The Space Between

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Chapter 10

JACK

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard… the people you have loved.”

-Ansel Adams

Thursday Evening

Madalyn. The way the sun-light framed her was stimulating. She immediately warmed up to me taking her picture and began doing her own poses. She held the back of her head, pointing her elbows out and stretching out her body. Her white beach dress, complemented every curve that she had perfectly. As I looked at the photo I had just taken, I knew it would be the main print that I would frame in my apartment.

Perhaps I could change the outcome of how I had been sleeping by hanging photographs of her in my apartment. She could work like a dream catcher. I hadn’t picked up a camera in two years. Madalyn was making me completely rethink what I was left living for. I would reinvent my life, starting with photos of her.

Madalyn slid the strap of her dress from the top of her right shoulder, and tucked her cheek against it. Her soft, tan olive skin and staggering features were like nothing I had ever seen, or photographed. Every pose she made was graceful, like a dance. She moved her hand to her left shoulder and slid her other strap toward the edge, letting it slowly fall.

I snapped the camera shutter, taking photo number fifty-three, and continued to take more as her dress fell to my bedroom floor, revealing light pink, almost skin-colored, undergarments. Or was it a swimsuit? I couldn’t tell.

Her poses reminded me of a ballet dancer. Her steps were light, and her body always stretched, each pose giving every curve the attention it deserved. Her bikini fit her angelic form at every last curve and concave. I had never photographed anyone like this in my previous life, and never chased that kind of photography. I felt nervous at first, although her willingness quickly put me at ease.

Madalyn arched her body and leaned her head back as she unsnapped the back of her strapless swimsuit top. She cupped her full breasts with her hands, still holding the top in place. The pose was held briefly, and then she lightly moved her hands away, so that the top fell to the floor.

She did not lack confidence, and was clearly comfortable in her own skin. And there was no reason why she should not have been confident. However, she was also showing a lot of trust, or perhaps it was naivety. She hardly knew me, but was allowing me to take photographs like these. That was admirable, and too trusting on her part, or again, naive. I would not do anything to betray the trust she had in me to be a part of this.

“I’ve never done this for anyone, Jack. I want you to know me,” she said, in an instrumental tone of voice, as I continued photographing the eloquence of her form.

“I assume I’m doing okay, because you have said virtually nothing since we started my impromptu photo-shoot,” she added.

“Ansel Adams said, ’When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.’ I feel those words right now. I too have never done this.”

She leaned her back against the wall while holding her arms around her chest. She appeared to be thinking about something else for the moment, rather than focusing on her pose. I felt like I should have said more, yet her beauty was overthrowing my thought process. So I continued in silence, capturing her elegance.

Madalyn turned her head, looking past the lens and right at me. I snapped one final photograph.

“These are beautiful. Do you want to see?” I asked.

“I can wait for the prints,” she said, strangely.

“I will print them. I don’t want to forget this moment,” I said nervously, as she stepped toward me.

“I’ve never forgotten, nor will I ever forget.” Her reply escaped my understanding. My train of thought was lost anyway.

She continued stepping toward me, and then let her hands fall away, exposing the prepossessing nature of her well-developed form.

The September sunset reflecting off the ocean water held her physical body in a brilliant light as she stood there, staring at me, her eyes gleaming. I didn’t feel gentlemanly when my eyes would not remove themselves from the surface of her skin. I squinted and glanced down at her feet, trying to maintain any kind of self-control. I took notice of her red-painted toes, and then felt stupid for staring at her feet, even though they too were pretty. I shut my eyes.

“Look at me,” she softly commanded as she stretched herself high, raising her arms. Her command also sounded daring, like she was wanting me to act on something. I listened to her voice and followed her curves from the ground up, eventually meeting her lusting eyes.

“Do you see me?” she asked.

“Yes,” I softly replied.

She slid her hands down her body, stopping at her swimsuit bottoms, gliding her thumbs in and out of the top elastic.

“What do you see, Jack?” she confidently asked.

I swallowed. “A beautiful young woman.”

She closed her eyes and curled her fingers against her thighs.

“I like that answer,” she replied.

