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The Memory of You

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It had been exactly eight years, three months and four days since Solene had last seen him. Hayes Campbell. The love of her life. The boy whose heart she had broken even as it ripped her own in a million tiny pieces.

The years in between had been a mixture of emotions; initially, grief so crippling Solene had fought for breath every morning as she woke up sobbing, her chest wracking with each heaving cry that tore through her. Then an acceptance of sorts, as life goes on, day by day, the mundane parts of reality never ending. Pride, as Isabelle passed exams with flying colours, eventually being accepted into Harvard to study law. Success at work, as the gallery continued to thrive under her and Lulit’s watchful feminine gaze. But running underneath each of these emotions was a thread of sadness, never leaving her. A memory of him that stayed with her and could not be matched.

A few dates with men “appropriate for her age” felt dull, uncoloured, when compared to the technicolour memory of her time with Hayes. Nothing could ever compare to it and so Solene simply gave up trying to make anything. She was happy enough, content she supposed, with her incredible daughter, her beautiful house, her successful career. She resigned herself to the fact that the great love affair was simply not going to be written into the story of her life.

Until she walked into an exhibition opening night at a local gallery run by an up and coming friend who had been taken under the wing of her and Lulit a year ago.

The exhibition was photographic, huge blown-up images in black and white of close ups of tattoos. The rumour was that many of the subjects were celebrities but given that such focus was given to small areas of the body, it was supposed to be impossible to identify who they were. Solene was wandering around, admiring the ink, with a chilled glass of champagne in her hand, when she abruptly came to a stop in front of a photo. A close-up of a man’s naked crotch, sat on a wooden chair, legs casually splayed apart, one huge hand cupping himself. And there, high up on the inside of his left thigh, intricate calligraphy inked onto his skin, snaking around and up under his hand. Curlicues twisting around each other, threading and sweeping in and out of two initials entwined at the centre: S and H. Solene and Hayes.

Solene shook herself slightly as if to wake herself up from a crazy dream. She had had enough of those over the last eight years; Christ, so many of them had seemed so real, she would wake up breathless, her hands grasping the sheets, groping around for his presence in her bed, even as her conscious mind was telling her she would not find it there. Not since she had sent him away. But there was no way to deny that this was him. Even if she hadn’t have known every inch of his skin intimately, having kissed, licked and sucked her way over it for hours, there was no mistaking that hand. Long, strong fingers spread apart, over his cock and balls, rings pushed onto his fingers. She remembered the feel of those fingers on her own skin, felt the pressure as they grabbed her, the metal of the rings cool against her burning flesh. And then his wrist, thick and strong with veins corded down and over his hand.

Solene heard her breath hitch in her throat as she took in a sharp lungful of air.  She was about to step away, make her excuses and drive home, try to calm the thoughts that were swirling violently in her mind like a hurricane, attempt to make some sense of what was before her. And then she felt him, his presence behind her hot, changing the air about her. He wasn’t touching her, not quite. Solene stopped breathing, staying completely still. When she breathed in again through her nose, she could smell him: citrus and the sea, clean, with a light woody scent like the forest. She closed her eyes, this couldn’t be real. And then she felt fingertips clasping hers, turning her around, soft lips brushing her cheek.

“Hi Solene.”

She opened her eyes and he was there, inches away from her face. She had forgotten how tall he was and so broad that he blocked everything else out. He was all she could see and he was there, right in front of her.

Solene went to speak, her lips parting as she looked up into Hayes’ eyes, as deep and blue as they had ever been, boring into her soul as they stared down at her.

“I can’t do this” she blurted out, pulling her fingertips out of his grasp, pushing past him as she stumbled blindly, down a corridor at the back of the gallery, grabbing a door handle and silently thanking God that it opened as she crashed inside. It was an office come storage room, a desk and chair in front of her and shelving with packaging material stored in neat sections against the far wall. With no windows and just a low desk lamp on, it was blessedly dark and Solene sank onto the chair, her head dropping into her hands as her palms pressed into her eye sockets, trying to stop herself from fainting.

