Until Love by May Gordon
Iwalk away, so pissed I throw my hardhat on the ground. I'm surprised the damn thing didn't crack from the force of it. Being honest with myself, I despise the man I am now. Every sudden noise makes me jump, any touch I don’t see coming, and it all ends in the same way. Rage. I’m mad at myself, at the way I am now. I fucking hate it. For instance, this time around, a co-worker gripped my shoulder from behind, and out of instinct, I turned around and punched him square in the face, which started a big fistfight that took Talon and a few others to break up.
"Hey! Robert, hold on," Talon calls out as I reach my truck.
"Look, I'm sorry I lost it. Again." I try to form some explanation, telling him, "I understand you can't have this shit on your site. I'll find something else." It's not his responsibility to keep me employed when I mess up, I feel like I’d be better off working on a farm in the middle of nowhere, or Siberia.
"Robert, relax. It happens, okay? Brandon can be a hothead," he states, trying to calm me down. We both know this isn't the first time I've done this, nor will it be the last.
Hopping behind the wheel, I let him know, "I'm sorry."
Before I can close my door, Talon grabs it, “look, my uncle is getting a small crew together at the school, some low-key building. How about we switch you there?" he offers.
"Don't do me any favors." I hate that I keep putting him, Bax, and all the others in this position.
"I'm not,” he assures me. Then he defends his statement by adding,” You’re a great worker that’s having a hard time adjusting."
I rest my head on my steering wheel, admitting, "I feel as if it's always going to be like this."
"It won't, man.” He sounds so confident that I want to believe him. “Take the rest of the day off and I'll let you know when they’re ready to begin, maybe you can help with deliveries between sites till then."
I reluctantly nod my head. He shuts my door and walks off while I try to take a deep breath and calm my racing heart. It doesn't work, neither does slamming my hands on the dashboard. My knuckles are still bruised and bloody from the fight. Why the fuck does this always happen to me? It's not even eight in the morning, and I’ve already had an attack.
With the whole day empty, I start the engine and decide to head home. At least this gives me time to work on my place. I live on Percy Priest Lake in what was initially Sage’s house. He wanted to flip it, but doubted he’d get around to it with Kim and Nash. I jumped at the chance to buy it, knowing I needed to do something with my free time, and my insomnia means I have plenty of it. Using the back roads, I drive a little too fast, which I know isn’t smart, but this route is usually empty. I hear my phone ring, and dig in my pocket to retrieve it.
I try to unlock the thing, but of course, it doesn't happen. "What the fuck?" I snap, clearly overreacting, but I've already had a bitch of a morning, and now technology is working against me. When I look up, I catch myself drifting into the other lane. Normally, that’s not a big deal, but it is now as another car is in it. I swerve back to my side while they maneuver to avoid me, causing them to run off the road, and into a bit of bush. "Shit. Just what I need" I mutter, more upset at myself than the situation.
After parking out of the way, I run toward their car, watching as a woman gets out, holding her head. When she turns to face me, I get the shock of my life, my mind unable to wholly comprehend what was going on. She’s utter perfection and causes something within me to roar. What the hell is this? Why is my heart suddenly racing, and goosebumps prickling all over my skin? I stopped walking, transfixed by the whole of her. It feels like i’m having some kind of attack, but a I feel warm and fuzzy inside, my mind clearing.
Finally Snapping out my daze, I ask, “Are you all right?” Furious with myself for putting her in danger.
“You could have killed me,” she snaps. She’s right, and it’s a fact that scares me for some reason. The mere thought of her not being in this world hurts too much, and she’s a stranger. Walking closer, I place my hands on her shoulders and once more inquire about her. My adrenaline is running high, but she seems to be going into shock. She has short blond hair, and stunning blue eyes I can drown in. Unable to resist, I stroke her cheek, needing to touch her. "I'm fine," she mumbles, her beautiful eyes staring in to my broken ones as I continue caressing her. Realizing what I’m doing, I drop my hand and step back as if I’ve been burned. My fingers tingle from our touch. I think I must be loosing my mind.
"I'm sorry,” I tell her with sincerity. “I was trying to answer my phone."
"That's not safe," she states, pointing out the obvious as her anger returns. "You need to be careful." Glancing over her shoulder to check out her car, I’m relieved to see that it appears to be stuck and not damaged.
"I'll help you get out."
"I would hope so,” she says with a whole lot of attitude that makes me smirk. “This isn't my fault." It's been a long time since anyone has looked at me without fear or pity. It's refreshing, liberating in fact.
"This is where you say thank you.” Since her car is still running, I put it in reverse before moving to the front to start pushing. I indicate that she needs to get behind the wheel to steer and operate the brakes, but she’s too busy being sassy.
"Thank you? You ran me off the freaking road and now I'm late for work." She crosses her arms and taps her foot, then gets inside. Seeing her frustrated and annoyed makes me giddy, her eyes get brighter and her cheeks bloom with a shade of pink. I’m enjoying myself, something I haven’t experienced in who knows how long.
"What's your name?"
"None of your business," she declares once we’re done.
"What? No, thank you?" I tease her a second time, once again out character for me, but she does something to me, or maybe mends something inside me.
"Thank you for driving me off the road, handsome stranger." She tries to move my arm off her door, but she can’t. It’s then I relies I didn’t flinch from her touching me, in fact the warmth of her touch is comforting.
"You think I'm handsome?" I'm not classically so as the Mayson men are, so my mind latches on to her words.
I know I'm rough around the edges and heavily scarred. Her smile is breathtaking, making my heart beat faster, harder. She smells like roses and its intoxicating. What the fuck. I’m a goner. There’s a burning within me, an instinct I can’t deny that causes me to cup the back of her head and bring her in for a kiss. She’s mine my heart and soul screams.
The first intimate contact I’ve had in well over a decade. I just hope I don’t fuck it up. The moment her lips touch mine, I feel a boom resonate inside me. I know in that moment she’s my reason for living. As my tongue spills into her mouth tasting every inch of her I feel a mixture of shock and relief that she’s kissing me back too. Sweet heaven help me, I can’t believe I just kissed a stranger. The only excuse I have is that she’s stirring stuff up inside of me, but I have no clue where to go from here. Reluctantly breaking our contact, I brace myself for a slap, or outrage but it doesn’t come. Instead, she seems to be just as affected as I am. Stunned silence is better any pure disgust right?
"I should get to work," she eventually mutters sounding far away. Stepping back, I stand there as she stares at me, her previous attitude is gone, replaced with pure curiosity and a small smile. With a little wave, I watch her leave, my heart aching the further away she gets. I don’t know how long I stay there looking after her until I finally shake my head, trying to escape the spell she put on me.
Getting back in my truck, it hits me that I feel mellow, relaxed. I haven’t experienced that since…that little girl. My gaze catches on the pink bracelet hanging from my rear-view mirror, so I remove it and slide it on my wrist before continuing my journey home. It’s my only reminder that I’m not crazy and conjured up her presence from that day.
Next time I’m worked up, I need to remember this moment, because I’ve never felt so good before in my life.