Tears of Tess: First Chapter

As promised here is the first chapter of Tears of Tess.

Raw, first draft, unedited, probably pretty crap, but would love your thoughts!

Copyright Pepper Winters


Chapter One

“Where are you taking me, Brax?” I giggled as my boyfriend of two years beamed his slightly crooked smile and plucked my suitcase from my hands.

We crossed the threshold of the airport and nerves of excitement fluttered furry wings.

A week ago Brax surprised me with a romantic dinner and an envelope. I’d grabbed him and squeezed him half to death when I pulled out two airplane tickets with their destinations blacked out with marker. I couldn’t finish my salmon penne I was so excited at the thought of going away with my perfect, kind, sweet boyfriend, Brax Cliffingstone.

He’d never been able to keep a secret before, hell he was shocking liar—I caught his fibs every time as his sky-blue eyes darted up and to the left, and his cute ears would blush. My man—the blushing king.

But somehow he kept quiet on where he was squirrelling me off to. Like any normal twenty year old woman, I searched our apartment ruthlessly. Raiding his underwear drawer, his PlayStation drawer, and all the other secret hidey-holes he might’ve kept the real plane reservations in. But nothing.

So, standing in Melbourne airport with a crazy happy boyfriend and nerves rioting in my heart, I could only grin like a stupid idiot.

“Not telling. The check-in clerk can be the one to ruin my surprise.” He chuckled. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t tell you until we pulled up out front of the resort.” He dropped the suitcases and dragged me toward him. “In fact, I’d blindfold you until we got there. So it was all a complete surprise.”

My core clenched and my thoughts flared with hot thoughts; sexy thoughts of being blindfolded and completely at Brax’s mercy.

The sequined floaty top I wore became insubstantial as his hot fingers grazed my flesh. It’d been too long. Almost a month and a half. I knew because I remember the exact date where good ole missionary was a lacklustre affair.

As I grew older and got to know myself better, I recognized something I didn’t want to admit. Brax and I were different in the bedroom department. And I didn’t have the courage to tell him what amped my blood to lava and made me wet. And it wasn’t chaste kisses.

But my, having him tease me in public with the knowledge of a sexy trip away, hell my libido shot up to two hundred percent.

My eyes dropped to his shapely lips and my breath grew strained at having him so close. I loved this man, but I missed him at the same time. How was that possible? Life seemed to wedge between us: my university course took up a lot of my time in final exams and Brax’s boss had landed a new building contract in the heart of the city. With us working so many hours we neglected each other.

Each month we lived together trickled into another, and our love making sort of became second fiddle to Call of Duty and my research for property development.

But all of that would change.

Brax was taking me on holiday and I’d packed a few naughty surprises to give me courage to show him what I wanted. Right now, I had an insane desire to join the mile high club. I dropped my shoulder bag and grabbed the lapels of his beige canvas jacket.

His mouth parted in surprise and his eyes flashed as I leaned forward, capturing his mouth with mine. He tasted of orange juice and his lips were warm, so warm.

Brax’s hands landed on my shoulders, holding me at bay. Disappointment sat like a dead fish in my belly as he returned my kiss with closed lips and smiled sweetly. “Honey, you’re attacking me in a public place.”

I dropped my eyes, collecting my discarded bag. Please don’t let him see the rejection blazing in my grey-blue eyes. Brax used to say my eyes reminded him of a doves feathers as it flew across the sky. He was very poetic my Brax. But I didn’t want poetic anymore. I wanted… I didn’t know what I wanted.

Sighing, I smiled and forced happiness back into my body. “I just wanted to show how much I love you.” Threading my fingers with his, I gazed at the check-in desks in front of us. Passengers milled like fish in a pond, darting and weaving around groups stationary. Some groups cried goodbyes, some checked their passports and documentation. The vibe of an airport never failed to excite me. Not that I’d travelled a lot. Before my university course I went to Sydney to study the architecture there, and sketch. I loved to sketch buildings.  And when I was ten my parents took me and my brother to Bali for a week.

            Old hurt rose in my chest thinking of them. When I moved in with Brax eighteen months ago, I drifted apart from my parents. After all, they were almost seventy years old and were focused on other things rather than a daughter who was twenty years younger than their son, and labelled a mistake all her life.

            Wounds cut deep, lacerating with salt every time they joked to their friends that I was my brother’s child not theirs. How could they ever have another child in their early fifties? But they did, and sued the doctor who supposedly botched my father’s vasectomy.

            Rejection was an old enemy; I supposed that was why I needed to connect with Brax often. To have life affirming sex with him to remind me I was wanted by someone.

            Brax opened his arm wide, presenting the world to me. “Come along, Tess. Let’s go get checked in.”

