U is for “Ukana” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“Memories of  Galen and I making love came rushing back to me but I was at peace. Everything else might have fallen apart but at least I would always have those sweet memories.

I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with fresh ocean air until…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.

All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella.

“I know that it hurts Kate. But this is just a tiny bump in the long road ahead. It’s not like you were going to stay in Maui forever anyways. You’re coming home to face down this demon and though Galen sounds…I mean, he sounded like an awesome guy, you were leaving him behind. I get that he was upset but it’s been two days. If he hasn’t come to his senses yet, he’s just a dick and wasn’t as perfect as you thought.”

Meghan tried her best to console me and had managed to discourage me from booking an earlier flight back home.

“Try to enjoy your last days in Maui as much as you can and forget about him. You were fine before you met him and you’ll be fine without him.”

When we hung up the phone, I turned over on the couch to admire the moonlight that  glimmered through the open patio doors. With no clock in the room, I had no clue what time it was but it had to be early. I was drained from thinking and talking my night away with Meghan.

I picked up my cell again and felt disappointed for the umpteenth time when I still saw nothing from Galen. Two days had sped by and all he had given me was just a lonely silence that I deserved for not telling him the truth.

My fingers itched with the temptation to call. Besides wanting to express how sorry I was again, I wanted to lighten my heart and tell him all the thoughts floating through my mind.

That a part of me had fallen for him days before the malasadas we had…

That I longed for him to make me call out his name in the middle of the night…

That he was The One my heart had waited forever for when I now had no forever left in me.

Meghan was right. I needed to try to shake this off and enjoy my last days here. My life could and would go on without Galen.

I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed my tote bag and headed to the beach even though it was still quite dark, just as I had done before meeting Galen. It probably wasn’t the safest thing for me to do but I did it anyways.

But I wasn’t alone near my favorite spot – there was another lost and lonely soul quietly sitting and looking out into the nothingness.

Photo credit: irondsd via Foter.com / CC BY

I spread out my towel and sat down. But it was too dark to read so I simply stared out into the ocean , waiting for the sun to wake up. Memories of Galen and I making love came rushing back to me and I was at peace. Everything else might have fallen apart but at least I would always have those sweet memories. I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with fresh ocean air until I suddenly felt a presence behind me.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

Surprised, Galen stood towering over me with two coffees in his hands. I was so shocked to find him standing there that I had forgotten his question. He didn’t wait for me to answer.

“I never believed in it until I saw you by the pool that day.”

Galen sat down next to me, handed off a coffee and gave me a sheepish look.

“This one is yours. I made sure that the barista put more sugar than coffee in it for you.”

I didn’t say a word and took an uncomfortable sip, feeling his eyes on me.

“Katie, I never should have reacted the way that I did and for that, I’m truly sorry. I was upset, angry and needed space to think. Then, it hit me hard that you’ve been trying to tell me something for days…It must taken you a lot of courage to finally tell me and when you needed me the most, I ghosted you like an asshole.”

“No, I’m sorry…” I began to say but he interrupted.

“No, I’m sorry Katie.” His eyes begged for forgiveness. “But I did warn you that I was far from perfect, didn’t I?”

I managed a small laugh at his weak attempt to lighten the mood.

“You did. But I seduced you anyways, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did,” Galen laughed quietly, reaching for my empty hand to hold.

We drank our coffees in silence until the sun fully woke up and rose above the horizon.

Photo credit: Foter.com

“I was thinking about how our ukana follows us wherever we go in our lives…”

As usual, Galen saw the questioning in my eyes and he explained.

“Our pasts are like baggage, “ukana” – we can never leave it completely behind us. But we have to find a way to learn from it, adapt and share our truth as we go forward in the world. I don’t want to be a part of your past Katie. I want to be a part of your future. I want to share whatever challenges you have with you.”

Galen’s words blew me away.

“What exactly are you saying Galen?”

“I’m saying that I’ve spent the past 48 hours researching what you told me and I want to support you. I refuse to let you die without a fight.” Galen took a deep breath. “”If I asked you to stay, would you?”

He planted the softest kiss ever on my lips and lingered, waiting for me to respond.

“Uh…that is a hypothetical. You would actually have to ask me a real question to get a real answer…” I teased, letting my lips linger against his.

