The Next Level

awake-at-night2He sat in the dark living-room, watching as the rain fell, droplet by droplet down the windowpane.  He couldn’t sleep.  All he could think about was her.  She was out there somewhere with another man.  Was she having a good time?  Did she have any idea of how much this was hurting him?

It was after mid-night.  He should hit the sack but he couldn’t sleep.  He dragged his fingers through his hair, his expression drawn.  Why did he have to go and fall in love with her?  Life was less complicated when they were just friends.  Then, one night, they were goofing around and the next thing he knew they were kissing wildly.  They ended up in bed.  Immediately after, she got dressed and got out of there fast.

For several weeks she avoided him.  She didn’t return his calls or answer his texts and emails.  And when he finally got through to her, she informed him that she was going on a date with some guy a co-worker set her up with.  When he asked her about what happened between them, she said that it was a mistake and that they should cool things off for a while.  That hurt like hell.  After she hung up, he went to a bar and got plastered.Black woman in the rain

The next morning, he woke up with a terrible hangover.  How he managed to get through the day, he had no idea.  As soon as five o’ clock rolled around, he walked out of the office.  He was tempted to go to a bar but headed straight home.  When he got in, he fixed himself something to eat but had to force himself to eat it.  After he cleaned up, he took a long, hot shower.

He tried to read but couldn’t concentrate.  He went on his laptop for a while but ended up going on his Facebook page to look at pictures of them together.  They looked so happy.  Agitated, he logged off and got up from the desk.  He went back into the living-room, turned on the television but he was distracted.  He turned it off and switched off the lights.  It was ten-thirty when he climbed into bed.  He lay on his back.  Outside the rain was falling.  He could hear it hitting against the window.  He closed his eyes but sleep evaded him.  He glanced at the clock.  It was eleven-fifteen.

Throwing off the covers, he climbed out of the bed and left the room.  He went into the drawing-room and sat down on the sofa.   He watched the rain droplets running down the windowpane.   At first, he thought he had imagined it.  Then, he heard it again–faint.  Someone was ringing the doorbell.  He got up and went to see who it was.  His eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat when he saw who it was.  He opened the door.  His eyes ran over her.  She was drenched.

“You’re soaking wet,” he exclaimed as he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her inside.  After he closed the door, he took her into the bedroom.  He turned on the light.  “You need to get out of that wet dress.  While you do that I’ll get you a towel to dry your head.”

He went and got a towel and took it back to the room.  He handed it to her.  She took it.  “Haydn, I’m sorry…”

“For what?” he asked, his expression tense as his eyes met hers.

“For the way I’ve been treating you.”

“When I wanted us to take our relationship to the next level, you made it painfully clear that you didn’t.”

She dropped the towel on the bed.  “I haven’t been honest with you.  After what happened between us that night, I panicked.  I didn’t know how to handle it so I needed a break.”

“I could understand you needing a break but why did you have to go on a blind date?  Do you have any idea how much that hurt me?”

“I’m sorry, Haydn.”  She moved towards him.

“Is that why you came?  To apologize?”

“Yes and to tell you that I’m ready to take our relationship to the next level if you still want to.”  She was standing very close to him now, looking up at him.

His eyes darkened on her upturned face and reaching for her, he moaned thickly, “Of course, I still want to.  Oh, Malika…”  He held her tightly against him as he kissed her passionately.  She put her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

As they exchanged kisses, he backed her over to the bed.  Then, he broke off he kiss long enough to strip and undress her before they were under the sheets making love love.  Outside the rain continued to fall.

He later found out that Malika had changed her mind and didn’t go on the blind date.  The two friends became lovers and the following year, they got married.

This was written for the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today’s prompt, Droplet.  If you’re interested in participating, click HERE for more information.

Colton’s Problem

Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! – Isaiah 5:11

“What are you doing here?” His breath reeked of alcohol.  He was on the floor, his hair disheveled, the empty glass lying beside him.   “Go away,” he said, waving his hand.  He tried to sit up but his head was pounding.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told him.  “I’m not going to leave you like this.”

“Don’t you have school or something?”

“It’s Saturday.”

“I don’t care what day it is.  I don’t want you here.”

“Why not?” she demanded.  “I’ve seen you drunk before.”

“You know why I don’t want you here.”

“Is it because of what happened the last time I was here?

