Patience - part 2

by Victoria Blake 
Click here for part 1

They arrived at the hospital and found a park. She took several deep breaths as he came to her side and opened the door for her, holding her by the waist as he lifted her down from the cab of his rugged truck.

They had come today to collect their baby’s remains, unable to bear the thought of the hospital disposing of him, horrified that was even an option and both looked the other way as they passed the ominous smoke stack - steadily billowing grey matter.

He was mindful that she still wasn’t one hundred percent, and although this day was necessary, they had both been dreading it and he worried about her ability to cope. She was doing well and he didn’t want her slipping under again, but knew this was important to her – to them both. They had to say goodbye.

They wanted to take him to a local spot they both loved; somewhere they both felt a great deal of peace and harmony.

As they arrived at the ward that had been the epicentre of their very own disaster, they were greeted by a familiar nurse, who ushered them into a private room. They had been working with a hospital grief counsellor; she had been preparing them for this day. The door opened and she walked in, the ornately carved Kauri urn reverently nestled in her hands.

He saw his wife take several deep breaths, and could hear her beginning to struggle as she took hold of it and cradled it against her chest.

"Take as long as you need my dear…just sit until you are ready," the counsellor said. She had been in this situation more times than she cared to remember, and no two parents grieved in quite the same way and she knew there was no right or wrong way to deal with the grief. People had to find a way to navigate as best they could.

She knew he was coping marginally better than she was, he had said privately to her that they simply couldn’t both fall apart. That he had to provide a soft place for her as she was incapable of all but falling.

He watched as his wife wiped away her tears, shaking her head ever so slightly as she reached out for him. He saw her set her jaw in the determined way that he loved so much and knew she was steeling herself for what was to come.

"I’m ready, hon."

Together they left the room, returning to their truck. They headed west, to a rugged beach they had been coming to since they were carefree teenagers. They were going to a place that was only accessible at low tide, via a four wheel drive vehicle. Mother Nature ruled everything here; from the churning Tasman Sea to the exquisite shifting black sands underfoot. It was, and is, a desolate place, one that contradicts completely with an abundance of life.

He stopped the truck behind a dune and again helped her down. A second vehicle pulled in behind them containing a friend from the local Iwi. He had given them permission to bury their son here. Together the men dug a small, deep hole and she lovingly placed the tiny urn into it. She watched as her husband began filling in their son’s grave, and turned as she heard a chant emanating from the dunes.

Behind her, an elder had joined them; she stood regally in the wind, tendrils of her long, silver hair trailing behind her. Draped around her shoulders was the most magnificent traditional cloak, handcrafted from brilliant blue and white feathers that seemed as though they were dancing in the wind.
The edges were alive, flapping around her ankles as her bare feet stood firm and proud in the ancient, scorching, black sands. She was softly keening and could have been standing on this beach for centuries, so unchanged was her traditional dress and the respect she commanded.

She began to perform a Karakia, holding her hands up to the heavens as she spoke, softly, yet loud enough to be heard above the howling winds. She couldn’t understand the language the old woman used, but knew the ritual chant well enough to know that she was invoking spiritual guidance and protection. A prayer for their child.

The ferocious winds carried the old woman’s voice out to sea and seemed to pick up a little of her grief with each verse. She felt a renewed sense of peace, something she hadn’t experienced since that fateful day in the stairwell.

She wiped away the tears she had not been aware of and bowed her head in thanks as the old woman approached her. She extended her darkly tanned, work-hardened hands towards the young mother’s, clasping them with surprising softness against her chest.

She then leaned in until their noses and foreheads were touching – a traditional greeting, believed to be the breath of life, a sharing of souls.

The two women remained as they were, the younger of the two closing her eyes as she felt calmness descending as clearly as she could feel the winds all around her.

The old woman said in a whisper, "He will come back to you, of this I am certain. He wasn’t ready to be here…nor were you ready to receive him. When the time is right for you both, he will be back."

Without a further word, she disappeared back through the dunes, taking the winds with her as an eerie silence filled the beach.

(to be continued)

Patience - part 1


by Victoria Blake

The room was dark.

The kind of surreal darkness that seems to seep into your pores, reaching deep into your soul. Outside, not even the moonlight had been able to penetrate as she had laid silently, her eyes glazed over staring blankly at the wallpaper as her mind churned, unable to lose herself in sleep.