Galen grinned, shook his head and leaned his forehead against mine.

“It’s a good thing that you’re adorable, otherwise I wouldn’t bring you Kona coffee that you insist on ruining with too much sugar. And I wouldn’t let you play with me like this.”

Galen took my coffee away so that he could take hold of both of my hands. His chest heaved with another deep breath.

“Katie, will you stay with me in Maui?”

Photo credit: Foter.com

The sweetness of his request overwhelmed my heart and I started to cry.

And instead of words, I answered him loud and clear with my lips, tongue and fingers.

Continuation – V is for “Volcano”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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T is or “Tattoo” (AC) #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, how much time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape, Galen said nothing but simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.

All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella. 

I slowly kissed a path down the length of Galen’s naked chest to his navel and when I reached my ultimate destination, I stopped. I stared up at Galen with sexy intent as I pulled on the drawstring of the pyjama bottoms he had changed into after our shower together.

Why did Galen bother putting on clothes when I would peel them off again?

“You know, I’m not complaining.” Galen’s breath was heavy with expectation as he stared back down at me knowing what I was about to do. “But eventually we will need to come up for air, get some real food and make that trip to the pharmacy Katie.”

I groaned and rolled away from him, knowing that he was right.

We had spent most of the past twenty-four hours reveling in each other, only leaving the warmth of the bed to freshen up or find something to eat. When we had attempted to make a trip to the pharmacy to get more condoms, our bodies had decided to dictate the conversation, forcing us throw caution to the mind – more than once.

But there was little to worry about – I hadn’t been with anyone since my divorce and my almost 40-year-old body couldn’t even remember how to make babies anymore. Galen had assured me that he hadn’t been with anyone since his last testing a few years back. But to be responsible, we had still agreed to do the right thing and make that trip.

I crawled up alongside him, curled up next to him and Galen immediately pulled me in tight to spoon. I took hold of his hand so that he could wrap me even tighter. I traced my finger along his small tiny heart-shaped birthmark that sat next to a colored tattoo etched onto his wrist that said “Pause and Remember“.

Before I could ask him about the meaning of the tattoo, he explained.

“When I first moved here, I got that tattoo as a reminder of why I moved to Maui in the first – to pause and remember my son Ben and to pause and remember every day of the rest of my life.”

I paused at his words, exhaled deeply and remembered that I’d gotten the one night that I had wanted.

I need to tell Galen the truth now.

“Galen, we need to talk.”

“Okay.” Galen nibbled on the back of my neck. “About what?”

“Uh…I need to apologize to you.”

The way Galen’s warm hand caressed my stomach was soothing against my skin and I felt his body stiffen.

“Apologize for what? Giving me one of the best nights I’ve had in my life?”

When I didn’t respond, Galen promptly flipped me over to face him. I took a deep breath.

“Remember that day when I told you that I felt like I had wasted time in my life and wanted to all the things I hadn’t before I died?”

Galen nodded and smiled.

“Yes, of course I remember. How many of those things did we check off your list in the past twenty-four hours?” Galen teased.

But when I didn’t return his smile, he frowned.

“Why are you bringing this up?”

“We’ve only just met and yet we feel so right together. I don’t know what it is about you but I feel so free with you. And I keep wondering how far we could have gone together if circumstances were different…”

I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and I tried to hold them back.

“Katie, I’m not looking forward to being without you either…”

“It’s more than that Galen. When I told you that I was dying, you should have taken it literally…not metaphorically.”

My words hung heavy in the air as he tried to understand what I meant. He bolted upright when he saw my tears start to flow.

“What are you saying?”

There was an instant look of horror on his face and I quickly realized what he was thinking.

“No, no, no. It’s not HIV or anything like that Galen…”

His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, the time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape to think through my situation, Galen said nothing. He simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed.

“I’m sorry, Galen. Please say something,” I pleaded with him to understand.

“Why didn’t you tell me before? I was honest with you about my life and you kept this from me?” Galen whispered angrily.

Before I could even begin to explain more, Galen jumped out of bed, threw his clothes on like the condo was on fire and headed to the bedroom door. Still naked under the covers, shame and vulnerability washed over me.

“Where are you going?!”

Without looking back, Galen paused in the doorway.

“I don’t know and I don’t care as long it’s away from you right now.”

