May 15, 2016
“Bella?” someone calls after me.
I quickly turn. Nobody in this liberal bubble of a town calls me Bella. Long ago my husband, Edward, deemed that it was too cutesy. He insisted that I go by my actual name, Isabella.
I turn to see a long-haired, graying biker, clad in black leather, calling my name. “Yes?” I ask, confused as to who he is. He is straddling his Harley.
“You don’t remember me,” he accuses. He takes off his sunglasses. “Of course, the beard, leather, and years…yeah, I see why you don’t. You, on the other hand, are still amazing. You look the same. Thinner, but the same.”
There is awkward silence between us. “Well, thank you.”
“I am Gid,” he says.
Memories come back to me instantly. Summers catching fish at my parents’ pond, listening to Hank Williams Jr., and skinny dipping in Huff Creek. Those were carefree summers. Life was simple. I was allowed to be me. I blink back tears. I may appear to be the same, but I can guarantee you that I am not. I am but a shell of who I was.
“It has been so long,” I quietly say, in disbelief that a part of my past is standing before me. Gid is now a man, not the teenage boy I once knew.
“Too long,” he agrees. “What have you been up to?” he asks, his Appalachian twang both cutting off the ending of words and mixing them together. I revel in the sound. It reminds me of home.
“Not much,” I answer. He looks at me curiously. I know he thinks I am just making chitchat, but the truth of the matter is that I have done very little. “You?” I ask.
“Well, I went to law school, and I…”
I interrupt. “You went to law school?” I ask incredulously.
“Want to go somewhere to catch up?” he asks. “I’ll even go to one of these hippie-dippie smoothie shops if you choose,” he jokes. “Just nothing green…the only green thing I drink is green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.”
I go through my mental checklist. I am about thirty minutes ahead of schedule, so I think I can manage some time with Gid. Would Edward approve? Definitely not. Normally, that would make me resist all temptation. After all, I cannot bear his yelling, scolding, and belittling. However, there is something drawing me to Gid. There is something soothing about seeing him, listening to him, and having him look at me—the real me, the person I don’t even recognize. It is like he sees me when, for the last decade, all my time in Athens, nobody has cared to know me.
I created a persona that fit the expectations of Edward. I became the professor’s trophy wife—arm candy, if you will. I let go of my Appalachian roots and tried unsuccessfully to rid myself of my Appalachian accent. I embraced—no, I did not embrace—I gave the semblance of acceptance of this tree-hugging, everyone-protesting, farmer’s-market-devoting town. I mentally roll my eyes because I feel like I am losing my mind.
“Yes, that would be nice,” I say with a small smile. “No smoothies, though. Let’s get some frozen yogurt.”
I am within five pounds of Edward’s weight limit for me. I should be able to eat frozen yogurt and not gain weight, especially if I work extra hard in the flower beds later in the day. I push the thought of those five pounds away. I will enjoy this time, and I will not worry.
I think back to that day when Gid called out to me. My knight on a shining bike. My hero. He is becoming the center of the world. Gosh darn it. I hate that fact. I love it, and I hate it.
Love is a lack of control. It is crossing that line into uncertainty. You no longer have complete control when you are in love. Part of you becomes reliant upon someone else, and quite frankly, that sucks.
I want a unfaltering resolution that I can only achieve when I depend on myself. When it is just me, it is like dealing with an algebraic formula. I will do this and this and this, and this will happen. Things are sure. There are no what-if’s.
However, right now, it is not just me. There is Gid. He could fall out of love, or whatever this is, with me. He could meet someone he finds attractive and stray. He could just not want a relationship one day. My future depends on Gid. I don’t like that.
I reach for the remote and push the pause button. “Why were you in Athens that day?” I ask. I cannot believe that I never asked before. How selfish of me.
He pauses. “I have been working on a case to force the mining company to give retirees’ their pension. I had a meeting with company.”
“That company is in Athens?” I ask incredulously. If there ever was a place that hated coal, it is Athens.
He hesitates. “No. It was in Columbus.”
I sit up and look at him. “Columbus is nowhere near Athens. Why were you in Athens?”
He grabs my hand. “I have been there a lot over the last few years—ten or so.”
I just stare at him in disbelief. “Isn’t that stalking?” I jokingly ask.
“Legally, stalking is to ‘harass someone with unwanted or obsessive attention,’ so no. Your parents and I worried. This last time, I went to your house. Your neighbor said you spent a lot of time at the local gym. I waited for you.”
“How many times have you been to Athens?” I ask quietly.
“About once a month. I’d watch you run. You did a lot of that.”
“Why did you talk to me this last time?”
“I needed you, and you looked like you needed me. I put it all in God’s hands and let him lead. It was just the right time.”
I really just do not know what to say. I look at him in a new light. What was his motive?
As if reading my mind, he says, “I always loved you. Even back when we were kids playing in the creek together, I knew it was going to be me and you. I tried getting over you, but I just couldn’t. Nobody measured up. They weren’t you. I could not love them, create a family with them, and spend time with them…they were not you.”
I am still unable to form words, so I sit on his lap and show him how I feel by kissing him deeply and passionately. I lay my head on his shoulder and contemplate his loyalty. It warms my heart.
I feel that he is hard beneath me. Hard and big. The time is now right. I pull his T-shirt up over his head. I stand and take off my clothes. He takes off his pants and boxers while he watches. No words are necessary. We both know what we need and want.
“Condom?” he asks breathlessly.
“No need,” I answer. “Unless you just want to.”
“Babe, no man ever wants to use a condom.
I straddle him and take him inside me. I am slick with need, and his cock is pulsing inside me. For the first time ever, I get what the hoopla about sex is. I hold tightly to his shoulders. I feel the dam is about to break within me. The buildup is escalating so quickly. I am losing control, and I have never been more okay with that.
“Gid!” I yell out. “It feels so good! So fucking good!”
“Come. Come for me! Your pussy is so wet!”
I moan loudly. I thrash about through my orgasm. He closes his eyes, throws his head back, and growls ferally as he releases inside me. Seeing him lose control while inside me causes my breath to hitch.
I continue to ride him, rubbing my clit against him. “I need to come again!”
He grabs my hips and thrusts upward into me. “Let it go!” he orders.
Besides the fact that he feels so good—and I mean really, really good—I love the fact that I am making him feel all that we are. I look at him as he looks at me. I shatter. The dam breaks. I call out his name and revel in the fact that I brought him to orgasm. The two of us have become one. I am unsure how to feel. How can something so amazing scare me so badly?