To Have Loved...

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Returning Home

Brayden came down on Sunday and spent the day with me. He wanted to see how I was doing after my coffee date with Ian the day before.

“I’m feeling fine, Brayden,” I said after answering him for the third or fourth time today.

“I just want to make sure. I know you were excited about seeing him again, but I didn’t want you to get your hopes up for anything,” he said.

“Thank you, but I really am OK. I am happy for him and wish him the best,” I replied with a smile that didn’t reach my eyes.

He reached over and pulled me into a hug which was comforting, but I wanted to move on.

“Let’s go out,” Brayden suddenly blurted out.

“You have school tomorrow, what do you want to do?”

“I know, but I think I can handle staying up past my bedtime,” he smirked at me. “How about going to dinner and a movie?”

“Sounds good to me,” I replied and got off of the couch to grab my purse.

Brayden met me by the door and we headed out for the evening. We had dinner at a pizza joint and then went to the movies. I chose a Rom Com and we filled up on popcorn and candy. He brought me home and ended the night with a gentle kiss before he went back to his place.

The next couple of weeks were busy packing up my apartment; getting a rental trailer to attach to my car; getting my address changed to my new apartment, which was all finalized and paid for me to move in after the holidays; and finishing up paperwork for my new job.

Brayden and I spent most evenings together at either his place or mine just to keep each other company. Some nights we stayed together, while others we stayed at our own places. He really was a sweet guy and I really would miss his friendship.

The Friday night before I was to leave, Brayden threw a small goodbye party for me with some of the friends I made around the apartment complex at his place. We ate dinner, drank a little too much and had a great time. After everyone else left, Brayden and I continued our own little party in his bedroom.

We shed our clothes upon entering his room and were wrapped up in a kiss as he led me to his bed. I pushed him onto the bed and crawled up his legs until I reached his cock which was standing tall and proud. I looked up at Brayden with a smirk before taking him in my mouth little by little, teasing him with my tongue until I couldn’t go any further.

I took him in my hand and began stroking him up and down while I moved my head in time with my hand. “Mmmm, that feels so good,” Brayden moaned. I smiled at the sound of it and moved a little faster. He reached down and grabbed my arms pulling me up to kiss me deeply and passionately.

I shifted myself during the kiss until he was standing at my entrance and slowly slid myself down earning another moan from him. I broke the kiss and gave him a smile and continued riding him until we both couldn’t hold back anymore. He grabbed my hips as we both released at the same time.

I collapsed on his chest as we both caught our breaths. We were sweaty and sticky, but I was comfortable just like this. He wrapped his arms around my back after pulling up a sheet to cover us and that is how we fell asleep.

I woke up the next morning with a hangover and barely made it to the bathroom in time to purge the entire contents of my stomach. I heard Brayden moaning as he got up and started his way to the bathroom. I guess we drank more than I thought.

When he saw me leaning over the toilet bowl, I thought he was going to lose it himself, but he pulled together and helped me to my feet and offered me some water. I thanked him and rinsed out my mouth. I went back to the bedroom to find my clothes and quickly got dressed.

While Brayden was in the shower, I started breakfast for us. I decided to make pancakes, so I put the batter together and got out the pan and spatula and began cooking. By the time I heard Brayden come into the kitchen, I was just finishing up the last of the batter.

“Smells good in here,” he said as he came in.

“Thanks,” I replied. “Maybe putting some food in our stomachs will help us feel a little better,” I tried to smile, but still felt miserable. “There’s coffee ready if you want some.”

He took a mug from the cupboard and poured himself some coffee and added way too much sugar. He then grabbed a plate of pancakes and the bottle of syrup and went to sit at his small table. I joined him a few minutes later.

We ate in silence as neither of us really knew what to say right now. I wanted to say so much to him from thanking him for the good time over the last six months to wishing him a blessed future, but I couldn’t bring myself to open my mouth. We would exchange glances back and forth, but neither of us said a word.

“I’m going to miss this,” Brayden started off after finishing his pancakes. “Not the hangover, but this…us having breakfast together.”

“Me too,” I admitted. “Brayden…if I haven’t said it before, I want to thank you for everything. You were my first friend here when I moved in back in June and I will never forget you or anything you have done for me.”

“You are welcome,” he said with a smile.

“OK, I hate goodbyes and do not want to say it to you, so let’s just clean up in here and do something to keep my mind off of everything right now,” I said after several moments of silence.

I got up and grabbed the plate and took them into the kitchen and began washing them. Brayden came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed the top of my head. I closed my eyes at his touch, but I was not going to let myself cry.

We finished in the kitchen and went to clean up the rest of the apartment from the party last night. I honestly don’t remember much of what happened the night before, but after gathering up all the trash, I had a good idea.

After taking the trash bags to the dumpster, I went back to my place to take a shower and change clothes. I only had a couple outfits left out as the rest were packed up and ready to go.

Brayden waited in the living room for me and when I rejoined him, he had a movie all set to on my TV. I smiled and sat down next to him as he hit play and I put my head on his shoulder as we watched it together.

