Blood on the lips
W. K. Hayes
Chapter One: Blood on the lips
The soft gentle hair of his love fell over her bare shoulder as she leaned down to kiss him with a softly spoken, “Good morning.”
As he came to life from the world of dreams, he realized how close she had been to him and that she was still in reach of his strong hands. Quickly, he reached for her to pull her back into his arms as the covers slid down to reveal his bare chest.
“You’re not getting away that easily,” he warned her, with a smile that had always touched her in the deepest of places.
“Who says I want to get away,” she quickly replied, as she smiled causing his heart to stand still for a brief moment.
“You were trying,” he answered her with small laugh.
“Well, I have to get ready for work,” she reminded him.
He knew, in that moment, that he should let go of her so she could get ready for her workday but his arms failed to hear the thoughts of his mind. Feeling the warmth of her body lying on top of his, made him crave her even more.
“Do you have to go in,” he asked and quickly teased, “I have something underneath the covers…just for you.”
As she forced herself to stand up, she told him, “I’m sure you do but it will have to wait until this evening.”
“Just five minutes,” he pleaded.
“Maybe for you…but what about me,” she joked as she started rounding up her clothes for work.
“I was talking about you,” he kidded her as he slipped out of bed and into his pajamas.
“No,” she scolded him as though she were teaching a puppy a new lesson.
“Fine,” he grumbled, playfully before adding, “But, when you get back home…it’s on”.
“I’ll consider myself warned”, she said, before kissing him on the cheek and heading off into the shower.
His inability to resist her was, equally matched by his strong will to make her smile. That smile, which had captured his heart for life. Quickly, he made sure she had gone into the bathroom and closed the door.
With the coast being clear, he quickly grabbed a rose form the dozen he had surprised her with the night before and hopped on the couch. With his legs drown up and his knees spread apart, he quickly stuck the rose in his mouth and cursed the thorns.
“Ouch,” he muttered softly to himself, as he started scrambling to break the thorns off before returning the cleared section of the stem to his deep red lips or was it blood. Then, he sat there patiently waiting for her to come out at any given moment as he attempted to look passionately dashing for her.
A lifetime seemed to pass before she finally came out of the bathroom, still adjusting her clothes when she looked up and saw him there on the couch with the rose in his mouth.
Giggling, she told him, “Save it for tonight, Romeo.”
Quickly, he whipped the rose out of his mouth and told her, “But, my love…I picked this rose for you with my teeth. A thousand miles across the burning sands of the Sahara, have I carried it to lie before thee, my soul mate?”
Still giggling, she simply told him, “You must have lost a button in the desert because you’re hanging out in the front.” Sure enough, he was lying there exposed for the entire world to see.
“You know you want to,” he quickly replied with a cheesy nightclub, grin.
“You know I want to, too and you’re not being fair,” she pouted.
Quickly, he stood up, handed her the rose and told her softly, “Take this rose with you, and return it to me with a kiss.”
She grabbed the rose, as they stood by the front door, when she started to kiss him and realized he had hurt his lips.
“Oh, honey,” she said with a sound of deep concern. “Your lip’s bleeding.”
`“The hazards of being in love,” he replied with a smile. “I love you so much,” he told her with a hug.
“I love you too,” she replied as she kissed his hurt lips.
“What about the blood,” he questioned, surprised by her actions.
“You’re blood has been beating in my heart ever since the day I met you”, she told him with a smile.
Quickly, she kissed him again and rushed out the door of their humble home as he watched her from the doorway. When had knew she was safely in her car, he slowly closed the door with a sigh. She would be gone for nine hours if not longer, leaving him to his own work as a writer.
He looked around the house as he thought of how much her love meant to him and how long the day would be without her there. Saddened by the thought, he headed to kitchen to make some coffee, only to find she had it waiting for him with a note that read: “Always one step ahead of you,” with a smiley face and a heart.
He kissed the note and held it gently as he grabbed the coffee and headed to his favorite corner of the couch. As he sat down, he had turned to put his coffee on the table when he found a glass of sweet tea, a soda with straw and a second note that read: “I thought you might want these too encase you get on a roll and don’t want to stop, love ya”.
`He smiled as he kissed the second note and laid it with the other one, beside him in the empty seat. His laptop sat on the coffee table, quietly resting form the night before. He picked it up and laid it on his knees but when he opened it, he found a third note that read:
My love, I have a long lunch break today…be ready when I get there, tiger.
A huge smile crossed his face as he kissed that note, twice. Quickly, he laid his laptop back on the coffee table and began to scheme of ways to, ‘be ready’. Normally, she got an hour for lunch but with them living twenty minutes from her work, it was rare that she ever came home and he was excited.
