Gender: Male Age: 61 Location: Northeastern U.S.
|Introduction: This is my entry into the "Calling All Writers" contest suggested by ejls.|
This is a different kind of story for me. It's a romance, which seems to be the direction I've been taking lately, but one with a twist. Constructive criticism is welcome. I hope you enjoy.
The light fog added a moisture to the air. The coolness of the night wrapped around her like a wet towel, sending a shiver up her spine. She was lucky she knew the area so well, or she could have easily become lost. She looked through the trees at the house where he lived, slightly smiling at the one electric candle burning in the kitchen window.
“He hasn't forgotten,” she thought. “He promised he'd always leave a light in the window for me.”
She knew how hurt he had been by their fight. She hadn't meant to say most of the things her anger had made her say that night, and she knew that his outburst and the awful things he had said to her still caused him pain. She also knew he had spent many a restless night, tossing and turning in his empty bed in the lonely house, wishing he could have changed how that evening had gone.
He hadn't expected her to leave, although he had known she was angry. That much was nothing new. They had spent a lot of time being angry with each other in the months leading up to that night. Immediately after that last argument, they had spent a few hours in stony silence, neither willing to say a word to break the tension, neither apologizing to the other. Pride had been part of it, they both later realized. Foolishness had been an even larger part. The largest component, however, was a mutual fear that the fight would start all over again.
When he awoke the next morning, he realized she was gone. He tried to find her, but she had disappeared. That was ten years ago.
She had always liked the tradition of having a candle in the window to demonstrate welcome and love for someone who is away. The fact that he put it in the kitchen window didn't surprise her. That was the room where they had spent much of their waking time. Some families seem to live in their kitchen, and that had been the case with them. When one of them was out after dark, they always knew that the other would have that candle lit.
“Farrah, are you sure you're ready for this?” the voice on her left asked.
“You're the one who told her she was ready! You're the one who's been pushing her to do this. What's with you, anyway?” the voice on her right scolded.
“What's with me? What's with you? You were the one who kept telling her to wait. You were the one who didn't think she was ready. Are you trying to start something? You're always so negative!” the woman's voice on her left complained.
“Be quiet, both of you,” Farrah said. “I'm ready. I have to be. I can't just lurk in the shadows any more. I have to do this. I have to find out if he still cares.”
“Oh honey, you know he still cares. I told you he still dreams about you a couple of nights a week,” Eleanor, the woman on her left said. “Now come on, give me a hug. You can do this.”
Farrah hugged her. “I don't know if I'm strong enough. I wonder if he'll recognize me.”
Torstein, the man on Farrah's right said, “We've been over this a million times. He probably won't recognize you at first. Ten years is a long time for people in his 'condition,' even though it's no more than the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. But on some level, he'll feel familiarity. He'll know something has changed in his life. Recognition may take a while, but it should all work out in the end. Just remember what we've taught you. Be strong, and make us proud.”
Farrah embraced him and kissed his wrinkled old cheek. “I love you. I hate to leave you. I'm going to miss you both so much.”
“We'll be around for a while. We're here to support you if you need it. We won't go in the house with you, but we'll see you whenever you come out. And some day, we'll meet again,” the woman said, her voice sounding strained as she tried not to cry.
“Oh, you women and your tears. Just let the child go,” Torstein said.
Farrah stood up and walked out of the trees onto the lawn. She stared at the house for a long time, gathering her courage. When she looked back to say one last goodbye to the beautiful woman and the gnarled old man who had been her family, her friends, her tutors, and her caretakers for the last ten years, she could barely see them through the swirling fog. But she could hear them, arguing as usual.
“I was not going to cry,” she heard Torstein's reedy voice say. “Real men don't cry.”
“OK, sure,” Eleanor's voice said. “Something got in your eye, I guess.”
“Allergies, that's what it is. Only weak women cry.”
“Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself that,” Eleanor said.
Farrah grinned through her own tears. “Those two will be like that for all eternity,” she said to herself. Then she squared her shoulders and walked across the lawn toward the house.
It was a bad night for Joseph. He had had a lot of them since Farrah had left. At first, he had been angry with her. “Damn stupid bitch,” he had said that first morning. “She thinks I've been too hard on her? Wait till she comes home! I'll show her what it means to be hard on her!”
His anger was quickly replaced by worry. When she hadn't returned by the following evening, he tried calling her friends. None of them had seen her. None of them knew where she was. Then he called relatives, friends of friends, everyone he could think of. Nothing.
The next day, he filed a missing person report with the police. They were polite and attentive, and they assured him that this kind of thing was not unusual. She was probably staying at a friend's house, and had sworn them to secrecy, the police said. She would turn up in a day or two when she came to her senses.
He tried to believe them, tried to remain calm. But when he hadn't heard anything for four days, he went down to the police station and started hounding them for answers. That was when the search really began in earnest, when her trail had already started going cold.
Over the ensuing weeks and months, he occasionally got a bit of news. Usually it was a rumor of a sighting of someone who may have been Farrah, someone who matched her general description. He even was asked to provide a DNA sample, and he had been asked to look at several sets of grisly autopsy photos. But there was no good news. It was as though the ground had opened up and swallowed his beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter without a trace.
On her twenty-first birthday, he spent the day in bed crying. The next day, he went to the cemetery where his wife was buried. He knew that some day, he would need to be strong enough to have a headstone erected with Farrah's name on it.
Joseph had taken the wedding album with him to the cemetery that day and had spent hours looking at the old photos. Farrah had never known her mother. The doctors had told Joseph that they would do everything possible to save both the mother and the child, but his wife had said that if only one of them was to live, it should be the baby.
He went to the hospital to bring his newborn daughter home to an empty house after the funeral. If it hadn't been for his mother, he would never have been able to care for the baby in those early dark days. Eventually, he was able to return to work, leaving his daughter with his family on his way to his job, skipping lunch to steal a few moments with her during the day, and taking her home after work.
Thankfully, Farrah was an easy baby to care for. She had a sunny disposition and a ready smile. When she was old enough to understand, Joseph took the little girl to her mother's grave and tried to explain to her that her mother had loved her so much that she gave her own life so that little Farrah could live.
Farrah had been a cute baby, and she grew into a beautiful child. Joseph loved her with all his heart. Even though he was a single parent, a widower at the age of twenty-two, he was reasonably content. Although there was no wife or mother in the house, they made a good life for themselves, and loved each other deeply.
The problems started in middle school. Joseph had thought he would be prepared for the emotional storms of adolescence, and for a while, the skirmishes with his woman-child could be resolved with some heartfelt discussions and a hug. But as Farrah grew, she became more rebellious. As a young child, she had tested her own limitations by climbing and falling out of trees, competing and excelling in youth sports, throwing herself headlong into musical studies and gymnastics, even trying modeling.
