Sunday, November 24, 2013


I named it.
I name it Joey.
I named it like you'd name a stray dog that just showed up at your door,
All mangy and half covered in dirt.
It needed to be called something.

Joey was this kid I grew up with.
Wore one of those beat up baseball caps that was so
faded from the sun and his own sweat that he forgot
what team he rooted for.

This kid--
he would wait for me on the bus,
and every day he'd talk my ear off about the hardships
Of life,
then empty my pockets and lunch into his backpack and
Call it a day.

It got to the point where I'd stopped caring.
I'd just hand it over.

He Grew on me over time.
It was ritual.
And even though I hated the kid,
I had to accept that he was Around.

That's Joey, alright.

Except now, it costs me
than just my lunch money
to take care of him.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Sometimes, all I want to do is write. But then I sit down, and I realize that we're all the same. Every last one of us. We wake up, and we fill our coffee mugs, and look outside before we decide what to wear. Khakis today.
Bathroom, shower, brush teeth, come hair, remind yourself: Don't forget to put on deodorant.
Oatmeal packet? Check. Work badge? Check? Phone? Keys? Wallet? Check. Check. Check.
Then you're out the door, into the wild world of concrete forrest. Magma highways leading to places we travel every day, but crave nothing more than to get away from. The metal cages we buckle ourselves into for our daily commutes, and then...
The cubicles.
Your three-walled-home for fifty hours a week. That comfy ergonomic chair that has flattened your ass so much that every time you see those J-Lo jeans in the department store, you're instantly disappointed. The dual monitors; your eyes into the world. A world full of Excel and Outlook reminders, and needy, complaining, numb-skulls every bit as drained and numb as yourself.
These are the roles we assign ourselves. The Normal Life.
You grow up, you get a job, you buy a house, get married, have kids, and pay for it all-- until one day, you die.
Those are the rules.
And if you don't-- well then, you're an outcast. And you'll never amount to anything. (Whatever that means.)
The thing is: we're all fucked. That's what it comes down to. We're all brainwashed into thinking that if we don't follow the plan, we're a failure. And that something bad will happen to us, or we wont be happy. But we're not happy because we're all so bored following this plan that we might as well try something different for a change.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Cassidy walked through the red velvet curtains that covered the doorway, the train of her dress brushing the floor behind her. She blended into the scenery, almost camoflauged; the dress, a silk crimson that hugged her body and cascaded from her hips to the floor. She looked around, adjusting her mask. He was here somewhere, waiting for her.

In the background, she could hear music, down-tempo electro and laughter from voices she knew but could not see. As Cassidy made her way through the crowd, she noticed a narrow, dim-lit hallway ahead. On the walls we're small candle-fixtures sending flickers of light, just barely bright enough to see. Cassidy remembered the note he left. "Follow the flicker." Cassidy walked slowly, running her finger tips against the walls. It was quiet, and the sounds of the music and laughter faded as she continued to walk.

"Come here often?" a voice in the dark said.

Cassidy backed into the wall feeling the body come closer. She knew the voice was familiar, but all she could make out was the black mask that outlined a face and the eyes that penetrated deep into her.

"Jake." she gasped

Jake slid his hands down Cassidy's arms and pulled her wrists up above her head, holding them against the wall.
"I'd like to peel that dress right off of you," Jake said, his lips grazing Cassidy's earlobes and tracing down her cheek to her mouth.

Cassidy felt his lips, soft, slightly open, just barely touching hers. She opened her mouth, moving forward, craving his body against hers. His lips on her lips.

Jake pulled back just enough to still feel her. He wanted to make her want it. Wanted to drive her crazy. He looked into her eyes--almost black in the light. Begging for him.

Cassidy was breathing heavy as Jake shifted, holding both of Cassidy's wrists with one hand and slidng the other slowly down her body, over her bare neck, feeling the silken dress over her breasts and down her stomach to her thigh. Jake navigated his hand to the slit that ran up her thigh and pulled the material aside. Cassidy felt Jakes hand slide up her and then against her lace panties. She tilted her head against the wall and moaned and Jake moved his lips against her neck, slowly kissing and biting her as he moved lower.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Skin and Bones

"You were so skinny in that picture," Dylan said, staring at his monitor. "Probably the skinniest ever."

