. Pole out over the water and a determined look on his face.
"Any luck?" She called out, not wanting to frighten him with her appearance. Certain he wasn't expecting to see her there. "I brought you some soup, thought you might have gotten through your tea by now." She smiled as she caught his eye.

There was that funny little tingle again. She liked it. It helped keep those ghosts at bay.
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