At church the next morning, Pastor Davis taught about how when we live in and lean on our own understanding and strength, and not from God’s, we are actually living among sorrows. The words ‘living among sorrows’ caused Kristin to remember last night’s dream.
Suddenly she felt very sad. Grief-soaked tears rolled down her cheeks as she sat on the mahogany church pew. Sammy, I miss you so much, her heart cried. Why did you leave me? I feel so alone, Kristin mused, not even bothering to wipe away her tears. She wanted to cry. Maybe then some of the overwhelming grief would leave. Maybe.
Just then, a pair of strong arms encircled her. Kristin looked up at her comforter through misty eyes and saw the most beautiful hazel eyes she’d ever seen. It was Van. Where did he come from? she wondered, only recalling Jana’s comforting pat on her hand just seconds ago.
Van had been there all the time, three rows in back of her to be exact. In church, he usually kept his distance away from Kristin for two reasons. First of all, he believed in allowing people to worship God in peace. And secondly, Van didn’t want how he felt about Kristin to distract either of them from the message. But when he saw her tears, he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. He had to go to her. Van even reached Kristin before the white uniformed ushers could and she’d been right by one of the usher posts on the fourth row.
Lord, please help her, he prayed as he sat next to her and held her until the sobs subsided. Then when Kristin seemed more in control, he released her and quietly eased in the seat between her and Jana. Leaning to the left to whisper in his cousin’s ear, Van said, “Maybe I should take her home.” His voice was very low and meant for Jana’s ears only. “She looks exhausted.” And Kristin did. Her eyes were puffy and haunted looking. Her shoulders sagged heavily with grief.
Jana looked at Kristin and nodded in agreement. “I’ll drive her car home later,” she whispered, confident that Kristin was in good hands with Van and would probably fair better with someone who could be more emotionally composed given the current situation. There was no doubt in Jana’s mind that her trying to talk to Kristin right now could lead to them both wallowing in heavy grief today. And that would not be good for either of them.
“I’ll stay with her until you come home,” Van assured Jana as he guided Kristin down the aisle closest to the right side wall and then discreetly lead her out one of the side exits.
Kristin’s body moved mechanically - on autopilot. She barely noticed that a new set of yellow and red annuals had been planted along the side walkway. Then as Van helped her into the blue luxury car he owned, the tears began to flow again. So caught up in her own misery, Kristin failed to notice how quickly they’d gotten to her house.
* * *
After being helped inside, Kristin sat on the black leather couch in the living room, still shedding silent tears. Soon her sobs became louder, more pronounced. Her shoulders shook uncontrollably. Once again, Van held Kristin close to him, comforting her with his strong quiet presence until she was spent, all cried out.
As Kristin leaned there against him, Van noticed that her bun had unraveled. Now a mass of her long wavy hair was sprawled fully across his left arm. Almost incognizant his fingers were drawn there. He took this moment to gently stroke her long tresses as he’d often fantasized about doing since he met her. Van didn’t know if he was right or wrong in taking this liberty now. All he knew was that those wavy strands seemed to call to some part of him, beckoning him to touch them.
“Hmm...that feels nice, Van,” Kristin moaned from within his embrace. Even her voice sounded tired.
Wanting to help even more, he said, “Kristin, you can take tomorrow off, if you need to. Mondays are always easy days at the center.”
“No, I haven’t been there two months yet. I can’t take a day off already,” she protested, looking up into his hazel pools and finding sincerity in them. It was obvious that Van was genuinely concerned for her welfare. For some reason that pleased Kristin immensely.
“Okay. Well, at least take a half day off then. In fact, you could use that time to take Jana to pick up her new car tomorrow.” Van smiled down into her fact, hoping that she would agree to his suggestion.
Like Jana, Kristin surrendered to Van’s logical concern. “That’s a good idea, Van. Thanks so much. You’re such a good friend. And boss,” she added. Then surrendering to an innate yearning, Kristin turned her head to the left and planted a kiss on the strong male hand that was draped so lovingly across her shoulder.
