She stood outside, wearing the storm like armor. The fat, warm raindrops struck her bare shoulders and her upturned face, exploding into a hundred smaller drops that saturated the aqua cotton of her summer dress, molding it to her body: breasts, thighs and hips. Her sandaled feet stood in an ever growing puddle, unaware and uncaring, and the shallow water lapped at her red polished toes.
He had told her about summer storms, the lightening racing across the sky, chased by claps of thunder she could feel in her chest; but the storms were only part of why she had flown in to visit him. The wide sky was black, every single star obscured by the heavy clouds that loomed overhead, lost against the dark of the night. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then another, and another until she felt the threat of tears had passed.
“Sasha, come back inside.” Adam’s voice was frustrated, but her own frustration was clear in the rigid set of her entire frame, her hands fisted at her sides, and she didn’t reply. She heard him step off the curb and walk up behind her, his pace slow and tentative as though she was a wild animal who might turn and bite him. When he laid his hands gently on her shoulders she had conflicting urges: to turn and fold herself into his embrace, or to step away.
Her internal conflict lasted only a few heartbeats yet it felt like eons, and it took every ounce of will she had to take that single step away from him, his fingers sliding over her skin until they fell away entirely. Folding her arms as a means of perceived protection from the painful conversation she knew was coming she turned slowly to face him, her hazel eyes locking with his light blue ones through the veil of rain.
“Adam,” Sasha began, her voice quiet. He mimicked her pose and folded his arms across his chest as he shook his head.
“I know that look, Sasha,” he said, his own deep voice quiet.
“Then do I even need to say anything?” she asked, hoping he would let her off the hook, but she knew better.
“Yes!” His blue eyes grew fierce and he stepped forward, his long fingers gripping her slick shoulders, “I want to hear you say it. Tell me and let’s see if either of us believes it!”
The pressure of his hold made her anger flare to life and reaching up she fisted her hands into the wet cotton of his T-shirt, glaring up into his face. “You want to hear it? Fine! I’m selfish! I want to kiss you and touch you and make love to you, and I can’t because besides living so far away you’re married!!”
Adam opened his mouth to speak but the adamant shaking of Sasha’s head silenced him. “I know what I’m saying isn’t right, isn’t fair, but I’m in pain and I think its better that we part as friends, I don’t want to lose that.” A small smile lifted one corner of her mouth as she released his shirt, her hands smoothing out the wrinkles. “We’ve known each other a long time,” she said wistfully, “But it’s clear your wife doesn’t like me and I won’t be a secret.” Stepping forward Sasha closed the gap between them, rising onto her tip toes and kissing him softly. “I’ll see you in the funny papers.”
Stepping around him she went back into her hotel, refusing to look back. Her heart was breaking but sometimes you have to run away to see if someone will chase you.