The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Part 5

Previously: Part 4, At home in Ohio [A]

From Ohio, you take the I-44 West through Missouri (lots of trees and woods and forests, including the Mark Twain National Forest). In Oklahoma, it becomes the I-40 and takes you through a well-known city in Texas before you end up in New Mexico.

The road Spencer’s on in this chapter is, indeed, the way to Amarillo.

Rated: X.

* * * * *

The I-44, Missouri

I have to head to New Mexico tomorrow morning. The wedding is over and Glen and Susie have departed for a lovely honeymoon in Mauritius. Is it awful that I had to look that up in the atlas? It’s in the Indian Ocean and I never knew it existed. I feel a bit guilty about that.

I still have today, though. I thought I’d stick around. I see my family so rarely these days. Clay has already headed off. Too much time away from the library and he gets all antsy. It’s kind of funny. I swear to God, the only woman he’ll ever marry will be a librarian. Well, hell, it could be a sexy librarian. They do exist.

I’m so off-track here. I do that. It’s funny. I’ve been doing that all my life: heading off on tangents and letting my mind wander. I’m a good student, always have been, but I do tend to daydream. This pursuit, this chase of Ashley, this is the most focused I’ve ever been. I surprise myself because I could have sworn I’d have given up by now, but, no, I haven’t. I’m still going and the more I move, the hungrier I get.

I think I should be worried. Am I putting all my eggs in one basket? Am I chasing Ashley or a vision of my own happiness?

Oh, so tangential AGAIN! Sheesh!

So, I’m sticking around Ohio for another day. It’s not often I have my parents to myself, so I plan on enjoying it.

My mother can be a bit intense at times. It’s taken us a long time to get our relationship back on some kind of safe track. There were so many upheavals that I thought for a time I’d lost her forever. We have a kind of truce now. She doesn’t really understand a lot of things about me, but she loves me and she makes sure I know it.

My dad, on the other hand, is adorable. He always has been and always will be. I’m really looking forward to spending time with him today. He’s the one who’s the most supportive of my relationship with Ashley and of my current quest. He’s the one who always helps me out, the one who sends me money on the sly when my mother isn’t looking. I adore him for so many more reasons than that but, yeah, that’s my dad.

I can hear him inside now, making lunch in the kitchen. It’s where he’s truly happy. I swear, he could have been a chef, but he’s so good at being a social worker that he would have missed his true calling if he’d pursued cooking.

I’m sitting on the front porch steps, hugging my knees and watching the Ohio sky. There are birds in the branches, twittering to each other and carrying food.

I don’t know if I can stand all this cheerfulness. It’s starting to get me down, mostly because I feel like I should be part of it. I want to be part of it. What if I’ve gotten all emo? What if I actually enjoy the pain of not having Ashley, of always being one step behind? I was happy last night at the wedding, but not completely. What if I’m looking for happiness and, when I find what I think is it, I turn out to be wrong?

But I can’t stop looking for Ashley. I need to find her. I just have no idea how I’m going to react when I do.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

In my panicked thinking, I failed to hear my father emerge from the kitchen and sit next to me. I smile at his presence, leaning my head on his shoulder.

“I’m not sure they’re worth that much, Dad.”

“Oh, now, they looked pretty deep.”

“Yeah. Doesn’t mean they’re worth anything,” I sigh again.

“They might be worth getting out.”

That’s my dad, the social worker: always on the job, always caring. He just never stops.

“Why am I doing this, Dad?”

The silence, punctuated only by those damn cheerful birds, makes me realise he’s thinking hard about this one. I suspect he’s been thinking about it all along since I started.

“I think that’s a question only you can answer, Spencer.”

“I know.” I inhale his aftershave. “I want to find her so badly and I know that I can’t give up because I’ll never stop thinking about it. I just don’t know what I want when I get there.”

“How can you know until you get there?”

That’s some pretty good wisdom, I think.

“I guess I can’t.”

“Is there anything else I can help with?” he asks. “Any other of life’s mysteries you want solved?”

