General Fiction posted July 17, 2019 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 

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A chapter in the book Bare Notes


by Regal Bellford

Thomas is seductive, rich and attractive. But those qualities are only what is on the outside. Thomas holds a massive secret. A secret he hides in a locked box under his bed.

I attended class the next day. Morey went back to being quiet around me. When it came to my turn in Morey’s rotations, where she meets one on one with every student, I played my piece wrong on purpose. I started my fingering on the wrong keys so she could lean in to move my hand to the correct spots, just like she always had when I had first started playing. I fully intended on savoring the moment. Her hands were never too warm or too cold. She had a perfect body temperature, which made me think of how amazing it would be to have her naked body next to mine. 

Morey walked up and stood behind me. She noticed my hands and leaned in over my right shoulder. She used her right hand to fix the positions of my hands. I played dumb and still didn’t quite get it right even after her correcting me. With both hands now, Morey leaned closer. Her arms wrapped around me. She wore no perfume today, just her own aroma. I felt as if I was finally home. 

Her hair brushing up against my cheek tickled me. I closed my eyes as she placed both her gentle hands over mine. I imagined her finally crossing her arms and hugging me from behind. Her kiss touching my cheek and telling me she loves me. She would hold me in a way that I would know we would never be apart. In my daydreaming, I had the unfortunate chance to look down her left arm. She was wearing her engagement ring today. My dream was shattered like a delicate vase hitting a hard floor. I felt an aftermath, as if someone punched me in the stomach. 

Why did she wear the ring today, of all days? She had never worn it before. Was she trying to get to me? Or, was she trying to send me a message? 

The ring didn’t look right on her. It was a white gold band when Morey seemed more like a classic yellow gold type of girl. I would even understand using platinum. Who wears a ring like that and expects to teach piano class? You can’t wear rings and play comfortably. Doesn’t it get in the way? I tried to not let it get to me, but it was useless. The ring reminded me of how far I was from who I was meant to be with. It reminded me that what happened yesterday at the farmer’s market and dinner in the restaurant was real and not some horrible nightmare. 

When class was over, I saw the fiancé walk through the doorway. He went straight to Morey and kissed her on the cheek. Most of the students had left by this time. By most, I meant everyone but me. 

“Hey big guy!” he turned and said to me with so much familiarity, “Dinner was great! Salmon was perfect. We should do it again sometime.” 

Bite me. “Wasn’t it? We should plan something soon.” I sent a nod to Morey’s direction and walked out of the room. There was something about seeing her in the same vicinity with him. It felt like I was wearing a cheap, itchy sweater that I just wanted to rip off me. I wanted him gone. The worst part was that so far, he has always been cordial to me. Yet, a part of me felt like he was nice because he knew enough on how to play the game. Being mean to me, only makes him look threatened and like a jealous jerk in Morey’s eyes. The jacket wearing schmuck was too smart to not play it cool. He is still a guy after all, he knew what I wanted. He knew I knew he knew I wanted her. And with all the ‘knew’s’ and ‘I’s’ going around between us, things were getting too confusing. 

All men have an inert instinct for spotting another male that is sniffing around their woman. When a man tells his girlfriend “Be careful. He likes you. Stay away from him”. That guy is ninety-nine-point-nine percent right every time. Of course, men aren’t the only perceptive mammals. Women know well enough when another woman likes their man. 

The person, who is always being liked, usually rejects the idea of it. “No. She/he doesn’t see me like that, you’re just being paranoid.” Sometimes they deny it because they like the attention, or they don’t want you to know that they know that someone has a crush on them. Either way, our humanity is the only thing that keeps us from squaring our legs, lowering our head and growling at each other like animals when what’s ours is threatened. Instead, we play the game of social-territorialism. Girls flaunt wedding rings in front of other skanks near their man. Men continually lurk around their pretty girlfriends when other men are around. It’s either this, or barbaric fighting and hissing. 

I left the school with the intention of heading to work. David and I have been having talks about ideas to grow the company even more. He had a ten-year plan that would expand the company 10 times its size. This plan caused the need to hire a new team in addition to ours to help with the work load. I, personally, was actually content with where we were in regard to the company’s steady growth. But for David’s sake, I would agree with his plan. He and my father had worked too hard for me and this company to not follow through to its potential. 

