A Young Desert Rose, Chapter 13

  • Posted on February 15, 2020 at 4:50 pm

By Sunnybunny

Note: if you’ve been following this story from day one, please take the time to recap the plot by perusing the chapter links… maybe even reread the previous chapter. Do enjoy.

***

Heather rolled onto her back, her body groaning in protest until it became audible and escaped her lips in a low murmur of “Nooooo.” There was a noise. Something in the room was tapping rhythmically, growing in urgency. She raised her head and squinted through the gloom, her sleep-addled mind half expecting to see a metronome, the sort typically reserved for grand pianos and ballet classes, ticking away on the mantle. When she found no such thing, her confusion deepened. From there, things only went downhill.

In the absence of time marking instruments, Heather raised up to one elbow, willing herself to wake up, but it was like clawing her way up to the surface of a sea of gelatin. It felt as if every joint in her body had rusted in the night and the simple act of raising up onto elbows was enough to send them creaking.

Through a veil of tousled hair, Heather observed the nest of pillows and blankets she’d slept in. The presence of the bed, perfectly serviceable for resting in beside her was completely stripped of its bedding and pillows. For some reason, this amused Heather immensely, but that was short lived.

That tapping was back, louder now that she was waking, but the source was still a mystery. Taking in the room again, Heather spied the gentle rise and fall of blankets beside her and the memory of last night flooded back, conjuring fresh color to the woman’s cheeks.

She gently peeled the blankets back, spying Angie’s golden crown, and dared not go any further for fear of waking her. The glimpse alone was enough for her heart to seize up, as if caught in a vice. They’d spent the night together, made love countless times, until their argument… and then they’d made love again. The evidence was all around her, permeated the air like a morning dew, lingering in every muscle with the kind of lethargy that only good sex can bring.

Heather cupped a hand over her swollen sex, savoring the sensation of feeling both drained and satisfied when the tapping intruded again. Realization dawned, widening her eyes into saucers. No, not tapping, knocking. Someone was knocking at the door, had been for some time, sending the woman into a frenzy.

Instantly, she thought of Walter, coming around ‘just to check on things’ or ‘see if the room needs to be turned over’. In her mind’s eye, Heather saw him fishing his master key out of the back pocket of his pants and sliding it into the lock, the sound of the bolt releasing as loud as the report of a rifle. The door swung open with an ominous creak of ancient hinges. A sound effect used in old horror movies, just before the group of camp counselors smoked their last joint.

“Angie! Angie, wake up!” Heather hissed through her teeth. She reached out and shook at the pile of bedding representing the girl.

A groggy jumble of the words ‘Huh?’ and ‘What?’ drifted out, muffled by the layers of bed lining. The lump beside Heather stirred but was clearly had no great motivation to do much more than that. “Was I snoring?” Worse, she seemed to settle back down, cozying up to one of the half dozen pillows buried somewhere underneath.

This wasn’t supposed to be how their morning went. Heather went to sleep last night lying so close to the child that their noses were nearly touching, thinking about the perfect day-after they would spend together. She envisioned the two of them lazily rousing together in the early afternoon. Perhaps they would make love again, sleepily touching each other within the blankets. Or maybe they would save that for another evening, where they wouldn’t have to rush. Instead, they could share a shower and go to the diner, pretending to bump into each other on the way in after the rush had died down.

Heather could easily picture Mama Maven shepherding them into one of the booths near the window, returning a bit later with two platters piled high with syrupy pancakes topped with slices of fruit. They would sit chastely across from one another, rather than side-by-side, better to ensure their hands did not roam until neither could bear the tension, then they’d lean over the tabletop and share a kiss. It was such a vivid image that she could almost see it materialize before her eyes, their two silhouettes coming together over their half-finished plates, the harsh sunlight pouring in and bathing them in gold.

“Angie! Please, I need you to get up! Someone is at the door!”

That seemed to do the trick. All at once, Angie was sitting upright and staring wide-eyed at Heather, the bedding pooled around her, naked from the waist up. Similar images of intruders into their little refuge shone in her bright eyes, and Heather had no doubt that Angie was living out the worst possible scenarios in her imagination, just as she had.

Heather scrambled up, snatching up a pillow and hugged it to her bare middle, then set to picking around the room for their discarded clothing. Using her toes as pincers, she turned the room over, finding a pair of jeans and socks and little girl panties, but everything else seemed lost in the maelstrom they’d created the night before.

