So here is my story, I’d love to hear your comments! The Broken Rule by Loni Flowers Living here in this metropolis was like living in a City of Glass. It seemed like every day a new skyscraper would Rise up to the heavens trying to out-do the others around it. The city here was a far cry from the small town I grew up in. I lived off of Jellicoe road in an old 1800’s farmhouse and never imagined my love of teaching would bring me here to work for a major university; or where I would meet Adam— the love of my life.I remember asking him one night, after he returned from a business trip smelling of a woman’s perfume, if I was good enough for him. Of course that’s when he made me feel like a fool and gave me a little blue box from Tiffany’s and an expensive looking bottle of perfume. He told me it was an “I missed you like crazy” gift and the perfume, for whatever reason, reminded him of me when the sales woman sprayed it in the air for him to smell. He laughed at my silly accusation and told me I was crazy beautiful and I was the only women he wanted to spend his time with. I blushed and felt like an idiot for questioning his feelings for me.
We had been together for almost a year. We spent all of our free time together. But then a few months ago he got a new job and started to work a lot. His boss would always send him on an ‘assignment’- of which he would only say he worked for a national security firm and had to meet with prospective clients. If I tried to get more details out of him, usually he would ignore the question entirely and change the subject. I was accepting at first but then I started to worry it was all lies and maybe he was really just shacking up with someone else prettier and sexier than me.
He didn’t go on assignment again for a couple months and spent more time working from home which gave us the opportunity to spend more time together. One day he asked me over to his house for dinner, because he wanted to talk in a more private setting than a noisy restaurant. I was shocked because that was one place we never went unless he had to run home to pick up something. He said he just liked my place better and that he didn’t want me to see how horrible his bachelor pad really looked. Honestly it never really bothered me, though I was excited to finally get the chance to see more than the living room of his apartment. I was nervous and excited at the same. What was it he wanted to talk about? Or did he want to ask me the very question every girl dreams about? I didn’t know.
I laughed at his dinner preparations; Chinese takeout accentuated by romantic candlelight. It could have been better of course but I could see the effort he put into the setup. He actually used real plates and cups opposed to the paper variety. Dinner was going great, but Adam looked nervous, which was very unlike him. So of course I tried to prepare myself for the moment that would come at any minute, for the question I just knew he was about to ask me. I was ready and I knew what my answer would be.
After dinner we sat on the couch in his living room. There were a few moments of awkward silence before he turned towards me.
“Julie,” he whispered. “I have something important to tell you.” Leaning over, he took hold of my hand that was resting in my lap.
This was it, I thought, excitement filling my chest as I realized what Adam was about to—No, wait! He said he had something to ‘tell me’ not ‘ask me.’
“Ok” I said, looking down at our clasped hands.
“I have to go on assignment again.” He said as he rubbed his thumb across the back of my hand.
“Ohh, how long will you be gone this time?” I asked, bracing myself for his answer.
“Six months, maybe longer.”
“What? Why so long? How long does it take to convince someone to use your security firm?” My voice was rising and I was already fighting the tears back as I spoke.
“It’s not that easy, there’s more to it than that. And I’m not exactly sure how long it’s gonna take me to accomplish everything we need to achieve. I’m so sorry Julie.”
I noticed his demeanour had changed. Adam released my hand and slumped over, resting his elbows on his knees. He put his face in the palm of his hand and all he did was shake his head.
Still not looking at me, he said, “I’m so sorry it has to end this way. This—you and I— it was never supposed to happen.”
“Adam, what are you saying? I can’t let you do this—please don’t do this.” I begged as tears streamed down my face.
Straightening up, Adam looked at me. His hand cupped my cheek and he wiped away the tear on my face with his thumb. The agony of what he was doing was written all over his face.
“I can’t put you though this any more. It’s not fair to you and you deserve so much more than I can give you right now. I was never supposed to fall in— YOU were never supposed to happen and I’m sorry but I can’t let it continue, not anymore.” Adam said. Looking down he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was fighting his feeling too and I didn’t understand why it had to be this way.
“Let me go with you. It won’t take me long to pack and I can transfer to another university to teach since this semester is almost over.”
“NO!” he said, half yelling. “That is not an option. Where I’m going isn’t sa– the best place for you. I won’t allow it. “
I stood up, walked over and placed my body in front of him, stopping him from pacing the floor. “Adam, I think I’m old enough to make my own choices considering I’ve been doing it for a while now.”
“No. I will not let you up-root your life for me. Not for me and my career. I have more work responsibilities than you are aware of. What I do is dangerous work and it was stupid of me to believe I could let this go on for as long as I’ve let it.”
