Author: T.E. Hodden
Release Date: September 17, 2018
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Any last thoughts?
A few seconds ago I was pushed down some stairs.
A heartbeat ago my head struck cold stone.
Somewhere out there, I am fighting for my life.
But I’m stuck in here, the echo chamber of my thoughts, fighting to hold on, fighting my way back through my memories, my friendships, and my mistakes.
Because, somewhere out there is a woman I should have said three words to, and I have no intention of letting go until she hears the truth.
Dying is easy. Are you ready to live?
I saw her every night that week. Our first real date was to the seaside, so she could play the arcade games. Her driving lesson had not gone well, and she took out her frustrations on the digital enemies with button mashing and swearing.
“Bloody Hell!” I chuckled.
“Die! You cold sore riddled, festering foreskin!”
“What did they do to you?”
“They are invaders from another world, they deserve to feel my wrath!” She snarled. “Well, mostly because that stupid git who almost hit me on the roundabout can’t! And my Dad!” Her knuckles went white as she punched the fire button. “If I could zap Dad I would, that feckless little runt! But, I can’t, so these little alien buggers will pay! Argh! You bloody peggers!”
The screen flashed red. Game Over.
Purged of her anger, she curled into my arms, her cheek red hot against mine.
We sat on the beach, watched the waves crash in, and listened to music on shared headphones.
She considered the finger with which I stroked her wrists. “You know you are shaking?”
“Yeah.” She placed my hands on her side. “Do I make you that nervous?”
I didn’t answer.
“Let me guess…I’m so much more beautiful than all the other girls?”
“You are beautiful,” I agreed, “and there are no other girls.”
“I know.” She shrank back. “Why would you want anybody else?”
“I meant…” I could feel my words turning to a confession. “There haven’t been any others.”
“Oh.” She shifted so we lay back, and she could rest her head on my chest.
“You couldn’t tell?”
“And?” She asked.
“And… I’m afraid to let this happen, when…” I closed my eyes. “You know that in a few weeks I’m not going to be around much?”
“Oh.” She smiled. “So, you are playing for keeps?”
That she had to ask, unsettled me. I drew back and mumbled an apology. She put her fingers over my lips.
“Are those the only reasons you are so scared?” she whispered.
“Well, that and any moment now you are going to realise I’m a dork, and—”
She giggled and put my hand on her cheek. “It’s the good kind of scared right?”
“I know you will come and find me,” she said. “You are going to make me a promise. When you go off and train, you will promise to come find me every moment you can.”
“I promise I will come and find you.” I smiled. “Want something you can keep, until I come and find it?”
I wrestled with my answer for far too long. Every fibre of me wanted to just say the words, but a sudden fear strangled my voice away, so bloody sure it would send her running for the hills if I admitted how much I wanted her, needed her, longed for her hot breath on the cold sweat of my skin.
If I said the words it would be real.
“My virginity,” I said, the moment hitting me like a sledgehammer to the happy sacks. “To be claimed as soon as you will be happy I am always coming home. Whenever you are satisfied I am forever yours.”
She blinked six times, her mouth opened, closed, set in a bright smile, and opened again, without finding any words, closed, pinching her lip between her teeth, before her whole body exploded into a nervous, twitching, shaking laugh. Fireworks went off behind her eyes, and her cheeks filled with colour. She nodded, kissed me, nodded again, and melted into my embrace, still wearing a glowing blush. “I’ll take it,” she said at last, stretching the words in a pantomime of indecision and bartering, “but I want something to remember you by, too.”
Her fingers found my scarf, she toyed with it. “Cathedral Bridge FC?”
“You poor sad bugger.” She lifted it off me. “Still, I’m the one likely to be wearing it in public.”
Her lips brushed my forehead, and we snuggled down into a contented quiet, between kisses.
About the author:
T. E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in the rail industry. He writes as a hobby, when he is not walking the Kent coast, looking for forgotten nooks and crannies of history and folklore.
Come and join us tomorrow, when Tom will be in the ‘hotseat’
answering questions about his books, his writing and himself!