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All characters are 18 years or older.
This story is the continuation of my Technically We’re Estranged series and I suggest reading the previous chapters before continuing. TWE is made of intentionally shorter chapters, and hopefully you enjoy the tease. This chapter includes exhibitionism and elements of incest.
Stephan tries to make amends with wild gestures.
Thanks to Antematter for his comments. If you are a writer seeking a volunteer editor, seek him out.
I yawned to make my ears pop as the rumbling airplane bounced through some turbulence on it’s way into the sky. This was probably the stupidest thing I had ever done. Was it worth it?
Well, if it worked out, then yes.
“Good morning, Stephan,” Bella answered the phone.
“Bella,” I said. “I’m not going to be in for the next few days.”
“Oh,” she replied, a little shocked. “Are you sick? Is everything alright?” I hadn’t taken a sick day since I opened my little one-man firm – if I caught the flu I sent Bella home so she wouldn’t catch it and then worked through the discomfort.
“No, and no, but I’m going to try and make it right. You can take the next couple of days for yourself, just have all the calls forwarded to my cell.”
“Stephan, where are you?”
I looked up from the tiled floor of the airport. She could probably hear the shifting crowd running past me like a river as people tried to find their proper terminals.
“Airport,” I said.
Her end of the phone was quiet for a long moment. “Are you sure about this?”
“No,” I said. “I’ll talk to you when I get back.”
“Good luck,” she said. It sounded a little sad.
The layover in Hawaii was just long enough that I could have made it to my parents house to say hello and get back in time for my flight. If I were a good son I would have called to let them know I would be at the airport and they could have come to meet me. If I were a good son, I also wouldn’t be rushing across the world to try and explain to my cousin why her online relationship was with her own cousin.
I made better use of the time, at least when it came to getting everything fixed. I fielded a couple of calls, assuring my clients that I would be back soon, and set a few appointments for later in the week to keep them happy. John Marc, easily my most profitable client, had been the easiest.
“I’m sorting out what we talked about.”
“Good,” he said. “No need to get all tied in a knot over some pussy.” He would never get that someone like Mel wasn’t just ‘some pussy,’ but I wasn’t about to argue that with him over the phone.
Just before my flight to Austin started boarding, I spotted the flowers being sold at one of the in-terminal stores. They were from all over the Hawaiian islands, and if I had stepped outside the airport I probably could have found an entire bouquet, or even a full leis of them, for about a quarter the price. But buying inside meant I could take them with me on the plane, and I knew exactly what flower Mel would want most.
With my delicate red gift tucked away carefully in the top of my single carry-on bag, little more than a duffel I had quickly put together that morning after a sleepless night, I boarded the second leg of my journey to try and convince Mel of… I wasn’t even sure what.
I just needed to see her.
Flying across the world, especially over the Pacific from Australia to the US, could really mess with your sense of timing. My plan the whole time had been to step off the plane, get in a cab and go to Mel’s place immediately – it hadn’t been hard to track down her address with a quick email to my aunt. The flights, the layover in Honolulu and the time change dashed those hopes though, because when I stepped off the plane it was 3 am in Houston.
I checked my phone for messages from her. Nothing.
Shuttling to a hotel near the airport, I settled in to wait the few hours until dawn. Laying on that shitty hotel bed, staring up at the dark ceiling with my shoes still on and the lehua flower twirling in my hands, I felt like a fucking stalker. Everything I was doing, had done, in the past months ran through my head. I knew exactly what time I could go to Mel’s house to catch her before she left for work because she sent a snapchat almost every morning at the same time. I knew where she lived because her mom told me, along with what hospital she worked at. The lies were thick and heavy in my chest.
I am so fucked up.
The cab ride was about twenty minutes, meandering to the outskirts of the city into a suburb. Her house was a small bungalow, cute but the gardens out front were a little on the messy side. I wondered how long it had been since someone had tended to them properly, if ever. Mel wasn’t a total girly-girl, but she’d also never been a hands-in-the-dirt kind of person either.
I paid the cabby for the tuzla escort trip, along with another ten to hang around a couple minutes. My hand resting on the car door latch, I took a deep breath and fiddled with the flower again. Another breath and I was stepping out, feeling like I was floating on a cloud. It wasn’t quite an out of body experience, walking up the little path to her front door, but my mind was totally blank and in the moment, each step forgotten as I took the next, and then I was standing in front of the door.
