The following story was part of an anthology that was pulled because the publisher went out of business. I thought I'd share it here with you in celebration of Valentine's Day.
The theme of the anthology was love again and second chances.
**This is a 5,500 word FREE short story that contains adult content and graphic sex.**
Copyright © 2013, Ella Jade
It had been a crazy day at the hospital, and all I wanted to do was hit the shower and crawl into bed. I needed to wash away the grit of my twelve-hour shift and forget about the shambles that my life had become. I stepped into the stall, closed my eyes, and let the spray wash over my whole body. As the heated water worked to relax my tense and tired muscles, I tried to empty my mind.
Today was Valentine's Day, and it had been tougher than I thought. This was the first one in a decade that I'd spent without Elyse. Prior to this year, we always had a tradition of having a special Valentine’s dinner. In the beginning of our relationship, we'd get dressed up and eat in, ending the evening by bringing unspeakable pleasure to one another. As we got older, we still got dressed up, but we'd eat out at a swanky restaurant, ending the evening in the usual way. That wouldn't be happening this year. I hadn't heard from her in months, and I didn’t expect to tonight.
I washed my body and shampooed my hair without really thinking about it. I must have lost track of time, because the sting of cold water against my chest brought me out of my daydreams. I wondered how long I had been in the shower, then thought of how Elyse and I had gotten distracted in here on more than one occasion.
Fuck. There she was again. She always popped into my mind. Apparently, I couldn't even take a shower without some memory of what we’d been to one another seeping into my brain.
I stepped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around my waist, and took a second to try to focus.
The grueling schedule I'd been pulling was still not enough to make me forget her. She took front and center in my thoughts all the time. She had been since our junior year of high school. We'd spent so much time together through the years that she had ingrained herself in my mind forever.
How was I supposed to get over the love of my life?
There were so many memories to look back on, no wonder I couldn’t forget her. I remembered all those summers in college when we would spend a week at her parents' beach house; the Christmas mornings at my parents’ house; and the way her eyes sparkled on her birthday. I remembered all those rainy Saturday afternoons we'd spent eating take-out and making love all day in that first, tiny apartment of ours. We had a simple life back then. We had nothing, but we had it all. I just didn’t see that at the time.
She draped her leg over my hip as we tried to catch our breath. I twirled her long, cinnamon tresses around my fingers. I could stare at her wide, brown eyes and full pink lips for hours.
"You're beautiful." I kissed her.
"And I'm all yours, Dr. Avery." She laughed.
"I'm not a doctor yet." I brushed my lips against hers.
"But you're on your way. You're in med school, and we have our own place."
"You're happy?" I could tell from her smile. She was thrilled we finally had a place to call our own. The apartment was small, but she kept it neat and decorated it in warm and comfortable tones. She'd done so much with so little. She was incredible.
"More than I've ever been. We have so much to look forward to! We have this new place, I have a new job, and you're going to be a doctor."
"Someday we'll have everything we've ever dreamed of. We'll have it all." I kissed her again. "I want to give you everything, Elyse."
"I don’t care what we have, Chase. As long as we're together, we can live in this tiny little apartment forever for all I care."
We had dated through college and finally moved in together when I started med school. She was my world then. I wasn't sure when I stopped showing her exactly what she'd meant to me, but in the end, it had cost me everything.
I had neglected the most important person in my life. She'd always been there for me. I failed to see what she was going through, to hear her pleas. I heard her loud and clear the morning I came home and she was packing to leave, though. I remembered her actions being deliberate and abrasive as she threw her clothes into the suitcase.
She took a deep breath before looking up at me with tear-filled eyes.
"It's over, Chase." She zipped up her suitcase. "I can't be second anymore. I won't be."
"Second?" I ran my fingers through my hair, not understanding. I'd just come off a long night at the hospital. "I'm exhausted. I've worked all night and I'm not really getting what's going on. You're not second. I'm just busy."
"You're always busy." She angrily threw more clothes into a duffel bag.
"I'm trying to build a future for the two of us. I thought you understood." Everything I did was for us. I didn’t bust my ass all these years for nothing. I promised her a good life, and I was working hard so that I could deliver that one day.
