“Do you know why I came to the Forest Service office on Thursday instead of Friday?”
“To ask me to go camping?” He shook his head rejecting my response.
“I could not wait one more day to see you.” That warranted an expression of affection on my part. I wanted him to know that I likewise looked forward to seeing him, whether it was in the office, on the hillside where he chopped wood, or in the morning when I woke up in his tent.
We spent a solid half hour just taking time to stand close to each other, to touch each other, to kiss each other, and to pretend we were on our first date. Technically, we still were, but we missed two full days of tenderness and introductory intimacy for all the other obstacles we tackled over the weekend. We didn’t hardly speak or try to explain our miscommunication to each other. I happened to think that whatever signals we got crossed, neither of us wanted them to even be mentioned. We exposed enough challenges in our pasts, and in comparison, this inconsequential inaccuracy could vanish unspoken, especially since we discovered its solution. Just being quiet with him was worthwhile to erase the erroneous gap.
The first moment when we finally stepped apart from one another, I tried to make him feel comfortable in my home and he completely rejected the idea.
“Are you hungry? I can find something here to fix you.” I headed towards the refrigerator and wondered how he felt about canned soup.
He shook his head. “Come home with me.”
“What?” The prospect sounded more than tempting; it sounded like an excellent idea, but I wanted to be certain I understood his request.
He looked around my apartment, and even wandered over to the stack of boxes he eyed earlier. “You don’t even really live here yet. Come home with me. Come have a hot meal, a good night’s sleep, and a safe place to spend the night.”
“This neighborhood’s safe.”
He again shook his head. “That’s not what I mean.”
Enough. I didn’t want to guess what he meant.
“Tell me what you mean. Clearly I missed your intentions once already, and I don’t want to be wrong like that again.”
“Come home with me. Stay with me. Sleep with me. Let me care for you.” His voice lowered with each request.
Did he mean for the night? Longer? Did he mean ‘sleep’ or not sleep? He walked across the room, standing so close to me I could have reached behind him. And his voice grew lower still.
“I will never let you fall.” He gently grabbed me by the wrist the way I held him in the truck, and he stepped even closer so that our arms were tucked between us. How could I not kiss him again after that?
I nodded, accepting his offer. What a deal we made with each other!
“Do you mind if I take a few minutes to get cleaned up, pack some stuff in a bag for work tomorrow, and whatever else I can think of?” Whatever I might need. I could think about that in the shower.
“Whatever you need, you go ahead and do it.”
“Do you mind if I follow you to your house so I can drive myself to work in the morning?”
“Of course not. Whatever you want to be comfortable, we can do.”
“Thanks,” and another kiss of gratitude followed. “My DVDs are in that box over there if you want to watch a movie while you wait. I promise I’ll hurry, but it will take a little bit.”
He returned the gesture, and then added a kiss on my forehead. “Take your time. We are changing your pace of life here.”
NEXT: The Cabin – Part 78