The following week, I focused only on work and tried not to think of Morey, Mary or anyone. I also tried to go to the gym more in my apartment building. 

I used the elevator and reached my apartment after working up a sweat. I decided to take a really hot shower to help calm myself. I towel dried and stepped out. With only PJ pants, I walked over to my desk. I noticed the email emblem on the screen was flashing. It was an email from Mary. 


Sent: 8:14AM 


Hope all is well. Just wanted to email you to say, I had a great time last weekend on our double date with Liz and Robert. 

You said you would call last week, but I guess you got busy. No worries. I know how hectic life can be. I also thought I would get in contact with you, in case you lost my number. You are probably wondering how I got your email address. I asked your mom. I asked Liz first, but she said she couldn’t give out school information. I then asked my mom, but she said she didn’t know it. So, I finally found your mom’s number on my mother’s contacts in her phone. 

Anyways, email me back. Or not, whatever you want to do. 


Mary Moretta 

P.S. My number is 555-0902 in case it didn’t save on your phone. 

Reply Sent: 10:02AM 


I haven’t lost your number. I have been a bit busy, but I am free this Friday. Would you like to come over for some espressos? I got a new machine I have been dying to try out. 


P.S. Tell Liz it’s fine. She can give out my information, we’re all friends now. 

Reply Sent: 10:04PM 

I would love too! 


Reply Sent: 12:03PM 

Great! See you at seven. I will text you my address. 



Mary came over exactly at seven. I wore a pair of light brown slacks, a collared cotton shirt and a gray, cashmere sweater over it. Mary knocked on the door very softly when she arrived. I could barely hear it as I walked to the kitchen for some ice for the bar. The bar still carried no real alcohol, but I used it in case she wanted some virgin sprits or colored drinks. As I have already mentioned, I like to give girls drinks with the appearance of alcohol without telling them. They tend to be themselves more, wink-wink. The perception of being buzzed, gives girls an excuse to follow their heart or their true desire. 

I opened the door and saw Mary standing in a purple silk felt dress that came down past her knees. It revealed a narrow waist that begged for my hands. The bottom of the fabric had a white and black print design which looked like a pattern of birds. She wore black pearl earrings which matched the black pearl necklace around her long thin neck. A black silk scarf covered her shoulders, which coordinated perfectly with the small bows at the end of her black heels and the handle of her purple purse. Mary’s hair was free this time and went past her shoulders. It had been straightened and curled inward at the ends. A black clip, which carried a cluster of feathers was pinned on the top right of her hair to finish the ensemble. Mary was all about the details. 

It was baffling how much younger and more physically appealing she looked than Morey. The only thing was, she wasn’t Morey. No one could be. 

I invited Mary in. I never really consciously tell women they look pretty or beautiful, but I had to tell her. She did. If any woman was deserving of the compliment it was her, and it was now. 

“Thank you,” she replied, timidly looking down at the floor. She followed me past the couches of the living room. Her eyes marveled at the view from my apartment as we neared the wall. The curtains were all left open. I smiled as her eyes took in the city lights. The brightened up her face as if she was marveling at fireworks. 

“Please, sit.” I gestured to a small coffee table with two chairs on each side. It sat right up against the glass. It made it appear as if we were on the edge of the building. The only light in the apartment was given by my fireplace in the living room and a few lamps that gave off a slight yellow tone scattered about. The main light was the view coming from outside. The millions of white diamonds from the city’s skyscrapers were enough to brighten her appearance and let me know how happy she was to see me again. 

“It’s beautiful,” Mary spoke in a hushed voice as she sat on the chair which I pushed in for her. 

I knew the city skyline still took her breath away. I knew the feeling as I sat across from her. She was the closest thing, besides Morey that could ever take mine. 

“Are you hungry?” I asked. “I made us dinner.” 

“Not just yet.” Mary smiled, looking deep into my eyes, “I am still enjoying this view.” 

“It’s a beautiful city isn’t it,” I turned to admire the lights. “Shame I didn’t open the curtains until recently.” 