April looked over his shoulder at the shot of her in a white summer dress, between two trees. They framed her body in the picture that his cousin had taken five years ago that coming May. He was doing a project for school and needed a model. The photograph was black and white, and April recognized that girl-- a former her, that was younger and more free. A girl who worried about who was going to be the next to get kicked off "America's Next Top Model" or which flavor of Ramen Noodles would be for dinner.

"Yeah. I guess. I was thinner in high school," April responded, her hands on her waist.

"High school doesn't count. This was when I was away. You were going to the gym every day." Dylan looked at April, then back at the screen.

"I'm going to the gym more now than I was back then," she countered.

"Well, when you're older, it's harder." Dylan closed out the screen and stirred his tea.

Dylan was a runner-- a natural athlete. He had been brought up on baseball, football, and basketball. He competed in track and ran cross-country in high-school. It all came naturally to him. The competition, the sweat, the awards.

"You should get back into running." Dylan suggested.

April looked at him, sitting down on the sofa across the room. "I have been running, Dylan. I've been running every day. Not that you're home to notice."

"I thought you went out the other night," Dylan sneered.

"Yeah, after I ran." April pulled her hair back into a ponytail.

April tried to ignore the hints. They were subtle, but consistent. She walked to the bathroom and shut the door, staring at herself in the mirror. It was true-- she had put on weight. Nearly thirty pounds since they began dating almost six years ago. She was no longer a nineteen year old size 4 and was reminded of that every time he denied her.

She remembered the night two weeks ago-- a Thursday night. Dylan had class every other night, straight after work, but on Thursdays he worked til five and came home to relax. That day, April had left work early to cook Dylan lasagna. She wanted to give him a chance to relax and forget about work and school and the chaos. A night he could focus on being with her right then. April did the dishes, straightened the house and lit a candle that smelt like apples. When Dylan came home he had smiled.

"Aw, sweetie. Thank you"

April had served him a plate, poured a beer, and sat across from him. "How was your day?" April smiled, watching Dylan take a bite of the saucy goodness.

"Oh, you know. Long as Hell. How about you?"

April sipped her water. "Good. Not bad. Just busy."

April had changed from her tan pants and polo into a flowery skirt and blouse with tan heals. She did her eyes the way she saw on TV and pinned back her hair. But Dylan looked back at his food.

"This is really good," Dylan chewed.

"Thanks," she smiled.

"So, the Met's are on tonight. Wanna watch 'em?" his eyebrows rose. "It's going to be a big game."

"Yeah, sure," April said as she stood up, collecting the plates and bringing them to the sink. "You go get started."

"Thanks dude," Dylan said in a cartoon-like voice and headed towards the living room.

April washed the dishes and prepared their lunches, as usual, then headed to the couch. She sat close to Dylan, fixing her skirt and crossing her legs.

"You're really gonna love this game. They got a new pitcher, and he's really got a great knuckleball. You know how they through a knuckleball?" Dylan made a fist and then adjusted his fingers to resemble the pitcher's. "He holds the ball like this... and then," he chucked an invisible ball, "he throws it like that. Pretty tough ball to hit."

April watched the screen and agreed. It looked pretty impressive. But she didn't really care about any of that. She shifted her body and crawled on top of Dylan, straddling him and putting her forehead to his.

"Kiss me," she smiled looking into his eyes, a deep chocolate brown.

Dylan gave her a peck on the lips and peered around her.

"Come on, that's all you got?" April said playfully, kissing him on the neck.

"Hey," Dylan said, pulling away. "Come on, you know I don't like that."

"Baby," April said, running her fingers behind his neck and up through his hair. "Just relax. I want to kiss you," she smiled.

"April, look. I told you. I don't want to do this. I'm not in the mood. I'm tired, and stressed, and anxious. I have two stories to read tonight, and I just want to watch this game. Is that too much to ask?"

April crawled off and sat next to him, defeated again. Forty six days. Not that she was counting.

"I'm tired. I'm going to go to bed."

