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04 April 2010 @ 07:05 pm
Heavy Lifting  
title: Heavy Lifting - Part 2
author: _greatguitarsex
rating: NC-17
pairing: Joe Jonas/OFC
word count: 18,548
summary/authors notes: Valentine’s Day: On a holiday most spend celebrating what they’ve built together Joe and Sidney must watch as it all comes crashing down.




Heavy Lifting


+++


Joe

A thousand days have passed
And nights gone by
You can see the glow slowly fading from her eyes
Though she denies her pain and her dismay

Boyz II Men, “Pass You By”


I told Sidney that I loved her every day. I told her we could try again, that Lily would have wanted us to.

But she heard none of it.

She stopped eating and stopped speaking. The lines in her face deepened and our home grew silent. It was frightening, especially in the beginning when I would wake up to Sidney’s voice- screaming in her sleep, her hands palming the flattened skin on her stomach.

Sometimes I would find her in Lily’s room hiding behind the rocking chair. She sat in a corner next to the dresser that held our daughter’s folded and untouched clothing. She’d slipped into a pair of my pajama bottoms, the material was tight around the shape of her hips and loose along her calves, they pooled around her feet.

She was on the carpet with her knees pulled up to her chest.

“I’m like glass,” she sobbed, the palms of her hands turned up as she shook back and forth.

“Shhh baby, you’re okay. You’re okay. We’ll get you better. Everything will be fine. You’ll see.“

I’d take her in my hands then and feel her slide her arms around my shoulders as she pressed herself close to me.

“I’m like glass, Joe, I’m like glass.”

+++


But those days were not as frightening as the nights Sidney would go missing.

I would wake up in the dark and reach out for her, my hands tracing the indention she’d left in the side of the mattress next to me. I was sure that she was no longer in the house, even without calling her name. The sheets would be cold and though it happened more than once it never grew routine to me.

I always woke up scared.

After a few nights of the same thing, I finally realized the only other place she could be.

This house had become too suffocating for Sidney, as large as it is. The spiraling staircase leads right to the bedrooms, and the first one in the hallway was supposed to be for Lily. The hardest thing to look at after we lost our daughter was her name painted on the wall, Lily. Looking at it was a constant reminder that our baby would never be able to lay her head on the pillow my mother crocheted, or be covered by the blanket given to us by Sidney’s parents.

In an instant, the house had become a prison and I realized that there was only place Sidney could retreat to.

+++


Somewhere there's a stolen halo
I used to watch her wear it well
Everything would shine wherever she would go
But looking at her now you'd never tell

Big & Rich, “Holy Water”



I drove quickly, my foot itching to ignore all of the red lights.

Sidney was sitting on her knees when I found her; the blades of green grass lay flat at her sides so that I knew she'd been there for a long while. I watched her in silence and as the minutes went by and I slowly began to approach her something clicked.

Sidney was like a reflection of the statue watching over Lily’s grave: a weeping angel with her face in her hands.

The sight killed me.

I approached her slowly; my hands already up in case I might frighten her. I stood behind her waiting for her to acknowledge my prescience, not knowing that it would never come.

Sidney’s fingers were on the tombstone. She stroked the letters that spelled out Lily’s name, the figures larger than the rest of the words. And as I got within earshot I heard what Sidney was saying.

“I went to the store today…and I almost bought you a blanket. See? Mommy loves you. I think about you every day.”

I sank into a spot behind her and placed my hands on her shoulders, trying as gently as I could to force her away from Lily’s grave.

“Sidney, baby, it’s late. You can come back here tomorrow.”

It took everything in me to stand up and wrap my arms around her as I tried in earnest to situate her on my lap. She fought the effort, lashing her arms around to push me away.

“No,” she cried. “No! Joe, please- I need her. I need my baby. She needs to hear me.”

I fought back my own tears, forcing her to stay between my arms- she fought harder, writhing and shaking and trying to scratch me- but my hold only tightened.

Finally, she stopped resisting and just sank into my arms. She clung to my jacket, her knuckles white as she gripped the fabric between her fingers. I could only watch as the grief poured out of her. It was the first and only time I think I ever truly understood the fierceness of her pain.

She didn’t say anything further, just grasped onto me and continued to cry. She seemed to drift in and out of her consciousness. Sometimes she would whisper Lily’s name, sometimes mine.

The wind grew warm, her tears dried, and as the sun rose I lifted her off the grass and carried her to the car. She did not fight me this time.

The days went on and the nights at the cemetery became familiar. I listened dutifully and watched as Sidney began to crumble again and again and I know now that that was when I began to lose her too.

Those are the times I will always remember though- the two of us lying on the grass together, two parents visiting the baby we were never given the chance to know.

It’s those memories that will always remain fresh, maybe because they truly were the beginning of the end.

+++


You can wish so many things for one person, can bestow so many wishes and goals on their shoulders but you cannot take the steps for them.

I’ve never wished for anything else but Sidney’s happiness.

Love is a crazy thing but when the one you love is going crazy it leaves you paralyzed. It makes you feel useless and above all things, it makes you feel completely alone.

+++


We’ll say goodbye
The hundredth time
And then tomorrow we’ll do it again
Tomorrow, we’ll do it again

My Chemical Romance, “Drowning Lessons”



So I ran.

I got on a bus and left. I threw myself into my songs and locked myself in studios with my brothers. I auditioned for movies and disappeared into the roles because I couldn’t bear to deal with how I’d lost Lily and how I was beginning to lose Sidney too. I told jokes and laughed and laughed until it felt real enough, until I was sure others were beginning to seem sure of it as well.

But it was all a lie I’d forced myself into living –into believing- to avoid going home.

I couldn’t be with her and I couldn’t be without her. I hated myself for leaving and I hated myself for staying.

When I came back Sidney would welcome me home with open arms. The shards of her that remained seemed to grow smaller and smaller each time I returned until I could barely recognize her.

She’s never made me feel guilty but I know that she’s in more pain than I ever left her in.


