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VenomousEve

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Autumn Falls. [Fin]
« on: May 18, 2017, 01:52:52 am »
Adelaide gripped the damp wood rail a little tighter and sighed. The air was thick; the rain had come and gone but the sky was still grey. Then again, the sky was mostly grey this time of year. “Thank you for understanding. I’ll put in extra hours next week, promise.” Addie said, nodding with her cellphone pressed to her ear, like Mr. Jenkins could see her. “It won’t happen again.” She said, though they both knew it would. “It’s just been extra tight this month. Yes, I understand. Thank you again.” When she ended the call, she shoved the phone into her jean pocket with some force. It was always extra tight. She leaned over the old porch rail, a damp line seeping into her grey t-shirt.

It was late autumn, and the temperature was steadily dropping. She hadn’t had a choice but to have the heater fixed. Dylan was sensitive to the cold. “Mom?” and he appeared like he’s known what she was thinking about. “Is everything okay?” weary eyes brightened and a smile was fast on her lips when she turned to him.

“Yeah, of course, Baby.” She assured him. Dylan frowned, unconvinced. Or upset with the endearment. He shook his head.

“You were asking for an advance, right?” Dylan asked. Addie laughed, but she didn’t lie to her boys so she nodded too. “I can go ask for hours at the general store. Ms. Murray usually has room for people who want to take the late shift.” He offered. Adelaide was quick to protest.

“Absolutely not. Finals are coming up at school, right? You need to focus.” She said. Serious expression. Addie was horrendously stubborn about their education. When Dylan was feeling appreciative, he understood it was only out of want to make their lives better than hers had been. When he was upset, it was because she needed to live out success through them. Neither was wrong, probably, and it all amounted to ‘absolutely not’ being very final.

“Alright, alright. But let me get a temp job over winter holiday. To help make up some of the difference.” Dylan said. They’d be feeling the cost of the repair for a while. He knew that. Adelaide looked hurt when he said it, but she didn’t disagree. It was hard to hear him say things like that. Taking care of her boys was her only real pride. She’d left a poor family in a poor town to start a poorer life in a poorer town. At the time, mountain roads and a worldly lover had seemed like a treasure. Only, the mountain roads were long and her lover hadn’t written in years. She had an old photograph and her eldest had his eyes, but Dylan’s father was as good as a ghost. Addie had done it all on her own. Two little boys by her eighteenth birthday, but Addie worked hard. She’d made it this far. Made it before they boys could walk. Fought for this house, fought for their old car. She wasn’t any less capable now. She was praying every night that she was still good enough.

“Well, I guess that wouldn’t be terrible. Work experience is good and you can start your college fund.” As in, the money wasn’t going to go toward the heater repairs. “Don’t give me that face. I’ve always said the same for your brother. The money you make from working is yours.” She said firmly. Dylan chewed on the inside of his cheek. Like they didn’t both know how his brother used the money. But Addie had always been like that. Needed to feel like she could do it alone. He glanced at her hand. She wore an old gold band like she was married, but the way he’d heard it, Dad had skipped town long before he’d put Mom into a wedding gown. It was just Mom planting her feet a little firmer. She didn’t have time for anyone to get in her way. Mama bear with the thin shoulders and the blue eyes that never really grew up.

“If it’s mine, I can spend it on what I want.” Dylan reasoned. “And I’m not sure if I want to go to college. I’d have to leave town.” He said. His brother wasn’t going to leave Mom. He couldn’t leave his brother. Adelaide smiled at him, and it was a little sad.

“I guess that’s true. But I think you should consider it. You’re a wonderful writer. If you go to college, you could do anything.” Addie said, and he was certain she believed it. Like she hadn’t seen the world change beyond the woods of their town. Dylan shrugged. He wasn’t in the mood to have that conversation and turned go inside.

“Don’t stay out too long. You’ll get sick.” He said before the old screen door slammed behind him. He sounded like her father. Adelaide stared at the door for a long time after he’d gone in. Her sweet baby Dylan. She wondered if he thought she didn’t see the way he looked at his brother. Really, she needed them both to leave. It wasn’t that she wanted Dylan confused forever, but if he was fated for it she hoped her boys could at least work it out somewhere they had real futures. One more struggle in this dreary old town wasn’t the way. Addie sighed again. Was it her fault? She scowled. Of course it was her fault.

She went inside. Dylan’s door was shut, and she shuffled off to her own room. Laying on her back on the bed, she reached for an old stuffed rabbit she’d kept from a former life. “I’m doing my best.” She said to the shabby toy. “We’ll be okay.”   

« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 08:36:14 pm by VenomousEve »

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 11:50:09 am »
There was a boy doing a man’s work in the yard. Vast shoulders and heavy mind made the boxes seem unpacked. The dull rattle upon impact with the bed of the truck was contradictory. Colton was still growing into his largeness, adding heft to his height every week, but seemed to have taken his strength out in advance. He had an older response in the green of his father’s eyes, watered down by mother’s color, when the manager called. A smile underneath the cap on his head when he pulled off the gloves. He’d been caught.

