Posts tagged “confession

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 31

Posted on 01/05/2015

cafe

Even as the other messages played on, Samina stared out the window, reeling over the word. Love. It sent warm thrills down her spine just replaying his voice form the word. Ezekiel loved her!

Then her brow furrowed, the warm feeling gone. What kind of love did he mean? Was it just the love of a sibling since they practically grew up together? She bit her bottom lip, realizing she’d rejoiced all too quickly. Annoyance surged through her body and she leaned back in the seat.

But before she could decipher Ezekiel’s unexpected confession, her phone rang. Looking down, her eyes widened and panic shot through her veins. Ezekiel’s caller id flashed on the screen.

Heart thumping a mile a minute, Samina’s finger inched to the answer button. His last words echoed in her head and she hesitated. What if he really just meant that he loved her like a sister?

Squeezing her eyes shut, she pressed the button and pulled the phone to her ear. “H-hello?”

There was a slight pause and then. “Good morning Sam. You’re back yet?”

Heat flooded her cheeks. “Yes… just got in.” Her pulse was racing so fast, she was worried he could hear it and leaned away from the phone. “H-how are you?”

“I’m fine. How was your vacation? Good?”

Samina gnawed the inside of her cheek. “Uh-hmm.”

“That’s good.”

She pulled in her bottom lip. “Um…”

“Yes?”

Samina frowned. “You wanted something?”

“Oh right.” Ezekiel laughed softly, the sound sending warm shivers down her back. “I called you, didn’t I?”

Something was strangely awkward about this conversation. Samina pulled at her lip. “Is everything okay?”

“Sure. Did you get my messages?”

Goosebumps skittered along her arms. Samina licked her sudden dry lips. “Y-yes.”

“All of them?”

She sat up. “Uh-hmm.”

“Can I see you today?”

Her heartbeat skittered at the softly-spoken request. “Today?” She grimaced at her breathless reply.

“Yeah, may I?”

Samina paused in contemplation. Meeting Ezekiel could verify her suspicions, could finally settle her conflicting feelings for him. It would also bid her time before meeting with her family, delaying the lectures even just for a few hours. She nodded, making up her mind. “Okay. What time?”

“Are you busy now? We can do an early lunch.”

Her empty stomach growled on cue and Samina’s cheeks heated, mortified. Hopefully he didn’t hear that. “Um okay, that’s fine.”

“Great.” His smile invoked hers, though apprehension slinked in as she noted the address to meet him around noon. “I’ll see you soon, Sam.”

“Yes,” she answered stiffly and disconnected the call, leaning back in her seat.  Her heart still hadn’t calmed down by the time she reached the highway and Samina wondered if meeting Ezekiel so soon after his confession was a good idea.

There was no time to rethink it. No time to turn back. She sat in the parking lot of one of the restaurants they’d frequented in primary school days.

She could see him from the window, in a booth. From where she sat in her car, she could see the furrowed lines in his brow; watched him shift to find a comfortable spot in the booth and adjust the salt and pepper shake bottles. He seemed as nervous as she felt, like they were just meeting for the first time.

Like this was some date.

Samina would’ve laughed at the absurdity if it wasn’t happening to her, right now.

Drawing in a deep inward breath, Samina glanced at the mirror to check her hair and light makeup. She told herself she wasn’t primping for him. That it was circumstances that forced her to mask the dark circles under her eyes and her dry face and lips.

“Relax,” she mumbled, checking her reflection one last time. Then she stepped out of the car.

At the same time, Ezekiel glanced out the window and saw her.

Samina froze.

Ezekiel smiled and waved her over.

She drew in another breath and released it slowly. “Relax,” she said through her teeth and managed a smile, making her way to the front door.

Ezekiel met her at the door, eyes warm and searching as it swept her face.

Samina’s face heated, taken back by the difference in his gaze. She was reminded once again by his words. I love you, Sam.

“Hi.” Such a simple word but filled with much more.

She drew in her bottom lip and squeezed the strap of her purse. “Hi.”

Then he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her.

Samina bit back a gasp, eyes wide as he folded her in his embrace. He was all solid, warm muscle and her body couldn’t help melting against him. Tears gathered in her eyes as she leaned into him. Where was he when she lay scared and alone in the hospital? If only he’d spoken with her sooner?

