I wrote this a few months ago after a friend sent me really lovely poem she wrote and it inspired me. I wrote a rough copy and just never finished it and then sort of remembered it because I started re-reading some Merton for school and I found it and had a little time plus felt inspired enough to clean it up. So here goes. I hope it's even a little enjoyable. Grad school & life are kicking my ass right now, I've not forgotten about my multi-chapters!
Elizabeth was on day six of a ten day tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland and found herself incredibly grumpy despite the fact that she had just landed in Ireland and was surrounded by stunning, luscious green countryside.
She grabbed her cellphone out of her purse and tossed the bag down on the floor. She didn't want to be this grumpy, but she just couldn't help it.
She dialed his number and couldn't even muster a greeting before launching into a much needed vent session.
"I honestly can't believe you aren't here with me. If the prospect of abbeys, friaries, monasteries, priories…"
"Ministers, sinisters, banisters and canisters," Henry exclaimed, cutting her off. He couldn't resist.
She was not amused, "Can it, Lennon." She said without missing a beat as she continued where she'd left off, "If all of that plus this stunning landscape couldn't get you to join me then I assume it's just me. You didn't want to spend ten days alone with me, right? Is it the new hair? I shouldn't have cut it."
Henry couldn't help but laugh, "Hello to you too. You're actually insane, you know that? Of course it's not your hair and of course I would much rather be spending ten days with you regardless of where you were. Unfortunately that pesky thing called work got in the way."
Elizabeth let out a frustrated sigh and sat dramatically in a large pilowy armchair. She believed him but that still didn't mean she wasn't frustrated and lonely.
But Henry knew his wife well, before she'd left work had been incredibly stressful and they hadn't been able to spend much quality time together. Truthfully he was frustrated too.
They talked for a while longer and both hated to part but they had responsibilities. They weren't college students who could talk on the phone all night and still manage to function the next day anymore.
Elizabeth woke up the next morning to sunlight streaming in through the gorgeous bay window of her suite. She hadn't slept well. The bed felt big and cold and empty. It wasn't the unfamiliarity of the room that she was uncomfortable with, she would have felt the same way if she were in their own bed and Henry was away. She'd come to understand long ago that home wasn't actually a place. She shivered as she recalled her childhood home, she had once cherished her trips back and the memories it provided but it soon became more haunting than comforting. The people she loved weren't there anymore and she'd realized that what made it a home wasn't the house itself, it was the security she felt coming home to a loving and understanding family.
Meeting Henry and falling in love with him had evoked those feelings of safety and comfort she thought had been buried with her parents. It had terrified her. Falling in love with a Marine had felt like a cruel trick and sometimes she was sure she hadn't been able to catch her breath from the minute he deployed until they were safely on the same ground again. But they'd survived it and she didn't regret a single second. Henry became home. Their children too, to a lesser extent, but that was necessary because she so badly wanted for them to grow up and find someone who cherished them the way their Dad cherished her. They were her world and they deserved nothing less.
She reached out for the soft, satin pillow and pulled it toward her body. She wrapped her arms around it and snuggled in, hoping it would trick her brain into thinking she wasn't alone in this big bed and would allow her just a little more sleep.
Fifteen minutes later and she got out of bed in a huff, hoping maybe a run along the cliffs would clear away some of her blues. Her DS agents would hate the idea, but she didn't really care at the moment.
An hour later she was back in her room and ready to shower, the run had elevated her mood but unfortunately it dropped immediately when she arrived back and was once again alone and facing a long day of social interaction. She kicked her sneakers off and walked into the bedroom where her eye was immediately drawn to the massive bouquet of flowers sitting on the nightstand. She felt her heart flutter; they had to be from Henry. Only he would know how much she loved the combination of sunflowers, brightly colored roses, and deep blue thistles. Well, she supposed Blake would know too, but she didn't think he'd divulge that to some politician who was attempting to schmooze her.
