“I’ve discovered that love is not a choice. Not feeling it. I think there is no deciding to feel love. But choosing to embrace it, to hold on to it…”
Kida leaned back, setting the mug on the table. She gave it a tap. “Holding onto love is probably the only real choice we have.”
She placed her palm against his heart, applying slight pressure to keep distance between them. Time stood still as she debated pushing him away. His breath caught at the idea.
Then her fingers curled on his chest, taking pieces of his shirt with them, and she used them to pull him closer. He dragged his hands into her hair, ensuring she wouldn’t create distance again.
She had no intention of doing so.
He opened his mouth to speak, but found no words. The air between them, even at this distance, sizzled with all he did not say. Even her very name, the name he woke up to and fell asleep with, refused to form on her tongue.
The wind died. The hail disappeared. The flies stopped mid-air, then landed, motionless, on the balcony. June blinked as her sapphire eyes returned to normal. She surveyed the damage surrounding them with a dazed expression. She met the concerned faces staring at her.
“The Guardian is here.”
As she fell backwards, the last of the flowers reached full bloom. It glowed into existence. Then the entire garden withered and died.
The debate may have taken minutes. Mere seconds. It felt like days. They breathed in rhythm. They could stand there, with so much distance between them, and create the most joyful tension.
Then her head tilted. The slightest of nods. The fabric of her shirt moved with it, sending him further down the path. Yet he remained in place. She pointed at his towel. “Remove that.”
Ashlynn licked and nipped at the base of her throat then planted soft kisses across her chest. Her hands slid from June’s waist to her rear, giving her a tight squeeze and the gentlest of slaps.
“Call me your warrior again,” she said against June’s nightgown, her breath creating heat and moisture.
June put her knees on the bed, crawling up to meet Ashlynn. “Make me.”
When it comes to writing, I’m what you might call a “late bloomer.” Growing up, I devoured books. I have vivid memories of relating to Beverly Cleary’s Ramona, then later to every character Judy Blume created. Do you remember the V.C. Andrews’ series? They were deliciously twisted, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Then, I started snagging novels from my parent’s bookshelves that I had no business reading. Passionate romances. Gripping murder mysteries. Spooky Sci-Fi stories. I wanted it all.
Around the age of twelve, I wrote the beginning of my first short story. I remember the sense of pride I felt at the opening. I zeroed in on a woman walking into a room and instantly finding the “man” of her dreams, just by looking into his eyes. Only the man was a dog, and the room was a shelter. I showed the story to my Mother, who didn’t exactly enthuse about my new hobby. It was difficult to find anyone to share my excitement, and so I put it away.
But the idea of writing nagged at me. So much so that, on my 45th birthday, I released my first novel. One year and three books later, I can call myself a writer. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences to draw from, and I’ve developed ways to foster my own excitement. I wish I could tell my twelve-year-old self to be braver, and to push past other people’s opinions. But instead, I’ve just embraced the idea of better late than never.