“What ever happened to the Marie Celeste?”

He chuckles. “Now, that one, I can’t answer.” There’s another moment’s silence, of contemplation. “You up for some cookies?”

“Home-made, Dad-style cookies?” I sound hopeful.

“But, of course. I think there might even be some choc chip ice-cream.”

“You know the way to my heart,” I grin. Which is through my stomach, it turns out.

Well, that, and through Ashley.

* * *

Yeah, we got grounded after that first Monday. We made up some excuse about her being upset over, I don’t know, something that must have sounded reasonable. And I apparently was so worried that I needed to skip school to make sure she was okay. We were both in trouble, me more so than her because my parents actually gave a damn.

Still, our grades had improved since we’d started studying together, so our parents were fairly easily convinced to let us keep doing that much, at least. Only we had to do it in the dining room at my house so that we were under ‘supervision’. Given that all I wanted to do was take her upstairs, press her down into my bed and kiss the hell out of her, it was a little frustrating.

Two weeks of stolen kisses at school, in my room and hers, and of trying not to be caught passed before we were informed that we were no longer grounded, so long as we promised never to be so stupid again.

I can’t actually remember what our first impulse was, probably to go kiss. It was bliss, pure and unadulterated bliss.

I loved her mouth, her lips. I loved the feel of her hand in my hair, on my neck, on my skin. We were relatively new to everything. I know she’d fooled around a bit with some people but we were still both pretty inexperienced, so we were learning our way together and with each other.

We discovered the little things, like me finding out that, if I ran my fingers lightly across the side of her ribs down to her hip, even over her clothes, it made her shudder and gasp. It made her do it even more so if I did it under her clothes. And she found out that when she bit down gently on the skin where my neck met my shoulder it caused a literal knee-jerk reaction. And when that knee sort of slammed between hers, we gasped together.

We weren’t ready to go all the way, you know. We just weren’t. I was too young, too scared and too new to all of it to just rush in. On the other hand, Ashley and I couldn’t keep our hands off each other when we were alone. Time that used to be spent talking, watching TV, listening to music – or, more accurately, fighting over what music to listen to – seemed to slowly morph into make-out time.

I’d go to bed dreaming of her. I’d wake up thinking of her. In the few classes we didn’t share, I had to fight to concentrate and, in those classes we did share, she had to nudge me so I’d concentrate. We sort of had a deal going anyway. I’d take notes in class because I was better at it, and she’d help me with math because I was lousy at it. I guess I had to find something in me to keep my concentration on track because there was no way we could let our grades drop.

Ashley and I discussed it. Well, we discussed it when we got around to actually talking about what was going on between us. I remember the conversation because it was something a person could never forget.

Lying on her bed – we mostly seemed to be at her house because it was always empty – I had my head on her shoulder, her arm around me. I loved the way her fingers trailed up and down my shoulder, and I loved the way she smelled. We had been, of course, making out and then talking and then making out and then laughing and then… Well, you get the idea.

“You’re so warm,” I whispered.

“Too warm?”

“No, just perfect.”

The fingers of one hand were entwined in mine, the others making shapes on my back. I shuffled a bit closer which was almost impossible.

“Spence?”

“Mmm?”

“What are we?”

Oh shit, THAT conversation. I kind of wimped out.

“Spencer and Ashley.”

“Yeah, I know that, goofball.” She smiled, so at least the conversation wasn’t completely tense. “But are we… something?”

“I don’t want you to kiss anyone else,” I said with conviction.

“I don’t want to kiss anyone else,” she replied with equal resolve. “Spencer, I… I want just you.”

I leaned up one elbow to look down at her. “You have me,” I whispered. Untangling my hand from hers, I stroked her cheek. “All of me.”

She pulled me in for a kiss, a warm, wet, sultry kiss that made me want more. “You’re my everything,” she whispered.

I felt sad that I knew it was true. Her family sucked. Her parents were appalling. I was her everything. I wished I could have said it back. Instead, I replied with the only thing that was in my heart.

