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Faith part 2 - Your WRITES

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Sarah_Alexander-Madigane
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We continued chatting away for a good two hours, and I was having
fun. Erin was nice, I was enjoying her company. She seemed pretty laid back
about life, which was appealing. I wasn't sure what I thought about the
whole thing in relation to myself, and anything happening, so I was careful
not to say anything that she could take as me coming on strongly to her,
but also not to say anything that would make her give up. I'd meant what
I'd said before - being single did suit me at the moment - but I thought
that rather than immediately deciding 'no' I'd play things by ear.
At the end of the evening, I settled the bill and we went out into
the night. My car was parked nearer to the restaurant than hers was, so we
got there first. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed that we should
probably do this again soon.
"It's been fun," I said, "I'm sure I will see you again soon."
"I hope so," said Erin, then she leant towards me and kissed me
lightly on the lips. It had been a while since I had kissed anyone, and
Erin's lips felt so soft against my own. I put my hand out onto her elbow
and kissed her back, then she pulled away, smiled at me, and set off down
the street to find her own car. I stared after her as she walked
away. Surely not, I thought.

I lay awake that night, thinking things over. I'd been doing so
well until Erin had kissed me. I'd felt completely in control of the
situation, and I wasn't feeling strongly one way or the other until that
point. I knew I'd enjoyed her company, and I couldn't help but find her
attractive. But I was so averse to the idea of putting myself at risk of
getting hurt again that I had been determined that I wouldn't her affect me
in the slightest. The kiss had changed all that though. In that moment
she'd broken down so many of my barriers. I couldn't remember the last time
I'd lain awake thinking of someone. Part of me wanted to call her, but
something else was holding me back. My pride. But something inside me that
had lain dormant for quite some time was beginning to stir.
The following day, though, I resolved not to let things bother
me. So she'd kissed me, so what? In the cold light of day I concluded that
it didn't mean much, after all. It was just a kiss. That was all. I put the
whole episode to the back of my mind, and got on with my day.
Mike phoned in the evening, asking if I was coming out to the
pub. I'd made quite good headway with my work that day, so I agreed and
said I'd be there in half an hour.
I hadn't really considered that Erin would be there, but when I
went in I saw her straight away, sitting at the table with Jason, Mike and
Louise. She saw me too, and smiled broadly. I couldn't help but grin
back. Despite all my efforts during the day, I knew that I was thrilled to
see her. I bought myself a drink, and went over to take a seat at the
table. I expected Mike and Jason to leap in and grill me about the night
before and whatever Erin must have told them.
To my surprise, they were talking about football, and showed no
signs of deviating from this. Erin smiled at me from across the table, but
didn't say a word. I wondered if the others noticed that I was blushing
somewhat.
Sometime later, I was in the ladies' at the same time as Louise.
"What happened last night then?" she asked me.
"What about last night?" I asked, trying to sound innocent.
"Mike told me, before Jason and Erin came in, that he'd set you and
her up."
"Ah, that," I said, unsure of how to proceed, "what has Erin said?"
"Nothing at all, actually," said Louise, "Mike asked her, but she
told him to mind his own business. In a nice way, of course."
"I see," I replied, somewhat relieved.
"I think Mike's a bit annoyed, as he arranged it all."
"No-one asked him to," I said.
"So are you going to tell me?" she asked, looking hopeful.
"Well..."
"Go on!"
"It was nice. We got on well. I had fun. Erin's a lovely girl."
"Wow, strong words, from you!" responded Louise, "Are you going to
see her again?"
"I don't know," I said, and that was the truth. I knew I wanted to
though. After my day of putting things out of my head, having Erin sitting
over the table from me had reawakened the feelings that had surfaced the
previous night. "It would be good, I guess. But don't say anything to Mike,
I don't need him heaping on the pressure."
"Promise," said Louise, smiling at me.
I went back out to the table, and Erin was the only one there as
Mike and Jason were having a game of darts in the corner. I took Jason's
seat, next to Erin and, feeling very bold suddenly, kissed her once on the
lips. I hoped the guys hadn't noticed.
"So you're not quite the ice queen then," said Erin, grinning
cheekily.
I made a face of mock hurt. "I don't know who told you that!"
"Oh, you know, little birds," she said, and then paused before
continuing, "I really enjoyed having dinner with you last night."
"Me too," I replied, "it was fun."
"Maybe we could go out again?" she asked, "You know, without them
setting it up."
"Sure, yeah, that would be nice." I was scared. I didn't want to
get myself into a situation that I couldn't get out of, yet already Erin
was reeling me in. I was aware that I didn't want to mess this up by
running away, this was the most promising situation I'd been in for a long
time, but I was terrified of letting myself get hurt. I wanted to hold back
so badly, yet when I was with her I was struggling. I wanted to pull her to
me and kiss her with a lifetime's worth of passion, but I couldn't let her
know she was having that effect on me.
"How about Sunday?" she said, breaking into my train of thought,
"we could go somewhere for lunch or something."
"Err, yes, Sunday sounds good," I answered, "yes. I know a
place. It's a pub, it does really good Sunday lunch. Roast dinner."
"Sounds wonderful!" she said brightly, and squeezed my hand before
leaping up to join the lads. I stayed at the table, pondering the strange
and amazing effects that Erin was having on me. I suspected there was
little point in fighting things. But then I asked myself whether or not I
was really prepared to make the changes that would be required. As I looked
over at Erin playing pool I thought about how my life was. I liked not
having to report my movements to anyone, I liked that fact that I had no
obligations. Yes, I liked her and she was good company, but there were too
many other considerations. And what if we got together and it went wrong?
That would have bad effects on the dynamic of the group, and I didn't want
to mess things up for everyone else. Too much was at stake here.
Whenever she had her back to me, I could convince myself of all
these things. Yet from time to time she would turn and smile in my
direction, and that was when I felt so unsure. What if Mike was right?
Maybe it would do me some good to get involved. Was I really so independent
that I had no room in my life for another? I didn't know what to think.
The rest of the evening passed off without much incident. Erin had
an early start in the morning so she didn't stay until closing time. After
she left Mike started probing me for details, but I played it down and
didn't really give much away, and in the end he gave up. As midnight
approached we all drifted off to our respective homes, my mind still
ticking over.

