The Seven Year Itch: Chapter 1 cont’d

Trixie rides up to her room, takes off her sweatshirt and grabs her apron off the hook behind the door. She digs around one of the shelves where she has her 8” sauté pan. Grams wouldn’t let her leave Oregon without being able to fend for herself. She doesn’t believe in fast food, only good home-cooked meals to keep the body young and healthy. Half the time Trixie can’t even stomach the food at the caf.

From the fridge Trixie grabs the remaining half of an avocado, spicy mustard, butter lettuce, muster cheese, mesquite turkey, honey wheat bread that Grams sent from home and bacon. She puts everything, along with plates, napkins, and utensils, on a deep-seated English breakfast tray her dad had carved years ago and heads to the kitchen.

There she puts the bacon in a pan and lets it cook while she slices up the avocado. Alex walks in on her singing softly to herself.

I’ve got a brand new jones, And nobody even knows, When my baby is gone, It’s my thang, yeah, my thang…

“Robin Thicke right? The white dude with the long stringy hair?”

“Oh, ha! Yep, that’s him. Alan Thicke’s son. He had that self-titled album Thicke  but he’s coming out with another one this month I think…

So, you have a choice. You can either trust me to make you a sandwich or you can slap some cold cuts on some bread and call it a day”

“When you put it that way, I guess I have to trust you. What do you need me to do?”

“Just sit back. Keep me company. Tell me about yourself.”

Trixie takes the cooked bacon from the pan, drains off some of the bacon grease, but leaves enough on the bottom of the pan to coat the avocado slices. While the avocado cooks, she places cheese on one side of the bread, and mustard on the other. Lays the bacon on the side with the mustard and puts lettuce on top of the bacon. She then layers the turkey slices on top of the lettuce. Turning the avocado, Trixie looks back at Alex.

“Do you know any stories Alex?”

“Stories? Not really. I guess I know a few fairy tales, but only the basics”

“Where are you from?”

“North Jersey, West Orange area. My mom works in the city as an Ad Exec for a tech company. What does your grandmother do?”

“She runs the farm. I guess you could say we’re real country folk. My father was an architect, but he really loved working with wood. He made this breakfast tray.” Trixie said pointing to the tray on the counter.  “Carved all of the leaves and flowers himself. He had such an eye for detail. We have a farm of about 30 acres. The land is prone for berries. But we also have a few milk cows. My brother helps out a lot on the farm when he’s not at training camp. He enlisted fresh out of high school and now wants to be a cop.”

“This may be in bad form, but I don’t know a lot of black farmers, is—was—your father white?”

“Irish actually, my mother is black— a Creole from Louisiana. They met when they both studied abroad in France. I guess you could say it was a whirlwind romance. And you? Where did the hazel eyes come from?”

“My mom has hazel eyes. I guess I got those from her. My father’s a lawyer in New York. They met at a deli downtown while they were both interns at Price Waterhouse Cooper. I guess you could say he was an average looking black guy, with a lot of charisma to charm my mom. She says I look like him when I smile”.

Placing the finished sandwich in front of Alex, Trixie heads back to clean up the kitchen before joining him. As she walks back she tosses over her shoulder “He can’t be that average Alex, you’re pretty handsome. And you have a great smile”.

“Why, thank you ma’am. Are you going to eat too?”

“Yes as soon as I clean up a bit.”

“Eat first, and I’ll help you clean after we finish”

They both sit down and dig into their sandwiches. “This is really good Trixie. I want to lick my fingers and scrap my plate!”

“It’s just a sandwich Alex! Here take my other half, I’m full.”

“Are you sure?” Alex says already reaching across the table for the remaining sandwich on Trixie’s plate.

Trixie wateches him out from down turned lashes. She wants to make small talk, but feels awkward and unsure of herself. Best to just stick to business. Licking her lips, Trixie smiles and says, “When you’re done, why don’t you dry the dishes as I wash?”

“Sure, yes, of course” Alex mumbles through a mouth full of food.

They start to clean the kitchen in companionable silence. Hair tumbles into Trixie’s eyes as her hands dive into the soapy water.

“Here let me help” Alex sets down a plate he was drying, reaching for Trixie’s upturned face. He slides the spiral strands behind her ear, caressing her cheek along the way. Trixie looks down to his hand on her cheek then back up to Alex’s eyes with a cheeky grin.

“Thanks”

“Don’t mention it”.