And even though you’re next to me
I still feel so alone
I just can’t give you anything
To call your own

Yellowcard, “Breathing”



There is something about a letter. Not an email or a text message but a letter, a real piece of paper that I can hold between my hands and lift up to my face so I can smell the ink. Something about the energy that's been put into one, the energy it takes to hold the pen and push the letters onto the page, the energy it takes to drag it across the paper. It makes it all real.

Sidney used to write me letters. She left them for me on pillows if I fell asleep first and hid them between stacks of clothing when I went on tour. She spelled out love notes on the refrigerator and pressed lipstick marks and perfume to small note cards that she would leave in the pockets of my jackets.

I keep the letters because they are the only reminder I have to tell me that Sidney was real once. That she was whole, that she loved me. It's these letters I clung to when she stopped speaking, when we gave up whispering for screams. In the beginning the quiet that lingered long on after the fights was worse than the noise. Now, it's all just mangled together.

God, I swear I never meant to lose her too.


+++


Sidney

Baby, it breaks my heart
To think that loving me's not easy to do
And I don't mean to make it hard
Sorry for all the changes I put you through

Monica, “Breaks My Heart”


Not all women want to be mothers but I believe some people are meant for things. I was meant for him and I’d been meant for Lily.

How could I try to explain it to him? He was there all along – I will always love him for it- but Lily didn’t belong to him the same way. He hadn’t carried her in his body for months and months only to have his body reject him and betray him.

How was I supposed to say that I loved him and wanted him too but I was far too scared to try again? The pills they gave me were a pillow but I would still have to learn to walk on my feet and my legs felt like air.

How could I make him understand that I couldn’t bare the idea of losing someone else again?

I have to laugh at myself sometimes.

Now I’ve lost him.

Most of all, how could I make him understand how sorry I am? How could I apologize for so many things, for not getting well, for becoming a shell of myself and forcing him to sleep next to a ghost?

I wish I knew what to say to soothe his guilt. I wish I had the words to tell him that I understand why he had to leave. I don’t hate him for it and neither should he.

There is some statistic out there about how the parents of murdered children rarely stay together and maybe this isn’t murder but it feels like it. When it’s your own body attacking, when it’s all of these words that you’ve no way of understanding, when you’re fighting with all of your might but it’s almost like you’re not fighting at all…

When it feels like you are the one who killed her- that is the ultimate betrayal.


+++


Sidney

Oh, my, my, you’re oh so sly.
Let’s leave unsaid what’s left unspoken.
Please hold me now, I’m freezing.
God, tell me how we ever got this cold.

Blaqk Audio, “Wake Up, Open the Door and Escape to the Sea”



When I find Joe again he is upstairs in our bedroom.

I want to tell him goodbye but my hand lingers on the doorknob for a moment too long as I watch him in the reflection of the dresser mirror.

His shoulders are down. His face is in his hands. There are bottles of beer sitting on the dresser in front of him. I can hear him sniffling.

I watch as he groans and takes a deep breath as he straightens. He catches my face in the reflection as he moves. His eyes are full of defeat.

“Hey,” he says as he turns around to face me.

The bed sags beneath the pressure of his weight. “Um, there’s one more box there…” He stops to point to one sitting on the floor alone beneath the flat screen television. “Just some stuff from the bathroom. I didn’t know if you’d want to keep it or not.”

“Thanks…”

I nod as I shuffle into the room and find the box. I bend over it, one knee resting on the floor as I begin to pick through the contents. There’s a collection of hairbrushes, lotions, towels, and small bars of hotel soap that I can remember stealing from vacations and times on tour.

The room begins to drown in a silence so strong that I’m unaware of how to break it. I keep my eyes glued to the toiletries and take too much time examining each one. I’m still thumbing through things when Joe finally speaks.

“We had some good times here, didn’t we?” he asks.

I lift the box up and test the weight in my arms as I stand. I turn to find Joe with his eyes on the bed frame. His gaze trails down the side of it.

“Didn’t we?” He shakes his head as he throws the remote control back and forth between his left hand and his right. He throws a glance towards me. “Sid?”

“Joe-“ I clutch the box closer to my chest as I try to find a way to the door.

“No. Tell me.” he suddenly demands. He matches my movements with his own, blocking my way. The things inside of the box are jostled as I try to find another route around him again.

“Joe, stop it-”

One of his hands locks around the edge of my right elbow. I flinch back against the tightness of his grasp and the box clatters to the floor.

“Didn’t we?” he pleads, his voice growing louder and louder. “Didn't we?! I was good. We were good-”

“Joe, don’t do this…Give me back my arm-“

“Didn’t we? Sid? When we came back from Napa Valley? Every time I got home from Europe. Those were good times, right? Tell me it was good for you too- Tell me you remember- “

He pulls me forward.

“Yes, we were good. We were fan-fucking-tastic,” I spit back, looking into his eyes. “Except when I had to fake it.”

Joe lets go of me so quickly that it takes another second for me to find my footing again.

He laughs; his other hand tightens around the throat of the beer bottle. He takes a step back, his body circling mine.

“You’re funny,” he chuckles as he takes another swig.

“I’m not-“

“Really? Then either you’re just a fucking liar and an amazing actress because-“

“I’m not lying, Joe-“

“You ARE a fucking liar.”

He throws the bottle so that it hits the wall. The glass makes a loud piercing noise as it shatters.

And then he is in front of me. His eyes are glazed and shiny as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. He moves forward so quickly, his feet seem to force mine back with each step until I find myself pinned to the wall. My head hits the wall with a soft thump.

A pile of glass is sitting on the floor next to my feet. I can smell the whiskey dewing off the wallpaper.

His lips fall to my cheek and then brush against my earlobe.

“Say it,” he breathes. “Say that you’re a liar.”

“I am not a liar.”

I force my jaw forward so that Joe has to lean back. His eyes bore into mine.

I am trapped.

“Oh really?”

His other hand falls to my hip. His fingers tighten around a handful of my skin there but they do not move and nor do his eyes.

