The day started off normal enough. Well, normal enough for Melissa Holbrook, if for no one else, including Michael Edward Deford, her riding buddy. Suddenly she stopped peddling, jumped off her bike and sprinted over to a man walking his dog as he puffed on a cigarette. "Excuse me, but don't you know that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease? Not to mention that it annoys those around you and might cause collateral damage to them. You really should stop."
They had been peddling along on a lightly trafficked, semi-rural road when she saw the man. Straddling the top tube of his custom Seven road bike, Michael watched the scene unfold, somewhat embarrassed. After all, in his book, you didn't tell other people how to live, strangers especially. And that's just what the man told her, cutting off her lecture about Surgeon General's warnings with a lecture of his own on the principle of live and let live. They argued for about five minutes before Melissa gave up and harrumphed her way back to her bike. The man kept puffing away as he watched them peddle down the road.
"You can't get through to some people," Melissa said. "He's killing himself and doesn't know it."
But the man was right—wrong to smoke but right about the live and let live thing, and Michael told her so. "Of course he knows it," he said. "It says as much on the front of every pack of cigarettes he buys. The medical information has been out there for close to fifty years. Believe me, he knows. But he also knows it's his right to smoke without some crusading do-gooder lecturing him on the hazards of taking up a bad habit."
They stood up on the peddles to crest a short but steep hill, then resumed sitting as the road flattened out. Melissa then said, "Maybe you're right. But I still feel compelled to at least reason with people like that. What they're doing isn't rational."
"Nope, but that's the nature of addictions, irrationality to the point of absurdity. I mean, why would anyone do something that's as potentially deadly as smoking? People drink themselves to death, stick needles in their arms, jump off bridges, do all kinds of crazy, dangerous things."
Melissa shrugged, then changed the subject. "So, Michael, any weekend plans?"
"Weekend plans...no, not really. I'll get a ride in, of course. But it's my guess you're asking if I scored a date for Saturday."
"Good guess. Did you?"
"I'm seeing that nurse I told you about. Third date coming up."
"Third date already? Sounds serious." Melissa routinely teased her friend about his checkered social/romance resume: Michael Edward Deford, thirty-nine year old orthopedic surgeon; never married; drops women like a hot iron if he perceives any imperfections, aesthetic or otherwise. In truth, he didn't think he was THAT picky, though Melissa thought otherwise.
"It could be," he responded. "She's got a beautiful pair of gastrocnemius muscles."
"Great calves, you mean," she said proudly. "I read anatomy charts too, Mr. Orthopod."
He believed it, knew that Melissa was a voracious reader of everything, anatomy charts included. And he thought she had some hot looking gastrocnemius herself, firm, shapely, beautifully tapered. In fact, if not for the little inconvenience of her living with a guy she was engaged to, he thought they could be something other than cycling buddies. Sure, her bossy, controlling personality put him off at times. Still, she possessed great wit, made him laugh, and they could discuss things outside cycling: Medicine. Music. History. Food. Philosophy. Sometimes they even got personal—his dating life, her relationship. He got the impression that she was less than satisfied with this guy. Not miserable, not particularly unhappy, but less than satisfied. You spend time with someone, in their case once or twice a week between spring and fall, and a picture forms.
After a series of small hills, they came to a relatively flat stretch of our route. Relatively flat because anyone who's ever ridden a bike knows that there's no such thing as a perfectly flat surface. Cyclists can feel the undulating subtleness of road topography more so than drivers in cars and even pedestrians. This was a fast stretch, a slightly sloping piece of asphalt road that allowed them to ride in their big chain ring while keeping a cadence of around eighty RPMs.
A mile later, the sky darkened and the wind picked up. Then it started raining. "Let's get moving," Michael said. They were about five miles from the parking lot and he figured they wouldn't get too wet if they jacked their pace up to seventeen and the rain didn't escalate beyond a drizzle.
