Love Never Leaves-Chapter 4

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Jake entered Helena’s home it was beautiful and comfortable as he knew it would be she had photos and art all over the walls they told of her culture and travels. He was intrigued, she seemed very worldly to him and he liked that his wife Connie had also traveled the world. He found that it made her more interesting and Helena seemed to be that kind of woman.

“Jake would you like something to drink?” She asked as they entered the living room.

Helena looked at him curiously; he looked deep in thought as he perused her walls looking at the art and photos. He seemed not to be aware that she even asked him a question.

“Jake!”

He looked up startled for a moment. She was standing there looking at him oddly.

“Yes.”

“I was just asking if you’d like something to drink.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I was just really intrigued by your artwork and photos they’re really beautiful.”

“Thank you. I’ve traveled all over the world and collected art from many places. I love those photos, they remind me how wonderful my life has been and all the love I received from it.”

“Wow, that’s really special. You’re very lucky.”

“I don’t think I’m lucky, I know I’m blessed.”

He looked at her and smiled a bit but she noticed it didn’t seem happy there was something about him that was sad something in his eyes. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened to this man but she wasn’t sure he was ready to share it.

“Well Jake I’m headed to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine. I’d be more than happy to pour you a glass while I’m there.”

He did smile then, a big genuine smile, “sure. I’d love a glass of wine.”

He walked behind her into the kitchen. There was light from the porch outside streaming through the windows, it gave the place a romantic glow. He liked her kitchen it seemed lived in and used. He’d only been in his house a week or so but he barely touched anything regarding the kitchen. He thought that may have been because his wife loved being in the kitchen, it was her domain when she was alive. It seemed so sacred to him now as if he had no right to touch it or make it his own. He’d been eating out of to-go boxes and the microwave for the last couple of days he just couldn’t seem to bring himself to use the stove and cook a meal.

Helena opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Pinot Grigio she had in there, she went into the cupboard and pulled out to wine glasses and filled them. She handed him a glass and he smiled and raised it to her in a toast.

“Here’s to our new friendship.”

She raised her own glass in acknowledgment and took a sip; it was cold and tasted delicious.

“Why don’t we go back into the living room and sit and chat for moment. I’d really like to get to know more about you Jake.”

He nodded in agreement and they walked back into the living room together. Her living room seemed to invite comfort the pillows on her couch were plump and soft, at least they looked that way. She fell into the couch and seemed to relax immediately.  Jake sat on the other end and turned to look at her. She was really beautiful and he wasn’t really sure he should be there on her couch drinking wine. Maybe this was a dangerous place for him at this moment. She picked up a remote, pushed a button, and music begin to flow from speakers near them it was the soothing sound of jazz. She sighed and kicked off her shoes as she put her feet under her to get cozy in the downy softness of her sofa.

“Now I can ask you more questions,” she said to him with the sneaky grin on her face.

“I’m not sure I’ll answer them all if you do ask.”

“You mean if I ask questions you’ll dodge them?”

“I didn’t say that, I may answer and I may not. I get to make that choice.”

“Oh, are you telling me you’re enigmatic?”

“I’m just saying I may or may not answer the question. It doesn’t mean I’m mysterious just that I’m private about some things.”

“I can respect that but I’m not going to delve too deep this early.”

“I’m thankful for that, you seem like a nice lady and I think I’d like to get to know you better too but I don’t want to invade your space.”

“You’re not. I’m an open book for the most part, but I can understand that others are not like me. I mean your reception when I first came to your front door told me a lot about you. One of the things it told me was that you’d like your privacy.”

Jake had a look of deep regret on his face, he knew he’d been really rude to her when they first met and he wasn’t sure how he’d make that up to her.

“I’m still very sorry about that incident. You and your friend didn’t deserve my scorn.”

“I told you it was no big deal we lived; we’re not scarred from it. I don’t expect you to apologize again and again about it we’re supposed to be moving forward in this relationship. I only mentioned it because you said you were so private and that incident really let me know how private you were. So now that that’s over with tell me a little more about being the famous author, Earl Gall, I find it interesting that you’re a famous writer. Does it seem sublime to you that you walk around all day and no one knows you’re Earl Gall?”

