To Have Loved...

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Long Time, No See

Brayden didn’t let me have as much of a relaxing weekend as I planned on having. Saturday morning he at my door bright and early to take me out for breakfast and to help him get groceries for a cookout he was planning for Monday afternoon.

We went to the store and picked up brats, burgers, hotdogs, buns, chips, a variety of salads and so much more. I felt like he was inviting half the city to our backyard, but in reality he said it was a small group of friends and their families.

I ended storing most of the food in my apartment, but I told him I wasn’t doing any cooking. He spent the afternoon with me watching movies, or attempting to watch movies. We spent more of it making out on the couch.

I guess it had been too long since I had been with anyone, that I gave in to my sexual desires and allowed Brayden to spend the night. He took me to my room after sundown and removed all my clothing before removing his.

I stepped up to him and wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him down for a passionate kiss. As our tongues wrestled, he picked me up and set me in the middle of my bed while climbing over me. He kissed down my neck to my breasts and down to my stomach until he reached my sensitive bud and my throbbing core.

He flicked me with his tongue sending shivers through my body. He parted my lower lips with his fingers and inserted one and then two fingers and pumped them in and out while he licked and suckled on my bud until I couldn’t hold back anymore and released over his fingers and tongue.

He kissed the inside of my thigh before working his way back to my breasts where he sucked and nipped each nipple, while rubbing the other with his fingers and hands. He kissed my neck, my jaw and stopped just before reaching my lips. I looked up at him and gave him a smile to let him know I was ready for the next step.

He grabbed a condom and put it on before climbing back over me and kissing me hard on the lips while plunging himself deep inside me. I let out a moan as it felt so good. Our breaths picked up speed as he began thrusting faster and deeper. “Oh God Brayden…” I whispered. It didn’t take long and we both reached our climax.

Brayden rolled onto his side and removed the condom before pulling me against him, with my back to his front. He kissed the back of my head and we fell asleep as he spooned me.

The next morning I woke up to an empty bed. I figured Brayden had gone back to his apartment and I rolled onto my back and groaned at how sore I was. We had gone a couple more rounds during the night and I was paying the price this morning.

I got up, threw on my robe and headed toward the bathroom, where I heard singing coming from the cracked open door. I chuckled to myself before opening it up and watched Brayden in the shower. I decided to join him, so I dropped my robe, opened the curtain and wrapped my arms around his torso from behind.

“Good morning babe,” he said as I kissed his back.

“Good morning,” I replied.

“How are you feeling this morning?” he asked while turning around in my arms.

“Fantastic,” I said with a smile and I stood on my toes to give him a kiss.

“Me too,” he said and kissed me before taking me again in the shower against the cold tiles. The water poured over us as he pummeled in and out of me until we both came.

He set me back on my feet as we caught our breaths and finished our shower together. I went and got dressed in shorts and a t-shirt while Brayden threw on his clothes from the day before. We had a quick breakfast before he left headed back to his place.

I spent the day putting together some new ideas that I had for the upcoming weeks, watching TV, reading and visiting with family and friends through video chats or by phone. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed every stress-free minute of it.

Monday was crazy from the moment I woke up to the time I went to bed. Brayden was over early again to start getting the food ready. He brought out his grill from storage and set it up near my patio to make the meat, while I placed all the other foods in bowls or some container I found. I had to raid his apartment, since I don’t have a lot of dishes.

His friends started arriving just after noon and some of the ladies brought additional dishes to serve and I had them set the food on my counter until we were ready to eat since it was pretty hot outside. Some of the other neighbors were also joining us, so everyone brought tables and chairs to set up in the yard.

The men did the grilling and played a few sports in the yard like football or catch with the kids. The women chit chatted and gossiped with each other. I talked to as many people as I could, and spent time getting to know my neighbors and Brayden’s friends better.

We ate around three in the afternoon and even though I thought we had way too much food, there was nothing left by the time the day was done. I cleaned up the dishes that I used and stacked them on my counter while Brayden was out talking with a few guys that were left.

They must have left after sundown, but I didn’t realize it until Brayden woke me up. I fell asleep on the couch at some point after most people left. He brushed my hair behind my ear as he leaned down and gave me a kiss. “Thank you for today,” he whispered.

“You are welcome. It was more fun than I thought it would be,” I smiled back up at him.

“I’m glad you had fun. And I told you we didn’t have too much food,” he chuckled.

“You were right,” I sighed. “I have everything cleaned up and you can take your dishes back when you go home.”

“Who said I’m going back home?” he smirked.

“I have to work tomorrow and I need sleep,” I said as I pushed him back and sat up on the couch.

“OK, OK…I get it,” he laughed at me. “I’m sure we can find some time to continue this…” he wiggled his eyebrows at me as he kissed my neck knowing that he hit my sweet spot and I moaned.

“Brayden,” I whined, “You have school tomorrow or did you forget?”

