Friday, August 21, 2009
Sessions 13 - Far Away
I have loved you all along
And I miss you
Been far away for far too long
I keep dreaming you'll be with me
and you'll never go
soundtrack: Far Away ~ Nickelback
South Beach - Beach on West Coast Road
Cooper absently picked a gentle melody on his Gibson, haunting and melancholy and beautiful, not the usual hard driving music he played. He had worked on it for weeks, blending notes and chords, picking here, sweeping there, nearly to distraction.
The surf thundering against the shore, bigger waves than he remembered, did he remember this place? Fire, the campfire, yeah he remembered that, Aidan shoving sticks into the fire, Heydon watching the fire crackle and putting a move on that little blonde, Slim laughing.
Cooper felt her presence before he even saw her, from just beyond a small grove of palms. She was shrouded in the darkness; he barely made her out. So much warmth in her eyes, strong, safe, all his, where he belonged, right there, if he could catch it, keep it. If he moved even one inch to approach her would she bolt?
Cooper rose, arms relaxed and weight shifted, watching her the entire time, knowing she was watching him, a slight smile curving the corners of his mouth. Wrapping tanned arms around a blue tank top, she held his gaze and took a cautious few steps of her own.
Hesitating for only a moment he turned and murmured something to the small group that gathered near the fire. Coop turned back only to find she had turned and was slowly walking away. "Wait, don't go. I don't even know your name." If he said those words out loud, she seemed not to have heard them.
Cooper took three, maybe four more urgent strides toward the grove of palms when she stopped and looked back. He held his breath thinking that she would evaporate in the heat of the night if he wasn't perfectly still. Go get her, damn it; don't let her leave. His heart pounded against his chest. "Hey, don't run away."
She turned again and disappeared, through the trees, through the leaves that clung to her hair, walking up into the night, some place beyond the dunes and some place he couldn't follow.
Feeling strangely alone and disheartened, Cooper walked toward the surf. Three stars, their light brighter than any of the others that scattered across the sky gleamed down. Those three stars, they meant something, something important, something he had to keep, something he wouldn't forget, never forget.
Breathing deeply, Cooper filled his lungs with the salty air and something else, something exotic. He was falling as the wind picked up hissing through the heavy palms. He swore it sounded like a voice, her voice; it hung in the faintly perfumed air where she once stood. "Let me save you." He'd heard her say that before, held onto it, in the dark, the dark...
South Beach - Stanfield Residence 10:30 AM
That soft voice became louder, different, angry, and it clashed with a darker more youthful voice. Cooper tried to pull back, needed to pull back and run after her and hold on. The sky unexpectedly filled with light and he struggled to fall back into that indigo night.
"What the hell did you do...I know what you said...a big mistake...does he know..."
Cooper's eyes flew open and then quickly shut as the glare from his bedroom window momentarily blinded him. He blinked into the light, the dream still there, a confusing, disturbing whisper.
Shifting sideways in the uncomfortably hot sheets, he waited, reluctant to move and even more reluctant to think. Last night...shit. She'd done what he would never have believed. A long time ago, though, right?... It was over, it had been over for years, one night that made him want to kill the son of a bitch, but she'd probably hurt McDermott more last night the way she sent him away than he could have done. He'd left her alone too much, but changing that...damn he didn't want to think about that now. Not now. Not yet.
Rolling over, he pulled his tired body out of bed, stretched and then threw on a discarded pair of jeans. Disoriented, groggy, and distracted he allowed the bedroom door to shut with a loud click and headed toward the sound of his wife and daughter arguing.
South Beach - Stanfield Residence 10 AM
Rayne took a step back, trying not to let her mother see her panic, confusion and surprise. What had happened? How did she know? Hot light blazed through the wall of glass over her mother’s shoulder and made it hard to see her expression, she was just part of that big angry blast of light. This was turning out to be like some sort of hell week test and so far she was trapped right down there with the losers. Maybe her mother was talking about something else; maybe she didn’t know. Maneuvering cautiously, Rayne countered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Beth followed her never moving out of that solar flare of light, spitting light, her voice low and tight. “Oh yes you do. I know what you said to Randi. I know every single thing you said to her because Rafe heard it. All of it, Rainie. All of it, including the head game you played with Ryan, making him think it was me in bed with him. You want to play games? It’s your move.”
