Sitting at the table in a small town just outside of where I live, I wonder for the hundredth time if this was the right thing to do. I replay it in my head over and over, “Should I have agreed to meet up.” It wasn’t even a question, just a feeling; I knew this road. I’d almost been down it before. Was I now, sitting here at this little cafe table, staring down the proverbial Rabbit Hole?
  I glance over at my phone, and my heart quickens. A few more minutes until the point of no return. I’m nervous and I fidget with the corner of the menu, and after a few minutes I guiltily realize I’ve picked at the laminate coating and now it’s frayed a little. Distracted by the frayed menu, I pause suddenly. I can feel the hairs on my neck rise ever so slightly and without looking up I know he has arrived. And he’s watching me.
  I slowly raise my head and see him watching me from across the road. Our eyes meet and already I can feel the heat rising in my cheeks and the butterflies are going wild inside me. I almost hate myself for having this reaction, but I knew it would happen. It’s the reason I knew I couldn’t say no to this meeting.
  I clumsily stand up out of the chair and take a few steps forward. Simultaneously he starts towards me, crossing the road in strong, purposeful steps. He’s walking with decent strides, but somehow it’s excruciatingly and teasingly slow for me. The seconds seem to drag and, almost too quickly, he’s in front of me.
  I tilt my chin up to look at him. He’s taller than I remember, but built the same. I can see his top stretched taught over his skin as I watch in silence as he starts to circle me anticlockwise. Its deliberate and leisurely and I get a feeling inside of being stalked like prey. But this was the nature of our relationship before, so it’s a familiar feeling and doesn’t take me by surprise. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. His gaze almost brings me to my knees me as he moves around me, and I am helpless to do anything but drop my chin. Who am I kidding, I think as it finally dawns on me, I was born to be submissive.
  Old familiar feelings surface forcefully as I remember the feeling of intimidation I had previously when we were near each other. It rushes right back to me like water surging over a waterfall. Instantly I feel compelled to correct myself, to dust my shirt off, neaten my hair, or something. But I don’t. I stand there under his scrutiny as he nears the end of his circle.
  As he draws up in front of me he steps closer, runs his left hand up my spine up to my neck and, pushing his palm into the nape of my neck, weaves his fingers into my hair. His hand closes sharply in a fist as he pulls back on my hair, forcing my head to face upwards. It’s a hard enough tug that it brings a small gasp to my lips as I stumble backwards, but he doesn’t let me go. He leans in and breathes in deeply alongside my neck, cheek, and into my hair. My eyes close involuntarily and I remember his sensitive and heightened sense of smell. Softly and barely audible, I hear a deep, low growl of pleasure from his throat, and I know I’ve passed his…inspection. He gently, but not without a brief hint of reluctance, releases my hair and steps back as if nothing has happened, simply motioning for me to take my seat.
  The air rushes back into me as I jolt back into reality. I realize I’ve been holding my breath this whole time, and I virtually scramble back to my seat. I feel relieved that there is more space between us now. My heart is still beating hard in my chest when I glance over at him. A waiter comes up and he orders a glass of white wine for me and a whiskey on the rocks for himself. There is an awkward silence as we wait, and I take this moment to look him over, as subtly as possible.
  He hasn’t changed much from our last encounter, and I notice his chest is still as sculpted as before. I’m mesmerized as I watch his chest rise and fall with every slow, even breath he draws and suddenly memories are in my head and I’m seeing myself pressed up against him in an embrace, his arms holding me firmly against him. It’s so vivid in my mind’s eye that I can almost hear his heartbeat in my ears alongside my own. I give my head a small shake to clear the images out of my thoughts.
  He’s wearing a casual white shirt and I notice a blue pin clipped to the underside of his jacket. It looks like a service pin of some sort, but it’s mostly hidden so I don’t know what service it’s for. I don’t ask, as neither of us has spoken.
  After what seems like forever, the drinks arrive and I could not be more grateful. We both take a sip at the same time and I feel a little calmer (admittedly I take a larger sip than he does). I look over at him and he is the picture of control. He sits watching me for a few seconds more, swirling his drink in his glass, so only the sounds of ice knocking against the glass is what we hear. Then he starts talking.
I fervently hope he my breathing doesn’t sound as ragged as it feels. There is a buzzing throughout my body and I feel like I’m on pins and needles. I briefly wonder if the air is as electric to him as it is to me. His face reveals nothing while we talk, so I just try and hide it the best I can.

to be continued…

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Meeting. (a short story – SNVL)
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