“Don’t remind me,” he sat back and sighed. I chuckled at him and kissed his cheek as I got up from the couch and held me hands out to help him up. He grabbed my hands and stood up pulling me in for another kiss. We just held each other for a few minutes before I pulled away again.

I went into my kitchen and grabbed his dishes and handed them over to him. He already had everything else outside cleaned up, which he must have done while I was asleep.

“Goodnight Bray,” I said.

“Goodnight babe,” he replied as he left my place with a smile on his face.

As I got ready for bed that night, I thought of everything that happened this weekend and smiled as I felt really happy for the first time in a while. I knew this was just for fun as I was only here for a few more months, but I didn’t care.

******

I spent the next month observing Angela, Melissa and the other therapists in the new units I was placed in. The surgery unit wasn’t too bad as we either helped people relax before their surgeries or assisted in pain relief after their surgeries and to help with recovery.

The rehab and recovery unit was also easy to get the hang of as we did a lot of work with the other therapies to assist in walking, talking and fine motor skills. It was hard at times seeing some of the younger people and even adults as they had to start over with the basics after accidents or strokes or other issues that brought them in.

The hardest for me to work in was the ventilator unit. Some people it was a matter of coming out of surgery and assisting with their breathing as they regained their breathing rhythm. For others, it was removing breathing tubes before the end of their lives to ease the final transition and to be there for families during this hard decision. I had never really dealt with death much before this, so it was hard at first, but it came easier to assist knowing that I was easing their pain and providing comfort for the families.

I also continued to do independent sessions with the children or with the elders with less supervision. My weekly reviews were positive, but I always asked my supervisors for pointers and tips to make my skills even better. Time was going so fast and I was down to my last six weeks.

It was nearing the end of October at this point and Brayden and I wanted to get candy to pass out for Halloween. We headed to a Halloween shop in the mall and grabbed several bags of candy. I decided that we needed costumes to wear, and I was able to wear one on Halloween day at work since I was on the children’s unit that day.

We tried on different costumes until we settled on Cleopatra and Mark Antony. We paid for the costumes and candy and decided to grab lunch in the food court. As we were standing in line waiting to order our food, I thought I heard someone say my name.

I turned around and couldn’t believe who was standing there. After more than three years of not seeing him or hearing one word from him, there stood Ian Grant. “Ian?” I asked in disbelief.

“Sarah, it is you.” I nodded my head. “It’s been a while, how are you?”

“I’m good, thank you. Long time, no see…how are you?” I asked.

“I’m great,” he answered as the girl next to him whispered in his ear. “Sarah, I’d like you to meet Olivia, my…”

“His fiancé,” she finished for him.

“Your fiancé?” I nodded my head as I accepted that word. “It’s nice to meet you Olivia. This is Brayden,” I introduced him to Ian and Olivia.

“Her boyfriend,” he finished for me and shook Ian’s hand as the two of them stared at each other. Brayden took his other arm and wrapped it around my shoulders as they finally stepped back from one another.

“So what brings you to St. Paul? I thought you were still in Dakota.” Ian asked me.

“I’m here finishing up my internship at the hospital,” I answered him.

“That’s great, I didn’t know,” he replied.

We all stood in awkward silence until the clerk grabbed our attention. Brayden pulled me up to the register and we ordered our food. While we waited I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just stood there. When they called our number, Brayden grabbed the tray and pulled me to a table.

“It was good seeing you Sarah,” Ian said as I walked passed him. I didn’t say anything in return, but just nodded my head once and turned away.

Once we sat down, Brayden started in with the questions that I knew were coming. “So, who is this Ian?”

“Ummm, an old friend,” I answered, grabbing a fry and shoving it in my mouth.

“Friend?” he asked me raising an eyebrow.

“OK, so he was more than a friend. He was my high school sweetheart who I loved more than anything in the world,” I answered.

“So what happened?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “During our freshman year of college, we decided to take a break since we seemed to want different things at that point in our lives.”

“It seems he moved on pretty easily,” he smirked. After seeing that I didn’t react, he continued, “I’m guessing you didn’t.”

I shook my head. “We have seen each other once since we broke up and that was over three years ago. I’ve tried dating and have had a few relationships since him, but I still struggle moving on completely.”

“So what is this?” He asked pointing to me and him.

“I don’t know Brayden. I am having a great time with you, but we both know that this isn’t forever, right?”

“Yeah, I guess,” he replied sounding defeated.

“I’m sorry Brayden, I didn’t mean…”

“It’s OK Sarah, I get it,” he said harshly and went back to eating ending the conversation.

I looked up at him and felt my heart breaking, yet again. “Why couldn’t I let myself move on? Ian obviously found someone, but why is it so hard for me?” I thought to myself.

We headed home after lunch in complete silence. He helped me out of the car like he usually does and grabbed our bags from the backseat. He walked me to my door and gave me my bags as I opened the door and went inside.

“Brayden…” I turned around to apologize again, but he had already taken off and I heard his door slam shut.