The dishes are done and they load up to head back to Trixie’s room. Alex insists on carrying the tray. Once inside they put the dishes and tray away.

“Trixie where’s your roommate?”

“Oh she dropped out a couple of weeks ago. She decided to live off her trust fund and travel the world as a troubadour. Can’t say I blame her, that seems like pretty fun living.”

“Luck-y!” Alex says in an awed sigh. “It’s very different from my own living situation. Seth trashed our room. Red Dixie cups everywhere. I’ll probably have to kick someone off my bed when I head back. With any luck I’ll catch a few winks. I’m debating if I should just head back to the library.”

“Oh man!” Trixie responds sympathetically. “That really sucks. At least Pam wasn’t a bad roommate while she was here. Kept to herself mostly. And we both liked music.”

Suddenly an idea pops into Trixie’s head, ” Hey you know you can crash on her bed if you want. It’s no bother. I have some extra sheets around here somewhere”.

“Really? You don’t mind?”

“No, really it’s fine. Just let me make the bed”

“Cool I’ll head down and grab some stuff from my room and be back in a flash”

“I need to take a shower. I’ll leave the lock in the door so it’s open when you come back.”

“Ok see you in about 20mins”

Twenty minutes later Trixie heads back from the shower, in pink pajama bottoms and matching grey and pink V-neck from Victoria secret. As she opens the door, Alex is already there sprawled out on the bed in basketball shorts and a tank top. It’s hard to breathe when you actually see the muscle protruding out on his arms. He wears a lazy grin when Trixie walks in the door. She holds her towels and clothes like a shield in front of her trying to look everywhere but at the handsome man lying in Pam’s old bed.

“Hi” Trixie says shyly.

“Hey yourself” Alex responds.

“Umm… so, if you need a lamp I have a small one. Otherwise I’m going to go to bed. I can’t believe it’s almost 5:30. Do you, uh, do you need anything? Water or something?”

“Trixie you’re a really nice girl. I can’t believe my good luck. We’re gonna be good friends. I just know it”.

 Friends… yea right. The feelings swirling around in the pit of Trixie’s stomach were a little more provocative than friendly. She laughs nervously and finishes getting ready for bed, trying not to look and the hunk of man in the other bed.

Alex tries hard to not follow Trixie’s every movement as she flints around the room. He can smell the body wash she used in the shower, a potent mix of sandalwood and vanilla. He watches her put lotion on her elbows and rubs the rest on her hands. She adds moisturizer to her face and then fingercombs her hair before plaiting the strands into a braid that lands on her shoulder. Shorter curls not long enough for the braid created a halo around her face. She walks over to him with a smile, and he has to shift to hide his attraction.

“Do you want another blanket? Sometimes it gets drafty in this room.”

“No… uh… No I’m fine. Thank you. For everything”

“Okay then, goodnight Alex”

“Goodnight Trixie”

Alex woke a few hours later. Trixie was still sleep on her back one hand underneath her pillow, the other resting on top of the cover near her stomach. Alex walked over, watching her chest rise and fall, once again noticing how beautiful she is. She stirred a little in her sleep, head facing the wall, smiling slightly as if she’s having a good dream. Alex leans down and kisses her cheek. She sighs a little; her hand lifts as if reaching for him. He straightens, then grabs his stuff and heads out.

When Trixie awakens later in the afternoon, she notices a quietness that denoted Alex’s absence. Her face pulls into a slight frown. He could have at least said goodbye.

Advertisements

The Seven Year Itch: Chapter 1

Seven Years Earlier

Alexander Bastian Roberts walks over to a body slumped over one of the low seated tables in Lauinger Library. All of the other tables were taken, crammed full of students studying for midterms. He needed a seat. Studying in his dorm room wasn’t an option as his roommate Seth thought this was the perfect time to have keg party. All of the noise, all of the drunken madness wouldn’t help him successfully pass Monday’s chemistry test.

Sleeping beauty has found a perfect spot in a corner on the fourth floor with a window facing 37th Street. The trees rustle in the wind, students rushing up and down the stairs near the library either heading to or away from campus. It was the only vacant seat left on all of the floors of the library and he planned to make the sleeping student share their spot, no matter what.

He taps unconscious man’s shoulder—at least he hoped it was a man. It’s hard to tell what the lump was, dressed in a Georgetown hoodie, sweats, and sneakers.

“Wwwhhhat? What? What time is it?” The sleepy face looks around, her hood falls away revealing brown curls in a lopsided ponytail.

