Laddie, sing me home! Samantha awoke from a dream with those words on her lips.
It was hot and humid. The clouds had been gathering all day and now the storm was ready to burst upon them. The heat had not yet broken and Samantha felt the sweat trickling down from her scalp and soaking her pillow. Her face was sticky wet and she wiped it with a corner of the sheet.
Her whole body felt sticky even though she had taken a shower before bedtime. The house was so old and huge. Her grandfather had it built for his bride. The swamp coolers Samantha had installed were not enough to cool the whole house.
After tossing and turning for over an hour she could not take it any longer. Her hair was soaking wet and clung to her neck. “Aww!”, she groaned and sat up, threw her pillow against the wall, stomped out into the hall and across to the bathroom. As she slammed the door, her hand went to her mouth as she said, “Oh, crap! Kevin!” She had forgotten that her dear friend Kevin from Ireland had moved in with her that day and was now sleeping in the guest room down the hall. “Well…I’m sure he is not sleeping now” she muttered. She felt bad for probably waking him from the rest he so needed after the long trip.
Keeping as quiet as she could, she filled the basin with cold water, added some lavender flowers, ten soaked a wash cloth in the water. She first wiped the sweat off her face and neck. Then she yanked off her pajamas and ran the cool cloth over her breasts and under them. As the coldness touched and refreshed her, it felt delicious. She shivered when the goose bumps chilled her. After putting a towel on the floor, she got the cloth wet again and this time leaned her head back, squeezing the water out of the cloth and letting it drip on her face and down over her body. After patting herself dry, she sprinkled baby powder over her entire body, changed into fresh pajamas and headed for the kitchen.
As she passed Kevin’s room, she saw the door was wide open. Now she really felt bad for waking him. Reaching the end of the hall she turned towards the stairs and could see the dim glow shining in the hall which meant the kitchen light was on. Kevin was not there. She grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and walked out to the balcony where Kevin was sitting, a beer sitting in a pan of ice on the little table by him.
“I am so sorry to have woken you, Laddie. I am so used to living alone, I completely forgot to be quiet tonight.” She sat down in the chair across from him. “Aww…No! You did not wake me, Sammy. I have been up for awhile now. I cannot sleep in this heat. It gets like this back home just before a thunder storm.” He stood up and walked to the railing where he could look out from under the overhang at the sky. “Aye … it looks like it is going to break any time now. It will cool off when the rains come.” His voice was so soft and deep, melodic, almost caressing. That is how he sang, his words had caressed her that night on the beach so long ago. Why did she walk away from him that night, she wondered as she stared at his broad back and shoulders.
Samantha sat her beer down in the pan of ice and jumped up. “Let’s do it, Kevin!” she almost shouted. Kevin looked at her, a startled and questioning look on his face. She immediately sensed his bewilderment and felt embarrassed. “Oh! I mean the rain,” she pointed out to the lawn. “My brother and I used to run out on the lawn in the middle of the night when it was hot like this and wait for the rain to cool us off.”
Kevin’s face relaxed and he smiled. “Ah! — I thought you meant …” She interrupted him, “Never you mind what you thought, Laddie! That was my fault. That’s how I always tempted my brother to run out in the rain.” She kicked off her slippers and ran out on the lawn, Kevin following her as they laughed like kids. “If it doesn’t rain we can just turn on the sprinkler and run through it. Then we can lay on the grass as the water sprinkles us!” she twirled with her arms out as she looked at the sky.
“Oh! I shouldn’t do that,” she stopped and put her hands on her forehead. “I am not young anymore and that made me dizzy.” Kevin reached for her and put both hands on her shoulders. “Are ye alright, Sammy?” She looked into those beautiful deep blue eyes and felt even more dizzy, as if she was drowning in his gaze. “I…I’m fine, Laddie, really. Just got myself twisted around too fast.” She pulled away from him, feeling guilty and ashamed. She was nearly 48 and he was only 35. This was not the first time she felt this way with him. His eyes, his drawly voice, his beautiful shiny dark hair, every thing about him tugged at a hidden spot deep within her, making her feel like she would melt into a puddle if she looked at him too long. That is why she left him that night on the beach in Ireland. She was falling for him and knew he was too young for her.