She narrowed her eyes and shook her head. "I can deal with the long hospital shifts. That goes with the territory when you’re a doctor. What I can't take is you putting everything and everyone before me. You've checked out when it comes to us."
"Elyse." I walked over to the front of the bed, where she stood, and turned her around to face me. "I don’t need this right now. You know everything I'm doing is for us. I want to do all the things we talked about. I know you want the house with the picket fence and the kids. I’m working toward that. We're almost there! Don't give up on me now."
"Stop dangling that dream in front of me. You've been saying we're going to get married and start a family for three years now, but we're really no closer than when we graduated college. I thought I could do this, but I can't. I'm sorry."
"You can't mean that." She couldn't just walk away from me. From us. From everything we were to one another. "You can’t walk out after ten years. We've come too far."
"Have we?" She looked so desperate and alone. Why hadn't I seen that before?
"What's that supposed to mean? What about all the memories we’ve made? The life we've built together? The dreams we have? We've been talking about getting married and having babies since college.”
"The dreams? That's what you’re not getting here. You're so busy planning for our future that you're forgetting to live in the moment. You're missing everything that's happening today. I don't want to miss any more of my life. I want to start living. I've already given up too much."
What the hell was “I’ve already given up too much” supposed to mean? I never asked her to give anything up. She had stayed with me willingly. I thought she wanted the same things I did. She’d never said different…had she?
She pulled out of my hold, grabbed the bags off the bed, and headed out of the bedroom. I chased after her, my head too foggy to function. "I'm too tired to deal with this. Can you please let me take a nap? Then I'll take you to lunch and we can discuss whatever is bothering you."
"What's bothering me can't be resolved over lunch. This can't possibly come as a surprise to you! I've been trying to tell you for months that if something didn’t change, it wouldn't work between us. You wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t understand."
I was frustrated and tired, so I wasn't as attentive to her needs as I should have been. "Do you think my life is a fuckin' party? I work my ass off! I'm the youngest resident at the hospital. I'm interning with the most prestigious surgeon in the Chicago area and I have a shot at joining his practice. Why can't you just see the future we're going to have?" I yelled. "Do you want me to give it all up so that we can eat dinner together every night?"
"Dinner?" She laughed, but not because she was amused. It sounded cold and bitter. "How about just remembering my birthday?"
"What?" Surprised, I mentally calculated the date in my head. Guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. Her birthday was two days ago. How the hell did I forget that? "I didn't mean to forget." I walked toward her, taking her hand. "Elyse, baby, I'll make it up to you."
"Don't." She pulled away from my touch. "I don’t want you to make it up to me. I didn't want you to forget in the first place."
"I'm sorry. I got wrapped up at the hospital, then Andy called me because he needed help moving a TV into his basement. If this is what's bothering you, I'll fix it. I’ll find a way."
She stood there, staring at me with her once-lively eyes. They were sad and dull. I did that. I took her spark away.
"That's no excuse." I shook my head as I stated the obvious.
"No," she whispered. "That isn't."
She walked out. I didn't even try and stop her. How could I? She was right.
I had to stop this. Rehashing the past and remembering every second we'd spent together wasn't going to help. It hadn't helped in the past six months. What good would it do me now? I needed to get some clothes on and go to bed. I was freezing and miserable. I headed down the hall to the laundry room. I'd been working such long shifts that I'd slacked off on washing clothes and had thrown a load in the dryer before I left for work that morning. I stopped to stare at myself in the hall mirror, running my fingers through my hair. I hadn't realized how long it had gotten in the past few months. I guess I'd slacked off on getting a haircut, too.
Maybe I should cut it? A new start. I couldn’t.
Elyse loved my hair. She couldn't keep her hands out of it while we were fucking. The memories were all I had left, and if keeping my hair meant holding onto her just a little longer, I’d do it. No matter how much I wanted to, I was never going to let her go. I closed my eyes and imagined her face. I pictured her big chocolate-colored eyes, her full, kissable lips. I mentally moved down to her flawless body, remembering every curve and dip. I could almost hear her little giggle when I kissed the back of her knees. A goddess who deserved to be worshipped.
