Rainy days and automatic weapons always get me down. Those words were ushered from Horace’s lips quite often. And never once was he proven wrong. Like today for example.
He had wanted to get to know Janice better from the first moment he saw her. There was something in her eyes that held his fascination for hours. Her laugh was gentle and soothing. Her smile brightened his days. So he knew he would never have the pleasure of her company.
When she called him the first thing to enter his mind wasn’t how she got his phone number. He assumed she was calling in and wanted him to cover for her. Nothing new; everyone called him when they needed something. So he was shocked that she asked him out on a date.
Being jaded by several bad relationships Horace immediately put his guard up. Something was happening and he was going to get caught up in it. Cute women didn’t ask him out; they rejected him when he asked them out. That was the natural order of things. He’d grown accustomed to hearing, “No.” No matter what words were used, the end result was always another lonely night. Yet a very attractive woman had asked him out. She didn’t even have the common courtesy to beat around the bush. So there was definitely something missing from the overall picture.
But that didn’t mean he was going to get sloppy. He dressed as casual as possible while looking dapper. It meant dusting off a shirt he’d bought on a whim and a pair of pants he’d never worn, but the end result was a rather handsome looking black man. When he placed a splash of cologne on, he knew exactly what he looked like: your average guy.
So that was her plan. She would be seen in public with an average looking guy in the hopes of attracting one of those guys who specialized in snatching women from guys like that. It wasn’t original, but he had to admit that it would work. He didn’t have a claim on her. As far as it would appear to anyone they knew it was a simple get together of two co-workers. Nothing out of the ordinary. And he’d let himself get involved. He cracked a small smirk as he wondered how much he was slipping if he allowed himself to be so easily duped.
When she arrived at his apartment Horace took stock of her clothing. It was casual yet not overly so. The pants she wore could easily pass for a dress if she held perfectly still. The blouse was thick enough to suggest warmth and dark in color. Obviously so no one could tell what kind of underwear she wore. He invited her in and was surprised that she accepted.
None of her actions made sense. They were supposed to go out for dinner. Her treat. That meant that she was probably enjoying either a raise of splurging. It did not mean that she would accept his invitation to his home. Something was wrong. The smell of rain was in the air, and Horace knew that he was about to get hit in the stomach. Again.
They actually made small talk while he fixed her a cup of hot chocolate. Every word he spoke was carefully chosen so as not to hint at his true feelings for her. And he moved with the ease of a thief in the presence of officers looking for him. It would çankaya escort have been hilarious had he not been there. But he was.
And the subject matter was also strange. She kept trying to get him to slide into the gray area of sexual innuendo, but Horace had spent his college years with some of the most sick minds that beer and drugs could muster. He knew all of the safe outs, and used them effectively. And still he wondered what her angle was. When he found out, he was shocked.
In retrospect, he was caught off guard more in that one night than he had ever been. That it came from a woman was nothing special. That he’d let himself get caught that often was nothing short of humiliating. He’d survived falling totally in love with a woman who dumped him because he was too kind to her. He thought he could handle anything after that. He never once considered how he would deal with someone whose angle was a straight line. Janice actually like him.
But it didn’t make sense. Aside from being a slight bit pudgy, she was perfect for the guy who didn’t want to deal with a supermodel bitch every day. She had the personality of everyone’s ideal mother. In short, she was perfect. But why him? She could do better.
When she came out and asked him why he was avoiding her, he opened his mouth to say something totally neutral. Mistake; the words that spilled forth were nothing but the unabashed truth. He was never one to correct himself; he simply went with the flow of the moment. This time was no different. He told her that he thought she was beautiful beyond all good reason. He let her know how she made him feel when she smiled. He told her everything. When his lungs had no more air, he shut his lips and waited for her to back slowly out of his apartment. She would run scared. Women always did whenever they asked a man for the truth and got it. It was one of those laws that simply could not be broken.
She took her cup of chocolate and walked into his living room. His right eye twitched. That was a sure sign that he’d missed something. His nerves were on edge. His mind was open fully. He could smell the slight hint of perfume on her. The brand of soap she used. Even…
Everything went blank. He sniffed the air again. It was gone. Had he been hallucinating? He followed her, carefully sampling the scent in the air. Hot chocolate. His cologne. Her perfume. Her soap. Her shampoo. Yes. It WAS there. Lust. What was that doing on her? Stupid question, but not really. He knew he was not the kind of guy whom women lusted after. Yet he knew that scent well. He had hunted the bars with his college friends lung enough. He could smell lust even through the haze of a Cuban cigar. She was horny. He tried to tell himself that it was because she was about to go out cruising for cock, but the lie wouldn’t hold. She was horny… because of him.
None of it made sense. Sitting in his living room was a woman he could very well see himself sitting with for the rest of his life. She was not more than ten feet from him. And she wanted him. It didn’t make sense. Even for a woman, it didn’t make sense. ankara rus escort Why him? Why now?
