Two Weeks Before Halloween…
Veronica shoved a handful of popcorn into her mouth, munching loudly.
“Can you crunch any louder?”
She grabbed another small handful and threw it at him, “Shut up.”
He grinned, reaching out to flick her nose.
“Stooooop!” Veronica moaned, rubbing at her nose while giving him a playful shove.
“Stoooooooop!” He whined, mocking her.
“I swear Jared, you’re such…”
She was cut off when his lips met with hers, she sighed softly, kissing him gently before pulling away.
“You don’t play fair,” she sighed softly, licking her lips.
“I know,” he winked, giving her another quick peck, shoving a handful of popcorn into his mouth, chewing dramatically.
Veronica rolled her eyes, smiling. Her and Jared had been out on few dates over the last several weeks, she was enjoying herself and him. She looked over at him and smiled, the first couple of dates had been somewhat awkward, but she found herself liking him more and more with each date and each phone call. So here they were, date four and several late night phone calls later, hanging out at his house watching a movie.
She snuggled in closer to him, and he tightened his arm around her. Smiling, she rested her head against his chest, only half paying attention to the movie; she was more focused on his arm around her, on his scent. Her smile faded a bit as she suddenly thought of Nick, it always seemed to happen whenever she was really close to Jared, all of a sudden there was his face, she couldn’t shake it.
Shaking her head, she slowly pulled away from the warmth of his body.
“Well it’s getting late, I should be heading home.”
“Aww c’mon honey, it’s late, why don’t you just stay here?”
“Eh, I don’t wanna impose.”
“You’re not, it’s no big deal, it’s too late for you to be driving. Stay, I insist.”
Veronica chuckled, “Ok fine.”
“Great, you can have the bed; I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“No no, it’s fine, I’ll stay out here, I’m not gonna run you from your bed.”
“No, if you’re gonna stay out here, then I will too, I’ll just pull out the bed.”
“Jared, are you sure?”
“Absolutely as long as you don‘t mind…ya know, sleeping together.”
Did she mind?
“No, that’s no problem.”
They got off the couch; Veronica flipped the light on as Jared proceeded to pull the bed out, then hurrying down the hall to get some sheets and blankets. Veronica stared at the bed, a flood of memories rushing back, arms and legs entwined, soft caresses, whispers and promises kept. Memories of something that she had tried to forget, but never quite could. Of something that had ended up meaning a lot more to her than she wanted, of something that she’d be better off forgetting. She swallowed hard, taking a step back just as Jared came back into the room, spreading the sheet out over the mattress. Veronica watched him tuck it in and then spread another sheet and then blanket before turning to her.
“Here, I brought you a pair of my boxers and a t-shirt to sleep in,” he announced, holding the clothes out to her.
“Thanks,” she replied softly, taking the clothes, giving him a quick smile before hurrying into the bathroom. Once inside, she shut the door and slumped against it.
She couldn’t sleep on that bed with him thinking about what she was thinking about. It was her on her pull out bed for one, and a totally different guy. Shaking her head as if to clear it, she stepped forward, turning the cold water on and splashing some on her face before reaching out to grab a soft towel, blotting at her face. Looking up she stared back at the person looking back at her, what she saw gave her pause. Fear and uncertainty in eyes that never could quite hide her emotions. She’d told herself over the last few weeks that this had been right, that going out with Jared was the first step to breaking free, of moving on from those blue eyes, of that pull that he’d always had over her.
Turning, she grabbed the clothes, quickly changing into them and folding hers. Taking a fortifying breath, she made her way out the bathroom to find that Jared had turned the lights and TV off. Clearing her throat, she set her clothes on the floor beside the couch and slid under the covers, pulling the blanket and sheet close to her and stared up blankly.
“I hope you don’t mind that I turned the TV off, you looked tired so I thought we should just get right to sleep.”
“Sounds good to me, I am pretty beat.”
“Alright, well…uhh…goodnight Veronica.”
She turned to look at him to find him watching her closely, she knew how she must look, blanket clutched to her chin, stiff as a board. She forced herself to relax, a slow smile spreading over her lips.
“It’s alright, just…I…I‘m not sure what I did to make you so nervous.”
“Nothing, it’s just me,” she turned on her side to look at him.
“I don’t snore, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
She chuckled suddenly, “Whew!”
“I knew it; I knew that’s what it was!” Jared laughed.
She shook her head, “Figured me out.”
Jared stared at her a moment before leaning in, kissing her on the cheek, “Night Veronica.”
“Night,” she whispered, leaning in kissing him gently.
She could feel him trying to hold back, trying to control himself. Reaching out, she cupped his face in her hand gently, slowly pulling away to look at him. Veronica didn’t know who moved first, but suddenly they were in each others arms. They rolled so Jared was resting on Veronica and she moaned softly. She felt his hand move up and then slide into the boxers she was wearing, she shifted, crying out when she felt him rub her over her underwear.
Jared tore his lips from hers, nibbling down her neck, nipping and sucking gently. Veronica closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his lips on hers, running her hands over his back lightly, urging him closer still. His hands moved again, pushing the boxers off, she sighed softly, squeezing her eyes tighter shut.
“Veronica,” Jared whispered, pressing against her gently.
She would’ve been ok, she would’ve been able to go through it and let nature take it’s course if Jared hadn’t spoken, if the memories would just go away. Just like that, he was there. Those blue eyes, the lips, his touch on her body, it was all there, he was there. Gently she pushed Jared away, she couldn’t do it, she wasn’t sure what it was, but she couldn’t do it.
“Mmm, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry…I can’t…can’t do this right now.”
“What…I mean…are you sure?”
She nodded, slowly sitting up, rubbing at her eyes. Why couldn’t she just do this? Why? Every part of her was screaming out to.
“I’m sorry Jared, I mean it. I should go,” she announced suddenly, reaching under the covers to grab at the boxers.
“Veronica it’s late, nothing’s changed. I’m not gonna let you go driving at this hour of the night. Stay, we’ll sleep, nothing more.”
She looked over at him, startled.
“It’s cool, c’mon,” he replied softly. He took the boxers from her hand and tossed them on the floor before reaching out and grabbing her arm gently, pulling her back down.
Veronica settled back down and let Jared pull her into his arms again as he spooned up behind her, burying his face in her neck, taking a deep breath. Veronica felt when he’d finally fallen asleep, his body relaxed and his breathing deepened.
Staring straight ahead, she brought a hand up, wiping at her eyes; She wanted to go on, why couldn’t she just go on?