She felt practically giddy as she snatched up the card and read, "I'll pretend that I'm kissing the lips I am missing and hope that my dreams will come true…love, Henry (with a little help from Paul)"
She giggled and placed the card over her heart as she leaned in and inhaled the sweet scent. She still missed him, but this definitely had raised her mood. She reached for her phone to give him a call and was dismayed when it went straight to voicemail. It was 2 AM back home but he always had his phone on and when she was away he usually read until he passed out. She decided to dial her private line and was again dismayed when it rang through. Maybe he had fallen asleep in the living room with the tv on? He was probably playing one of Jason's video games, another thing he did when she was away and reading just wasn't putting him to sleep. She sighed and hung up; she'd just have to call him later.
The rest of the day had turned out to be enjoyable as she was given a tour of Galway and had only been forced to fend off a couple smarmy politicians at lunch. She arrived back at the hotel around 8 and immediately kicked off her shoes and sank onto the couch in the living area. "Blake can you order me some dinner? I swear I'm not moving until I get something substantial. Those hors d'oeuvres were so tiny and I swear to god the servers were avoiding me."
Blake smiled and tried not to laugh at his boss and the insatiable appetite for mini quiche that betrayed her small frame. "Um, ma'am, I would be happy to do that but I think you should maybe try to call Dr. McCord first."
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes and pouted, "He probably won't answer, he'll still be at work. Blake, food!"
"Ma'am…just…he nodded his head toward the double doors that led to the bedroom area.
Elizabeth sat up and assessed his demeanor, he looked…uncomfortable. "What is happening to you? Are you all right?" She asked as she finally looked toward the door and was surprised to see a note stuck to it.
Blake kept quiet as she stood up and made her way to the door. She plucked the cute little notecard off the door and opened it to read,
"Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another." – Thomas Merton
She blushed as she turned to Blake. He looked embarrassed and that only served to confirm that her suspicions were correct. "Thank you, Blake. Goodnight."
He looked beyond relieved to be able to leave the room and sped out of there so quickly she was surprised there hadn't been a cartoonish cloud of dust trailing behind him.
She opened the door and she swore her heart was about to burst when she saw her husband lounging casually on the bed with a room service cart filled with food and even a candle.
She stood in front of the bed, just taking in the glorious sight before her with what she knew was a completely goofy smile plastered on her face. She shrugged off her blazer and tossed it to the side. "You're here." She said and it felt like she had all those years ago, like she could breathe again. She practically ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck.
He wrapped his arms around her small waist and pulled her onto his lap, his hands tracing her hips and torso so tenderly she could feel the tension melt from her body.
She just held onto him for a little while. Occasionally a hug felt more intimate than a kiss. Of course she planned to kiss him, but right now she just needed to hold him, to feel anchored to his presence.
There was something so calming about being pressed against his body, her arms wrapped securely around him and his own hands holding her close, pressing their bodies together like they were two parts of one whole. Though that wasn't completely fair to say because they were both capable of standing on their own, but maybe that was the point, the trick they'd figured out so many years ago without even realizing. A whole far greater than the sum of its parts…it didn't mean there was anything wrong with the 'parts' alone, just that they were better, more powerful, practically unstoppable when they were working as one whole.
Henry shifted his head into the crook of her neck. She smiled as his soft lips caressed the delicate skin behind her ear and his stubble tickled her neck. She turned her head to finally meet his lips and he followed her movement. She shivered as his lips enveloped hers and she shifted in his lap so she was straddling him, her knees on the bed and her pelvis digging into his. Thank god she had been wearing slacks. His hands slid around her waist once again, holding her body securely against him as her hands traveled up his chest and to the sides of his neck. She pulled back for a gasp of air and tilted her forehead against his but she didn't remove her hands from his neck and instead stroked his cheeks gently with her thumbs.
"You always know." She whispered, her breath hot and heavy in the small space between them.
He smiled sweetly, that perfect, adoring smile that would never-could never-be directed at anyone other than her and squeezed her sides gently, "And I always will."
Thanks for reading. I thought a little bit about making a part 2 with the smut that will occur but I'm not sure…let me know if you're interested in that or not? I'm sort of feeling inspired to do it. XX
ALSO…here's a little snippet of the poem (the part that really struck me) that she graciously allowed me to post. The entire thing is just really lovely and I hope she decides to share it at some point.
"Because the home isn't the thing.
Isn't the structure.
Isn't the physicality.
It's the humanity."