After the movie, we decided to load up my car so I could head out first thing in the morning since it was going to be a long drive. We put as many of the boxes and bags in my car that I could fit and then the furniture was put in the trailer. I decided to load everything and just stay at Brayden’s one more night.

I took a walk around the apartment to make sure everything was out of it and each room was clean. I quickly vacuumed all the floors and washed most of the surfaces one last time. By the time we finished, you couldn’t tell anyone had lived here for the past six months. I filled out the final inspection form and left it, the garage door opener and my keys on the counter. Since I was leaving on a Sunday, the manager would pick it up on Monday.

After making sure the lock was set, I left my apartment for the last time. I made sure the trailer was locked up and my car was secure in the driveway before heading up to Brayden’s apartment. I set my purse and keys on the kitchen counter and sunk down on one of the stools and laid my head on the counter.

I felt Brayden come up behind me and begin rubbing my back and shoulders and I sighed. I sat up and leaned against his chest as he stood there and he wrapped his arms around me. “Thank you,” I whispered, and he kissed the top of my head.

“Come on, it’s been a long day and you need a good night’s sleep before driving tomorrow,” he whispered back to me and pulled me off of the stool.

I followed him to the bedroom and he helped me remove my dirty clothes. He offered me a T-shirt to sleep in and we crawled in bed. He wrapped one arm around me and I traced his chest with my fingers as we just laid there. He took my hand in his free hand and held it in place as we fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up to a gentle kiss from Brayden and opened my eyes. “Good morning,” I whispered still half asleep.

“Good morning,” he whispered back. “I hate waking you up, but it’s already after 8:00 and I know you wanted to get an early start. I have breakfast ready go, so come out when you’re ready.” He kissed me again and got off of the bed.

I got up and followed him to the kitchen where we ate together one last time. After eating, I went and took a quick shower, brushed my teeth, got dressed and made sure I had everything that I had in here. I threw my dirty clothes in a bag, along with Brayden’s shirt that I wore last night. The rest of the stuff I used, I had bought extra for when I stayed here, so I just threw it all away.

When I went back towards the main room, Brayden was sitting on a stool dressed casually with a sad smile on his face. I set the bag on the counter next to my purse and then stepped in between his legs and wrapped my arms around his neck.

“Do you have everything?” Brayden asked me, kissing my forehead.

“Yes, I think so. If I left anything, just get rid of it, or mail it to me. I know I gave you my new address.” I looked up at him and smiled and he nodded.

“Well, I guess this is good…”

“Don’t say it,” I interrupted. “I’ll see you later,” I said instead and gave him a tight hug, which he returned.

Neither of us wanted to let go, but I finally managed to step back and gave him one last kiss. I grabbed my bag, my purse and my phone and charger from the counter and made my way to the car.

I threw my jacket on the seat since it was winter, but it gets too hot while driving, so I didn’t put it on. I put my purse and bag in there as well and plugged my phone into the car so I didn’t use my Bluetooth for the entire drive.

I stood back up with the car door still open where Brayden came up and pulled me into another hug. We kissed once more and said ‘goodbye’ with our eyes.

“Drive safe and call me when you get to your parents,” he said as I sat down and started the car up.

“I will, I promise,” I responded as he closed my door. I opened the window up and took his hand and pulled him down for another kiss. “Take care of yourself.”

“I will and you do the same. Bye for now,” he said as he backed away.

I gave him a wave before rolling up the window and pulling out of the driveway to begin my journey home. I turned up my music and hit the road.

******

After several stops and several hours later, I finally saw my parent’s house and pulled up in front of the house. My mom saw me pull up and ran outside to greet me.

“Sarah, I’m so glad you are home!” she cried as she gave me a hug after I stepped out of the car.

“I’m here Mom and it’s good to see you too,” I hugged her back.

“Come on, grab your things and come inside, you’ll freeze to death standing out here,” she said as she hurried me along.

“Look who’s talking Mom, I don’t see you wearing a coat,” I laughed as I reached in and grabbed my coat, phone and purse from the car.

We walked up to the porch and I spotted Dad coming around the house and turned back and ran to him and jumped in his arms.

“Hi Daddy!”

“Hey sweetie, how was the drive?” he asked me as he set me back on my feet.

“It was long, but pretty quiet. I’m glad I drove on a Sunday, everyone must be home watching football,” I laughed again.

“I’m sure they are,” he mumbled. “Can I get anything from the car for you?”

“My suitcase that I need right now is in the backseat, but the rest is to go to the new apartment. Would you come with me tomorrow to drop it off?”

I talked to the new landlord about dropping my furniture off before Christmas and she said that would be fine. I have to meet her tomorrow to get the keys.

“Sure honey, we can help you with that,” he said looking at Mom who was nodding her head.

“Thank you so much. I have to pick up my keys first and then we can unload everything at the new place. I’ll finish putting things away when I officially move in after the New Year.”

