Will He Be Mad If I Tell Him I Want to Be with My Friends?

I never found out where he was going to take me. Just as he was about to step off the trail into the woods the rowdy missing members of our group ambled around the bend at the foot of the hill. Hearing their approach I struggled against Clay, not wanting them to catch me being carried off into the forest. When he refused to set me down I whispered sternly, “We can do this later.”

I regretted my tone when I saw how hurt he was, but why did this have to be have to turn into a battle?

As I kissed him on the cheek I let my breath softly tickle his ear. “We will have time alone soon,” I promised before turning to wave at my wayward friends.

Apparently they had spotted several deer a while back, a mom with two young fawns. They had called to us but we’d been too far ahead to hear. Excitedly they told us what had happened and showed us pictures. I was disappointed to have missed it, and resolved to pay more attention to what was going on around me.

As we resumed our trek toward the waterfall, I grabbed Clay’s hand and held him back so that we were no longer in the lead. I didn’t want to risk getting ahead of them again. Used to being a leader, he continued to work his way to the front as I simultaneously fought to draw us back. It was difficult for me to convey without words, how important it was for me to stay with them, and a silent war seemed imminent.

This wasn’t how I wanted the day to go. I needed to do something but I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of my friends. Making a decision I stood in front of Clay, stopping him short, and told everyone we would catch up.

I wasn’t sure how to handle this, but once we were alone I began, “I really like you and I have fun spending time with you, but I want stay with everyone else today.” I added, “Is that okay?” hoping to moderate my request.

Time ticked by as I waited for his response. I hoped he would understand and not take offense, but as the silence surrounded us like a fog I became certain he was mad. The quiet sounds of nature were ineffective at calming my nerves. Worry filled me and I began to wonder if my priorities were wrong. I had only had a few boyfriends over the years and none of them had been particularly interested in spending time with me. Now that I finally found someone who actually wanted to be with me I felt like I was making a blundering mess of it.

I reached for his hand and when he let me hold it in mine I felt relieved. I stepped close to him, wrapped my arms around his waist and rested my head against his chest.

“Please, just for today,” I said to his shirt.

When he returned my hug and kissed the top of my head I took that as a yes, and relaxed against him now that the tension had passed.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Amble and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods?.

How Could I Say No When He Desperately Wanted Me to Stay?

I awoke to the smell of salmon cooking on the grill, making my stomach growl. I stretched, and when Clay noticed my movement he grinned and waved large tongs in hello. Suddenly realizing I was still topless I sat up, looking toward the pool in search of my bathing suit. Not seeing it, I swung my legs around so I could stand, turning my back to him, now bashful about my nudity.

My leg had knocked something from the chair onto the ground. Bending, I was grateful to discover my lost clothing, which I quickly tied around me with relief.

By then Clay was putting the food on a platter so I joined him at the wrought iron table on the deck. The food was expertly prepared and the wine he had picked paired perfectly with the fish. Until that moment I had never appreciated how wine could enhance the flavor of food.

I was only able to eat half of the filet he had prepared for me. Combined with the grilled veggies and salad that accompanying the meal, it was more than enough to satisfy my hunger. Full, I sat back with my wine in my hands, listening as he told a story about a fishing trip he’d been on when he was younger.

Noticing I had stopped eating, he paused in his tale to ask, “Don’t you like it? Is there something wrong with it?”

“No,” I replied. “Everything was delicious.”

He still looked worried but he finished what he’d been saying, then began to clear the table. I offered to help but he insisted he wanted to do it himself. Returning from the kitchen he carried with him a large slice of key lime pie on a plate with two forks.

Sitting down, he moved his chair so that it was touching mine. “I hope you like key lime pie. This is the best there is!”

“I’m stuffed,” I told him. “It looks great but I really can’t eat anymore.”

He looked so disappointed, like a little boy forgotten by Santa at Christmas. When he held a forkful in front of me to taste, I couldn’t say no. When I was rewarded by a huge grin I decided a little pie wouldn’t hurt if it made him so happy. I smiled back at him and accepted another bite.