“Just a second!” Heather called out, her voice crackling with panic. “I’m – I’ll be right there!”

Angie was dancing from one foot to the next, glancing from the door to Heather and frantically scrambling about the room, unsure of what to do with herself before finally bending down and snatching up her discarded panties, then rushing into the bathroom, slamming the door behind.

Heather collapsed before the dresser, pillow still clutched firmly to her abdomen, and snatched out an outfit. Half-hopping to the door, Heather wiggled her hips into the bottoms and shimmied her arms through the top, thinking that she must look like a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Waving Tubeman, only with less dignity, somehow. When she threw the door open, dressed in a pair of cotton sleeper shorts and cutoff Aerosmith t-shirt, she found Walter Gates blinking down at her.

It was jarring to see him out of the familiar surroundings of his office, and he looked just as uncomfortable, shuffling around on his feet and glancing anxiously over his shoulder in the direction of the road, toward the diner. He cleared his throat roughly, making a hard study of the tips of his shoes, seeming to be at a loss for words. Heather began to wonder if he was going to speak at all.

Glancing down at herself, Heather wondered if it was her attire that was making him so uneasy, but that didn’t seem to be it. Outrageous as she looked and with so much skin on display, he’d barely looked at her, and seemed more distracted than embarrassed.

Walter wet his lips, opened his mouth and made a sound, but it died in his throat. He glanced back toward the road in a way that made Heather think someone was sneaking up behind him and he’d just caught on. Heather craned her neck, trying to spot whatever was causing the poor man such distress, but the road was deserted, save for a lone tumbleweed wedged between a row of mailboxes and a telephone pole.

When she returned her attention to Walter, their eyes met, and for the first time during their brief interaction, Heather realized his face was ashen. Something had aged the man years overnight. White whiskers lined his unshaven cheeks. His eyes were red and watery, as if…

“I’m sorry to disturb you,” he croaked at last. “It’s just… well… I suppose I needed someone to talk to. It came as just a shock, why…” He feinted, momentarily at a loss for words, looking so helpless that Heather automatically reached out and seized his hand. It startled him just as much as Heather.

“Walter… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He looked up from his hand and the gentle way she was holding his fingers back at Heather, as if he’d never experienced such a sensation. “You… I thought you’d have heard.” His voice dropped to an ominous tenor, and Walter swept the cap off his head, wringing it tightly.

All at once, genuine fear seized Heather by the heart. Her hands clasped at her chest in a futile gesture to alleviate the stress, and she silently willed him not to say it, she didn’t want to know. Not after she and Angie had shared such a magical night together.

“Mama Maven passed away. Either late last evening or early this morning, I… they’re still sorting things out at the coroner’s office, I would imagine. The diner didn’t open this morning and, if you know anything about Maven, that’s a rarity! I can’t recall a time when the diner was closed. Even as a little boy and her family ran the joint…” He looked away, suddenly overcome by waves of nostalgia, one of his beefy, spotted hands going to cover his mouth. He made a sound, shoulders shuddering with the effort to keep from sobbing. When he spoke again, his voice was thick with emotion, and he did not dare look at her yet. “When the diner didn’t open, the sheriff went on by her trailer for a wellness check and… f-found her. Told me later that it looked like a heart attack to him, she… she was sitting in her rocking chair, looking just as peaceful as can be.”

Heather found herself kneeling in the door frame. She hadn’t remembered falling. When she snapped back to reality, her gaze was fixed on the diner across the street. The windows were dark, she realized. The parking spaces lining the front of the store were empty. Even from this distance she could still see the little white triangle in the window with the words CLOSED written in loopy cursive.

“I just saw her last night,” Heather said. Her voice was strangely hollow, as if speaking from a great distance. She wasn’t even sure she was telling this to Walter, or just putting the fact out into the universe. As if that could somehow halt the chain of events, and convince the fates to set them into reverse. “I helped her close up, after I got the jukebox working again. She was so happy to hear some old music, that she got to dancing and soon we all were dancing too…” Heather’s voice hitched, and for a long time neither of them spoke.

Without the warmth, without Mama Maven’s love, the diner looked strange. It became an empty vessel lining the road leading to greener pastures, outside of Oasis. It joined the ranks of the McDonald’s, closed before Angie was even born, the burned-out library in the middle of town and the old movie house still displaying advertisements tickets for a matinee showing for Friday the 13th: Part III (non-3D only). Suddenly, the diner was another relic of the town’s illustrious past, the last gasp of a promise unfulfilled.