Then Ezekiel leaned back and Samina quickly composed herself before his gaze slid to her face. His expression was rueful, the corner of his mouth lifted in a gentle, tentative smile. “Forgive me?”

She blinked. Was he rescinding his words already? “Forgive you for what?”

“For being a jerk.” His hands still remained on her shoulders, eyes riveted to hers. “I was a complete boor that night. I was jealous about something false and acted like an idiot.” He squeezed her shoulders. “Forgive me?”

Samina stared at him, lips parted in surprise. Ezekiel was jealous?

His smile brightened and he slid one arm around her shoulders. “Come. I’m keeping you hungry. Let’s eat and we’ll talk some more.” He led her toward their booth. “If you don’t mind, I already ordered for us both. Turkey and bacon club sandwich, right?”

Samina couldn’t stop staring at him as he slid across the booth from her. He remembered her favorite lunch order.

One brow arched, his smile waning a little. “Has it changed?”

She shook her head, offering him a gentle smile of her own. “It’s the same.”

“Good.” His eyes crinkled at the sides, making him look remarkably boyish; as though he was twenty and she a shy sixteen-year-old crushing all over again.

Her body warmed all over and she leaned back in the seat, intent to enjoy a simple lunch with Ezekiel. And they did. He teased her on their first and last trips to this very restaurant, surprising her that this was the very booth they sat in all those years. She laughed, impressed that he remembered, warmed by his gentle smile and kind eyes. Even though his intentions were unclear for now, it was comfortable revisiting fun memories of their childhood.

“Sam,” he sobered after a bout of laughter over yet another fond memory. “I meant what I said earlier.”

She swallowed a laugh, feeling Ezekiel’s steady gaze on her face.

His lips twitched a smile. “I know you must’ve been surprised by it.”

Samina gnawed the inside of her cheek, words caught in her throat.

Ezekiel nudged his plate to one side. Then he reached across the table, pushing hers aside also. His fingers sought hers.

She inhaled sharply and Ezekiel’s eyes skittered up to hers. Her face fired up, seeing the truth there. Her pulse hammered and she started to pull her hands away for fear he would feel it against his thumbs.

Ezekiel held fast, gaze unwavering. “Sam… I do love you and I want to date you.”

Her eyes grew wide as tea saucers.

“Can I?” His thumbs grazed the insides of her wrists, his touch rendering her speechless if his words didn’t already.

<<Chapter 30 || Chapter 32>>

Her Champion: Chapter 28

Posted on 15/08/2013

street

“I’m not ignoring you. I’m just not in the mood to talk to a jerk.” She pushed at the swing, focusing her attention on the spotted moon.

“I’m a jerk because I said something you didn’t want to hear?”

Tamar scoffed. “If you came out here to continue arguing, you can leave.”

He lifted both hands. “I’m just trying to figure out what makes me a jerk so I don’t make the mistake again.”

She placed one foot on the ground to slow down and turned to him with a frown. “You honestly have no idea what you did? Or are you trying to placate me?” Annoyed that he was just sitting there, Tamar pushed to her feet and walked a few feet away, wrapping her arms around herself.

“I made a guess but you got all snappy. Just trying to figure it out,” he reiterated casually as he pushed off the pole to follow her. “I don’t placate. We have a problem, we fix it. We’re not going to dance around each other and sugarcoat stuff. Say what you mean and mean what you say. So again, what’s the problem?”

Exasperated, Tamar threw a scowl at him over her shoulder. “Fine then.” She turned to face him. “My problem with you. Easy. You take on more than you should. You act like you can save the world and yet you’re drowning. You behave like you have the strength to do everything but you don’t. It pisses me off.” She swallowed hard, pressing her nails into her arms. “What good will all this be when you can no longer be there for Crystal… because you’ve worn yourself out trying to be Superman.” Blinking the tears away, she glared up at him. “How do you expect me to trust you when you can’t trust me?”

“Not more than I should. Maybe more than is comfortable, but not more than I should. She and my mom are my top priority. If making sure they’re taken care of means some extra work on my part then that’s what it’s gonna be. I can do this, Tamar. I’ve been doing it. I can and will be there for them until they don’t need me. There aren’t any other options. None of this is about not trusting you. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

Tamar shifted uncomfortably, wanting desperately to argue with him. His words spilled over, allowing her no room to question or challenge him.