“Yes!” the word was a hiss.  He raked his fingers through his hair in frustration.

“We kissed and…”

“And if I didn’t come to my senses, we would have ended up in bed.”

“I thought that was what you wanted.”

“It was—it still is but you’re too young for me.  You’re still going to school, for Pete’s sake.”

“I’m graduating next year June.”

“It doesn’t matter when you graduate.  You’re still too young.”

“I’m seventeen.”

“And I’m thirty-six.  Now, I really don’t want to continue this discussion.  I need to sober up.”

She tried to help him up but he pushed her hands irritably away.  “I’ll go and fix you something to eat while you take a shower.”

He got unsteadily to his feet.  For a moment he had to hold on to the back of the sofa to regain his composure.  “Which part of I don’t want you here that you don’t understand?”

“I hate when you’re like this,” she said. “It makes you rude and nasty. I’ve watched alcohol change my father into a moody, miserable person before it killed him. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to you. I love you, Colton.”

He closed his eyes.  “Please don’t say that.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Aniyah, you’re not making this easy for me.”

“I’m not trying to make anything easy for you.  You need help, Colton.  My church is offering an Addiction Treatment Program.  If my father had gone to it, he would probably still be alive today.”

“I don’t have an addiction.”

“What would you call your drinking?”

“A problem, not an addiction.”

“All right, this program will help you with your drinking problem.  I printed off information from their website.  I put it on the desk in your study.  Read it over as soon as you can.”

“Fine, I’ll read it.  Now, will you please go?”

“I’ll go after I’ve fixed something for you to eat,” she insisted.  “In the meantime, have these.”  She handed him a glass of water and an Advil.

He took them and watched as she disappeared into the kitchen.  He hoped she wouldn’t make a racket in there.  The slightest sound jarred his nerves.  It felt like someone was drilling a hole into his temples.  He sipped the water, swallowed the Advil and drained the glass.  He left the glass on the mantelpiece and headed for the bathroom.  He filled the tub with hot water and poured a few drops of eucalyptus oil.  After stripping, he stepped into the water and settled down.  He stretched out and rested his head against the back of the tub.  He was feeling better already.

The door opened and Aniyah walked in.  “I made you some Chicken Noodle Soup.  Make sure you drink it while it’s still hot.”

He stared at her in consternation.  His face was beet red and his heart was racing.  Underneath the suds, he could feel his reaction to her.  “You should know better than to walk into a man’s bathroom, especially when he’s in there having a bath,” he muttered tightly.

Aniyah couldn’t prevent her eyes from traveling over his wide shoulders and broad chest.  She felt her body react and she swallowed hard.  She wondered what he would do if she decided to join him.  No, she decided.  He wouldn’t be pleased.  I promised him that I would leave after I fixed him something to eat.  I have to keep my promise.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to barge in.  I’m leaving now and just wanted to say goodbye.”

“Goodbye and thanks for the soup.”

“I hope you enjoy it.  I’ll call you later.”  She turned and left the bathroom, pulling the door quietly in behind her.  She leaned against and closed her eyes.  Her chest was heaving.  Loving and wanting him were taking a toll on her.  She didn’t know how much more of this she could deal with.

Colton stared at the closed door.  The hangover was now the least of his problems.  His body was on fire and it had nothing to do with the water which was becoming tepid now.  He wanted her so much he could almost taste it.  It took supreme effort not to come out of the tub and walk over to her just now.  How was it possible that he could be in love with and attracted to a high school senior?  This was madness.

He spent a few more minutes soaking in the tub and then he drained it before taking a very cold shower.  After he had the Chicken Noodle soup which was very delicious, he went into the study to get the information she had printed for him.  He went into the living-room where he pored over it.

There was no point denying it any longer.  He had a drinking problem and desperately needed help.   He was tired of turning to alcohol when he couldn’t deal with his problems.  Instead of getting down on his knees and asking God for help, he reached for a drink.  Well, he was going to change that.  He went into the study, picked up the phone and dialed the number.

It had been several weeks since he started to program and had been making steady progress.  He had gotten rid of all the alcohol in his place and hadn’t had a drop since the day Aniyah found him.  And they were now dating.  He was convinced that she was the right one for him, regardless of the age difference.  He planned that as soon as she graduated from high school, he would propose.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11

Sources:  Faith in Recovery; GOOD; Food Network;