Authors: Amy Daws
Stars Hollow Publishing
Heather Banta www.linkedin.com/in/heatherbanta/
photography by Megan
Photograph by Megan
and Eric McLaughlin
location Mary Ellen Connelly residence
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Thank you for respecting the hard work
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This book is
a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Brody aggressively paces the hallway of our
tiny split-foyer house. I cringe as he rakes his hands through his curly brown
hair and lets out a frustrated sigh. Anger and tension are radiating off his
body like blurry lines surrounding a campfire.
I turn away from him because I can’t stand
seeing him like this. So hurt. So broken. A sadness creeps over me as I look around
our home we built together. I painfully take in my last moments here. I can’t
believe this is the last time I’ll be sitting on this very couch. Four years
ago, we picked it up off the side of a curb. Sure, we may have been one step
away from being labeled dumpster divers, but we knew it was nothing a $40
carpet shampooer couldn’t fix. We were senseless like that together, and it was
Every flat surface in our house is littered
with picture frames. Brody didn’t mind my obsession. I'm infatuated with
finding the wackiest frames I can. I frequently receive them as gifts from
friends, family, and even coworkers. I love putting unconventional pictures in
frames. There’s a photo of Brody sleeping on the couch, and one of me with my
three nieces, eating mashed potatoes. My favorite is a mustard-colored pleather
frame with tiny black seahorses glued around the edges. Inside the frame is a
picture of Brody and me on a four-wheeler. I’m facing backward, straddling him
while his arms grip the handles. He’s biting my neck as I laugh. We were so
happy. So innocent. So perfect.
Candid photos show more about one’s life and
personality than posed pictures. My heart sinks as I realize none of these
pictures will be going with me.
“How can you do this, Fin?” he barks, spinning
back on his heels to stride down the hallway again.
Still sitting on the couch, I stare at my hands
in stony silence, swallowing big gulps of air while he adjusts to the news I
just dealt him.
“How can you need time?” he throws at me in a
mocking tone. “Away from me?” He trudges swiftly across the living room. In
only four paces, he’s on his knees, directly in front of my face, gripping my
cheeks between his soft, large hands.
“You can’t mean this, Fin. You can’t!” his
voice cracks as he says my name and his expression melts from anger to
“Brody, don’t.” I state, pragmatically. “I have
to. I told you I can’t do this anymore.”
“THIS IS US!” he booms, loudly, while turning
my face back to look into his eyes. “You can’t do
? That kills me, Fin—it kills me!”
“This is what I need, Brody. I’ve explained
everything. There’s nothing more to say. I told you this isn’t up for
I've been practicing these very words in the
mirror for the past week, fixing my expression to look strong, and not
insecure. The last thing he needs is to receive mixed signals from me.
Brody looks down and appears to be collecting
his thoughts. As his gaze comes back up, his eyes rove quickly over my whole
face. I know he's searching for any glimpse of reservation in my decision to
“Please, Finley,” he says, with shaky breath.
, you can’t do this to
I knew he’d use
against me. I knew he’d say this, and I'm prepared for it.
has the potential to be my kryptonite.
But I can’t let it get to me.
When Brody and I first started dating, we were
incredible together—like two peas in a pod. We were goofy, stupid, funny,
and playful. We were all the things that made a person laugh a lot in life. We
both lit up inside when we made our relationship official.
One night, back in college, after a rousing and
playful wrestling match in my apartment, we’d been laughing so hard we had
tears in our eyes. In that moment, I let out a large exhale and said, without
thinking, “I love us.”
Brody froze and looked at me in shock. My eyes
widened as I realized the intensity of the proclamation I’d just made to him.
I’d known I loved him for nearly a month, but we’d only been together for two,
and I sure as hell didn't want to be the first one to say
. But my big, fat mouth blurted it out like it was just a
As I realized he wasn't responding, I awkwardly
tried to get up off the floor and think of a quick excuse to get him the hell
out of my room. I silently chastised myself for scaring the crap out of him,
and therefore ruining the best thing that had ever happened to me. He grabbed
my wrist before I stood all the way up, and unceremoniously pulled me down on
top of him. He sweetly said, “I love us, too.”
The only emotion I remember feeling in that
moment, was giddiness. I felt giddy! As my heart pounded happily beneath my
chest, Brody appeared to be contemplating something. He had just reciprocated
my feelings, so I couldn't fathom what he could have been pondering.
As he tucked my hair behind my ears, he spoke
softly, “Actually, I think I love
more than I love—you—does that make any sense at all?”
It made perfect sense. Brody and I fit together
so naturally, in a way I didn’t even know was possible. It was like I’d evolved
into a better version of myself I didn’t even know was inside of me. I’d never
met anyone I could laugh with so often and be my complete self with. It was
Brody who brought that out in me. And I did the same for him. It was
. Ever since the day we first declared
our love, we never said,
I love you
we always said,
I love us
. I was so
excited in our early days of love. I'd been transformed into a hormonal
teenybopper. I was like a 14-year-old girl talking with my
about my first kiss with a boy, squealing the last word of my sentences because
I couldn’t contain my excitement.
Lord, I was a goner.
Brody and I made it five years and still said,
I love us
. It was strange to others, and
probably sounded a bit egocentric, like we were announcing to the world that we
thought we were this hot power-couple everyone should strive to be, but that
couldn’t be further from the truth. We were simply in our own bubble, playing
by our own set of rules. It was
and it was perfect.
Fin! I love
!” Brody repeats,
snapping me out of my memories of a much sweeter time. Our love was so much
easier when we were in college.