“Yeah. If you wanna put in extra time you have to do it pro Bueno, Colt.” Matt said, favoring his right leg on the way over from the trailer. The owner of the scrap yard wasn’t prone to take on help other than family, but had been impressed by the level arguments Adelaide’s oldest had presented, wringing that same cap, two summers ago. Colt grinned with the right half of his mouth and shrugged. He wasn’t about to tell the man with the money it wasn’t actually ‘Bueno’.

“I was just going to finish up, Mr. Anders…”

“Boy, if I have to tell you one more time I’ll take it out of your paycheck.”

“Matt.” Colt corrected himself. He stuffed the cap into the oversized pocket of his working overalls and ruffled his brown hair. “Been going for twenty minutes, though.” He mumbled with the rest of his grin. Matthew huffed and pulled out a bill.

“Here. Just because I hate paperwork.” That was becoming his go-to excuse. Colt didn’t mind and put the bill with the cap. “Need a ride home?” Matthew offered and had already pulled out his keys.

“If I can’t walk ten minutes then what good would I be moving scrap for you, Mr…” Another hard stare from the older man. “Matt.”

Colt got into his day-clothes fast after that, and was trudging through the rain-soft ground quickly. When he wasn’t trying to be personable to the kind Mr. Anderson, there was a smallness to the mouth his mother had given him. He was still wondering if he couldn’t have fixed the heater himself, with all the work he’d been able to do on the yard, but he was mostly an assistant, errands, all that, and didn’t really get to practice on the mechanical jobs. Heaters were quite a trick, too.

Marissa slowed down beside him. She was driving her mother again, and he suspected they were worried over flinging mud his way if they went full speed past. Going to Ms. Murray for supplies, if he had to guess. He always answered Marissa when she spoke, because he’d ended it so abruptly with her and she’d been so civil about it. Stay friends, and he’d kept up with that. It was hard getting words out of Colton Coldwater for anyone, though. After a few agreements to see the two of them soon, and maybe go to Gerson’s some evening, they were on their way.

He jogged up to the house and tried the door with one hand still in his pockets, flicking the worn corner of the bill he’d hassled out of Matt. Dylan was in the little hall before Colt’s dirty boots were off.

“How did it go? You’re a little late.” Dylan offered conversely while his brother hung up his jacket. Colt clucked his tongue and pushed his brother back with his best annoyed expression.

“Oh, you’re keeping track of me?” he challenged. Dylan went with the shove and rolled back with a bright smile. Colt thought he saw a blush before the shorter boy embraced him. “This is not an appropriate response to what I did.” Colt joked and lifted his brother against himself a few inches. “Where’s mom?” he asked.

Dylan frowned a little when was given his footing back, but reached to touch the shadow on Colton’s jaw for compensation. There was no such roughness on Dylan’s chin. “She’s in her room. I was offering to start working and…” it was defensive, still examining the hairs, and Colt thought it was adorable. Mom always reacted in a way that made her sons want to do more for her.

“Don’t worry.  You know how she is.” Colton said, yet to take his own advice. Dylan seemed content with that absolution and grabbed his brother’s arm, squeezing it curiously before pulling.

“Come, I’m almost finished with my story, I want to tell you.” Dylan didn’t have any green in his eyes. Colt didn’t really know how to feel when he thought mother’s eyes only looked at him the way he wanted when they were set in Dylan’s face.

“Later. Don’t you have school stuff to do?” the two elders always pushed Dylan’s studies. The younger brother, who kept his lighter hair longer than his idol’s, tugged at one curl by his ear.

“I actually do today.” As though they were wrong to send him into academic honing any other day. “You rest up, and I’ll tell you later, ok?” He pressed, and Colt put his palm to his brother’s forehead.

“Promise. Now go.”

By mom’s door. He’d changed his clothes. It was the same combination of jeans and shirt, but at least they were clean, courtesy of Dylan and their loud machine. The girls liked that both brothers wore everyday so well. Artful Dylan in his large jackets, and Colton, practical grab but with attention like the horizon. Colt always wondered if he should put more effort in, to have mom call him handsome every now and then. She’d picked out his hair, and he counted the days before getting to sit while she held the scissors and the buzzer, again. Light knuckles on the old wood before he opened carefully. A habit. Sometimes she slept, tired from working, and sometimes she was changing. This house was crowded with little dark wishes.

She didn’t look like a mother with her signature plushy held close. Her clothes dipped into her shapes. Youth still clung to her like something unresolved. Colt sighed like Dylan had, in the hall. “Hey mom.” He said and sat on the edge, hand hurrying to pet the head of the bunny. Incidentally, his touch quickly slid over hers, soon. “How are you?” but it wasn’t so alarming that she’d be awake in bed, not enough to really worry him. He started combing her hair with his other set of fingers, like she was something new but missed. He was parched for her company. He’d not touched her in so many hours. They missed their evening converging, sometimes over tea, yesterday, because of work. Perhaps he didn’t look like a son now, either. It was in the eyes that weren’t quite hers, and weren’t quite not, either. “It’s kinda muggy out. Wanna stay in and watch one of our old movies?” It was days like these, when she fretted, that he wanted to be more for her. On any other day he wanted them to be more for himself. It didn’t really matter what Adelaide answered. He wanted her to engage so he could make some more memories to live off before they had to leave again.