"Goodnight, sweetie" Dylan said, as April walked to the room. She slid off the skirt and took out the bobby pins that held together every strand of self-dignity she had. She had become a beggar. April slipped on the tank top and sweatpants and crawled into bed, hitting the button to the radio. She had laid there wondering again what she could do differently. What she could possibly do to get him back. Maybe she had to just let it go. For good.

olive oil

Molly moved Jake into the room and pushed him onto the mattress. She looked like a pixie, her short hair a mess, and soft face full of mischief. The bed sunk as Jake fell back, and Molly climbed on top. She took a scarf from the headboard and wrapped it around Jake's head, covering his eyes.

The cool, silky material sent a shiver down Jake as he felt Molly climb off the bed.

"You stay right there," Molly commanded, running her hand down Jake's leg as she walked away.

Jake wondered where she might be going. It was a long night at the bar, and Molly didn't have her car with her, so he offered to drive her home. When she invited him in, he didnt expect to be pushed up against the back door. She had stood on her toes, against his body, and let her lips linger just lightly against his. He could feel each of them breathing heavier and harder as the tension built-- each second, moving just a tiny bit closer. Her lips lightly closing in on his bottom lip. His tongue lightly caressing her top lip, until Jake grabbed her and pulled her into him. Kissing full mouthed, wildly, letting go of tension that had built for months.

Molly pulled Jake forward as she kissed, leading him through the living room, down the hall, against the bathroom door, and then into the bedroom, where she had left him there, on the bed.

Molly went to the kitchen, bringing back with her a small bottle of olive oil. she poured a small amount into her hands and lightly rubbed them together. Slowly, she crept onto the bed and moved her hand over Jake's. Taking his hand in hers, she began to massage the oil into his palm, and through his fingers, slowly massaging them one by one. She pushed her thumb into his palm, feeling Jake instantly relax.

Molly did the same with his left hand, smoothing the oil over his palms, through his fingers. Slowly caressing each finger and moving her hands up his arms.

Stradding Jake, Molly slowly lifted her summer dress over her head. Jake could feel the shift in her body and hear the movement of cloth. Jake moved his hands up her thighs, not feeling the silk dress that was there seconds before. Looking down, Molly held his hand, moving his fingers across the lace the ran across her hips. Jake could feel the softness of her skin above the lace and bent his finger tips to slide them inside.

Molly could feel him now, growing hard beneath her. His breaths becoming more shallow. His hands becoming less patient. He slid his hand below her hips and between her thighs, feeling her warmth--letting his thumb wander lower, rubbing deeper.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Cassidy sat at her desk biting the end of the ball-point pen. Her eyes dove into the double monitors, setting work aside, and wetting her lips with her too eager tongue. She slid her privacy filters on, even though she had the office to herself.

Jake had messaged her the daily report, and then a second email came through.

I'd love to feel that silk shirt up against me.

Cassidy smoothed her hands down her blouse, examining it closely, checking for wrinkles. It was a lavendar, button- down with two small pockets in the front. It was professional and tucked neatly into her black skirt that fell just above the knee.

What stood out to Jake the most though, was how clearly he could see the outline of her lace bra that seemed to be patiently waiting for him under that blouse. He wondered how deftly he could undo the small pearlesant buttons and expose her-- just the first three, he thought, as his eyes grew bigger, thinking deeper. He wanted to push her up against the wall and feel that shirt against him. Wanted her to move down his body and set him free.

Cassidy knew Jake loved the color purple. That it did something to him. She remembered the conversation at Happy Hour weeks ago. Sipping on his dry martini, Jake had leaned over and whispered in her ear. "You have no idea what that color does to me." She had on a deep indigo dress-- velvet, with a short black jacket. Her stilleto heels matching as she crossed her legs and looked down at her cosmo in disbelief.

She remembered how, at that moment, Bill from Accounts Payable had stepped over and spouted, "How are those reports comin along Cass?" He never did understand the point of Happy Hour.

Jake had interjected, turning towards Bill. "Cassidy is doing a fine job at the reporting, Bill. We are still waiting for that purchase order to be rectified, however. But how about you have a beer and let go for a bit? We can worry about that on Monday." Jake looked sternly at Bill, turned to the bartender, ordered a Heiniken, and handed it to Bill.

"Thanks, Mr. Emery." Bill half-smiled as he trodded away.


