For a good five minutes, we lay tackling each other on the floor while the kids looked on, cheered and laughed like they were watching a movie.
“How did you even find my account?” I asked him as we lay on the floor out of breath.
“I stalked you a bit on Facebook.”
“Nah. I never post anything about my book there.”
“You did. Once. When you first started writing it.”
“Oh, right. Once. I shouldn’t have. Ahh!” I groaned and rolled on the floor in utter regret as the kids came with their blankets and joined us on the floor.
Later in the evening, August was supposed to go down by the metro since it was Saturday but, by the time we finished dinner, he surprisingly decided to stay at home. Arizona cheered up like never before. Since August rarely stayed home on Saturdays, his presence at home on a Saturday evening alleviated Arizona’s mood to that of a real, complete holiday. Once her brother told her he wasn’t going out, she cheered and skipped about the house, pulled out all her toys and blankets on the floor in the living room and proceeding to build a tent with Romeo while August and I did the dishes in the kitchen.
“Why did you decide to stay?” I asked him as I dried the dishes he gave m.
He shrugged in response. “Just feel like it. And you’re here too. . . gives me a better reason to stay home.”
I felt my face open up to a wide smile at his words.
Laughing, I rolled my eyes and said, “The reason I’m here is mainly that you’d be going out.”
Eyes on the sink, he chuckled and shook his head as he handed the last dish to me. “I don’t think that theory works any longer.”
My gaze lingered on his face curiously and smiling roguishly, he dropped a double-meaning, kinky line that had me laughing at once, “Because with you, I know I have much better things to do at home.”
I had barely finished drying the last dish he’d handed to me when, all of a sudden, he picked me up and set me down on the kitchen counter.
He spread open my legs and moved in between them. My heartbeat picked up speed all at once inside my chest as I met his meticulous eyes watching me, and yet fully aware of his hands slipping under my t-shirt and running along my skin, slow and sensuous.
Air thick and breathing heavy, my eyes stayed on his green ones, just watching him watching me. He did nothing but the confidence in his eyes and the way he teased my skin so very deliberately beneath my shirt made my body ache for him. My hand tightened on the dish I was holding as I struggled to hold my urges under control while my body leaned into him in need on its own.
My lips finally met his, making my head whirl in pleasure when I felt his tongue deep into my mouth, sliding against mine. . . swirling and sucking hard. I tightened my arms around his neck and drew myself closer to him, giving in and asking for more. All I wanted was for him to take me again and burn my body, consume me completely. He drove me insane like had never been with all the little things he did. I never knew I could crave for a guy this bad until I met him.
His hands came up to cup my face and he continued to kiss me harder, exploring every inch of my mouth, thrusting his tongue deep into me and drawing out soft moans from my throat. My body temperature seemed to peak with each of his touches and when I felt his scorching lips on my neck, sucking and tasting me wildly in heat, my eyes rolled back and I could hardly control the sounds I make.
Suddenly, we heard footsteps approaching and Augustine pulled away to look toward the door. Romeo appeared the next second and his eyebrows went up the moment he saw us.
“Oh! Great. Sorry. Carry on,” he said awkwardly with a tug on his lips and disappeared out of sight.
August and I had nothing more to do but laugh at Romeo’s reaction after him.
August pecked me on my lips again before he leaned in and whispered over my ear, “Now you know why I stayed home.”
My head felt back laughing at his words. He placed another peck on my jawline and finally set me down on the floor. Then we played with Ari inside the tent that she’d built with Romeo until she fell asleep inside it. August and I tucked her in.
By then, Romeo too had gotten inside his room. August and I went out to sit at the backyard with sodas in our hands. We lay a mat over the grass to sit on. Since the season had begun shifting to winter, we figured it wouldn’t be smart to sit directly on the grass. The Bradford pears along the Lane too had started shedding their leaves to the point of irritation.
Augustine took a long sip from his soda and lay down on the mat. Sighing in relief, he folded his arms beneath his head and closed his eyes. I lay down too and my gaze aligned with the sky where patches of clouds floated like sailboats on an ocean of. . . not exactly black but deep-blue waters. There weren’t many stars visible but the moon shone bright and majestic like it owned the night. Once in a while, it would hide behind the clouds as if to tease us.
Augustine’s arms slowly snaked around my shoulders and he tugged me to his side. I snuggled closer to him and settled in his embrace. We were both wearing t-shirts but he always felt warmer than I did. Even now, he felt like a heater against my body.
When I look up at him, he didn’t speak a word. He only lifted his head and leaned in to kiss me. Cupping his face in my palms, I closed my eyes and kissed him back. In the dead of the night, the only sounds that reached our senses were that of the night breeze, his soft breathing, and our kissing. And all I could ever feel was t way our lips molded against each other’s in slow, tender rhythm. It was beyond amazing. Marvelous. Magical. Enchanting.
I loved every bit of it. I loved the silence. I loved his presence. I loved the proximity. I loved the way he made me feel. Genuinely loved.
When our lips broke apart to breath, he ran his thumb gently just above the bandage strip on my face. I smiled at him so that he wouldn’t think too much about it now. I could still see it in his eyes the amount of anger brewing inside of him every time he saw the bandage on my face.
“Does it still hurt?” He asked me softly.
I shook my head a little and replied, “No. It doesn’t hurt at all now.”
“Wasn’t this the guy you were running from at college?”
“Who is he? An old flame?” He asked me with slight amusement in his eyes.
Laughing, I looked away from him scoffing at his choice of words.
“What’s his name?”
“So. . . what about him?”
“We, uh. . . we dated during the summer just before my senior year.”
“He’s older than you, right?”
“Yeah. He was my senior in high school.”