Silence except for the light thrum of the taxi behind me, and the soft swoosh of another car driving past.
Should I knock again?
Footsteps inside. The lock turning. My fight or flight mode revved up to eleven and I wanted to dart back to the cab and try and disappear, but I stood my ground. I must have looked ridiculous, standing with the red lehua flower gripped tightly in one hand as I waited for the door to open.
The sun had come over the horizon on ride over, the golden beams playing thick shadows over the neighbourhood. My slacks and suit coat weren’t quite enough to ward away the early morning chill, though they would probably be too much later in the day. These were the things my mind tried to focus on as the lock clicked and the door swung inwards, hoping that this wouldn’t turn into a disaster.
She was already in her medical scrubs, light blue fatigues with the v-collar, loose and comfortable. They hid a bit of her form, though there was no hiding her perky bust. Her hair was tied back loosely, strands falling free from the sides of her head, and she was holding a half-eaten piece of toast in her hand. As she looked at me Mel’s eyes opened wide, flashing baby blue, and her mouth opened to a gape.
The door slammed shut.
My heart was caught in my throat and I felt like I was going to choke on it as the ground tried to fall out beneath me, my knees buckling. I wanted to collapse into a puddle right there on her stoop.
The door opened and Mel careened into me, nearly knocking me over as she gripped me in a painfully tight hug. I hugged her back in silence as she cradled her head against my shoulder, squeezing me fiercely and sniffling lightly.
“Stephan, you big dope,” she said, voice cracking with emotion. Then she wasn’t hugging me any more and was punching my chest and shoulders hard enough that I had to catch her hands. “You big, stupid, idiot, asshole.” Then she was hugging me again before I could say anything. “It’s so good to see you, you fucking moron,” she said into my shoulder.
Speechless. I was a lawyer who made his living arguing on behalf of criminals and I was speechless. Tilting her head back with one hand so I could look down to her, I swept the loose hair back over her ear and presented the lehua flower to her.
A flicker of a smile crossed her face, small dimples forming under her cheekbones, but it disappeared just as quickly to be replaced by caution. She stepped back toward the door but took the flower, raising it to her nose and closing her eyes to take a long smell before threading it over her ear.
“Hi,” I finally said.
“Hi,” she replied. The bursting emotions were gone, replaced by a guarded gaze. The reunion was over already and what I had done was front and centre.
“I- I don’t know what to say.”
She took a deep breath, her chest rising and falling slowly and she swallowed visibly, crossing her arms defensively. “How long are you here for?”
“Tomorrow. I leave on the 9:45 flight in the morning. I didn’t want to assume anything about… this.” I licked my lips nervously and my palms felt slick as my fingers fidgeted. Making a decision, I reached into my inner suit jacket and pulled out the envelope. “I want you to have this,” I continued. “Even if you think I’m disgusting and never want to see me again, you can use it for a vacation or something. It’s an open ticket to Australia. I know you miss surfing.”
She took the envelope, looking at it as her thumbs ran over the paper, then her eyes came back up to mine. “Now I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything. Just- take it as part of my apology.” I said. “No complications. I’ll put you up in a hotel if you’d like, somewhere nice. I have some connections.”
She looked back down to the envelope in her hands and bit the inside of her lip and she thought silently. She finally glanced back to me again, eyes tracing across my face and we stood quietly for a long moment, taking each other in.
“You probably need to go to work,” I said self consciously, “I should go. I just wanted to apologize in person in case-” I sighed and shook my head.
“In case what?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I shook my head again.
“No,” she said, stepping forward and poking me in the chest with a finger. “Say what you were thinking. You had to apologize in person in case what?”
I worked my jaw as I tried to figure out what to say. “In case I ruined whatever bond we had left,” I said, tuzla escort bayan and quickly continued now that I had started. “In case you were going to remember me forever as a creep. In case maybe you felt the same way I do.”
“There it is,” she said. She took another deep breath, letting it out through her nose as she raised the envelope and tapped it on her lips. Our eyes were locked and I felt like I could fall into hers like an ocean.