"Go ahead, Michael. I'll stay on your wheel," Melissa said, motioning for him to pull in front of her. Since he was the faster rider, it made sense for him to charge ahead, pulling Melissa along in his slipstream. The air temp felt as if it had dropped a few degrees, still warm enough for the short-sleeve jerseys they wore, though barely. Trees flanked both sides of the road, an ancient wood of thick oaks and poplars, perhaps the most beautiful part of the route. In dry weather, they'd take the time to enjoy it. But the drizzle had morphed into hard rain, so sightseeing was no longer an option.
Melissa pulled alongside him and said, "I think we should find shelter, wait this thing out. It's getting bad. Look, there's lightening." She was right. It was pouring, and riding in electrical storms could get one cooked. Still, if going solo, Michael would have toughed it out and sped to his car, lightening be damned. However, he didn't feel right leaving her alone. One, he was a loyal riding buddy. And two, he knew how pissed she'd be if he left her to fend for herself. Intrepid on the bike, he'd rather face lightening than a woman's scorn.
"Okay, you win," he said, pointing to a house a few yards ahead, just past where the woods gave way to open fields. The house looked to be a century old. It had yellow clapboard siding and a wide porch that wrapped halfway around. The gravel driveway was empty, a good sign the occupants were out.
They hauled their bikes on to the porch, leaning them against the white wooden railing. He admired Melissa's new machine, a black, super light all carbon Scott loaded with high-end Campy parts that cost in the neighborhood of three grand. It was impervious to rust, as was his titanium steed that had served him well for the past few years.
There was nothing to do now but wait until the rain stopped or at least let up. Save for the clash of thunder, it was quiet. Occasionally a car would whoosh by, wipers on full blast, fender wells spitting liquid.
Melissa flapped her arms against her chest and shivered. "I'm getting cold." Goose bumps formed on her smooth, tan skin, and her light brown ponytail, sticking out from beneath her helmet, hung limp and wet.
"Me too," he said, rubbing his arms. "Let's hope this passes over fast." He wanted to wrap his arms around her. They'd both be warmer, though, truth be told, keeping warm wasn't his only reason. He wondered if she was thinking what he was thinking. Her social/romance status gave him pause, tempered his impulse to find out. She gave off no overt signals and besides, getting romantic could jeopardize a nice friendship. So he just stood there, shivering a little himself, watching the storm, debating the pros and cons, when...
"I hope you don't mind," Melissa said, bumping up against him, "but I need to borrow your body. I'm getting really cold." Mind? Hardly, he thought. They hugged each other, sharing body heat as the rain came down and the cars whooshed by and the thunder clapped and lightening lit up the heavens. Melissa was average height for a woman, standing about a half foot shy of his six feet. She pressed the side of her face against his neck. "Your bod feels great, I'm warmer already," she said. He held her tighter, again fighting impulse, this time to lift her face to his and plant a kiss on her full, sensuous mouth.
Just then, a black Dodge Ram pickup pulled up. It drifted just past the entrance, stopped and then backed up into the driveway. Its two occupants, a man and a woman, watched them for a few seconds before alighting from the truck.
Michael and Melissa decoupled fast.
The couple appeared to be in their forties. The woman wore white shorts and a tight v-neck blue short-sleeve shirt, and her fine, dirty blond hair was pinned up in a knot. The man wore jeans and a light maroon rain jacket over a black T-shirt. His reddish brown hair crept below his ears. A cigarette dangled from his mouth.
Melissa leaned slightly over the railing and said, "Is this your house? We were just waiting out the storm. I hope you don't mind."
Without answering, they ran on to the porch. "Not the best day for bike riding, is it?" the man said. He took a long drag, then exhaled.
"It was dry when we started out," Melissa said, batting away the smoke that drifted toward her in the humid air. Michael tensed up, thinking she might launch into another don't smoke lecture. She had that condescending, contemptuous look.