I was feeling uneasy, but it was hard to walk away from her.

“Are you sure that you want to do this?” I asked her.

“What are we doing?” she replied softly.

“Well, I’m standing here watching you, wondering what you are going to do next, and I’m afraid.”

“What are you afraid of, Jack?” she asked softly.

“Afraid of hurting you.”

“You couldn’t hurt me. You wouldn’t hurt me. You’re too kind for that. I know…” she stated.

“I’m too kind?”

“Yes. Your eyes are telling me that,” she answered, taking another step closer. “Do you want me?”

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t,” I replied.

“You can have me,” she stated as she continued to close the distance between us.

“Do you find me fetching?” she asked as she tilted her head back, looking at me from under her soft, long eyelashes. If her beauty was not captivating enough, her words, and how softly she spoke them, were hypnotizing.

She slowly, yet aggressively, charged forward, reaching out to me, clutching my white shirt in her fists. I was impressed at the healthy strength she had for a woman, as she pulled her mostly bare body against mine. She held her grip firm, as she gracefully wrapped her legs around my torso, causing her to rise above me. I looked up at her brilliance as she tightened her grip around my waist. Her body was very warm and inviting, as she fixed her seductive gaze on my mouth. She held her lips softly against mine, and I could hear, and feel, each breath that she took. I placed my hands where the tops of her long legs beautifully met with the rest of her, tightening my hold. She kept her focus on my mouth, releasing a whimper as her body quivered. My chosen hand placement caused her to loosen her grip, suspending herself more in my firm hold. Her breathing became uneven, and she froze in place, trying to catch her breath.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Yeah. Just give me a minute,” she answered, shaking and trembling. Her voice quaked with unsteady emotion.

I really didn’t think she knew what to do next, and was waiting for me to make the next move.

Her innocent beauty was invigorating, and the way she responded to a simple touch was very reassuring.

She did say that she had never been with anyone the way she had been with me. Should I be the one to give her what she was asking for? I thought of it more as a taking, rather than giving.

It was too soon. She was too beautiful and too innocent to complicate whatever this was with sex of any kind. I was afraid of disappointing her because I had been out of the game for a while. I was not ready to disappoint her. She, who unselfishly threw her trust at me. Her innocence was becoming what I loved most.

The more I thought it out, the more I wanted to put a stop to it. I was not that type of person, nor would I become that type. I just wanted to find out who she was, though not in this way, so I decided to find a way out. I wanted so badly what she was offering. Our comfort with each other was instantly unchecked from the moment we set eyes on each other.

I turned around and dropped to my knees, setting her on the edge of the bed. I leaned over, and kissed the tops of her thighs, forgetting my self-resolve, causing her to respond with heavier whimpering. Her moaning jogged my memory, and I stopped what I was doing.

“Maddy,” I quickly said, as I watched her eyes roll to the back of her head in ecstasy. “I have to ask you something. Please, don’t take offense.” Her eyes looked to mine as she held her hands against the back of my head, caressing my scalp.

“Okay, here it goes… When you said you hadn’t been with anyone, did you mean…” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the question. “I know you alluded to this a little bit ago, but I just have to make sure.”

She didn’t answer, but only laughed a little, dropping her head back. She reclaimed her grip on me with her long legs and pressed my face into her bare chest, clawing at my scalp. She continued a small giggle that was coupled with a few heavy breaths.

“A virgin? Is that what you are trying to ask? Yes. Yes I am,” she eventually answered. “I’m sorry, Jack. I am moving us too fast, I know. What happened to our plans for the beach?” She laughed again, hugging me tighter with her body. “I am that. A twenty-two-year-old Virgin Girl. I’m sorry, Jack. I guess I am just really horny.”

My eyes widened. “…And really honest,” I responded.

She fell back on the bed, placing her arms over her head, and laughed. I took to marveling at how beautiful and athletic her form was as she lay with her upper body outstretched.

You are crazy for stopping this, I told myself.

I was definitely changing my opinion of what I loved most about her. It was most certainly the innocent way that she expressed her honesty. I indeed loved her honesty, and that she was so comfortable sharing exactly how she felt.