Photo credit: Fabio Zenoardo Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

When I heard the front door slam, I curled up into a ball and just lay there. Then, I slowly got out of bed, retrieved my clothes from the floor and waited for Galen to return.

But as seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours, I realized that I not only needed to go back to my own condo, I needed to go home.

Now.

Continuation – U is for “Ukana”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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S is for “Shaka” (AC) #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“Galen laughed and continued his slow exploration. I squirmed with pleasure as he switched his attention to my other thigh. Then, with both hands, he reached up and slowly peeled my…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.

All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella.

Like the first time we kissed, I realized again how hungry I was for a true connection with a man like Galen.

I’d let myself starve for too many years and I needed to end my famine tonight.

The ride was quiet and Galen kept his hand on my thigh the entire time as he expertly negotiated the twists and turns of the road back to the condo complex. Once there, he jumped out, sprinted to the passenger side and opened my door for me. He gave me a lingering look and then whispered against my lips.

“Your place or mine?

“Yours,” I whispered back.

I didn’t care.

With his arm wrapped around my waist, we slowly made our way to his place and when Galen quietly shut the door behind us, my fears were left out in the hallway. I probably should have been scared but I wasn’t and I knew that I wouldn’t be. Not with him. I had complete faith and trust that I was safe with him.

“Take a seat while I put our food away sweetheart.”

I sat down on the couch and watched him rearrange a few items in the fridge to make room for our brown bags from the restaurant. Galen grabbed a bottle of white wine, two glasses and sat down next to me. He filled both, handed one to me and we toasted.

“Here’s to good food to nourish the body and sweet love to nourish the soul…”

“We skipped the good food part,” I reminded him, taking a sip from my glass. “And that “sweet love” sounded just a bit corny.”

“We can get back to the food later.” Galen laughed and gently took my glass away, placing it on the coffee table. “And I’ve been called worse things than corny in the past so I’ll take it.”

Galen pulled me against his chest and we leaned back into the couch. The feeling of comfort I felt in his arms was unreal. As we just sat still holding each other, my eyes trailed across the array of colorful pictures that decorated his living room walls.

“Those are beautiful. Where did you buy them?”

Galen kissed the top of my head. “I didn’t. Those are photos that I took the first time I ever came to Maui. I had some of them blown up to larger sizes.”

I sat up with amazement. “You never said that you were into photography!”

“Well, it’s not a passion for me like it is for you. Which of them do you like the most?”

I scanned the wall and pointed to a close-up of a male hand making a gesture.

Photo credit: EyeTunes via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

“That one. I like how the close-up shows the hand holding sand and the ocean in the background. Whose hand is that?”

“It’s mine. I’m giving the shaka sign. I took that photo as a lark after a day of surfing with some friends and strangely enough, I liked its simplicity too.”

I was talking way too much, the way I always did when I started to get nervous. Galen cupped my face within both of his palms.

“You are simply beautiful,” he whispered onto my lips. “Don’t be nervous. We don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to.”

I took a deep breath.

“That’s the problem. I want to do everything with you Galen,” I muttered against his lips, offering them to him. Boldness had completely taken over me. “And one night will not be enough.”

I was giddy as we explored the deepest corners of each other’s mouths. This kiss was unlike all of the others we had had before. I could literally feel my body melting. I was ready for Galen to take me to unworldly heights that no other man had managed to take me before. And we were still fully clothed.

When we broke apart to catch our breath, Galen’s blue eyes turned dark with desire. Our slow burn was quickly sizzling. Our lips were just inches away from each other again and his hot breath intermingled with mine. Galen slowly slid his fingers up my outer thigh and suddenly stopped.

“Are you sure that you want to do this?”

“Yes.”

I don’t care that I’m dying. I just want to live right now and make love with this man.

My hands instinctively reached for his face to take full advantage of his full open lips. When I pulled Galen in for another deep kiss, he gently maneuvered me backwards onto the couch and focused his kisses on my neck and behind my ear…my kryptonite.

He unfastened the length of my button down dress, exposing my lacy bra and Brazilian panties that he took a long moment to admire. I opened my mouth to say something but when Galen licked and kissed the length of my neck, down to my breasts and then to my stomach, I didn’t have the strength to string two intelligible words together. Somewhere along the way, my bra fell to the floor.

