Read an excerpt…
A knock on the door almost goes unnoticed, until I see locks of brown hair walking toward me.
I stand up to meet Emerson, shocked at how much solace her presence gives me.
“Are you almost ready?” she asks. Frozen and unable to speak, I nod. Avoiding my eyes, she looks behind me, and finds the bag of clothes Thompson brought in. Stepping around, she grabs the navy and white checkered shirt and hands it to me. “Put this on over your t-shirt.”
Sliding each arm in, I try and fix the way it sits as best I can without a mirror.
“Here, let me do it.”
Directly in front of one another her breath mingles with mine, speaking their own language of anxiety and anticipation. She folds over the collar, and straightens out the material.
Her fingertips graze my skin and I forget how to breathe. “Are you okay?” she whispers.
Like an idiot, I nod, again. Hands circle my biceps and make their way down to the cuff of the shirt. Slowly she rolls the sleeve up to my elbows, and moves to the other one.
The motions are simple, things that people take for granted daily. But between Emerson and I it’s intimate.
With every touch I feel the scars of my isolation come to surface and the tangible fear of not being able to survive beyond these four walls.
“What are you doing here?” I say, finding my voice.
Pulling back, she finally has the courage to look at me. Her eyes stroke my skin, and for the first time her desire is unreserved and obvious. “I wasn’t going to miss watching you walk out of here.”
“I don’t think I can do this,” I confess.
Holding her hand up in the air, she looks at me expectantly. I mimic her actions and let my palm touch hers. She takes it as an invitation to slip her fingers through mine.
I squeeze her hand, like she might disappear in any moment. Holding my gaze, she squeezes it right back.
“You’ve got this, Jagger. Life’s waiting for you to live it.”
“I’ve got this,” I repeat.
“As, I’ll ever be.”
She unlatches her hand from mine, and the separation is poignant and painful.