“I’m not talking about the city.” Mary kept her gaze at me with dreamy eyes as she tilted her head to one side. She had an expression about her, the kind where you look at someone imagining an entire future with them. 

I couldn’t help blush. Her words caught me off guard. She was quite the charmer, full of little surprises. Maybe the whole innocent, nervous, girl-next-door wasn’t all innocent after all. 

I had a brown paper box in the middle of the table between us that stood a little less than a foot tall. It had a maroon colored ribbon on top. 

“Lift up on the box,” I told her. 

She was tickled and excited about the gift. Her hands reached out and held the cardboard within her fingers and easily lifted it. “It’s Jenga!” she grinned as the gift was revealed. “I used to play this when I was a little girl.” 

“This isn’t just Jenga,” I pointed at the blocks. “You are the maroon blocks. I am the brown.” 

Mary carefully took one maroon out from the middle and read the specific inscription I had made on each one. 

Tell me something no one else knows about you 

She read it out loud before squealing. “This is so adorable.” She sighed and brought the block to her chest. 

“Whoever knocks down the stack has to grant one wish to the winner,” I placed both elbows on the table and raised my eyebrows after stating the challenge. 

“You got a deal,” Mary agreed, then bit her bottom lip as thoughts fluttered in her mind. 

“Can I make you a drink?” I started to stand. 

“Oh, I don’t drink,” she replied. 

Good girl, I thought. “I don’t either, they are non-alcoholic,” I reassured her. Mary then nodded to the idea. 

I don’t mind if girls are drinkers. I probably have about a drink a every so often myself. Although with women, I find those that don’t drink even more exciting than the ones that do. 

I returned to the table after visiting my bar. I placed one maroon colored drink on her side and a light brown one on mine. It was mostly food coloring and ginger ale. Mary placed her block on the top of the small wooden tower 

“Okay,” she started. “Something no one else knows?” she placed a finger to her chin, “I have never Frenched a boy.” 

I chocked on the drink I sipped. Mary laughed then covered her mouth with her hand. Her eyes shone as they reflected the lights from out the window. I noticed her perfectly manicured, tipped nails for the first time. They had a slight purple shade, inside the white. 

“You mean?” I couldn’t believe what I was about to ask. “You have never kissed a boy?” I cocked my head to the side in disbelief. 

Mary met my eyes and shook her head. “I have kissed a boy... on the lips. Just not a full-on kiss.” 

“With how cute you look, I have a hard time believing you haven’t gotten a boy to do that with you.” I told her. 

“Well… I have done more,” she blushed. “I can’t believe I’m being so open?” 

“Go on,” I assured her. 

“I haven’t done ev-ery-th-ing. But one time… I did do so-m-e thing, but… not ev-ery-th-ing.” Her hands moved as if trying to help explain better through nervous pantomiming. “Although, I wouldn’t even count it as I did, now that I think about it. It all happened so fast.” 

“Wait?” I closed my eyes to focus on my words. “How do you go from simple kissing, to something more without Frenching someone?” I shook my head, took in a deep breath and smiled. “Oh, so many questions, Mary. I can tell you are going to be fun to play with.” I said as she turned a darker shade of red, “This game is going to be more informative than I thought.” 

Janus was right. She did raise two innocent and smart girls. 

I enjoyed Mary’s company greatly throughout the night, meanwhile our tower grew to the point where we were running out of options and had to stand to place the next block on top. 

Mary had a way that she took my mind off of bad things, and leveled me back to a place I could live in. We played until it looked as if it was to be my last turn. The stack appeared to be leaning too far to one side to sustain any kind of change. It didn’t look too good for me. Mary’s architectural schematics always went against me, making it nearly impossible to balance every block I placed down. I felt as if I was playing defense every time, trying to steady the tower instead of offsetting it. 

“Okay.” I cleared my throat. I struggled to pull off a block that was tightly wedged near the bottom. Mary’s shoulders drooped as I pulled it free. “Are you and Mary meant to be?” I read off my brown block. 

She looked at me in complete silence, waiting for my answer. I could tell she really wanted the response to this turn. “I still have to place it on top before I answer,” I told her pointing my finger at her. 