Instead of worshipping her, I took her for granted and expected her to always be there. She'd given up just as much as I had through the years: her friends, her family, her job—hell, her whole life after we left to come to Chicago. I hadn't seen it, though. I hadn't realized all she'd let go to make me a success, even when she’d pointed it out.
I shook my head. There was nothing I could do about it now. She refused to take my calls in the beginning. Her parents wouldn't tell me if she was still in Chicago. She'd changed her cell number, and my e-mails to her went unanswered. It was time to come to terms and face the facts: she was gone; she wasn't coming home.
If she didn’t want to be with me anymore, I needed to get over it.
I still had a life, after all. My medical career was taking off. I'd worked long and hard through my residency, finally securing a position at a renowned teaching hospital. My career dreams were finally coming true.
Why wasn't she here to share it all with me now?
Because I lived for the future, never in the moment. I kept searching for what we could have had instead of appreciating what we had. I finally understood. I was such an idiot.
As I closed my eyes and leaned against the dryer, I could smell her sweet scent engulfing the tiny room: vanilla and roses, just like her body wash. It assaulted my nostrils and made my head spin. I must be nuts. I’ve spent so much time reminiscing that I’m hallucinating now.
“Chase.” Her voice emanated from the doorway of the room.
"Elyse?” I turned to face her. It couldn't be. I must be dreaming. Her image had been haunting me for months, after all.
She slowly walked toward me. The closer she got, the more stunning she looked. She wore the sexiest black evening gown I'd ever seen. Judging from the way her nipples strained against the silk, she wasn’t wearing a bra.
"Where did you come from?” I swallowed hard.
I sure as fuck hope I'm not imagining this.
"I came in while you were in the shower. I still have my keys. I wasn't sure what was taking you so long to come into the bedroom."
"Why are you here?"
“Shh.” She pressed her lips to mine briefly, then pulled away just far enough for her lips to barely brush mine as she said, "It's Valentine's Day. I had to come. We always spend it together."
“Hmm.” I moaned against the taste of her mouth as she kissed me again. I didn’t know what she was doing here, but all that mattered to me in that moment was that she was here, standing in front of me, kissing and touching me. It had been far too long.
She reached for my towel and pulled it from my body, a wicked glint in her eyes. She had me rock hard, and hadn't even touched me where I needed her to the most.
“I’ve missed you so much,” she mumbled against my lips as she wrapped her arms around my neck, pulling herself closer to my body. "I couldn't stay away any longer."
"You've been gone for months. What's changed?"
"Everything, nothing, just touch me."
I reached for the zipper on her dress and quickly lowered the thin metal, trailing my fingers down her spine. Not only was she not wearing a bra, but she’d forgotten her panties, too. I smiled as the dress parted at her back and I ran my hand over her bare ass. Her skin was smooth and warm. I missed being tangled in her body as we made love.
I missed so many things.
I moved my hands up to her shoulders and slipped the straps of her dress down her arms, watching as the shimmery silk pooled at her feet. She stepped out of her stilettos as I stepped back to take in her body. It was as perfect as I'd remembered. I ran my tongue over my lips as I stared at her freshly waxed pussy. I always thought her taste was exquisite, especially when she came on my tongue. I would never forget her unique flavor.
She took my hand and pulled me toward her, running her palms down my chest and shaking her head. She knew what I was thinking.
“Later, baby,” she whispered, an urgency to her voice. “You can lick me all night. Right now, though, I need you inside me. You know the way I like it.”
I placed my hands on her breasts and traced her nipples with my fingertips. They pebbled as she shivered under my touch.
She closed her eyes and arched her back. “I’ve wanted your hands on my body for a long time.”
“Then why did you leave?” All of the pain of the past months could have been avoided.
She ran her hand down my stomach and gripped my cock, gently swiping her thumb across my tip. I couldn't wait any longer. I needed to be inside her.
I turned her around and bent her over the dryer. “Do you want me to fuck you?” I moved my hand down her back, over her ass, and between her legs, feeling how wet she was. “I asked you a question.” She tightened around my fingers as I pushed them inside her heat.