Maddy kept laughing for a brief moment as she sat up, holding on to me, and occasionally kissing my shoulder.

“I really admire your honesty. It’s extremely attractive, just like everything else. I hope this isn’t the wrong thing to say, but I think you would be happier with the decision to wait, being that our relationship is just starting,” I told her. She brought her soft, damp lips to my cheek bone and kissed me, keeping her body wrapped around my torso and tightening her legs. She released a moan, and I could feel her kiss turn to a smile.

“I suppose I agree. I just have a lot of feelings that came crashing into me, and I became - impassioned, or lost in the moment - I guess,” she answered with an unsteady voice, though in no way lacking conviction. “It’s just…” she paused, collecting her thoughts. “I feel so nostalgic in your company, like a groupie.”

“A groupie?” I questioned.

“Yeah. On the outside I’m calm and collected; inside, I’m giddy like a school-girl. I just want to start shouting your name,” she said excitedly.

I laughed.

“There is more I could say but, to spare myself any further embarrassment, we will leave it at that.”

“Very well,” I laughed, apprehensively. That respect I had for her kept me from ravishing her right then and there. The more subtle honesty she spoke made it that much harder to resist her. She was giving me all of her, leaving nothing to secrecy, which left me feeling guilty. I could in no way bring myself to tell her, much less myself, my own truths. I knew who I wanted to be, however, I had not found that part in me yet. I had been busy planning other things the past two years.

One thing was for sure, when I was with her, I felt like half of a whole. There was a completeness. I would not voice that, however; it was too intense and too sudden.

I needed more time with her. I thought about how accepting she was of my elusive answers, and how she didn’t seem to think much on it. Or maybe she was, but just didn’t show it.

One thing I could relate to though, was her nostalgia. The happiness I felt in her company was something I had greatly missed. All I had to do was look at her, and I felt like I was being unmade. She hardly seemed real.

“I understand you, Maddy. Thank you,” I said.

She pulled away from me and rested her arms on my shoulders, softly rubbing my ears.

“Thank you? For what?” she asked.

What was I thanking her for?

“Do you not remember?” she asked.

“Yes, I do. It’s just that I had instantly forgotten why I said it. Your exposed, naked skin… your curves… they are distracting, and it’s causing me to ramble.”

She laughed at me and kissed my top lip.

“I was just thinking that you don’t know me well, and you’re giving me all of your trust, it feels like. So I was letting you know it was appreciated and noticed.”

“You’re welcome. I guess I have a lot of trust in you. I always have,” she explained.

“Maddy, sometimes you talk to me like you’ve known me for a long time.”

She shrugged her shoulders and glanced left, almost as if to ignore my question. I continued to look at her, waiting for an answer.

“Sometimes a girl can think her whole life on what she is looking for in a guy. Well, I’ve thought about that for most of my life. So much so that I had delusional fantasies. It was a problem, until you showed up. It wasn’t delusional at all, I found out,” she answered, appearing to fight off emotion.

“So, are you saying I was your delusion, or what you imagined?”

“Yes,” she answered. Her mouth smiled, yet her eyes did not, and neither did her cheeks.

“You know, can we talk about something else?” she asked, clearly feeling uncomfortable.

I wasn’t sure what it was that made her uncomfortable, though.

“Madalyn, if I didn’t have your best interests at heart, I wouldn’t have stopped what we were doing. I’m sorry if you’re disappointed.”

“I’m not in any way disappointed,” she replied.

There was a brief silence between us; I was obviously misunderstanding her.

“Okay, maybe a little, but you are right,” she pouted.

Her pout was very cute.

“Just so you are aware though, that was very hard to do, and would have been impossible for most males.”

“Well, you’re not out of the woods yet,” she joked as she glanced down at her body and squeezed her breasts.

“Wow, that doesn’t help me,” I said.

Maddy laughed and pressed her head against mine, smashing our noses together.

“I understand you, Jack. Thank you,” she mimicked, yet not to insult.

I kissed her lightly on the mouth.

“Good. Now you need to put your clothes on before my willpower has diminished,” I said.