When the plate was empty I sat back with a groan, my stomach aching from the excess food. I felt cheerful though. The day had been amazing and I sincerely hoped I’d be able to see him again soon. I just wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. I didn’t have a lot of experience with men, and I had to admit that he was out of my league.

Taking a deep breath I decided to just say something. What was the worst that could happen? He obviously liked me, and even though he’d had opportunity to take advantage of me he hadn’t even tried, which showed both self-control and respect.

“Thank you for everything today. It’s been incredible. I hope we can see each other again.”

“Are you leaving?” His crestfallen look surprised me, but also gave me confidence that he truly did want to see me again.

“I have to work in the morning, and I really need a shower. Today has been wonderful though.”

Again upset by my answer, he looked practically despondent. I wanted to say something but I didn’t know what would help.

“Stay with me. You can use my shower,” he pleaded.

“I can’t. I’m not ready, and I don’t have any clothes with me anyway. Plus I have a conference call at 9 that I need to be on. Why don’t we get together tomorrow night?”

Woebegone at my imminent departure, he dropped his gaze. I couldn’t understand why it would bother him so much that I needed to go home.

“Please, just one more night. I’ll bring you home in the morning. I just don’t want to say goodbye yet. You can borrow some of my clothes. I promise, I won’t try anything. Have I yet?”

I couldn’t argue with that. At no point did he ever do anything I hadn’t wanted him to do. We had crossed a few lines I don’t normally cross so early, but I had to acknowledge that I had been as eager as he had. I also had to concede that another night spent cuddling with him seemed appealing.

He sat next to me, his head hanging slightly as he looked up at me, his eyes silently beseeching me.

“Okay, if you can bring me home before 9 then I guess I can stay…as long as you can behave yourself!” I gave him a wink to take the sting out of my words. I felt a bit prudish but I just wasn’t ready for more.

He beamed at my words, then jumped up and lifted me from my seat, swinging me around. His excitement was contagious, and I was filled with joy. That I could make him this happy was a powerful feeling.

“I will,” he promised as he set me back on my feet.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Woebegone and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after .

What Did I Need To Do To Fix His Sullen Mood?

As we sped toward Clay’s house in his Porsche 911 Boxter, I reflected on the vacation. Things had not worked out the way I had hoped. I had wanted to introduce him to the people who were important to me, start bringing him into my life. I had expected my friends to welcome him, to love him simply because I loved him. That just wasn’t the case. He didn’t fit in, and honestly I wasn’t sure how much I did anymore either. The games and antics I’d once thought so fun now seemed almost childish.

It would have been wonderful if they had accepted him, integrated him into that tight knit group of friends. But it didn’t matter that they didn’t. Their disapproval didn’t change anything. They didn’t get to see what I saw in him: his sincerity, his kindness, his selflessness. True, Clay had been somewhat reticent, but they had made little effort to make him feel included.

I hoped in time they would be less critical, once they realized how much he meant to me. Until then, I figured I’d just spend time with them when he was busy doing other things. Somehow it would work itself out.

Looking at him I could see the strain these past few days had caused. His jaw was set firmly, his expression almost angry. I couldn’t blame him. They had treated him unfairly and he had a right to be upset.

I reached across the center console to squeeze his right arm. When he returned my conciliatory smile with a grimace I realized the tension between us might be more significant than I’d imagined. Nervously I wondered if he blamed me for the problems over the weekend.

Should I have defended him more? I wasn’t sure. They were my friends and although I wasn’t particularly happy with their behavior the past couple of days, they were good people, meaningful to me. They had helped me through all of life’s ups and downs, had listened to my woes, encouraged me through the college years and supported me both emotionally and financially when I was struggling on my own.

I knew we should talk about what happened. I just wasn’t in the mood to defend them or to rehash why they meant so much to me. Pushing aside my frustration I resolved to cheer him up. The vacation was in the past. It was time to move forward.

“I can’t wait to get home,” I began, knowing that Clay would be pleased with my use of the word home. He wanted me to think of his extravagant house as my home.

As I’d hoped, the brief smile he returned was a bit more sincere, but his attention remained focus on the road, his face still tense. There had to be more I could do to relieve the strain between us. I watched the trees on the side of the highway fly by as I tried to think.