The man tipped his worn baseball cap and said, "Well, you can stay here as long as you need to. But isn't there someone who can pick you up?" Melissa said she'd call her fiancé if need be. The man nodded before he and his wife went inside.
"Okay, Mike, do me again," Melissa said, rubbing her arms and shivering. She kept her arms folded against her chest as he embraced her. He thought she smelled really good, a strange but pleasant mix of perfume, sweat and rain water. He faced her back with his face snuggled against her neck and his crotch against her butt, with nothing in between save for thin black spandex shorts. "Geez, Michael, you're getting a little personal there," she said, obviously aware of his hardening cock pressing against her derriere.
He pulled away, genuinely embarrassed. "Sorry, but that's one body part that I can't always control."
She turned and smiled. "No need to apologize," she said, glancing down at the bulge. "I kind of enjoyed it, to be honest. I've never told you this..." She looked away, said nothing more.
"Yes? You never told me what?"
"Look, let's just resume what we were doing, okay?"
And so they did. But after a few minutes, he became restless as his cock pressed against the spandex, yearning to break free. He started to pump her from behind while he kissed the back of her neck. She rolled her head and moaned, then reached back and rubbed her hand over the bulge. Then they slipped off their helmets, dropped them on the porch and began to smooch. He had one arm around her back, the other grabbing her butt, pressing it hard against his crotch. The downpour continued as they kissed and dry pumped. "Your poor balls must be on fire," she said, sensing that his nuts felt ready to explode. He stood there with a pained smile, confirming her assessment. "Well, maybe I can help." She reached inside his shorts, closed her hand around his stiff cock and began to jerk him off. "This might be the most compromising of compromising situations I've ever been in," she said.
"I, I doubt that fiancé of yours would approve," he said, breathing heavy.
"That fiancé of mine—"
She stopped at the sound of rapping against the window. They jumped, spun around and saw the scowling faces of the couple pressed against the glass. Seconds later, the man was on the porch, waving a scolding finger at them. The other hand held a lit cigarette. "Where the hell do you two think you are? You ain't gonna do that shit around here. Rain or no rain, off the property! Now!"
"Sir, I was about to call my fiancé to pick us up," Melissa said, looking contrite. "He's not too far away."
The guy guffawed, took a drag and shook his head. "Your fiancé, huh? What would he think if he saw you with your hand down another man's pants? If you were my old lady, I'd stuff your head down the toilet."
"We were trying to keep warm, sir," Michael said, knowing full well how lame that sounded.
The man flicked his smoke off the porch. "I bet you were. Look, don't make me do something we'll both regret. Now take your bikes and get moving." A bolt of lightning, followed by a thunderclap added a sense of menace to his presence.
"Not until I call my fiancé!" Melissa barked. Zipping open her saddle bag, she pulled out her cell and hit the speed dial button. "Stanley, it's me. Look, we're stranded in the rain on some guy's porch at 854 Tamar Road. Can you drive over and—"
They both froze when the guy pulled out a small handgun from the pocket of his jeans. Melissa felt paralyzed with fear. She dropped her phone and stepped back. As Michael hugged her in a protective embrace, the guy rushed forward, stooped down and snatched the phone from the floor. One hand held the gun, the other the cell. He shouted into the phone. "Stanley is it? Okay, Stanley, for your information, your fiancé or girlfriend or whatever the fuck she is, is here on my porch gettin' dick from another man. Just lettin' you know, dude."
Melissa's fear turned to rage. "You're fucking crazy, you know that, you self righteous bastard!" More lightning and thunder shook the sky. A sadistic smile creased the man's thin lips. Without a word, he tossed the phone in the air. Reaching out, Michael caught it with one hand, then gave it to Melissa.
The man tucked the gun into his pocket and stepped inside his door. "Twenty minutes," he said. "You got twenty minutes. So if I were you, I'd tell Stanley to get his sorry ass over here in a hurry. And no more hanky panky. Got it?"