Alex tries not to laugh at the picture of the bleary-eyed girl, with whatever sheet of paper she was reading now stuck to the side of her face. He reaches over and removes the crumpled mass she was using as a make-shift pillow.

“Long night, huh? What were you, uh, studying?” Alex asks

“Oh you mean what did I try to learn through osmosis? Well before I conked out I was reviewing my notes for the history exam Monday. Hopefully I didn’t drool through what I wrote” a groggy voice replies.

Alex realizes he knows the girl. They’re both in Prof. Lakes Intro to Philosophy class. She wouldn’t recognize him as he sits and the back, and she sits in the front three seats away from the door. During class he sometimes watches her furiously scribble down notes and listen attentively as Prof. Lake drones on about morality and scientific theories. He wanted to talk to her before, find out more about her, but she always rushes away as soon as class ends.

“You’re in Professor Lake’s class right? I’m Alex by the way, Alexander Roberts to be exact. Do you mind if I sit down”.

Trixie stops rubbing her eyes and smacking her cheeks enough to notice that the boy is still standing next to her after he woke her from her nap. She blushes, realizing that he not only witnessed her drooling and homely state but he was still talking to her while she had completely forgotten his presence.

“Oh, hi! I’m Beatrice Eibhlin Browne, but everyone just calls me Trixie. Yes I’m in Lake’s class. Uh, why do you wanna sit down?”

“Well if you haven’t noticed, there aren’t very many available seats left in the library. I also have a test on Monday, and my roommate thinks this is the perfect time to have a party.”

“Oh no! I mean yes. Yes, please sit down. I’m sorry I’m being rude. I’m just so tired. Who knew freshman year would be this rough, right?”

Hair tumbles in front of Trixie’s face as the ponytail holder slips from her loose bun. Alex sits down in the seat adjacent to hers, laying his books on the table. While she fixes her hair, she inspects Alex out of the corner of her eye. How could she have missed this guy on campus? Granted there were at least six thousand people at Georgetown. But it would have been hard to forget a face as handsome as his. His ported his black hair in a Caesar cut remnant of Will Smith in Enemy of the State. Strong eyebrows framed hazel eyes with the longest lashes Trixie had ever seen. He had a square jaw, laced with the barest hint of stubble. He wore blue Georgetown hoodie, same as she with Jeans and white Chucks.  He had a silver Omega watch on his arm. As Alex leaned back in his chair and opened his Chemistry book, Trixie noticed his hands. He had the kind of hands that made you think of walking in winter, his warmth fusing with yours as your fingers intertwine.

Trixie looks down at her own Anne Klein watch with the brown leather band, “is it really only 11:30? *sigh* I think I’ll go get some coffee. Would you mind watching my stuff? I’ll treat you to something at Midnight Mug”

“Naw, I’m good. Thanks though”.

“Alright bet.” Just as Trixie turns away she remembers she didn’t grab her wallet. She turns back around only to meet Alex’s eyes. She blushes.

“uhh… I forgot my wallet”. Trixie fumbles in her backpack for her wristlet. Alex clears his throat having been caught checking out Trixie’s butt.

“Right, right. I’ve changed my mind as well. Can you bring me a bagel with peanut butter?”

“Sure.”
When Trixie returns they both settle in for a long night of cramming. The next time she looks up it’s close to 3a.m. and Alex has dozed off with his head in his hand. She takes a few moments to check him out. She notices his chocolate skin, such a contrast to his hazel eyes. His frame his tall, lanky, it’s a wonder he could cram his legs under the desk. He has long fingers, short clipped clean nails, his high school signet ring on his right hand. Trixie hears a soft rumble and Alex rubs his stomach unconsciously.

Gosh he must be hungry she thinks. Trixie lifts her hand and squeezes Alex’s shoulder. Should there be so much muscle there? Are men’s shoulder’s always this hard?

Alex opens his eyes looking into Trixie’s face. Awkwardly Trixie lowers her hand back to her lap and clears her throat.

“You know as much as I’d love to sit here and listen to your stomach rumble, I was thinking maybe heading back to my dorm room for some food. I have some cold cuts in my fridge and can make us a couple of sandwiches if you’re interested.”

“Haha. That would be great actually. Aside from breakfast and that bagel I haven’t eaten today. Where do you live?”

“Harbin Hall. The caf doesn’t open for a few hours so I’ll make you something to tide you over until then.”

