To Date or Not To Date
I hadn’t been on a date since Anthony. I wanted to see the other side of that tunnel more than anything. It felt like it was going to change my life forever and I was ready. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to date anyone, no matter the reward.
I didn’t know this man. All I knew was he followed me into a dark cave and after causing me to injure myself he at least helped. Why would he do that just to hurt me in the end? The thought of dating anyone after Anthony wasn’t something I thought about often.
I missed the intimacy and the sex. Man did I miss the sex. With his deployments over the course of our relationship I was used to going long periods of time with just myself. This was different, there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
I had an embarrassingly large box of toys that had kept me happy over the years. I would have to do it at some point. I thought to myself. How bad can it be to just suffer through a dinner with the man to see what that is. It’ll be worth it.
“I will accept that deal. Is this the date?” I added the snarky comment at the end crossing my fingers.
I noticed another smile flashed on his face. He was the first person in a long time to appreciate my not-needed-comments. I enjoyed the sight more than I wanted to admit.
“Not a chance. I’ll take you back to the entrance you came in.” He said as he handed my hunting knife to me.
“Thank you.” I found myself saying with a sigh of relief. “There’s another entrance?”
“You rely that much on your knife?” He asked with a hint of disapproval.
“Not at all. My Pa gave me that knife.” I replied honestly. “It’s special that’s all.”
He reached his arm out to help me up. After grabbing my pack, I reached up to take it. His touch felt like fire directly onto my skin. I expected the heat I felt to burn, surprisingly it held more of a soothing effect on me.
I gasped as I stood, and he reached out with his other arm to steady my shoulder. His palm was directly on my skin, delivering the same warm sensation. My nipples hardened instantly while my body began to come alive.
His eyes found mine, neither of us moving. It was like I could see directly into his soul. He wasn’t the asshole he tried to come off as. In that moment I felt my soul come alive.
He slid his hand down my arm covering my hand with his. The hand that steadied my shoulder was now moving up my neck stopping with his thumb on my cheek.
He traced small circles as I stood there in a trance lost in his eyes. My whole body melted as he traced his fingers up and down my arms. I could feel my core begin to ach slightly.
“Tadeas…” I said his name for the first time. Still in my trance, savoring the taste of his name on my lips.
His eyes ignited to a bright gold causing my body to pull towards him. My mind began to catch up. I froze just before my chest touched his. I darted my eyes away from his turning towards the exit.
“Aries…” His voice was different, as if he was trying to pull me back in.
My body stopped moving as if it knew something I did not. My heart quickened as my mind fought my body. I wasn’t sure what to do, I wanted to leave but I couldn’t. I felt torn, helpless yet completely safe.
Tadeas took a step towards me closing the distance between us. He towered over me like a giant. His hand quickly rose in the air causing me to brace for impact. My mind thought he would strike but my body knew better.
“I will never harm you.” He spoke gently before he placed his palm back on my face.
I leaned into the touch this time. Something about it made me forget everything in the world. There was no pain, no family members snickering behind my back, just bliss.
“Aries, I’m sorry.” He said as his lips crashed onto mine.
I didn’t expect him to just bend down and kiss me. My head was in the clouds, no longer concerned with logic. My body leaned into him as if it fit perfectly. He wrapped his arm around my back engulfing me in his warmth.
I was so lost in the kiss; a whimper escaped my lips when he drew back. I didn’t expect it at all; I was less ready for it to stop. We were lost in each other’s eyes for a moment before my wits returned. I stepped backwards, shaking a little as I felt like I was freezing.
“I don’t know what that was, or who you are. But I think I am better off just going home. I won’t say anything about what I saw here.” I spoke fast.
I started to walk down the path, unsure if it was right. I didn’t care, I just needed to get out of there. My body would not fail me this time. My adrenaline was flowing. I was beyond confused.
I started to reason that I just hit my head harder than I thought and it was all a dream. I just needed to get home in my bed, and I would wake up there. None of what I just felt made any sense.
I expected Tadeas or whatever his name was to be chasing me if he was real. I didn’t hear anyone behind me, so I slowed my pace slightly. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was, and it was pretty dark this far from his fire.
I reached into my pack pulling out my flashlight once more. I looked behind me and in front. I didn’t see anyone else. My mind began to wonder if it really was all in my head. None of that actually happened.
After another 45 minutes of walking, I finally reached the slit in the rocks I managed to squeeze though the first time. I took one last glance behind me, nothing.
“I guess it really was all in my head. Thank you, creepy cave, I will not be back.” I said aloud before pushing myself through the rocks.
The sun was setting over the tree line and I wondered how long I was unconscious for. I raised my fingers to my head and touched the dressing with the herbs and leaves.
“Worst dream ever! What kind of dream makes you return to your bed?” I said aloud as I followed the trail back toward town.
I looked up into the night sky marveling at the beautiful shades painted carefully across it. The deep red in the horizon reminded me of the streaks in Tadeas’ hair.
Just then I stumbled slightly on a root that was raised on the path. I looked back to yell at the culprit and managed to trip over a branch that fell into the path during the storm.
“Always be aware, huh Pa?” I said aloud.
“Still talking to yourself I see.” Tadeas’ voice sounded above me as he reached his arm down to help me up.
I looked at his hand for a moment. I wanted nothing more than to grab it and pull myself into him. Luckily my mind was still with me. I remembered what happened last time I touched him. I pushed my hands onto the ground lifting myself up and dusting myself off.
“It’s almost dark. I am making sure you get home safe.” He informed me falling into step.
“I am capable.” I said trying to pick up the pace, my ankle too sore.
“You are injured. And too precious to risk it.” He said with the same emotion I saw in the depths of his soul.
My mouth refused to make a comment, refused to move other than the smile that formed in the corners. I forgot what it was like to have someone really care for your wellbeing.
“If you insist.” I managed to get out before relaxing into a more comfortable pace.