Part 2: I Used to Love Her
I was disconnected from reality. I knew her hand was gripping mine; our fingers were laced tighter than brand-new shoestrings. I knew it but I couldn’t feel it. I could barely muster a smile, much less words to speak. I’ve never been one for conversation; I’m an academic, a nerd, a geek, and a bibliophile…and I prefer my books, journals, and tomes to inane chatter. My secret, secret passion is fanfiction and while it is nothing to be ashamed of, I took steps to maintain a great distance between my work and my clandestine pastime. I’m not a fanfic author, but I am a prolific reader and a member of several communities. By Fate’s hand, I met my favorite fanfiction author by accident and three weeks later, I literally could not live without her.
You plan your life out by degrees, adjusting when change forces you to, but you never expect a cataclysm to occur when you’re close to calling it a career. That’s what she was: a cyclone, a typhoon, a hurricane, a tsunami…a 10 on the Richter scale, my own personal Atlantis. Brielle came into my life and within days, I couldn’t imagine how I’d managed to even breathe without her. It wasn’t physical; it wasn’t even remotely that. There were others who wanted her, men of appropriate means and station who made plays for her, who were very overt in their romantic overtures, and she was inert to all of it. I watched her shoot them down repeatedly and I wondered if she even realized she was breaking so many hearts.
From a distance, I sensed the grip on my hand tighten when the wife of a colleague spoke to me. The fog in my brain clouded her words. I swallowed, trying to comprehend her, and couldn’t even salvage enough saliva to speak. All I could do was nod, and soon she was gone.
Brielle’s nom de plume was NightRain747, and she had over thirty different fanfics spread throughout cyberspace. I’d read all of them many times before knowing who she was; I was one of her most stalwart fans and considered myself her Constant Reader. NightRain wrote dark, seductive stories with a blessedly bloody edge. She was definitely an acquired taste; her fics were polarizing and sparked many debates in online writing communities and forums…and I, under the prosaic pseudonym of ChemProf1846, defended her decision to write whatever she wanted to with every fiber of my being. I overheard her talking about Hannibal Lecter to a colleague who made mention of the new TV show, and there were certain phrases she used that reverberated in my deep, dark fanfic-loving soul. I had a mental hard-on for her from that moment on.
I saw her in another room, sitting in the window, wrapped in a shawl. She was looking at the mimosa trees and my heart wanted to rip itself from my chest and go to her. I didn’t know if my expression changed when my eyes landed on her, but my instinct was to say her name and get to her as fast as possible. I knew that I could not, if for nothing else but the viselike grip on my left hand. She had an earthy allure; a realistic beauty that took absolutely no effort. I knew this firsthand; having woken up beside her and spent eternal minutes gazing at her sleeping face. Her hair was an explosion of soft coily curls and I loved seeing it flattened on one side when she woke up. I watched her perform morning ablutions without a thought as to the empty bed I left in another house, in another city.
Being with Brielle was life to me; life I’d long since thought was laid to rest. No—being with her was a new life for me. She made me feel like a man again. She made me believe there was more; that I could have more and be more. Brielle’s desire for me made absolutely no sense to me, because I was everything her appropriate suitors were not. I had to pop pills to please her and go out of my way to keep up…but I did and did my best. Don’t ask me how, because there is no logical way a woman like her should have been satisfied with a man like me, in spite of my failures. The moment I put my arms around her, I was lost in the amber elegance of her eyes and the softness of her voluptuous body. When we kissed, I felt her own desire for me surge forth and God Himself could not have kept me away from her. I have never been so affected by a woman, ever…not even by my wife of 39 years, who I have known since childhood and who I have loved all of my life.
I snapped back to reality and pulled my hand away from Justine’s, who’d been holding on to it for dear life. My fingers were numb. She glanced at me; there was that look in her eyes and I mumbled something about getting something to drink. There was a decent turnout; the house was full of guests milling about, and Brielle’s best friend, Natalie, was the consummate hostess. Brielle wasn’t one for social gatherings; that was one of many things we had in common.
I love Brielle. I love her with everything I have, with all that I’ve got. With her, there is heat, there is a strong connection, and there is the hope of a non-banal existence for however many years I have left. It is not that I don’t love Justine; she is the mother of my four beautiful children. It is not that there is no place for her in my life; 39+ years simply cannot be ignored or wiped away, even with the explosive passion and insane love that I have for Brielle. But I have lived with the former and could not live without the latter…at least not anymore.
I see her sitting in that room all by herself in spite of there being a crowd of people nearby, and all I want to do is go to her, talk to her, touch her, taste her, and make love to her. I want to kiss her all over, bury my face in her throat, smother myself with her scent, press against her, and intertwine my legs with her majestic, flawless gams. I want to be with her, in her, lost in the vortex that demands the hearts and claims the souls of men too weak to withstand its power. In spite of every rule of etiquette that dictated I remain by my wife’s side, I found myself slicing through the crowd, ignoring their greetings, headed towards the safe harbor that was Brielle Hunter.
I used to love her. I still love her.
I remember the day…you used to love me