VenomousEve

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 02:47:23 pm »
Addie smiled and didn’t move when she heard the knock at her door. Her eldest, the one who’d been with her through it all. She wasn’t the type to pick favorites, honest in the fierce love she cultured for them both, but that didn’t mean she loved them quite the same. Dylan, her hopeful baby, the last glow before her sun set. It might have been misplaced, but she often thought Dylan still had naivety to protect. He was precious for that, whether he would have been happy about it or not. And Colt, who had started this crazy life for her in many ways, was her soul. He gave her a reason not to regret where she’d been and where she was, because he was with her all that time. Colton was her partner in crime, watching after Dylan the day he’d been old enough to tell her not to worry, and that meant she there was nothing to hide. Sometimes she felt guilty that Colt had seen her cry, but days like today it gave her relief.

She was watching him from where she lay as he crossed the creaking wood floor. There was no sneaking in this house if Addie wasn’t fast asleep. Adelaide, with her blue eyes like summer and sun-kissed blonde probably hadn’t changed as much as she should have for all the time that had passed since Colt’s father had swept into her life. Time had found its way with her as weight on her brow and shoulders, so that she looked small in empty spaces and perpetually tired from the efforts of persistence. Sometimes she complained about the next looming decade when she pinched Dylan’s baby-soft cheeks and the boys would exchange glances like they worried those years would crush, rather than age, her slim frame. That kind of worry was surely out of affection; it would have been a disservice to the way Addie had struggled for all of them to believe she’d be defeated so easily. The corners of her eyes wore the evidence of every time her sons had made her smile.

Sometimes she was struck by how grown Colton looked, and she didn’t know whether to be sad or proud when the ghosts of adulthood clung so profoundly to his broad shoulders. She inhaled deeply when he came near, his familiar scent faint but comforting. “I’m wonderful. My boys are home safe and the house will be warm this winter.” Addie said with a quick smile. Colt had probably gotten his ‘don’t worry’ mantra from this woman, with the way she made those faces so naturally. She lifted her fingers to graze the underside of his palm when it passed and she marveled at how big his hands had gotten. “Colton Coldwater, you stop growing now.” She complained. “I won’t be able to pick you up soon enough.” She said. Adelaide had not been able to lift her eldest son in several years.

“Mm… a movie sounds perfect. But there’s dinner on the stove for you. Dylan and I ate a little earlier, since you were out late.” She closed her eyes when he combed through her hair. It was probably selfish of her to let Colt treat her like this; she was certain there was always too much responsibility behind the way he fussed over her, their home, his brother. She’d wanted to keep all their problems at arm’s length from him, the way she was still trying with Dylan. She cracked an eye open. “Unless you already ate. I thought maybe you’d managed to get yourself a date.” Addie teased. It was a common jest when he stayed at work longer than they’d agreed on. It made her feel better to pretend, even if she knew exactly what had held him.

“Anyway, get yourself a plate or at least turn off the heat.” She pushed herself up onto her elbows and glanced around the dim room. “I’ll set up the movie.” Addie would make herself busy whether he stayed or went to the kitchen, rummaging through an old cardboard box full of tapes. She’d gotten surprisingly good at keeping their old television and VHS machine repaired, reading books at the library in town whenever they broke. A small luxury she held onto tightly.

Most of the films were old romantic comedies, where the leading lady always got the guy and there was always a happily ever after. When Colt had been small and Dylan was still in his crib, Addie would act out all the dancing scenes with him. Socks on an old linoleum floor and Addie singing the wrong words, laughing in their old apartment. They still danced, from time to time, when neither of them was too tired. While Colton was out of the room, she slipped out of her jeans and pulled on a worn t-shirt; one of his, with a frayed collar. When Colt had gotten big enough, most of his hand-me-downs had gone to Dylan, but Adelaide had kept a few of the more worn out pieces to sleep in. She was waiting under the bed covers when he came back in and she patted the spot beside her like he needed the invitation. “I picked a good one.” She told him, and a glance at the screen would tell him she’d gone with a b-list horror flick tonight. If it wasn’t romantic comedy, it was bad horror movies.

“Come talk to me, before I start it. How was your day? You didn’t get caught in the rain, did you?” When he did make himself comfortable she would reach to play with a strand of his hair, a good indication it was almost time for a trim, and then run her thumb along his jawline. “I can’t believe you grow so much scruff.” More sulking complaints, like he hadn’t grown up in one way or another a long time ago. 


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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 07:31:06 pm »
It was a welcoming breath that she offered before he sat down. He could tell her mood by her breathing, and was happy to know she wasn’t weighted by something at the moment, considering Dylan's warning. It was a little like that, him chasing her emotions with a pillow. And then all the thought-out, charming-by-practice smiles were gone, when she complained about his increasing size. It only ever mattered when Adelaide said it, and so he opened his mouth in a flicker of real embarrassment, and pulled his spine straighter to expand more. He was his collected self soon, looking at her finger and his hand together.