“I know you!” he says, his eyes questioning me. “I know you too well, baby. I know every inch of you- every single inch- better than anyone else.”

I cannot help trembling; a sharp breath leaves my mouth as he squeezes me harder.

“That's right. You know that's the truth, don't you? I know you inside and out. Do you hear me? Inside and out. I can read you like a fucking book.”

I scoff.

His eyes widen.

And then I start to laugh.

“Well then if that’s so true, if you’re such a good lay, why did I have to fake it Joe?” I snap back.

His other hand tightens into the shape of a fist as he pounds it into the piece of wall next to my head.

“LIAR!” he shouts. “Liar! Liar!”

Without flinching, my eyes meet his. My hands are up, coaxing him forward.

“What are you gonna do? Hit me? Shove me and throw me against the wall like you did to that bottle?” I throw a glance down to the pile of glass sitting on the floor.

A low growl leaves his throat as he moves forward and leans harder against me, his eyes piercing into mine. I can feel the line of his belt pressing into my waist and the tip of his nose just barely touching the tip of my own.

I can't find it in me to back down.

“If that’s what you want then go ahead. It’s your last chance,” I challenge him. My lips form each word slowly. “Try me.”


Ignoring what we've felt,
Overlooking what we've done,
No awkward silences, no hiding any truths
Ignoring what we've felt,
Overlooking what we've done,
What do you say?

Chiodos, “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek”



Suddenly and abruptly, the tension breaks.

I gasp as his arms weave around my waist and pull me to him. My footing is off balance, the tips of my shoes stepping all over his feet as I struggle to throw my other leg over his waist.

His mouth is on mine then and my hands are on his face, cupping his cheeks and holding him against me so that neither of us can look the other way.

I cling to Joe's neck, my lips soft and wet against his. His fingers are not wasteful either, I can feel them clawing at the back of my shirt, the tips of them pinching my spine.

I gather enough courage to push him so that we're spinning towards the bed and I'm no longer trapped against the wall. Our lips stay glued to each other as we move. I claw at his hair and his shoulders. I can feel his fingers doing the same to the hem of my t-shirt as we inch closer to the mattress.

I throw my arms around his neck and pull him closer to me. His hair is in my eyes and his breath is in my face. His movements suddenly slow as my knees hit the edge of the bed. His hands find their way to the ones I have trapping his face. He gently wrestles them off his skin, his fingers winding around each of my wrists.

“We shouldn’t,” he says as he wrenches his mouth away from mine. Our lips make a soft popping noise as they separate.

He’s shaking so badly that it reminds me of some kind of small injured animal. I can read the disbelief in his eyes. I watch them tighten as he tries to will some kind of reserve to come to him.

“We should stop,” he says again and I know the words are more for him than me. “Sid, this isn’t how we should say goodbye-“

Joe is still standing so my fingers have to reach up much higher so that I can tow myself to the front of his body. My lips find his cheek and his nose and then finally his lips.

He sighs, his breath fanning against my open mouth.

I kiss him again.

The taste of him is unfamiliar but so much the same. Alcohol lingers on his tongue and I can almost taste the salt on his skin. I can’t remember the last time I truly kissed him like this and felt him inside of my breath and against every inch of my skin. So much time has gone by but it’s also almost like none has passed at all. He hasn’t changed a bit.

“I want you,” I tell him as my fingers thumb through his hair. “Please. Please Joe-“

I lift one leg up and tighten it over his waist.

He groans.

“And I want to,” I purr into his ear, knowing that he would never deny me anything. “I want to say goodbye like this.”

I can already feel his knees beginning to buckle beneath me.

This is probably the best
Not to mention the worst idea
That I have ever had
Ignoring what we've felt
Overlooking what we've done...



His fingers reach for the front of my jeans.

“I’ve always hated these,” he says as his fingers pry the front of the denim open.

My fingers grab a handful of his shirt- hating the space between us- so that I can pull his mouth back to mine.

“I hate that you were never around,” I murmur around his lips.

“I hate that you never called me when I was gone. I hate that you never missed me.”

The disbelief makes my hands waver for just a second but I fight it off, not wanting to ruin the moment.

“That's a lie, “I say simply. I grab a handful of his shirt and pull it down low enough; my head lowers to find the dip in his collarbone where he loves to be kissed. I press my mouth against it and listen to him whimper; his fingers tighten around strands of my hair. “I missed you every second that you were gone.”

“Mmm,” he groans. My cheeks flush with pride. I love that he cannot afford anymore words. His hands take hold of either side of my face as he pulls me away from his throat. He kisses me harder. “I missed you too,” he confesses.

“Joe-”

He laughs and presses a kiss to my chin.

“Well, I hate that you never liked my friends.”

“And I hate that you never wanted to stay in.”

“I hated having to go to parties alone,” he says. “I hated that you never wanted to come out with me.”

His eyes are on me as he pulls back and both of his hands linger down to his waist. I watch as he uses both hands to reach for the hem of the shirt. He lifts it, revealing more smooth skin, and then tosses the shirt over his shoulder.

His hands pull me back to him.

“Now you,” he says.

His fingers reach for the unfinished job he performed on my jeans and he yanks them down in haste. Then they move to my shirt.

He pulls it up over my head and chuckles softly when it blocks my view. His lips are still there though, he presses kisses down my throat and further along my chest so that he can kiss my ribcage and a spot right below the curve of my bra.

I grow ticklish beneath his lips.

“Joe, some help please?”

It hurts not to see him.

The t-shirt goes up over my head and he flings it behind him to join his t-shirt on the floor too. I can see his face again and the heat in his eyes.

“Come here-” he says.

I throw my arms around his neck and he holds me at an angle, kissing the side of my throat and the back of my shoulder as he unfastens my bra.

I moan and tremble as the sound leaves my lips. His teeth nip at my shoulder as he straightens.

“There you go-” he whispers and I know that I am not the only one who is trembling as our naked chests meet.

