There are five drabbles in this chapter, each purchased by BeCullen. She requested a series that reflected each of the five senses.
The sheer volume activity taking place in this room means it should not be quiet; yet the silence is deafening.
Even standing back from the proceedings, we're decked head to toe in something akin to Hazmat suits – moisture-proof gowns, masks with what the nurse grimly calls a 'splatter shield', latex-gloved hands clasped. We don't dare breathe, for fear we might miss that which we desperately await.
Every person present is holding their breath along with us. The tension rises by the second, until finally one tiny sound breaks the silence and soothes our hearts...
...our newborn son's first tremulous cry.
I bend to sign the report, and brush against the flower on Kathleen's desk. The scent fills my senses and instantly transports me to a warm October day on the shore of Lake LBJ.
Cymbidium orchids – kissing Edward for the first time as his husband – twinkling tea lights casting a soft glow on happy faces – sweet buttercream icing – my mother tossing her head back in laughter – a rush of joy and love that makes my stomach quiver.
"Jasper," Kathleen breaks into my thoughts. "You okay?"
Smiling, I tuck the memories back into their sacred place. "Yeah," I reply. "I'm great."
"Sage again?" I ask peevishly. "Every Thanksgiving, we have this same dressing. I hate sage."
"It's better than that cornbread stuff your family calls dressing," he retorts. "You know, you're not even from Texas."
I slam the drawer. Turning, I find Annie looking up at me, wide-eyed. "You were arguing," she accuses.
"No we weren't," we reply in unison.
Drawing on an entire seven years of wisdom, she doesn't believe us. "Then kiss," she says skeptically.
Our eyes meet and we can't help a sharing a sheepish grin. "Bossy little woman." Edward kisses me gently before adding, "Definitely a Whitlock."
I step carefully around the glass that litters the floor, the remains of a photo frame and a bottle drained of scotch. It's too blatant to even bother with the metaphor for last night.
I sweep the glass into the dustpan; one of the longer shards slides past my finger, neatly slicing it open. An instant rivulet of blood runs to my fingertip and drips on the floor. My body's immediate adrenaline surge makes my stomach churn again, and I slide down the wall.
A dustpan and broom for the glass can't sweep up the destroyed remains of my life.
I came here tonight to find him; and finally I've found success.
A man now – tall and muscular – but that same wild hair and just as fucking beautiful as when he was fifteen.
He moves toward this side of the bar, his drink in hand.
Fuck, he's gorgeous.
Hyperaware of his movements, I know when he's behind me.
Can't see him with your back to him. His eyes...up close...
He speaks. I turn. Slow...calm. Collected.
Nine inches! Be calm some other time.
I can't resist the offer.
DO NOT RESIST THE OFFER.
He wants me.
I'm already his.
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