Phoenix Rising – Chapter 11

“God damn it!” I exclaimed, twisting my ankle for the billionth time on a desert shrub root or a loose rock or whatever else my clumsy feet managed to find. Whoever said hiking was a great way to see nature can suck it. I’m not even entirely sure why I thought I should do this or why I thought I should do this alone. I hadn’t completely botched the entire day. I mean, yeah, I brought lots of water and electrolytes and snacks all in a backpack full of lightweight survival gear “just in case”. It was the burning, searing desert after all.

I’ll admit it was beautiful out there. Like jaw-dropping gorgeous. I just wished that it wasn’t so damn hard, that the trail was maybe paved and it would have been glorious if I had someone to share it with. Especially if that someone was of the opposite sex and had a penchant for outdoor fucking. Oh, and especially especially if said man was, oh, about my height, dark hair on the longer side, a bristly beard that I knew would feel amazing between my thighs, gorgeous brown eyes, sexy smile, with the hottest gravelly voice a girl could imagine. Ohhh yeah. Especially if it was Him. MMhhmm. Yeah, so maybe I was a bit particular. That’s because I’d met him. I’d stared at him. I’d fingered myself I don’t know how many times, calling out his name in the night or whispered it at my desk. Yes. At my desk. At work. Right next to his office. My bosses’ office. Him. Mr. Christopher Fucking Smith himself. Oohh yes.

Shit! I tripped on yet another fucking rock. Head in the game, Tara. Head in the game. Admittedly, at least He knew I existed. I mean, he was my boss. He had interviewed and hired me. He had taught me my job, leaning over my keyboard I don’t know how many times as I inhaled his masculine scent. How many times I wanted to lick his neck. Or bite it. Or he could bite mine. Either one would’ve worked. I’d masturbated in that cubicle…. I lost count of how many times. Daydreaming about him walking in, discovering me wet for him, lifting me up and fucking me over my desk just like that. Of course, it never happened. The guy was married. Had a ten-year-old son. But still. Damn. I was like a dog in heat when it came to him. The guy oozed sex appeal. I mean, all us single ladies had swooned when he walked by, watching his ass as he passed.

I had even tried to have a couple flings just to tame the fire of lust that burned in me for him. You know, to release some pent-up energy. I just couldn’t do it. I’m not one for fantasizing about anyone other than the man I’m with. So, it was masturbation-city for me. First stop: Black Magic, my vibrator. Toot! Toot!! Even that had lost its appeal though. I hadn’t picked it up in weeks. If it wasn’t Mr. Smith’s fingers in me, I was not interested. God, the fantasies I’d had though.

Through my lust-filled haze, I lost track of both the time and where in the hell I actually was in that desert park. I mean, there are trails crisscrossing everywhere. But you need to pay attention to the signs and your map to make sure you don’t get lost. I paused. Looked around. What the hell was I doing? It’s not like I could easily get my bearings. I’d never hiked the area before. Hhmm. I made an executive decision and decided to keep going on. I’m pretty sure that I’d come to a crossroads again and that place was great for signage. Then I could check that against my map.

It was another hour or so before I was able to find myself on my map. By then I was hungry, so I decided to stop for a snack before planning my way back to my car again. There are little rest stops along these trails, some with a bench or even a table and benches and shade. This spot in particular was just a bench over-looking the desert, as the land sloped off to one side and the trail was traversing a small hillside. It was a gorgeous view. I sat down, with my back to the trail, set my backpack next to me, and proceeded to dig around for a proper snack for my lunch break. It was just then that I heard another person coming down the trail. That was not unusual as I had passed quite a few singles as well as groups of people all morning. What I wasn’t expecting was to hear their footsteps falter then pause just behind me. Feeling a little awkward, I glanced over my shoulder and asked, “do I need to share the bench?”

“I thought that was you,” came the deep, gravelly reply.

I dropped my bag of trail-mix and whipped around. Yep. It was Him. Mr. Sex-god Fantasy himself. My jaw hung open. “Mr. Smith?”

He chuckled. “Well, I would hope you’d recognize your own employer!”

“I…I did, I just wasn’t expecting to run into you out here!” I ran a hand over what I was positive was fuzzy, sweaty desert hair.

“Mind if I join you?”

Did I mind? Did I mind?! Um, let me sit on your lap, sir! Instead I dumbly nodded and lifted my backpack off the other half of the bench and set it at my feet.

Down he sat with a sigh. “Oh man. I got a little lost back there a ways and figured I’d find a good trail-marker or crossroads at some point. I come out here pretty frequently, but you know, it’s still easy to get turned around….looks like lunchtime for you, eh, Tara?”

I giggled. “Huh! I actually lost my way too and that sign there got me back on track! Who woulda thought, eh?…And yeah. Lunch. Want some?”

“No kidding? Well, I guess it was meant to be then, you think?” His elbow nudged my ribs.

I giggled again. God. So embarrassing. All I could think about was grinding on his lap but common sense and a sweaty butt crack stopped me from following through. He’s married. He’s married. He’s married. That was my mantra. “Um, yeah. Fate.” I gestured vaguely with my hand. “And food.”

Christopher laughed out loud at that. “Yeah. Food is always good. Sure. I’ll take some. What’ve you got there?”

I proceeded to list off way too much food that I was in fact carrying on my person. I like eating. So sue me. He laughed loudly again shaking his head. “Were you planning on feeding others? Or just wanted to make sure you’d survive a week in the wilderness?”

“Ha. Ha. Ha. I like food. What can I say? I never know if I’m going to want nuts and berries or beef jerky or a can of tuna or cheddar crackers. For me…I chose the nuts and berries. So what’ll it be, Mr. Boss Man Who Can’t Be Bothered To Provide His Own Food?”

He chose the beef jerky and a fruit and grain energy bar. What followed next was this really great conversation that ranged from minor work stuff to the history of the area to his wife and son to favorite dog breeds. It was honestly the most fun couple of hours I’d had in a long time. I laughed, like genuinely laughed, so often. I knew, listening to him, watching the look in his eyes when he talked about his son, that I would never put the moves on him. I might daydream, a lot, but I would never break that family up.

After about two hours, the conversation came to lull. We both sat looking out over the valley view, each in our own thoughts. His hand touched me gently on the arm for a moment. I looked over into his delicious brown eyes. “You know,” he spoke softly and I knew what he was going to say would be important. I turned my body ever so slightly towards him. “If we had met in a different life, a different time and place, I think that we would be together. Since the first time I laid eyes on you, I have felt like I knew you. Like we were meant to be, so to speak. It’s strange. I feel this incredible pull towards you. I hope this doesn’t make you uncomfortable. It’s just…I feel like it’s something that needs to be said. I look into your face and I think, I know her. I’ve always known her.” He pauses and looks back out onto the landscape before continuing on. “That’s not why I hired you, by the way. You’re good at your job. I somehow knew you would be. And I won’t lie and say I’m not physically attracted to you, because I am. But I also love my wife, in my own way, and I love my son more than anything else in this world. I live for him.” He turned towards me again. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I had tears in my eyes as I nodded. “Yeah, Christopher, I do. Completely. And thanks for being brave enough to say something that I would never be able to admit out loud myself.”

Without saying another word, we both stood and looked at each other in the eyes. At the same time, we leaned in and hugged each other. Long and hard. It wasn’t sexual in any way. It was one soul to another reaching out and finding solace and mutual understanding. We both knew where we stood. We both knew it was meant to be but never would be.

Together, we donned our packs again and walked back out of the desert. Always together but always apart. We remained friends until the day life took him away from me for good.

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