“Why did you decide to wait to move in, since they are giving you the keys I figured you could move in right away,” Dad asked.

“I can move in Dad, but I wanted to spend Christmas with you and Mom. Can’t a girl spend the holidays with her parents?” I asked jokingly.

“Of course you can,” Mom answered, and pulled me into the house. “We missed you sweetie and would love to have you home with us for a few days.”

Dad grabbed my suitcase and brought it inside and I hit the lock button on my key fob from the doorway. I hung my coat up and settled on the couch and closed my eyes for a minute glad to be out of the car.

“Have you eaten anything recently?” I heard Mom ask. I shook my head. “OK, we were just going to make some sandwiches tonight, but I’ll make one for you as well, is that alright?”

“Yeah Mom, that will be fine.”

Mom headed to the kitchen and I grabbed my phone to call Brayden to let him know I was here like I promised.

“Hey babe!” Brayden answered the phone after a couple of rings.

“Hey Bray,” I replied, chuckling at my new nickname for him. “I’m calling to let you know I made it safely home.”

“Thank you for letting me know; I’m glad you made it,” he said with a smile in his voice.

“Mom is making dinner so I have to get going, but we will talk soon, I promise.”

“OK, you go eat and enjoy your time at home. Merry Christmas!”

“Same to you Bray. Bye…for now,” I said and hung up.

“Who was that?” Dad asked as he came into the living room.

“A friend from St. Paul; I told him I would call when I made it home.”

He nodded and joined Mom in the kitchen. I got up and followed him since I was getting pretty hungry. We ate at the dining room table and got caught up on what was going on in each other’s lives since we last spoke.

After dinner, I called Stacy to let her know I made it home safely and to give her my new address. I asked if she was coming home for the holidays, and she told me that they were going to stay in Chicago this year, but planned on coming out next year. I guess it was still too much to travel with the girls and I couldn’t blame them.

I headed up to bed after saying goodnight to my parents and got settled. It had been another long day, and I was beat. I think I was out the moment my head hit the pillow.

******

Late Monday morning, we drove into Bismarck and headed over to my new apartment complex. I met with my new landlord and finished signing a couple of forms and reviewing the regulations of the complex. We walked to my apartment, took a tour and he handed me my keys.

My parents helped me unload the trailer and my car and brought everything up to my new place. I set the furniture where I wanted it, but just stacked the boxes where I could and said I would wait to unpack later. Mom and Dad didn’t want me to wait, so we spent the rest of the day putting everything away and getting rid of the boxes.

I will need to go grocery shopping when I come back to fill my refrigerator and freezer up, but I brought all the dry goods that I could and put them away. I had left all the cold things I still had with Brayden so it wouldn’t spoil before I moved in.

After everything looked good, we headed to the nearest U-Haul dealer and dropped the trailer and keys off in the dropbox and headed home. I went to bed right away after grabbing a quick shower and settled down.

The next day was Christmas Eve and my parents and I went to the Christmas Eve service at church and then came home, had dinner and opened up one gift each. I had bought a couple souvenirs from Minnesota to give Mom and Dad and they gave me a welcome sign for my apartment door.

On Christmas Day, we went over to Nana and Papa’s house and helped them prepare dinner for the rest of the family. By early afternoon, Uncle Randy and Aunt Jessie arrived with Jenny, Kyle and Scott and a short while later, Uncle Bob and Aunt Cindy arrived.

Tom showed up next with his fiancée, Bridget. They met about a year or so ago and got engaged this past summer. He introduced the two of us and we discovered we had a lot in common after talking for a bit.

Just as we were getting ready for dinner, Vicky showed up with a little boy. I haven’t seen her or talked much in the last few years and I admit that I didn’t know who the toddler was. She introduced me to her son, Bobby and told me that he will be three in February. I was going to ask her a few questions, but after looking at Mom shaking her head and I kept quiet. I’ll have to talk to her privately another time.

We ate dinner together, opened our gifts and spent time reminiscing, sharing new stories and catching up since it had been awhile since I’ve seen many of them. The only ones missing today were Stacy, Jake and their kids, but we did video chat them to include them in some way.

The next week went pretty quickly. I helped Mom and Dad on the ranch by feeding the animals. We had a couple big snowstorms, so we really didn’t get to go anywhere and only had the animals for company.

New Years day came and went and it was time for me to head back to my new apartment. I was starting my new job on Monday, so I wanted to take a couple of days to gather my ideas and forms that I worked on during my break for the new program.

I said ‘goodbye’ to my parents and drove to Bismarck. I picked up my groceries that I pre-ordered online so I didn’t I have to spend a lot of time shopping. I pulled into to my parking spot, grabbed my bags and entered my new home.

I put the groceries away; unpacked my suitcase; put my toiletries in the bathroom and took a nice long shower. I got into my pajamas, crawled into bed and spent a little time on my phone before finally turning out the lights and going to sleep.

It was nice to know that this was my place, my home on my own. It wasn’t temporary and I didn’t have to share it with anyone.

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