Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SHIFT river scene by Zachary


Saturday 21 June

Dear Aura,

I doubt I’ll send this letter when I arrive home Monday. Maybe years from now I’ll show you, and we can laugh at how things were at the beginning.

But I wanted to write it down so I’d never forget that night in the river (and by the river). Six eternal months apart lie before us, but with one glance at this page, I can be with you again.

-----

Naked.

You stand before me, trembling but unafraid. I stand before you, perfectly still but pure afraid.

Afraid, because without clothes my body feels awkward, my arms too long, my gut too soft. Afraid, because I know I’ll do something stupid. Afraid, because I’ve told you I love you, and you’ve not said it back.

Hands clasped, we step into the mountain river, sucking in breath at the icy shock. It takes all my will not to shriek like a wee lass, or crush the fine bones in your hand. I’m relieved you saw me before the cold water had its effect on—well, you know.

We stop and face each other, joking about shampoo and such, pretending we’re here to get clean. Seeing your bare skin glisten with drops of moonlight-tinged water, I feel the opposite of clean.

I put my hands on your waist, as much to steady myself as anything. The river’s current runs at my back, pushing me towards you and pulling you away. “Do ye trust me?”

“I trust you.”

My heart pounds, keeping blood flowing to parts extreme. But it’s still fear, not passion, pumping this adrenaline.

Because when I look into your eyes, I think of him. A chance squandered, a love lost. Death stalked him even as you lay in his arms. If he were alive, would I be holding you? Are we a tragedy?

“I love you.”

There, you’ve said it, and with those words, changed the course of the river itself, so it pulls us together, and suddenly feels not so cold after all.

Together, we sink underwater. You close your eyes to protect your contact lenses, but I keep mine open, watching your dark hair stream upwards. It looks like you’re falling.

Back at the surface, we kiss hard and fast, trying to forget how in three days, an ocean will come between us. All too soon, we’re interrupted by the distant sound of a DMP search party.

That’s a dreadful bit, so I’ll skip the telling. But it makes us hide close to shore, in water shallow enough to sit in.

I pull you into my lap. Your flesh is warm against me, sliding, pressing, reawakening the heat inside until it’s as if the DMP and this cold water never existed. My thoughts become a long, low howl of static. I fumble for conversation to keep from—I don’t know what.

“Does this remind you of anything?”

You go still in my arms, making me wonder what memories my question has sparked. I hurry to remind you of our first kiss, stolen in a potato bin, during another escape from federal agents.

You remember, and all at once you’re mine again, closer than ever. I hold you tight and press my teeth to the back of your neck, feeling pure animal ache.

Then your hand slips between us, down to where…God.

And I can’t think and I can’t breathe and I speak in tongues and I taste your hair, silky wet, smelling of river but underneath so incredibly, undeniably you. And this is all I ever need. I could die right now.

But somehow I find breath again. You say words, then I say words, I don’t remember which. Then we fall silent, because our would-be captors are closer. This waiting should be torture, but after so many never-holding-you months—in the past and future—I’ll not complain.

When the DMP has moved on, we force our cold, stiff limbs to return us to shore, where we huddle in towels, laughing, kissing each other’s lips from blue to red again.

You stretch out on the towel, and I’m suddenly glad we’ve no condoms, glad we’re saving sex for another time. Tonight, we can explore each other, enjoy each other, with no fear.

First I must know what you want. “Aura, where can I touch you?”

Your arm trembles under my hand. “Anywhere,” you whisper.

“And where can I kiss you?”

Your right foot arches, turning your whole leg taut. “Everywhere.”

I take a deep breath that quakes my lungs. “I’ll start here, aye?”

“Aye,” you say, before my mouth covers yours.

As we kiss, one certainty takes root in my soul: we are no accident, no spawn of tragedy. This was meant to be. This would have forged a million frozen rivers, set the paths of stars and planets, created universe upon universe, to make itself happen.