I rang Mike on Saturday.
"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to pass on our breakfast
tomorrow," I told him, knowing that if I went over there I wouldn't have a
chance of getting away in time for lunch with Erin without having to
explain everything to Mike.
"Oh, okay," he replied, "what's up?"
"Er," I said, not wanting to go into detail, "something's come up
that I can't get out of."
"You've had a better offer?" he asked with mock hurt in his voice.
"Not as such," I lied, "it's just this thing. It's only for this
week. I'll catch up with you soon, I promise."
"Hmm," he murmured, "this wouldn't have anything to do with anyone
we know, would it?"
"How do you mean?" I asked, trying to sound at least vaguely
casual.
"Only, I'm sure Erin mentioned something about having Sunday lunch
with someone, that's all..."
I realised that there was no point lying about it. "Fine, you've
got me. Guilty as charged."
Mike laughed a little. "So you ARE seeing her again then! Sounds
like you got on a bit better than you were letting on. And you are very
welcome, by the way."
I sighed. "Mike, I'm sure I told you not to do this. I'm really not
looking to get involved with anyone." Which was true.
"So how come you're seeing her again?"
"Because I enjoyed her company. It doesn't mean anything is going
to happen. Don't get excited."
"Why not? What's wrong with her? She seems pretty into you."
"There's nothing wrong with her, I just like having my own space,
that's all."
"You're impossible."
"I know. That's what you all love about me."