“Do I want to talk about all the details?” Dylan forged on. “No, but it’s not because I don’t trust you. It’s because if I want to focus on the situation at all, I want to spend the time working out some other options not talking about how ‘unfair’ it is that I go head to head with Nick because for now Crystal has to stay there.”

Tamar shook her head. “I can’t and won’t accept that. I’m sorry but I won’t.” She clenched her jaw. “On top of championing your sister and mother, you’d want to add my issues to your plate? And then you get upset when I want to figure it out myself?” She pushed out a shaky breath. “If you’d rather figure out this problem with your father and Crystal on your own, don’t bother standing up for me in school. It’s the same principle, isn’t it?”

“It doesn’t take up every second of every day. I have more than enough time to be there for you.” The more Dylan talked, the more he felt like he was losing his logic. “No, it’s not the same principle. You keep trying to come back to that and I already told you where I stand when it comes to that. It hasn’t changed. I don’t want you exposed to the violence. Nobody’s going to hurt me on campus.”

She eyed his features shrouded in the dark and heaved a deep sigh. “Talking to you is like I’m talking to a brick wall. You’re stubborn and impossible.” She walked around him, starting up the path toward the house. There was nothing she could do to get him to hear her out and the realization alone was enough to break her heart. Tears stung her eyes but she was able to keep it down, walking slowly to regain her composure.

Dylan grabbed her hand to stop her progress. “Stop walking away from me, Tamar. If there’s a problem, we fix it,” he reminded her.

Annoyed, Tamar wrenched her hand from his hold. “Stop saying that like it’s true. What are we fixing? You’re calling the shots and you want me to say ‘yes sir’ because you’re right? No, I won’t do it because you’re not right. Not by a long shot.”

“Then tell me where I’m wrong. Don’t write me off and walk away. That tells me you don’t think it’s worth it, you’re done with me. And if that’s where you’re at with it then say it now.”

Frustration frothed inside her as she spun around and glared at him. “Done with you? Can’t you see me? Can’t you hear me?” Tamar rushed toward him, seizing him by his shirt. “Look at me clearly and say that again. Can’t you see me standing here, begging you to let me help? That I’m not just some girl that giggles at your lame jokes and make your blood boil with my kisses and my touch. That I’m someone who loves you and wants to be there for you in every way? That I’m wanting to ease your pain and really help you?” Tears blocked her vision of him and disgusted with herself more than him, Tamar shoved at his chest and started to turn away. Choking against the sobs that rose in her throat, she glared up at him. “I really don’t like you right now. Seriously, you’re not my favorite person at this moment.”

He was reaching for her, pulling her into him even as most of her words faded until only one phrase began to echo in his head. I’m someone who loves you. Nothing else she said penetrated and honestly, none of the rest of it mattered. Dylan struggled with the pure depth of that word yet embraced hearing it from her. He couldn’t manage more than a rough whisper. “Tell me again, pretty girl.”

Even though she didn’t want to be anywhere near him, Tamar couldn’t stop herself from melting in his arms. She scowled. “Tell you what, you overgrown bully? Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“That you love me. Say it again.”

Her resolve crumbled and she turned her face into his chest. “Oh Dylan, I do. I really really love you.” Her heart was beating so fast, she could barely catch her breath. “I hurt every time you do this to me but I can’t turn away from you. Even when you do this to me, it only makes me want you more. Love you more.”

He slipped his arms from around her to cup her face and tilt her head back. “It’s not to hurt you. It’s to protect you because I love you more than I ever let myself love anybody. That means something to me.”

Tamar’s face warmed at his confession, her entire body tingling. He loved her. She closed her eyes and leaned against him. “Can’t we compromise or something? Isn’t that what people who love each other do? Why can’t I protect the man I love just like you want to protect me?”

There was only one right answer but that didn’t make it any easier to give it. “I can give a few inches.”

She lifted her narrowed eyes to him. “As many inches as I’ll give you.”

“Don’t give too many inches then,” he teased.

Tamar only rolled her eyes and rested her head against his chest, fully spent.

“Is that an agreement?” He lowered his head to kiss the top of her head.

“I’ll need some convincing.” Her fingers trailed up to rest between her cheek and his chest.

“I think I can manage that but let’s get you back inside first.”