What was supposed to be a fleeting peck of gratitude, turned into a delightful smack and lingering suckle. That kiss was like a match to dry wood. Van closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, trying hard to remain in control of his emotions. When he opened them, he encountered Kristin looking intently into his eyes. Her intense stare made it impossible for him to hide his desire. Nor did Van want to hide it.
This time Kristin wasn’t afraid of what she saw in his hazel pools. In fact, her silent nod of approval encouraged it. Licking her lips with anticipation, she waited, wondering if Van would do what she could not form into words right now, but desperately wanted him to do. Maybe I should move first for once.
Briefly following the path of her tongue with longing, Van brought his gaze back up and searched her eyes for permission to kiss her. His answer came quickly when she suddenly leaned up and kissed him first. Slowly, gently her full lips swept over his. And just as slowly, Kristin felt her heart creak open for love again. It was a warm, welcomed feeling as if someone had opened a pair of thick curtains to let the sunlight in.
Enter radiant light, enter.
Kristin’s lips were softer than Van ever imagined they would be – sweeter, too. Unable to contain himself any longer, he pulled her closer to him and deepened the kiss. His tongue hungrily probed her mouth as he cradled her face with both hands; his fingers teased her hairline feeling the fine hairs there.
Kristin returned Van’s kisses with equal intensity. Her passionate responses added to his excitement. Feeling his loins stir within him, Van became bolder in his actions and his large hands began to travel downward upon her frame. Although urgent in their movements, his hands gently caressed Kristin’s body to taut attention wherever they touched down. Her sky-blue silk dress was seconds away from coming off. He already had it unzipped in the back.
Following his lead, Kristin’s hands began their own exploration. They cascaded down Van’s shoulders and arms, feeling those rippling muscles and wanting to feel more. His black jacket was soon discarded and his white shirt unbuttoned to the waist. The sound of him moaning with pleasure as her fingertips flew over his chest hair was like music to her ears. Invigorated by that sound, Kristin leaned in and tasted his skin. Spicy and nice, just the way she imagined it would be.
“Kristin, baby,” Van groaned blissfully as he leaned his head back against the sofa, enjoying the feel of her lips on his skin. “I want you. I want you so much.” Everywhere her mouth touched down was like another bonfire being lit. He couldn’t wait to taste her, too. No doubt that caramel skin was sweeter than any candy he’d ever had.
“Oh, Van, I want you, too,” she whispered hoarsely, enveloped in the heat of the moment. Her body craved his love. “I’ve wanted you since I met you. Wondered what it would be like to make love to you so many nights,” Kristin confessed, speaking a truth that she hadn’t really wanted to admit to herself, much less to him.
Those precious words of consent were all he needed to hear. Van arose from the couch, pulling her up with him. Then he took Kristin’s face in his hands again and ravished her mouth for a full breathtaking minute as if to seal the decision they’d both made. When the kiss was over, they both knew that they were going upstairs to make love, to finally answer both of their queries about how it would be between them. They both also knew that it would happen now, not later. Right now!
Nothing but an act of God could stop the evitable, because neither of them no longer had the strength to. Just then, they heard Kristin’s car approach the house. Reality rushed in and they both knew that nothing was about to happen now. Jana was home.
As her thoughts returned to Sammy, Kristin was suddenly wreaked with guilt. It felt as if she’d cheated on him or somehow violated his memory by responding so uninhibitedly with Van. Then just as suddenly the door of her heart slammed shut again.
“Maybe it’s for the best,” she said, swiftly straightening her clothes and hair. A frown creased her caramel forehead.
Van noticed that look and said, “Oh no, Kristin. What’s happening between us is for the best. Baby, please don’t slam the door of love just when it’s starting to open up for the both of us.”
Then quickly re-buttoning his shirt, Van gave her one more kiss. “Remember, Kristin, leave the door open for me. For us. By the way, I love your hair loose like this,” he whispered against her mouth just before Jana entered the house through the back door.
© 2007 by Suprina Frazier