She looked so small, so vulnerable and so young standing in the foyer, eye makeup smeared and her mascara in dark tendrils down her pale cheeks. He held out his hand to her. She walked slowly over to sit on the side of his chair, curling up next to him, her tiny frame hardly taking up any room. Deacon put his arm around her. He let her cry, until her sobbing eased and her sniffles dwindled to nothing. He thought she had dozed off, but he saw her eyes were open.
“You look like him, you sound like him, you even wear the same cologne he wore! How can you? How dare you?” She pounded him on the chest for a moment, then stopped, exhausted by her grief.
Deacon sensed this was a turning point for her, an epiphany of sorts, and the next step in dealing with her grief. He tolerated the torrent of her tears and blows stoically.
“Why is he dead and you’re still alive? Do you know what torment it is to look at you and hear him, to see his expressions cross your face? Do you know…?” Her voice got very quiet, almost a whisper. “Do you know how very much I want to kiss you, to hold you, and have you make love to me? But not because of you, Deacon, because of him! He’s dead. He’s dead! And nothing will ever bring him back! It’s like looking into the face of a ghost!”
“Kacy, I’m sorry he’s gone, and I wish I weren’t a constant reminder to you. I can’t change that. But if you need a friend, I’m here.” He held his arms out from his sides.
“Even as horrid as I’ve been to you, you can still say that?”
He nodded, reaching out to stroke her hair. She lunged at him, shoving against his chest with both hands. For so small a woman, she was amazingly strong. Deacon’s breath was forced from his chest in a puff.
“Oh, bother men anyway!” she sobbed, clutching his shirt in both hands, burying her face in the fabric.
He held her, patting her shoulder making soft, comforting noises. None of what he said made any real sense, but it became a litany of empathy. Quite some time passed, but Deacon didn’t look at the clock. He was certain she had dozed off this time. He shifted around to try and lift her to carry her to bed. She snuggled next to him, her chin resting in the crook of his shoulder, as he lifted her and hobbled to her room.
He turned the knob with difficulty and set her gently on the bed. Pulling down the cover, he laid it across her and took her shoes off. He moved as quietly as he could to the door, but tripped over something on the floor, losing his balance and falling rather heavily to his knees. She startled awake with a cry like a wounded bird.
He stood with difficulty, limping back to the bed. She looked up at him, her face pale in the dark room.
“No, Kacy, it’s Deacon.” He sat heavily on the edge of the bed, no longer able to stand.
“I had such a lovely dream that he was alive! I’m such a bloody fool!”
She clung to him again, but this time she drew his face to hers, pressing her lips to his in a passion, born of her grief. He didn’t want to respond to her touch, but her hands and lips were so compelling, he found himself following her lead.
What am I doing? he asked himself, but it was too late to stop. He was caught in a whirlwind of lust and grief wondering, if he would ever escape. Mentally berating himself, he made passionate love to another man’s wife.
Deacon woke with a feeling of displacement, and realized it was because he wasn’t in his own room, in his own bed, but across the hall lying naked next to Kacy. He started to sit up, but the stabbing pain in his leg made him gasp and bite his lip. Trying not to make any noise, he levered himself up, pressing his lips together against the groan that fought to escape. Softly scolding himself, he looked at the devastation they had made of the bed.
Shit! he yelled in his mind, reprimanding himself. Shit! I took advantage of a grieving widow. That’s about as low as any man can fall. He felt like a snake and a liar, and all kinds of vile things, which he called himself, lecturing severely.
Too bad none of these things had occurred to him last night. Maybe he would have kept it in his pants, and not slept with his co-worker! The fact that she had initiated it, he didn’t take into account, as she couldn’t really be held responsible. He could. He should have controlled himself. He realized, that even when she was angry at him, he’d wanted to do just what he’d done. He hadn’t stopped himself, because he wanted her, and was flattered that she wanted him. Even if it was just because he looked like her dead husband.
“God, I’m an asshole,” he whispered, looking for his boxers.
He felt her turn over on the other side of the bed, her hand on his back, tracing the same erotic circles she had done last night. His body responded against his will.
He turned around, facing her, a pained expression on his face which she misunderstood.
“Is your leg all right? I guess we kind of over did it a bit….”
“No, the leg is fine, Kacy.” His smile was less strained, but there was pain and embarrassment in his eyes. “I just—Don’t you think….” He had no idea what he was trying to say or how he was going to say what was on his mind.
“You think our being together was a bad idea?”
“Yes, well…not really, but….”
©2021 Dellani Oakes