Stunned, frightened and exhausted, Rayne nervously watched her mother. She didn’t have a move. She didn’t see any way to move. Well ok move back at her...no defense, use aggression...something Ryan taught her.
“All right,” she began, sitting on the end of her bed, close to terrified, her hands shaking, her voice shaking, “I did it. We did it. Me and Ryan, it happened. So what? So I made a mistake! So did you and you cheated on Dad! At least I didn’t cheat!”
Her mother went white around her mouth; she looked like she was going to faint or throw up. “My god Rainie,” she gasped, “you didn’t…do you have any idea what this could mean? Does he…does he know?”
Does he know...her disappointment and rage and guilt and anxiety and all of it scalded her and her mother would stand there and come up with something like that. Did he know? What kind of slam was that?
Rayne leaned forward and glared at her mother. “You know what he thought? He thought it was you. All night long, he thought it was you. He couldn't tell the difference.”
Although she thought she had driven the fatal blow, Rayne had only drawn first blood. Still flooded in light, her mother drove right back at her, her voice cold and biting, “He knows the difference, Rayne. Don’t you think for one second he doesn’t know. He was drunk - you stupid child, you really think he wouldn't know it was you and not me if he wasn't drunk? It wasn't me, and I can't believe you don't understand why I don't want him to think it was! Don’t you know what you’ve done?"
She was right. Randi was right. He would be horrified and disgusted if he really knew, it had not worked the way she thought it would, it was all twisted and if he found out he would be seriously mad at her. Rayne leaped off the bed, screamed, “You bitch! What is it with you, you want him and Dad too? Fuck you!”
She shoved past her mother, slammed out the door, hesitated a split second when she saw her father striding toward her, then without another word headed for the front door and the way out.
South Beach - Beach on West Coast Road 11 AM
He’d given her a sword.
Shoving seaweed around with the toe of her sandal, Rayne picked at that distant and blurred memory. He’d given her a sword. Right here on this raggedy old piece of sand, he’d given her a sword and said something about the cold. You dreamed it, she thought drearily. You dreamed it all up. You saw some stupid Disney movie and dreamed about it except sideways since the prince in those movies never gave the princess a freaking sword.
The high bluffs to the north and south hid the beach from the lights in South Beach, and there really wasn’t anything to the north but the country club and the long road that climbed through the mountains to Millwood. People came down here but mostly at night. She’d been here at night, many times, many many times and she had never seen him again. That’s because he doesn’t exist….
He wasn’t going to show up and rescue her now. Not now. Not ever. Rayne sat down in the surf and let the water surge past her feet and her legs and her hips, and it was cold, chilled from storms and rain and far away ice and despite the heat on her arms, she shivered.
Seagulls hopped around in the surf looking for something to bite and rip and kill, like her toes were food. Yeah go for it, try it, just try it. I grew up with a Navy SEAL; I’ll skin you and eat you first.
Uncertain what to do and miserably anticipating a scene with her father – if he’d heard her call her mother a bitch, that was going to be bad – she kicked the seaweed aside, deliberately aiming at the birds, and started back toward the road.
Those bluffs captured and held road noise, and they echoed with it now. A bike approaching and it was a big one. Rayne folded her arms over her breasts, steadying herself, the birds still screaming and crying and circling above her while she watched the road to the south. It was almost sure to be her father coming after her, and he was going to be pissed. He’d been pissed last night when Wyatt told him where he’d found her. He’d be doubly pissed now, and there was nothing she could do to avoid it.
The bike rounded the curve, slowed, pulled off the road, sand that had drifted close to the road spitting outward from its tires. Whoever it was, it wasn’t her father.
Swinging a long leg over the bike, he straightened, drawing a hand through thick black hair. “Hey,” he greeted her, “can I get some directions? I think I took a wrong turn somewhere.”
Rayne stood transfixed. Nailed to the sand. Nailed right down through her head through her heart down to her feet nailed and unable to move or speak.
He hesitated, taking another long lingering look at her, ignoring the birds, the wind, the sun in his eyes, cool blue eyes. “Maybe I’d better start again. I’m Cruz, and I’m lost. And who are you?”