By morning, the room felt more like a tomb to her than the beautiful place that it actually was. The pillow under her cheek was now completely saturated with tears that had flowed – quietly and continuously through the night as she struggled with her grief.

The sedative bottle on the bedside cabinet whispered her name; she knew she could slip into sweet oblivion if she just opened it - that it would only take a small handful to make the pain stop.

Could she leave him too? She didn’t think so.

She had felt her husband get up and leave the room, the empty cold seeping across the linen towards her, cocooning in its frigidity. She became vaguely aware of noises drifting into the room from other parts of the house, she knew her husband was out there and had been doing his best – but he, like everyone else, seemed completely incapable of reaching her, such were the depths of this dark place she had landed in.

She blamed herself, if only she had taken more care on the stairs, if only she had gone slower, if only……what if….why??

He was grieving too, but outwardly seemed more together – she just couldn’t relate. It felt as though he wasn’t affected, she knew that just wasn’t so, but his ability to simply carry on so effortlessly while she fell apart, so utterly and completely, was compounding hers.

She felt like she had to grieve for both of them and she could not imagine ever leaving this room again – nor did she particularly want to.

In the space of fourteen days, they had lost so much hope; their dreams had been shattered. The baby they had longed for, taken from them in a swift motion. She had fallen down a set of stairs at work and the bleeding had started just a small handful of hours later.

Doctors had confirmed what she knew to be true, but had been dreading hearing.

"The heartbeat has gone, I’m afraid you have lost your baby."

She didn’t hear anything after that, the alarm that had been building inside since the first spots of blood was now clanging so loudly in her head that it drowned everything else.

All she could hear were those eleven words. They played in her ears over and over until she thought she had gone quite mad.

"This is nature’s way, hon. The Doc said it would have happened whether you fell or not." Her hubby had tried so hard to placate her, and logic told her this was right, but she didn’t believe it. Instead she held herself absolutely responsible.

Several weeks later she was still bleeding badly, physically, and even more emotionally; a decision was made to surgically remove her baby rather than to let nature take its own course. She had been discharged from the hospital several days before, the consensus being the sooner she got back to her life the better.

Her surgeon told her she was lucky – their baby had been in her tube and was about to rupture, a certain death for her, he said.

Funny, she didn’t feel at all lucky.

He had coupled that news with an apology – he had damaged her during the surgery and didn’t think she would ever conceive or carry to term again. She had been too groggy to process that at the time, but she now fully comprehended just what he had meant.

For someone who had wanted nothing more out of life than to be a mother, she was absolutely devastated, bereft at the thought. She couldn’t stand the look of pity in people’s eyes, couldn’t face talking about it and was hiding from them all.

But she was powerless to hide from her own grief. It descended over her in great surges, the voice in her head telling her she was a failure over and over. Extreme moments of anger came and went; anger at the thought of those who fell pregnant without a second thought, and absolute despair at the thought that she wouldn’t ever be one of them.

On the fourth day post-op, her hubby walked into the bedroom and threw back the curtains.

"C’mon, my love, you can’t hide here forever. Come and have a cup of tea outside with me." She reluctantly allowed him to pull her upright, and sat numbly as he tenderly dressed her. He gathered her into his weathered, strong arms and supported her as she ambled slowly, painfully to the bench seat outside in the gleaming sunshine.

Her delicate, pale hands trembled as she lifted the cup to her lips and took a small sip of the sweet nectar it contained, barely tasting it before returning it back to the table.

He pulled her close and she nestled her cheek against his shoulder, his presence combined with the sunshine both finally able to crack the dark cloak she wore.

"You are enough you know," he said quietly.

"For what?" she replied, struggling to grasp his meaning.

"For me...you are enough for me," he said as he kissed the top of her head. "You always were."

Her breath hitched in her throat and her vision blurred as she dissolved in his arms. He said nothing more and held her tightly as she sobbed, his own tears mixing with hers. He was so overwhelmed that she had been saved, he felt his own breath hitch at the thought that he might have lost both of them, and although he was privately angry her surgeon had altered their future so permanently, he was so eternally grateful that he still had a future with her, that she hadn’t been taken too.

She – so completely consumed with her grief – was at this point blissfully unaware that she nearly didn’t make it too; sedation had been the measure of so many days for her since then.

Neither moved, and all around them the world carried on, people went to work, dogs barked, black backed gulls swooped and called out to each other; life carried on – a life completely oblivious to their enormous grief.