Quickly, he dashed into the bedroom and grabbed up some clothes to wear. Out of the bedroom, he raced as he caught a quick glance of the clock. He still had three and half-hours to go before she would get home.
Dropping his clothes on the bathroom sink, he quickly stripped and jumped into the shower. Afterward, he dried quickly, rubbed on some deodorant, and sprayed himself down in the body spray she preferred most.
Thanks to advent of the electric razor, he was able to quickly shave and get dressed before embarking on his first step towards, ‘The Plan’.
His choice of clothes consisted of a black t-shirt covered with a red flannel, a pair of jeans, and his well-worn sneakers. With a quick dash of cologne on his face, he headed for the door where he found his coat and slid into it. Having done so, he heard the noise of a piece of paper in his pocket.
Quickly, he grabbed up his keys and headed out the door while retracting the note that read: “Honey, if you’re planning on cooking dinner as a surprise, I am so craving your homemade pizza.” He started laughing, gingerly and kissed the fourth note of the day before placing the note in his inside coat pocket, next to his heart.
His little car was a bit of a rattletrap but he kept it running good with his limited mechanical skills. Even then, rust around the bottom of the car had caused the red paint to begin flaking, badly.
Quickly, he hopped into the car and fumbled around to get the key and the ignition in the same place. The chilly morning made for shaky hands from shivering relentless. Finally, he was able to steady himself enough to get the key in the ignition before trying to start the car that resisted.
With the grinding noise of old metal, he sat there and listened to the engine demy his request in turning the key.
“Come on, baby…I’ve got a hot date,” he pleaded, while trying to coax the car with sweet talk, to no avail. He sat back for a minute while adjusting his long legs and gave the engine a minute to brace itself before it took a cussing of a lifetime. “I’ll buy you gas”, he joked, in an attempt to bribe the spirit of the car he had affectionately named, Bessie.
He tried starting the car again and this time, it started. With a happy smile, he strapped on his seat belt and told the car, “You just earned yourself a full tank of gas.” Backing out of the driveway, he hit the road on his way to the grocery store to get everything he would need.
The ride to the store seemed to take forever. Surprised by the heavy volume of cars on the road, he cursed them all by saying, “Don’t you people have jobs!”
To make matters worse, he hit every single red light he came up on before, finally reaching the gas station to keep his promise to Bessie. Living in the remote area of the mountains, one could still pump their gas before paying.
As he stood there, pumping the gas some tourists on the other side of the pump recognized him.
A woman, perhaps in her mid-forties, asked, “Aren’t you that writer…” she topped for second to think of the writer’s name, and asked her husband, “What his name honey?”
The husband, seemingly less enthusiastic told her, “You’re the reader in the family.”
With his sly sense of humor, Keith replied, “I could be that writer but chances are, I’m just this writer.”
“It is you”, she chimed. “I’ve read so many of your articles and I love your poetry.”
“Thank you”, he replied with a grin.
Her husband became jealous of his wife’s reaction as asked Keith, “If you’re a famous writer, why the old car?”
Keith looked down at Bessie before looking back at the man, and told him, “For the same reason I wear my old sneakers…we’re used to each other.”
The woman simply smiled as the man grunted form Keith getting the best of him. Still, it was an honest answer.
The woman started digging in her travel pack and retracted a book as Keith finished pumping his gas while, rolling around in his mind the lunch date and what he would need for it.
With pen in hand, she ran up to him and asked, “Can I have your autograph?”
“Sure”, Keith replied as he reached past her and hung the pump back up. Quickly, he brushed of his hands and started to take the book and pen.
As she handed it to him, she whispered, “You’ve warmed up quite a few of my nights.”
Keith could not help but blush and a wave of intense awkwardness rushed through him. All he could think to say was, “So, who should I make this out to?”
“Darla,” she replied and quickly added, “Write something romantic!”
`At first, he was going to write, ‘Thank you for enjoying my gift to you and the world’, but she had caught him off guard, causing him to rethink what he should write and how to write it without seeming too personal.
Finally, he decided on, ‘To Darla, I hope my work continues to bring you warmth in the cold of nights, W.K. Hayes.’
He handed the pen and book, back to her and headed towards the store to pay for his gas. When he got inside, he recognized the young woman working behind the counter and waved a friendly hello.
“Another autograph,” she teased him, implying she had seen the encounter.
An older scruffy-looking man, unfamiliar with Keith’s work, asked, “Autograph, are you someone famous?”
“He’s a writer,” the girl behind the counter replied.
Keith simply smiled at her and the older man, and headed back to the drink machine to grab himself a large soda. The fountain machine was also slow to pour but Keith always liked that charm about it as if it reflected the pace of the town where he lives.
Suddenly, Darla appeared next to him and asked, “What is like being a writer?”