“God, you are beautiful Katie.”

Galen wedged his knees between my legs and slipped a little lower down. I couldn’t help but let out a deep groan when he began kissing my inner thigh. I quivered uncontrollably at his touch.

“A little ticklish, aren’t you?”

Galen laughed and continued his slow exploration. I squirmed with pleasure as he switched his attention to my other thigh. Then, with both hands, he reached up and slowly peeled my panties over my hips. Once my panties had joined my bras on the floor, Galen grabbed hold of my calves, pulled me lower down on the couch and covered his body with mine.

Only one of us was caught in a lie of omission and I was prepared to pay the price. I was deciding to give myself this night with him. There was no turning back for me now.

“Take your clothes off,” I told him.

Galen did as I asked, our eyes never leaving each other. Soon, all his clothes were puddled onto the floor and mingled with mine. When I slide my hands up the length of his chest, he held onto my wrists and placed them over my head, making it clear that he was going to take control of how this night would unfold.

“Let me take care of you tonight.” 

Galen looked down at me with such intensity that I had to close my eyes.

I sighed.

“I’d love that.”

Continuation: T is for “Tattoo”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please click on “Like” and/or “Comment” below and share with others who would also enjoy it. You can also sign up for my mailing list here to get the latest news from me. 

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R is for “Rhythm” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“I paused again, glanced from his handsome face to our beautifully plated dishes and back to his crystal blue eyes.

It was now or never. 

“I need to tell you that…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.

All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella. 

“What’s wrong Katie? You’ve hardly said two words since we got here. If you don’t like it, we can go somewhere else.”

Galen and I were sitting seaside at the Lahaina Heights Bistrot* waiting on our drinks and appetizers. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening to be dining al fresco with the ocean only a stone’s throw away. From the brief exchange between Galen and the hostess, I quickly realized that Galen had reserved a special table for us that was more secluded and away from the rest of the upscale crowd.

Having sneaked a peek at the restaurant’s reviews, I knew that it was a popular hot spot for locals in-the-know and that reservations were always required in advance, which meant that Galen had planned for this night. I was also secretly happy that a dress code was required because I finally got to see what Galen looked like in a dinner jacket and slacks. Dressed up, he was no less than scrumptious and from the way the hostess and other women turned their heads as we were shown to our table, I wasn’t the only one having those thoughts about him.

“No, I love it. This place is beautiful.”

on Turtle Bay

Photo credit: laszlo-photo via Foter.com / CC BY

“So why do you look unhappy?” Galen searched my eyes as if he were trying to read them.

I should have been thinking about how romantically sweet the venue was and looking forward to what would surely happen when we returned to the complex but instead, Meghan’s unspoken words about telling the truth kept reverberating in my head.

Tell him. You need to tell him the truth. Tell him.

There was no doubt that Galen would see me differently if I told him. I would no longer be Katie the woman he was attracted to, whose company he was enjoying and who he wanted to bed. I would be Katie, the dying woman who he would feel sorry for and wouldn’t want to touch. It would ruin everything. What if he gets upset and storms out leaving me here?

“I’m sad and wishing that we had met the first week that I got here. Instead of having one week left, we would have had two weeks together. And if I had never gone to Oahu for my first week, we could maybe have had the entire month together.”

Galen reached for my hand and kissed it like a gentleman.

“I’ll be honest Katie. I’ve thought a lot about how amazing it would be if you stayed here in Maui longer…or if I could follow you home like a puppy…because I would if I could.” Galen kissed my hand again. “But I have to believe that there’s a reason for everything. If you had come to Maui first, maybe our paths would never have crossed and we never would have met. Going for a swim at the pool at that time of the day when we met was not part of my normal routine. And if you hadn’t gone to Oahu for that first week, you never would have met Jennifer and Joshua who gave you my number. And from what you told me, you never would have trekked up Diamond Head with that older woman you met.”

Galen was absolutely right.

Why was this man always right?

“How is it that you can always see the silver lining to every situation? I can’t even be sad when you say things like that!” I laughed, rolling my eyes at him.

“What can I say? Looking for the “good” in life has become a part of me. I guess when you make a habit of looking for the “good”, it comes naturally after a while.”

I forced a smile but he wasn’t buying it.

“So…what I’m seeing written on your face is only about leaving next week?”