(to be continued...)

At the Hotel

by EJ Sankey

The phone rang waking Judith from her trance.  “Hello, McKinny Incorporated, this is Judith, how may I help you?”   It was a customer calling in an order. She started typing away on her computer taking down the information.  “Will that be all for you today?” There was a pause.  “Wonderful, thank you for calling McKinny Incorporated for all your office supplies. Have a wonderful day.”  She hated the sound of the cheery voice she used to greet customers.   

She hung up the phone and looked around the office.  She felt the walls close in around her, it was suffocating.  Day in and day out, the same job, taking orders, nine to five.   She looked at the clock, “Four thirty, almost time to leave this prison.   I can go home and take a bath and relax with a glass of wine,” she said quietly to herself.
  
Closing her eyes, she leaned back and imagined it.  The warmth of the water, the bubbles tickling her nose, the buzz the wine was going to give her.  It was so vivid, she could smell the scented candles that were going to surround the tub. She was so ensconced in her own vision of paradise. She wasn't really paying any attention to the rest of the world around her. That is when she was abruptly brought back to reality.  

“Judith, Judith? Hey are you with me?” She heard that voice accompanied by the snap of a finger.  Judith was jolted out of her trance, looking toward the voice.  It was her co-worker Keeley.  “Hey, you okay?” Keeley asked with a concerned look.

Judith smiled snapping back to reality. “Yeah, I'm fine.  Just thinking of something, that's all.”

“Oh, who is he? Do I know him, is he cute?” Keeley teased.

“No, nothing like that. Just personal things.” Judith tried to avoid a discussion of her delicious daydream.

“Oh,” Keeley said in disappointment.  “Well, a whole bunch of us are headed over to the restaurant that is just inside the hotel down the street.  Would you like to join us?”

Judith sat there for a second and thought about it; she nodded her head, “That actually sounds good, what time?”

“About five thirty,” her friend chirped.  

Judith rubbed her face,  “I'll be there, who is coming?”
 
“Just some of the other girls, and now you,” Keeley said, smiling at her friend.

“Cool, I'll meet you there.” Judith's dream of the relaxing bath was placed in the back or her mind.

“Okay, that sounds good,” Keeley said walking away.

Judith got up to go to the bathroom.  She splashed cold water on her face, and adjusted her hair and makeup.   She was making sure everything looked clean and tidy, before she returned to her desk to close up for the night.  

She walked along the street looking at all the windows filled with wonderful things to buy.  She was killing some time before meeting up with everyone.  When she got to the restaurant, all her friends were just being seated and she followed.  To break the ice for being late she quickly blurted something out. “Hey guys, I was just thinking about taking a vacation. I've just needed some me time lately.”  Judith looked around the circle at her friends.                                                                              

They all looked at her. “Is everything thing okay, sweetie?” Keeley voiced the question for the group.
Judith waived her hand and took a sip of water. “Yeah, everything is fine.  I was just thinking about taking a vacation that's all.”

“Oh, where?”  Michelle asked, enthused.

“I am not sure yet. I was thinking of either Costa Rica  or Maui or some place tropical like that,” Judith sighed. 

“Nice, I went to the Canary Islands last year, they were beautiful,” Jane chimed in.

“Oh, now, there is a place that is on my mental list of upcoming vacations,” Judith said with a forced smile on her face.

They all laughed. “Three cheers for upcoming vacations,” Michelle said, holding up her glass.

“Yes, hear, hear!” Judith said, holding up her glass and joining in on the toast.  Secretly, she was bored, she wanted to get out of this city, she wanted to move to somewhere more exciting.  She slowly retreated from the other ladies at the table.  She just sat back and watched them.  They didn't notice, they all became engrossed in their own conversations and lives.  Sitting back, Judith slipped into her own world.  Sipping her glass of water, waiting on the waitress to take their drink order, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye.  She looked over to the other side of the room. There was a man standing there at the bar with a drink in his hand, staring at her.

She smiled a little, and looked bashfully away.  The man walked toward her, he looked at her like she was the only woman in the room.  He reached for her, he took her by the hand and gracefully twirled her out of her chair so she was facing him.  Nothing was said, she just stared into his eyes.   She'd never felt so safe in her life.  He didn't take his eyes off of her as they moved toward the elevators.  They got in and headed up to the pent house.  Silence.