I could feel the maturity she had gained since we had last seen each other now, standing in front of each other. Of everything we had talked about, the life that she had lived between then and now had been a topic left silent. She had gone through college, gotten married, and then gotten divorced. The years had been more than kind to her, and watching her on a computer screen she was still the bubbly, outgoing wonder I had always known her as.
She was also guarded, and smart, and more than willing to take her time to think things through. There were no crows feet or frown lines etching her beautiful face, but I could feel the weight of her experiences in her gaze.
“I do need to go to work,” she finally said. “But I want to talk, because I don’t know yet.”
“You don’t know?”
“I don’t know if you’re forever going to be a fucking creep, or if maybe I’m in love with you.”
Fireworks in my chest and my heart tried to jump up into my throat. “Then I’m here to convince you.”
“We’ll see,” she said with the hint of a smirk.
“Can I come visit you on your lunch?”
“I don’t really get a long break,” she said. “The emergency room can get pretty crazy.”
“I’ll come by just in case,” I said, turning the smirk into a soft smile. She nodded.
There was a flash of hesitation in my head, a voice shouting at me not to push my luck, that I had landed the best I could and if I did anything else I would ruin everything. Fuck it, I thought.
I bent my head and leaned forward and I kissed her. She exhaled through her nose, then inhaled, and she was kissing me back. Her arms came up and she settled her hands on my chest, keeping a distance between our bodies, but our lips worked with each other. She teased with just the hint of tongue slipping against my lips before her fingers pressed lightly on my chest.
It ended. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I just needed to do that. To make sure you knew how I felt.”
“I forgive you,” she breathed out, arms dropping as she stepped back to the door. “For the kiss. We’ll see about the rest.”
“Alright, understood,” I said. “I’ll see you at noon.”
She nodded, one hand pressed against the doorway as she bit the inside of her cheek nervously.
“God you’re beautiful,” I said before turning and heading back to the idling taxi.
She snorted and laughed breathily to herself behind me, but didn’t shut the door until after I was out of sight.
It was a different kind of nerves that had my leg bouncing as the taxi pulled up in front of the hospital. I’d spent the last hours sitting in my hotel room again, stewing in my own thoughts and wondering where all this was going. Well, less wondering and more daydreaming. That kiss had been intoxicating, her lips molding to mine and pressing back, that hint of warm probing tongue at the end. Her hands on me, her chin tilted up to meet me, nose bumping against mine.
I paid the driver and walked to the emergency room entrance and into a wall of noise. It wasn’t quite ‘thirty car pile-up on the freeway’ levels of chaos, but the number of people waiting in chairs, looking forlornly at the swinging doors where doctors, nurses and the occasional patient disappeared, was slightly astounding.
Was I even going to be able to see her?
I walked up to the desk and had a clipboard unceremoniously shoved towards my chest before I could get out a word.
“Fill out the form and we’ll place you in the queue,” the nurse behind the counter said, voice nasally and attitude brimming with disinterest.
“Actually, I’m-” I started.
“Have you lost an appendage, sir? Or do you feel that you have a contagious disease that will require an invasive quarantine?”
“Well, no, I’m just-“
“Fill out the form and we’ll place you in the queue, sir. Move along please.”
“I’m not here for emergency medical service,” I said loudly, putting on my courtroom voice. Powerful, demanding, authoritative. The nurse finally looked away from her computer monitor and up to me. I softened my tone a little now that I actually had her attention. “I am here to see Melanie Fa- ah, Melanie Davis,” I had to correct myself to use the proper last name, since she hadn’t changed back from her ex-husbands. “She’s a nurse here in Emergency.”
The nurse behind the counter squinted her eyes and cocked her head. “Are you here to serve her papers? Because we’ll have security kick your ass for disrupting a medical facility.” The woman’s Texan accent made the threat sound very hillbilly, but I was sure it was escort tuzla the truth.
“No, I’m here to have lunch with her. I’m her- I’m Stephan.”
“Oh,” the nurse said, then nodded slowly as a smile crept onto her face. “Ooh, you must be the secret boyfriend.”
“Hmm, you’re more handsome than I thought you would be. And what accent is that?”