Later, after we dress, you sleep with your head in my lap, a rolled-up towel for a pillow. I swat away mosquitoes before they can reach your cheeks and your bare arms. The underbrush hides all of you and most of me except my eyes, so I can scan the far shore for searchlights.

The moon sets at last, and through the trees I see patches of sky carpeted with stars. I’ve not been anywhere this dark in ages. I sync my breath with yours, dissolving one more boundary between us.

A flash of violet appears across the river. I rub my eyes, certain I’m half-asleep and dreaming. But there it is again, a ghost on the distant shore. It lingers at the water’s edge, perhaps remembering a fishing holiday or a canoe ride—or a rendezvous like ours.

At this moment, I see the world through your eyes, Aura. The joy and pain of lives loved and lost. And it is beautiful.

Thank you,
Zachary

Labels: ,

38 Comments:

Ahh! I love this! I always wondered what Z thought during that very sweet, very steamy moment. I can't wait to see how it all ends. :-)

Posted by: Blogger Lindsi at 2/28/2012 3:44 PM

That is so beautiful :')
Pavan

Posted by: Blogger LovesBooks96 at 2/28/2012 3:47 PM

Sigh......

Posted by: Blogger Jana Oliver at 2/28/2012 4:01 PM

Beautiful! Worth every vote that I ripped from people and more. <3 Thanks for writing it.

Posted by: Blogger Saleana Carneiro at 2/28/2012 4:09 PM

Chills. I love it. Damn that boy is so sweet... I'm gonna get a well worth it cavity ;)

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly Callegan at 2/28/2012 4:14 PM

So so so good! Love Zach!!!!! This just proves why he won so handily ;)

Posted by: Blogger Tine vs. The World at 2/28/2012 4:25 PM

Beautiful. Thank you.

Posted by: Blogger Andrea @The Bookish Babes at 2/28/2012 4:28 PM

This is exactly why I am TEAM JERI! You've written a beautiful, sweet and tender scene in an awesome-tastic way. THANK YOU!!
-Patricia

Posted by: Blogger Two Chicks On Books at 2/28/2012 4:34 PM

Wow, that was beautiful. Achingly beautiful.

Thank you!

Posted by: Blogger Judy (shellseeker93) at 2/28/2012 4:51 PM

Gosh that was just so great! Kind of makes me want to cry almost! I love their love , it feels so tangible and real! Sry, I sound like the hopeless romantic that I am.

Posted by: Blogger Janae at 2/28/2012 6:26 PM

Simply beautiful Jeri!!!! I loved it :D

-J

Posted by: Blogger Two Chicks On Books at 2/28/2012 6:32 PM

Sigh!!!! Amazing! Beautiful! Now I need to reread the river scene from Aura's pov! Thanks for this:)

Posted by: Blogger Frankie Diane Mallis at 2/28/2012 7:48 PM

This is just so perfect :') Beautiful!

Posted by: Blogger Marisol Gaddi at 2/28/2012 8:37 PM

So beautiful and so Zach. I love it! Thank you.

Posted by: Blogger Iris at 2/28/2012 8:37 PM

The only thing I have to say is thank you. This was sweet and eloquent and definitely Zach. You could not have done a better job capturing this amazing moment from his POV, and it makes all the craziness of last weekend completely worth it and so much more <3

Posted by: Blogger Poochylover at 2/28/2012 8:46 PM

oh my god!! i luved this part!!! i always! ALWAYS wanted to know wut zach thought !



-nikkie

Posted by: Blogger nikkie at 2/28/2012 9:26 PM

This is why it is so easy to love Zachary. Absolutely stunning and so sweet and kind even through the steamy parts. You have such a way with words, Jeri.

Posted by: Blogger Marissa at 2/28/2012 10:08 PM

This has made my whole day!!! It's so perfect!

Thanks, Jeri!