Jake looked at her and furrowed his brow, “no, not really, since I like my privacy it’s nice that people don’t know. That’s one of the reasons I made sure not to have my picture taken too frequently when I’m on book tours. Some people do know but surprisingly people aren’t that pushy. Particularly here in the Pacific Northwest they seem to love to give you your space. Although I sometimes notice that people are staring and they may recognize me but they won’t come up and say anything. Some people do ask if I’m Earl Gall and I always answer honestly but they’re very nice.”

“Do you enjoy writing?”

“That’s a funny question, of course I do. I’ve been writing all my life. I have lots of drafts of stories I wrote in my teens and 20s but I never thought I had the talent to do it full-time.”

She laughed. Jake enjoyed watching her laugh it gave him joy. He felt like he should be ashamed of his feelings toward her but he wasn’t, he was happy. It confused him he’d been depressed for so long about his wife and son’s death he didn’t understand this woman who was practically a stranger making him happy. He’d met people before and they didn’t do this to him. He’d spent time with family and that didn’t make him feel happy either at this point in his life. But sitting there with Helena was just such a delight she was contagious, her happiness was contagious.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked. Helena had noticed that he seemed more relaxed and the look he gave her was full on erotic.

“Helena, you’ve made me feel something I’d thought was lost.”

“What’s that?”

“I feel delight with you, it’s strange since we’ve known each other such a short time. But with you I feel at ease and I’m not really sure how to take this. I want to tell you all my secrets but I’m not sure if you can handle them. But sitting on this couch with you more than anything I want to touch you, I want to kiss you, I want to hold you.”

Helena just looked at him she was shocked he’d told her this he’d been a tad closed off the whole evening. Now here he was telling her she was bringing him delight and he wanted to kiss her. She thought, well she wanted him to kiss her too. There was something in him that she felt needed the human bond. Helena knew that she needed that bond also but in her mind she felt they were moving too quickly. But there was something about him sitting on her sofa now appearing so relaxed and so at ease it didn’t matter how quickly they moved.

Suddenly she felt herself move forward as she saw Jake moving toward her his eyes softening and filling with need. She wanted to kiss him and it looked like he was going to reciprocate that feeling. She felt herself being cradled suddenly in his strong arms as his mouth moved towards her, his lips were on hers before she could think about what was happening. It was soft at first then she felt the urgency in him his mouth crushing against hers, his tongue seeking out her own. It felt good as she wrapped her arms around him and held him tight and close. He was holding her against him as if his very body wanted to merge with her own. Their mouths separated for brief moment to catch a breath while in her ear, he whispered to her, “Helena I need you so badly. I don’t know what’s come over me but I need you.”

They looked into each other’s eyes as he moved in again to kiss her it was a heady feeling for both of them. Helena felt the stir of passion while she tried her best to keep her emotions under control. She smiled as his lips pressed against hers and felt a joyful giggle come to her lips this was the best kiss she’d ever had even better than kissing Scott. Then suddenly Jake’s body jerked away from her his arms went to his side and he had a look of complete horror on his face.

“Oh my God what have I done,” he said more to himself than to her, “I’ve betrayed you, I’ve betrayed you!” He was talking to someone but not her.

He rose from the couch swiftly and suddenly left Helena there sitting, wondering what the hell had just happened. She got up and moved to the door that he’d run out of and opened it and stared as he ran to his house. He looked back only briefly with the same look of anger and despair she’d seen the first night she met him. He opened his door slammed it hard and locked it.

She wasn’t really sure what had just happened they were sitting there enjoying a passionate kiss and suddenly he breaks away in horror. She picked up her cell phone and called him she wanted to know what happened. She was confused and angry. His phone rang and rang but she got the voicemail. She called again and got his voicemail again. She was tempted to go across the street and bang on his door like a maniac but she didn’t feel like she needed to chase him. She wasn’t sure what she’d done to make him so upset but she knew the things she’d felt from the first time she saw him were true, this man was hurting and maybe he just needed time. Maybe he just needed time.