She heard the door softly click open and then close again. She remained where she was, breathing through her nose, Hayes’ scent filling her senses again, confusing her mind as too many feelings rushed over her.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, hands still firmly planted across her face.

She could hear the smile playing across his lips as he replied, “I believe it’s customary for the subjects of the art to be invited to the opening exhibition night.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Come on Sol, you and I both know that photo you were stood in front of was of me.” Solene’s heart flipped as she heard him call her “Sol”, the nickname he had called her all those years ago. For a second, Solene wryly wondered why no one else had ever abbreviated her name to that. But they hadn’t, only he had. 

“What did you do?” she replied, finally taking her hands away from her face and looking up at him, her eyes dark with worry, eyebrows crooked up in the middle.

Hayes’ mouth quirked up into a smile at one side of his mouth – God that beautiful, wide mouth – as he said, “Hey, what is it you’re so worried about? It’s just another tat, right?”

“Don’t do that, don’t minimise it. You have permanent ink on your body, on the most intimate part of your body, of me, of us. Christ Hayes, when did you get it?”

Hayes shrugged, trying to look casual. “A few months after we, after you… well, you know. Or maybe I didn’t, maybe it was just painted on for the shoot.” He smirked, eyes looking down nervously.

Solene frowned. “Is that true? Is it not real?” she asked, her hand instinctively going up as if to touch the place where it would be. She snatched her hand back at the last, clasping it in her lap with her other hand, as if to stop an involuntary reaction.

“Why don’t you see for yourself?” Hayes took a tiny step towards her, causing her to sit back against the hard chair back. Solene could hardly believe what she was doing, even as she saw her hands reaching forward, slipping the studded leather belt through its loop, undoing the button on the black jeans he was wearing, slung low on his waist. As she pulled the zip down, she looked up at him, her tongue coming out to flick over her lower lip. She could see Hayes was trying to control his breathing, keeping his hands still by his sides as he looked down at her. She pulled his jeans down, enough that she could see his black boxers, trying to ignore the huge lump beneath, hardening before her eyes. Slipping her fingers underneath the left leg of his boxers, she shifted them up, hearing her intake of breath as she saw it, the ink that perfectly matched that which she had seen in black and white in the photo. A soft moan escaped her throat as her thumb rubbed over it. He had more hair on the tops of his thighs now that he was older but his skin was still impossibly warm and soft. She closed her eyes for a second and felt Hayes’ huge hand cup her cheek, his thumb lightly stroking her cheekbone.

“Why did you do it?” she breathed out.

“To keep you with me, every day. Solene, open your eyes, look at me.”

She felt his hand under her chin, tipping her head up. She felt powerless to resist, her eyes opening to meet his as he bent down to her, arms swooping around her back, smoothly lifting her to her feet, pressed against his chest as his mouth plunged down to capture hers.    

As their lips connected, Solene felt the years slipping away – eight years of wanting him, missing him, were gone in a second as she was consumed by his mouth. His tongue probing between her lips, exploring her mouth. He tasted the same – of mint and the whiskey that he had been drinking and, well, of Hayes. Solene daren’t open her eyes for fear that this was just another of her dreams but his hands, his huge strong hands, were gripping her so tightly she knew it was real. She could feel her legs practically giving way as he deepened the kiss, could hear herself groaning as her pelvis began rubbing against him. Hayes’ cock was hard between them, pressed against her stomach. She wanted more, she needed more.

As he always had, Hayes sensed her need even as Solene was barely aware of it herself. Still kissing her, he turned them around so that he could sink back onto the chair, pulling her down with him so that she straddled his lap. Solene began shamelessly grinding herself into his lap, onto his huge erection. Now it was Hayes who was groaning.

“Fuck, Solene, you can’t do that to me, not unless…”

“Not unless what?”, Solene managed to speak into his mouth, not willing to part with his lips for even a second.