She gasped, “That’s not fair!” Her lips gave a hard line. She knew if I knocked it over, I wouldn’t have to answer, but it did mean she would win, and she would get a wish. 

“Ugh.” Mary shook her head, realizing she would have to wait. 

“Those are the rules, Mary.” I shrugged. “You act like I made the game up.” 

“You did! These are your questions and your rules!” She pointed back at me with her mouth wide open “You are a… horrible… little leprechaun!” She folded her arms like a child. 

“First off… language.” I held the block in my palm. “Leprechaun? Where does your mind go, woman?” 

Mary bit her bottom lip and hid her smile as I continued. “Second, I see myself more like a goblin then anything.” 

Mary giggled. 

“I tend to see myself looking better in a green,” I assured her. 

“That makes two of us.” Mary winked. 

I didn’t want to ever stop making her happy. She made the room come alive with her voice. I pushed away chair to position myself, squaring my feet perfectly to place my block down on top of the curved statue. My fingers became unsteady as I stared hard at my hands near the tower, but only because Mary was in my view. 

“Wait,” I said, pulling away. 

“What’s a matter?” Mary asked. 

I placed the block on the table and slowly removed my sweater. I put it over the back of my chair. 

“Oh yeah?” Mary teased, “You really need that extra range of motion?” 

I ignored her sarcasm and rolled up my sleeves. I could see Mary’s eyes staring at the lines my chest and shoulders made on the shirt fabric. She got lost in the veins of my forearms as I returned to my task. 

I took a long, steady breath and leaned in for the attempt. 

“DON’T MESS UP!” Mary screamed as my block was about to touch the unstable structure. 

“Really?!” I backed up and signaled with my hands for her to scooch away. 

“Just remember,” she interjected. “I get one wish if you make them fall!” 

“I know. I know.” 

I exhaled and leaned toward the game once more and reached for it with the block. 

“I just hope it’s nothing to do with leprechauns,” I said under my breath as the block came close. 

Mary broke her silence and giggled. “Would you hurry up and lose already so you can be my leprechaun-I mean give me my wish,” she replied with a twinkle in her eye and a smile. 

I positioned, widened my legs even more this time for stability. Mary walked up close and leaned in toward me. She was so close to the Jenga I could feel her breath coming past the blocks and touch my face. I knew I wanted to have her sleep in my arms so she can fall asleep close to me. I would breathe in her exhalations all night and feel satisfied inside. 

“Don’t. Breath!” I told her, even though that’s not what I wanted. 

“I’m not,” she said, straightening up and putting her hands on her hips. 

I gave her a look. That asked, ‘really?’ 

“Okay. Okay.” She used one hand to cover her mouth and leaned in. 

I lowered the block onto the tower. A slow breath left my mouth as the corner of the piece touched the other blocks. My eyes shifted to Mary, who was inches away from my face with her hand still over her mouth. I could tell she was holding her giggles inside her hand as her eyes watered up and her face became red from laughter. I had no idea why she was laughing. She was the type of girl to laugh at the most inopportune times. 

Dozens of blocks hit the table, some made it to the floor and tapped the glass. The crashing sound was very audible in the open living room. Mary let go of her mouth and finally laughed so loud she had to hold her stomach. I gave her a questionable look, realizing her sportsmanship was lacking. She looked back at me as her head tilted back with joy, her finger pointing at my loss. 

I closed my eyes and pressed my lips. When I opened them, Mary’s expression had changed. She saw the look I was giving her and playful fear too over her. I started running toward her. Mary jolted away and made it behind the couch in a flash. Her laughs helped slow her down as I followed quickly. Her laughter screeched when she realized I was close on her tail. Around the couch, then the piano, we ran as I pursued her zealously. One of her hands lifted her dress as she circled one more time around the piano and twice around the couch again in her heels. 

On opposite sides of the large couch, we swayed side to side. We were trying to read each other’s next move. When I jumped onto the sofa, to climb over, she speedily ran toward the dividing step in the living room, toward my bedroom. 