"I'll explain everything when you get here, Stanley. Just hurry, please," Melissa pleaded before flipping her phone off. They debated the merits of calling the police, then decided against it. All they wanted at that point was to get the hell away. But lightening still flashed through sheets of liquid, and this guy's damn porch afforded the only shelter for the next couple miles. The man's wife continued to watch them through her window. Melissa and Michael kept their distance, silent, walking around in circles, rubbing their arms and legs.
Ten minutes passed before he spoke up. "So, what will you tell Stanley when he gets here?"
"Not a damn thing unless he asks. And then I'll tell him what you told that redneck, that we were trying to keep warm."
A sound strategy, he thought. He had met Stanley a few times. He and Melissa belonged to a cycling group that held cookouts about twice a year. Stanley didn't ride, but she usually brought him along. In fact, save for seasonal lawn work, he didn't do much of anything in the way of exercise, which Michael suspected was one reason Melissa wasn't too happy with him. He was an out of shape accountant, a couch potato more attuned to watching ball games on weekends than using his muscles for anything more than channel surfing. "Michelin Man" was a favorite pet name she'd throw around.
Looking up, they saw Michelin Man approach, just under their twenty minute "deadline." He pulled his white Ford Excursion in the driveway behind the Dodge Ram, then climbed out wearing a hooded forest green rain jacket, plaid knee-length shorts, a blue T-shirt and tan dock siders. Stanley was a big man, big boned and tall, standing about six-foot-two, tipping the scales at about two-fifty. His thinning, poker-straight black hair hung loosely over his forehead.
"Thanks for coming out," Michael said, receiving in return Stanley's cold nod as he opened the rear door of his SUV. Just then, the man came out and stood on his porch, arms crossed against his chest. He watched as they shoved their bikes inside, smirking.
Stanley shifted his eyes between Melissa and the man. Then he asked, "Is that the guy I spoke with?"
Melissa glanced at Michael, then faced Stanley "Yeah, that's him." The man kept smirking. Stanley looked at him again before slamming shut the Ford's rear door. Then they climbed in, Stanley behind the wheel, Melissa in the front seat, Michael in back. Stanley popped a wad of gum in his mouth before easing out of the driveway.
"So start your splaining, Melissa," he said after they were about a mile down the road. He raised his voice in deference to the rain crashing against the roof and windshield.
She glanced out her window, then turned toward Stanley. "The guy's nuts. He pulled a gun on us." She looked back at Michael for confirmation.
"She's right," Michael said, watching Stanley's prominent jaw muscles flex as he chewed.
"So what's this about you getting dick from another man?" He glanced over at Melissa, flashed a bemused smile.
"Like I said, the guy's nuts. He got pissed because he felt we had worn out our welcome. Well, what were we supposed to do, risk getting struck by lightning? Not to mention getting soaked.
He nodded, craned his head backward. "Would you know anything about that, Michael?"
"Stanley, the only dick I know about was the one tucked firmly in my bike shorts, Michael said, trying to pacify. "He was obviously trying to make trouble." Not a total lie—his dick HAD stayed in his pants as Melissa stroked it.
"Oh, okay." It came out as a sarcastic snort, Stanley's signal to them that he was anything but pacified. Then he added, "So maybe it was HIS dick he was talking about. Could that be it, Melissa?"
She took a deep breath, squirmed in her seat. "Cut it out, okay? I'm not in the mood."
"You're never in the mood," he shot back. "That's the problem."
"Whatever," Melissa said, staring out her passenger side window. Michael looked away too, wishing he were elsewhere. It was moments like this that convinced him he was better off single. Relationships could be tough enough when he was just dating, when he could retreat to his own digs after feuding with his lover de jour. Not so those two; they shared the same space.
Nothing was said for the remainder of the ride to the parking lot, a newly resurfaced piece of asphalt set next to a wooded stream valley off the main highway. Commuters used it as a park&ride during the week. After they unloaded the bikes, Stanley gave Melissa a parting shot, his tone stern and hostile: "I'll see you at home."