 

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Love Never Leaves-Chapter 3

The night had gone well, Helena had found Jake to be funny and engaging and really charming. She was just so shocked because the person she’d first met didn’t seen to match at all the person who set across from her in this neighborhood bar. They’d had a delicious meal and had decided to go a place called The Spot Lounge. It was quiet and romantic with a great Jazz quartet playing to set the mood. They were on their 2nd drink Jake enjoying a rum and coke while Helena sipped on a glass of Malbec.

‘Helena, I’m glad you decided to go out with me.’

‘Well, I think I deserved the apology dinner. I’m not going to press the issue but you weren’t the friendliest person I had ever met in my life.’

Jake lowered his head in shame, he couldn’t really tell her why he’d been so unfriendly but he wanted to make it up to her, she was nice and insanely beautiful. He kept feeling as if maybe he liked her, maybe too much.

‘I’m sorry there really is no excuse for my behavior. My grandmother would tan my hide if she were alive.’

At those words Helena thought she’d definitely be down for seeing his tanned hide. He was so sexy she’d been trying to appear more reserved but this red wine was getting to her.

‘It’s okay, sometimes days are bad,’ and she should know she had many bad days after Scott’s death. She shook her head to come out of the memory and there he still was sitting in front of her, looking better than any man she’d seen in a long time.

‘I can’t believe you’re an author and a famous one. Just wow! I’ve read your books but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any new ones. What you been up to?’

Jake didn’t want to tell her the reason he hadn’t been writing was because he’d been depressed and mourning. She asked what he did and he almost lied but decided to just to be truthful. He didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with this woman. So he told her that he wrote books, that he actually wrote mysteries and found that she loved his mysteries. And then he told her that he was Earl Gall. She almost didn’t believe him but he proved he was, he had some photos from a trade show he’d recently gone to. She was impressed and happy and he felt like for the first time in a long while he’d opened up to a woman. He’d been vulnerable. It felt great. For many years no one knew who he was but Connie had encouraged him to come out from under the pseudonym. He was a best-selling author so he was afraid he’d be inundated but it wasn’t that bad some people recognized him out and about but most times no one knew who he was. That suited Jake just fine.

‘How did you come up with that name? Just pick it out of a phone book or something?’

He laughed, Helena loved the way his green eyes twinkled when he laughed. He had this naughty mischievous little boy face even with his full beard.

‘No. Earl is my middle name, Gall is just shortened from Galanos. When I started writing, I was still working as an attorney I wasn’t supposed to be moonlighting. But I had to get it out. I got turned down by everyone and I do mean everyone till finally I got a call from Banner Books.’

‘Well what’s the rest of your story Mr. Gall? I’d like to know it.’

Jake wasn’t ready to tell it, ‘not much to tell. I was born in San Diego, lived there all my life until I moved here. I have one older sister, a mom and dad who live in Palm Springs, and I used to be a patent attorney. I’m 42 years old and that’s about it.’

‘I’m sure there’s more to that story but I won’t press you.’

Jake smiled and put his hands up waving no, ‘nope, there’s not much else. I’m not that interesting.’

‘Jake, please from what I can tell you’re very interesting.’

Jake saw the look in her eyes, it was smoldering. He just felt so drawn to her, he couldn’t help it he leaned over and pulled her closer.

‘Helena, can I ask you something?’

Helena was surprised she thought for sure he was was going in for the kiss.

‘Sure,’ she was embarrassed that she thought something was going to occur and it didn’t.

‘I want to kiss you but it’s been awhile since I’ve kissed anyone. I don’t want to mess this up because I like you. Is it okay if I kiss you?’

Helena looked a little taken aback she hadn’t had someone ask her for a kiss not even Scott did that. She just found it so sweet and endearing and she wanted the kiss.

‘Of course.’

The each leaned in and his nice firm lips hit hers. It felt great, his lips were soft and at first he was hesitant, he tasted of spicy rum and sweet cola. She could kiss him all night, he didn’t rush anything then suddenly it seemed they each sought more. Jake’s tongue slipped easily into the seam of her lips and Helena opened willingly to allow him access. Jake wanted to grab her and place her on his lap so she could feel how turned on he was. He was surprised by his reaction to her, his hands were on her arms and he held on to her gently. It was more than he could take, he pulled away suddenly.