“Tell me about him. I just wanna know.”
“You won’t like it very much.” I laughed a little in hesitation. He definitely wasn’t going to like it a lot.
“I think I can handle it.”
“Okay.” I took my time to gather my thoughts and said, “I loved him a lot.”
“Yeah. I hate that part,” Augustine quickly remarked causing me to crack up laughing.
He lay back on his back and stared ahead at the sky.
“I wanted to marry him,” I added.
“I hate that part too.”
“Yeah.” I laughed again. “I told you I was in love with him.”
“But still. Marriage?”
I shrugged and replied, “I could be a bit melodramatic at times.”
“Mhm. I can see that.” He laughed too.
“So, I kinda grew up falling in love with him. He was my best friend, Kristen’s older brother and since I spent a lot of time at her place, I saw him often. And the more I saw him, the more I liked him. He was that popular valedictorian in school. He was also the quarterback. What more can you ask for? Back then, he was simply a complete package of perfection.” Then I scoffed at my silliness. Why was I so stupid?
“Come to think of it now, I just feel so stupid. He knew I liked him and he let it go on. I was a Freshman when he was a senior in our school. All that time, he flirted with me and let me on to think maybe he liked me too. When he came back from college during the summer, he asked me out to my surprise. I agreed since that had been my dream. It was amazing for a while. He took me out to hang out with him a couple of times but, gradually, I just started to feel weird about our relationship. It just seemed as though he was only trying to kill his time with me. I even talked to him about this and he told me it was normal in a relationship to feel that way at times. That’s a part of it. You know, he really had a way with words that made me believe that all that he was saying is true. And I have a problem of trusting people too easily.” I paused to think of the things that followed and August waited patiently. I didn’t meet his eyes but I could feel his gaze intent on me.
“So, um. . . long story short. We dated. I continued to feel weird. He took his chance and turned my doubts against me. He said maybe I didn’t really love him that’s why I couldn’t trust him the way he trusts me. He talked a lot to the point where it got me feeling like I had to prove to him how much I loved him. . . I wasn’t actually ready for it when he. . . when he suggested sex as a way around it. I didn’t want to go that far yet but then I got scared that maybe I would lose him. I didn’t want that either. So I. . . I gave in. I shouldn’t have.” My voice broke off and I could feel the corner of my eyes starting to sting with tears.
Augustine didn’t breath a word but when I met his eyes briefly, he had a frown on his face and it’s clear from the shell shocked look in his eyes that he hadn’t exactly expected for a story like this.
“Should I go on?” I asked him.
He swallowed and answered, “Sure. I mean, if you’re okay with it. You don’t have to if you don’t feel comfortable.”
“I want you to know,” I told him.
“Okay.” He pulled me closer and planted a kiss on my head. It seemed to say he was sorry and that little gesture thawed my hardening heart inside my chest.
I collected my thoughts again and began, “We screwed up a couple of times but I could clearly feel that Benjamin was a dead end. There was nothing involved. It was always just plain sex with him. I was convinced he didn’t love me. When I started to distance myself from him, he didn’t even try to come after me. That proved it all. He never loved me. He was only fooling around. Then eventually, I found out that he’d also been with other girls while he was dating me. I confronted him and he laughed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. You see, I was nothing to him. I was just a doll, a plaything and I loved him for nothing.” Tears ran down the sides of my eyes and I quickly wiped them off. I hated crying because of him. I’d had enough.
“He was my first kiss, my first boyfriend, the first guy I ever fell in love with but for him, this was all a game. And instead of hating him, I started to hate myself more. I felt dirty and disgusted on my own. Just to prove to him that I loved him, I forgot who I was and I let him have his way with me. I couldn’t even blame him because I let him. I wasn’t entirely willing but still. . . it was my fault. I realized too late that I had been living in my own fantasy and I never truly saw him for who he really was. I was the one who fell for his outward appearance. I was the one who agreed to go out with him. I was the one who agreed to have sex with him and be cheated. It’s all my fault and I still hate myself for this.” By now, I was crying and I hadn’t cried this way because of him ever.
I hadn’t even talked to anybody about Benjamin. Kristen was my best friend back then but call it bad luck, she was Benjamin’s sister and my relationship with him messed up our friendship too. I lost everything because of him. I stopped talking to Kristen. I stopped talking to many of my other friends. I became distant from everybody because the truth was, I had lost myself. I no longer even knew who I was anymore.
Augustine held me in his arms as I cried into his chest and comforted me. ”You did nothing wrong, Soph. All you did was love him. He was the one who messed up. He didn’t deserve you.”
I cried even more.
For so long I had tried forcing myself to think that maybe I wasn’t fully at fault but I couldn’t. I had been stupid too and that was my fault. I couldn’t even talk to mom or anybody about this because I was ashamed of myself. I tried to find a reason for me to love myself again but I couldn’t.
I had struggled on my own for so long. I decided to give myself another chance at college. I decided to try to put the past behind and smile at the world once again but all I did was cover up my scars without healing. I was bound to feel the stings every now and then. But now in Augustine’s arms, he gave me what I needed without asking. I needed to hear that I hadn’t been wrong to love someone. It only hadn’t gone down the way it was supposed to. And I was still good enough to be loved again, that I was still worth it.
Augustine rubbed my back and quietly consoled me with gentle kisses on my head as I lay weeping in his arms. “Next time I see him, I swear I’ll really kill him for you. He doesn’t even deserve to look at you. You’re too amazing for him. For anybody. I love you, Soph. I love you so much.”
I held onto his shirt and buried my face further into his chest. I cried so hard I couldn’t even reply a word to him although my heart was filled with gratitude that I finally found him to love him. He was the one I needed. My August. Augustine Urban.