“Yes,” I half-lied.

Galen reached out and stroked my cheek. “I haven’t met someone like you in ages. Like I told you the other day, I felt a strong connection with you from the moment I saw you and there is a rhythm to us when we are together. It feels like we’ve met in a past life or something. But Katie, I still get the feeling that there’s something else that you aren’t telling me. What is it?”

Say it Katie. Just tell him and get it over with… 

“How are you able to read me like that?”

“I’ve gotten to know you pretty well I guess.”

Galen looked at me expectantly and I took a deep breath.

“Uh, okay. I do have something to tell you. I probably should have said it before but…” I paused.

“Don’t be afraid. Just tell me.”

I held onto his hand and squeezed it nervously.

“I need to tell you that…”

Photo credit: PKMousie via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Before I could get the words out, the waitress arrived with our entrées. My moment of relief disappeared just as quickly as the waitress had appeared because Galen promptly took hold of my hand again.

“Tell me,” Galen coaxed, looking straight into my soul.

“I need to tell you that I…”

I almost jumped out of my seat when a teenage girl popped out of nowhere at our table with a basket of frangipanis.

Saved by the bell.

Again.

Maybe I wasn’t supposed say anything. Maybe I should take this as a sign.

“Such a pretty couple! How about a pretty flower for your pretty lady?” The girl’s attention was laser-focused on making a sale to Galen.

Before Galen could accept or refuse, the girl was pinning a flower into my hair. Galen chuckled, pulled out his wallet but before handing her a few dollar bills, he frowned, motioned at my head and made a sweeping motion.

“Oh, I’m sorry Sir,” the young girl said, promptly removing the flower and placing it above my other ear.

I grabbed my cell and handed it to her. 

“Could you take a picture of us please?”

Galen scooted his chair, put his cheek to mine, we smiled for the camera and the girl obliged.

When she drifted to the next table looking for another sale, Galen grinned and I looked at him curiously.

“Uh, what was that about? Why did you make her move the flower?”

“Above your right ear means that you’re single, available and approachable. The left means that you’re…taken.”

It took me a second to get the message and when I did, my fingers found their way to where the flower sat above my left ear. My face flushed with shyness.

Galen took my hand and kissed my palm. “You look so amazing that I wouldn’t want anyone in here thinking that you were available.”

His words and boyish grin took my breath away.

“You’re too smooth for your own good Galen,” I rolled my eyes again and we laughed.

“Only with you Katie. Now tell me what you were going to say before we were interrupted…twice.”

I paused again, glanced from his handsome face to our beautifully plated dishes and back to his crystal blue eyes.

It was now or never. 

“I need to tell you that… I want you to take me home. Now.”  I kept my voice low and my eyes on his sweet lips.

In that moment, I was choosing “never”.

Galen took one long look into my eyes and immediately knew what I wanted. He quickly turned and signaled the waitress who came over quickly.

“Is something wrong with your meals Sir?” The waitress was concerned that our plates sat untouched.

“No, they look delicious. We just need for you to wrap these up for us and to bring the bill – as quickly as possible. We need to leave.”

Confused, the waitress looked at us but upon noticing the smiles on our faces, she got the message loud and clear and tried not to giggle.

The air was thick with anticipation and the rhythmic chemistry electrifying us was beyond palpable as we hurried out of the restaurant, into the car and sped home for dessert.

Continuation – S is for “Shaka”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please click on “Like” and/or “Comment” below and share with others who would also enjoy it. You can also sign up for my mailing list here to get the latest news from me. 

*fictitious name 

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Q is for “Quiver” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“I reached out, ran the palm of my hand up the length of his chiseled chest and then slipped a finger into the edge of the towel around his waist where it was tucked in. On my tiptoes, I tilted my head to offer him my lips again and…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.

All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella. 

“What do you mean Galen didn’t say anything when you told him that you were sick?”

It might have been past midnight for Meghan but she was wide awake as I put the final touches on my outfit.

“Meghan, you have to understand. Galen and I were talking about the passing of his son, the troubles in his past and just life in general. When I said that I wanted to do all the things I didn’t do in my life before dying, he didn’t take me literally. And I’m glad that he didn’t.”

“You wanted Galen to be honest with you but you won’t do the same with him?”