Farrah developed into a gorgeous, desirable young woman. All the local boys saw it. She started testing the limitations her father placed on her. When the subjects of make-up and skimpy clothing came up, Joseph set rules which Farrah promptly broke. Joseph told Farrah she could not date until she was sixteen, so she started sneaking out at night to meet the boyfriend of the week. Alcohol was not permitted in Joseph's house, so Farrah started drinking. Every time he grounded her, they fought. Every time he set a rule, she broke it.
The night before she ran away, Farrah came home drunk and threw up on the living room couch. Joseph was furious and grounded her yet again. That day, she didn't come home from school for dinner, a blatant violation of the restrictions Joseph had placed on her less than twenty-four hours earlier. He did something he had promised himself he would never do while he waited for her to come home.
She stumbled through the kitchen door that evening, reeking of beer. Joseph was waiting for her. “Farrah Anne Jacobs, you are in serious trouble. Very serious trouble!” On the kitchen table Joseph had laid out the items he had found when he searched her room. Farrah sobered up quickly when she saw them – several packs of cigarettes, a half-empty bottle of vodka, some condoms, a baggie with a couple of joints, and her diary, with the lock broken.
“You went in my room?” she shrieked. “You had no right to go through my stuff!”
“I had every right!” Joseph yelled. “You are my daughter, you live in my house, I support you, and I'm responsible for you. What the hell is wrong with you? Booze? Pot? What kind of a little slut are you turning into?”
“You bastard!” she shouted. “I'm eighteen! I can do whatever the hell I want!”
“Don't you talk to me like that, young lady!” Joseph answered. “You are doing things that are way out of line. I couldn't even stand to read your diary. I'm just glad your mother isn't here to see this.”
“Well at least we agree on something!” Farrah screamed. “I'm glad she isn't here to see what a miserable old asshole you've turned into!”
That was when Joseph slapped her.
They stood for a moment, glaring at each other, rage simmering in both of them.
“Fuck you!” Farrah yelled, and she ran from the room.
Those were the last words Joseph heard from his beloved daughter. The next day, she was gone.
Farrah went in through the kitchen door. New wallpaper. New appliances. New kitchen table. But still the same old house. It still smelled like her house. His house. Their home.
She went into the living room. Not much had changed, which didn't really surprise her. Her father had replaced the sofa she had soiled the night before she ran away, but other than that, the furniture was the same. Then she noticed the framed photos on the mantel. Along with the lone picture of her mother, which had always been there, she saw a number of pictures of herself. She remembered most of them. There was her first grade class picture, a snapshot of her with a cast on her arm after she had fallen out of the old oak tree when she was ten, one of her modeling photos from the summer she turned fourteen, and her senior class picture which had been taken for the yearbook.
There was also a scrapbook. She wanted to go upstairs to see her father, but decided to take a quick look inside the book. On the first page was a copy of her birth certificate. The next page had a picture of her in a bassinet from the newborn nursery. Following that were a few pictures of her mother, along with her obituary from the local newspaper. Then there were a number of pages of pictures from Farrah's childhood, along with a few of her childhood drawings which she remembered had been taped on the refrigerator long ago.
She sat on the couch to take a better look at the book. A lot of the pages had captions printed in her father's neat handwriting, and she found herself compelled to study them all.
Eventually she came to the pages that documented the time after she had run away. There was a copy of her missing person report, newspaper clippings about the search of the local area, an article from the paper on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance, letters her father had sent to police all over the country, even the back of a milk carton with her picture on it.
Then there were the poems. She had never known her father to even read poems, let alone write them, but there were dozens of them. Classically styled love sonnets, a few examples of haiku, and free-verse ramblings about love, memories, regret, despair, and loneliness. Farrah saw that she was the subject of every one of them.
“Oh Daddy, what have I done to you?” Farrah sobbed. She put the book back on the mantle and went up to her father's room.
He lay there in his bed, shirtless, and tangled in the covers. His scalp hair was nearly as thick as she remembered it, but gray was replacing the rich brown he had once had. At the age of fifty, his face was still rugged and handsome, his long torso still tough and lean, but he had aged much more than she would have expected in ten years. Deep care lines were etched on his forehead, and even in sleep, he looked unhappy.
Farrah stood silently next to her father's bed, remembering how much she had loved him. He had been a good father, bravely doing his best to fill her life with happiness. Over the years she had been away, she came to understand that he always loved her, always wanted what was best for her, even when he had been angry with her. In fact, she realized, their final night together, that horrible fight, had been motivated by his love and concern for her.
She wept quietly, watching him sleep. It was almost completely dark in the room, so dark that she had to strain to see him, even though she stood close enough to the bed to touch him. “I'm so sorry, Daddy. So very sorry,” she whispered.
Joseph stirred slightly in his sleep. Suddenly, his eyes popped open. “Farrah?” he said. “Farrah? Where are you? Oh God, where is my little girl?”
Farrah stepped back in shock. This was not what she had been told to expect. They had told her that he wouldn't see her at first, that he wouldn't recognize her. After all, she had been a teenager when she went away, and ten years had passed.
Joseph sat up in bed. “Am I awake? What a weird dream! I could swear I smelled that scent Farrah used to wear. What was it called? Oh yeah, Aphrodesia by Faberge. God, she loved that stuff. I haven't smelled that in years. I wonder what made me dream about that.”
He sat there, blinking into the darkness for a moment, then lay back down and rolled on his side away from her. In a few minutes, she could tell he was asleep.
Farrah made her way across the lawn toward the tree line. “I need some help here. I don't understand what's going on.”
The old man and his beautiful companion materialized out of the fog. “What's wrong, Farrah?” Eleanor asked.
“He knew I was there. I think he recognized me.”
“Impossible,” Torstein scoffed. “You don't look like you did when you first came to us ten years ago.”
“I hate to agree with this old codger,” Eleanor said, tilting her lovely head toward the grizzled old man next to her, “but he's right. You don't look the same to us. Besides, you wouldn't look like anything at all to your father at this point.”
“But he knew I was there,” Farrah said. “He woke up and said he thought he smelled my perfume.”
“Well that shouldn't surprise you,” Torstein said. “You practically bathe in the stuff. In fact, that's probably what made my eyes water when you left us to go into the house.”
“Just for once, try not to be an old grouch,” Eleanor scolded her companion. To Farrah, she said, “Honey, you don't wear too much perfume, despite what Grumpy here says. Some people are pretty sensitive to certain stimuli, at least with one of their senses. For some, it's sounds. We don't really make much noise as we move around, but sometimes certain people can hear us. Others sense a chill in the air when we're nearby. Still others pick up on a scent. That's probably what happened with your father.”
“But I don't think he saw me,” Farrah said. “Of course, it was pretty dark in there.”
“Seeing you will take time, sweetheart,” Eleanor explained. “You know that. It may be that he will never see you at all. After all, we move around among mortals all the time, and the vast majority never know we're there. Most of us ghosts are invisible. It usually takes strong emotions between a mortal and a ghost to make the ghost visible.”