My hand brushes down the curve of his shoulder. I cannot fight off the urge to press my ear against his chest and listen to his heartbeat for just a second, just like the good old days before-

I can feel him grow still and I wonder if his reluctance has wavered too. His hands take my face and I can feel his nose and his lips against my hair.

“Sid,” he breathes, his voice shaking. “Oh god, Sid-“

I know immediately that I was not clever or quick enough, that I've been caught.

My head tilts up to find his eyes staring back at me. His fingers brush against my cheek, taking hold of my face and I cannot resist kissing the inside of his hand too.

“Joe-”

It's almost as if we're gazing at each other with brand new eyes.

He only nods, his left hand moving to cradle the end of my spine as we both tumble back into the mattress. I watch with heavy lidded eyes as his fingers slide beneath the waistband of my underwear. He pulls them off, kissing my knee on the way down.

“You’re beautiful Sidney,” he says. “Beautiful and gorgeous and...”

I sink back deeper into the pillows. His name falls from my lips in a voice I haven’t heard in so long.

“Joe-“

He moves closer, his hands reaching for my ankles.

“Come here baby,” he whispers. “Spread your legs for me. Oh, there you go-“

I can hear the air stifle in his throat.

I watch as he takes me in. My thighs part a little more as he brings me closer and the heels of my feet meet the skin on the back of his legs.

I tense as he reaches for me, his fingers dipping between my legs, gently testing me and stretching me. My head falls back as his fingers sink into my wet skin.

“Jesus Christ-“ I whimper.

And then he is kissing me again. He slips one hand around my neck so that his face is so close to mine that I can feel his breath. He uses the other hand to move the hair out of my eyes. There is no way to hide this time. No more time for excuses or trying to make love in the dark because we can’t bear to look into each other’s eyes and see how bored and disconnected we’ve grown.

No more lies.

His lips find my throat. He’s holding me in place again so tightly against him that I suddenly feel terrified. I can't remember the last time I stared into his eyes like this. I haven’t looked at him- truly looked at him in such a long time.

The sadness clouded so much for too long and I know now that it was not my thoughts alone that they had robbed but my vision too.

I'd almost forgotten how beautiful he is.

He is hovering above me, holding most of his weight with his arms. I can feel the tips of his nipples brushing against my own, the lines on his stomach leaving dents in the softness of my belly.

My fingers bend, weaving circles around the bars of the headboard above us. Joe is pressing against me, his hips dipping and circling and though he is not inside, not yet- I can already feel my thoughts going to shreds.

I’m losing my mind.

I hook one leg higher over his waist and gently squeal as the fine trail of hair on his stomach and the hard denim of his jeans gently presses against my mound. My cheeks suddenly flood with heat.

“Fuck,” I groan. The word slips out before I can catch it. I’m helpless beneath the weight of him and he hasn’t even done anything.

“Baby,” he says. I’m surprised I can hear him through my muddled thoughts. It almost feels like I’m under water. “Baby,” he repeats. “Stop-“

The fingers on his left hand reach for mine, gently tugging them off of him.

“Sid, baby, look at me.”

An irritated noise leaves my throat as I lift my eyes up to meet his.

His body gently rumbles above me as he tries to hide his laughter.

“Look at me,” he says again. “Are you sure?”

I smile and reach one hand up to tuck a strand of hair behind his ear. My fingers splay out to cover his cheek, his ear, and his lips.

I nod.

He leans away from me, his hands swiftly unbuckling the belt of his jeans. I lick my lips as he steps out of his pants and underwear, leaving both on the floor.

The mattress dips as he surfaces again. He leans forward, his arms on either side of my shoulders. I can feel his hair brushing against my cheek as stares down at me.

The sheets rustle as my legs move to fit on either side of Joe’s hips. My breathing grows shallow. I can feel the heat of his skin as he grows harder against the inside of my thigh.

He presses his head against the curve of my neck, his nose flat against my skin and his lips at my ear.

“Please,” he says. He kisses my skin. “Please.

The nails on my right hand dig into the skin of his back, slowly racking a path of four rows to the curve where his spine meets his hips.

“Yes, Joe, fuck me please-”

His weight shifts. His mouth finds mine; he grows more forceful as his tongue deepens the kiss and I’m moaning as I lose myself to his lips. He hisses as my nails graze his back again.

“Sidney-”

He grabs the end of one of my legs and then uses his other hand to brace himself as he slides inside of me. The movement is so fast, so slick, that for a second I cannot find my voice. I can't even remember my name.

“Oh god, Joe-“

The grasp he has on me grows stronger as his hips pull back and then slam back in just as hard. My skin tingles as he thrusts harder.

There,” he says, his eyes opening to look at me. “See? That spot right there. It’s your favorite, isn’t it?”

I can only shake my head and lift a trembling hand to my eyes. I bite my lip.

“Don’t do that,” he says as he pushes himself back in again. He bends down quickly to press a kiss to my cheek and the side of my mouth. “Don’t hide your face, beautiful.”

“Okay,” I breathe and I can feel myself nodding. “Just don’t stop-“

The mattress creaks and the headboard groans as he begins to move. His grasp on my waist tightens and I can’t help but gasp a little as I arch back into his fingers.

“Harder-“ My voice almost fails me. “Joe, harder please-“

“I love the little sounds you make,” he says. I tremble harder as I feel his tongue brush against the hollow of my throat. “Did I ever tell you that?”

I’m suddenly aware of how hard my fingers are digging into his skin but I cannot do anything to loosen my hold. My hands clutch him closer, wanting him, loving him, needing to disappear into him.

“Fuck, baby-”

I open my eyes to look at him. Drops of water linger down his jaw and his cheeks are a soft shade of pink as he moves. I watch as the pleasure ripples through his features and his eyes roll back just a little.

My fingers reach up to touch his bottom lip before sweeping back his hair.

“God, you’re perfect,” I tell him, unable to help myself as the honesty rushes through me.

He smiles, his laughter soft as he opens his eyes.

“No, you are,” he tells me and our lips find each other again.

The realization hits me and my throat is heavy when he finally lets me go.

