Author: Elliott Silver (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: How do you say good-bye?
Had to be a dream.
Waking too early, clammy-cold with aftersweat.
It was December 2 and the house was rumored with chill.
Dark seduction of liquor fumes and a woman’s perfume.
The sheets noosed around his naked body, scurrying to hide in his pajamas in case Debbie had a nightmare or he overslept or any of the uncountable embarrassing episodes a parent was due for.
The clock with its glowing numerals chanting 4:57 am.
A pair of pants slung across the bottom edge of the bed instead of his pajamas.
He didn’t understand.
His underwear, wrinkled on the floor, damp as he reached for them in the half-dark.
It was as if he’d been slapped.
Not just a remonstration but a full backhand across the mouth.
The mouth she had kissed.
Not just a mistletoe kiss, but bottomless deep, her teeth crunching against his, the impact jarring hot flinches in his dental roots.
Her tongue hollowing him inside-out, incising every single nerve in his body.
Seizing his lower lip when he tried to pull away for breath, with just enough force that blood seeped over his tongue.
Thick and heady.
Her eyes gleaming in the dark.
Dangerous, like a panther.
Sleek in shadow, over his skin, eating him alive.
Easing over his body, allowing him to touch her, every reverent place he never dared dream about.
Bringing him to her, still tasting the rolling Scotch of her mouth in his.
Submerging him within her, reeling as she released him.
The world vibrating in indigo, dark and seething, as he gasped for air, the sizzle in the back of her throat burning in his collapsing veins.
Across the hall, his daughter’s alarm spasmed with the break of day. He had approximately thirteen minutes while she dressed before he had to be in the kitchen to make her breakfast.
Outside the hiss of rain and the scent of earth.
Her skin, sticky and sweet on his tongue.
His mind, still drunk from the Scotch in her mouth and her stark sobriety.
Her scent, not the expensive perfume she wore, but her, the elemental femininity she was, swelling inside his head.
But reluctant to move, to leave her.
He loved her.
His body stiff, his eyes gritty.
She had come to him to say goodbye. Maybe in the only way she knew.
She couldn’t stay.
If she had, he knew he would have wanted more.
And that was what she could not give.
She was just that kind of woman.
The exasperation drooling out of his daughter’s mouth from the bottom of the stairs. She had taken to calling him Dad instead of Daddy now, shortening it as she grew up.
He wondered what kind of mother she would have made for Debbie.
Knowing only what kind of woman Debbie would become because of her, instead.
He stripped the covers from the bed, the room suddenly warm as with breath, and dressed for the Centre.
He had to let her go.
Any way her could.
She wasn’t meant to be caged. She needed freedom and wildness. But he missed her all that much more.
His daughter’s voice brimming with the incurable inquisitiveness she had seen, and emulated, in Parker.
And he knew.
Wrenched in a shallow breath.
"I’ll be right there."
He heard her clank the phone down on the kitchen table, the one habit she wouldn’t break no matter how much he pressed her. No matter how many people spooked away from the clamor in their ear.
It was another familiar habit.
One he would miss.
He sat on the corner of his bed, letting her flash through his head one last time.
Letting himself love her all over again.
Letting her tell him without words that she was going to be all right.
Downstairs, the toaster popped and reluctantly he edged down the stairs and put the receiver to his ear.
Most of him was glad.
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Disclaimer: The characters of "The Pretender" are not mine; they rightfully belong to NBC, MTM, and Pretender Productions, as well as the actors and actresses who give paper and ink a life and a voice. I am making no profit from these writings; imitation is the highest form of flattery.