By the time they racked their bikes, the worst of the storm appeared over. It still drizzled, but the dark thunder boomers were drifting eastward and behind them, on the far western horizon, a rainbow.
"Thanks for shielding me from possible harm on that porch," Melissa said, opening her arms for a goodbye hug. "We could have been killed." She then embraced and kissed him the way he had always fantasized, deep and passionate. After about a minute of that, she said, "You know, my pussy is wetter than the rest of me. And I can feel that you've got your own issues; specifically, inflation—and I'm not talking in monetary terms here."
"And you've got an angry fiancé who wants you home ASAP. So, unless you leave soon, my epididymal hypertension is only going to get more hyper."
Melissa looked at him quizzically for a few seconds. "In laymen's terms, blue balls, right?
"You are correct. Not that you can do anything about it now."
She smiled and focused her eyes on his car, a dark blue, late model Audi A4. "Hmm. Do your seats fold down?"
"You're not serious."
She sighed. "Michael, back on the porch, I started to tell you something."
"Yes, something about this thing you never told me."
"Right, well, sometimes it's not easy simply being your friend and riding buddy."
He played coy. "No? And why is that?"
"I think I just showed you why. Do I need to spell it out? Or would you rather me demonstrate?" When he mentioned Stanley, she waved her hand. "Like he said in the car, I'm never in the mood. With him, that is. It's been over a year."
Her revelation took him aback. He knew their sex life had to be less than stellar. Even so, he never imagined it was THAT bad. "Wow, you must be starved," he said.
She rolled her eyes. "More than that, I'm unfulfilled. On several levels, not just sexually. The first year we lived together was okay. Not great but okay. I've spent the last year, especially these last few months, thinking of ways to break our engagement and leave him." Probing for the finer details got him nowhere. "Look, right now all I want is for you to hold and kiss me and make love to me. Think you can do that?"
He drove to the far side of the lot, pushed the passenger seat all the way back and dropped the windows. The heat had returned and the humidity, which never left, kept them damp and sweaty.
"I love the smell of your leather seats," she said, straddled on his lap. After dropping her cell into the car's console, she snapped open her sports bra and lifted her jersey. Like the boobs of many female athletes, they were on the smallish side; no more than a B-cup, but very firm and tanned from nude sunbathing. He sucked on them awhile before she sank to her knees, pulled down his shorts and did with her mouth what her hands had tried to do on the porch. She had full lips, perfect for this kind of thing if one knew what they were doing, and she did. Unlike some women, she knew to keep her teeth at bay.
Pouting, she said, "I'd love to have you in me. But I'm not on the pill and I'd guess you're fresh out of condoms."
"Not quite," he said. Leaning forward, he popped open the glove compartment and pulled out a pack of Trojan lamb skins. "A doctor should always be prepared." Her face lit up in surprised glee. "But first, let me return the favor. I've got the fastest tongue in the west, you know."
"Is that right?" she asked, her tone tinged with faux sarcasm. "Okay, prove it."
They changed positions, putting him on the floor with his face up against her crotch, her legs draped over his broad shoulders. Then he went to work, stabbing his tongue in and out of her wet hot pussy and around her clit. "You ain't kidding, doctor," she moaned. "I'd say you've got the fastest tongue in the east as well. Oh my God, I'm either going to explode or faint. You, you better fuck me already while you have the chance."
They changed positions once again. She eased onto his rock-hard cock, then began pile-driving his epididymal hypertension into oblivion. With his hands clasped around her oblique muscles, he lifted her up and down, adding momentum to her own piston-like vertical thrust. She rubbed her boobs with one hand while she grasped the top of the seat with the other. "You've, you've got quite a top tube there!" she nearly screamed, her breathing heavy. "Give it to me! Yes, like that!"
"Thanks," he said, chuckling at the symbolism. "Glad I could put you back in the saddle."
