With the alpine topography of Jasper Lake Trail laid out in front of them, and as their long legs created a sort of perimeter around the corners of the map, their hands sought the course Amelia intended. Jake’s experienced fingers traced the highlighted trails she’d researched, or so he assumed.
Not realizing she’d confirmed the route, made her decision and promptly secured her flight to Colorado, Jake prepared himself for a fight.
He wasn’t even supposed to be here, yet he continued to find Amelia, which left her susceptible to his knowledge and his care. Believing he often used his expertise well enough to dissuade her, often times rash decisions.
“Amelia, you’ll have to be part mountain goat to make that climb. Jasper still has snow in June, you know, and it’s March. Imagine what you’ll come across. You’ve got to be rational,” Jake insisted, as he raised his head and settled his eyes on hers, “I won’t let you go alone.”
“You aren’t invited, and you know I’ll be fine. I’m always prepared,” she insisted unable to meet his eyes in return, “and the forecast continues to be clear. Winter has produced nothing to be of serious concern over. You’ll just have to trust me.”
Amelia’s eyes turned back to the map, as her fingers strummed over the top of a mountainous range to the left of her intended trail.
“God, you could light up this room with the sparkle in your eyes. Look at me! Why must you insist on doing everything in your power to disarm my desire to rationalize with you? Just recognize how dangerous this idea of yours is, please,” his voice raising to catch her attention.
“See here? I could easily break for the day just over this pass,” Amelia notes, as her toes tap his in a rhythm of excitement, “I’ve never approached from the east before, but if I do, I’ll have completed my survey and possess enough experience when I’m done to write what I believe to be true.
The research I need for my notes will be complete, but more so the emotional closure, we’re both aware that I long for, will have been met by summer’s end.”
The silence, after her explanation, lived inside the room like a vacant breath needing to find its purpose. Jake kept quiet, as he continued to read the notes she left on the sides of the map she’d obviously looked at with extensive knowledge and complete earnest. Her handwriting that of a lady, and not of the adventurer she repeatedly proved to be, offered an idea. He’d have to strengthen his approach.
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her pull her worn out sweatshirt over her head, his stomach knotting as her ponytail swayed to a still once again, after she reached over his leg for pencil. “You’re a frayed mess of a woman, with a devotion to a college alma mater that left you with more questions than answers, you know,” he mumbled to himself.
“You promised me, I understand this area better than you think.” Amelia encouraged, while noticing the twitch in his scowl.
Left now to avoid the breasts she opted to allow to hang free, yet continued to cover by a light tank top, he focused on the star Amelia had circled, quite darkly and well off the selected trail, “What’s this?”
The humidity of the south was more than Jake could handle. No one would choose to live here, as the night proved to suffocate more than the daylight with its thick air. The both of them glowing in their own sweat, as they sat in the middle of Amelia’s outdoor space.
The light buzz of the fan she had circling the air was propped up in the corner of the secluded porch. The anticipation of the cooling blow wasn’t something Jake could concentrate on or he’d think of nothing else. Seems it always took him a few days to get used to the beast that was southern Texas.
When Amelia went off the grid the first time, Jake pried into her whereabouts by going to her sisters for guidance. It was obvious they knew where she was, but neither of them understood Amelia’s mind to the degree he presumed they would. He couldn’t understand how Amelia could keep them oblivious to the person she truly was. Amelia should have died years ago, he’d told her sisters, as he hugged them both goodbye, before driving off after an afternoon of explanation over dinner.
Jake didn’t blame Amelia’s sisters for calling her and offering her a head start, if she’d wanted to run from him again. He waited, as her phone rang, for Amelia’s voicemail to pick up, but to his amazement she answered.
“I’m okay,” were the only two tell telling words she uttered before he crumbled a line of contempt at her.
“You aren’t allowed to run out on me! I love you, and this isn’t how you treat someone you love, Amelia, as much as you deny your feelings, I know you love me. You hold on to love, Girl, you don’t push it away, time and time again, without some sort of bruising. You’ve got to talk to someone and there is no one but me, don’t you get it?” Jake shook with fear, even if he disguised it with anger, and wondered if he could get to her that night.