Helena was left a little bereft that he’d just pulled back. She didn’t want it to stop but then again they were in public maybe what was happening between them was a little hot and heavy.

Helena was blushing although her cocoa skin wasn’t giving it away, ‘Jake we better settle down.’

Jake leaned back on the bar stool and sighed he had to get his raging hormones under control. He was like a 16 year old and it was a tad embarrassing. He also felt a small surge of guilt but he tried to put it out of his mind.

‘I’m sorry, I just wanted to kiss you. You’re so beautiful and I just wanted to feel those gorgeous lips on mine.’

‘I wanted you to kiss me. What’s going on here, Jake? I mean a few days ago, you were shooing me away from your door and now we’re making out.’

He put his head back and laughed loudly, it was wonderful and deep. He noticed this was the best he’d felt since…well since their death. He didn’t know how to feel about that, he wanted to feel this good being with someone but was it really right?

‘Helena, I’m not sure but I know I want to get to know you better. You’ve sparked something in me I haven’t felt in awhile and I want to explore that.’

‘I just find your honesty very refreshing.’

‘You’re easy to be honest with. I really am drawn to you.’

‘I am to you also but you’ve got to know something, Jake.’

He looked at her quizzically, he was nervous it might be bad news.

‘I’m a widow, my husband died in Iraq a few years ago. He was my first and only love and I’ve been alone ever since. I’m excited about you but frightened. I mean you’ve set off feelings I didn’t remember I had.’

Jake was shocked, she was a widow too. Should he tell her about Connie and Dylan? She’d told him about her husband, was he ready for this? He looked at her beautiful face, she was so sweet and soft, he didn’t think he was ready to tell her his tragic story. But then he wondered when would he be?

‘I understand what you’re talking about, Helena. I don’t want to hurt you or lead you on but we can move slowly if you’d like.’

‘That may be the right thing to do,’ she replied.

They’d walked back to Helena’s and Jake thought he’d just say good night and let her go inside. She was stepping into the door and had turned to him. He thought he’d give her a hug and maybe a small kiss then go back to his place and try to overcome the guilt of feeling this horny.

‘I had wonderful evening, Helena.’

‘I did too.’

He was moving in for the hug but there was something about the look in her eye. She moved aside from the door.

‘Jake, why don’t you come in for a nightcap?’

Jake’s mind was telling him not to enter but his body had other ideas.

‘Okay,’ he stepped through with feelings of excitement warring with his guilt. He didn’t want this night to end, he didn’t want his time with this beautiful Goddess to ever be over. He walked in knowing these next moments could change everything and he wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

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Love Never Leaves-Chapter 2

It had a been a couple of days since Helena’s dinner party and she still hadn’t seen much of her new neighbor. He kept odd hours and she hadn’t seen anyone visit him. She was in the office she had built in the back of her house working with a previous client on a new project. She enjoyed the freedom and flexibility being a graphic designer under contract. She hadn’t worked as a salaried employee in 5 years and it was great. She had clients all over the Pacific Northwest and few throughout the country but she liked working for folks closer to home. Her business did graphic design for books, magazines, and web content. It was Goddess Graphic, Peggy had suggested it from her nickname. Helena loved it and it had been growing. She had a part time assistant now and had designed and built an office in the backyard. She wanted to seem more professional and not have clients traipsing through her home.

She was meeting Logan Gilchrist, he was young, but smart and had his own hip magazine, Sea-town Trends. Helena wasn’t hip anymore but she could still fill the bill for his request for their upcoming issue. He was cute in a little boy kind of way, blonde hair all streaked and poking up in different spots. He was in good shape but very casual as most young people were in Seattle. He was bouncing ideas off of Helena when she heard a slightly familiar voice.

‘Excuse me,’ it said from the doorway of her office. He was knocking very lightly as he said it.

It was her neighbor, he looked rough, like he was rode hard and put away wet but surprisingly as haggard as he looked he was still handsome.

Helena got up from the table where she and Logan were sitting.

‘Yes, hello. Can I help you?’

‘Umm I’m your neighbor from across the street.’