I set my things on the table and slumped down on the couch. I pulled off my purse and pulled my phone out to call Stacy or my Mom, but I couldn’t seem to press the call button and just cried. I didn’t realize how many emotions would resurface after seeing him again and I lost it.

I woke up a couple of hours later on the couch still holding my phone. I must have cried myself to sleep. I checked my phone to see if Brayden tried to reach out, but there was nothing from him. There were a few messages from Ian.

“Sarah, I hope this is still your number and if it isn’t, whoever is reading this please delete it.”

“I’m sorry you had to find out about Olivia the way you did. I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again and I need to move on in my life and you need to do the same.”

“It was good to see you again and maybe someday we can go out for coffee together to talk.”

“Well, bye for now. Ian”

I reread every message over and over and debated if I should respond or not. I chose not to and closed the messages and put my phone away.

I went to work the next few days as if nothing had changed in my life. I did my work during the day and took time for myself in the evenings. I didn’t see Brayden at all and he hasn’t reached out to me, so I respected his decision and stayed quiet myself.

Halloween was Thursday and I gathered up my costume and headed to work for the day. After the morning on the surgical unit, several of us got into our costumes to head up to the children’s unit for the afternoon. We had a Halloween party, sang some silly Halloween songs and played some games. Food was served to everyone that was able to join the party and we ended with a costume parade.

It was so much fun to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and the staff that worked the unit. Even the families that joined in, had a wonderful time. I kept my costume on as I drove home that night since the trick-or-treaters would be out shortly.

I pulled into my parking spot and headed to my apartment when I stopped when I saw Brayden in his Mark Antony costume at my door. I gave him a smile and he allowed me to give him a big hug which he returned.

“I’m sorry Brayden for the other day,” I started.

“Don’t apologize Sarah, I should be the one apologizing,” he interrupted me.

“Brayden, you have nothing to apologize for. My emotions got the best of me and I didn’t handle things well,” I replied.

He put his hands on my face and looked into my eyes. “Sarah, I’m happy right now with you and if this goes somewhere it does, and if it doesn’t, I’m OK with that too.” He leaned down and kissed me.

“Thank you,” I whispered before kissing him back.

“Go and get the candy,” he said after breaking the kiss. “I hear the kids coming already.”

I went into my apartment and dropped off my purse and bag, and grabbed the bucket of candy I had ready to go. I came back outside and Brayden had set up two chairs for us to sit in. We handed out candy for the next two hours to the kids of the neighborhood and nearby. Other neighbors were out by their doors as well and the kids made off pretty nice.

When it was over, Brayden joined me inside my place as I took my costume off. “Here, let me,” he said as he unzipped my back. He then proceeded to help me remove all my clothes before pushing me into my bedroom while removing his clothes. We made love a few times that night and I was at peace, for the moment.

We both had to work the next morning, so we got up early, showered and had breakfast. I ate a little too much, but I never did have dinner the night before. He ran upstairs to get into his work clothes and we met up by our cars as we both headed off for the day.

We spent the weekend together and spent a lot of time talking about what we want in life. I didn’t know for sure where I was going to end up after this internship was over, but I knew I would probably go back home. Brayden planned on staying together until then and part as friends if we weren’t meant to be.

I only had a little over a month left of my internship with Thanksgiving break in there where I would get a couple days off. I was extremely busy that month seeing patients all over the hospital. I was still supervised in some areas where others I was more independent unless I requested assistance.

I was having a wonderful time and really learned a lot during my time there. As the weeks were winding down, it was more and more difficult to think about it ending and moving on from here. Melissa and the other therapists put together a little party my last week there. They gave me a new songbook as a parting gift and a few rhythm instruments to start my own collection.

My second to last day, I met with Angela again for my final review. Again, I was nervous and she assured me that I had nothing to be nervous about. The evaluations were nearly the same as at mid-terms and this time I was proficient in all areas. She and the other therapists agreed that I have met all competencies and will do great in the real world.

My last day there was spent saying ‘goodbye’ to my patients that were still in the hospital that I working with. Mostly it was the elders in the transitions unit and a few children that were unfortunately in the hospital for on-going treatments. I tried to hold my tears in, but I know a few escaped throughout the day.

At 5:00, I gathered my belongings that I had brought over my time there and my new gifts and said ‘goodbye’ to my team. I gave everyone a hug and we talked about seeing each other again at a conference someday. They wished me luck in my future endeavors and I did the same to them.

I had already applied at the hospital in Bismarck and was waiting for my final interview over the phone, but they were pretty sure I’d qualify for the position. I was planning on starting in the New Year, so I had a couple of weeks to pack up my apartment before heading back home. I also had to find a small apartment there once I was officially hired.

My internship may be completed and my application for graduation is submitted, but the hardest part of everything was still upon me. How do I say ‘goodbye’ to St. Paul? How do I say ‘goodbye’ to my neighbors? How do I say ‘goodbye’ to Brayden?

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