He sank into the leather seat of his pickup and pulled his ball cap down around his hazel eyes, “Talk to me, damn it,” his voice deduced to a whisper, as his body relaxed once again to the image of her somewhere safe.
“I do love you, Jake, even when I didn’t know you, I loved you,” she agreed through a breathless nod, even he, miles away, recognized as authentic.
Amelia had always felt Jake’s presence in her life, she had no way of explaining how or why to anyone, well not yet, anyway. On one hand, who would comprehend such a notion, but more importantly how would she conjure up the vocabulary to express what she believed in wholeheartedly.
Amelia sank into her couch, as she sat holding the phone, while talking to the man she needed more than anyone else in the world. Knowing she would have to invest in a complicated journey to one day allow him to love her back.
“What’s what?” Amelia asked, turning her head back towards the map.
“This star, Babe.”
“Oh, just an idea I’m still trying to work the details out on.”
“Why don’t you let me in on what it is you’re planning? I have a feeling I won’t approve.”
“Nah, it truly isn’t on my radar.”
“Bullshit. You wouldn’t have run a rut around it, if it wasn’t constantly on your mind. I know how you think, Amelia. Spill it.”
“Settle down, Cowboy, I haven’t thought about the area since I highlighted the trail. I’ve decided it probably won’t provide any new advice,” she laughed, while patting his right leg. “How’s your scar, by the way?”
“Fine, thanks. Healed just as the doctor said it would, but you know that already. Dr. Tom told me you called the clinic and inquired.”
“Only you would go to a veterinarian for stitches, Jake.”
“Only you would try riding an animal we both know wasn’t ready for you. You’re lucky I was able to get you off safely before Tess bucked me off.”
“Ha, yeah, she may never approve of me, huh? You knew better than to take your hands off the reins, tis your fault in the end.”
“My fault? I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if you had landed on those sheared rocks. I was lucky to rid you off my left side and onto the grass before I was thrown off. Anyway, she’s back and my leg is fine. And I’ve not forgotten my question, Lady Luck. What’s the 411 on your destination mark here?”
“Devil’s Thumb Pass, Boone. Initially, I thought I needed to discover what was hidden there, you know. Sit, meditate and listen to the winds. I’ve always considered this place held importance for me, but I can’t quite put my finger on why, so I’ve decided maybe it’s a diverted attempt by me to outrun destiny.”
“Seems likely, I suppose.” Jake made note of the landmark and decided to investigate later on his own. “Do you have any beer? I’m gonna die sitting here, ya know.”
Amelia laughed out loud, “Yes, you big baby, I’ll be right back,” as she slowly stood up and walked inside.
“The way you just got up tells me that you’re in no condition to hike that far,” Jake yelled after her, as his hand fanned her butt, which he was just late in spanking, as she walked past him. Neither one of them were inactive, but young looked further and further away to him, especially tonight as the stifled heat sucked the life from his body.
“Please! I’m fine, that floor, however, is not. Sitting on concrete is miserable,” she called from the kitchen, which offered an open window to the porch, “If you want we can move inside.”
“Forget it. This concrete is the only thing keeping me cool, I think. Your furniture will only absorb my heat. Talk about a cesspool of south that would be, huh?”
“I’d forgotten how much of a baby you were, Handsome,” Amelia giggled, while sitting down beside him, as she handed over a bottle of Dos Equis.
Effortless, seemed to be the only way to describe their connection. He’d fought it at first, quite rightly, but in the end she was just what he needed. She made him work for every authentic moment they shared, and as the months continued he saw more of the real Amelia. Arguably less of the woman who preferred to stay hidden.
She, like a skittish colt, hadn’t made it easy on him, but maybe that’s why he stuck around in the beginning. He knew it was, actually. He loved a good fight of wills and wasn’t accustomed to coming out on the losing end, so when she fought his advances he knew she was worth his time.