“What do you mean dangerous? What exactly do you do? Have you been lying to me this whole time?” I stepped away from him with my hand on my hip waiting for an answer and scared to hear what he would say at the same time.
“Yes—No. I mean, I’ve been lying to you but not by choice. It’s forbidden to talk about the places we are assigned to or reveal what we do ‘exactly’. The less people that know about us, the better. That’s the unwritten rule in this business, Julie; you don’t get involved!”
Adam looked down again, not wanting to look me in the eyes. He already knew I loved him and I knew he loved me but he had yet to actually say those words. I never pushed him; I knew he’d tell me when he thought the time was right. Now here, at the worst possible moment I knew he’d fallen in love with me and he was trying his best not to say it. He wasn’t giving in; he was really going to leave me.
I didn’t want to hear him say the words ‘goodbye’, so I fled. I ran down the hall looking for an escape. Every room in the house had its door open but one, the bathroom. Quickly I ran into the room and locked it behind me. Leaning my back against the door, I slumped down to the floor. Bringing my knees up to my chest, I laid my head in my lap and sobbed; releasing a sea of tears that only the door to this room could hold back.
I heard a light tapping sound on the door. Adam spoke softly in a calming whisper, “Julie, please don’t do this. Open the door and come out. Let’s talk about this some more.”
Hysterical laughter escaped my lips before I realized it. I couldn’t believe he still wanted to talk about this.
“No! What else could we have to possibly talk about? You’re leaving and you don’t even want to try to work it out.” I said talking to the back of the door, tears still falling from my eyes.
Looking around, I noticed my surroundings. One thing was for sure— this was NOT the bathroom! It was an office of sorts. Tall bookcases covered the entire wall in front of me and in front of the bookcase was a desk. To the left, hung several framed pictures. I stood up to look and all were of Adam wearing his uniform, looking stunning as usual. I knew Adam was once in the Marines and had a degree in Marketing but that was about as much as I knew about his work and school background. He never liked to talk about his past much and always said he was more interested in what I had to say.
Walking over to the wall to the right of the door were several weapons. All hung up and displayed as if they were his pride and joy. This surprised me and it was hard for me to imagine him using any of these weapons. I bet this was his Haven and I was pretty sure it was supposed to be off limits to everyone, especially me.
“Are you alright Julie? Please let me in, we don’t have to end things this way. Please!” Adam said as I heard him wiggle the doorknob.
I walked over to his desk and pulled the chair out. The chair made a loud squeaking noise as I pulled it out from under the desk.
“Julie—Don’t do it. Please. Just walk away from the desk. You don’t need to read what’s up there. Trust me; it’s better if you don’t know—safer.” The wiggling of the doorknob increased and I could hear the anxiety in his voice as he spoke.
“Now I understand why you told me practically nothing about your life. I guess I should have known, right? Did you tell me anything that was the actual truth?” My tone was bitter and I didn’t try to hide it as I sat down at his desk scanning the papers in front of me. There were a couple passports, both looked like Adam but the names were different.
“So I suppose your name isn’t Adam either, is it?” I asked, looking at the door.
“Actually it is. I did, for a second think about giving you an alias but for some reason I didn’t want to.” An exasperated huff escaped his mouth as I heard his body sliding down the backside of the door. He knew I wasn’t leaving and unless he wanted to break the door down, I wasn’t coming out until I was ready.
In the center of the desk was a paper shredder and in front of it lay a few maps. One in particular was of Africa. Symbols were drawn around it and Morocco was circled with Pandora’s Succession written above it. I’m not sure why but the name didn’t sound like those pretty beaded bracelets you got at the jewelry store. Seeing the weapons, the maps and fake passports; I knew Adam was into more in this national security firm then he was letting on.
“What’s Pandora?” I asked.
“Nothing you need to be concerned with. Forget you ever heard that name and stop looking through my papers. You’re not going to like some of the things you might see.”
Next to the map was a letter listing travel arrangement. Apparently he was supposed to leave late tonight or more like early this morning. His flight was scheduled to leave at two am on American Airlines. Seeing his arrangements confirmed again that Adam really was leaving and I may never see him again. The realization hit me like a ton bricks and the tears started flowing again.
A few moments later I heard the doorknob wiggling again but I did not look up. Then I heard Adam’s voice and it wasn’t muffled from him speaking behind the door. Instead he was standing next to me; I looked confused and wondered how he got in this room. He laid a screwdriver and a doorknob on the desk in front of me and knelt down in front of me.
