Friday, January 12, 2007

Up From Sorrow - Ch. 14

By late October, Kristin realized just how much she was beginning to miss Van’s company, his friendship. She also saw how unrealistic it was to expect total isolation from him. He was her boss. They even went to the same church for goodness sake. Soon Kristin was beginning to wonder if it was even worth it to try to fight her attraction any longer. Thanks to Jana and Cecily’s nudging, she was starting to believe that maybe she should consider trying love again. Her opportunity came at the annual Gray/Rogers family picnic.

On the day of the picnic, it was still reasonably warm. As a result, Kristin dressed in a short, sleeveless Sag Harbor dress with a side split and sling back shoes. She wore that particular dress, because its peach color accented her caramel skin so well and under Jana’s urging, she wore her hair loose.

After careful examination of her appearance, Kristin applied a light lip-gloss to her lips, keeping in mind that they would be eating lots of barbecue today and she wanted her mouth to be free to eat as she pleased.

When Kristin was finally ready, Jana met her at the bottom of the stairs wearing a pink short-sleeved Capri outfit, carrying several covered dishes in her arms, all set to have some good family food. Then needing only vehicle, they rode together in Jana’s new car.

* * *

At the picnic site, the men of the family already had the meat sizzling on the multiple charcoal grills. Food was everywhere and so were the kids. Even some of the non-related church members from Gray Grove Baptist were there. Adding their food to the entree table, Jana and Kristin went their separate ways. Jana joined her sister Lena while Kristin went to play dodge ball with some of the kids.

As Kristin played, she didn’t notice Van taking his turn manning one of the grills. Enraptured by the sight of her playing so freely among the kids in her bare feet, with her long hair blowing in the light breeze, Van felt his heart fill up with love and adoration once again. It delighted him to see her laugh, run, and play so carefree. It gave him hope that her heart was finally healed, finally opening up for love again.

“Man, don’t burn the meat,” Deacon Morris said, his voice snatching Van from his thoughts.

“I’m sorry, Deak. I got a little distracted that’s all,” he said, flipping the now very well-done burgers. The meat didn’t even sizzle when the grill touched its other side, largely because nearly all of its juices were already gone.

“Yeah, I know, son. I can see that and so can everybody else.” The gray-haired man winked knowingly. “Go talk to the woman, boy. See if you can get her to see that it’s okay to love again. That life is for the living. Meanwhile, I’ll see after what’s left of this meat,” Deacon Morris said, reaching for the pair of stainless steel tongs Van held.

“I think I will,” Van said, handing over his utensil. Unfortunately, he had gotten not more than five feet away from the grill before the dinner bell rang. Oh brother, now I have to wait. He sighed, watching the multitude of family members and friends go towards the food tables, ready to pray and eat.

After a grateful prayer by one of the elder family members, the women and children fixed their plates first. When the men got their turn, they descended on the table like a swarm of bees. The women, who were now seated comfortably with their food, laughed at the sight of their men piling up their plates to satisfy their ravenous appetites. As Van fixed his meal, he knew that it would take more than just natural food to satisfy him today. His heart needed satisfaction and only Kristin could take care of that. But for now natural food would have to do.

Where is she anyway? Van wondered, having lost sight of her during the jam-packed food procession. There she is, he mused, spotting her going towards the bush.

Kristin was a woman of many contrasts. One minute she was social and outgoing, playing freely among the kids. And the next moment, she was trying to find a secluded place to sit and eat quietly with her thoughts.

After observing her whereabouts, Van followed Kristin with his own plate in hand. Several solitary yards away from the main picnic site, he found her sitting on a green army blanket in a small raised clearing surrounded by tall oak trees. Although a slanted view of the lake could be seen through the thick bush, the clearing itself was private. Kristin couldn’t have picked a better spot.

“Can I join you?” Van asked, standing over her with an endearing smile on his face.

“Yes,” Kristin answered, taking a hefty bite out of her burger. She wanted Van’s companionship today. Okay, she’d wanted it on other days, too, but today she was actually going to indulge herself with his presence.

After a few silent minutes of eating, Van struck up a conversation, trying to stay on neutral ground for the moment. “Have you tried the ribs? They’re good. The meat is practically falling off the bone. Here, have a taste.” He handed a slab to her.

Taking the meat offered to her, Kristin commenced to eating it. As Van continued to enjoy his meal, he watched her, loving the way Kristin wasn’t afraid to eat ribs the way they should be eaten – with the hands. Then to his further pleasure, she didn’t even bother to get a napkin to wipe her fingers. When she finished the slab, Kristin simply began to lick her fingers one by one, not realizing what her actions were doing to Van.