“I love you.”

I immediately panicked that it was too soon. I meant it, though. I’d loved her for years and, in a way, all that had changed was the nature of my love, not the existence of it. But, still, we’d only been together in that way for three weeks. My mind was running off that it was probably too soon, I shouldn’t have said it, it was…

“I love you, too.”

Oh, thank Christ. I smiled at her. She smiled back, kind of teary.

“Come here, silly,” I said softly, pulling her back into kissing me.

We rolled, our legs tangling and our hands moving. Our kisses got deeper and deeper, more intense. That familiar ache crept through my body, making me want to rock my hips.

Every time she touched me, it was like I was on fire. I wanted to touch her, be near her, never stop. Oh God, when she made noises, it just made me burn all the more. Her whimpers; her gasps and occasional moan; when she’d say my name while I was kissing her: it was so sexy. I never thought I could find someone as sexy as I found her. It was incredible.

And it always went the same way, that climb to some sort of heated peak, where we were both basically frantic, and then a mutual need to back off a little, slow down. Then we’d pull apart, panting and glazed in the eyes, leaning our foreheads on one another.

“So what are we?” This time, it was me asking.

“I have no idea,” she smiled.

“Ashley?” I took a deep breath. “Will you be my girlfriend?”

I had no idea I could be that brave.

“Hell, yes!” she said in such an Ashley tone that I giggled.

“Good.”

And I pulled her back into our kiss.

* * *

So I guess that was how we defined ourselves. God, I remember that like it was yesterday.

Sitting here in the kitchen with my dad, crunching on a cookie, I can see her house through the window. It makes me miss her. It makes me miss our happy times, our happy years. I want to find that again, but I know that I might not. It doesn’t really matter because I will find Ashley and what will happen, will happen.

I have no expectations, honestly. I don’t expect to find happiness. I just want to find her. Then we’ll see what happens from there.

And tomorrow, I start again.

* * *

So, I’m on my way to Albuquerque. If you’re as weird as I am, you’ll probably be a Weird Al Yankovic fan and you’d be thinking you’d need a snorkel to take with you. Then again, you’re probably not as weird as I am.

Okay, after that ridiculous start, I am indeed on my way to Albuquerque. It is a not fun drive from Ohio to New Mexico. Currently, I appear to be stuck in traffic somewhere in Missouri. I never knew that Missouri could be so boring, but there you go. Of course, the interstates aren’t normally the greatest places in the world, so I should be used to it.

I have a lot of books on tape. I wish I had a CD player in the car, but it’s old, so I’m still on tapes. I guess I should be grateful it doesn’t have an 8 track. I’d like to see someone find me material to play on it! Generally, I play a couple of tapes a day, especially the nights when I sleep in the car. Tonight, I might grab a cheap motel, just because my back really hurts.

Only, right now, I don’t feel like listening to the tapes or the radio. I especially don’t feel like listening to the local hicks on the local talk radio with their ridiculous opinions based on nothing but a handful of prejudices and NO knowledge of the outside world.

I can talk! yesterday, I didn’t even know where Mauritius was.

Stiil, today I feel like listening to the silence.

I’m always thinking about Ashley. Always. And I talk to her a lot. Sometimes, I pretend she’s sitting next to me in the car; other times, I just talk to the sky like she might get the message telepathically via the clouds. Today, I’m not talking to her, though. Today, I’m just thinking about her. But it’s more than fleeting thoughts.

I’m biting my index finger again, across the knuckle. It’s an old habit, one I do when I’m sitting in traffic, going nowhere, lazy with only one hand on the wheel. I’ve done this too many times to get annoyed any more. The traffic will move when the traffic moves. I will think about Ashley whether or not I want to. I will find Ashley when I find Ashley.

I guess I’m feeling all karma, c’est la vie, que sera sera today. Something about Glen getting married has taken away my self-determination for a few days. Him meeting Susie must have been a freak accident, I swear. Him convincing Susie not to run like the wind before getting to see his heart? Even more of a freak accident. I feel very fated today.