            Excitement re-bubbled and happiness re-settled. Shoving away the ghosts of my past and the slight twinge of pain that Brax didn’t want me as violently as I wanted him, I let him lead me to a Qantas check-in desk.

            “Good morning. Could you please put your bags on the scales and give me your passports and tickets.” The girl smiled, her uniform immaculate, her make-up even more so. It was like she dunked her face in a bucket of foundation.

            I was always intimidated by women who wore a lot of make-up. I guess people called me almost hippy with my dress style. I only wore lip gloss and mascara. I wore leggings and large floaty tops most of the time. The only primping I did was on my hair—a sleek bob without a strand out of place. I was training to be a high powered property developer. When I put my executive suit on, I needed corporate hair to match. A persona that screamed knowledge, money, and confidence.

            Brax put out cases on the scales and my cheeks flushed thinking about the vibrator I’d hidden in there. Brax had no idea I had one, but this trip, I wanted to show him. See his reaction, use it together. But the thought of it turning on accidentally and vibrating my bag horrified me.

            “Honey, can you give her our tickets? They’re in my back pocket.”

            I reached around and pulled out a travel wallet from his baggy jeans pocket. For twenty-three Brax still dressed like a grungy teenager. I squeezed his butt.

            His eyes flashed to mine as he frowned a little.

            I forced a bright smile and handed our documentation to the clerk. I didn’t even check where we were going. I was too focused on ignore the tingles of sadness at not even being allowed to group of boyfriend. Maybe I was too sexual? Weren’t the men normally horny all the time? Was I hardwired wrong?

            “Thank you.” The girl’s eyes dropped, showing heavily shadowed lids and her blonde hair was scraped back in a tight bun and drenched in hair spray. She bit her lip as she pulled out a ream of tickets and checked our passports. “Do you want your bags all the way through to Cancun?”

            Cancun? Mexico? My heart soared. Wow. Brax out did himself. I never would’ve thought he’d travel so far from home, or somewhere as exotic as Mexico. I turned to where he stood and kissed his cheek. “Thank you so much, Brax.”

            His face softened and he captured my hand. Sweet. Gentle. That was my Brax. “You’re welcome. I thought what a better way to celebrate our future than going somewhere where friendship, family, and fun were top priories.”

            I couldn’t tear myself from his blue, blue eyes. This was why I loved him, despite not being completely satisfied. Brax suffered the same insecurities I did. He didn’t have anyone but me. His parents died when he was seventeen in a car accident and he was an only child.

            He owned the apartment we lived in thanks to the small inheritance he was given, and his dad’s husky dog, Blizzard came with the bargain. Blizzard and I didn’t see eye to eye, he’d dragged me down the street enough times for me to shudder with road rash when he licked me.

But Brax loved that dog like a tatty teddy-bear.

            “You’re the best.” I captured his chin and kissed him again, not caring he didn’t like PDA’s.

            The girl sighed across the counter. “Is this your honeymoon? Cancun is amazing. My boyfriend and I went there a few years ago. So hot and fun. And the music is so sexy we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.”

            Images of me twining around Brax in my new sexy bikini, of him touching me in the pool filled my mind. Maybe a change of scenery would amplify our lust. Here’s hoping.

Brax stepped away fiddling with a luggage tag, leaving me to chat to the gushing check-in girl. “No, not our honeymoon. Just a celebration.”

            Brax grinned, showing me his approval. The idea ran in my head. Was this trip special? Was Brax going to propose to me? I wanted heart flipping joy, but all I got was contentment and the knowledge I’d say yes.

            Brax wanted me. Brax was safe. I didn’t want to start again. Rejection after rejection. I loved Brax.

            Silence descended while the girl tap-tapped her keyboard and printed off our boarding passes. Once our bags were tagged, she handed everything back to us. “Your bags are through-checked all the way to Mexico, but you’ll have a stop in Los Angeles for four hours.” She circled the gate number and time. “Please make your way through immigration and proceed to the departure lounge. You board at eleven-thirty. You’re welcome to grab brunch or a coffee after you’ve cleared customs.”

            Brax took the documentation and shouldered his laptop bag. Linking hands with me, he said, “Thank you.”

            We headed toward the ‘’passengers only’’ lounge and bypassed duty-free.

            We had a little over an hour before boarding. I could think of a lot of things we could do in an hour, but I doubted Brax would be into them.

            But we were on our way to Mexico. Different country. Different hotel. Different bed.

            I made up my mind as Brax let me go to look at the tax-free Nintendoes, tonight was going to be the beginning of something new.

            Our relationship was going to rip and roar with love and flame.

            Yep, tonight things would be different.

            I liked different.

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