“I know, I know. I really wanted to but I couldn’t. I can’t. I feel so good with him and if I tell the truth, it’s going to ruin everything.  I only have a week left in Maui before reality sets in and I have to face the music. Why can’t I just be happy for the rest of what’s left? What’s so wrong with that?”

Meghan was quiet for a while before she responded.

“Kate, I guess that nothing is wrong with that. It’s not like you’ll see him again after your trip is over. Do what you need to do. Did you call the doctor’s office yesterday like you said you would to make an appointment?”

The way Meghan shifted the direction of the conversation made it obvious she truly didn’t agree.

“Yes, I did. The secretary asked me to come in the same day that I get home. When I told her that I would be too tired after such a long flight home, she kept insisting and I gave in. I might as well bite the bullet, right? Will you still go with me?”

“Of course I will. I’ll pick you up from the airport and we’ll go straight there.”

When I realized how late it was, I grabbed my purse and slipped on my heels.

“I’ve got to go. I’m meeting Galen at his place and I don’t want to be late. I’ve never seen his place before and I’m quite curious to see how he lives.”

“Oh, that sounds quite…sexy. Have you two…you know…done it yet?”

“No. But I definitely want to.”

“Whoa! Listen to you! If you want him, take the bull by the horns and let him know,” Meghan giggled.

“To be honest, I haven’t thought of much else since that day he took me for malasadas and poke.”

“Well, I want all the details tomorrow.” And with that Meghan hung up.

I gave myself one last look in the full-length mirror, refreshed my red lipstick and headed out to Galen’s building. When I got to his door, I took a deep breath, shook off the last of my nerves and knocked.

young-woman-applying-red-lipstick

Photo credit: Foter.com

“Come in! It’s open!” I heard him yell from inside.

The moment I turned the handle and let myself in, I noticed a number of colorful photographs of Hawaiian landscapes that brought the walls to life and the contrast of minimalist furniture that adorned the livingroom. In the far corner near the patio was an array of different sized surfboards hanging from the ceiling and underneath them stood Galen in nothing but a towel around his waist.

At the sight of him standing there half-naked with his wet hair falling past his shoulders, I stood frozen in place. Galen approached and gave me a long lingering kiss that I easily fell into.

“Hey Beautiful! You’re early. I still need to get ready for dinner.” Galen held onto me and all I could think of was tugging his towel free.

“Is this why you asked me to come over here?” I asked against his lips, inviting him to kiss me again. “You wanted to seduce me into staying in instead of going out to dinner?”

“It did cross my mind.” When Galen’s lips found themselves on my neck and behind my ear, I felt my knees go weak. “But I also wanted to show you my quiver.”

For once, I knew what Galen was talking about but that was only because I’d seen the term in a magazine on the plane ride to Oahu.

“And why would I want to see your collection of surf boards?”

“Because I’d like to take you surfing and want you to choose one of my boards to use before we go.”

2341202462_483d934e03_b

Photo credit: steveyb via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I took a step back. “What if I said that there was something I would much prefer to do with you than surf?”

Surprised, Galen’s eyes crinkled at the corners when he grinned. He ran a hand through his wet hair and stared down with those clear blue eyes that always hypnotized me.

“What would you prefer to do Katie?”

I reached out, ran the palm of my hand up and down the length of his chiseled chest and then slipped a finger into the edge of the towel around his waist where it was tucked in. 

On my tiptoes, I tilted my head to offer him my lips again and whispered, “I’ll tell you after dinner.”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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P is for “Poke” (AC) #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“Let’s go for some poke,” Galen whispered in my ear, giving me goosebumps all over my body.

The term sounded a bit crude but if “poke” meant what I hoped it did, I didn’t care. Galen wouldn’t have to ask me twice…

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.
All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella. 

With the hint of malasada still lingering on his lips, Galen tasted better than I could ever have imagined.

I’d only kissed three other men before him – my first real boyfriend in college, my ex-husband and the man I had let kiss me in a weak moment that I had chosen to forget a long time ago. None of them could compare to what Galen stirred inside of me.

At first, Galen’s kiss was soft like a feather brushing against my mouth. His lips teasingly lingered on mine as he took his time, allowing me to set a slow pace that I didn’t care to have. But with each kiss that I responded to, Galen returned it with a little more passion and urgency.