If he was large it was her fault, wasn’t it? Hers was the only food he liked. He was going to tell her as much, when she gave herself to his caress of her light hair. She was alarmingly beautiful then, and the way she took to the touch drew him in. He was aware enough not to be pulled into her completely, but when her one eye opened, he was still startled a bit. “Had a sandwich during break.” He answered. That was a handful of hours ago. He wanted to snuggle down with her desperately, but his body was already standing. He thought about Marissa behind the rolled down window. A date. “Only between me and Matt’s metal.”

He was out the door fast, lightness in his legs for their evening plans. He slid his hand over Dylan’s door on his way to the kitchen, as though it was his little brother’s shoulder. It wasn’t like he wouldn’t know where to find them, if he didn’t fall asleep at his desk.

He took the last of the food, which was a fair portion, and was done with half before he’d come back to her. He couldn’t very well lug iron scrap all day without proper fuel. When he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, holding the plate, he was concealing a smile over her attire. There was a sense of accomplishment in seeing her wear his old shirt like that. There was a photo of a much smaller him wrapped in one of her blouses. He didn't suppose this was the same feeling.

Adelaide was the image of all that he tried not to think of, which kept him company anyway, inviting him to sit. Colt had to be wise, growing up like they did, but he wasn't more clever than his heart was soft for her, so he sat quickly on the covers, close, and looked down on the plate in his lap when she spoiled him with attention. Her trailing thumb sent a carnival of signals through his head. He put the plate on her crowded nightstand. If she remembered from her former life, he'd done it with intent.

"It rained a little, yeah, but Matt had me working inside for that." he said and put his hand on her thigh, where the covers had outlined it. It was more to brace himself against the storm of synapses singing from his mother's touch through his skull than it was for physical connection. He whispered a quiet cuss and flattened her palm against the roughness she was already examining. "My day was okay, but it's good now." he said but the smile was brave, struggling. "And of course I've grown a beard, I haven't had time to shave it properly." he pointed out.

It was a struggle to tolerate the way she looked at him, and it made him ashamed because there was so much love for him in her. But not the flavor he wanted. "Mom," he started, "Adelaide," it felt strange on his tongue. "How was your day?" he tried, refusing to give her hand back, and wringing the covers trying to protect her leg. Was it so strange that he'd continue to love her, that it'd turn to this? He wondered if his heart could make up the difference, if hers didn't see at all. Clearly he boy was upset, and he thought it was such a waste, because they were going to have such a good evening together. "Ah. I mean. What did you do today?"

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 08:23:43 pm »
She was light when he held her hand to his face, happy to be near her darling son. It wouldn’t have mattered if she’d had the worst day in the world. Adelaide was happy when she was with her family. In truth, the boys hardly saw her frustrations unless they went looking for them, or caught her in the moment. Dylan today, finding her on the porch that way. She didn’t hide it, so much as she was consumed with her eagerness to give. It was the purest kind of distraction from their late bills and frugal home. Addie was searching his face, gaze following the edge of her hand on his cheek and across the lips she’d given him. “Well, when you get bored at Matt’s you’ll have no trouble finding a good girl. Your father and I sure had some beautiful children.” She said. The one thing in their lives she couldn’t really take sole credit for, but she’d never been stingy that way. The father Colt probably barely remembered had been enough of a dream to whisk her off to this life in the first place; when she said things like that, it was hard to tell if she was looking at that long-gone man’s eyes or her son’s.

It was a little ridiculous that she had that kind of attitude, ascetic as her love life had been since Dad. There were any number of men in town that would’ve been happy to play white knight for her, the broken-down damsel and all her wistful appeal. Men hardly a year older than Colton and old enough to be Adelaide’s own father. She’d not had time for a single one. It would distract from her boys, she always said when Dylan would mention. That had probably been the whole truth for a long time.

When Colt said her name now, the startle and blush that warmed her cheeks told the other half. She hardly knew what to do with attention now.

“Colt,” she started, a little scolding, but held her tongue after a moment. Stared at him through her lashes like she’d done something wrong. He’d taken to that lately, calling her by her name when they were alone. “You might be an adult now, but you’re still my son.” She mumbled. And barely an adult, too, she wanted to remind him. He hadn’t needed to grow up so damn fast. Still, she didn’t tell him to stop. It had been disarming the first time he’d tried it, and she’d not known how to respond.

It had been painful, the way she’d felt when sweet Dylan had gone from calling her ‘Mommy’ to ‘Mom’ in an effort to assert his maturity. But hearing Colt say her name woke her to a new empty she’d hardly realized she had. Her name off the tongue of somebody who loved her. Not a boss, not a neighbor with too much pity. It felt like the worst sort of selfishness to let him keep on, because he made himself a confidant before her son and she shouldn’t have needed that.

“Today was alright. Mister Jenkins agreed to give me an advance on my paycheck and Sue at the diner gave me some extra shifts this weekend.” She said after a reluctant pause. “If I hold off on replacing some of my old winter jackets for a little while, we’ll have made up the money for the heater repairs easy.” She sounded proud of herself. “I’m pretty sure my green one can hold up one more year, honestly.” A laugh. She’d been saying that for three years now, and she still sat and shivered in that old green coat every January. Never mind that she insisted Colt get a new one each year to keep up with his growth spurts, especially since he’d started working in the scrap yard.