“Yes, what?” I thrust my fingers in and out of her. I didn’t mean to be so forceful, but seeing her, having her close to me and knowing the way her body responded to me had me on fire. She'd awakened feelings that I worked so hard these past months to bury deep inside. I had closed myself off emotionally when she left. I didn't allow myself to feel for months—I didn't want to. Now I wanted to feel everything, not just her body. I wanted all of the love back, too.
“Fuck me!” she moaned. “Now!”
I moved closer to her body and placed one hand on the small of her back as I used my other to slide my cock deep inside her. She jerked forward.
“Chase!” She called out as she braced herself against the dryer for my next thrust. “Yes... just like that. Hard and fast.”
I continued to push deep inside her, releasing six months’ worth of pain and frustration with each plunge. I'd missed every inch of her; I wanted her to know that. I ran my fingers through her hair, then gently rested the side of her head against the cool metal of the dryer as I swiveled my hips, hitting her walls the way I knew she liked. She always wanted it fast and rough.
“Fuck, baby,” I managed to pant out. “Missed this so much.”
“So close, Chase…touch me!” Her voice was desperate and raw with need. "Don’t stop!"
I reached around to her center and pushed my fingers against her sweet little clit. I ran a finger over it, lightly pinched it, and felt her body tense.
“You gonna cum for me?” I whispered against her ear.
“Yes, now, oh God—”
I could feel her muscles clenching around my cock as she let go.
I licked and sucked my way around her neck as I slowly pulled out of her and turned her to face me. She ran her fingers through my hair, the way she always did, as I lifted her against the dryer. Thank God I hadn't thought to cut it before tonight.
"Wrap your legs around me."
She did as I asked. I took her face between my hands and entered her. I wasn't as frantic this time as I was when I first entered her. I slowed my pace and savored the moment, continuing to pump in and out. She felt amazing; she was so warm, wet, and tight.
"I can't believe you're here," I said. "I feel like I'm dreaming."
"I tried to stay away, but I couldn't fight it anymore." She tangled her fingers in my hair and all talking stopped.
Before long, I felt that familiar, delicious sensation building in my abdomen and shooting straight to my balls. I didn’t want this to end, but I couldn't hold it off any longer.
“Fuck!” I moaned out my release, holding her as close to my body as I could. When I calmed down, I carried her to my bedroom…our bedroom.
We lay cuddled against one another as I tried to process what had just happened between us. I wondered if it was just a quick fuck, a moment the two of us so desperately needed. Would she leave again? Could I handle it if she did?
“Chase,” she spoke. "I wanted to talk. That's why I came here."
"You didn’t look like you just wanted to talk when I first saw you." I didn't want to come off as bitter, but I couldn't help it. What did she want from me? Sex? Talk?
"When I found you in the laundry room, I couldn't control what I felt. All these emotions came flooding back, and all I could think about was being with you. We should've talked first."
"You regret what we did?" I sat up, letting her go, and leaned against the headboard. My stomach churned with anticipation over hearing what she would tell me. If she was going to kick me to the curb again, I wanted to get it over with.
She shook her head. "I could never regret being with you. It always feels so right."
"What do you want, Elyse?” I had to keep my cool and really listen to what she wanted. I hadn't done that before and she left. I didn’t want to make that mistake again. “How can I make this better?"
"I don’t know if you can." She sat up and wrapped the sheet around her body. "There's so much distance between us."
"I didn’t feel any distance a few minutes ago. If anything, it was as if a day hadn't gone by, as if the past six months didn’t exist."
"But they did exist." She frowned. "We have been apart."
"I've missed you every day. I can't eat, sleep, or breathe without thinking about you." I reached out and stroked her cheek. "Do you think about me?"
"Every day. I'm miserable."
"Why didn’t you get in touch with me sooner? I tried to contact you, but you shut me out." I looked up at the ceiling, trying to forget how nauseous I felt when I’d found out that she'd changed her number.
"I was so angry with you. I let the last year we were together build up. When I finally left, I was so mad and hurt that I wanted a clean break…Well, that's what I thought I wanted, at least."
