Get caught up before diving into Chapter 13
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter One)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter Two)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 3-5)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 6)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter Seven)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 8)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 9)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 10)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 11)
- Discovering Wonderland (Chapter 12)
I thought about Ophelia all week long. During the day, while I ate, at night, and in every other possible moment. Being around her made me feel overcome with joy. It was hard to remember a life before I met her. She always helped ease the loneliness that was lodged in my heart from the death of my mother.
After lunch on Saturday she stayed and help me back up the office area before we settled on the couch watching Netflix and eating the rest of the pizza. We didn’t watch much of the show though because we couldn’t stop talking. She told me what it was like when she lost her father. I couldn’t believe that she was the one that found him overdosed on the couch. Leo, her brother, was apparently at a friends house and when she tried to get a hold of him, she couldn’t.
Ophelia was alone when the police arrived, alone when they questioned her, and alone when the zipped her dad up in that black body bag. I told her I knew the feeling of seeing a parent like that but I couldn’t imagine doing it alone or at such a young age. At least I had Suzanna with me. Her mother was on a flight and her grandparents were vacationing. When Leo finally came home from his friends house, Ophelia ran into his arms and they cried together for hours. The police were able to get a hold of their mother and she said she was on her way home. I was completely shocked that the police didn’t wait for her to arrive and left the kids to fend for themselves for a couple hours. It sounded completely awful and I couldn’t believe she faced that kind of trauma.
We talked about other things too, like how she didn’t learn to ride a bike until she was fourteen because no one bothered to teach her. Hollis was the one who ended up teaching her during their freshman year. I loved the sound of her voice and the way she laughed. It was comforting and peaceful. Being around her felt natural and right. She would sit beside me on the couch cuddled into my chest, my arm wrapped around her. Part of me worried I was leading her on, but the other more dominant part of me didn’t care. It seemed like she needed to be around me as much as I needed to be around her.
I was just getting back from my run the following Saturday when I saw her pulling out of my driveway. I ran towards her Bug and waved her down looking like an idiot. She finally saw me and spun her little bug around on the dirt road.
I motioned for her to unroll her window and I peered inside, leaning against the window, “What are you doing here?” I must have looked as happy as I felt.
“Hey, sorry I know I wasn’t invited…” She was smiling ear to ear yet redder then a strawberry.
I reached inside the car and tucked a loose curl behind her ear, rubbing it between my thumb and forefinger before doing so. “No, I’m glad you are here. I was just getting back from my evening run.” I leaned back before adding, “Park in the garage from now on in case it snows.” She nodded rolling up her window.
I ran back into the house and straight to the little sunken den because that is where the door to the garage entrance was. I walked through the door and pressed the button to open the garage door. Ophelia was inside her Bug waiting to pull in and once she did I hit the button to close the door again. Then walked over to her car door to open it for her. She was leaning over into the passenger seat grabbing a brown paper bag before handing it over to me.
“Thanks,” She said getting out of the car.
“What’s in the bag?” I asked while glancing inside. I could see a mason jar full of brown liquid, a large ziplock full of white power, sausages, bananas, blueberries, and a jar of peanut butter.
“Dinner,” She grinned. I started walking back inside and towards the kitchen, setting the bag on the counter.
Taking out the bags contents I said, “And what exactly are we having for dinner?”
Ophelia was taking off her coat, scarf, hat, and gloves and tossing them all over the kitchen. “Pancakes! It’s Nana’s recipe. I mixed all the dry ingredients already assuming you at least had milk, eggs, and oil?”
I sat in a kitchen chair and started untying my running shoes, “Umm, yeah… I should.”
“Do you run every night?” She said watching me.
“I try to.”
“I knew you were a runner from the first day we met.”
“You did? How’s that?” I asked standing up and placing my hand on her shoulder giving her a warm smile.
“You have the body of a runner.” Ophelia blurted out and immediately turned pink.
I laughed, “You embarrass so easily.”
She shifted on her feet and looked away from me mumbling, “Sorry…”
I grabbed her chin and turned it toward me, “Don’t be, it’s cute.” We stared at each other for a moment before she pulled away and walked toward the fridge. She found the milk and eggs, while I found the griddle and oil for her and placed them beside the eggs and milk.
Clearing my throat I said, “I’m going to shower real quick and then I’ll be down to help.”
She turned and leaned on the counter, “Good, you smell somethin’ fierce.”
I pulled off my shirt and twisted it before whipping it on her thigh, “You like it,” I took a step closer to her and placed my hands on either side of the counter so that I was blocking her inside my arms, “And you know it.” The last part was said a mere inch from her lips and my eye contact didn’t break. Why was I teasing her? We were bad at being friends. We both wanted more and I knew it so I shouldn’t be acting so flirtatious. I turned and walked out of the room without another word.
Ten minutes later I was dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans. “It smells great!” I yelled coming downstairs and into the kitchen.
“I love breakfast for dinner.” She said flipping a pancake over.
“I can’t say I have ever had breakfast for dinner.” I said walking up behind her. She was wearing skinny jeans and a huge knitted pink sweater, which hung off her shoulder. Ophelia didn’t wear jeans very often but when she did, she wore them well. Too well. It was hard to tare my eyes away from her.