“Well….” Hayes said, letting it hang there for a second. The memory of everything that had passed between them hanging there in the air, all the times he had fucked her hard like a rockstar, the times he had made love to her, slowly, languidly. Every different way he had filled her so completely. Solene could remember them all and she wanted it again.

“Oh, fuck it” she said, rising up from his lap on her heels to yank his boxers down, allowing his cock to spring free. She grabbed it with her hand, the size and smoothness of it making her moan with delight. How she had missed this.

Not even bothering to pull her lacey underwear down, Hayes yanked it to the side as he plunged two thick fingers into her already wet core, his thumb finding her clit instantly. Solene was grinding up and down on his hand, her own hand stroking up and down his erection, but she wanted more. She needed him to fill her.

Grabbing Hayes’ hand and pushing it away, Solene heard Hayes whimper slightly. She smiled inwardly in satisfaction then lined his cock up and sank down onto it until she was sitting flush on his lap.

“Oh God” she moaned, remembering how he fit inside of her perfectly, like a puzzle piece.

“Fuck Solene, I’ve missed you, I’ve missed you so much”, Hayes moaned into her ear, his hand grasping the back of her neck as his mouth kissed and sucked its way up the side of her throat.

Solene was now bouncing up and down on his lap with wild abandon, Hayes’ cock thrusting in and out of her, over and over again. God she had forgotten how delicious it felt, to be stretched and filled by his perfect cock. Her breath was coming louder now when Hayes slipped a hand between the two of them, his thumb finding the perfect spot on her clit, quickly massaging infinity eights.

Solene’s head dropped back as she yelled, “Fuck yes, oh God, Hayes”, her eyes clenched shut as she came, bright white spots bursting behind her eyelids. As she clamped around him still trapped hard inside her, her legs giving way to the orgasm, Hayes grabbed her hips and thrust his pelvis hard up a few more stuttered times until he too came, shooting into her as he cried her name.

They both stilled, breathing hard, foreheads sweaty as they draped over each other. Solene couldn’t open her eyes, couldn’t bear to believe what she had just done. She felt Hayes press a soft kiss to her shoulder, his hands rubbing gently over her back.

“Please don’t freak out on me, Sol”, he said, a smile contained within his voice.

Solene smiled herself, a small huff escaping her nose. “I’ll try not to,” she said, “but what the hell have we just done?”

“At least I’m not twenty anymore!” Hayes quipped.

“No, you’re not, but I’m also now nearly fifty. Women who are nearly fifty are not meant to be fucking with wild abandon in storage closets at art exhibitions.”    

She sighed as she stood up, Hayes’ softening cock sliding out of her as she adjusted her underwear and took a step back, smoothing her dress down. She could hardly bear to look up at him, to see his emotions playing across his face, whatever they might be. Was this just a one time thing to him? A quick fuck in the closet with his ex? Did he want more again? She wasn’t even sure which she would have preferred at this point. Her mind was scrambled, she could barely think at all, let alone think reasonably, sensibly, about what had just happened.

“Hayes, I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” She turned to go, she needed time alone. Without him there to muddle her thoughts, her desire playing tricks with her mind.

“Sol,” he breathed, his hand reaching out, fingertips brushing hers.

“Please, Hayes, I….,”, she looked up at him before she stepped out of the room. He looked older, of course, his eyes betraying the years that had passed between them, all that had happened during that time. And yet the boy she had loved was still there too, big eyes staring into her soul, long eyelashes and plush lips, still reddened from where they had been kissing her.  

He looked down into his lap, his fingers briefly playing with his rings, still stuffed onto his fingers in varying patterns.

“I just need time to think, but, are you still on the same number?”, she said.

Hayes looked up then, unable to hide the huge grin breaking across his beautiful face.

“Yes, you got it. Please, Sol, I don’t want it to be another eight years.”

“I know, I just, I have to go now. But, I’ll message you, ok?” 

“OK”, he smiled at her as she looked back, trying to tear her eyes away from him. With one last breath, she turned and walked down the corridor, her heels clicking loudly on the marble tiled floor as she walked away from him.