This is the last time I will ever see him like this.

For a brief second my mind wanders. I wonder who will take my place in this bed. Who will fall asleep with his arm around their shoulder and wake up next to him in the mornings? Will she twist her fingers through his hair the way I do? Will she know he loves kisses right below his jaw?

‘Like here,’ I think to myself as I press my lips against his soft skin. He groans and the sound is met with my own whimper as he thrusts harder.

It kills me to know someone else will learn.

The panic seeps into my movements. My legs tighten around his waist a little more after each thrust, my arms hug him just a little bit closer.

“It’s okay babygirl,” he soothes, suddenly aware of the change in me. “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

The grip he has on my hip worsens and I cling to him as he rolls us over so that I am on top now.

“I’m here,” he says, his lips gently pressing against the side of my cheek and throat. “I’m not going anywhere.”

I shiver as his hands move, gently squeezing my breasts and sliding down to fit along my hips.

I nod as my hands grip his thighs and I lean back.

“Fuck Joe, you feel so good-“

He nods too as his mouth finds mine again. His lips are more forceful now, more desperate.

“Move for me, sweetheart-“

I groan as my hips begin to thump against his lap.

“Oh shit- Sidney,” he moans. “Oh god, you’re so fucking beautiful-“

“Look at me,” I remind him. My hands reach around his shoulders, fingers grabbing the strands of hair at the back of his neck and tugging hard so that he has to straighten. He arches back, lips turned up and bruising mine again.

“I know baby,” he chuckles as he opens his eyes. “I know. I want to watch your face when you come too.”

I’m taken aback by his ability to read my thoughts so quickly and I know he can sense it too. He laughs as he leans forward.

“You’re so good Sidney,” he reminds me and my body flushes beneath the praise. And then his voice grows softer as he kisses my shoulder- “I’ve missed this.”

My arms wind around him, my wrists crossing behind his neck as I hold him to me. I can feel his wet hair against my cheek and the warmth of the palm of his hands as they slide down to softly pinch my nipples.

My breathing is shallow as the heat of our bodies flame harder. The ache inside of me worsens as I listen to Joe talk to me.

“You’re so good,” he whispers into my ear. “So tight- I can feel how wet you are.”

“Joe,” I gasp, my fingers threading through his hair again. “God-“

His fingers grip my hips, eyes flashing down to where we are both joined. His eyes are glassy when they finally find mine again.

“Are you close, baby?” he says. His eyebrows furrow as he moans again. “Tell me- Sid, talk to me. Tell me what you need.”

My hand loosens from its place against Joe’s neck. My fingers are trembling as I reach for one of his hands too and lower it to where his gaze shifted from.

I pull myself closer to him. I clutch his hand, my fingers aligning with his own. I gasp, gently softening against him as I pull our joined hands toward the inside of my thighs.

My nose brushes against the hair on his sideburns, my lips fall to his ear.

“Touch me Joe.”

His hips jerk. I can feel his breath against the hollow of my throat. It grows shakier as I feel his other hand dig into my waist.

I grit my teeth as his fingers roll over my clit.

“Don’t stop,” I gasp. “Please don’t stop Joe, please-“ The vary mention of his name aches as it leaves my lips. My body feels like it’s on fire.

“Never,” he promises.

I can feel him beneath me. His hips begin to shift off the mattress as he thrusts up, meeting every move I make with one of his own.

I can feel us both growing more desperate as our bodies continue to reconcile and we lose ourselves to the movements, to each other. There is only this room, this bed, us, me and him.

My skin burns where it meets his and tingles when his breath hits me.

“Come for me Sid,” he says. “Please-“

His fingers grasp the side of my throat and I’m staring into his eyes when it happens. I clutch him harder still, not wanting to lose him as I surrender to the spasms that begin to rake through me.

My vision goes red

“Joe!” I scream, and for that vary second my voice and my body are his and only his. “Fuck. Joe-“

His hands grasp me tightly as I continue to writhe against his lap. I’m only aware of his lips against my throat when I finally able to catch my breath.

His name only softens when my lips sink into his skin.

And then I feel us shift again.

"Oh god,” I whimper as my back hits the mattress.

Joe’s voice is deeper, rougher, as he continues to move. My fingers grip his skin as I try to push him in deeper, wanting to feel the weight of him as he finds his release too.

He pulls my legs tighter around his waist and sinks deeper inside of me.

“Yes. Yes. Joe-“

“Sidney,” he is panting, saying my name as it happens.

I clutch his shoulders and his hair with my hands as I feel him begin to tremble.

“Oh fuck, Sidney-“

I can feel myself come apart for him one more time as he meets his end too. The tiny knots inside of me are finally freed, the fire dimming as I listen to him pant against my skin and feel him softening inside of me.

“Baby,” he says.

He shivers. His arms slide beneath my shoulders as he lowers his face to my neck.

“Sidney,” he rasps, “Sidney-“

I press my lips against his ear and my fingers against the wet skin of his back. I hold him like that for a long while until I find myself suddenly laughing.

The sound catches Joe off guard. He is still breathing hard when he opens his eyes to look at me.

“What was that?”

“Okay, you were right,” I tell him. “I don’t think I ever faked it.”

I chuckle softly as his eyes soften and I kiss the side of his face- I can’t help myself.

“Really?” He beams.

“Not even once,” I vow. “I never had to.”

A smile slowly graces his face and then we are laughing- together- something we haven’t done in so long.

The sound only stifles when Joe shifts. My grasp on his shoulder gently tightens as our bodies finally separate and he slips out of me. He is quick to react, still smiling as he kisses my nose and cheeks.

I find enough strength to roll onto my side, my head hitting the pillow next to him.

For a second there are no words, just the panicked beating of my heart, our breaths slowing, and his hands. I swallow hard as he reaches for me, his hand draping the sheet over both of us. Both of his arms wind around my shoulders as he pulls me to his chest.

For too long we’ve spent too much time unable to look and touch, for too long we’ve used every word we could afford to try to hurt one another and now all I want is this. All I want in this moment is to disappear.