“But I still love him! And now that I was in there with him, I know he still loves me,” Farrah cried.
“Patience, child, patience,” Torstein. “Nothing comes easy to mortals. Even though it's been a millennium since that whore Astrid killed me with my own poleaxe, I still remember that. You've only been dead for ten years, Farrah. I should think you would remember very clearly how difficult some things were for you when you were alive,” the old man said.
“And don't forget, honey,” Eleanor said, “your father doesn't love you as you are now. He loves you as you were when you were alive. He loves the memory of his lost eighteen-year-old daughter. Even if he could see you clearly right now, he probably wouldn't know for sure who you are. Remember, your death was a fluke. It wasn't part of the universal plan, so you've continued to age. You won't stop aging until you reach the age in mortal years when you were supposed to die. Remember? We looked it up soon after you first came to us. You were supposed to die peacefully in your sleep at the age of eighty-three, not in that bizarre accident at the age of eighteen.”
“But what is Daddy going to think if he does see me? He believes I'm dead. He even had me declared legally dead. My name is on a tombstone in the cemetery next to my mother's. I remember telling him I saw my mother a number of times when I was young, but he insisted ghosts weren't real. He's not going to believe it's me even if he does see me.”
“We've been over this, child,” Torstein said impatiently. “You know your mother went straight to Heaven and never roamed the earth as a ghost. You know that the visions you had of her were only the product of a young girl's over-active imagination. You couldn't have seen her, so in that case, your father was right.”
“Yes, Farrah,” Eleanor said. “Grumpy and I are ghosts because we died violently with unresolved issues here on earth. It was pre-ordained from the moment of my conception that I would die in the great Chicago fire, and frankly, after spending over a hundred years with this old goat, I can see how he may have pushed Astrid to the breaking point. Anyway, Torstein and I will be stuck here until Judgment Day. You are different, because your death was a mistake. Your fate will go one of two ways: either you'll resolve the issues with your father and will enter heaven at that point, or you'll spend the years until you're eighty-three here on earth as a ghost, and will then go to heaven.”
“There's another possibility that I've heard rumors about, although I've never actually seen it happen,” Torstein mumbled.
“What's that?” Farrah asked.
“Don't talk about that, you old fool!” Eleanor exclaimed.
“Don't talk about what? Level with me!” Farrah said.
“Nothing, nothing, child. Forget I said anything,” the old man ghost said, waving his hand dismissively.
“You two are hiding something from me, I can tell. You are duty-bound to be honest with me, and I demand that you tell me what's going on!”
“I can't,” Torstein said. “It wouldn't be right to get your hopes up.”
“You might as well spell it out for her, you miserable old goat!” Eleanor said. “You brought it up, and she's right; ghosts can't lie. But I don't want to be around when it hits the fan about you letting this out.”
The old Viking sighed. “There's a remote possibility that a ghost can experience such intense and complete love from a mortal that the ghost becomes visible, not only to the mortal in question, but to all mortals. There's an even more remote possibility that a ghost like you, one who did not die according to the universal plan, may then become real.”
“Real? I don't understand,” Farrah said.
“Real, as in mortal. Real, as in living, with their mortal body restored to life and health. As I said, I've never had first-hand knowledge of this, but the elders tell stories of ghosts returning to mortal form and living out their years as human beings until the pre-determined time of their death. But remember, child, I've been a ghost for a thousand years, and I've only ever heard a few rumors about it. I'm not at all sure it can happen.”
“Please, Farrah, don't think about that. Be content with the knowledge that your father may eventually be able to see you, if his love for you is still strong. You might even get to the point where you can communicate, but that's probably as far as you'll get. We know you're a strong spirit, dear, so that's a goal you may be able to attain. You may also develop the ability to touch him, to caress his hand or face, and to have him feel it as if you were real, if you two love each other enough. But please don't dwell on the idea of becoming human again, or you'll be disappointed,” Eleanor said.
Torstein continued, “The other problem is this. A mortal must fall in love with a ghost and love her with his entire being, and that love cannot be influenced by the mortal's knowledge of the ghost's identity before death. In your case, your father must not love you as a daughter, but as a person with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life. And that's not going to happen.”
To herself, Farrah thought, “We'll see.”
Joseph woke the next morning feeling somehow uneasy. He remembered the dream in which he smelled Farrah's perfume. He spent that entire evening, after he got home from work, ransacking the house, looking for something that could have released the scent into the air. Since he knew he had given away all of Farrah's clothes and other possessions years ago, he couldn't imagine what had provoked that memory in him.
When he went to bed that night, he dreamed of Farrah again. In his dream, Farrah had been getting ready to go out on a date, and the smell of Aphrodesia had been strong in the air of the hallway outside her room, and had lingered even after she had left the house.
Every night, it was the same thing. Joseph dreamed of Farrah, sometimes as an infant, sometimes as a young child, sometimes as a teenager. In one particularly disturbing dream, he recalled the events of the night Farrah had run away. He woke up crying from that dream, but was somewhat comforted when he imagined he smelled her perfume in the air.
Farrah haunted her old house whenever her father was at home, and followed him to work and on errands when he went out. She learned his habits, which hadn't changed much from when she was alive. He was still a hard worker, still had some of the same friends he had when Farrah was a child, and still missed his wife and daughter.
On Friday evening, Joseph didn't go straight home from work like he usually did. Instead, he drove to a nursing home on the outskirts of town. Farrah, of course, went with him. She was shocked when she realized who he was visiting.
“Hi, Grandma,” Joseph said when he entered the room of an old woman in a hospital bed.
“Joseph, is that you?” the old woman said as she turned unseeing eyes toward the door.
“Yes Grandma, it's Friday, so I came to visit.”
“Well, come over here and give your old grandmother a kiss.”
Joseph leaned down and kissed the forehead of the old woman.
Farrah couldn't believe what she saw. She remembered her great-grandmother Ida as being old, but she wasn't prepared for the sight of the frail, ancient, withered body in the bed before her.
“Who do you have with you? Wait, don' tell me, I'd know that perfume anywhere. You brought your darling little girl Farrah with you! Farrah, honey, when did you come home?” the old woman asked.
“Grandma, you know Farrah's gone. I wish I could bring her to see you, but you know I can't.”
“But she's here with you. I can't see her, of course, since my last stroke, but I know she's there. Farrah, honey, come here and give your old great-grandma a kiss.”
“Grandma, I'm sorry, but Farrah's gone, remember? She ran away ten years ago. No one's heard from her since,” Joseph said.
“Nonsense, boy! I'm old, and blind, and paralyzed, but I'm not senile! At least not yet. Farrah's right there next to you. Oh how I wish I could see you, honey! You were such a lovely child, and you were so beautiful as a teenager. I'm sure you're absolutely stunning now as a young woman. But say something, dear. Come over here and talk to me.”