I don’t know what they put in this sauce, but it sure is good, Kristin said, savoring the flavor of mesquite, honey, and molasses upon her taste buds.

Unable to resist any longer, Van reached for her wrists, catching them in mid-air before she could bring her fingers to her mouth again. “Let me do that, Kristin,” he said huskily, staring intently at her. “Please.”

Mesmerized by his hazel eyes, now turning a deep chestnut with desire, Kristin nodded almost involuntarily. Then ever so slowly Van licked her fingers one at a time as he closed his eyes, savoring each one. Kristin sat transfixed by his actions as his tongue slid up and down her fingertips, lightly sucking on areas that contained the most sauce.

Unconsciously, Kristin licked her lips as passion flowed through her body and settled in wonderful places, reminding her that she was still alive, still able to feel desire, still able to be desired. Suddenly her mind couldn’t think of anything, except Van and this moment.

Opening his eyes at that exact moment, Van saw Kristin’s tongue flicker out in pleasure as it moved across her lips. A soft moan escaped from her throat. Following his heart, Van immediately claimed her mouth with intense urgency. He wanted Kristin to feel what he had been holding inside these last few months. He’d waited for this moment for what seemed like eternity. Another chance to partake of her delicious lips was just too much to resist.

Matching his probing kisses with those of her own, Kristin hungrily received each delightful flicker Van offered her, encouraging him to give her more. Much more. Moving closer to him, she slid her hands under his blue Polo t-shirt and touched his hairy chest. With that action crossing another line for him, Van pushed the plates aside and laid Kristin down on the blanket.

Then still engaged in the kiss of a lifetime, he proceeded to touch her soft thigh through the split in her dress. Forgetting where they were, Van and Kristin caressed each other as if they were the only two people in the world. It certainly felt like it.

Hearing her moan in pleasure against his mouth, Van continued his exploration, inching higher with his hands, touching more of Kristin’s delicious caramel skin. Looking down, he suddenly caught a glimpse of leopard print lingerie and moaned deep in his throat with pleasure.

She’s so sexy, Van mused, thinking that there was no way Kristin could have known that he favored animal print lingerie above all the others. This girl is my equal. She’s so in sync with what I want and need in a woman. And the best part about it was the fact that he hadn’t told her a thing. Kristin just seemed to know how to please him.

Then intent on letting her know a few other things, Van took one of Kristin’s hands and guided her on a slow, joyous tour down his aroused body. “Do you see what you do to me, Kristin? Do you see how much I want you? How much I ache to be with you? I need you, baby. In this way, in every way.” His voice was laced with thick desire.

Kristin’s eyes were wide and full of passion as she listened to Van’s stimulating words and savored his stimulating presence. Even now her body still tingled from the arousing journey he’d just led her on, causing her to crave him even more. It would take divine intervention to stop what was certain to happen now, because on the tip of Kristin tongue was the word ‘yes’.

Before Kristin could get the word out, they suddenly heard someone calling Van in the distance. As the voice grew louder, it became clear that it belonged to the worst possible intruder - Claudia.

What is she doing here? Kristin mused, quickly sitting up to straighten out her clothes. “Oh, Van, I’m sorry. I guess we forgot ourselves for a moment,” she said as her passion was suddenly replaced by a blast of guilt.

Oh God, that was close. Thanks for the rescue, even if it did come through Claudia. I don’t know what I was thinking, Kristin mused, although a deeper part of her know exactly what she’d been thinking. She’d been thinking of Van and her intense need to connect with him on another level.

But Van wasn’t hearing that. Neither was he rushing to straighten out his clothes. He could care less if Claudia saw them together. Then maybe she’d finally leave him alone.

“No, we didn’t forget ourselves, Kristin. If anything, we forgot where we were and the fact that we must seal our union with a ring. We are going to happen. You and I are meant to be. Can’t you feel it here?” Van said, putting his hand against her heart and hers against his.

Is this man talking marriage? Kristin mused, now growing increasingly scared. She didn’t know if she was emotionally ready to be somebody’s wife again. Especially so soon. Well, what exactly am I ready for then? Kristin asked herself, knowing full well that casual sex wasn’t for her. It never had been. Now she was really confused.

Kristin retrieved her hand and moved away. “I…” Her voice trailed off just as Claudia came around the bushy trail.

© 2007 by Suprina Frazier

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