Addie cleared her throat and fiddled with the TV remote in her free hand. She could see he was upset about something now, and she could almost guess what it was. An impossible thing made worse by her own suspicions about Dylan’s long stares after his brother. He’d always been close to her, and it hadn’t really changed as he’d gotten older. No rift born out of adolescence, no desire for space. She’d been happy until he’d gotten bolder. Part of her felt like he wanted her to be uncomfortable with this. It would be, if nothing else, acknowledgement.

“You should think about applying to some colleges this spring.” She said abruptly. A comfortable excuse. “Someplace close enough to visit me a lot, of course,” teasing, but only half-way. “I really appreciate that you’ve stayed for Dylan and me, but you need to live your life too.” Adelaide said gently. “Can’t let your old mom drag you down forever…” a weak laugh, because it had never been their relationship.

She wrestled her hand away from his face at last and hit play on the remote. It wasn’t to keep him from talking. Most times they talked through these movies anyhow; they’d watched them together more times than either could count. Really, it was to fill the silence she didn’t know how to fill herself.   


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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 10:24:02 pm »
He'd not known what to do with her reaction the first time he'd said her name, but it was also no big mystery to him why he'd continued, with the pretty on her cheeks at just one sound. "You call me by my name all the time." As though that was reason enough. He'd not liked it when his friends called their own parents in this manner. Yet, with Adelaide it was completely different. He wasn't looking to take her title away from her, the one she'd worn and made her life. He was hoping to get closer. And she'd called him an adult. He'd pursued this fervently, lately.

"I can make enough for a new coat at the yard." he said, nodding with determination. She would protest, and he could argue the case, but had already made his decision to surprise her with one if she cemented on her own that they go with her choice. Adelaide was good at reminding him she was his mother, after all. He didn't like the idea of her working too many weekends, but they'd hardly made it this far if she didn't.

The tragedy of her crossed arms over a thinning jacket was soon overtaken by the little misery that liked to stay in him, these days. It was also a delight, this unspoken impossibility. In attitude they'd spoken of it on a handful of occasion. This time she ended it with a rather, to the boy, cruel suggestion. "I don't want to go." he spat. He never meant to be like that with her but it was true. He had not been saving up any money, and had no great wanderlust or ambition beyond whatever home they shared. Perhaps he'd been cruel the same way, encouraging Dylan so much. The youngest would most likely be stricken by what his brother thought. "I can make a better life for us when we're together."

He didn't know if she took her hand away because of his answer, but he wouldn't let it be the stopping point, this time. The hollow sound of their ancient machine tried to help her, with gaudy music and dramatic emphasis. She was so beautiful in his shirt. "Addie." he tried and leaned into her hair, into her cheek. It was a very primal way of asking for her affection. "I don't want to leave you. And you don't want to send me away." his hand was still on the cover, and he pulled to get her closer, even though it resulted in the shifting of the blanket, only.

"I'm going to help you." he promised, and he'd believed it all his life, so it became a truth that overwhelmed him now, when his body wanted other things, too. He plucked the remote from her, even though it had already done all it could of her bidding. An unusual gesture for him, because he'd always let her steer. He scent was making him want to devour her and it didn't scare him. "Won't you believe that I'll stay, Addie?" he asked and his hand climbed higher on the slipping fabric, until it pulled at his shirt on her.

It should have been two things to her, then. The form he'd taken, a tower to her, but also the shrill reveal of need in his words. He was a little lost, her eldest, and looking for something in her then, against her face, with his breath. It was insistent because he was confused in himself, too, and he'd only ever leaned on her for such guidance. The comfort he sought was not inherent, but it was still deeply anchored. It was easy to decide which kind of love he had for her when she was at a distance, arms length, but now he couldn't read it out of his heart. There was only this dissolving pull. "I've always been with you." he said, holding up his life for her to weigh his worth, hoping it would move her to help him with this disarray.

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 09:04:26 pm »
“Don’t waste your money on something so frivolous,” Adelaide said, like they both knew she would. Same as they’d both known he’d offer to buy what she offered to forego. This was their dynamic, too much like a swinging pendulum of apologies that never really satisfied either end. There was an atmosphere of guilt and purpose in that house. Didn’t they three owe each other that much? Addie was aware of it, and fretted over it when she was alone. She was deeply acquainted with her imperfections. She had never supposed she could provide a family without gaps; empty spaces she couldn’t stretch herself into without toppling the whole tower. But she’d not anticipated the way those spaces would gnaw at them all and leave them dearer to one another for it. It made them love deeper and worry more. She both hated that she’d put that weight on her children and loved that they held it.

His reaction was jarring and she realized a moment too late that she’d sounded harsh under the wrong light. She’d only meant it in the way a mother wants to see her children bloom and fly. She shook her head. “Oh, Colt, I’m not making you go.” She amended. “I just want you to go where you’ll be happiest. Make a life where you can be happy.” Addie said it like that was offering something she’d never had for herself. Perhaps it wasn’t.

