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Between Lust and Love 13b

Chapter 14 - Memories Too Clear

I finish off my pancakes while the sun finally comes out to greet the world.  

Double checking this time that my cell phone was in fact in my pocket, I wave goodbye to my new friend and make my way out of the eventful coffee shop to my now shiny wet car.

As I look down fumbling for my keys, a gray shadow falls over my that holds an all too familiar presence.

"Hello."  Comes the crystal clear voice.  I turn quickly around to see the piercing blue eyes from the night before, my stomach immediately falling at his sight.  I stand still for a moment, looking up at his handsome features that gaze so effortlessly back at me.  "Um, I have to go."  I reply, shifting my focus back to the car door at hand.

The shadow doesn't shift, but remains unshakably persistent.  "Sorry about last night, the way all of that went down.  If it's alright, I'd like to take you out again for another try around."  His smile awaits patiently for my reply.

I breathe in, my nerves beginning to flutter slightly as I listen to his words.  I turn around, facing the man that haunted my night of dreams.  

"You know, trust really doesn't work that way."  I answer cleanly, my response soft but steady.  He raises his eyebrows in surprise.  "I'm sorry?"  It begins to mist slightly and he moves his hand swiftly across his dark damp bangs, clearing them from his eyes.

I maintain my stance as I gaze into his questioning eyes.  "What I'm saying one should be treated the way you treated me last night...the way you..."  I pause, my words trailing off; my eyes widen slightly with new realization as they catch sight of a familiar moon shaped mark on his forehead where his bangs had once lied.

He laughs almost nervously, his sharp blue eyes looking into mine with perplexing curiosity, as if he was exposed.  "What?"  he asks.  "You kind of look as though you just saw a ghost or something."

I put my hand in front of my mouth then drop it softly as I look inquisitively into the mystery man's eyes.

"Ian?"  I whisper as the color simultaneously vanishes from his face.

"Oh God" I whisper in response to his look of dreaded confirmation.  He rubs his face quickly with his sleeve, cowering his head down with a reflection of shame, just as he had so long ago. 

Memories flash painfully backwards to 20 years in the past. I was 10 years old, he was 12. Our childhood neighborhood was small and we would ride bikes around the side roads after school. Many of those early evenings I could remember his fathers face as he called him inside, angry, always raising his voice as if he had done something wrong. There were days I noticed the bruises on his arms, the quiet silence in his eyes, hiding moments he would never reveal to anyone.

"Ian...I thought you...they told me you died."

He looks back at me, his eyes now full of the realization that I now knew.  "No."  He finally answers, his voice now raspy with each word.  "Can't always have what we want...can we now, Braeden?"

He shakes his head as if to quickly brush away the realization; then without another word, he turns silently, pacing steadily down the road, leaving me stunned, standing abandoned far behind in his broken trail.

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