“Mawmaw Ida knows I'm here!” Farrah thought to herself.
“Of course I know you're here, sweetheart. Now come closer so I can touch you,” the old woman said, holding out her one good arm.
“How do you know I'm here, Mawmaw?” Farrah thought.
“Well, silly child, I can hear you clear as a bell! You're standing at the foot of my bed, just to the left of your father.”
“Mawmaw? Can you really hear me?”
“Yes, child. Why would you ask that? My hearing is fine. It's one of the few things I have that still works!”
“Grandma! Do you think you're talking to Farrah? She's not here. Grandma, Farrah ran away ten years ago. Didn't leave a trace. Remember? Farrah's not coming back. She's in Heaven now.”
“No, Joseph, she's not. She's right next to you. Oh, oh, oh, I understand now. Oh my poor little Farrah. I only wish I could see you,” the old woman said aloud. To her great-granddaughter's ghost, she then thought, without speaking, “You're a spirit now, aren't you, child?”
“Yes, Mawmaw. How did you know?”
“I'm very close to the end of my time here on earth, child. When I was in a coma after my last stroke, I learned some things about the afterlife. My guardian angel came to me and introduced himself. His name is Michael. Charming young man! He told me I wasn't quite at the end of my time, but that I was close. He promised me that my late husband was waiting for me, which gave me a lot of comfort. He could answer all my questions about everyone I knew who had preceded me in death. Everyone except for one. He didn't know anything about you, dear.”
“Mawmaw,” Farrah thought, “I'll bet he didn't know about me because I never went to Heaven. I died, but I became a ghost trapped here on earth.”
“Well, that explains that.” the old woman said aloud.
“What explains what?” Joseph asked, confused.
“Hush a moment, boy. I'm talking to your daughter. I'll try to explain this all to you later.”
“I'll be right back, Grandma,” Joseph said as he left the room to find a nurse, concerned about his grandmother's apparent hallucinations.
Mawmaw continued, “I'm sure you've had spirits watching over you. Did they keep you company and teach you things?”
“They've been like parents to me, and friends, too,” Farrah replied. “They've taught me a lot. My death was a mistake, so I may be able to....”
Farrah's great-grandmother interrupted her. “Oh, look who's here! Michael! My dear young man, I'd like you to meet my great-granddaughter, Farrah. Tell me, Michael, is she beautiful? Funny, I can see you clearly, boy, but I can't see her.”
“Hello, Farrah, pleased to meet you. Your great-grandmother told me how pretty you were as a child. She'll be very happy to see what a beautiful young woman you've grown to be. Ida, you'll be able to see Farrah in just a moment,” the angel Michael said.
“Really? How?” Ida asked. “Oh, I understand now. It's time, isn't it?”
“Yes, Ida,” Michael said, “I've come to take you home. Because Farrah is someone you have loved, you'll be able to see her when you cross to the other side. I can only see her now because I'm here with you. But come, dear lady, I'll explain everything to you as we make our journey. Now, dear, it's time to go.”
Ida smiled at Farrah and closed her eyes. The frail old woman's chest rose and fell for a few seconds, and then the movement stopped.
“When her spirit emerges from her body,” Michael said to Farrah, “you may not recognize her. I had told her that your great-grandfather chose to greet her when she arrives in Heaven looking like he did on their wedding day, so she decided to take on her bridal appearance for her angelic form. Watch carefully.”
A mist began to form over the old woman's body, taking on the shape of the lifeless body below it. The shape changed to a slightly more youthful form, looking the way Farrah remembered her Mawmaw Ida when Farrah was a teenager. The spirit's appearance became younger, changing from elderly, to middle-aged, to that of a woman in her thirties, and finally almost solidifying into the form of a gorgeous young woman, younger than Farrah herself appeared to be. And then, Ida and Michael disappeared.
Joseph returned to the hospital room with a nurse. She felt for Ida's pulse and put a stethoscope to the old woman's chest. After a few seconds, the nurse turned to Joseph. “I'm sorry, sir. She's gone.”
That night, Joseph dreamed of Farrah again. This time, he was sitting in the stands in the high school gym with his mother and grandmother, watching Farrah and her friends on the gymnastics squad win the competition against other area schools that would send them to the state finals. Afterward, Joseph and his family went to dinner at the best restaurant in town to celebrate.
On the way home, Joseph was struck yet again by the beauty of his adolescent daughter, her trim form slumped in the seat next to him as she dozed, a hint of the alluring scent of Aphrodesia wafting from her. She was rapidly outgrowing her pretty little girl appearance and changing into a young woman that all the boys made fools of themselves pursuing. “She's going to grow up to be just as breath-taking as her mother was,” he thought. And then he felt ashamed, knowing he was going to be very jealous of the man who won her life-long affection.
Ida's viewing was a simple affair. A few of the healthier guests from the nursing home attended, along with a couple of the staff. Some old neighbors were there, and they all felt sorry for the man who sat there alone in the front of the church. He had lost his wife, his daughter, his parents, and now his last relative, his grandmother. There were a few mumbled condolences and a number of low whispers about the loneliness this handsome man, barely into his middle years, would now feel.
Several of the well-wishers remarked to each other about the small number of people in attendance. None of them noticed the old Viking, the striking woman in the high-necked ankle-length dress with puffy elbow-length sleeves and cinched waist popular in the 1890's, or the woman in her late twenties dressed in a simple dark dress that did little to hide her lithe figure, all standing in the shadow in the back of the room.
At the cemetery, Joseph waited until the funeral director and caretakers had gone. He knelt at the headstone at Farrah's empty grave and prayed. He cried a little, re-living the grief he had felt over losing his wife, his mother, his daughter, and now his grandmother. All the women he had loved, all the women who had been important in his life, were now gone. He felt very lonely, but suddenly, he had the impression that he was not alone in the graveyard.
Joseph looked around, certain he was being watched. For just a moment, he thought he saw a slender young woman in a dark dress, partially hidden by the wisteria that overran the trellises surrounding the walkway to the parking lot, but then she was gone. All that lingered was the smell of the flowers on the vines, mixed with what he would have sworn was a hint of Aphrodesia.
He returned to work the following day. He was tired, emotionally drained from the funeral and from his grieving for his family. On top of that, he hadn't gotten much sleep. He had dreamed of Farrah again, waking to the impression of her scent in the air. After tossing and turning for a while, he finally got up and went downstairs. An hour of studying his scrapbook of his daughter's life, remembering all the good times he had had with her and the love he had felt for her, calmed him. When he went back to bed, Farrah saw that he dreamed with a smile on his face.
On his way home from work that day, Joseph stopped at the market to pick up some things for dinner. He had decided to make stuffed green peppers, something he realized he hadn't made since Farrah had left. “Funny,” he thought, “why would I want them now? Oh well, I'm hungry for them. Maybe it's the fact that I've been thinking of her so much lately.”