Flashback to Ireland ~
About two years before they met in person, Kevin had read one of her books and loved it. He got her address from the back cover on the book and wrote a letter to her, asking if she could help him finish the book he was working on. He loved her style of writing, read in her biography that she was also an instructor on writing at her local college and wanted to learn from her.
She agreed to help him and a beautiful friendship started between them. Samantha often felt strong feelings when writing to him or reading his letters. Before she even knew what he looked like she felt all giddy inside when they talked on the telephone. Then she would pull herself out of it and become the teacher, the elder and come back to her senses. Yet, the feelings, the intense emotions she felt when talking with him would not leave. She felt young and alive with him. She felt comfortable and at home with him, like they had always been together, forever! She just could not understand all this and she felt silly – she felt ridiculous for feeling like this with a man so much younger! That is why she always called him “Laddie”, it reminded her of their age difference.
Laddie and Sammy near the Oak Tree ~
Now, seeing a look of pain or confusion on his face, his eyes questioning again, she felt bad for pushing him away. Rejected all his life she tried to never make him feel that way with her. Quickly she hugged him playfully. “You are so sweet. Thank you, but, I really am fine. Come on!” she grabbed his hand and they ran up the little hill towards the oak tree. At the top of the hill she lay down on the grass on her back and threw out her arms. “Come on, lay down like this. The game is that we have to lay here till the rain comes. The first one to move after it starts raining loses.”
Kevin flopped down and rolled onto his back, laughing. “You are such a fun person, Sammy. Did ya never grow up out of this game?” He spread out his arms and looked up at the dark clouds gathering above them. “Never,” she said. “And I never will. I may lie here in the rain when I am eighty years old and maybe die here.” He turned his head towards her quickly, his eyes tearing up. “You can never die, Sammy. You are immortal.” Samantha looked at him and smiled. A tear ran down her cheek as she saw the child-like trust and love he had for her.
“You’re crying! Why are you crying?” She brushed the tear off. “No, Laddie — it was a rain drop,” she whispered. “No, you are crying. It was a tear…” Just then a loud boom of thunder startled them both.
“Here it comes!” she said. The rain started lightly then began coming down in heavy drops. “Now don’t move, Laddie! If you move you lose.” He was trying not to move as the drops of rain hit his face. “Lose what?” he asked. “The game, silly. You’ll lose the game if you move.”
“What happens if I lose?”
“Then you have to cook breakfast for me in the morning,” she laughed. They both started laughing, trying not to move as the rain splashed on them. “It tickles my nose! Can I move my arm to rub my nose?”
“NO! Not fair, Laddie!”
“Sammy, I will cook breakfast for you every morning for the rest of our lives.” He stretched his arm out farther to touch the tips of her fingers. His touch felt like a shock to her, like lightening had struck her and coursed through every vein in her body. She started crying again, but this time did not move away from his touch. Kevin stretched farther and took her hand in his. With tears mixing with the rain, Samantha looked over at him. “You moved, Laddie” she whispered. He turned towards her and reached his other arm over to hold her hand in both of his.
“You lose, Laddie. You lost the game,” Really crying now she sobbed as he scooted over and pulled her to him, holding her close like she was a child. “But, I am determined to win something better,” he murmured as he kissed her forehead. “Kevin…Kevin I am so much older than you. I am 48…” He held her tighter. “Young, you are young and beautiful.” The rain was soaking them as he nuzzled her neck and kissed her wet cheeks. “I am not as young as I used to be. I am not pretty and slender as I used to be.” “You are beautiful, you are womanly…”, he whispered with a husky voice full of passion. She tried to move away and he held her tighter. “Laddie,” she whispered with passion growing in her.
Thunder began to rumble …
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© Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Phyllis Doyle Burns
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