27. TOO BUSY BEING YOURS
TWO YEARS AGO - Christmas Eve
I stare out the window, everything is surrounded by blackness except for the dull lamppost every now and then. There’s a telephone booth on the side of the road that we have already passed today.
My mom and I are driving home after visiting my grandma (my mom’s mom). Visiting grandma at her cottage on Christmas Eve has been a ritual ever since I can remember. We left this morning and followed the one hour scenic route to her place. By the time we get there, grandma’s small cottage was filled with the smell of baked sweets and her famous chocolate pudding.
This year only my mom and me could make it – my dad was working; every year he switches up between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
My grandma’s house stretches out on acres of land and is positioned right in front of a clear blue lake which is covered by a layer of thin, frosty ice at this time of the year.
She loves being surrounded by nature, she says it brings her a sense of serenity. I understand. Something about being away from civilisation is uncanny but unbelievably peaceful.
I lift my head up to the road and notice the first pair of headlights that we have seen tonight. This road is usually quiet and especially now that it’s Christmas Eve, people are spending the night inside by the warm fire with their families and filling their bellies with endless amounts of food.
However, something about these headlights gives me an uncomfortable feeling. They seem to be swerving on the road and heading towards us extremely fast. I look over at my mom and she has the same look on her face as I do. Alertness. Something isn’t right.
After that, it all happens in a blur. It doesn’t slow down like they tell you in books or movies, everything happens at the same speed, maybe even faster.
My mom swerves off the road. The moment the car hits the tree, I assume I am dead. I keep going in and out of conscious, tasting the coppery blood pooling inside of my mouth. My whole body is aching and I can’t decipher between reality and illusions.
When I’m finally able to open my eyes for more than a second, I can barely move. My eyes dart towards my mom and I have no idea if she’s unconscious or dead. There’s blood pouring out of her head and her body looks lifeless, not moving at all.
I sit there for what feels like hours, screaming at myself because I can’t move. I’m screaming at my mom next to me to open her eyes. But mostly importantly I am screaming at the idiot drunk driver who is the cause of this tragedy.
My eyes shoot open and I can feel the wetness on my cheeks, I wipe them with the back of my hand. Just another nightmare, I tell myself. Only if that nightmare wasn’t so close to reality.
In the shower, I let the scalding water run down my skin. Hoping to burn away every negative memory in my mind – I wish it worked that way but it doesn’t. I still remember everything, right down to the very last breath.
The mirror is foggy with condensation and I wipe it with the end of my towel, quickly glancing over my appearance. My hair, darker now that it’s wet and my eyes have more green in them – just like my mom’s. My face is flushed red from the heat of the shower.
Wrapping my body in the towel, I walk to my room. I run my hand through my wet hair while opening my bedroom door with the other.
I don’t know if I’m just clumsy or it’s something to do with the way Ace is sitting on my bed, unexpectedly and shirtless – almost too beautiful to even be real, that makes my feet slip on the hardwood floors.
I go to grab the door for support but it slides out from my reach. I squeeze my eyes shut and brace myself for the fall but it doesn’t come. Instead, I feel a pair of arms around me and as if on cue, my breathing picks up.
“Careful Calla,” he says, holding me and I open my eyes, nodding unable to stop staring at him or speak for that matter. He smells like his body wash and minty toothpaste. I feel intoxicated and my head spins in agreement.
“What are you doing in my room?” I breathe, placing my hands on his bare chest.
He looks down at my hands, “We have plans,” he tells me and assesses my expression to see if I forgot. I didn’t. The opposite actually, I’ve been looking forward to it all week. Hoping that Ace didn’t change his mind.
He has been at training for the last three nights, coming home late and I was still awake when I heard his bike pull up to the house, a little before midnight.
I was beginning to wonder if he would just disappear this weekend like he always does and I’m glad he didn’t. I’m desperate to know more about him.
“I know,” I smile, my heart beating out of my chest when the corners of his mouth turn up. “Are you going to tell me where you’re taking me?”
He considers it for a moment, “No, you’ll see.”
I notice something in the way he says it, like he’s nervous but I quickly discard the idea. Ace, nervous? Not a chance.
We decide to take my car but Ace insists on driving. I don’t mind, I hate driving.
I’m lost in my own thoughts to even acknowledge the silence between us, but it’s not awkward. No, not with Ace. His presence speaks to me more than words ever could. Our silence together feels more familiar than my own, even though I spent a whole lifetime with mine.