As he was backing out of his parking space, he had to stop for a moment to allow a trim, attractive young woman to walk behind his car. She looked at him, and he was struck by her beauty.
When he got home, busied himself by dusting the pictures on his mantel while his dinner baked, filling the small house with a rich smell that seemed fitting to him, as he felt the love that always gripped his soul when he thought of his beautiful daughter. When he went back into the kitchen, he was momentarily confused by the fact that he thought he smelled Aphrodesia when he knew he should have smelled his dinner. As he was pondering this, he imagined he heard a woman's voice whisper, “I love you.”
“Stress is doing some strange things to you, old boy,” he said aloud.
The next day, Joseph was sitting at his usual window seat in the cafe across from his office building, reading the newspaper while he ate his lunch. As he ate his bagel sandwich, he got the same sensation he had experienced at the cemetery; he felt that someone was watching him. Looking up, he saw a woman in her late twenties, her body angled sideways to him, but her face turned toward the window where he was sitting. He only got a glimpse of her before a group of people stopped to read the menu posted in the window, blocking his view. When they walked away, she was nowhere in sight, but he had seen enough to form an impression of a pretty face, perky breasts, trim torso, and tight, shapely butt and legs clad in a t-shirt and tight jeans.
He smiled to himself. “I should be so lucky,” he thought, going back to his lunch and his paper.
When Farrah visited Joseph's bedroom that night, she noticed a bulge in the covers. Concentrating, she was able to read his dream, as Eleanor had taught her to do. She discovered that her father was dreaming of the girl on the sidewalk outside the cafe, dreaming of what he would like to do with her. Although she learned that Joseph had not recognized her, she felt a guilty pleasure knowing that her father was dreaming about the woman he had seen that day.
On Friday after work, Joseph decided to stop at the video store to rent a few DVDs for the weekend. As he passed the shelves of children's films, he chuckled to himself, remembering how many evenings he and Farrah had spent on the couch when she was a child, watching movies like “E.T.,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” and “Home Alone.” Moving into the “action/adventure” section, he chose a film and was reading the box as he moved toward the “comedy” section. He nearly bumped into a pretty young woman who was standing there, reading the titles of some movies. Startled, he dropped his DVD box.
When Farrah saw that Joseph was about to run into her, she panicked. “If he touches me, he'll freak!” she thought. “He'll probably go right through me!” She turned, ran around the corner, and disappeared.
As Joseph stood up with the box in his hand, he was saying, “Pardon me, miss. That was clumsy of me.” But there was no one else in the aisle but a young male store employee, who was looking at Joseph strangely. The only trace of the woman was the lingering smell of Aphrodesia in the air.
“Did you see which way that woman went?” Joseph asked the teenager.
“What woman?” the kid asked. The expression on his face showed that he thought Joseph might be delusional.
“Um, uh,... nothing. Forget it,” Joesph mumbled. To himself, he thought, “That looked like the girl outside the cafe the other day. I wonder where she went.”
“That was a close call,” Farrah said to Torstein and Eleanor later that evening when they met in the woods near Joseph's house.
“You foolish child, that was just plain careless! You could have ruined everything,” Torstein grumbled.
“Don't be so hard on her, Grumpy,” Eleanor said. “Have you ever tried moving among the mortals when there is one that can see you?”
“Of course, you stupid cow! I haunted that bitch Astrid for years. Used to scare the living daylights out of her,” Torstein snapped.
“That's not what I meant. We've all been in situations where mortals can sense our presence, and, of course, there are some sensitive mortals who actually see apparitions. But Farrah's situation is different. She needs to have Joseph see her, but she doesn't want him to see her as a ghost.”
Farrah said, “That's why I took off, Eleanor. If he had actually touched me, he would have realized that I was just a vision, an apparition, a wraith without substance. What would have happened then?”
“One of two things, child. Either he would have run screaming for the hills, or he would have decided he was crazy,” Torstein said.
“Well, I don't want either of those things to happen,” Farrah said. “So how do I make him love me enough to allow me to become mortal if I can never touch him?”
“It's going to be a challenge, I'll admit,” Eleanor said. “You grew up in the late twentieth century, when people were all about touching, holding hands, kissing, and more, even when the relationship between them was very casual. You'll have to resort to the conduct of an earlier, more proper time, when physical contact was reserved for those who were already in love. In other words, you'll have to act like a proper, virginal, Puritan-type of lady and avoid any kind of physical contact until you know he is romantically in love with you.”
“Yeah, good luck with that!” Torstein said sarcastically. “Remember, we know your history.”
“That wasn't very nice,” Eleanor scolded him. To Farrah, she said, “You're a strong spirit, honey. If you want this badly enough, you'll find a way to do it.”
Joseph's next sighting of Farrah came when he was shopping for some new slacks for work. He had come out of the fitting room with two pairs he wanted to buy, and had seen her standing near the cash register. He recognized her immediately as the desirable young woman he had seen at the cafe and the video store. “She works here,” he thought. “Maybe I can start a conversation with her.” Then a young boy waiting for his father momentarily distracted Joseph, and when he looked up, the young woman was gone, but he smelled her perfume. He was certain it was her, the woman who was rapidly becoming his fantasy girl.
He saw her again as he was leaving the gas station near his house on his way home. He debated turning around to go back to speak with her, but when he looked in his mirror to see if she was still there, she was nowhere in sight.
The next morning, he saw her in the lobby of his office building when he was getting on the elevator. The doors were closing, and he tried to reach the button to stop them, but a man was standing in his way. “Why do I keep seeing her?” Joseph wondered. “And when am I going to have a chance to talk to her? I HAVE TO talk to her!”
The work day dragged by. Joseph had several projects that needed his attention, but he couldn't concentrate. All he could do was think about the beautiful young woman he kept seeing. He had never gotten a really close look at her except for that moment in the video store, and that had only been for a split second. But he knew her appearance well. She had the well-toned body of an athletic woman, trim rather than muscular. She was fairly tall, perhaps about 5' 8”. Every time he saw her, he was impressed by her, and not just by her body. She had lush, wavy brown hair, similar in color to his when he was younger, and hazel eyes. In some ways, her eyes were her most attractive feature. The only person he had ever seen with eyes exactly that color was his own daughter.
Joseph was relieved when lunch time came. He went to the cafe across the street, took his usual seat by the window, and was just about to order, when she appeared outside. This time, she was wearing a bright yellow tank top and khaki shorts that showed again how appealing her figure was. Their eyes met, and they smiled at each other. Then she began to walk away.
As quickly as he could, Joseph went outside. She was already near the end of the block. Before he could catch up to her, she turned the corner. He saw her turn, and he jogged a few steps and turned the way she had gone. “What the hell?” he said aloud. She was nowhere in sight. “Where did she go? Damn it!”
