The Junction
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The Junction

The Reunion, Part 15

Photo by Mattias Abulu on Unsplash

It was easy to turn off her mind and let her body flow into the space where it belonged. Against him. Next to his body and all of its pieces and parts that fit so perfectly with hers.

She’d forgotten how it felt to be comfortable in her own skin. As he peeled away her clothes she realized none of those things mattered when you’re where you’re meant to be, with the person you’re meant to be with.

Standing next to him, wrapped in his arms, one hand in her hair, he kissed her. Leaning down, he brushed his lips across hers before moving on to kiss her cheeks, her eyes, her forehead, every kiss lingering a little longer than the last.

She let him move her head, she let him hold her up as her knees went weak. She let his mouth hover over hers and welcomed his breath into her lungs.

She let his lips find hers and opened her mouth to his searching tongue. Her hands moved up his arms and around his neck where she clung to him.

Jim picked her up and carried her to the bed, where he laid her down and then settled in next to her. Pulling their bodies close, he put his face into her neck and breathed her in.

“I’ve missed you. The way you smell,” he murmured. His lips tickled her neck.

Karen shrugged her shoulder pushing his face away and giggled. “I’m still ticklish.”

Jim chuckled too, “I remember,” he pushed his thumb into her belly next to her hip bone and she jumped, then laughed. “Number 4?”

“Oh my God, the stupid games we used to play.”

“I didn’t think they were so stupid.” Jim kissed her again and pulled her closer.

Karen wrapped her leg over his hip, opening herself to him. He pushed against her and she arched her back, oh god I’m going to go crazy ….

She pulled him over, rolling him on top of her, and reached down to guide him to where she needed him to be.

Jim didn’t stop her. Plunging into her, they both let out soft cries, pausing before they began to move together in a rhythm they knew was theirs alone.

Karen took her phone into the bathroom with her, surprised when she saw the time.

They’d been locked away in her hotel room for nearly two and a half hours. And every second very well used, she smiled.

After using the toilet, she studied herself in the mirror as she washed her hands. She pulled her comb from her overnight bag and smoothed her hair. Then she used a makeup remover cloth to wipe away all of her makeup, even removing the false eyelashes she’d taken so much time to put on just this morning.

She noticed the spray tan was fading, her bathing suit lines were beginning to show again. For a moment she thought about the community pool where she swam three days a week and wondered how her swim buddies would react if she showed up in a bikini.

Karen shook her head. It was strange for her to think of having such marks on her skin. It was something that didn’t happen to her mother because she’d been so dark.

Stepping back from the vanity mirror, she studied her curves. Even before having the cell shrinking procedure, she’d not been terribly out of shape. But the results were satisfying, giving her core more definition and herself a much-needed confidence boost.

And not just for the reunion, she reminded herself. After this, she’d promised herself she’d stop living in the past. She would start working on how she was going to spend the rest of her life, and, she wasn’t going to do it alone. This would be the year she’d find that person, …

Karen’s thoughts shifted to Jim. She peeked out of the bathroom door and saw him laying in the bed, his arms tucked behind his head and staring up at the ceiling.

Everything happens for a reason. Thoughts began to tumble through her head, bits of conversations held in the deepest of confidence. Receiving the invitation to the Reunion just after finding the boxes …

And now Jim.

He was a beautiful site to admire. Her eyes traveled the length of his body, every bulge, every muscle. Karen sighed and stepped back into the bathroom. She stared into her own eyes, so many questions. So many things to tell him. So many things he might not understand.

She sighed again, this time her sigh wasn’t the one of a satisfied woman. This time it was from the sadness within her.

For all the things she would not experience, for reasons outside of her control. She’d questioned God too many times already, there was no more she could ask, and, she knew, the answers were always too slow in coming.

Like why couldn’t she and Jim be in love? Why wouldn’t people be okay with it, with them? If she had told him, given him the chance, would he have come with her and told his family this was how he was going to live his life? Would they have given up on their fears and welcomed her into their family as Jim had been welcomed into hers?

Karen shook her head. She’d learned the answers to those questions. That wasn’t meant to be her life. She was living the life she was meant to. Things happen, bad things, and sometimes we never get to know why, why bad things happen. Why her mother died. Why her father died. Why her brother died. Or why she escaped.

This was her journey. She was meant to be the one to tell their stories, to make sure they weren’t forgotten.

She was the one who would tell the truth. She would make sure people were held accountable, for what they’d done to her family, to her.

“Hey baby, what are you doing in there?” Jim asked. She heard him get up. Karen stepped out of the bathroom and he met her at the foot of the bed, sweeping her into a hug.

He planted several kissed on her face before putting her down and moving past her into the bathroom. “What time is it?” He asked as he lifted the lid and began peeing.

Karen didn’t turn away, instead watching as he stood in front of the toilet. She didn’t want to miss a second of him, it didn’t matter what he was doing.

He turned and smiled at her, then reached over and flushed the toilet. He shook his head, “um, that was kind of,…”

Karen interrupted him, “sorry, I wasn’t really thinking, I, …” she paused, then blurted out, “I just want to watch you, everything you do. I, …” she stammered again, shaking her head, “I missed you a lot too. I don’t want to forget you.”

Jim washed his hands then flicked water at her. “Forget me?” He reached over and wrapped his wet hands around her arms, pulling her close. Wrapping their arms around each other, he told her, “that’s never going to happen. I’ll never let that happen.”

Karen felt the urge to tell him everything. She bit her lips to keep the words from falling out of her mouth. She didn’t know if he could be as understanding as Jasmine had been.

“I mean it, baby,” Jim continued. “Let’s not lose this again. You’re here. You’re back. You should stay.”

Karen didn’t push herself away, her first instinct. Staying close, she tightened her arms around him and turned her head to place her chin on his chest so she could look up at him.

“That’s a bit much.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re just assuming I have no life where I’m at. Or that it’s a life I can just walk away from.”

He didn’t answer, so she offered, “why don’t you come home with me.”

She could tell he wanted to scoff at her offer, but to his credit, he didn’t. They both saw they were getting close to some thin ice and neither wanted to get into an argument. One so similar to something they’d had decades ago. Whose dreams were more important — hers, or his?

“How about this,” Karen started. “Thinking back I realize now we didn’t offer each other a compromise. It was going to be your way or my way then. It doesn’t have to be like that now.”

Karen moved her head so she could kiss his chest, his soft hairs tickled her lips and she breathed him in. His scent was something she still dreamed of.

“How about we agree to discuss this at a later date. Jim -” she reached up to cup his face in the palm of her hand and nodded, “we can make this work. If we want to.”

Jim turned his lips into her hand and covered it with his. “I want that.”

“Okay then.” Karen smiled and he leaned over to kiss her. Her arms went around his neck and she returned his kiss.

Feeling their passions rising again, Jim picked her up and carried her to the bed.

“We’ll be late!” Karen protested and laughed as he laid her down.

“I. Don’t. Care.”

And neither did she.

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