If it has to end let it end in quiet.

I’m so tired of screaming.

I shut my eyes and wait, wishing, and hold my breath.

We can’t hurt each other if we’re not moving, not breathing, not here.


I forgot to say out loud
How beautiful you really are to me
And I need you
I’m sorry

Pink, “Please Don’t Leave Me”



“Sid? Sid? Are you crying?”

His voice grows alarmed. He presses his fingers to the side of my cheek and turns my face towards his, gently shaking me.

“I’m sorry,” he says. His breath is soft; the apology spills over my shoulder blades. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. You’re like perfection and I should’ve been here. I should have reminded you every day, every single day-“

I sigh as I feel his fingers reach for my wrist.

“Stop-“

“And I don’t…I don’t hate you.”

“Joe…”

“Don’t-” he whispers. “Listen to me. I. Don’t. Hate. You. I could never-“

The palm of his hand slides down my cheek as I brush away from him. My eyes are filling with tears as I shrug away from his insistent fingers and kick my legs free of the sheets.

My fingers pat at the floor until I find my jeans. I push my arms through the sleeves of my shirt and it takes two hands to reach down and search for my shoes.

“One of us has to,” I say.

I quickly reach for my purse, eyes on the floor the entire time. I’m terrified of finding his reflection in the mirror or turning back and losing myself all over again.


I know that we'll meet again
Fate has a place and time
So you can get on with your life
I've got to be cruel to be kind

98 Degrees, “The Hardest Thing”



“I have to go,” I remind him. I can imagine the moving truck outside sitting in the driveway. It’s been there all day. Now everyone in the neighborhood will know too.

I watch as he moves. He pushes the sheets closer so he can straighten, his shoulders are still heaving as he sits up.

“You could stay,” he tells me. “You could have the bed. You could leave in the morning. It’s late-“

His head turns, eyes sweeping over the room to rest on the clock that’s still sitting next to a lamp on his side of the bed.

“I’ll get a head start,” I say. My knees have started to tremble. “I’ll be out of your way-“

He chuckles. “Don’t you get it, Sid? You were never in my way.”

I can’t find an answer. The panicked beating of my heart begins to make my ears throb. My eyes dart to the door and then I’m on my feet just as fast as I try to glide past Joe.

“I have to go-“

The bed sheets move with him as he slides to his knees. His arms latch onto my waist as I try to walk by the edge of the bed. He captures me all at once, both of his strong arms winding around my waist as he crushes his face to my stomach.

“Please,” he begs. “Please. Please stay, Sid. Forgive me-“

My lips are quivering as my eyes rise to the ceiling. I can’t stand this. I just can’t. My fingers are shaking as I brush them against his forehead.

“I do, Joe. I do. And you have to do the same for me but I-I have to go,” I insist, sniffling as I lean down to kiss the roots of his hair. “I-I have to go. I’ll get a head start. You're the best thing that ever happened to me. Okay? The very best-”

“Sid-”

I hug him gently -trying to ignore the trembling I can feel in his shoulders- and slide out of his reluctant arms.

His fingers tighten around my waist first, his grip worsening as his fingers slide down to my elbows until he only has my hands. I squeeze his too, gently lifting them to my face to kiss his knuckles. My tears fall to Joe’s skin and I can feel him begin to sob as he finally loses his grasp on me.


Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you say
Kind of turn themselves into blades
And the kind and courteous is a life I’ve heard
But it’s nice to say that we played in the dirt

Jason Mraz, “A Beautiful Mess”




“Sidney?”

I stop in the doorway when I hear him call my name. My nails are gripping the edge of the door frame as I turn back to look at him.

“W-would this,” he struggles. His face drops to his hands. “Would this have worked out if things were different?”

My hands slowly lower to the floor. The pain I can see staring back at me leaves me frozen. I don’t want to leave, I think. I can’t.

He’s always been like this; it was something his mother warned me about when we first met. He can be so painfully selfless, always stuck in the middle, always so willing to shoulder the blame.

“I…I don’t know Joe.”

It’s the truth.

“But you can’t do that. You can’t think like that…You can’t wonder about what could’ve been- At least we gave it a try. At least we were brave enough to give it a try, right?”

The air feels heavy. He sighs and it’s almost like I can taste the defeat on his tongue.

“Maybe…maybe somewhere else. Maybe we’ll be perfect in…in another life? Maybe if…I was normal.” He laughs bitterly at himself.

My lips are trembling so hard.

“Another time. Maybe another life?” he whispers.

I can see the hope filling his anxious eyes as he stares back at me.

I smile back.

“I’ll see you then,” I promise.

+++


Joe

Here comes goodbye
Here comes the last time
Here comes the start of every sleepless night
The first of every tear I’m gonna cry
Here comes the pain
Here comes me wishing things had never changed
And she was right here in my arms tonight
But here comes goodbye

Rascal Flatts, “Here Comes Goodbye”


The door shuts.

I stare at my hand, willing the warmth in it to go away. She's gone, I tell myself. She's gone and yet I can still feel her in my fingers and in my breath. I can feel her on every inch of my skin.

I stare at the inside of my palms, willing some kind of numbness to come to them but there is only silence.

The blanket falls to the ground first.

My back hits the wall and my hands tighten into fists as I slide down the length of it.

I sink down to the floor, the fabric pooling around me like water. My eyes tighten on the floor and I wait, wishing and hoping that the rug will tear, that the floorboards beneath me will crack and break and that this house will swallow me up and drown me so that I don’t have to know what it’s like to live in it without her.

I strike the wall with my elbow, punching it with the back of my arm again and again. The few photos and small paintings left tremble.

My chest tightens and my eyes shut but there is no relief.

I can't breathe.

I'm alone, I suddenly realize.

I'm alone.

I am so alone.