It was tough changing positions squeezed between the door and console. But they managed, allowing him to take topside, his favorite position to crescendo. Minutes later, his hot cum shot into the Trojan like water from a high pressure hose. Somehow he willed himself to stay in a few seconds longer for her to climax. Then they climbed in back, fell into each other's arms and kissed like two love struck teens.
For a little while, she was able to lose herself in his soft kisses and sweet talk, losing track of time, almost forgetting she even knew a guy named Stanley. It reminded her a little of her high school days, weekends spent with this cute guy she had met at a Bruce Springsteen concert, romping in the back seat of his dad's Lincoln. Memories of that fun, relatively innocent time, coupled with this special time with Michael, warmed her to the bone. She was on cloud nine, as the cliché went, and the cloud had taken her to a very special place.
Then reality intruded. Her cell went off.
"Damn it!" Melissa shrieked. "I bet I know who that is." She grabbed her cell from the console, then glanced at her watch. "Holy crap! Where did the time go?!"
They both rushed to dress while she spoke into the cell, trying her best to remain calm. "I'm sorry, Stanley, I had a bit of car trouble. My radiator overheated. But it's okay now. I should be home in a jiffy."
Michael followed Melissa out of the Audi, then wrapped his arms around her for a goodbye kiss. Just then, he saw a white SUV speeding across the lot, heading right toward them. "Don't look now," he warned, "but I think you'll need to come up with a better excuse than an overheated radiator."
"Huh?" She spun around. "Oh. My. Gawd. He must have been across the lot the whole time."
Stanley made an abrupt stop in front of her silver BMW and jumped out. Sans the green rain jacket, he was dressed in the same casual outfit. "Well, doctor, I didn't know you were also an auto mechanic. Fixed Melissa's radiator, did you?" He brushed back his hair, then threw his hands on his hips. "I'm sure that's not all you fixed." Stanley had size on him, about two inches and at least thirty pounds. But, because he was so out of shape, Michael felt confident he could handle himself if things got ugly. He wanted to take off but felt obligated to protect Melissa if need be. He went into high alert mode, prepared to get physical if Stanley decided to bridge the three-yard chasm between them and pounce.
"Calm down, guy, we can explain," he said. He lied, knew damn well there was no way he could explain his way out of this without looking ridiculous.
Stanley backhanded the air between them. "You really don't need to. I get it. It's obvious. Now, I think it best you leave, let me settle with Melissa alone. At home."
Michael turned toward Melissa. "Are you okay with that?"
She met Stanley's hard stare with one of her own. "No, I'm not okay with that," she said, keeping her dark brown eyes on him, arms crossed against her chest. Then she paused, took a deep breath and dropped her arms to her sides. "Look, I'm not going home with you tonight except to pack some clothes. I need time to think, to sort things out."
Stanley looked away, shaking his head. "I can't f-ing believe this. And just where do you plan on staying?" Melissa turned to Michael with pleading eyes, didn't say a word. "You're shacking up with him, the good doctor here?!"
Caught off guard, Michael spread his arms, shook his head. He lived in a three-story townhouse in a gentrified downtown neighborhood. The house was equipped with a roof deck overlooking the city's beautiful harbor. Melissa and Stanley knew it well, for Michael had hosted a number of parties there for the cycling group.
"Don't look so innocent, Michael. I bet this has been in the works for quite some time."
Melissa stepped a couple feet closer to him. "That is so not true, Stanley. The only thing that's been in the works for quite some time is the dissolution of our relationship. It's a sham and you know it."