By most accounts, she existed in that strange space that left her just tragic enough to earn sympathy when it was convenient. The Coldwaters were poor, but they’d scrapped together enough to buy their old house and keep food on the table. Adelaide was young and alone, but she’d been the one chasing tail lights and believed they were stars. She didn’t deserve whatever unhappiness life had left for her, but she had earned it all the same. Colt and Dylan weren’t like that. They’d been born into sadness of her naivety. That meant they deserved more. They deserved better.

“You and your brother are the brightest parts of my life, but that doesn’t mean I’d ever want to hold you back.” She said it like it was an apology, and she felt like it must have been with the sort of stricken expression Colt was wearing. “Of course my life is better with you in it.” She agreed. “Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without you boys.” Addie admitted. “But I’d be the worst sort of mother if I let that keep me complacent about your future.” She was pouting a little then, which was hardly motherly, as she tried to explain her role in this.

For all the attempt to speak to him about it, she wasn’t sure he understood or that she’d made it better. He came close and it made her heart ache. But it was something else altogether when he said her name again. Too mature for what he was and too close for it to be okay. Adelaide sucked in a breath and didn’t know what to do with it. “What’s gotten into you, Colton?” she asked softly. He was being so insistent these days, about his place with her. “I’m not sending you away if you really don’t want it.” She mumbled. He took the remote and she let it slip from her fingers.

Adelaide thought she should be moving, because Colt was a growing boy who’d not yet realized he was a man, but she’d always wanted him close to her. Affectionate for all his seriousness and Addie had always needed it. She was too keenly aware that he’d gotten bigger than her; when she hugged him it often felt like she was the one reaching for protection. “You can stay as long as you want, okay?” she said. “You’ve always been a huge help, and I know that won’t change. I’ll always be here to keep you safe too.” She didn’t know what else to say so she turned her face to press her forehead against his.

“It can be you and me against the world as long as you want it to be.” She said, and somehow it came out a little wrong and her breath on his lips was warmer than it should have been. Adelaide pulled back and kissed his cheek. “I’m just saying… I’m just saying you’re going to have to look after me when I’m old. You might as well see the world while you can. But it’ll always be your choice.” She said. Pulled away, like she was going to retreat across the bed. But she didn't. And there was a delicate reluctance behind the pretty shine of those soft blue eyes. Reluctant because part of her was happy that he wanted to stay, that he wanted to be near. Reluctant because she’d thought for a brief moment that feeling that way was dangerous and she didn’t want to know why.


Verse

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2017, 12:23:34 am »
In all her struggles she was beautiful. All her life for her children. It was no wonder Colt found it difficult to understand the appeal of girls who, at best, were still searching for something to give their heart to. Marissa couldn't hope to compare to Adelaide, who spent all her moments keeping this family clothed and fed. Selfless mother, radiant in her strife. He could have worshiped her like this forever, if he'd not grown up to love her in another way. Maybe it had been inevitable, the way they lived.

He'd not wanted this, but it still completed him. He always found cracks that her gentle could mend, every time it spilled off her. But he'd known this source of care, and enjoyed it, spoiled like richer households could never afford, but his palled had grown with hormones, alongside his bones, and he wanted it to taste different now. So there was a babbling happiness that he'd always felt when she acknowledged her need for her sons, but there was a grating thing on his heart, too, that disturbed his blood when their bond was revealed to be so perfect. Everything for him and Dylan, and nothing for her, if that was the cost. Couldn't she love him like she couldn't Dylan? Couldn't it shake her a bit, and have her discover things she couldn't live without? He'd found the imperfections in his adoration for her, and they'd grown when he'd examined them.

What had gotten into him? He wanted to involve himself with someone and she'd been flawless in her pursuit for as long as he'd been alive. He wanted closeness and he wanted it from the only woman who mattered. When she was stirred by what he did it made him feel accomplished, and then he was searching for something in her air, that might be open, or unprotected that he could come even closer. She was still telling him he could stay, and that was still not what he was hurting for.

Her responses, her offered nearness, the little peck, were fluent because the two of them had been this kind of close many times. He wanted another part of her, that she'd not practiced. It got to him a little thinking of being her caretaker in the future. It sounded like something a lover might say. She might have felt the bed deepen where he sat when she retreated her few inches, when his shoulders tensed like she was slipping and he would catch her. As though he thought she was leaving and she wasn't allowed to. He wondered if that was why she'd not moved further, and felt that his intentions had been exposed.

His hand had still gone between them and caught the shirt she'd chosen, pulling it toward him. It was nothing like the child who'd been afraid of being abandoned by mother Adelaida, dropping him off at the neighbor so she could go to work. "I want to look after you now." but it was more selfish than that. Colt wanted her to need him, sure there was something in her missing.

"Don't you want to, mom?" he asked when he brought their faces close again, putting pressure to her forehead with his once more, into her, until he laid on top of the body that had nurtured him. He was reminded how she liked to wear his old clothes, without any of hers underneath. They'd never laid like this. Her head on his chest, or her legs over his, perhaps, but never with his weight blanketing her so completely. To physically encompass her underlined a difference he'd not considered, that he wanted other comforts from her body now. If he oppressed her a little, he didn't regret it. The cover that separated them allowed him to learn the shape of her legs, and to separate them with one of his, unless she'd escape in some quick, subtle way.