She laughed again and gave a little moan as she grabbed at her breasts. I only could stare at her, smiling as I reached back behind me and picked up her dress and swimsuit top.

“I’ll put this back on, Jack. But I swear that if I am in this predicament with you again, and you try to stop it, I’m probably going to hurt you,” she sarcastically joked, as she snapped her bathing suit top.

“Let’s go to the beach,” I replied, covering my eyes. I really couldn’t take any more of her sexual taunts. My blood pressure was going to cause my heart to explode.

. /

I had Maddy follow me down the dock, and I took her hand as she jumped down into my boat. I didn’t let go of her hand until she was seated. I slid my sun glasses on, and backed up carefully out of the Marina. When we had cleared the ‘No Wake Zone,’ I took off across Taylor Creek, passing a few boats that were anchored. I maintained a decent speed as we headed toward the Beaufort Inlet Channel. We were on the side that didn’t have any large waves, so I could beach the boat without worrying that it would get knocked around too much.

Once we reached shallow water, I killed the engine and grabbed the front rope. I jumped out of the boat pulling us to shore. I took the metal stake attached to the rope and buried it into the sand. I held my arms out toward Maddy, catching her effortlessly as she dropped off the front of the boat. She kissed me softly on the cheek as her toes touched the sand.

The weather was beautiful. It felt about eighty outside with a cool breeze coming off of the Atlantic. Madalyn’s light dress pressed against her in the breeze. I could not help but idolize her beauty, and she caught me staring a few times.

“What?” she questioned with an infectious smile.

“Nothing. It’s just… your age doesn’t suit you. Most twenty-two-year-olds are in college, and they want to party. I haven’t heard you talk about any friends you might have. I’m just trying to know you a little more,” I explained.

“I… I guess I’ve been satisfied with just hanging out with my mom. I never went to high-school. I finished home-schooling when I was sixteen,” she answered.

I remained silent and nodded, trying to find something else to question. She seemed too intelligent and grown-up to me. She was something special, that was for sure.

“Do you doubt my answer?” she questioned, most likely because of how my eyes were studying her.

“Sorry. That expression wasn’t aimed at you. I was just thinking that I didn’t want to stereotype you. But, you are extremely grown-up, and intelligent. So, it just doesn’t match what I am picturing as someone who was home-schooled, and appeared to not have much of a social life.”

She scoffed at my answer.

“Well it is stereotyping, Jack. I was content with my home-schooling and being by myself most of the time. I read a lot of books, and still read a lot of books. I never really watch television. I went surfing a lot too.”

“Well it shows. Because you have a very grown-up personality, and a broad vocabulary. You haven’t abused your body in anyway. You’re not inked up, and clearly have an exercise routine. It’s attractive, impressive… and intimidating,” I mentioned, feeling my eyes widen.

Madalyn giggled. “Impressive? My exercise routines are ballet class and surfing. Otherwise I lay around and read. I haven’t even spoken to you in my second language yet because I didn’t want to intimidate you.”

“Second language!” I said. “Maddy, you’re a beautiful human being,” I joked.

Madalyn giggled again at me.

“You said you’ve read a lot of books?” I questioned.

“Thousands, and that is no exaggeration.”

“Really, that many? Do you have any favorites?” I asked.

“There are different genres I could favor, but as far as books go I would say Job, Psalms and the Gospel accounts,” she said with an innocent seriousness.

“The Bible?” I questioned.

“Well, yes. I’ve read it many times. The book of Job, some poets say, is some of the most moving poetry ever written. I would have to agree. And besides, it has practical wisdom which ninety percent of all humans lack. Growing up, I would sit in my room reading and sometimes writing. It’s very therapeutic to write down your thoughts, and I had a lot.”

“Were some of these written thoughts about your delusions?” I asked.

“Yes. Most of them were,” she said, without a smile.

“Well, that’s okay. I like your life. It sounds peaceful and uncorrupted,” I told her.

“I guess I haven’t been warped by worldly influences that I would have picked up had I gone to high school,” she cleverly stated.

