Sometimes you go out looking for trouble. Sometimes you are lying on a bed after a 12-hour shift, 90 degrees outside, and not enough fans in the world to cool you down. The one aimed at your feet feels like you have opened the door to a fucking blast furnace.  And sometimes trouble has long legs and auburn curls and is kicking your door open.

 

What the hell are you doing here?

“Come on get your clothes on we are going out” as a shirt finds it’s the target,

My face.

This is not a woman this is a freaking tornado I think as my finger goes up caressing the scar on my face caused by the shrapnel from an exploding cup she had launched at me last year when her mood had taken a sudden left turn in Albuquerque. It was one of a whole barge of dishes that were hurled my way. The cup had been aimed at my head but a quick reaction reduced the damage to only 13 stitches.

I look over as she is pulling a curl behind her ear,   I had long ago memorized the constellations formed by her freckles, the legs that take forever to reach the blue jean cut-offs, the smoky blue eyes, the faint smell of bergamot and ginger and the lips, ahh the lips.

Have you ever had a cat jump off of a shelf onto your back? I did not have time to blink an eye, much less think as the 120 -pound frame pinned me on the bed straddling my chest. Her hands pulling my hands above my head in one easy motion.  I think to myself. “I will not let her get to me this time.”  Even as part of me realizes the unspeakable powers she possesses.

 

I remember going to the county music awards in Nashville with her in 17.  The cheap nose bleed seats she had acquired from a co-worker parlayed into front row seats. We would approach a velvet rope guarded by large burly men, and the magic would begin, a tender smile, a whisper into an ear, a batting eyelash, a soft foot sliding up a leg.  A velvet rope swinging open, another level conquered.  Never satisfied as we look for the next velvet rope. Till we are in front of the stage.  We are invited backstage for drinks after the show,   this is a game for her.  One she is accustomed to winning

 

She blows and escaped a strand of hair sideways to clear a curl tickling her eye my hands still pinned above my head.

Where is Jim? “I left him in Cincinnati” her grip loosening somewhat “let’s go out”

No

“Let’s go celebrate my freedom!”

No

“I just sold the ring he got me”

  “Come let’s go have some fun I am buying”

I am still protesting as I slide the shirt over my head.

The blackberry-stained sky is beginning to bubble as we pull into the bowling alley. After 5 frames and 3 beers, she is already bored and pulling me toward the door.

In the parking lot marriage of heat and humidity is more than the pitch-black clouds can stand. The smell of wet earth rising into the evening, the warm droplets invading the night. The rain is coming down so hard the wipers cannot keep up as we pull into the “do drop inn”

. We sit in the parking lot taking tequila shots as a pre-game ritual.  Salt, slam, suck!  How many was that?

I jump out of the car to make a run for the door.  She hears the music and grabs my hand to lead the dance, lifting it to signal a spin as we dance in the rain. Splashing in puddles spinning, twirling, and dipping.   We are both soaked as we reach the ticket booth outside the club. This girl can be a royal pain the ass, prone to violent mood swings. But when the stars align there is no galaxy you would rather be in.

  We pay the price of admission. The cover band has the crowd worked into a frenzy, in lust for the excitement she has my hand again, pulling us toward the dance floor. The music is so loud you feel the bass as much as you hear it. I raise her hand signaling another spin. This spin ending up with her in my arms a momentary freeze frame looking into her eyes. 

Not one to dance in the corner she pulls me towards the front of the stage.

Another spin but this time my eyes do not meet hers instead they meet a very angry set of eyes, drunken eyes set in a large face drenched with sweat. I feel his arms wrapping around me. I feel the rough cut boards pressing into my back as he slams me into the wall stunned as the breath leaves my body. My mind races trying to comprehend the situation.  I manage to wrap my arms around his sticky, wet tee shirt moving his girth spinning him till he is the one against the wall. His eyes beaming with intent as he slobbers something about his wallet. He spins me around again this time my body knocking over a table full of drinks before finding a new wall “give me my dam wallet”   I raise a knee hoping to make contact anywhere to break up this dance. “Give me my wallet!” I do not have your wallet! I feel one of his hands loosen and start sliding between us. Someone shouts “he has a gun” I try desperately to control his errant hand.  His girlfriend screaming you left your wallet in the car, you left your wallet in the car!  By the third time, it sinks in. I feel his body go limp, life seems to leave his body as the color leaves his face.  He remembers putting his wallet in the glove compartment.  It turns out he did not have a gun.  His hand was going down to where my knee had left him in much pain the rest of the night. He apologizes over and over-promising drinks the rest of the night. 

We dance a few more songs before making our way out into the parking lot.  Still a hot humid night, the rain barely making it tolerable. I am reclined against the wall enjoying a break from all the action as I feel the heat from her body as she presses into me. I look into the kaleidoscope of her eyes as the rivulets rain follow the contour of her face. Here I am in this galaxy again.  My fingers slide the hair out her eyes tracing the path of the rain.  New Galaxy is being formed. I outline her parted lips noting every crease and fold right before they touch mine in a tender kiss, light nibbles, and more kisses.  The galaxies are one now.

I am brought back to earth with a crashing sound and look over.  It is the barmaid she smiles at as she continues emptying a trash can full of bottles. I must have hesitated in looking because the next thing I feel is Casey’s fist sinking into my kidneys as she screams

“Do you want her?” Do you freaking want her!

Where did that come from?

“I saw how you have been looking at her all night!”

“The hell with you,” I say as she storms off.

I am walking down River road in the pouring rain, drunk, wet and confused. A car pulls along beside me pushing the passenger door open.   “Get in” As buckle my seatbelt I remind myself “I will not let her get to me, this time!

 

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