Now, a few short months later, he wouldn’t leave, even if she demanded it of him. A memorable year later and he was sunk. She was all that mattered to him, she and this frustrating challenge she’d put upon herself now, yet birthed years ago. Still today, he wondered about the ghosts she chased, and if they would eventually take her from him.
The night air was think with heat, but the breeze did make it bearable, as they drank and sat in comfortable silence. Every once and awhile, Jake would watch her eyes shift to the map and he’d grin as he witnessed the sparkle in her eyes. She loved that old trail, and she promised one day she’d take him along, but until she figured out all her demons, there was no use in his trailing along after Amelia. He’d only be pushed further away, he supposed, but tracking her, now that, he could do, and would, if it meant keeping her safe.
Amelia sighed, while chugging the last of her beer, “That was good.”
“I can’t help it if you prefer to stare at me rather than drink your beer, something seemingly here to keep you alive, Boone.”
Jake tipped his head back and finished his beer, as well. Letting out a silent belch, “Sugar, nothing I like better than looking at you,” he admitted, as he tossed his bottle over the wall of the porch, just hitting the garbage bin sitting on the other side.
“What?! How’d you do that,” she exclaimed in a fit of laughter, “You’re disgusting,” she chuckled, as she fanned the air.
Jake’s eyes lit up, as he smirked at her, knowing full well she loved everything about him, even if she was horrible about telling him.
“God, you’re such a show off,” she replied, as she swatted him on the back.
Allowing her hand to stay there, Amelia ran her fingers over the ribbed tank Jake had worn under the lightweight red bush shirt he’d striped from hours ago.
She loved the texture of the material and how it felt beneath her fingers, but he knew it, and often times found himself wearing one of those dumb shirts, in an effort to be ready, if she needed him and the feel of that shirt.
“I do what I do, you know,” Jake smirked, as he directed Amelia’s chin up towards him, so he could look into her flirty eyes. “I’m not letting you off that easily. We’ll talk about the importance of that star on your map later. Currently, I have something else on my mind.”
“You’re just going to have to trust me, Boone,” Amelia murmured, as she accepted Jake’s lips on top of hers.
“I do, Baby,” he spoke onto her lips, while claiming her mouth with his and clenching her jaw with his warm hand.
In an effort to erase the time between them for far too long, Jake’s tongue searched Amelia’s mouth for answers, as his right hand found relief in her hair. He knew she was physically okay, and was relieved, but emotionally, he still hadn’t decided if she was stable.
She leaned into his hand, while she kissed him back, allowing her tongue to explore the need his steady pace set, in an effort to calm his mind over an event she’d decided he hadn’t the strength to hear, yet.
Jake devoured each move her tongue made inside his mouth, as his hands held her head in place. His eyes searched hers harshly at first, as if trying to force her to express herself fully, and in an effort to convince her to trust him with everything, as well. Knowing this wasn’t the first time he’d needed her to do so, and succumbing the fact that it also wouldn’t be the last.
He shivered as Amelia’s hands ran over his back, nails creating a sensation, he’d missed between his legs, “I need you,” he sighed, as she crawled over his lap, an effort made to straddle his hips.
“I’m right here.” Amelia placed her warm hands on either side of Jake’s face, as their eyes finally locked. “Make love to me, Jake, and forget about the map.”
Jake’s hands found the ends of Amelia’s tank top, “I envy this top as it glides over your hard nipples,” he murmured, gently pulled it over her long red hair and throwing it aside.
Her fair and freckled breasts finally exposed to the darkness that surrounded them, as the glow of the yellow light on the porch simply advanced the beauty of her body and left him without words. It was then that his primal desires took over, as his eyes claimed hers, and his hand pulled at her ponytail.
Happy Valentine’s Day – A hint of the story I’m pushing to finish this spring. Without revealing a lot of what this story includes, please enjoy a bit of why sometimes my poems seem depressing, sexy and a bit too wistful. The second half, if the story seems worthy of your time, can be shared later, via a private post as the content may not be of interest to all my readers. (Yes, they have sex.)