“Looking for someone?” an old man's voice said. Joseph turned to look for the person who had spoken, but could see no one. The voice spoke again, seemingly right over Joseph's shoulder. “You'll meet her some day, young man. You just don't have enough love in your heart for her yet.”
Joseph spun around to confront the speaker. “Who are you? What do you know about her? Where the fuck did you go?” Joseph said to the empty air in front of him.
“Mommy, that man said a bad word,” a little girl standing near Joseph said to her mother.
“Shhh, sweetheart, some people don't know how to act in public,” the mother said.
“The man was talking to an old man who looked like the man in my story book about the Vikings. But now I don't see the old man,” the child said.
Joseph knelt down in front of the little girl. “Did you see which way the old man went?” he asked.
“Sir, I wish you would not talk to my daughter,” the little girl's mother said, holding her child's hand tightly.
Joseph looked up at the woman. “I'm sorry ma'am. I don't mean any harm, but your daughter just said she saw the old man who spoke to me, and I think he may be able to help me find someone I'm looking for.”
“Sir, there was no old man here. You were talking to yourself.”
“No he wasn't, Mommy. He was talking to that old Viking kind of man.”
“Janie, we've talked about you making up stories,” the mother said.
“Honey,” Joseph said to the little girl, “did you see where the Viking went?”
“He went down the street and was talking to that pretty lady in the yellow shirt.”
Joseph almost shouted at the little girl, “Where are they now?”
“Sir, I will not ask you again to leave us alone,” the mother said, grabbing a container of pepper spray from her purse. “Come on Janie, we need to go.”
“Ma'am, I need to talk to your daughter,” Joseph said. “Janie, I need you to tell me....”
“Are you on drugs, or are you just crazy?” the mother said, grabbing her daughter and beginning to move away. “Don't speak to us again, and don't try to follow us. I will spray you and I will call the police!”
The mother hurried her daughter away from Joseph, leaving him standing there, completely confused. “My God,” he thought, “am I going nuts?”
That weekend, Joseph went to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of his women. Again, he felt he was being watched. When he turned around, he saw her clearly. She was standing behind the next row of tombstones, wearing a simple shell top and slacks, facing him. “Hello,” he said.
“Hello. Those are very nice flowers,” Farrah said.
“They're for my 'girls',” Joseph said. “My grandmother, my mother, my wife, and my daughter are all here.”
“I'm very sorry for all your losses,” Farrah said.
“Do you have loved ones here?” Joseph asked.
“I came to visit my mother's grave,” Farrah answered. “I've been away for years, but I used to come here often with my father.”
“Is he still living?”
“I never knew my father,” Joseph said. “He was killed in the very early days of the Viet Nam war. My mother found out she was pregnant with me the same day the telegram came saying he had been killed.”
“How awful,” Farrah said.
“It was a long time ago. Since I never knew him, I never really missed him. My grandmother died of a massive stroke earlier this month, my mother lost her battle with cancer a few years ago, and my wife died in childbirth.”
“What happened to your daughter?” Farrah asked.
“Honestly, I don't know,” Joseph answered. “This headstone marks an empty grave. She disappeared ten years ago. Didn't leave a trace. I searched for her for years, but there was nothing. Eventually, I decided to have a stone put up in her memory.”
Farrah smiled sympathetically at him. “That must have been very hard for you.”
“I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But enough of that. The past is the past. Oh, where are my manners? I'm Joseph Jacobs. And you are...?”
“What do I tell him?” Farrah thought. She glanced at a grave marker near her, then the line of trees that bordered the graveyard. Aloud to Joseph she said, “Um..., I'm Jennifer Oaks. Call me Jenny.”
“I'm glad to meet you, Jenny,” Joseph said, walking toward her and extending his hand.
“It's too soon for him to touch me!” Farrah thought. She shrank back from Joseph and said, “Um..., I'm sorry, but I have, um..., some touch issues. I don't mean to be rude or unfriendly, but I'm not sure I want you to touch my hand. Please forgive me. I'm really sorry!”
“No, no, no, Jenny, I'm the one that's sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable.”
“It's okay. Trust me; it's a long and complicated story.”
“So tell me, Jenny,” Joseph said, “you said you've been away. When did you return to the area?”
“A couple of weeks ago.”
“I could swear I've seen you around. In fact, I'm sure I saw you on the street the other day outside the place where I usually eat lunch.”
“You're right, Joseph. You did. I remember seeing you through the window.”
“And I'm sure I saw you in a video store a couple of weeks ago. I think I almost knocked you down.”
“Yes, I remember that,” Farrah said.
“And I think you were in the lobby of my office building across from the cafe the other morning.”
“Um, yes, yes I was. I wanted to go up to the roof to see the skyline,” Farrah said, thinking quickly.
“You have to know someone who works in the building to get up there. You need a key, because they keep the door to the roof locked.”
“Oh,” Farrah said.
“But now you do know someone who works there. I could take you up sometime. On a clear day, the view is spectacular.”
“That sounds nice. I'd like that.”
“How about Monday evening? I have a conference call scheduled that might keep me until 6:00 or so. Could I come and pick you up after that?” Joseph said.
“I can meet you at your office after work,” Farrah said, knowing from following Joseph that no one else would be there to see him talking to thin air.
“You'll have to take the elevator to the twenty-seventh floor. I'm at Snelling and Sons. Everybody clears out right at 5:00, but I'll make sure to have the reception room door unlocked. If I'm not out there waiting for you, just come in and holler for me,” Joseph said.
“I'm looking forward to it. But I really have to go now,” Jenny said. “I'll see you Monday at 6.”
“Can I give you a ride home?” Joseph said.
“Oh, no thanks. I have someone coming to get me. In fact, they're probably out there now. Good to finally meet you, Joseph!” She turned and walked quickly toward the trellises with the wisteria, heading to the parking lot.
Joseph watched her go, entranced by her movements as she walked. “She moves with a grace like no living woman I've ever seen,” he thought. Then he decided to go, too. He walked down the same path, hoping to get a chance to see her and talk to her some more before her ride came for her. When he got to the parking lot, she was gone.
On Monday evening, Farrah was sitting in the empty reception room when Joseph came out of his office shortly before 6pm.
“Hi, Jenny, I didn't hear you come in,” Joseph said.
“I'm pretty quiet,” she said.
“It's nice and clear today. Shall we go up to the roof?” Joseph asked.
“Lead the way,” Farrah said, smiling at him.
Joseph held the door for her, and she was careful not to brush against him as she passed.
Although she had been there before with her father as a young teen, the rooftop had been bare at that time. Now, there was a thriving rooftop garden, with flowers, ornamental trees, walkways, and benches. “This wasn't here before,” she exclaimed. “When did they do this?”
“You were here before?” Joseph asked.