South Beach - Beach on West Coast Road
Long past sundown, past dusk into true night, light flashing, small light, firelight. Warm quiet laughter, driftwood crackling and scattering colored sparks high up into the dark air.
She tilted her head back and gazed up at the play of light. One ruddy star gleamed to the right of the moon, Mars, outshone by three just above the horizon. Venus. And below her, the twins, yin and yang, hot white and yellow gold, Castor and Pollux. Great beauty at an intolerable distance.
She turned and looked back into deep shadow and waited. What was she doing here? She was supposed to meet someone but was this right place? She didn’t remember so many palms this close to the surf line.
The laughter gave way to silence, and out of the silence, music. Long yearning strands of music tangling and releasing like the firelight itself. Someone was playing a guitar.
She swept the palm fronds aside and took one tentative step out of the shadow. There was the fire, just a beach fire, a beach fire like any other beach fire, and a few people gathered around the fire watching a boy playing a guitar. His head was bent over as he swept long fingers across the strings and pulled out more music. The music was in his hands. If he put down the guitar, would the music still flow out of his hands?
And he looked up. Dark golden hair, dark golden eyes in a sunburned face, bare shoulders catching the firelight. He set the guitar down on the sand. The music stopped. He eased to his feet in one swift and athletic move and took a step toward her.
From somewhere behind her she heard someone shouting her name; above the dunes. There was a parking lot above the dunes. North. It was to the north and the beach was just to the west. She could see lights from Bay View in the distant dark to the south. Was she dreaming? Why was this so familiar? She had to go, she wasn’t supposed to be here.
“Wait,” he called out. So close now she could see the long sensual curve of his lower lip. The rough timbre of his voice, the light in his eyes, golden, full of gold light. She knew him, didn’t she know him? She suddenly and desperately wanted to stay, to reach out, to touch, to hold on. If you don’t do it now, if you don’t, he’ll always be out of reach, as impossibly out of reach as those stars.
It was already too late. The shift had begun. Someone was calling her name. I’m not leaving! Don’t make me leave!
She fought it, wrestling with the fabric of the dream even as it shredded, determined to hold on, screaming, too late, always too late, rendered voiceless and eyeless in the dark.
South Beach - Stanfield Residence - 2 AM
That low, hoarse, familiar voice very close now, quiet. “Baby wake up…you’re having a bad dream….”
Moonlight still illuminated the side of his face but through a window, the same golden eyes, his face older now, the lines harder. Propped on one elbow, he smiled down at her. One long bare leg tucked between hers, his hip pressing against her hip. The relief was so strong she held her breath, fighting tears, disoriented, waiting for him to vanish. “Was something chasing you?”
No dream. This was real. She groggily reached out and touched his mouth, his cheek, the elegant arch of one eyebrow. Cooper. It was such a strange dream, more memory than dream, had that happened, had it even partly happened? He hadn’t tried to prevent her from leaving, had not chased her, and real or unreal, that made it a nightmare. “No, Coop. Nobody was chasing me. It was just a dream.”
Cooper lay back down, murmured sleepily, “I’m right here. Everything’s going to be all right. I’m going to change some things. Go back to sleep.”
Held close, listening to his breathing slow, she finally sat up, uneasily watching clouds scud across the face of the moon. The first few months she had lived and slept with Cooper, he’d been haunted by nightmares, things that chased him down dark places he had been reluctant to share. Julia places. Agnes places. Places on fire. Places that hurt him. Places that drove him half insane. Before he’d gone tearing off after Rayne today, he’d mentioned dreaming about the beach, a stray comment, uneasy. That must be why she’d dreamed about the beach, she was picking up on Cooper’s own bad dream. What am I doing….dragging him down there again? What kind of ‘change’ is he talking about?
Shaking, she slipped quietly out of the warmth of their bed and approached the steel rail, the line, the edge between the light behind her and that dark. I can’t let it happen to him… I can’t let it happen to him again. Not for me. I have to give him room, all the room he wants, all the space he wants, anything he wants, because I can never, never make it up to him.
NEXT CHAPTER: Sessions Chapter 14
at 6:21 AM