Maybe we were always meant to be together. Or maybe we were only meant to be together for a little while. How the hell can I know if I don’t find her? So, fated or not, I’m going to keep going.

If only I could get out of this freaking traffic in Missouri, goddammit.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little irritated by the traffic. But it’s a long way to Albuquerque. It’s a long way and a lot of time to think about Ashley. My nostaligia today is at least happy, about us when we were happy and those first awakening moments of love and, of course, sex.

I know you want to hear about it.

* * *

We’d sort of agreed to keep it cool in public places. I mean, we weren’t made of steel – we snuck kisses at school and at home – but mostly we kept everything to our rooms with the doors closed and the blinds pulled down. Since our rooms had a direct view to each other, that last bit was very important.

I still remember my panic when one day, after a particularly heavy make-out session, Ashley had gotten up to go to the bathroom and I was standing at her desk looking at a photo of us. I looked up, out her window and straight through my own window, to find my mother in my room. My heart started racing so hard I thought I was going to have a coronary right then and there. Then she waved cheerily at me and put some of my clothes away in a drawer.

After that little scare, we started closing the curtains while we were kissing.

Oh boy, the kissing! Wow. It just got better and better. You know those inching moments you have? Your hand starts out on top of the shirt and then it’s just under, just at the edge. You can feel the edge of the skin and it’s so good. Damn, I loved those moments.

And we did that little slow-dance thing that you do when you’re young, the one where you inch your fingers up under the shirt bit-by-bit until you’re stroking someone’s stomach. I loved her abs, every single inch of them. I ended up stroking the skin of her lower ribs, just under her bra, for about a goddamn week before I chickened out. After that, I went back to strictly above-shirt stuff until she gave me the courage to do more. How? It was simple, really. The first time she reached out and cupped my breast over my shirt, I nearly fell off the bed. Then I let myself go, because damn it felt good.

So, that’s how it progressed, really, inch-by-inch. Sometimes I’d make the first move, sometimes she would. More often than not, it was her, after basically checking out that I was okay with it. I’m fairly sure she was holding back because she thought I wasn’t ready. She was probably right.

I guess, for horny teenagers, it took us a long time to inch our way towards actual sex. And the funny thing was, it wasn’t like we just sort of moved until we got there. We really just made it to a certain point in our make-outs and then – wham! – one night, fireworks.

God, I definitely remember every detail of that. Whatever people say, your first time is never the best sex ever. Hell, it definitely wasn’t for Ashley and me. Once we got to learn each other’s bodies and learnt a few tricks, Jesus, we were good together. For a lot of my friends, though, their first times were fumbling, painful and disappointing. Not mine.

Oh yeah, it was fumbling, but it wasn’t painful and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my life. I still relive it in detail when I feel the need.

The details… God, the details.

It was, of course, a sleepover. We had those on a weekly basis. Thank God, we’d been having them before we started dating because our parents probably would have suspected something otherwise. We just tried to continue as we had been, figuring it was our best chance at not being caught out.

We were staying over at her house, which was actually not usually permitted on the weekends because her parents were away so often. Ashley normally stayed at my house, my parents not really trusting two teenagers alone in any house. This time, we managed to wrangle it out of them, though, permission. After pointing out the obvious – that we couldn’t have a party next door and them not hear, that we could call them if we needed help, and that we just wanted to avoid Glen – they gave in. Just this once.

We’d lined up some movies, junk food, etc. I knew we’d probably end up making out but it was nice to have some noise in the background and, besides, we did stop sometimes. Honest. No, really, we did. Sometimes, we still did girly stuff – we did each other’s hair, watched movies – just not as much as we used to. And when we ended up lying down next to each other, we sort of naturally drifted together.

And that’s where we were, at about ten in the evening. Her television was on, her curtains were closed and her tongue was gently stroking mine. Our legs were entwined and our torsos pressed together.

I had that ache between my legs, the one that had been building for months. Every time we kissed, it would build a little. When we’d stop, it would wane, but it never quite left me. I had an idea of what it was, but, embarrassingly, I had no idea what to do about it.