"And what do you want now?" I asked, hoping she'd tell me what I wanted to hear. If she didn’t, I'd fight for her. There was no way I was letting her walk out of my life again.
She hesitated for a few moments. The silence deafening.
“I want to come home.” She smiled, and her brown eyes lit up the whole room.
I closed my eyes and pushed back the lump in my throat, trying to find the words; they weren't there. She'd more than surprised me this Valentine's Day. We had so much to deal with. For right now, I’d take this moment.
“You are home, baby.” I pulled her closer to me. “I’ll do better, I promise.”
“You better,” she warned. “Because I can’t live without you.”
“Welcome home, sweet Elyse.”
Six months later…
We drove down the street on a hot August afternoon. It had been almost a year to the day when she walked out of my life. Since I'd gotten a second chance, I wasn't stupid enough to screw it up again.
"Where are we going?" Elyse asked as she gazed out the passenger-side window.
"I want to show you something." I had been working on this surprise for a month; it had finally come together. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
"This neighborhood is gorgeous. The houses are so pretty." Her smile was unending. She had longed to live in a house like one of these for so long, on a tree-lined street just like the one we were traveling down. She'd never admit it, but I knew her dreams just as well as she did. They were my own, as well.
She glanced at her watch. "Aren't you going to be late for your shift?"
"I'm spending your birthday with you." I reached for her hand.
"How? I thought you had to go to the hospital after lunch."
"Andy traded with me," I grinned at her. "I don't have to be in until tomorrow morning. You're stuck with me all night."
"Then what are we doing here? Let's go home and get into bed." She winked at me.
She was wearing the tiniest blue sundress. It barely covered anything. Her nipples had been teasing me all afternoon. "Soon." I pulled into the driveway at the top of the block.
"Is this one of the doctors' houses?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact. It is." I got out and walked around to open her door, extending my hand and helping her out of the car. "Come on."
"Why are we here?" She looked up at the house uncertainly. "It's huge."
"It's pretty empty," I said as I led her up the stone path. "It still needs decorating and furniture."
"Did they just move in?" We stepped onto the porch and stood in front of the huge oak door.
"Not yet." I reached into my pocket and retrieved the key, dangling it at eye level. "You want to do the honors?"
"What?" I saw the confusion in her eyes. "Whose house is this?"
"Ours." I slipped the key inside her hand. "If you want it to be."
"Chase?" She looked down at the key and then back up at me. "I don't understand."
"About six weeks ago, a doctor at the practice took a job in Colorado. He and his wife just built this house, and they needed to sell it, so I came and checked it out on a whim. I knew as soon as I saw it."
"What did you know?"
"That it was home." I kissed her forehead. "Let's see if you agree."
"I can't believe you bought a house!" She shook her head as she unlocked the door. "That's so not you."
"I wanted to live in the moment." I said, echoing her words from a year ago.
When she looked up at me, I knew she understood.
"I wanted to stop talking about the future and start living for today. It's time for us to start enjoying life. We deserve it."
I pushed the door open and motioned for her to enter. "If you don't like the house, we can look for something different."
She walked in and looked around the hallway, then smiled at me. "Who in their right mind wouldn't love this house?"
She walked down the hall, taking in each room as she went, finally stepping into the kitchen.
"Look at those countertops. And the view!" She walked over to the patio doors adjacent to the kitchen. "Is that a park?"
"A golf course." I laughed. "The community backs up to the course."
"I'm glad you like it. I was worried I'd overstepped. I don’t know how I let myself get so caught up, but when I found out the house was for sale, I had to have it for us.”
"This is really ours?" she asked.
She flung herself into my arms and gave me a huge kiss. I could feel her nipples rubbing against my shirt. "You want to see our bedroom?"
"Yes." She looked down at my over eager erection. "I do."
I took her hand and led her up the back staircase and into the master bedroom.
"This is magnificent." She looked around the huge space, laughing. "This room is bigger than our first apartment. Do you remember how small that place was?"
"Yeah," I said, laughing. "But it suited us back then."
"I loved that place. I could've stayed there forever."
"Hopefully you'll feel that way about this place soon." I walked her over to the big picture window that overlooked the backyard.
"I already do. I can see why you bought this house."