He sat down and turned on the television. He knew they wouldn’t make it out. Not until they’d talked. But he didn’t know what to say. How could he? He’d spent most of his life finding ways to avoid love after that one disastrous relationship. He’s carefully chosen every word he’d spoken to a woman after that. He never let his face look even remotely interested in anything except work and his drawings. It was all done with the express purpose of avoiding love. And now Love sat in his living room, daring him to take it.
Janice asked him to turn the television off. His heart raced; this was it. He sniffed the air as he complied. Lust was still in the air. Stronger. More pure. Pure… like love. He didn’t bother looking for an escape. He was in his home. There was no way out except to fight his way out. And he would. But what would victory bring him? Another enemy and more nights alone? Or would he finally fall victim to Love?
He’d heard about the Crossroads from an old drunk he saw while on spring break in New Orleans. According to local lore it was where one made their deal with the devil. It was the place in life where a person had to chose their destiny. He was at his now. And he was blind. There was no way to see down the different paths before him. All he had was what he’d gathered from his previous years of survival. And he knew those experiences and lessons were not going to be enough.
He turned to face her. This was not going to be a simple fight, but it was going to be a fight. And he wanted to look Death in the eye. Its eyes were those of Janice. And those eyes were filled with a softness that he felt could find caring in Satan’s heartless soul.
She smiled at him. He felt his lips return her smile and fought the urge. He failed miserably. Noting the defeat he asked her why she was interested in him. He waited the seven seconds it took her to answer. Her answer nearly physically knocked him onto the floor. She though he was handsome.
Either she was the world’s best liar or she really though he was handsome. He burned his eyes into her soul. What he saw there was frighteningly wondrous. Love. Caring. Honesty. A small taint of deceit was there as well, but she wouldn’t be human if she didn’t tell the little white lie every now and again. And she wanted only one thing from him: honesty. She wasn’t foolish enough to believe he loved her completely, but she had hope. Where was his hope?
The question brought back the image of the rainy day when he lost the woman he loved. And he still loved her; that fact he’d already established. He knew that no one would ever take her place. And Janice wouldn’t. She would carve out her own place in his heart. IF he let her.
Would he? There was every reason to believe that he was going to wind up betting the bum’s rush with her. Every guy who knew she was attached to someone would be looking to replace him. He didn’t want that. Then a different thought glowed dimly in his brain. IF he accepted her, he would ankara yabancı escort fight them. He would stand beside her. She would stand with him. They would be one. If only he would lay down for Love. But could he do it? Surrender had never been in his vocabulary.
He pulled his gaze back. What happened next took only three seconds, but Time stretched those second into eternity. She liked him. She may have even loved him. And he definitely cared deeply for her. Maybe even loved her. She was willing to stand at his side. And he… was willing to do no less for her. He would cease surviving and live. Live. Living with someone you care deeply for. Loving them. That is what the great poets spoke of. So live. And he would.
Horace rose from his seat slowly. He watched Janice mimic his motion. The tension in her body spoke loudly of the doubts that flashed across her face. Her beautiful face. She worried that he would reject her. He would have. Normally. But this was not a normal day. Work had gone smoothly… for work. He’d gotten home without getting caught in a traffic jam. It was an abnormal day all over. He took a small step towards her. And smiled.
He told her what she was getting herself in. He warned her about his tendency to drift off into his won little world when the shit hit the fan. He asked her to reconsider her choice. She could do better. She told him that those things didn’t matter. So long as he was willing to put up with her. The smile that graced her lips told Horace that this was another rainy day.
Change always came when it rained. He’d lost one love on a rainy day. He thought he’d died then. And on another rainy day he found another love. And he did die. The Horace who survived had finally died. The Horace that would live had been born. It was like losing a close friend. There would be the memories, but those would not be the real thing. Only shadows. Mist on a Spring morning.
He held her in his arms for what seemed like an eon. He simply held her. Her body shook slightly. She was not going to be rejected. He would hold her forever if that was what she wanted. When he kissed her lips, something he told himself that he could never do, he was greeted by the soft, tender lips of a woman he cared for. Still unsure if it was love or not, Horace decided to take things slow. Or as slow as the irritating thumping between his legs would allow. Screwing it up with sex would not be a total surprise, but it was something to consider. He sniffed the air, wondering… The raw funk of Lust… his and hers… overwhelmed him. He broke the kiss, forcing himself to step away from those lips.
* * * *
Morning came. The sun was just creeping its way over the horizon, burning away the clouds. He looked in his arms. Janice was still there. The rain had not brought a dream of love. He really did die that night. He would live. His mind drifted to the night of passion they shared. Two bodies. Sweat. Moans of passion. The song of eternal caring. This is what he told himself he could never have. And he was wrong. And right. He let one hand trail over her breast. The thumping began again. When she turned over and opened her eyes, he knew what he would see. A dim memory wondered if it would be shame, but it was a memory of a memory. And a lie. She smiled into his soul.
Let it rain, he thought. Rainy days will never get US down.