Ace too, looks like he is deep in thought. Occasionally, he runs his hand through his hair which the wind ruffles anyway. His elbow is hanging out the window and his hand clutches the steering wheel. He looks undoubtedly sexy and I have the urge to touch him. To run my hands down his body, to feel his muscles contracting underneath my touch.
I wonder if he’s having second thoughts about this, about letting me in. I hope not.
Twenty minutes into the drive he fumbles with the stereo and eventually turns it on. The first thing that blasts out of the speakers is Hannah Montana and I almost die from embarrassment. The last time I drove my car was when I came back from dad’s house and I needed something catchy to keep me alert for the two hour drive.
Ace looks at me amused and I quickly turn down the volume and grab the aux cord. I remember his favourite band is Arctic Monkeys so I search up their music on my phone and press play.
The car fills with music and Ace turns to grin at me, acknowledging the fact that I remembered his favourite band.
He sings along with the lyrics and my eyes don’t leave him.
I’ve dreamt about you nearly every night this week
How many secrets can you keep?
’Cause there’s this tune I found
That makes me think of you somehow and I play it on repeat
How fitting, I think to myself.
Ace places his hand on my thigh like it’s a casual gesture. But there’s nothing casual about it, especially not with the words that are coming out of his mouth. It’s just a song, control yourself. But I can’t.
Maybe I’m too busy being yours
To fall for somebody new
Now, I’ve thought it through, crawling back to you
The feeling that runs through me is too much. I wonder how long this will last for; the feeling that erupts through me every time he touches me.
He rubs my thigh occasionally and I can’t stop thinking about how good his hands feel on my body. I place my hand on his and I don’t know where the confidence comes from but I move it down a little. I swear the song is making me high or is it just Ace?
I watch the way his jaw tenses but he keeps his eyes on the road. I don’t push it any further, instead I take my hand off his. However, his hand keeps travelling down my thigh.
“Tell me if you want me to stop.”
I don’t want him to stop touching me. What I want is for him to stop the car but I don’t say anything and his hand travels up my skirt.
You would think someone who’s been in a car crash would be against doing something like this; dangerous, reckless and absolutely inappropriate. But Ace makes me forget everything. It’s just me and him.
He rubs me through my panties and I can feel myself getting wet. But he pulls away too soon, “Touch yourself.”
My head snaps to his, “What?”
He takes my hand and places it where his just was, “Touch yourself, Calla.”
No way. I’m about to tell him no, this is insane but something about the way he looks at me and says, “For me,” makes me want to do it.
I take a deep breath and close my eyes tilting my head back against the seat and do what he tells me. I have never done something like this before. I have gotten myself off, yes, but no one has ever watched me. This feels dirty but it makes me even more turned on when I can feel his eyes on me. He holds my hand while I get myself off with the other.
“Fuck,” Ace curses underneath his breath. His favourite word.
While I touch myself, I imagine it being Ace and it doesn’t take long for me to dig my nails into his hand.
“Look at me when you come,” he says, squeezing my hand and I do.
“Ace,” I moan his name when my climax hits me and his eyes flicker between me and the road. He clenches his jaw and his grip tightens on my steering wheel while he watches me fall apart next to him.
When my breathing returns to normal, I have time to reflect on what just happened. This is not something I usually do. What the hell is he doing to me?
I want to make him feel what I just did and I reach for his pants, but he takes my hand in his, shaking his head, “We’re almost there,” he tells me.
He parks in the driveway of a small, pale blue house and I’m suddenly nervous. It didn’t cross my mind that the someone he wants me to meet might be his parents. He wouldn’t do that to me without warning, would he?
We get out of the car and he instantly takes my hand in his, his thumb rubbing the back of my hand in a soothing manner. I have no idea what to expect and I look down, criticising my choice of outfit.
“Relax Calla, you look beautiful,” he tells me and butterflies fill my stomach.
We walk up the steps of the porch and my mind is going crazy with anticipation. Before Ace has time to open the door, it swings open.
A small girl, around the age of five jumps on him and he catches her in mid-air, pulling her up to his chest. She looks exactly like him, her dark hair bouncing in on her shoulders in waves and her eyes are the same as Ace’s. She’s beautiful.
“Acy,” she squeals, wrapping her small arms around his neck and giggling.