Helena nodded ‘yes I know,’ she said flatly. She hadn’t forgot how rude he’d been to her a few days ago and she was not going give that a pass.

‘Uh…I was wondering if you have some laundry detergent. I’m trying to get things set up and I can’t find mine and I don’t want to go to the store, you know.’

Helena’s eyes narrowed a bit and he seemed to notice her annoyance. He knew he needed to apologize for the other night and this was the only way he figured he could do it.

‘Sure, I do it’s in my house. Follow me in and I’ll get it for you.’ She turned to Logan and said ‘will you excuse me for a moment?’

‘Oh yea sure, take your time. I’ll just be looking at what you sketched up here.’

She walked toward the office door and he moved to the side to let her pass. She turned to look at him as if to say, follow me and he nodded in acknowledgement and fell in behind her. He watched as she walked, it was mesmerizing he felt like he was going into a trance. She had on a skirt that showed her perfect shape and pair of stilettos. He was shocked she got so dressed up just to sit out in an office in her backyard. But she walked like she was everything and knew it. Her watched as her ass as it switched from side to side, she did have a nice butt. He’d dated a black chick in college. Her body was dynamite and he remembered that. He shouldn’t be thinking like this he admonished himself. He shouldn’t be thinking of any other woman but her, not this woman, not this Helena McDermott she wasn’t what he wanted. At least he thought she wasn’t.

Helena turned as she got to her back door, he was staring at her almost mesmerized. The look caught her off guard because he wasn’t trying to conceal it. When his eyes met hers, he blinked and straightened up. She opened the door and invited him in.

‘I’ll be happy to help you…uh what is your name?’ She turned and smirked at him since he’d been so nasty the other night she hadn’t even got a name.

He looked embarrassed then as he should have.

‘Umm it’s Jacob Galanos but my friends call me Jake.’

‘Well Mr. Galanos, I’ll put some detergent in a Tupperware and you can take it home.’

‘Oh I’d wish you’d call me Jake.’

Helena looked at him curiously, she just couldn’t figure this guy out. The other night he had the manners of a jackal today he’s Mr. Rogers scraggly twin.

‘Okay if that’s what you want.’

Helena took a disposable plastic container and filled it with detergent and handed it to him. As she did their fingers brushed, she felt a spark and as she looked she saw his eyes searching hers in a knowing way, he’d felt it too. She pulled her hand back and gave a weak smile. She needed him out of her now.

‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’

‘Yea, will you have dinner with me?’

‘What, Mr. Galanos?…I’m sorry I mean Jake.’

‘Dinner. You do eat?’

She looked at him completely confused by this sudden change of heart.

‘Well, yes but…’

‘Oh I’m really dumb, you got a boyfriend or husband?’

She was still eyeing him cautiously, ‘well no I don’t but the other night when my friend and I came over you didn’t seem eager for company.’

Jake blushed embarrassed because he knew he’d been wretched to her and her friend the other night and he just wanted to make it up to her. Yes, that was this would be just a nice gesture.

‘I’m sorry for my rudeness that wasn’t due to you I’d just gotten some bad news and didn’t really feel like being bothered. I can take you to dinner to make up for it.’ Jake knew that story was a complete lie but it was better than telling her the other story, the one where he was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels trying to forget his heartache over his wife and son’s death.

‘Okay, I guess that would be okay.’

‘Good. I’ve roamed the neighbor and there’s a great little Italian place within walking distance, The Green Olive. Have you heard of it?’

Helena knew The Green Olive well, he had pretty good taste in restaurants.

‘Yes, I know it. It’s a good place.’

‘Okay, then how about this evening at 7 or so?’

Helena smiled and said ‘sure. Seven sounds great but I gotta get back to my client now.’

‘Oh yea I’m keeping you from your work. Sorry and thank you again,’ he said as he held up the detergent he borrowed.

‘You’re very welcome. Jake.’

white-guy-and-black-woman-300x214He smiled and left. As the back door closed, Helena wondered why she’d agreed to go out with him tonight especially with such rude behavior a few days ago. She was sure he felt the sparks between them as their fingers touched, it was pure electricity. She couldn’t help but feel a little nervous about being this attracted to an absolute stranger. She hadn’t been with anyone in the biblical sense since Scott’s death but something about Jake had her thinking if she could be, he’d probably be the one.