I felt the tears running down my face, my eyes burning and feeling puffy from all the crying. I was a mess but didn’t care. Adam gently peeled the hair away from my face and when I looked up at him, the tears in his eyes threatened to spill over at any moment. He too was struggling to hold himself together. Cupping my face with both hands Adam pulled me to him and kissed me. I felt fresh tears touch my face and I didn’t have to look to know they weren’t my own. His mouth was possessive on my own and he owned my lips in that moment. I always thought we had perfect chemistry together but there was a hunger in his kiss that I had never felt before and right now it was a catching fire that was seeping into my body making me want more.
But Adam stopped what was happening and looking back on it, I knew it was for the best. I couldn’t stand to see him get on that plane so that night he took me home and I let him tell me goodbye. I would not say those words because doing so would mean it was the end and I wasn’t ready to give in and accept that fact that he’d be gone for a long time and I’d be better off without him.
“Adam, please! I love you…please don’t go.” I cried, begging him one last time, knowing my pleas would not be accepted. Wrapping his hand around the back of my neck he kissed my forehead, the tip of my nose, and softly kissed my lips for the last time.
“Goodbye Julie,” he whispered on my lips before he turned and walked away from me— forever.
Adam had been gone for five months now and still I thought about him everyday, like I was now. I laid in the grass and listen to the mockingjay birds sing their ballad around me in the trees surrounding the city park. Looking up at the sky, I tried picking out objects in the clouds; Adam and I use to do this every weekend when he wasn’t working. This was our favorite place to come on sunny summer days. All I could think of now was he’s gone. Now alone, I sat there reading the words on the card again and again, my mind spinning in a freefall and feeling like my heart could wither away at any moment. He did promise that he would come back when he could and if this relationship could be salvaged, he’d be willing. So while I waited, I would torment myself over and over again with memories and what it felt like to have his hands linger across my body. The thought alone would send a shiver down my spine; my mind refusing to allow the memories to fade away.
How much longer could I wait for him, I wasn’t sure. I told myself that when the letters or the surprise flowers stopped, then I would know for sure that he had moved on. Lying there looking at the sky, I contemplated what his card meant, running the lines over and over again in my head. It was attached to the biggest bouquet of daisies I had ever seen. Daisies were my favorite flower because they reminded me of summer, my favorite time of year. They were left at my doorstep for me to find when I left my house for work this morning; how he convinced a florist to leave them at my house that early I wasn’t sure. But I also know that he can be pretty convincing when he wants to be.
Again the words tumbled around in my head, “Daisies to make your morning shine. When twilight comes, will you be mine?”
What did it mean? It couldn’t possibly mean what I wanted. Adam was still scheduled to be on assignment for at least another month and he wasn’t even in the country. He was in some place called the City of Bones or was it the City of Ashes? I had no idea, another code name for something I’m sure but I didn’t want to know what could be there, it sounds like an awful place.
The sky was darkening and the sun had almost set. It was still too bright to look at so I closed my eyes and laid my head back against the tree. Twirling the note card in my fingers, I repeated his words to myself over and over again. Abruptly the sun darkened and I felt someone step in front of me. Opening my eyes I saw him standing before me and I couldn’t speak realizing it was Adam.
He dropped down to his knees beside me with a soft small smile on his lips—his lips, oh how I missed them. There is no man across the universe that could kiss me the way he could, I had no doubt about that.
“Did you get your flowers this morning?” he asked with his hands in his lap, still not touching me. I nodded yes because my eyes were watering up and I knew as soon as I uttered one word to him the water works would start.
“I wanted to tell you I was coming home but I wanted to surprise you.” He brushed the stray hairs away from my face, letting his finger linger down my face. I closed my eyes to his touch forcing my tears to glide down my face.
“Is that ok? Or should I have called—,“ He tried to finish but his words were cut off when I curled my fingers in the front of his shirt and pulled him to me pressing my lips to his. He was here and I didn’t know for how long. He wrapped one arm around my waist and cradled my head in the palm of his hand, his fingers intertwined in my hair.
He pulled away, staying only inches from my face before he said, “I’m done.”
“What?” I said. Scared of what he meant.
“I finished my assignment and I got out. You’re looking at the new Marketing Management professor at the university! You’d be amazed at what the government can accomplish,” He said, leaning back looking at my face for approval.
I grabbed his arms trying to shake the truth out of him. “Really? Are you really staying? You don’t have to leave again?” I was beyond happy and excited; I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him.
He pulled away slightly and whispered in my ear. “Julie, if I stay will you let me?”
“Yes, a million times yes!” And he pressed his lips to mine.