She’s out of my life
And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry
I don’t know whether to live or die

Michael Jackson, “She’s Out of My Life”



+++


Sidney

Last time I saw him, I packed up my things
And he smiled like the first time he told me his name
And we cried with each other, we spread the blame
For the parts that we couldn’t change

Pictures, dishes, and socks
It’s our whole life down to one box

Sugarland, “Already Gone”



The brave smile cracks as soon as I turn my back and shut the door.

I sigh as it clicks shut behind me. It takes another moment for my hand to drop from the handle of the door. My fingers are shaking as I finally let go.

I take a deep breath and force my feet to move down the hallway. The walls are bare now. There aren't any more paintings or awards and photographs. Those were the first things he took down.

The house looks completely different now even though there are still things here. There's the couch, the television, the fridge- all of his things. But looking at all of it now...It doesn't feel like a home anymore, not without my things sitting next to his.

I hesitate before I cross the threshold that leads into the kitchen. My foot hovers over the line where the carpet and the tile meet. My eyes are on the island in the middle of the kitchen. For a moment I stand there frozen, staring at the cardboard box sitting on top of it.

This is it. A weekend spent packing all of my things; everything from pictures, dishes, and socks has lead up to this. The finality of it makes my eyes sting. It feels like my entire life has been reduced to this one last box.

I hold my breath as I reach for it and press it close to my side as I use my other hand to turn off a light switch.

The rest of the house is now swallowed in darkness except for a tiny light hanging over the large oak table in the dining room.

This is the last thing I have to do.


It was the only place I'd ever known
Turned off the light on my way out the door
Everything we had, everything we had
Is no longer there

The Academy Is..., “Everything We Had”



My feet feel even heavier and walking the small distance to the table becomes difficult. I drag myself towards it with all of the energy I can muster and set the box down.

A pile of papers have been placed in the middle of the oak- the table is naked too. The candles, placemats, and vases were all mine. He kept the nice china. It was his mother's gift when the two of us first moved in here.

But it's not the papers that have grabbed my attention, not even the memories.

It's a photograph.

It is sitting next to the paper work in a large silver frame with curved edges. It looks simple and classic like this. Joe knows that I love old fashioned things. I know where it used to belong; it used to be in the hallway too.

Joe had a time line of pictures printed and framed. There were pictures on either side of the walls of both of us, alone as children and teenagers and then together as adults.

I remember him telling me that the time line worked because our lives had both led up to this one moment, this one photograph and that nothing in his life had mattered until meeting me and setting it all in stone.

The photograph is from my wedding day.

I sigh, my breath and fingers trembling as I trace a line around the edge of the frame. A small yellow post-it note has been stuck to the corner.

Keep it for the both of us. It was always my favorite.

Beneath a crookedly drawn heart is his name.

“Joe,” I whisper as I read it out loud.

Everyone said we were too young and now I know that maybe everyone was right.

I'm older, my hair is longer and my clothes are more fitted now. I have a few lines around my eyes now because I never sleep, and have anxious, tired, trembling hands. I can't remember the last time the two of us weren't walking on egg shells around each other.

What did he call it once? Broken glass. That's just it, broken, splintered pieces of glass on the floor beneath my feet and hands. There is nowhere to go and no way to avoid it. We bleed either way and we always, always find a way to hurt each other.

But there I am in the photo, forever young, frozen in the happiest day of my life.

I am all dressed in white, tendrils of hair styled and flowing down my back. My lacy veil is swimming down over my naked shoulders. I am not looking at the photographer and neither is Joe. Our fingers are twined together and his cheek is pressed against mine. He's whispering something, his lips against my ear and the loose curls in his hair are touching my cheek. I'm blushing.

To be loved
To be loved
What more could you ask for?

The Academy Is..., “About a Girl”


My hands are gripping the end of the dining table and I suddenly find myself smiling through tears because the world just feels so shattered. My feet are heavy, planted in the beginning and end of everything, absolutely everything.

I can still remember what he was whispering to me. The jokes to help me relax and promises of forever and days that he said I would never want to end. The whispers of reassurance, reminding me not to be afraid of the attention or the cameras or the glares and the applause.

I brush the back of my hand against my wet eyelids.

This feel like it has been the longest day of my life.

And I know now that Joe was right. I never hated him either, no, not at all, not even for a moment.

And maybe everyone was right then, maybe we were too young but I loved him so much. I love him just as much now. He was like perfection and I had found the boy of my dreams, a boy who by some miracle wanted me in the very same way- who wanted to keep me forever.

The boy made of my dreams...The boy made of perfection.

But he's a man now.

And I am his wife.

I lean towards the table in front of me, one arm resting on either side of the stack of papers. I stare down at the tiny black letters and my eyes crawl over each detailed sentence, examining each line and each staple.

Finally, finally- I reach for the pen in my back pocket and check the little boxes and sign my name away forever.

Away and away, because it will never be like this again.

Irreconcilable differences.

But wasn't marriage about working differences out?

My hands twine, a reflection of the picture as I reach for the ring on my left hand and slip it off my finger. I sigh, tears prickling my eyes as I gently place it down on the dining table next to the divorce papers.

I turn the yellow paper over to write my own note.

Good luck.

I have to fight back against my old habits and stop myself from writing 'I love you.'

I sniffle, trying to fight off the sobs that are threatening to ruin my composure. The tears fill my eyes and my hand scramble, blindly reaching for the box again.

The regrets are setting my throat on fire.


I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Cause I’ve got time while he got freedom
What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you?
I’m falling to pieces, yeah
I’m falling to pieces

The Script, “Breakeven”



My feet are clumsy as I stumble helplessly through the front door and into the rain.

If I were able to take any other memory with me it wouldn't be this.

But this...this is it.

This is the one Valentine's Day I will always remember.

The end of five years. The end of Joe and me.

Water is flooding the porch and the lawn. I throw the last box into the passenger seat next to me and fumble with my keys.

My hands are freezing as they take hold of the steering wheel and I stare numbly through the foggy wet windshield.

I can hear my dad's voice in my ear whispering sweet, kind words as he packed up his own truck in the very same way I did today.

It was sunny and his hands were on my shoulders.