As I look into Brody’s deep, navy-blue eyes, my
heart begins to break and bleed inside of me. Brody and I had so many dreams
together. But they were made when life was so much easier. I squeeze my eyes
closed, trying to erase the beauty of his face and our love. Tears quickly
escape down my cheeks. As I attempt to turn my head away from his grasp, he
grips my face harder between his two hands, forcing me to face him. I feel his
warm, soothing breath on my lips, panting with desperation. My lips betray me
and part ever so slightly; with that, he attacks my lips with fervor.
Brody works passionately on my firmly closed
mouth—begging, pleading for a return in gesture. I sniff back a gasp of
air through my nose as his hands drop from my face and wrap around my lower
back, binding my arms against my sides.
I have to hold out, I can’t give in. I can’t
show him I still love
. He won’t
want me when he learns the truth. This is the best way—the easiest way.
But deep down, I know that this is Brody. I
love him. I don’t just love him; I love
which means more in our weird, remote world. He’s kissing me and begging me to
Why the hell am I doing this to us?
I want to give in and let us be us, in whatever capacity that may be.
I’ve thought this through; I
can’t let him sway my decision. He might not love us if he learns the truth,
and I can’t stomach that. In the long run, he will be much happier without me.
He’ll find someone new and she can receive his passion—
And Brody doesn’t just kiss, he
. The man has a technique I have
never experienced, and I have kissed my fair share of guys in my wild
college-girl phase. His hands touch my cheek in a way that makes me feel
cherished and consumed with one simple touch. I swear I’ve come close to orgasm
multiple times from Brody’s incredible kisses.
I contemplate one last kiss, one last goodbye
to take in, so I’ll never forget—
I slowly turn my palms out to feel the sides of
his denim clad thighs, so muscular and familiar. I move my head slightly,
giving him better purchase of my mouth. As my lips begin to move against his,
Brody’s hands move up my back, releasing my arms to roam. His right hand
reaches the nape of my neck and threads through my long brown hair. He gently
pulls my hair tightly, just how I like. I know exactly what he’s doing.
This is a reminder kiss. This is Brody’s way of
making me remember how great we are and how hot we
make each other.
My reserve breaks as I feel gentle flutters in
my lower belly. I’m past the point of no return. I can’t help it. I’m needy for
Brody. I always have been. His total package is completely irresistible.
Brody has gorgeously thick and curly brown
hair. He cuts it short, leaving just enough length for me to comb my fingers
through. His navy-blue eyes contrast perfectly with his creamy complexion.
Brody has an unexplainable look about him that feels comfortable and undeniably
sexy. It’s not only his appearance that draws me to him, it’s the comfort I
feel with him. Brody feels like home to me. When we made love for the first
time, he commanded my body with the deeply intense emotions he had for
me—it was simply profound.
It’s amazing how hot finding your
can be; to find someone who truly gets you, and
encourages you to be yourself by just being who he is. When the physical aspect
of our relationship took off, it was everything I could do to keep my hands off
of him for any extended period of time. We were always touching each other and
being complete goofs at the same time. It worked for us.
Some of our hottest sex sessions escalated when
we talked in ridiculously stupid voices, laughing obnoxiously. We relentlessly
made fun of each other and called each other out on the stupid stuff we did. It
made us feel connected and safe. We understood each other. We’d be laughing at
something ridiculous, then with one glance, we were all over each other. It was
as though our happiness and sex drive combined tracks on a railway and ignited
us into a frenzy.
I feel that frenzy now as my fingertips brush
the side of his bare skin peeking out of his soft, fitted t-shirt. The
skin-to-skin contact zaps Brody into action. He quickly breaks away from my
lips and pulls my t-shirt up over my head.
As he begins to come back for my lips he pauses
and looks down at my breasts. I’m ashamed to see I am wearing his favorite
bra—a sheer, teal brassiere that covers nothing. My nipples harden under
his hot perusal.
I don’t know why I wore this set of underwear
today. I wasn’t planning on things escalating like this, but my mind betrayed
me when I got dressed for work that morning.
A frustrated grumble rises out of Brody’s chest
and he commands my mouth again. His hands run down the backs of my thighs and
lift me up. My legs wrap around his waist in response. Brody is strong. He’s
not what I would call bulky but he’s tall, lean, and toned.
I’m nearly six-foot tall myself, so he towers a
good four inches over me, giving him the caper for these types of antics. I’m
not blessed with the willowy runway model frame. I have an hourglass figure
with a plump behind that Brody seems compelled to touch every time I pass him
in a room. It doesn’t matter if we are in a crowded restaurant or at a family
function. He has no shame. He doesn’t like being referred to as an Ass Man
though; he says my eyes are his favorite feature. My eyes are blue, according
to my driver’s license. The blue is so light that my surroundings are reflected
in them and they change from blue to grey, and sometimes green. I’m told aqua
is the best color description.
Brody’s one free hand begins roaming over the
top of my full B-cup breast as he carries me down the hallway into our bedroom.
He lays me down on our familiar and comfortable
bed we’ve slept in together for the past three years. I feel an ache in my
heart, knowing I’ll never be back in this bed. I thoughtfully watch him as he
undresses me—and then himself. He kisses me tenderly up my leg. When he
reaches my belly with his lips, I close my eyes and will the pain in my heart
Not there, don’t kiss me there.
I quickly roll him onto his back and take
control of the situation. I don’t want to have that conversation, so before he
sees the pain in my eyes, I connect our bodies and we begin moving together in
Brody strokes my hips and thighs, and my hands
wrap into my hair as I ride him into a state of oblivion. Brody loves me on
This is a good farewell position. He
deserves this—it’s the least I can give him.
As if sensing something in my demeanor, he sits
up. While still inside me, he places his ear against my chest. His hands caress
my back while we continue gyrating against each other. I’m desperate to focus
on our bodies and not what this means. He pulls back to look into my eyes and I
quickly look away.