Missing those words you left

whispered on my lips

the unfailing mystery of how hard you'd grasp my hips.

I move my hands down, embracing the showery fog

The water dripping, slowing, settling down my skin

taking the path I know your lips would take

from my open mouth, to neck and breast

encircling, exciting, the water's pressure biting

down to my navel, sliding closer

warm and eager, pooling softly over me

the shower's ecstacy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finding myself

Finding myself in stone walled silence

There was beauty in your breath,

or maybe it was the stunning stillness

or your voice.

elongated notes, penetrating ears

like the buzzing of bees through a field

or the way you toss your hair while talking.

I remember now, why I left you there

So concerned with "me's" and "I's"

That you forgot about my...


Thursday, March 28, 2013


It's hard to admit you're broken

When you never quite knew if you were complete.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

swallowed the sun

Long Island Sound swallowed the sun eyes first

The sky turning an eerie blue

holding it's breath,

counting it's fingers

one by one.


The water was green from years of tin-cans,

Bathing in the sun-drenched water,

using the reflection to tan

as the waves weathered their wrinkles away.


I was thirteen when I saw the sun give up.

I found that broken coke bottle

smooth, translucent, a sage green.


It threw itself back into the ocean.

I didn't throw it.


It wanted to be back with the wedding rings,

and sun glasses,

and mermaid barbie-dolls


I didn't throw it.


It wanted to be back under The Sound,

Where only the eyes of the Sun could see.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weight of the Moon

She ran down to the stream,

her hands covered in rose petals

her veins exploding against her too-thin-skin

luminescent under the reflection of the

pooling coolness.

The moon was talking now--

it's poetry stuck to her bones,

made her heavy and full

thrusted into her like newborn titalwaves

only easing to feel her body weaken

at the thought.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pregnant Sun

The Sun was pregnant with yesterday's uncertainties

A Bastard child, unfit for today and every tomorrow.


I was eager like her--

Glowing, Full, and ready to burst

A sprouted seed in fertile soil

A new beginning, I was her child.


Each day the longest yet,

I stirred myself deeper, spreading closer still

A bulb, unlit yet bright as Hell.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I buried myself in her belly

bulbous and verbose with purr

the smell of pure soft white

overwhelmed by warmth


she spoke to me in silence

pure body language lounging

i felt her there, breathing in rhythm

mmm hssh mmm hssh mmm hssh mmm hssh

soft and punctual



and oh-so-alive.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

too tired

Too tired to tell

if the lines that frame my too-thin-lips

spelled onomatopoeias in framework

like comic-blurbs I felt myself

miming in bold


Each paragraph unparralled

a speech spoken far too spiratically

in words that only fingers yelling

"Come Hither" can say.


I'm too tired to spell it out for you

in fifth-grade-solo-standing-style

too young to perform in solilique

contimplating in consonants

too eager to let you walk away.


Monday, February 18, 2013


Your hands smooth signals

Follow my highway

Hip to thighway.

Slow-sipping at my skin

Each pore perking up

Stretching, screaming: Touch me.

A fond memory of a dream.


Steam building, uncertain

a foggy memory

dancing between shower curtains

fully clothed in purple lace.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

hot disaster

I'm hot and headed for you

A sweet disaster wrapped

invisible bubble wrap.

Ready for stardom

A fleeting image of you

A burning polaroid

destroyed in ashes of evidence.

breathing through plexiglass images

inhaling stale pixals

pressing skin to palm

perplexed in pieces on the ground

picking up the dial



and exhaled.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Baby snuck into the kitchen cupboard. It was empty, a light oak, and just big enough for her to fit inside without any cans of corn, or cylinders of breadcrumbs, or even a knock-off pound of linguine. The store had cleared out, except for a few of the employees, lingering, picking up tiny pencils dropped by careless customers who neglected to fill out their notepads with manufacture part, aisle, and row numbers. None of them spoke Swedish like Baby once thought. In fact, most of them were adolescents who went to the same schools as her, drank the same fountain water, and swore the same swears. Only they wore yellow shirts, and Baby hated the color yellow.