"Let me finish." Grudgingly, he nodded and she continued. "We haven't had sex for over a year because, well, frankly, because you turn me off—and not just because of the way you keep yourself, although I can't deny that your fat, flabby self is a big part of that. We don't have much to say to each other anymore because of your pitiful lack of interests outside your work. When's the last time you read a book, any book? I find it quite ironic that you, a bright guy, math whiz, high IQ and all that, never reads, save for accounting journals and the newspaper once in a while. Sure, professionally you've done quite well for yourself, big bucks and all that come with it. I mean, we both know my piddly government job alone would barely pay the utilities of that fancy house in the burbs—your house, really, the one I moved into after you put that rock on my finger. But you've always been stingy when it comes to lending me emotional support for things that I take an interest in, that mean a lot to me. In fact, in the last few months, you've been tossing out snide remarks every time I leave the house for a bike ride. Well, I'm damn sick of it. And let's not forget the time you slapped me across the face in a fit of jealousy. So no, Michael didn't have squat to do with my decision to leave. What he did do was give me a glimpse of what it means to once again be happy."
Seeing her tear up, Michael stepped forward and threw an arm around her. This wasn't easy for him either, watching a bitter, angry woman lambaste her cuckold fiancé. He kind of felt sorry for him; that is, until he got nasty and said: "A glimpse of what it means to once again have a guy's cock in your mouth is what you mean, don't you? Now get your ass in that Beemer that my hard earned doe is paying for and follow me home. And I mean to stay, not to collect your clothes to live with this idiot doctor."
Michael had never in his life been caught in a love triangle, and didn't wish to start now. On the other hand, if something happened to Melissa he'd carry the guilt forever. He felt obligated, made privy to business that shouldn't have been his business but for present circumstances. Stepping toward Stanley, he said, "Be reasonable, let her have her space."
Stanley smirked. "Space with you, you mean. Uh-uh. Not happening." He leaped forward, reached behind Michael's back and grabbed Melissa's hand. "Get the hell away from her!" he snapped. Then he swung at Michael, an awkward left hook that missed but found its way to Melissa's chin. She collapsed in Michael's arms, out cold.
"Way to go, big guy," Michael said after lowering her to the ground. "You just racked yourself up a domestic assault charge."
Michael stooped down to attend to Melissa while Stanley stood frozen in place, his eyes locked on to his unconscious fiancé, as if amazed by his own handiwork. Then he got agitated. "You, you made me do it," he accused, his voice shaking. "If you had left when I told you to, this wouldn't have happened."Grimacing, his fists clenched, he moved toward Michael in menacing fashion.
Michael sprang up to confront his adversary. "Don't get stupid. You're in no shape to tangle with anybody, much less an endurance athlete who practices martial arts as well as routinely rides a bike sixty miles at a clip." Michael laughed inside knowing that he exaggerated the martial arts part. But it worked. Stanley backed off, though he again blamed Michael for not leaving.
"If I had done that you'd have beat the crap out of her," he retorted. "Now I think it best that YOU leave."
Melissa was beginning to stir. Michael cradled her head in his lap, resisting the urge to kiss her, knowing full well that pulling a Prince Charming move like that would really set Stanley off. Soon she came to, sat up, shook her head, moved her jaw from side to side. Nothing appeared broken. Still, Michael was concerned she might have a concussion.
Hours later, after a trip to the ER (other than a slight headache, she was fine), Melissa was back in Stanley's house, throwing her clothes into two large suitcases, collecting some odds and ends and discarding something—her engagement ring. She agreed not to press charges if Stanley let her leave while Michael stood by. All this time, he hadn't actually consented to her staying with him. He just let it happen, figuring she wouldn't stay long, perhaps a week or so before she'd either get back with Stanley or get her own place. A week turned into two weeks, then four, then eight, then...
A year after that fateful, rainy day, they were still together. Not married, not even engaged. Neither of them was in a hurry to go that route. And they still cycled together. One of their recent rides took them past that old farmhouse. Coincidentally it started to storm just as it did a year ago: lightening, thunder, the whole bit. This time Melissa toughed it out to the parking lot. Just as last time, upon their return, the rain had let up. Before heading home, they stood there for a few minutes, soaking wet, holding hands, gazing at the dark clouds swirling eastward and the rainbow arched across the western sky.
Jul 19, 2018 in romance