I was a good Catholic girl. Masturbation was a sin. What making out with another girl – even one you were in love with – was, I didn’t know, but I still didn’t really masturbate. Sure, I’d touched myself, but never to the point of, well, finishing. So, the ache stayed. I have no idea what Ashley did all those months; I suspect she did know how to take care of herself.

That night, my hands were up under her top, stroking the skin at her sides and occasionally making forays up over the top of her bra. I loved the way she gasped and tensed a little every time I brushed over her nipple. This was about as far as we’d gone. I was fairly confident with it, happy to touch her, get those responses. It made my ache all that more intense, but it was so good, there was no way I could give it up.

I remember it like it’s in slow motion, each touch and smooth rhythm melding one to the next. I remember rolling her over to get better access to her neck and her chest. My mouth was nibbling down the length of her neck. I knelt up, to slide her t-shirt up and my knee slipped on the bed. It slid up the bed, straight between hers. I heard a gasp. I don’t know what made me keep going, whether it was just loving making her feel good or the fact that I just felt ready or maybe it was just that gasp. But I did it again: I pushed my knee into her centre.

I was kneeling over her, thrusting slowly against her. She opened her eyes, looking straight into mine. Her hand tangled in my hair, pulling me down for a kiss. I couldn’t hold myself up at that angle, kissing her and moving my knee so I sort of collapsed down. We kept kissing. And things became frantic. They were hotter than they’d been in a while. I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know what she was doing, but, goddamn, I didn’t want to stop.

I worked her top up until it was bunched around her neck. Together, we flung it off, sending it sailing through the air. Mine landed next to it a few minutes later. I tasted down to the edge of her bra, licking her skin as I went. She rolled me over, pressing into me, kissing me and tangling our legs back together. We moved, purposefully, but completely uselessly. She hooked her fingers through my belt loops to pull me closer, which was impossible. I pulled back, panting, just looking at her.

God, she was so beautiful in the lamp light. Her skin was practically glowing, and she was flushed from our activities. Her lips were full, red. Her hair was messy, but still artful. She was so damn sexy.

I remember her running a thumb across my bottom lip and feeling it quiver. And then we were back in it, hot and heavy. Things just sort of happened. Her bra came off, my bra came off. Our hands, mouths found new places. I made new noises. I relished her new noises.

I can’t remember my hands reaching for the snap on her jeans, but I remember finding them there, unmoving. I was still kissing her, intensely, when I realised where my hands were. I stopped – hesitated, really – before I undid the snap and slid her zip down.

I think that’s where I might have lost a bit of courage, not taking it any further until she arched her hips against my thigh and whimpered. I knew she had that ache. She had that ache that I had. She was turned on and she needed… I knew that I could probably leave her be and she’d discreetly do something about it later, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to be the one to make her feel good. I was petrified. I had no idea if I could manage it, but, like the girl scout trooper I was, I was going to give it a good try.

I whispered. I was just so unsure. “Can I touch you?”

Her eyes stayed closed, but she slowed her movements. “Please.”

It was more permission than pleading, but it was enough for me.

My hands slid down, under her jeans, but only on her thigh. I loved the smooth skin there. Sometimes, when she wore tiny skirts, she could barely keep my hands off her thighs. They were so soft, whiter than the rest of her. I loved the taut muscle, soft skin and the way she trembled when I scratched over them gently.

It was so hard to touch her inside her skin tight jeans. They sort of got inched down of their own accord. Suddenly, she was in her underwear and I wasn’t in that much more clothing.

I could sort of smell her and I’m not ashamed to say that it made my mouth water. I was so curious and at the same time, you know, still petrified. She made it easy, though, pulling me back into kissing, just taking it slow. She inched my trousers off, so I was in my underwear, too. Our legs tangled again, this time, our skin on bare skin.