“Really? That’s just sad.” Ophelia said amused.
I smiled at her, having her in the kitchen felt incredibly natural. Having her with me in general felt natural. Two peas in a pod. “So what brought you by?”
She shrugged, “Didn’t you want me to come by?”
Was she flirting back? “You are always welcome here, Ophelia”
“Can you set the table please? I would like a glass of water with my dinner and don’t forget the napkins!” She said pointing a spatula at me.
Dang she was bossy when she wanted to be, “Yes ma’am.” I gave her a military salute.
She rolled her eyes, “Don’t even go there.”
“So what’s with this?” I said holding up the mason jar full of brown goo and giving it a funny look.
“It’s homemade syrup, my Pop taught me how to make it. It’s the best syrup you’ll ever have, promise.”
“I don’t doubt that. The food smells delicious, you said it was your Nana’s recipe?” I grabbed plates and forks and set them on the table.
“Yeah, Nana would always make the cakes and sausage while Pop did the syrup.”
“So whats with all the fruit and peanut butter?” I asked hunting for napkins. When I didn’t find any I settled on a roll of paper towels that I found.
“Don’t tell me you haven’t had fruit and peanut butter on your pancakes before!” Ophelia nearly shirked. When I shook my head no she gasped, “You have not lived my friend.”
Ophelia brought the stack of pancakes and the sausage links to the table before sitting down in front of her plate, “Let’s eat!” She then rubbed her hands together in a greedy fashion, causing me to chuckle.
I shot up out of my chair and went to get her the glass of water she asked for, “M’Lady.” I said handing it to her.
“Why thank you kind sir.” She said taking a sip.
“This is even more delicious then it smelled, thank you.” I said taking a huge bite.
“You’re welcome, I’m glad I invited myself over.” She said smothering peanut butter over her pancake. Ophelia then sliced up a banana and laid the wedges on top of the peanut butter. She was so precise that I couldn’t help but me memorized by her.
She cut off a bit of the banana, peanut butter, pancake mixture and held it up to my mouth. I opened and took the bite, “You are right that is good.” We stared at each other then and to my surprise Ophelia put the fork that was just in my mouth into hers without adding anymore food on it. Almost as if she was trying to taste me vicariously. I nearly choked.
After the most sultry dinner of my life I told Ophelia to hang out in the living room while I cleaned up. It wasn’t long before I heard her laying a vinyl down on my dad’s old record player. It was one of the few things that we didn’t pack up last weekend.
I put the drying towel down to go look at her, she was dancing slightly while holding the case the vinyl was in. I walked up behind her and placed my hand on the small of her back. She peered over her shoulder at me but didn’t seem startled, almost as if she knew I was coming. I took the case from her hands and placed it on the turntable. Ophelia had chosen an old Elvis record, Blue Hawaii, which was a favorite in this household.
Spinning her around I said, “My parent’s used to dance to this all the time.” I slid my left hand down to her waist and then slowly back up her torso so I gripped the top of her ribs. My other hand cupped her right hand and I brought our hands to eye level. Ophelia then put her left hand on my shoulder. Getting into position, just as the song Can’t Help Falling In Love started to play. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
“Nana has a turntable just like this one.” She breathed probably for sake of saying something.
I looked deep into her eyes and begin to move my feet, slow, quick, quick, slow. We began to move rhythmically and swaying our hips together. I would swing her out and then pull her back in. Dipping her so low that she would tilt her head back and allow me to see the length of her body. When the vinyl ended I spun her one last time so that her back was against my chest.
Ophelia rested her head against me and I slowly moved my hands to her hips and then up her tiny frame. My fingers and thumb grazing her breasts. Our hearts were beating together, I could feel it. Ophelia reached her arms up and wrapped them behind my neck, allowing my hands full access to her body. I looked down upon her and took my time caressing every inch of her. I watched as she closed her eyes absorbing my touch. When I found the hem of her sweater I lifted it slightly and tucked my hand under so I could feel her warm skin. I lowered my head and placed a kiss in the space where her shoulder and neck met. My eyes closed and all my control was leaving my body. Her youth didn’t matter to me anymore. Or at least not in the moment. I wanted her now and forever.
Ophelia turned around and looked into my eyes before moving her hands up my chest and landing on my shoulders. I grabbed her hips and lifted her up so that she could rest her forehead on mine. Our noses were on each other’s checks, our eyes so close that the lashes batted together, and our lips were touching. All I had to do was move my lips and we would kissing again. I tilted my face and pressed my lips slightly to hers. So briefly that Ophelia only knew I was kissing her because our eyes were wide open. I wanted her to respond to my kiss and kiss me back, to give me permission, because if she did I would hold nothing back. I would commit to her now and I would be hers.
Instead Ophelia pushed away from me and I sit her down. Her eyes were still on mine when she said, “I should go. Thanks, for having me over.”
I walked her to her car in silence unable to say anything else. I was surprised that she was the one who had the strength to walk away this time. That she was the one who has able to think clearly. It made me want her so much more.