The room was beautiful, there was a waterfall in the corner of the room that flowed into a small pond with fish.  The balcony over looked the river.   A bar snaked through the living room.  The floors were marble covered with plush rugs.  The lighting was perfect, there was slow music in the background, the sweet smell of flowers filled the room.  She turned to look at him, “Who are you?”

Smiling he took off his coat hanging it on the back of a bar stool.  “I am who ever you want me to be,”  his voice was a rumble that called to her.

“What am I doing here, why am I here?” Judith's eyes were locked with his.

He walked over to her and put his finger on her lips ever so gently,  “Shhhh, this evening is all about you.  All I want is for you to enjoy it.”  

She felt her face get hot, no one ever told her that.  He softly kissed her parted lips.  He looked her in the eyes showing her a place behind the bar. “The door is right there, there is a panic button on the wall.”  He watched her reaction to the information, “Besides, if I really wanted to harm you, don't you think I would have done this a little differently? Your friends saw me, they watched me as I swept you away.  They watched as we exited the room, they saw what I look like.”   

She took a deep breath and thought about it for a moment, then she looked at him, the look on her face showed her acceptance.  He took his hand and cupped her face, she leaned into his hand, letting herself go.  His hand moved down her arm to the small of her back, he pulled her close.  She inhaled his scent, memorizing the way he smelled.  He smelled like a man should, of wind, moonlight, and power.  She pressed her hands against the muscles in his back, he aroused her senses. 

He  released the buttons on her shirt.  Slipping his hands inside, he pushed the shirt open and stepped away to look at her.   Her knees felt weak.  He effortlessly walked her back toward the bedroom.  She looked around, there were roses and baby's breath everywhere, candles burned emitting soft light.   He sat on the bed's silk sheets,  beckoning her to come to him.  “Come here, I have something for you.” 

Once again the sound of his voice called to her.  She walked over to him letting her blouse slip to the floor.  She stood in front of him biting her lower lip.  As she relaxed, he pulled her onto his lap, she straddled his knees.   He felt her warmth as he reached under her skirt and traced the edges of  her panties with his fingers.  

Closing  her eyes, she dropped her head back, she enjoyed the teasing of his warm fingers on her silky smooth skin.  He slowly pulled out his hand away, pressing himself against her making her moan a bit.  She could feel his excitement, a bulge swelling behind the zipper of his pants.  He placed her on the bed and stood there.  She looked at him, unfastening his belt buckle, she kissed the bulge in his pants while slowly unfastening them with her teeth.  She wanted to get at the prize that was behind his zipper.  She was almost there, she could feel that special part of him pulsating against her skin.  He pushed against her, he grabbed her hands and held them.  He let out a growl of pleasure, and looked at her.  She longed to touch him, she was so close,  she could smell the pheromones calling to her. She closed her eyes and breathed hard. Whispering in a pleasurable tone she pleaded with him. “Oh don't tease me. Give it to me, I want it.”

He let her go, falling on her, he pushed her toward the headboard.  Then he looked into her eyes, “If you don't want this, please, please, let me know. Say no, and I will stop.”  He handcuffed one of her hands to the headboard and looked at her for acceptance.  She smiled and nodded.  Then he took her other hand and cuffed it to the other side of the headboard.  He looked at his watch.  “Just in time,” he whispered in her ear while nibbling it.

“Just in time for what?” she huffed back.  

There was a knock at the door.

He stood, leaving her fastened to the bed. “I have a treat for you.”  

She lay back on the pillows and didn't take her eyes off of him as he walked out the room.  She heard him open the door, then the sound of two male voices. Then she heard him say, “Thank  you.”  The door closed, she heard the sound of wheels being pushed across the floor.  He came back into the room with a room service cart, there was a  covered silver tray.  “Are you ready for your surprise?”

She curled her legs beside her and licked her lips, “Bring it,” she whispered the challenge.  

He uncovered the items on the tray and showed them to her.  Her eyes widened at what she saw, there on the gleaming silver tray was a mountain of goodies.  Champagne, chocolate, a fluffy mound of whipped cream, strawberries and ice cream.

He picked up the bowl of strawberries and crawled onto the bed.  He picked the plumpest, ripest one tracing her lips with it, then he hovered over the middle of her mouth.  She opened her mouth and tried to bite the luscious berry.  He pulled it away ever so slightly.  She bit into thin air.  