“Yes, maybe fifteen years ago. It's beautiful now,” Farrah exclaimed.
“How did you get up here?”
“Um, my father brought me here. He worked in this building,” Farrah said, recovering.
“Let me show you the view, Jenny. Over there, to the west, is the river. Out there, to the north, you can just make out some mountains. I used to take my daughter skiing there in the winter. And over there, to the east, is where I live.”
“Amazing. With the garden and trees, I almost feel like I'm in a park,” Farrah said. “And smell the flowers!”
“They're great, but I smell something I like better,” Joseph said.
“Your cologne, Jenny. Faberge Aphrodesia, isn't it?”
“How did you know?”
“My daughter used to wear it all the time. Sometimes, when I think about her, I think I can still smell it. But I thought they stopped making it years ago,” Joseph said.
“I, uh, I, uh, I stocked up on it,” Farrah stammered.
“It's nice. It suits you.”
They stayed on the roof for a while, enjoying the view, strolling on the paths through the gardens, and talking. Several times, Joseph got a little too close to Farrah, and she shyly moved away.
After about an hour, they found themselves at the railing again, on the side facing the area where Joseph lived. Farrah was talking, but suddenly stopped in mid-sentence. “Joseph, what are you looking at?”
“I'm sorry. I guess I've been staring at you. You're very beautiful. And somehow, you seem familiar to me. Like I've known you for years. I'm comfortable with you,” Joseph said.
This remark worried Farrah. She wondered if he suspected her true identity, and questioned again how she could make him love her without revealing who she really was. For lack of a better response, she said, “I'm comfortable with you, too.”
He reached for her hand. She sensed him reaching out for her, and stepped back. “I'm sorry, Joseph, I really am, but I just can't let you touch me. It's not you. Please believe that. It's me. Someday, when we get to know each other better, I'll try to explain.”
“It's okay, Jenny. I won't pretend I understand, because I don't, but I like you and I respect you. You must have been hurt very badly, and I'm sorry for that. Hopefully, we can become good enough friends that you'll trust me enough to explain it to me,” Joseph said.
They weren't alone on the roof. Torstein and Eleanor had materialized behind them. “He's falling for her,” Eleanor said.
“Hard. Very hard,” Torstein agreed.
Joseph and Farrah (or as he called her, Jenny) began to see each other on a regular basis. Farrah was very careful to set up their meetings in places where they would not be seen by others. She was very much aware of the problems it could create if Joseph were seen talking to a woman who wasn't there, especially if someone pointed it out to him. Also, Farrah would always arrange to meet Joseph somewhere, or to appear to have been dropped off at their meeting place, so Joseph would not see that she did not have a home.
One evening, they were walking in the woods near Joseph's house. There were footpaths there, used by joggers and hikers during the day, but usually deserted at night. Farrah and Joseph were having an animated discussion, laughing and talking about something they had both seen on TV one night when they were apart. Farrah didn't notice the older couple walking toward them until it was too late to hide.
“Good evening,” the man said. “Nice night for a walk.”
“Good evening,” Joseph said.
“Good evening, miss,” the older gentleman said, tipping his hat as he and his companion stood to the side of the path to let Farrah and Joseph pass.
“He saw me!” Farrah thought. “His wife did too. She smiled at me and looked me right in the eye!”
When they had passed, Farrah and Joseph heard the man say to his wife, “She looks a little young for him, don't you think?”
“I don't know about that Frank, but she's too young for you. Stop staring at her backside!”
As Farrah stifled a giggle, Joseph whispered to her, “The old guy has good taste.”
Farrah could hardly wait to see Eleanor and Torstein later on that night. “I'm visible. Oh my God, I'm visible! We passed an older couple when we were out walking, and they both saw me!” Farrah cried when she found her friends. “I'm going to live again!”
“Now child, don't get your hopes up,” Torstein said. “Becoming visible to random mortals is one thing; becoming mortal again yourself is quite another. You still have a long way to go.”
“But it's a positive step, isn't it? It's a really big step!” Farrah said.
“Yes, honey, it's a step,” Eleanor said. “We've been watching you, and it's obvious that Joseph is becoming very fond of you. But you need to be patient. He has to be completely, madly, head-over-heels in love with you for you to have even the slightest chance of regaining your mortality.”
“And I'm still not convinced it can really happen,” Torstein mumbled.
The next night, Farrah was bursting with anticipation when she met Joseph. What should she do? Did she dare to risk letting him touch her? If he did, and if he did not feel her skin, she was afraid she would never see him again, and that she would be condemned to spend eternity wandering the earth, neither alive nor truly dead.
They went for a walk again, this time on the sidewalks of the city near Joseph's office. Farrah made it a point to smile at the people they passed, and many of them smiled back. “They see me!” she thought.
“You seem especially happy tonight, Jenny,” Joseph said.
“I am. I really am.”
“Why?” Joseph asked.
“Because I'm with you.”
“Well, that's good. I can't seem to stop thinking about you. When we're together, I'm the happiest man alive. When we're apart, I can't seem to do anything except think about you, or look at the clock to see how long it will be until I'm with you again.”
“Oh, Joseph, that's such a nice thing to say.”
“It's true.” They walked a while in contented silence.
“I have an idea,” Joseph said.
“What's that?” Farrah asked.
“Let's go to a movie.”
“Oh, that could be fun.”
“What would you like to see? An action film, a comedy, or a romance?” Joseph asked.
“I'm a sucker for a good romance,” Farrah said.
Joseph sighed dramatically. “For my Jenny, I'll go to a chick-flick.”
Farrah laughed. “There's a newsstand on the corner. Let's get a paper and see what's playing.”
“I already checked. There's a new romance showing at the theater in the next block. The next show time is in fifteen minutes.”
“You old dog, you planned this didn't you?” Farrah asked, giggling.
At the ticket window, the bored teenager didn't question Joseph's request for two tickets. The girl taking the tickets smiled at the couple when they entered the theater. “Great date movie,” she said.
The theater wasn't crowded, so Joseph and Farrah were able to find seats that were apart from the others in the audience. Joseph motioned for Farrah to go into the row first, and she realized that her hip brushed lightly against his as she moved past him to her seat. She was thrilled that Joseph showed no reaction, no indication that he had felt anything strange.
About halfway through the film, she felt it. Joseph reached over the arm of the seat and touched her hand. She froze for a second, waiting for his surprised reaction. She knew it could be the end of everything between them if he could not feel her skin. But nothing happened. He just kept his hand there, lightly touching the back of hers. Farrah began to relax.
Joseph leaned over and whispered to Farrah, “Jenny, is this okay? Do you mind me touching your hand?”
“It's fine. In fact, it's more than fine. It's very nice.” She turned her hand and lightly gripped his.
After the movie, Joseph said, “I enjoyed that.”
“The movie? I thought you were just enduring the 'chick-flick' for my sake,” Farrah laughed.