A large admirer, looking down at Adelaide, who'd wanted her for many things before, and now, something red in him, that anticipated her approval. His head dropped lower to examine what he'd find. It was just supposed to be an indulgence of an ache - if she didn't struggle to have him roll off - because proximity seemed to cure it, but it only flared when he touched her jaw with his lips. Curious son, learning on his own.

VenomousEve

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 04:50:59 pm »
Addie shrank beneath him because it was the most halfhearted form of escape. She didn’t know this son. Not really, at least, and the glimpses she’d caught in her periphery she’d left unable to look him in the eye. Perhaps it was her fault that Colt had become so bold. Comfort and frustration were contained easily on this old bed and she hadn’t done anything to change that. He pulled at her shirt—his shirt—and she wanted to liken it to the insistence he’d had as a child. Colton had always been deeply attached to her. She had believed it had been a product of their circumstances. Dylan hadn’t developed quite the same connection to his mother, but he’d grown up in relative stability. It hadn’t been easy, but it hadn’t been uncertain either.

“Colton, you’ll have more years than I’d like to think about to look after me. You don’t have to rush it.” Adelaide said, and her voice was as small as she’d become beneath him. They were talking down two different paths and she knew that. She was so out of place, out of practice. It was clear she was appalled that her own son was making her cheeks flush, but they were pink all the same. It looked as if he might make her cry. “I don’t need you to take care of me.” She tried, and they might have been conversing on the same line then. As if she might have felt she had forced these feelings on him.

She wanted to tell him no, visceral and panicked urge to push him off her, and to send him to his room. Didn’t she want to? Absolutely not. Of course not. Adelaide wasn’t allowed to want to. Her heart was beating faster because of the wrongness of it, not because this new sort of nearness. It was completely absurd the way intention could change everything, the taste in her mouth and the air in her lungs. “Colt, sweetie, you should stop.” She said, and it was so quiet she hardly heard herself. And she was the worst sort of woman for the stricken expression on her face, the way her soft flaxen hair splayed on the pillow and her lips looked full and lost and alone, parted in more unvoiced protests.

It had not been hard to seduce Adelaide Coldwater, younger than Colton was now, smiling wide from her spot at the back of the crowd. The third concert stage she’d visited that day, sun-pink shoulders and a friend drunk on beer she couldn’t buy for herself. He, with green eyes like a too-deep forest and a jawline from a fairytale had swept her into his orbit before she’d had a chance to consider the gravity. It was possible that life had come too quickly after that and Adelaide hadn’t ever really learned. Her eldest couldn’t possible have a clear memory of that man, but he’d learned his weight all the same.

Adelaide refused to hear herself when Colt’s lips found her, a gasp probably. It must have said too much. She’d not been touched like this in fifteen years. He’d taste her tears if he did not stop, but in all of it she’d not pushed him away. She’d never denied her boys anything she could give them, but this was not that as much as it could have been. “I’m your mother,” she did manage, and some kind of weak attempt to move away, but it sounded even to her like a vague reminder. A question, even.

She didn’t want him to speak. No matter what he did, she was desperate that he wouldn’t speak. He could return to an easier distance, turn up the volume on that movie still playing on the TV, and she’d not let him breathe a word about this moment right now. It was out of shame for her own behavior more than his. Addie had a fierce heart, but it seemed she had never been as strong as she dreamed. If he didn’t leave, she’d refuse to hear more from him still. It wasn’t at all fair what he was doing, or what she was. She loved him with all her soul, had always loved him, but inserting that into a loneliness she’d laid to rest was the worst sort of thing.

Addie shifted on the bed and found, for what was attempted disapproval, she must have seemed more inviting beneath him with her fingers curling the bed covers into her fists.


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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 06:55:20 pm »
He thought it was ridiculous, this patience or rationality she tried to sell underneath him. And how many years should I wait until I look after you, the way I want? Or if he listened to his own part of this conversation, did she mean he could have the connection he was reaching for now if he waited? It was a sweeter thing, but their ever deepening place of closeness was making every current action into an emergency. And that was just his heart.

With the heat under her cheeks, vivid on mother's skin, his blood became more insistent, too. Havoc in the young body. It was undone when she told him he should stop. With the lovely that followed, her prettiness and the inviting little refusals in her attitude without real stern - the kind he knew she was capable of - this was the faintest approval he'd seen. This kind of want was new to him, urging to surprise her, and go against her requests because she was asking for things that weren't her desires. What an opportunity to finally rebel. Colton hadn't known the nature of this kind of game before, and the fact that Adelaide didn't know she was playing made it more addictive.

Her skin was sugared with her gasp, for his mouth sampling the edge of her face, and he instinctively pressed down on her to feel her breaths that were also communication. Her barely even half-hearted escape was easily contained by his tightness to her, and his lips opened to rake her skin with one row of teeth before he kissed again. "Mother." he echoed when she tried to remind him, and it sounded to him like spice, rather than deterrent. Her being his mother was exactly why he wanted her. It readied him further, against her. Tell-tale, even for a woman who'd not gotten to be a girl for as long as she should.