Jake was in his bathroom brushing his teeth, he was a nervous wreck. He hadn’t been this giddy…well since Connie. He stopped for a moment and thought of her sweet face and a tear came to his eye. He knew she’d want him to go on with his life but he hadn’t felt much like living since he’d lost her and little Dylan. Not until now, not until this goddess out of a dream rang his doorbell. He’d been shocked when he heard it and more shocked when he opened the door to find smooth cocoa skin, deep dark beautiful eyes and full luscious lips staring back at him with a body built for sin. He was absolutely awestruck and also at that moment he felt overwhelming guilt like he was betraying the memory of his family by lusting after a stranger. He wasn’t sure he should do this but he couldn’t help it. He hadn’t stopped loving Connie or Dylan but he couldn’t let his life come to a standstill. He’d decided to go casual, jeans, t-shirt and nice sweater. It was Spring and was actually rather warm tonight here in Seattle. He’d put on a pair of tennis shoes and looked at himself in the mirror. He touched his chin, he’d been pondering shaving his beard but it was too late now he’d have to think about that later.

Helena set on her sofa trying to sneak peeks from behind the curtain, it was almost 7pm but she’d been ready since 6:30 she never remembered being this nervous about seeing someone. Not even Scott, she couldn’t figure out why she felt so much like making a good impression on Jake. He certainly had not made a good one on her but today in her kitchen he seemed so sweet, vulnerable and sincere. Something about him had drawn her to him. She didn’t know what his story was but she knew something about it was tragic. She really should avoid guys like him but not only was drawn to his vulnerability she was drawn to his male beauty. Although sadness shown in his eyes, there was also a mischievous twinkle in those sea green orbs too.

Lost in thoughts of his handsome face she didn’t hear the doorbell ring. Helena shook herself from her fantasies of him and looked out the window to see him standing in the porch with flowers in his hand. He looked adorable, jeans, converse tennis shoes, t-shirt and sweater. He was a bit of a conundrum but it wasn’t as if she wasn’t curious to solve it. Ah her curiosity, it always got her into trouble. She got off the sofa and headed for the door to greet trouble.

Jake was standing there trying to be calm about the circumstance, he wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing, he didn’t want to hurt anyone or be hurt but his vexing neighbor made him want to take the risk. He hadn’t risked anything in a long time and the act made him feel alive. Helena opened the door with a bright smile on her face, she looked beautiful, her dark skin glowing in the evening sun. She was an absolute goddess her eyes were bright and curious, she looked so sweet, he couldn’t help but be drawn to her.

Helena had decided to wear a floral dress with blue, yellow, and hot pink throughout she’d bought recently, she was waiting for summer to wear it but it was surprisingly balmy spring night in Seattle. She had on a Mary Jane shoes in blue and hot pink wrap, all matching the colorful dress. She wanted to look girly, she’d also put on some dangle hot pink earrings and lots of bracelets and bangles. He probably heard her coming from a mile away. But she didn’t care, tonight she wanted to wanton and frilly. She’d just been working hard since Scott had passed, no real fun, no real interest in any man she’d met but there was something about Jake.

‘Hello,’ he told her. His smile was tentative but eventually it widened. Helena thought he had the most beautiful smile, she hadn’t seen much of it but she wanted to see it more.

‘Hi there,’ she blushed a little not that he’d be able to notice but she felt like giggling.

He was looking at her in awe and longing, it was starting to make Helena heat up. A heat she hadn’t felt a long while.

‘Oh these are for you,’ he presented her with the most beautiful boutique of Gerber daisies. She loved those.

‘Well thank you, I should probably put these in water,’ she turned and headed to the kitchen to get a vase and set them in water. When she returned he was still standing in the open doorway. ‘You could have stepped in, Jake. I don’t bite.’

He smiled again sort of embarrassed, ‘it’s okay I was fine. You ready to get going?’

‘Yea I’m ready, I’ve been looking forward to this all day.’

‘So have I,’ he said, ‘so have I.’