Baby cracked open the cabinet door and peeked out just in time to watch the curly-haired teen hobble down the stairs. The lights dimmed, and she heard the door click locked as it echoed through the warehouse bouncing off each mirror and aluminum chair. Baby smiled. She knew Jake could be anywhere. There could be twenty kitchens, twelve bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms, three living rooms she'd have to explore; not to mention the cabinets, desks and pantries-- and the children's area. It could take her days.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feel Unreal

Where did you go

When I held your kiss

but let the rest of you fall


strait to the ground


Each sensation unreal

the feelings untrue

or maybe the most real

that you'll ever feel.

Monday, January 28, 2013

tongue tied

I think of you

tongue tied to lips

a sanctuary of restlessness


your hands, on fire

a body too weak

unknowing desire

my interest peaked.


eyes ablazed

your pull and push

a lustful haze

desires trust.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


Smoke and mirrors.

Your lust penetrates and refracts

bounces off my too warm tongue

and foggy breath.


Eager fingers, streaking lines

smudged alternate ego

I felt your mind let go

and my body grow vein


It's an illusion

If you let it be

As real as you want.

Monday, January 21, 2013

boxed in

The sunrises end at the ceiling.

Is the sky the limit

When we're on the sixth floor?

Perpetual symmetry

The bleeding sun into the gauzy sky

and each window separates

The depth between pixals and prison.

Long Island Sounds like flat soda

Across painted tin-foil

too distant to run my fingers across

but close enough to see the light

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Cassidy unpacked her grey-scale 1980's Subaru, throwing the dufflebags, and loose pots and pans onto the gravel driveway. Aaron had said he'd be here by now, but it was just the same as any other day.

She grasped at the largest bag, a faded blue duffle that was ripping at the seams, and looked up toward the cabin. It seemed older now-- brittle and flakey, like the skin of an elderly nun who cared much more about her presence than her appearance. The thick pine showed it's knotted and bruised shoulders, elbows, and knees. Cassidy remembered how it had knelt there since before she could read books. Those were times where she read leaves instead, and counted the years of a murdered tree, and sat on what was left.

The bag was more awkward than heavy, and Cassidy steadied her body and threw it across her shoulder, leaning down to pick up her purse. God knew, she was not letting some money-hungry bear steal the last of her cash. She waddled up the whethered stairs and propped the screen door open, leaning against it as she fiddled with her keychain.

It was cleaner than Cassidy had expected. There was a slight musty smell, and a few tumbleweeds of dust floated underneath the table as she let the door swing closed. Cassidy knew her father had been renting the cabin out here and there for some extra money. At least that was what he had said. Cassidy knew it wasnt about the money-- he just didnt want the place to go to waste. To be forgotten.

After unpacking the car completely, Cassidy plopped herself at the kitchen table. She looked at her phone and at the service bars dropping like flies. Then a light, a buzz, and Aarons face on the screen. Cassidy squinted her eyes, scrunched her eyebrows, and picked up the phone.

"Oh, well, look who it is!" She exclaimed, ready for war.

"Listen, Cass, I'm sorry. I know..." Aaron had already dropped his shield.

"You know? You know that I had to carry every damn bag inside, and the pots and pans that I told you would be better off in a large tuperware? But, no, you told me they would be more compact if they were loose!" Cassidy had her sword to his throat.

"I'm just going to tell you. Please don't be mad. But..." Aaron's hands were in the air, holding a white flag. "I have to work over night."

Cassidy was silent on the other end, gripping her fists, clenching her teeth, and, sucking in her lips.

"Sweetie, I know, I know. I told you I would be there, and I already told Ben and Sarah and Rose and they are cool to leave in the morning with me. They would meet you up there, but you know their car sitch and it would just be better if we all went together in the morning." Aaron could sense the silence and needed to come out of this battle with more than a white flag.

"...Sweetie... I know you're mad, but I told you I wouldnt leave you there alone, and..." His voice crackled and crumbled and dissapeared.

Cassidy slammed the phone into the table, and stood up, arms stiff against the table. Her hair fell strait around her face as she breathed deep, whispering to herself that she shouldnt have expected any different.

A car door slammed. Cassidy looked around for a weapon. She creeped over to the fireplace across the room and grabbed a long, iron, fire-poker. She snuck around the corner and then slid her body against the wall, trying to get closer to the window. There were clunking noises, and Cassidy peered out to see the shadow of what looked like a tall man.