Sighing in protest, Tamar hooked an arm around his waist and let him lead her down the sidewalk toward the house. “We’ll figure it all out later. We don’t need to talk about it tonight.”

“You sure you wanna wait?” he asked wrapping his arm over her shoulders.

“There are other things to do besides talking.” Tamar smirked up at him, her heart skipping a beat at his handsome face under the moonlight. “I have the mind to take care of you and that’s what I’ll do. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“That so?” He stole a quick kiss. “Guess I’ll just have to go along with it then. I wouldn’t wanna ruin your plans.”

Tamar rolled her eyes as they walked up the stairs to the front door. “In a way, you almost did. It’s a good thing I’m a forgiving person.” She slipped away and scurried ahead of him to her bedroom. Thankfully, Crystal had returned to her room and the bowls were nowhere in sight. Walking to the bathroom, she pulled out a box from under the sink and walked back inside the room. Dylan was standing by the door and she smiled, patting the spot beside her on the bed. “Lie down.”

He sat down on the bed, carefully stretching out but eying the things she’d brought with her. “You said take care of me, not use me as practice for school work.”

She grinned mischievously and gestured to him. “Lie down.” Flipping the top of the case, she pulled out a clear vial. “Peppermint,” she said and pulled out another. “Or Rosemary?”

“Neither.” He caught the look on her face. “Peppermint. How would I explain walking around smelling like a flower?”

Tamar raised a brow, untwisting the bottle cap. “You’ll take a shower later. Besides, you’re sleeping with me, so only I’ll know you smell like a flower.” She eyed his shirt. “Take that off, please.”

“Bossy little thing. I kinda like it,” he admitted with a grin as he sat up and tugged his shirt over his head.

“Of course. . .” she paused to take a deep breath, holding back a cringe as she took in the dark spots marring his chiseled torso. Tamar bit her bottom lip, closing the vial. Her fingers moved to touch the splotched bruises scattered along his breastbone and she clucked her tongue. “Change of plans.” She stood and then hesitated, looking back down at him. Her eyes swept over his face and with a soft sigh, Tamar planted a kiss on his temple before turning away to the door. “I’ll get some ice for that.”

“I don’t need ice,” he argued half-heartedly, knowing she’d get some anyway. He wished he could’ve spared her from having to see the aftermath but all he could do was deal with it now.

Within a minute, she shuffled back into the room with an ice pack. Perching beside him, Tamar eyed his bare chest and shook her head solemnly, biting her tongue against what she really wanted to say. It wouldn’t help matters anyway. “This afternoon, I made pie and even lasagna to feed you. Then I was thinking we’d lay around and watch movies, and I’d give you a massage.” She tentatively pressed the ice pack on one of the bruises, her eyes steady on his face. “I’d planned to confess my feelings for you over ice-cream kisses and all, but this is okay too.” With her free hand, she held one of his up to her lips. “It’s bad timing but I love you, Dylan. And I’ll always be here for you.”

He sucked in a breath as the coldness penetrated his skin. “You gotta admit, this story will be more interesting for the kids.” His smile faded almost immediately once he looked into her eyes. “I love you too, pretty girl. Even if I don’t say it, it means somethin’ knowing I can count on you to be there.”

Her cheeks warmed at his husky confession and she laughed softly, lowering her gaze to his chest. It would take time before she’d get used to someone other than Bekah or her parents loving her. All the same, she was dancing for joy inside that Dylan cared so deeply for her. “In better circumstances, I’d compliment you on your physique. . . Hard work does pay off nicely, Sinatra.” She switched hands, moving the ice pack to another dark bruise.

“Hey, take it easy with that thing will you? And I don’t see why you can’t compliment me now. No need to hold back.”

Tamar laughed, easing the ice pack off his skin. “I already mentioned it. Don’t fish for compliments when you know already how attractive you are.”

“Never hurts to hear it again.” He settled into the bed, watching her through hooded eyes. “You’re really somethin’ else. You know that?”

Her fingers trailed along the length of his long torso, lips lifting in appreciation over his smooth, cool skin. “You like it,” she said, her voice low and teasing. Then her smile waned a little, gaze flickering to his. “Does it hurt a lot?”

“Nothing that won’t ease up in a few days. I’ll probably feel stiff. Need to work that out. You’re worryin’ again.”

<<Chapter 27 || Chapter 29>>

  

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