When we slowly fell back onto the blanket, our lips never left each other and I was completely under the spell he had cast. We kissed for what seemed like an eternity, like teenagers who knew nothing beyond the instinctual next step until we heard giggling nearby.

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Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

Our lips broke free, our heads swiveled around and we found two little girls staring at us. We both bolted upright just as their parents came running after them to lead them away. I finger-combed my hair back into place as best as I could and tried to catch my breath. When I looked at Galen, he was smiling from ear to ear.

“What?” I asked, feeling a little shy.

“Maybe it was a good thing that we were interrupted. Otherwise I don’t know what would have happened next,” Galen laughed. He pulled me up with him as he stood, held me close and gave me a long lingering kiss that I never wanted to end.

How could I find such a man, at this point in my life, thousands of miles away from home on a trip to escape my troubles? Life was being cruel to me in so many ways…

“Let’s go for some poke,” Galen whispered in my ear, giving me goosebumps all over my body.

Poke?

The term sounded a bit crude but if “poke” meant what I hoped it did, I didn’t care. Galen wouldn’t have to ask me twice.

“Uh, to be honest, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I haven’t done that in a long while. I consider myself pretty ignorant of anything related to “casual” sex…”

Galen raised his eyebrows in surprise and broke out laughing.

“When I said “poke”, you thought that I meant “sex”?”

Galen continued laughing as he scooped up the blanket, placed it under his arm and then grabbed the box malasadas. Confused that I had missed the joke, I took what was left of our coffees and followed him to the car.

“Isn’t that what it means?”

“Not at all sweetheart.”

Sweetheart. I liked the sound of that. 

Poke is a salad of bite-sized pieces of raw, fresh fish mixed with seaweed and kukui nut relish usually served on rice. I’ll take you to one of my favorite poke places I usually grab some for dinner when we get back to Lahaina. They have every variety of types and flavors ans if you like sushi, you’ll like poke. My treat.”

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Photo credit: Frank Hamm via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I shook my head.

“Everything has been your treat since you’ve been taking me around to all these wonderful places and introducing me to all these different Hawaiian foods. I want to treat you for once…”

Galen opened the car door for me to slide in and refused.

“No. It’s my invitation so it will be my treat, And if you bring it up again, I’ll be insulted. I believe that men should act like gentlemen when it comes to treating a woman right. “Going dutch” on a tab with a woman is not my way.”

As Galen circled the car to get in, my woman’s mind could have psychoanalyzed his words to death but I let it go. I wasn’t foolish enough to think what we were doing was dating. At the most, I could say that we were “seeing” each other and even that was stretching it when I had two expiration dates looming above my head – my return ticket home and my diagnosis.

But I didn’t want to think about it – the future was now.

“Ready?” Galen smiled and placed his hand on my thigh.

“Definitely,” I said, placing my hand on top of his.

As we drove back to Lahaina content in our silence and listening to nothing but the hum of the tires against the hot road, my cell buzzed with a text from Meghan.

“Is that your friend Meghan?” Galen asked.

“Yeah, she’s checking in on me.”

Hey! I didn’t hear from you today. What’s up? Still hanging with Mr. Perfect? You never did text me his picture you know.”

I texted her back.

Yeah, sorry. I’ll get a photo of him when it’s the right moment, okay? Actually, Galen and I are about to go for a poke.

Instead of seconds, minutes passed before Meghan responded.

Uh, I’m not sure what or how to respond to that…Have fun? Be safe? Don’t break the bed? But please don’t take a picture of him while any poking is going on okay?! 🙂

Realizing that Meghan had no clue what poke really was either, I burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Galen glanced over curiously.

I leaned my head on his shoulder and got myself comfortable.

“I’ll tell you after we poke.”

Continuation – Q is for “Quiver”

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Photo credit: Nicole Lee via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

©2017 Marquessa Matthews

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O is for “Ohana” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

“We’re all dying Katie. Some of us are already dead but we just don’t know it. The key is to live while we still have the chance…”

To start from the beginning of the story, click HERE first.
All those who sign up for my mailing list HERE will receive a FREE copy of this story after it has been revised into a novella. 

“I ended up in Maui because I killed my son.”

I heard the words and saw Galen’s lips moving but my brain just could not compute the information.

What?! 