Mary gave a girlish squeal as her foot got caught on the step, and she fell to the floor. I was way too close to her to stop. The leather sole caused me to slide and land right on top of her with my arms and legs at her side. Mary lay on her back looking up at me. Our eyes met as she caught her breath. She felt so small and soft under me. She brushed a hair away from her mouth. Her giggling subsided when she felt the bulge of my crotch between her legs. She looked up at me with the same dreamy eyes as before and placed her hand against my cheek. 

“I get my wish now,” she said to me in such a sweet tone. 

“Yes. You do,” I whispered back. 

“Can I have that full kiss now?” she looked at my lips, then back up to my eyes. 

She resembled Morey so much. With the help of the light coming from the warm fire near us. The color around her pupils were now reflecting a honey hue with green stars in them. It seemed we both had the same wish while playing this entire time. 

Her lips looked so full, so soft, under me. Her perfectly swollen lips carried the perfect amount of moisture on them, showing me they were ready and wanting to be touched by my own. 

What do I do? She was Morey’s sister. Anything that happened before with Janus was different. I did those acts not knowing she was related to Morey. But now, I had no excuse. 

I thought about how Morey didn’t want anything to do with me. How she basically rejected any chance of us on the patio of that restaurant that was by the lake. But I also knew Morey and Mary were the same blood, and somehow that meant it was wrong for me to kiss her. I still didn’t understand any of the logic myself. Too much of my own blood was leaving my mind, rushing passed my heart and toward my crotch which I knew she felt growing. 

I leaned closer. It wasn’t gravity drawing me down to her. It was her persona, her very being. I could feel her breathing on me again, only this time right over my own lips. The sweet aroma entered my mouth and filled my lungs. Never had a breath felt so warm and alluring. Her chest puffed up with air under me with anticipation, making her breasts even larger. I could feel our fingers intertwining on both hands at our side. One of my hands held the last block I was holding. It was now held in place by our grasp. Looking into her eyes was as marvelous as looking into the night before a sunrise. The closer I got, the more the color changed. 

I sat up slowly, her eyes grew darker. “I’m sorry, Mary.” 

I didn’t want to look at her anymore as I stood. I knew her pain or embarrassment would be my final temptation to make me give in, take her in my arms, and kiss her. I wanted nothing more than to give her relief of any hurt I might have just given her, by having our lips and tongue become one. 

“No.” Mary got up. “I am sorry, Thomas,” she said, embarrassed. 

Mary looked so innocent and heartfelt standing there on the top step of the living room. She lifted the one strap of her dress over her shoulder. I turned to her and stood close. Our bodies an inch away. Our height now matched, lips at the same perfect level with the living room’s divide. 

“I shouldn’t have been so forward,” Mary’s eyes remained toward the floor. “I am not like this usually… I just really like you.” She brought her eyes back up to meet me, her chin still lowered. They had glazed over with the purest and holiest of water, only found in the most faultless of hearts. 

I felt as if she was a gentle dove meeting a snake. There, with my head turning away, in my own thoughts, I knew the internal battle inside me was not as apparent as it should be. But inside, my mind was wrestling my heart to the death. My heart screamed Morey. My mind patiently told me it wasn’t wrong to move forward with Mary, that Morey is getting married, that she had rejected me, that it was okay

“I should go,” Mary broke the silence. She walked out slowly from my apartment, hoping I would protest. She closed the door behind her quietly. 

“Wait.” My lips moved but my voice gave out as the door shut. 

She was gone. I had scared her away. I didn’t even get a chance to see her feathers on her hair pen flutter their way out of my apartment. I looked in my hand and saw the last block, there, still within my fingers. 

I walked to my room and took out my box from my secret drawer by my bed. I brought it over to my desk and sat down. I felt comforted by it, like I had months before, when I held it in my hands. It was like an oven for me. I could bring it near, to warm my heart from things happening all around. I didn’t even remember what the box contained inside anymore. All I knew was how it made me feel when I had it close. I rattled it, careful not to break anything inside. Is there even anything fragile inside? 

I heard things moving within as they hit the sides of the box. Brushing my fingers on the key hole, I wondered what had happened to the key.

I fell asleep that night in my bed, on my side, holding it in my arms. 


A very special thank you to 24Chas for your support and pre-edits before I post. You are the best!!!
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