I didn’t think I had an accent, coming from the middle-class of Hawaii gave a fairly standard American voice, though maybe I just didn’t realize a bit of Australian swing had crept in over the years. “A mix, I guess,” I said. “I live in Australia now.”
“Oooh, Australia. That’s so exotic.” For someone who had been too busy to look at me as a patient, this nurse was suddenly very interested. “And you flew all the way out here to see Mel? That’s so sweet. You must have really fucked up. That explains why she was so bitchy yesterday.”
“Stephan?” A voice called from further into the waiting room, and I turned with a thankful internal sigh. Mel was smiling as she walked around the clusters of chairs and people, and walked right up to me and gave me a hug. “I see you’ve met Nikki,” she said. “I hope she wasn’t too nosy.”
Nikki snorted and rolled her eyes, “I didn’t even get the chance. What, could you smell his hotness and came running?”
“No,” Mel said with a grin. “Well, maybe. Look at this.” Mel pulled up the front of my shirt, which I had left untucked, exposing my abs. I didn’t think of myself as a guy with a six-pack, but there was some definition there.
“Mmm,” Nikki hummed, making me blush. “Yummy.”
Mel left my shirt held up for long enough that it felt a little uncomfortable then she dropped the front of my shirt and she smoothed it down. “He is, right?” The look she gave me made me realize she was paying me back, just a little bit, for my indiscretion. It was playful but calculating. She took my hand in hers and squeezed, smirking with the knowledge I understood what she was doing. “I need two minutes, then we can go eat in the cafeteria. Is that ok?”
“Absolutely,” I said after clearing my throat.
“Ok,” she replied, squeezing my hand again. She hesitated a moment, then moved to her tiptoes and gave me a peck on the lips before turning and walking back the way she had come through the waiting room. I watched her go, her hips swiveling and butt bouncing.
“Aw,” Nikki said. “You two are cuter than a speckled pup under a red wagon.”
Nikki shrugged, “You two look good together.”
“Oh. Thanks,” I said, still trying to wrap my head around the saying. And the kiss.
Mel was back quickly, taking me by the hand and pulling me from Nikki before her coworker could dig too deeply. I had bounced a few of the questions that were too personal back deftly, letting her know any of the ‘real juicy details’ would have to come from Mel and not me.
Walking with my cousin hand in hand felt a little surreal, considering the situation, but it was also comfortable. I shifted my grip and squeezed her hand softly and Mel glanced to me and smiled as we moved down the hospital corridors.
Once we were finally situated with cafeteria trays in front of us, sitting alone at a table in the corner of the long, disinfectant-smelling room, I took a moment to just look at her. She had her hair tied back neatly now, and the the flower was gone – not that I had expected her to be wearing it, considering her job – but I couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked. She had filled out since high school, cheeks and lips broadening just slightly, body looking a little less lean but just as fit.
I almost, almost blurted out some words I wouldn’t have been able to take back. Instead I took a bite of my sandwich.
“It’s not bad,” I said once I had swallowed.
“Mhmm,” Mel nodded before taking a sip of her water. “People always complain about hospital food, but they never think about the cafeteria. Of course the food in the rooms isn’t great – it needs to be packaged en masse and brought to almost 500 different rooms in the building.”
Mel’s rambling trailed off and we ate in silence for a long moment, the reality of the situation starting to creep in. I wasn’t sure what to do or say, how to explain myself more fully. How could I? “Mel,” I said. “I just want to-“
“Stephan,” she interrupted. “Not here, ok? We can’t talk about it all here, so we should wait.”
“Ok,” I said. “Does anybody here know about…?”
She shook her head, eyes glancing down to the table for a moment. “No, it’s still a secret. It lets me block regional areas, so Texas and Hawaii are both blocked. I guess I hadn’t really thought about you in Australia.” She blushed and shrugged. “Sorry.”
“I’m not, if you don’t mind me saying.”
The corner of her mouth quirked into a smirk, “I meant for not thinking about you.”
“I get it. We both got new lives.”
“I just- Seeing you. The past couple of days I’ve been realizing how much I missed you. I never found someone to replace you in my life when I moved out here and I never even realized it,” she said. “And now you’re here and it’s not the same either.”
“I thought we weren’t going to talk about it here?” I asked.
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