Keith looked at her with a smile, and answered, “I am in love with writing as I am my dream girl.”
“Oh,” she replied with a look of disappointment before adding, “She sure is one lucky woman to have you.”
“I keep trying to tell her,” Keith jokingly, replied.
Darla smiled and told him, “I really do love reading what you write.”
Keith looked at the soda his was pouring and topped it off, before telling her, “I have several new books coming out this year, including a romantic comedy you might enjoy.”
“Really,” she exclaimed and asked, “What’s the title going to be?”
Until then, Keith had not thought of title and never really bothered with one until the book was nearly finished. This also left him in a quandary. If he made up a title and told her, he would have to remember that title and use it to keep things honest. On the other side of the coin, if he told he had yet to decide on one, he risked losing a book sell.
` Finally, he decided on a title and told her, “Blood on the lips.”
“Blood on the lips,” she asked as though the title was less than appealing.
“Yea, I was trying to be romantic this morning, grabbed a rose and stuck it in my mouth only to get a mouth full of thorns”, he admitted to her.
“Yea…she’s one lucky woman”, Darla mused. She sighed softly and, realizing she needed to go, she told him, “Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I’m really glad you’re not uppity like most famous people.”
“My pleasure,” Keith told her with a smile as he grabbed a lid for his soda and a straw.
After a he had what he had come for, he headed to the counter where the older man and the young woman, Rhonda, were talking about some people they knew around town.
“Hey Nancy”, Keith said to the cashier as he placed his soda down and smiled. “So, what’s the damage?”
Nancy checked the total on the gas and added that total, to the cost of the soda, and told him, “That will be twenty-two-thirteen.”
Keith grabbed out his old leather wallet and pulled out two twenties to pay her.
“What…no fancy credit card,” the scruffy mountain man asked, teasingly.
Keith had heard that question before and used the same answer, “Nope…my girl doesn’t allow me to have them.”
“She’s got you whipped, huh,” the old man joked.
“Barney,” Nancy said, as she shot a look to behave himself.
Keith simply smiled and told the old, “The only time she whips me is when I ask her to.”
As Nancy giggled, Keith grabbed his change and soda, smiled at the old man, one more time, and headed on out the door.
After he done, Keith had his gas, his soda and was ready to get to the store to pick up something for lunch and the pizza supplies for dinner.
He started around the back of the car when he realized that he had forgotten to replace the gas cap on the tank. Carefully he sat his drink on the trunk of the car and started to pick up the gas cap when it, fell the ground.
As he bent down to pick it up, he heard a woman whistle at him from behind and quickly stood up to see who it was. Walking towards him was a middle-aged, blonde woman he had known for years and had been good friends with during that time.
“Hey Karen, how are you today”, Keith asked her as he fumbled around with the gas cap before getting it to screw back into place.
` “Pretty good…what are you up to, today,” she asked him with a smile.
“I’m trying my best to get to the store to round up some stuff for a romantic lunch,” Keith replied as he grabbed his soda. “How have you been?”
“Pretty good…and, why do you spoil her so much,” Karen asked, jealously.
“She’s good to me and I enjoy it,” Keith replied, honestly while reaffirming that his heart is with his woman at home.
Karen simply smiled and told him, “Well, if you ever get bored with her…you know where to find me.”
“That I do…” he told her as he started heading to the other side of the car and climbed in before adding, “…swimming in the gutter.”
He sat his drink down in the holder and started Bessie up before putting on his seatbelt.
The drive to the store seemed to go a lot more smoothly then the drive to the gas station. Even the lights were changing at just the right times as he drove along.
Another chill encouraged him to turn the heat before grabbing his soda and sucking on the straw. The ice-cold soda hit his teeth that acknowledged his need for a visit to the dentist.
“Oh, that smarts,” he remarked as he sat the soda back down and grabbed his face. “Not know teeth…I’ve got a hot date”, he pleaded. After convincing him to stop thinking about the pain that just shot through his mouth, he pulled up at a light and stopped.
A couple sitting in the car ahead of him was bickering with one another. Disappointed by the anger he saw versus the love he should have seen, he flipped on the radio and hit play.
One of his favorite groups came to life in the car as he took one last look at the couple and opted for looking out his window, instead. He thought about that morning and how she had kissed his lips when a horn blew behind him.
Quickly, he looked up and saw the bickering couple driving off, double-checked the light and followed suit. Even then, his thoughts of her kiss lingered strongly as he sighed with a smile.
` “Next stop, the grocery store,” he told himself, ever eager to do anything to make her happy.
Blood on the lips
- Blood on the lips: Chapter Two
Keith finally made it to the grocery store. After his adventure at the gas station, he sincerely hoped he could go in, get his list filled and get out without any unwanted advances or events, like before....