But her tears finally lifted his head, and his expression was miserable for his transgression, salt on his tongue, if it made her sad. But that agony was turned into some other suffering, a want again, when he saw her underneath, hair splayed and fingers holding on to the sheets, like she had primed herself for him. The somber that had taken his heart was quickly cured by assumptive rhythm as his arm came between them and pulled the blanket away so he could lay down, like some dramatic declaration, and put her legs around his body. His shirt that she wore had to roll up against her stomach to accommodate. How miserably daunting that her thighs were bare, pressed to his sides.

He didn't know what else to do than put his kiss on her lips, then. Maybe it was so that she couldn't be more lovely for his eyes. But how could it be so selfless to follow the impulse that had waited the longest in him? A sound like a beast in his chest, and then his hips to hers, like one too. His hands were clamoring to love her, and to expel some of the love that was hurting him, inside. Touch along her side, down her thigh so it could round the hem of the shirt to find her waist underneath. Mother's skin.

He'd never kissed with emotional content before, and now it was too much, the first time. It was searching, trying to drink in her scent at the same time. He wasn't really trying to ready either of them for the act, not the way his fingers traveled underneath the well-used fabric, but rather scouring her for something that would help against the spine-deep attachment that this moment was incinerating. Of course, with the way his hips tried to hold hers down, it seemed at least a fraction of him knew what could help this desperate adoration.

He said her name once, but it felt wrong. "Mom." instead, and it tasted better, even though his palled was already occupied with hers. He was asking for her help, maybe, which might play a chord with her - help your son - but there was a note of demand in his voice, too, for attention, reciprocation.

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Re: Autumn Falls.
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2017, 08:35:49 pm »
Adelaide couldn’t have known it would come to this; all the years of devotion turned on their head into this strange microcosm of her old bed and her grown son. She had not raised him for this. But she had raised him. “Colton,” she tried again, and didn’t know what she should say after. His body over hers, against hers, was pleading in ways she understood and ways she did not want to. In all of it, she couldn’t hold Colt accountable. He was an adult, her body knew as well as his, but giving him that sort of agency was frightening as she lay beneath him. So, it was her weakness, her apparent loneliness, her too-strong attachments that had twisted her sweet boy’s heart. Somewhere along the line she’d failed to teach him right from this wrong. And he asked her with the insistence of his proximity if she knew that same right from wrong herself.

It was also apparent that, in some way or another, Colton didn’t care. Her conflict was irrelevant when he looked at her damp cheeks and pulled her close anyway, brought her legs up around him like she had no choice but to acknowledge him as he was. As they were. “You’re so young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t you know?” she asked, words pressed between uneven breath as she learned his hands on her skin in a new way. She said it like she’d already been wasted, some resigned old crone trapped in her ribcage, a burden he was taking on for seeking her pleasure.

He did not kiss her like a son, and Addie hadn’t moved her legs from around his hips. His mouth tasted like summer and all the things she’d forgotten, urgency in his touch and hers. She’d not stopped crying, fingers in his hair, but what began as gentle sobs blossomed into harmonies of another kind. Soft, quiet, like they’d plunged into a secret, and she gave him the woman he was searching for in reluctant inches that gave way into poetry. She was out of practice, but not unskilled, and she knew Colton as part of herself.

She stopped him with her lips when he called her by name, the one that was hers and the one he had given her, and was impossibly gentle with him that night. As if she could not really release herself to him, she gave only what he searched for. Not quite resistant, but unable to contend fully with what he was asking her to be. So, she reciprocated and cried and breathed his name like he’d never heard her say it. She trembled and, in a wavering crescendo, gave in to the girl she’d been. Before Colt had ever been hers, and his green eyes were a strange new beauty. In all of it, she folded in on herself like paper art, rediscovered corners of her heart that had been quiet for too long, and tucked them away again.

At some point, she said “I love you.”

--

Adelaide sat on the porch with a cup of coffee in one hand and a letter in the other, watching Colt come up the dusty drive with a jacket slung over his shoulder. She’d refused to speak to him about that night, locked her door when she went into her room. It had been months, now. It might as well have been a dream. Spring was dripping from the tree branches. If he’d been unhappy with her silence at first, he’d not protested. Things wound on as they always had. The heater held up through the winter and Colton brought her a new jacket at Christmas.

Sometimes, she would catch him watching her and they would share a glance that lingered until she thought she might admit too much.

“Colt,” she called him over to her when he reached the steps and patted the empty space on the bench beside her. They were quiet for a long time. She offered him some of her coffee, and stared off into the descending twilight.

“Dylan got a letter from an art school. A scholarship across the country.” She said at last. “He got it last week, but he didn’t show me until today. He’s decided he’s going to go.” Addie didn’t tell him that Dylan had cried, and that it had not been for leaving her so much as leaving his brother. “What do you want to do?” she asked, turning to look at him finally. She held his gaze this time, as long as he would look back. “It’s just going to be us.”

She blushed a little then, and she might as well have been seventeen. “We could go somewhere.” She said quietly. “Where nobody knows us. Start somewhere new. Just you and me.” She reached out and touched his cheek. “And you can call me whatever you like.”