I sat her down on the window seat and dropped to my knees in front of her. I stared up at her beautiful face. Everything was falling into place.
"I had such a wonderful day. My birthday was more special than I could've imagined." She leaned down and slowly kissed my lips. "Much better than last year."
"That was my goal. Since I had some making up to do, this one had to be twice as good as last year."
She took my hand and placed it on her inner thigh as she slowly spread her legs for me. I rubbed that soft skin as we kissed for a few minutes, then broke away from her lips. She pouted at the loss of our connection.
"Don't worry." I smiled. "We'll get to that in a bit, I promise.” I took her hand in mine and gently squeezed it. I didn’t think I would be nervous, but even after all these years, my girl still gave me butterflies.
"Chase?" She ran her fingertips over my cheek. "Are you okay?"
"I couldn't be happier…Well, that's not entirely true."
"Is there something I can do to make you happier?"
I nodded as I reached into my pocket and pulled out the pale-blue ring box.
"Elyse, I know we've talked about this already, but I wanted to do this properly."
She covered her mouth, her eyes filling with tears.
"Elyse Elizabeth Jacobs." I stared deeply into her eyes. "You are the only thing in my life that matters. I may have lost sight of that before, but I swear I never will again. You've given me purpose. You make my life better. Will you please marry me?"
She slid from the bench seat to her knees to face me. "I would be honored to become your wife. I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I thank God for us every day. Yes, Chase. I want to marry you and spend the rest of our lives together."
I took her hand in mine and slowly slipped the ring on her finger. Tears began streaming down her face, but I knew they were happy tears.
"Chase," she said as she looked down at the ring. "This is fabulous. You picked this out?"
"Of course I did. If you want something else, we'll go tomorrow."
"No." She had a huge smile on her face. "I've never seen anything so perfect."
"I have." I took her face in my hands and gently kissed her lips. "I promise I'll spend the rest of my days making sure you keep that smile on your face. You're the only thing I'll ever need."
"I love you," she said as she ran her hands across my shoulders and down to begin unbuttoning the buttons of my shirt. "Make love to me." She pressed her lips to mine as she freed me from my shirt and then reached for my belt buckle. I broke the kiss briefly.
"Why aren't you taking my clothes off?" She undid my pants and pushed them over my hips.
I slid her dress up past her waist and helped her out of her panties.
"I think I'd like for you to leave this dress on." I lowered my mouth to her neck and began kissing and sucking my way down toward her breasts. I gripped her sides and pulled her closer to me before removing my own pants. I sat down and moved her into my lap. When she straddled me, I couldn't hold back the groan as her warm, wet center grazed my cock.
"I need to feel you inside me."
I reached down and grabbed the base of my shaft, slightly arching my hips for a better angle as I prepared to insert myself inside her.
"We'll always be connected." I moved my hips against her.
"Always," she whispered. She took my face in her hands and kissed me. Just as she pushed her tongue in my mouth, I thrust deep inside her. "Oh…just like that," she moaned as she started to rock against me.
I slipped my hands up to cup her breasts through the dress as we continued to kiss. I couldn't get close enough to her, couldn’t get enough of her. I slowed our pace, wanting to make this moment last as long as I could. We ceased all movement for a few seconds and just gazed into one another's eyes.
"Can you feel how much I love you?"
She ran her fingers down my cheek. "I can."
She started to move again, so I rested back, my strength on my forearms, and watched as she brought herself to the brink. She squeezed her eyes shut, and I felt her muscles clamping down on my cock. I sat up, my lips moving back to her neck and trailing kisses up to her lips.
"You'll always be mine," I whispered as she exploded around me. She screamed my name over and over, until her body stopped trembling. I twisted my fingers in her hair and buried my face in her shoulder as I released. My orgasm shot through my body, bringing me to shudder against her. I let go of her hair and pulled her as close to me as physically possible.
She cuddled into my chest as we sat together. "How soon can we get a bed in here?"
"We can move in tomorrow."
"Hmm." She leaned up and kissed my jaw. "This has been the best birthday ever."
"It's only the beginning. We're finally home."
Happy Valentine's Day!