“Uh uh uh, not yet.  It's not ready,” he teased her frustrated pout.  Dipping the strawberry in the whipped cream, he brought it back to her. “Now try it,” his voice was tantalizing.  

She opened her mouth, let her tongue do the tasting, it was so sweet and heavenly, she bit down and let the juice drip down her chin onto her chest.  He began to kiss and suck the juice from her chin and neck.  

He could feel her pressing up against his chest.  He took off his shirt, he was beautiful.  His muscles rippled in the muted light.  Picking up the whipped cream placing it next to them, he then kissed her neck.  He removed her bra exposing her breasts.   He covered her nipples with cool whipped cream.   He teased her erect nipples with his mouth then drew her into his mouth making her thrust her head back with a moan of pleasure.  The bra dropped from his fingers onto the floor beside the bed.  She was naked before him, his eyes spoke his pleasure.  She squirmed in anticipation. 

“How do you know what I want?” she whispered, trying to catch her breath.

“That is my secret,” he said standing up.  He removed  his pants.  She could she the outline of his manhood pressing though his fitting underwear.  He was large and pulsing with expectancy.  He chose one of the chocolates, “This is for me.  Where would you like me to put it?”

“Un-cuff me and I will do it for you,” she whimpered.

“Oh, darling,” his voice was lyrical, “that's daring, but no, not yet.”

“Okay then, put it on the tip of your hardened cock, I want to lick the chocolate off.”  Her eyes blazed with passion.  

Slowly, he followed her instructions, he looked at her, watching her reaction while he followed her instructions.

“Now, come over here, I want to taste you,” her voice was a whisper.  

He moved to her, softly touching her lips.  She slowly opened her mouth letting that hardened part of him slide in her expectant mouth.  She closed her lips around the tip sucking chocolate into her mouth.  He pulled out of her mouth. 

“I wasn't done,” she complained.

“Neither am I; I have a whole night of fun planed for us,” he smiled.    

Intrigued, she stopped talking, she wanted to know more; she didn't want to talk about it, she wanted to experience it.  Returning to the cart, he poured a glass of champagne.  As he did that, she noticed something about the hand-cuffs.  She realized that they weren't any ordinary hand-cuffs.  This just became one of the best games ever.  He brought over the glass and gave her a sip.  She smiled a wicked smile and slipped out of the hand-cuffs rolling him over getting on top of him.  

“I see you figured it out,” he was smiling, beginning to lick the spilled champagne from her body.

“Yes,  I did,” she said taking off her skirt. 

Putting his hand behind his head, he taunted her,“Do your worst, I was a bad boy, I deserve it.”  

He watched as she raised her hands above her head and arched her back.  Grabbing her by the waist, he lifted her as he sat up and placed her on his lap, her legs straddling him.   He looked in her eyes and kissed her, she returned the kiss.  Placing her on her back, he removed their underwear, flesh on flesh, hearts beating together, hands caressing each other.  He looked deep in her eyes as he slowly entered her, she wrapped her arms around him, accepting the feel of him filling her.

Later, as she lay in the jacuzzi filled with rose petals and bath milk.  He joined her, washing her back as she leaned forward enjoying it.  He washed her breasts.  She took the sponge and started washing his legs following them back to his hips.  

“Do you like that?” she asked seductively.

“Yes, please, don't stop,” he groaned.  

Reviving his member, she enjoyed pleasuring him, she pressed up against him.  He massaged her breasts then moved slowly to her center of passion.  Moving her onto his lap, her back against his chest, he entered her again, taking her to the height of passion and fulfillment. 

All night long they played and tantalized each other.  The whipped cream cream was all over the walls, the chocolate stained the sheets, champagne made the floor sticky, the ice cream was gone.  He lay with  her, holding her in his arms, enjoying her body against his. 

“Rosecrans,” she spoke his name softly, kissing his hand.

“Yes Judith?” the thunder of his voice was soft against her ear.

“I love you. After thirty years of marriage, three kids, and two moves, you still know how to make a girl feel young.”  She snuggled closer to him.  

He tightened his embrace holding her a little bit closer.  “You are still the prettiest girl I know.  I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see you.  I love you, too, you will always be my heart.”  He nibbled at her ear, kissing her neck.

Happy tears filled her eyes, she didn't know how she ever got so lucky.