It was as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice water onto my head. Instinctively, I started to pull my hands away from his but Galen refused to let go. His deep blue eyes pleaded with me not to be afraid.

“When I was living in New York with my ex-wife and my son Ben, I was obsessed with climbing the ladder. All I could think about was becoming a reknown journalist and I spent way too much time chasing the next story, taking stupid risks and traveling the world. I basically neglected my family and one day, my wife decided that she had had enough. It wasn’t until I came home after one of my long work trips and found that she had left with Ben that I realized that I had been putting them last. Ohana wasn’t one of my priorities when it should have been.”

I frowned not only because I didn’t know what he meant but because I wanted Galen to cut to the chase. Now that Galen was giving me the back story, I didn’t want it. I just wanted to know how I had ended up sitting with a self-confessed killer.

Ohana is family,” Galen explained, reading my face. “When Ben became a teenager, he started spending entire summers with me, where ever I happened to be in the world. By then, I had given up on becoming a famous journalist and had taken up contract work to have more flexibility especially when he was around. His mother and I were getting along really well and I thought that we could actually have a chance at being a family again when I made a fatal mistake that changed things forever.”

Photo credit: Foter.com

Galen’s tears made my heart bleed but I refused to show it.

How could he hurt anyone, much less his own son?

“You…killed your own son?” I questioned with quiet intent.

“It was my fault because I should have been looking out for him and instead, I was distracted by work.”

Galen took a deep breath and closed his eyes as if he was re-envisioning that fateful day.

“It was the summer we spent here in Maui and I was doing a bunch of important telephone interviews that day. In the midst of it all, Ben asked if he could go surfing with some boys he had made friends with and though I didn’t care much for them, I said yes. But I didn’t ask him where they were going because I felt guilty at being unavailable and didn’t want to put a damper on his fun.”

Galen opened his eyes and looked down at our intertwined hands.

“When Ben wasn’t home for dinner, that’s when I really started to worry and when the police came to my door, I knew that he was gone.”

“Gone?”

Galen nodded and finally let go of my hands.

“Ben and those boys had gone to Olowalu Beach on an extremely busy day and he wasn’t that great of a surfer. Ben didn’t know about the large coral heads just under the surface of the water in specific spots. It was my fault that I never told him. My ex-wife never forgave me and hasn’t spoken to me once in the five years since it happened.”

Photo credit: szeke via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Oh my God…

“But it wasn’t your fault Galen. It was an accident.”

I couldn’t even imagine what I would do if something happened to my kids.

“I might as well of killed him myself Katie because I should have been parenting and I knew about Olowalu. At least that’s how I felt back then. For the first two years after he passed, I stayed in New York and dug myself a deep dark hole that I refused to crawl out of. And when I did, I came back here to visit the spot where I lost him and I could feel him, truly feel him. Ben had a beautiful soul and it’s as though he’s always with me when I’m on this island. I changed my life completely by deciding to spend most of my time here. For the past three years, I’ve been all about living in the moment, being of service to others and taking advantage of every day. That’s why I decided to get out of the rat race. And now you know all about me.”

Galen stopped talking and I was at a loss for words. I crawled into his lap and hugged him because it was the only thing I could think to do.

“I’m so sorry for your loss Galen. And you’re brave. I don’t think that I could ever stay in a place where one of my children had passed away.”

Galen held onto me tight. His pain was palpable.

“You never know what you’ll do until you’re faced with hard challenges. Some of us run and hide, others stay and face the music. Being here in Maui, has been a bit of both for me.”

I knew exactly what he meant. I had run away to Hawaii to escape my diagnosis but at the same token, Hawaii had made me realize that I needed to go home and face the music too.

“Like I said, we’re are all products of our pasts Katie. What made you come here?”

After all that he has shared with me, how could I tell him that I was dying?

“I came here to escape,” I hesitated. “I mean, it recently hit me that there’s so many things I want to do before I die. I’ve wasted years and time is running out. I’m scared that…I mean…I’m dying.”

I waited for a reaction that never came. Galen kissed me on the forehead and held me tighter.

“We’re all dying Katie. Some of us are already dead but we just don’t know it. The key is to live while we still have the chance.”

I couldn’t have agreed more and offered my lips to him once again.

This time, Galen didn’t hold back.

Continuation – P is for “Poke”

©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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