Posted by: Blogger lostnthestacks at 2/28/2012 10:11 PM

So, so lovely! <333

Posted by: Blogger Ashley @ Book Labyrinth at 2/28/2012 10:13 PM

Jeri, you're such an excellent storyteller and Zach's voice is just...dreamy and so authentic. Thank you for this.

Posted by: Blogger Carrie Clevenger at 2/28/2012 10:13 PM

Thank you, everyone, so very much! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 2/28/2012 10:33 PM

So much love for this...for him...for you.

Thank you for this.

Jen

Posted by: Blogger Fictitious Delicious at 2/28/2012 11:25 PM

I think I'm gonna go watch that video and read this at the same time. I also think I'm going to have the DH read it to me. And I might just print it out in a handwriting font and pretend my name is Aura.

This once again proves that Zach is way more than your average crush. And Jeri is way more than your average author! Beautiful, Jeri!!

And one more thing that I have to say because I can't contain it:

JUST WAIT UNTIL SHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeeeeee!!!!

Amy

Posted by: Blogger Fictitious Delicious at 2/28/2012 11:29 PM

Wow. Just wow, Jeri.

Posted by: Blogger Megan at 2/28/2012 11:49 PM

Oh my golly wow! Just wow. I love love love this scene! Thank you so much for writing Zach's POV. It's amazing!

April @Books4Juliet

Posted by: Blogger April David at 2/29/2012 12:46 AM

Oh my golly wow! Just wow. I love love love this scene! Thank you so much for writing Zach's POV. It's amazing!

April @Books4Juliet

Posted by: Blogger April David at 2/29/2012 12:47 AM

Wow. That was... wow. Although I haven't read Shift yet, just Shade, that was beautiful. And a huge spoiler, but to heck with that! :P Thank you so much for writing this- Team Kilt is the best!

Posted by: Blogger Jen R. at 2/29/2012 4:14 AM

That was perfect! And it made my day. Thank you Jeri! You're awesome!

Posted by: Blogger Lisa (Cold Moon Violet Books) at 2/29/2012 11:11 AM

Wow. And I didn't think I could love Zachary anymore than I already did. I am so ready for Shine!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!

Posted by: Blogger starryeyedjen at 2/29/2012 11:56 AM

Omg perfect! I loveeee Zachary

Posted by: Blogger The Book Sisterhood at 2/29/2012 12:09 PM

Worth waiting for. <33

Cyndi

Posted by: Blogger Cyndi Tefft at 2/29/2012 12:55 PM

You couldn't have written it any better. Perfectly Zach!!!

Posted by: Blogger Peggy RN at 2/29/2012 4:59 PM

You couldn't have written it any better. Perfectly Zach!

Posted by: Blogger Peggy RN at 2/29/2012 5:00 PM

Oh, that was lovely and beautiful and makes me want to read the next book even more. Thank you!

Posted by: Blogger Mary at 3/01/2012 2:38 PM

I thought my comment posted, but I guess I closed the tab before it finished loading.

You know, Jeri... sometimes the world just needs a bit of good. Sometimes we just need something great, you know? And you've always been there to provide that something to us, and it's always been great.

So, thank you.

Posted by: Blogger Julianna Helms at 3/17/2012 2:58 AM

Oh my God, This was incredible <3 <3

Thank you :)
And happy Easter ;)

Posted by: Blogger nea barabea at 4/08/2012 2:26 PM

Copulate is a effectual tool victimized to successfully romantic facebook status trainer any identify of consumer - from spiky stratum executives to situation inmates.

Posted by: Blogger Simon WACH at 5/16/2012 2:22 AM

How have I totally missed reading this before. So heartbreakingly beautiful. Zach has such a poetic way with... words.

Posted by: Blogger Kendra at 6/19/2012 2:27 PM

Post a Comment

NEW RELEASE!

This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**

More about THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.

NOW AVAILABLE!

Shattered

"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

Sign up for Jeri's newsletter

  • First draft of secret new project

Current Reads


goodreads.com