Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Truth Revealed

A few weeks ago, I got inspired to write a short story. I'd gotten an email about a contest to write a 1,500 word max story. I'd never finished a short story before, so I thought I'd give it a try! While I didn't the contest {I honestly never thought I would} it was such a fun experience. And today I thought I'd share it all with you! Enjoy!

The Truth Revealed 
            Being a physical representation of a fork in the road, the airport was one of Sienna’s favorite places. People coming and going, for a variety of reasons, all making choices of destination. Not travelling often, she was excited to be leaving for a more tropical locale. Long overdue, she could practically taste the Pina Colada.
            But the red wine she was sipping at the bar would have to do for now. Of course she hadn’t learned about the two hour delay until after she’d arrived at the airport.
            A male figure clad in jeans and a leather jacket, distressed by years of use, sat down on the empty stool next to her. His scent tickled her nose, invoking a familiarity. Unable to place it without a visual, she turned just as the stranger raised his hand to catch the attention of the bartender.
            Sienna gasped as realization poured over her.
            “I’ll have a beer. Whatever’s on tap,” he said, oblivious to his seatmate.
            “Aidan?” she squeaked out.
            He turned towards the voice. She saw the moment he made the connection of who she was. “Sienna. Wow. Is it really you?”
            She nodded, overcome with the inability to speak. How long had it been since she’d seen those blue eyes?
            “Wow,” he said again. “It’s so good to see you. You look…” he paused, searching for just the right words. He didn’t want to mess this up. “The same, but more mature. More beautiful, if that’s even possible.”
            He always did have a way with words. She blushed as her hair fell in her face, feeling eighteen again. On instinct, Aidan reached out and tucked the obstinate strands behind her ear. It was an intimate gesture reserved only for current or past lovers.
            “You look really good, too,” Sienna said. “I like this a lot.” Reaching out she ran the tip of her finger across his jawline, her nail scratching the stubble. Both testing the waters, they needed physical touch to remind them the other really was there.
            “It’s normally not like this,” he began. “But I was home on leave and didn’t feel like subjecting my face to the daily shaving routine usually required.”
            “Leave?” she asked, curiosity piquing her interest. She was afraid of what revealing facts about their present would do, but she couldn’t resist asking. Her heart would surely deal with the repercussions later.
            “Yes ma’am. I’m a Marine now. Stationed at Twentynine Palms, California. Had a few days off, so I flew back here to Jersey to visit my parents.”
            His whole demeanor shifted when he spoke about his job, his way of life. His posture straightened, and the formal use of ma’am was not lost on her.
            “Well, thank you for your service,” she tipped her glass to salute his. She was happy knowing he had made something of himself, so noble at that. Though this new information only solidified a decision she made years ago in the outdated bathroom of her parent’s house.
            “So what about you?” he took a long swallow of beer. “Are you coming or going today?”
            “Going. I’m off to Jamaica for a few days’ vacation. Needed a break from this dismal grey snow,” she gestured towards the window. “And I’m on break from school.”
            “Teaching or student?”
            “Teaching. Middle school literature and English.”
            “You got your dream then? Congratulations.”
            His smile stretched as wide as his face and hers mirrored back in turn. His looks of approval were softening her resolve, reminding her of only the good and eliminating the bad. She was going to have to steel herself before disaster struck and revealed more than she should.
            “Are you travelling with you boyfriend?” His question wasn’t subtle. Her presence had thrown him. Normally he was smoother than that.
            Sienna laughed and the sound caused Aidan’s heart to take an extra beat. “Could you be more obvious? No, I’m alone.”
            “What?” he couldn’t hide his surprise. “You’re going alone?”
            “People do it all the time.” Her back went up, both physically and figuratively, the need to defend her actions was strong. “It’s by choice, if that’s your next question.”
            “I’m sorry if I offended you. I’m just surprised. But in a good way. Not everyone can travel alone. Though you were always so independent.”
            If only he knew the depths of how much. But she kept that to herself.
            “It’s okay. I found myself with the opportunity and took it immediately. Didn’t even attempt to find someone to go with me.”
            “That sounds nice. So no boyfriend then or he’s just not going with you?”
            She laughed again at his persistence and the sound was so beautiful, he wanted to always summon it from her. “No, no boyfriend. And you?”
            “No boyfriend either,” he winked. “Or girlfriend for that matter.”
            Draining the drinks in front of them, they took a moment to process the fact they were both single. It opened up so many possibilities. Ones Aidan wanted to explore, while Sienna knew could never happen. Not after the lie she’d told. The fact that it was one of omission would matter very little.
            Aidan stood, putting his wallet into his back pocket. “You got some time before your flight?”
            Looking at her watch, Sienna nodded. “A little bit. It’s been delayed.” The words almost caught in her throat before she could speak them. How different her day would have been if that flight had been on time.
            “Great. Come with me?” Securing her hand in his, Aidan led Sienna out of the bar and thrust them into the bustle of the airport hallways. Too stunned by everything, she followed along willingly. Which wasn’t hard since there had been a time she would have followed him anywhere.
            They brushed past other passengers a few more feet before Aidan ducked into a darkened hallway, half-hidden by a sunglasses kiosk.
            He pushed her up against the concrete wall, both gently but with urgency. “I still can’t believe you’re really here. I know I’m the one who messed up and ruined us. But I have thought about you constantly over the years. You were my one that got away and I’ve never forgiven myself for that. And now, as if out of a dream, you’re back in my arms again.”
            Aidan’s words touched a place in Sienna she’d closed and locked up. She wanted to pour her heart back out to him, but knew this encounter was only going to end in her hurt and his anger. She could have only this one moment.
            Grabbing his jacket, she pulled his mouth down to hers. He was surprised, but recovered quickly, deepening the kiss. They were hungry, desperate, trying to erase the time spent apart with just one kiss. But it was impossible.
            As suddenly as she pulled him forward, Sienna pushed Aidan back again. With the memory of his lips, now even more confident and experienced, seared into her mind, it was time to let go.
            “I have to go,” the words were difficult to get out.
            “Can’t you stay just a little longer?” his eyes begged her to stay.
            “I can’t. I’m sorry. It really was good to see you though, Aidan.” She smiled, choosing her words carefully. One wrong slip and this would all blow up in her face.
            “Can I at least get your number? I’d love to stay in touch.”
            “No, that’s not a good idea.” She started to back away, putting distance between them.
            “Sienna, please?”
            What happened next could only be described as a perfect storm. Sienna turned away as Aidan reached out to grab her. Being just out of reach, he snagged the strap of her purse instead of her arm. The contents scattered around them and Sienna dropped to her knees. Frantic, she gathered up items in blind panic. Which is why she didn’t notice when Aidan picked up the pictures before she did. She watched in horror as he flipped through each one. He didn’t know right away, but something was off.
            “Is this your….?” His voice trailed off as he held up one of the pictures of Sienna and Rose.
            Defeated and knowing she would have to deal with whatever was thrown at her, Sienna slumped down on the floor. “My daughter,” her voice came off flat.
            Studying the photo a little longer, Aidan then asked. “How old is she?”
            A sigh escaped Sienna’s chest. This would be the moment that changed everything.
            “Eight.” She gave no more information, knowing he would put it all together.
            With the picture clutched in his hand, Aidan kneeled in front of Sienna. He cupped her chin, forcing her to look at him and confront the past she’d left there for a reason. “And is she…”
            Even he couldn’t say the words. Sienna, as had been the case when the stick turned pink after Aidan had broken up with her, would have to be the strong one. “Yes, Aidan. This is your daughter.”