An idea came to me, and glancing surreptitiously at him I wondered if I dared. Part of my fear was in getting caught, a risk that also added some excitement to the plan that was forming. But I also worried that he was too irritable to go along with it.

Wanting to test how he might respond, I shifted in my seat so that I was turned toward him. I attempted a seductive expression, then ran the fingers of my right hand the length of his thigh. When he didn’t even acknowledge my touch I decided I had to be more forthright in my approach.

He looked at me questioningly as I unlatched my seatbelt and rested on my knee on the seat. Already this was an improvement over his sulking. Placing my left elbow on the armrest to keep me from falling, I leaned over to kiss his neck, my right hand resuming it’s caress of his thigh. His response this time was almost immediate. His breath caught at the surprise and he squirmed in his seat when my hand explored higher.

His eyes remained on the road, but I now had his attention. I allowed my warm breath to tickle his ear as I told him there was a scenic view parking area coming up that I wanted to see. Briefly he turned his head to meet my gaze, understanding of the suggestion clear in the lustful expression that had replaced the angry one.

Pleased with my victory, I settled back into my seat, both anxious and aroused by what was to come.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Integrated and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after the vacation is complete. There is a gap between yesterday’s post, Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods and this one that has yet to be completed.

Why Were We Suddenly Alone in the Woods?

The smell of fresh coffee, pancakes and bacon drew the others from their rooms. As each passed to grab a plate they thanked me for cooking with a hug or pat on the back. Clay was perched on one of the bar stools at the counter looking strangely petulant. I wasn’t sure what could be bothering him. He had been fine just a few minutes before.

Breakfast was loud and boisterous with multiple conversations at once and plenty of laughter. I tried repeatedly to draw Clay into the chatter but he seemed subdued, almost sullen. I squeezed his hand under the table and smiled at him reassuringly. Raising one eyebrow he gently shook his hand free of mine and caressed my thigh, slowly edging his way up under my shorts. He grinned and I rolled my eyes. If this made him feel more included as he listened to this group of strangers then I wasn’t going to stop him. I knew how uncomfortable it could be when you were the newcomer, feeling excluded from all the inside jokes.

I could allow our own inside secret. I was beginning to enjoy the teasing distraction anyway. The thrill of these clandestine trysts, covert explorations, stolen kisses was completely new to me. The rush of pleasure at his touch, left me craving more. That no one at the table knew what was happening was exciting in a very unusual way.

Once everyone was full, it was quick work to clean the kitchen and prepare a picnic lunch for our hike. I was really looking forward to a long trek through the woods to the waterfall we’d read about. Since no one had a vehicle big enough for all eight of us we rode with Ryan and Emily, snuggled up in companionable silence in their back seat for the 20 minute drive.

Arriving at the trail Ryan hoisted one of the backpacks containing food and water onto his back while Mike grabbed the other one. Liz checked the map and pointed to the trailhead. Taking charge, Clay led the way as I scurried to keep up with his brisk pace. After a while I noticed that the the rest of the group was starting to lag behind. I glanced over my shoulder as we crested a hill and realized that they were no longer in sight.

Placing my hand on his arm to stop him I suggested, “Why don’t we wait for everyone to catch up?”

“I thought you wanted to see the waterfall,” he replied matter of factly.

I was confused by his response, unsure why he thought that was the only goal. Yes, I wanted to see the waterfall, but I wanted to see it with my friends, the ones I came on vacation to spend time with. Trying to remain tactful I proposed an alternative I knew he wouldn’t refuse.

Positioning myself in front of him, blocking the trail, I slid my hands up under his shirt, appreciating his smooth, rippled skin while hoping to divert his attention enough to give the dawdlers time to reach us. I was relieved when Clay beamed like he’d just won the lottery, grateful my ploy would work.

Unexpectedly he swept my legs out from under me, cradling me in his arms. I yelped in surprise, my ruse forgotten as I suddenly wondered what his plan was.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Petulant and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after How Can I Resist His Playful Distractions?.