“Well, I’d say your chosen lifestyle has really made you well, Maddy. Though your soul is old, it’s beautiful. I feel like I’m talking to an extinct race,” I sincerely told her.

She laughed at my description.

“You are the last of your kind, and have chosen me, a mortal man, to share all of your knowledge with,” I teased.

She laughed, with a beautiful open mouth smile. “You’re gorgeous, and now I’m finding that you can be funny too, so it’s like a plus,” she told me.

“Yeah, that is all you, bringing this out in me. Normally I’m just grumpy,” I said.

She frowned at me.

“Oh Jack, don’t be melancholy; give yourself some credit. I want you to be funny, so that is what you will be.”

“Yes my queen,” I bowed.

I stepped forward, putting all joking aside.

“I’ll be whatever you need me to be,” I said, staring into the violet of her celestial eyes, which seemed to be glowing against the setting sun.

I would be anything for her. Anything was better than what was.

She stared right back at me, facing into the wind, and the sunset, which complemented all that she was. Her brilliance was the perfect representation of an unearthly beauty.

“I believe you can be anything, Jack. So far you’ve been everything.”

She moved herself against me, and kissed me softly as the surf caught our feet.

Her lips departed from mine, and she held my hand, pulling me further down the beach.

“I brought a surf-board, by the way. I didn’t know if you had one, so you can keep it. I forgot to gift wrap it; I hope that is okay?”

“That’s alright. I saw them on top of your car. That was thoughtful. And you guessed right, I do not have a surf-board. Is this an extra one you don’t use anymore?”

“It was my dad’s,” she said, her step faltering.

“I noticed you said, ‘was’. Do you mind me asking where he is? Your mother told me you used to tie his neck ties.”

“She didn’t,” Maddy yelled.

“Oh, yes she did. I caught you, by the way. You knew how to tie, and pretended not to just to come meet me,” I jokingly accused.

She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows, smiling. “I told you I had been chasing after you. I needed an excuse, and found the perfect opportunity.”

“That’s okay. I think it’s cute,” I told her.

“I haven’t been called cute since I was five I think.”

“Well, you are. And don’t ask why, because you would need to hire a poet to explain that,” I added.

She only laughed at me.

“So, about your father,” I continued.

“Yes, about my father. He moved back home to his family in Portugal. That is where we were originally from, and Portuguese is my second language. He’s found work there and sends us money. He’s there taking care of my grandparents.”

“I see. How long has he been there?” I asked.

“Since I was thirteen,” she answered.

“Are your mother and he still married?”

“Yeah. It’s complicated and hard to talk about. And that is the gist of it,” she said, clearly wanting to change the subject.

“I understand,” I said. There was something more there that she was unwilling to share. That was okay though. I was not going to judge her; I had a few secrets of my own.

We walked further down the beach, discovering one another, and sharing in the occasional kiss. Everything about her had me captivated. The subtle way a strand of hair fell over her face. The way she gently pulled it back over her ear. The way she walked on her feet with grace and fluidity. The way her lips moved when she spoke, and pronounced each word. I even picked up on a small accent that I hadn’t paid attention to earlier. Listening to her talk, and watching her movements was like a beautiful melody.

My mother once told me that the greatest love was the kind that made us feel weak and afraid, but like we could do anything at the same time. This meant we felt all that love was. When I thought about this, I actually didn’t know what all I was supposed to feel, however when I was with Madalyn, it was the best feeling. When I looked at her, my heart ached, and I saw love in physical form. Madalyn Amore, was love.

She jumped on her tip-toes, holding my hand, and spun in a circle with the grace of a skilled dancer.

“Maddy, there is no one like you.”

She spun again then fell against me. I held her in silence and took in her rousing scent.

The sky was almost completely dark, and the sun was no longer visible. We had walked down the beach quite a ways, and the stars could be clearly seen. I didn’t care where we ended up, just as long as we were together.

“Do you have a blanket on your boat?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I say we go back and wrap ourselves up on your boat. Does that sound nice to you?” Madalyn asked.

That did sound nice. I nodded to her. “What if we fall asleep out here?”

“Then we will dream together,” she replied.

“As you wish…” I answered.

#

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