You lie in the arms of the man who makes you laugh. You weep with joy from the most electrifying climax you have ever known. Dean runs his hand along your hip to find the little dimple between your thigh and butt – the place you have shown him – the place that always drives you mad. You shiver. His touch borders on pain; almost as if you’ve been skinned and his hand is rubbing raw flesh. You sob out loud. He turns to you and kisses away the tears from your cheek.
“What is it? Are you sad?”
You shake your head and press your face into the curve of his neck. What is it about his smell? You were doomed the first time you caught his scent. Doomed to wonder how it would feel to have his hand at your breast, how he would feel between your legs, how it would feel to have him inside you, possessing you and being possessed by you. No one in Jeff City, Missouri had ever smelled that way. No one. But you would not fully know your doom until he laughed. God! What wonderful light comes from his eyes. What joy booms in his voice. All creation is healed when Dean Bradley laughs.
He continues his caresses. He truly is worried. You know he is frightened of women’s tears. He’s told you how his mother and Laura his first lover used tears as weapons; teaching him that tears meant he should be sorry, never letting him know that sometimes tears are just the acid of anger or the sweat of passion. The bitches. If you could get your hands on them you would claw them raw and dredge them in salt. How could they not have seen the beauty of the child within the man? How could they not have cherished his innocence?
You press your breasts against him and hold him tighter, raising your lips to nibble at his ear.
“Don’t worry baby. It’s just because I’m so happy.”
He sighs and you turn on your side to spoon. You wriggle your butt to find that special spot. Spring’s breeze comes in the window carrying the serenade of crickets and Ligustrum’s heavy perfume. His hand finds your breast; you clasp it to you and shed a few more tears. You close your eyes.
Tires crunching gravel wake you. Could that be? Please God no! Surely the idiot wouldn’t keep hounding you after being warned by the Sheriff? No one could be that stupid. But there it is. The sound of the diesel Mercedes is unmistakable and you can hear something by Patsy on the radio. You can’t quite make it out, but you know it must be one of the sad ones, maybe Walkin’ After Midnight? Layton always listens to sad songs by Patsy and Loretta when he’s been drinking. You can imagine him sitting there around the corner from the house, the car window open and radio blaring, piss-ass drunk. The bastard turns up the radio, blasting “…searching for you!” across the neighborhood. Dean stirs.
“Wha…what is it? What the hell?!”
Your belly tightens. “Nothing baby. Just some drunk I guess…”
“You know better than that. It’s Layton. When will he realize it’s over? Should we call the cops?”
“No. Not yet. Maybe he’ll go away on his own.”
Thankfully Layton remembers the restraining order and drives on. Dean moves to spoon once more and soon you hear the light rattle of his snore.
You stare wide-eyed into the dark. What will you do?
Dean makes you laugh and is the best lover you have ever known. He is an up and coming manager in his firm but old debts mean it will be years before he is financially stable. And you worry about his drinking – he drinks every night saying, “Work hard, play hard!”, as he rattles the ice in his glass of Drambuie. But you know you will always carry his scent with you, will always compare any future lovemaking to the joy you feel with him. But is it just the joy of sex that keeps you coming back? No. You know that it is the laugh and the kindness that warms his eyes that draws you back every time you try to leave him.
Layton is the CFO of Dean’s firm and is stupefyingly rich; airplane, three houses, maids - if it can be bought he owns it – sometimes you wonder if he doesn’t just look at you as another purchase. He is comfortable to be with and very kind, but people mistake you for his daughter when you are out with him. When people find out that you are a couple out on a date, their eyes widen and their mouths twist into that little sneer you hate. But you don’t blame them really. You feel a little like sneering at yourself. Is it really only power, money and comfort that you find with Layton? Is there anything else? You remember the night he fell asleep crying in your arms. You held him close, brushing his hair, feeling needed and warm.
For months now you have been torn between the two - first Dean, then Layton, Dean, Layton, Dean, Layton; on and on in a cycle that is tearing you and them apart. You keep hoping that one of them will make a choice and leave you, but every time you leave one the other begins a campaign of sad letters, gifts, flowers and with Layton, even stalking. You feel like meat being torn between two dogs. You must end it. But how to choose?
You hear Adam’s wheezing from his room. The doctor’s have said he will need lifelong care. Layton certainly can make sure that happens. He has even offered to set up a trust fund for college. But Adam cringes whenever Layton touches him. He laughs at the voices and faces Dean makes when he reads the Hobbit. Adam would run to Dean’s arms forever if her were given the choice. Your thoughts chase each other through the dark.
You believe you only have the choice because of beauty’s power. Tall, honey haired, and with a figure fit for modeling, boys and men have openly stared at you since you were thirteen. You were amazed at how easy it was to get them to buy you things or do favors. You did not ask for the power. You were amazed when it worked, like magic. You often had nightmares of losing the magic and waking to find yourself as plain as most of the other girls. You never believed anyone who told you that you were smart, even though you graduated with honors. You never trusted anyone who laughed at your jokes. You never believed anyone who said that they loved you because of who you were.
Now you feel panicked. You must choose soon. How long will it be before your breasts sag, the dimples multiply into cellulite and the honey is tinged with gray?
In the dark you decide. Layton is safest for Adam. Adam will come to love him. You will find some way to make Dean understand. But that is for tomorrow. You nestle your hips back into Dean’s groin. You close your eyes. Tonight, just one more night, you will lie in the arms of the man who makes you laugh.