And so the following day I took Erin to a pub in Steeple Claydon, a
nearby village, and we had lunch. As before I found it very easy to be in
her company, and I was enjoying myself a lot, despite all the lectures I'd
given myself before setting out about not letting her get to me. I didn't
know what to do. Every time that she smiled at me I could feel her chipping
away at the walls around me, yet I really didn't like that I couldn't
control this.
After lunch we went for a bit of a drive around the villages. Erin
hadn't really seen much of this side of Buckinghamshire since her arrival
and I thought she'd enjoy it, especially as it was a nice day. She kept
remarking that the old houses and the countryside were beautiful and so
unlike where she had grown up.
Seeing an opportunity to impress Erin with my part of England, I
parked the car in the car park of a small recreation ground in another of
the villages and asked her if she fancied a walk to work off lunch. She
replied that she did, so I led her across the park and over a stile at the
other side. From here we walked along a narrow path that wound between
trees and alongside a small stream. We chatted as we walked, occasionally
encountering families out for a Sunday afternoon stroll or lone dog
walkers. All the time Erin seemed delighted by this and I was revelling in
it.
I was still trying not to get too carried away, but I had resolved
to enjoy the day and not let my expectations or otherwise influence me. As
the path opened up into fields, Erin rested her hand in the bend of my
elbow and we walked, silently, like that for a little bit, myself slightly
unsure of what to think but rather liking it. Erin's hand then moved onto
the small of my back and down a little, and I felt my heart jump. I looked
at Erin and licked my lips. Somehow, she had started a little fire inside
me and all of a sudden I wanted to fan the flames.
There was no-one else in the field (nor even any livestock) though
I'm not sure I really cared one way or the other. I turned to kiss Erin
full on the mouth, and this time the kiss quickly grew into something very
passionate, both of us with the other's face in our hands. I pushed Erin
back against the trunk of a tree that was a few feet behind her, not that
she put up much of a fight. Her hands were now around my waist under my
jacket, and our lips clashed with something close to violence. I needed her
at that moment - a weakness I would never have admitted - and I had to make
it happen.
I started to kiss her neck and the bottom of her jaw and as I did
this Erin let out a breathy 'Laura!' and I worried that my knees would
buckle just at that. I ran my lips to the top of her chest, to where her
shirt was buttoned, and brought my hands up to start work on undoing it. I
felt Erin's hands come round to my front and she was pressing quite hard,
reflective, I felt, of the arousal and urgency she seemed to be feeling.
But then I realised that what she was doing was pushing me
back. Her breathing had slowed, though she was still panting somewhat.
"Not yet, not here," she muttered.
I was a little taken aback, as I'd felt like I had a flow
going. "What's up?" I asked, trying to keep the mood going with my tone.
"There's no rush," she said, straightening herself up, "and I
certainly don't feel the need to get both of us arrested."
I drew back. She had a point, and, as I would later admit to
myself, I had let myself get swept away. Erin looked at me with an
expression designed to reassure me that I hadn't blown it, and I smiled at
her.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I'm not sure what came over me.."
"You're not sure?" she asked with a grin, "that's a shame."
We walked on without a word for a little while. Then Erin broke the
silence. "You know, I was talking to Jason about you."
"Oh yes?" I replied, worried.
"He says that you've been actively avoiding getting into any
relationships for a while now."
"Does he?" I said, raising an eyebrow.
"Why?"
I sighed. "I don't know. I guess I'm just used to it."
"I don't believe you," answered Erin, looking at me intently.
"Ha!" I spluttered, but really I was impressed, and a little wary,
that she had read me so easily.
"What's the real reason?"
"Honestly?"
"Honestly."
"Well," I began, then paused before continuing, "maybe, I don't
know, I'm not sure that I trust people enough to let anyone that close to
me."
"Really? That's a real shame."
"I know. It's just that whenever, in the past, I've really let my
guard down with someone, they've taken advantage and I've ended up being
the one who got hurt."
Erin looked concerned, but at the same time slipped her hand into
the crook of my elbow again. "Not everyone is like that."
"I'm sure you're right," I went on, "but it's so hard to tell and
I'm a bit scared to risk it again. It's easier to keep things simple, I
think. There comes a point when you almost don't think it's worth the
risk. I'm not sure two people can be together without hurting each other."
I laughed at myself. "All a bit melodramatic, isn't it! But I think it's
how I feel now."
"I wonder what it would take to change your mind," said Erin,
thinking aloud.
"Who knows? Heaven knows, I don't." I said, but I was
smiling. Maybe she was onto something.


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