Heather found her feet and thanked Walter for telling her. After seeing him back to the office, she returned to the room, closing and locking the door behind her, then went to find Angie.

Unsurprisingly, she was still in the bathroom. When Heather found her, the girl was huddled in the shower stall with her legs drawn up to her chest and face buried in her knees. Heather knew that she’d overheard.

Heather pursed her lips together, dreading the conversation that was to follow. She’d never been good with the harsh realities of life, could barely deal with them herself. How could she possibly begin to explain these things to someone when she barely felt alive? She stepped gingerly into the tub, scrunching up beside the girl and mirroring her fetal position.

“It’s not true,” Angie’s tone was defensive, almost accusatory. Her fingers laced tightly around her elbows. Her toes curled into her feet and she looked so small and helpless. Heather was reminded all over again of how young Angie truly was. She shrunk into herself, looking younger than her years. “It isn’t true.”

“Angie,” Heather began softly. “I’m so very sorry. Mama was a wonderful woman. I know how close you were, she was practically a grandmother to you. I can’t imagine how…” She trailed off, hating that she had nothing to offer the girl who’d come to mean so much to her beyond simple platitudes. In lieu of hollow words, Heather draped a comforting arm around the girl and drew her in close, peppering the crown of her tousled head with kisses. “I’m sorry, Angie. I’m so, so sorry.” She breathed the words into the girl’s hair over and over, rocking her from side to side until it became a mantra.

Angie tensed at the familiar embrace and, for a terrifying moment, Heather feared she would pull away. Could her heart handle such rejection? She didn’t have to find out, as the girl accepted the comfort and leaned into Heather’s side, her trembling shoulders heralding the first sobs of grief. It broke Heather’s heart to hear them.

Cradled in the arms of her lover, Angie Lawrence mourned. So many memories returned to her. She’d known Maven for as long as she’d been alive. Most good things in her young life were tinged in the lights of the diner, and she couldn’t recall a time when Mama Maven had not been there with a fresh plate of good food and gentle kisses that could make even the most stubborn of tears vanish.

There would be no new memories now.

“Why does everyone I love go away?” she asked, but before Heather could reply, she began to wail anew, crawling into her lap and arms and wrapping herself bodily around Heather, as if she were suddenly terribly afraid that her lover would be ripped away too.

Coming as soon as the author completes it: Chapter Fourteen!

 

7 Comments on A Young Desert Rose, Chapter 13

  1. kacey says:

    Thank you, Sunnybunny!! Have waited (semi-patiently 😉 ) for this chapter for what seemed like an age!!! More please!! And soon!!?!?? 🙂

  2. Purple Les says:

    What a great surprise to find a new chapter of one of my favorite stories. And I’m still just as caught up in it as ever. Please don’t let chapter 14 take as long. But will wait as long as needed. Love Angie and Heather just as much as ever.

  3. David says:

    Not sure why I missed reading the earlier chapters, because I remember reading the first chapter. I went back to read all of the earlier chapters and I was instantly hooked and kind of binge read them.
    What an amazing story Sunnybunny. I love the plot and the detail in your writing, it is so erotic and sensual. I can’t wait for the next chapter and glad you decided to write more so I could find this story.

  4. sue says:

    A fantastic new chapter. Still the same great story and writing. Thanks, Sunnybunny.

    Kim & Sue

  5. Sunnybunny says:

    Glad you’re all enjoying the new entry. Sorry for the long delay 😅 By my estimation, I have another 2-3 chapters left, plus epilogue and then their saga will be complete!
    For now 😉
    I have my next story in the outline process and that is going to be a pseudo-continuation from Spa Day so stay tuned and thank you all so much for the love and support and especially the patience! ❤❤❤

    • Erocrotique says:

      It will be a. neat trick to put a bow on this story in 2-3 chapters, even with an epilogue. I can hardly wait for another chapter, and yet, I’m dreading the approaching ending at the same time. I can’t believe I became so invested in these characters, considering the long time lapses between installments, but here we are. I am your devoted subject, at the mercy of your benevolence, when you deign to grace us with another submission. Please don’t make us wait too long.😔

  6. Sid says:

    So glad to see this story is continuing!

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