That first time your bare chest hits someone else’s, that incredible feeling of skin sliding on skin and soft on soft, that never leaves you. That first slide of your legs, tangling, is incredible. That first shock, when someone’s centre hits your thigh, and you realise they’re wet, now that’s incredible. None of these things ever leave you.

Fumbling, it was, but it was good. I slid my fingers down, pressing into her and making her cry out. My name, she said my name and I knew it was just the two of us. I’d said it, months before when we’d defined ourselves. We were Spencer and Ashley. It was like those two words could never be separate again. Every time she cried my name, it just tied us together closer, those invisible cords tightening.

That first time you realise you’re touching someone intimately, that’s bliss. When she bucked against me, I got very confused. I wanted to be in two places at once and I didn’t know how. I wanted to be pushing against her, the way I knew would give her the most pleasure, but I wanted to test her, to be inside her, too. In the end, I had to pull away and lean up, pulling her underwear off and throwing them aside.

It was the first time I’d ever seen another girl naked and it took my breath away. In later times, I’d spend hours exploring her, sometimes sexually, sometimes with curiousity that would make her giggle and pull me away. Not now, now she was there, open for me.

I let one finger trail down, to her entrance, to the warmth. I was pretty sure she was no virgin, but I was gentle. I slid my finger in, leaning down and feeling her body arch up off the bed to meet me. Kneeling over one thigh, I used my other hand to do the pressing.

It was fumbling, but it was good. It wasn’t the fastest, most deft rise to orgasm she’d ever have, but it was the first time I’d done it, and… it worked. I grinned with pride when she finally came down, clinging to me. I grinned into her neck as her breathing slowed.

“You’re so beautiful,” she whispered.

“Not like you,” I replied.

She rolled over so she was leaning up on one elbow looking down at me, her hand brushing the hair off my face. “Yeah, you are. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“Spence, I want to touch you. Would that be okay?”

I nodded uncertainly. There was a chance I was going to stop her. There was a chance it would get too much and I’d back out, but I knew she wouldn’t mind. There was so much safety there.

As she pulled me in and kissed me, I felt it, all of it, the wonder and the beauty of being in love with someone and making love to them.

Sure, her fingers weren’t as practiced as they one day would be. She’d hit the spot and then miss, over and over. But she drove me there, slowly and surely. She held me as I went over the top. I wasn’t quite ready to have her inside me, not that night, but it was still so very special.

Lying together afterwards, I don’t know that I ever felt more complete.

* * *

And so, as I keep driving, leaving the traffic of Missouri behind me, I think of that day. And I know that it’s another reason to keep going, to keep looking. Because those ties, those invisible binding cords, they’re still there. And not just for me, I know that. And when you’re tied to someone that close, you have no option but to attach or to cut. I just have to find out which one she chooses.

* * * * *

Next up: Part 6, Albuquerque, New Mexico [AA]

5 Comments

  1. dev0347
    Posted 31 January 2011 at 1.10pm | Permalink

    Public Service Announcement:

    If, like Spencer, you struggle with self-pleasure, the Mormon guide to avoiding masturbation is always a good read: http://bit.ly/x3GK

  2. sunsetstrip
    Posted 31 January 2011 at 11.16pm | Permalink

    This story makes my heart hurt. But I love it.

    I also sure wish someone would finish All I Want For Christmas before next Christmas…

  3. Lnkmstr10
    Posted 1 February 2011 at 12.41am | Permalink

    “oh we ate together, we bathed together, we even shared the same piece of mint flavored dental floss. The world was our burrito.”

    haha I love that song! My sister and I used to listen to it over and over again.

    Spencer, Ashley is a my house! We’re playing rock band and watching old tv shows on netflix if you want to join

  4. laxrocker09
    Posted 1 February 2011 at 7.03am | Permalink

    I want to know what made Ashley leave when their relationship was so damn perfect! Gah! *breathe*

  5. svlo
    Posted 4 February 2011 at 8.39pm | Permalink

    i love the garbing by the belt-loops, MMmmmHhhh.

    this one makes me angry for Ashley, i wish she could hold herself together with out spencer… even tho im usually spashley forever.

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