“Word? I’m in Harbin Hall too. Third floor”

“I’m on the sixth floor. Why don’t we head over and then you can drop your stuff off at your room, meet me in the kitchen. I should be ready by then.”

“Cool.”

They both pack up their laptops and their books to head out of the library. Once outside, Trixie checks her phone.

“I have to imagine your boyfriend would be wondering where you are. It’s not safe to wander around campus this late at night”.

“Boyfriend? Not likely. More like my grandmother. She raised my brother Jason and I after my father died. She always calls me at midnight when my brother gets home from training at the police academy. I guess I didn’t hear my phone ring in the library. “

“I’m sorry to hear about your father. What about your mom?”

“She’s around. I think she’s currently touring Italy with her second husband. She’s French, Creole more specifically. When my dad died, she couldn’t handle it. Went back to her family in Louisiana and stayed there until she met her second husband Rick. He didn’t want kids. By then I was 16 and Jarlath was 18. We were happy staying with Grams, my dad’s mom. She has this great farm in Oregon. We stayed with her every summer growing up. In some ways living there made it easier to accept my dad’s passing, for me at least”.

“It must have been hard to grow up without your moms. My mom and I are really close. She raised me alone since I was five when my father left. Not much of a loss I guess, word on the street he was a horrible womanizer. Even when he was around, he really wasn’t there.”

They arrived at the side entrance to Harbin. Alex held the door for Trixie as they passed the guard. Alex decides to take the stairs since the elevator was always slow. Trixie presses the button and waits for the elevator.

“So sixth floor. Just come up when you’re ready, I’ll be in the kitchen”

“Yea give me a second to set my stuff down and I’ll head up”.

(to be continued…)

The Seven Year Itch: Prologue

Trixie stood in front of the full-length mirror, tweezers in hand; ready to attack any stray eyebrow hair marring a perfect arch. The movements are methodical point, pluck, smooth, point again. No attention paid to the woman in the mirror, the music in the background, or the man standing in the doorway.

Wake up Wake up, Gotta get this paper, Get this cake up. Gotta do my hair, Gotta put on make up…

Suddenly Trixie stops, moves from a crouched position in front of the mirror, leans her face away from the glass and actually looks at herself. It’s been a year since she’s done this, just stood there in her bra and panties to examine her body.

A year ago circumstances were vastly different. Her belly rounded, full of life. Little  Tadgh was on the way. A flatter belly remains, only the stretch marks zigzagging across her skin betraying her previously pregnant state. Her eyes hone in on the widest stretch mark, mouth pursed in a frown. Eyes wander upward. Dark brown curls frame her face and cascade past her shoulders, the light glinting off sun-bleached highlights. Freckles fan across her nose and cheeks. Biting her lips, a pink hue tints her puckered mouth. Eyes travel south to full breasts outlined in Calvin Klein’s latest orange lace bra. She lifts her hands to cup them, feels the weight that never left from the milk that used to be housed within. Lower still, quickly past her stomach and the memories. Matching orange bikini panties enveloped her hips. Turning sideways, she sees her butt which thankfully is still perky. Moles dot her “runner’s legs” as her mom used to call them; strong thighs, full calves, dainty ankles. Glancing downward still she notices pink toes, fresh from the pedicurist. A noise alerts her to the man standing in the doorway, watching as she pores over her body.

For a second their eyes meet and she sees the long abandoned lust etched in the depths of his hazel eyes. Trixie gives a cheeky smile to his reflection in the mirror, and starts to undo her bra. He straightens, looks away, his gaze landing to the dresser where their family photo stands. Her smile falls; a blank disinterested mask replaces her once seductive grin.

Alex clears his throat as Trixie turns around.

“I’m leaving for San Diego again today. I didn’t want you to wait up for me. Sorry I forgot to tell you”. With that he walks away, not looking at her.

Please somebody tell me what’s going on. My baby’s gotta suitcase. He’s telling me it’s too late. Don’t nobody, please don’t ask me why…

The song change timed perfectly with Alex’s departure. You’d never guess that Alex was her husband. That he vowed to love and cherish her. That a year ago he was behind her as she stood in front of the mirror, his hands on her full belly, his nose buried in her neck. Her pulse fluttered, and little Tadgh kicked at the same time. Alex lifted his head, a wide grin on his face, his future football star making his presence known.

In the distance the front door shuts. And the old images flint away.

I can’t stop my heart from leaving through the door. I can’t unpack my heart because he won’t look at me anymore…