“It’s only for a little while sweetheart, only for a little while. This isn’t you or your brother’s fault and it doesn’t mean we don’t love each other anymore.”

He kissed my forehead and then he was gone.

The car rumbles beneath my feet and my eyes water as I stare up at the house. The windows seem to tower above me and I can still see the light on upstairs. The curtains flutter and I know that Joe is watching me. For a moment I think I see him lift one hand up to the window to say goodbye.

I blink once and then he is gone.

The streets turn me inside out
Everything shines
But leaves me empty still
I’d burn this empty house down
If you’d run with me

The Goo Goo Dolls, “Stay With You”



I watch the house disappear in the rear view mirror. It fades slowly first, inching smaller and smaller as I drive further and further away.

I didn't believe my dad then but I do now. I can finally understand what he meant.

No, it really doesn't mean we don't love each other. The pain sears through my chest and into my trembling hands and I can't breathe. It's as if nothing in my life has ever felt more real. The pain is the only evidence of everything we had.

I love him. I love him with everything I have. Each inch that takes me away from the house, from him, feels like torture. The pain ripples through me. There is no escape.

I don't know if I will ever be brave enough to speak to him and I don't know if I will ever see him again. The uncertainty makes me shake harder. Some tiny part of me wants to find a way to keep him in my life, someway and somehow, but it is all too painful to think about right now.

I have to get out of here first.

I can't bare the idea of him sitting in that house- in that tomb- thinking the very same thoughts. I'll take the pain and his too. I love him enough to do it for us both.

I hate that there are no track marks, hate that there's no evidence to see how it got to this: divorce papers, two homes, losing Lily and living without him. How did it get to this? Why is there so much pain and not enough reason?

My cheeks are wet and the tears are merciless as I stare at each passing sign and sleeping house and bid goodbye to every mailbox, every garden, every neighbor, and every friend I made.

Suddenly even driving feels too difficult.


Did I say that I loathe you?
Did I say that I want to
Leave it all behind?
I can't take my mind off of you
I can't take my mind off you

Damien Rice, “The Blower’s Daughter”


I wince as I throw the steering wheel to the right. The tires skid to a stop as I pull over. My fingers are limp as I press my face against the steering wheel.

“I'm sorry Joe,” I whisper.

I let the pain take me under.

I'm sobbing as the rain continues its loud assault, crashing against metal and glass. Even as I crumble my mind cannot stop itself. The memories begin to reappear.

The first time he told me his name. The sound of his voice over coffee the first time I made him laugh. The way he looked sewn together in black and white as he waited for me at the end of an aisle adorned with yellow rose petals. An image of him with tears in his eyes and another of his smiling face. The first time we ever made love and this very last time.

I stare at the empty seat next to me and imagine his smiling face and deep, bright eyes.

I stare, fighting hard against the urge to blink, wanting the chance to keep his smile with me for at least a little bit longer.

“I'm sorry.”

I blink.

His smile fades. The memory flickers.

“And I hate this...”

The rain grows louder, drowning my words.

“God, I hate this part the most.”

I wipe my face with the back of my sleeve and gently push the key into the ignition again. The car rumbles back to life a moment later.

I find the exit for the freeway. It is dark and I'm headed to a city that is almost three hours from here. The sun will be up when I arrive.

I'm going to stay with my dad- I've always been a daddy's girl. I'll call him when I'm only a block away. The excitement shakes my feet.

He'll wait up for me- he already promised and he always keeps his promises. I can already imagine him greeting me; can already picture him standing in the doorway of his house. He's a tower next to me, a tower with a burly beard and large shoulders that are always squared. He even makes his house look small.

I'll run out of the moving truck and cross the distance of the driveway and I just know that he'll meet me halfway.

I'll collapse then and he will let me. He will catch me and my wet hair will stick to his shoulder and he'll hug me as tightly as he did on the day he said goodbye.

I've lost everything and my dad knows this. I need this time to be confused and hurt and crazy. I need some time to just be his little girl for a while.

I will disappear into his hug, absolutely disappear. I won't surface for days and weeks.

I know he will have cups of hot chocolate on the coffee table in his living room- he always does- and an extra room with my favorite quilt and a warm bed already waiting for me.

I won't surface for days, weeks.

I want to sleep until it doesn't hurt to wake up anymore.


It feels like I’m starting all over again
The last three years were just pretend
Goodbye to you
Goodbye to everything that I knew
You were the one I loved
The one thing that I tried to hold on to

Michelle Branch, “Goodbye to You”



I force the grip I have on the steering wheel to relax. I need the idea of time to go by faster so I flip the radio on. The drive will be over soon, I tell myself, and it won't matter that my thoughts are being reminded of everything I've lost.

I take a deep breath and sink back into the seat.

What happens when a fairy tale ends and the book closes? Do the edges fray? Do the pages fall? What happens to Cinderella?

I tell myself that I’m going to be okay.

Time will heal what it can and I will be fine. Okay. The prospect brings waves of relief. Not great, not perfect and maybe never as whole again but okay. I can deal with that.

I lived the life that most would envy. I had it good, for a few years I was great.

I rode in limousines and went to lavish parties dressed in expensive clothes. I was a princess with a palace and gifts. I fell in love and I was adored. I was married under a sunset and an arch of flowers to a wonderful man. We were amazing together and for a short, sweet amount of time we were perfect. I know what it’s like to create something out of that and to lose it.

I have lived.

I had the glitter and the gold to match.

There is no reason to mourn now that it’s gone or because the glitter turned to ash too quickly.

After all, it’s true what they say.

I wrench my fingers off of the steering wheel and wipe the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand.

It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.


And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be
Goodbye my lover
Goodbye my friend
You have been the one
You have been the one for me

James Blunt, "Goodbye My Lover"


+++


Hello again!

So...sequel? Stand alone? Let me know what you think! :D


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😼: doris dayplaycrackthesky on April 25th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Love this so much.
I think there should be a sequel, one where they reconnect. Joe realizes he was wrong'
Idk but I'm glad you're back