“The movie I endured. Barely. But that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about you letting me hold your hand. I really appreciated that. I know it was hard for you.”
“Joseph, I enjoyed it too.”
The next day was Saturday. Joseph awoke to the sound of someone knocking on his door early in the morning. He made his way downstairs in only his pajama pants. When he opened the door, Farrah was standing on the porch.
“Jenny, what a surprise! Come in, please. How did you know where I live?” Joseph asked.
Ignoring his question, Farrah walked in and closed the door behind her. “I've been thinking all night, and I've come to talk with you, Joseph. I need to ask you a question.”
“What's that, honey? What's wrong?”
Jenny said nothing. She simply walked up to Joseph and put her arms around him. He hugged her, and she began to sob quietly.
“Baby, what is it? What's going on?”
Farrah pulled back from his embrace. “Joseph, I need to know how you feel about me.”
Joseph looked at her, his gaze flicking from one eye to the other. Finally he said, “I love you. I feel like I've always loved you. I don't know what I've done to keep sane all these lonely years, but now I have a woman in my life that I love like I've never loved before.”
“Good. Because, Joseph, I love you more than I ever thought possible.” She kissed him, and he pulled her close to kiss her back. Their first kiss was tender.
When it was over, Farrah asked, “How did that feel?”
“Amazing. Like no kiss I've ever felt before. Like the kiss of an angel. I've waited for this for so long,” Joseph whispered.
“So have I. I was just afraid before.” She held him close and kissed him again. This kiss was warm. The next kiss was hot. Their tongues caressed each other, and Joseph could feel her nipples growing hard against him, as she could feel his manhood growing hard against her.
“Jenny, I'm so in love with you that I don't know what to do,” Joseph said as he began to kiss her neck.
“I think I do,” she said, as she took his hand and began leading him upstairs to his room.
When they got to his bed, they kissed again. This time, the kiss was urgent. When they broke for air, Farrah smiled at Joseph, and then gave him a little shove, so that he sat down on his bed. “This is it,” she thought. “The moment of truth.”
She kicked off her sandals and gave Joseph a smoky smile. Then she pulled her t-shirt up over her head. Joseph watched in awed anticipation as she pulled her shorts down and kicked them off, leaving her standing in front of him in a tiny lace bra and boy short panties. The fabric of the bra did little to hide her erect nipples, and the cloth of the panties was translucent with her womanly moisture.
Farrah sat on the bed next to him, and they kissed again. “Make love to me Joseph. Share your love with me. Bring me to life,” she said.
As they caressed, Joseph's hands unclasped her bra and drew it forward and off her. Her breasts, small but firm, stood high and proud on her chest, and he began to plant soft kisses on the warming flesh. As her breathing quickened, Joseph sucked and nibbled on her nipples. Farrah began to moan.
Joseph laid her back on his bed and kissed and nibbled his way down her trim frame to her panties. He could, of course, smell her Aphrodesia, but he could also smell the intoxicating scent of her arousal, and he knew he had to taste her. He pulled her panties off, exposing her clean-shaven pussy, the lips already swollen with need, her clit poking out from under its protective hood.
She parted her legs slightly, and he kissed her lightly on her inner thighs. She looked at him with want in her eyes and whispered, “Please.”
He had wanted to move slowly, to be certain to bring as much tender pleasure to his love, Jenny, as possible, but lust overcame them both. After only a few licks of her sopping wet pussy, Joseph was alternating between plunging his tongue deep into her and sucking on her clit. Farrah was whimpering and thrashing her head left and right on his pillow, while bucking her hips and holding him tightly against her sex.
“Oh, oh, oh, you're going to make me cum!” Soon her words were just grunts, which turned into screams as she experienced a climax like none she had ever imagined. As her orgasm passed, she pulled on Joseph to tell him he should come up next to her, and they kissed again. She could taste herself on his tongue.
“Joseph, do you know what you've done?” Farrah said after she could breathe again.
“I have a pretty good idea,” he grinned.
“No, no you don't. Oh darling, you have no idea. You've made me whole. You've made me live again. You've brought me back. Oh, God, I love you so much!”
She got on her knees next to him so she could get a good look at him. He lay there on his back, handsome, rugged, lean, her moisture drying on his chin, his wavy brown hair a bit disheveled with sleep and sex, some sweat showing in the gray at his temples, his pajama bottoms distorted by his erection. She knew what she wanted to do.
She hooked her thumbs in the elastic waistband and tugged the pajamas off as he raised his hips to help her. His cock, swollen and hard, sprang up, and a dollop of pre-cum dripped from the head and fell slowly to his scrotum. She leaned down and licked it off, working it around on her tongue as he watched. Then she licked and bathed his entire sack, as he struggled to lie still. Capturing his dark brown eyes with her hazel ones, she then licked ever so slowly up the base of his shaft, teasing the tiny triangle at the bottom of his slit with her tongue, and then spreading her lips slowly as she allowed his manhood to enter her mouth.
Without realizing it, Joseph began to move his hips, gently fucking her mouth as she sucked and licked him. For a moment, Farrah was concerned when he reached his large strong hands out to touch her head, but he didn't force her onto him harder. He only played gently with her wavy brown hair, brushing it off her face so he could watch her.
Her tongue played with his crown and shaft as she sucked, and soon, she felt him growing even harder and more urgent. “I'm going to cum soon, Jenny.” She bobbed her beautiful head faster. “Jenny, it's almost time.” She sucked harder. “Baby, I don't think I can last any longer.” Her eyes smiled at him as she worked him deeper into her mouth, stroking the rest of his shaft with her hand.
“Oh God, oh fuck!” Joseph groaned. She felt the first hot jet of his cum hit the back of her tongue, and she began swallowing as fast as she could, trying to keep up with the strong blasts of his seed into her mouth.
When he was finished, Farrah sat back and looked at him. “I need you inside me.” She stroked his softening cock. “Will you do that for me?”
“I love you completely, baby. I love you with all my being. I'll do anything you want, if I can.”
“Oh, I'm sure you can. I'll help.” She began to bathe his cock with her tongue again, and soon, he was as hard as he had been before. Farrah then straddled him, and aimed his glistening shaft at her wet opening. As he began to penetrate her, she gazed into the eyes of the man she knew she had always loved and said, “I want to be with you forever.”
“Until the day I die,” Joseph whispered.
When they were done, they lay cuddled together on his rumpled sheets. They were sweaty, tired, and very happy. Farrah's head rested on Joseph's chest, and they stroked each other's bodies lazily with their fingers.
“Yes, my love?”
“I haven't been completely truthful with you. There are some things you need to know.”
“It doesn't matter, baby. We all have a past. I love you. That's all that matters to me,” Joseph said, kissing her hair.
“But I need to tell you some things,” she said, moving to the pillow so she could look into his eyes. “It's a long and complicated story....”
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