She had told her father that she and her friends had booked the cabin for the week and didn't think it could be some mistaken customer. She prepared herself for a break in. It was one of the nicer cabins in the area, after all. Cassidy thought about the TV and the sound system, and even considered it being a homeless woods-person looking for food. Maybe it was Big Foot.

The figure creeped closer and finally poked through the screen door, easing his way inside.


"Get the fuck out!" Cassidy screamed as she preppared to swing.

"Whoa! Whoa!" he shouted, his palms out flat

" god. Jake! I thought..." she stumbled. "I'm sorry, I thought..." she gasped and then laughed.

"Wow. Okay, it's okay. Aaron didn't tell you I was coming?"

"No, I. I mean, we broke uh... I mean, the cell reception is really bad up here, and the phone call broke off."

Jake's eye brow's lifted. "Yeah, I guess the rest of the crew isn't going to make it," he paused. "Bummer."

"Yeah, I mean, whatever. I can't say I didn't expect it. His work always comes first. I can't remember the last time we..." Cassidy put her foot in her mouth. "I mean, he's just never around, you know?"

"Hey, Rose isn't here either." Jake shrugged

"Yeah, I noticed. I guess she's going up with Aaron, Ben, and Sarah tomorrow. She didnt want to stay the night with you?"

"You know how she is. Has to be with Sarah every moment. She's not a big fan of cabin's anyway, so an excuse for an extra night in the temperpedic mattress was all she needed." Jake chuckled and scrunched his mouth slightly.

"Well... thanks. At least I don't have to be up here alone." Cassidy smiled.

Cassidy walked back to the fireplace to put down the poker. The mantal was eye level with her five-foot-two frame and it looked like a brick temple, honoring the charred wood inside. The bricks were faded and the edges had been dulled from years of hard winters. On the mantal was an ebony statue of a woman laying down, belly up, and arching upward. It was made of some smooth stone and had very little detail. She had always liked the simplicity and beauty of the statue, though she thought it never quite fit.

"We're going to have to get some firewood from out back," Cassidy shouted back to Jake.

Jake was in the kitchen filling the fridge with beer. Cassidy leaned back to stare, just for a moment, focusing in on his large hands as they moved each bottle. He was dexterous, even fluid in his movements and his frame was strong and tall. Jake closed the refridgerator feeling Cassidy's stare.

"What's up?" Jake asked. "I didnt hear what you said back there."

"Oh, I was just saying we should bring some firewood in and get a fire started. It's going to get pretty cold tonight." Cassidy tilted her head. "Wine too?"

Jake had just moved a bottle of Cabernet Savignon to the counter. There was a picture of a cabin with a tall pine tree and crescent moon on it, and in large cursive, it read "Woodsy" with a smaller description underneath: "An earthy blend of smokey cedar and dried fig"

"I thought I remembered you liking Cabernet." he smirked.

"I guess it wont be such a bad night after all." Cassidy walked toward the door, grabbing her jacket. "Well? How about that firewood?"

Jake followed Cassidy outside and around the back of the cabin. The trees littered the ground, shedding their skins like amber snakes. Jake noticed how, despite this, the pines stood erect and full, as if they were the Gods of the land-- the others bowing down to them, afraid of their pine-needle-wrath and tall, swaying bodies. He painted the picture in his mind and stored it there--folded it up like a piece of loose-leaf paper, saving it for a time he would need it.

Jake grew up surrounded by busy street walkers with traffic-light-heads and concrete hearts. You could almost see metal gleaming in his eyes from when they built the bridges. He was all wheels.

He had grown up in the same neighborhood as Aaron, and could remember trick-or-treating as kids, dressed up like Ninja Turtles-- that feeling that their bags were never full enough-- the nights that lasted forever and ended at ten p.m.

Cassidy pulled the tarp to the side, revealing the chunks of broken trees. The wood was faded, much like the cabin's exterior--weathered and worn. Old enough to tell stories. She pulled a log off the top and threw it to Jake. His eyes widened as he caught it and then smiled.

"Here, take a few." Cassidy said, throwing another. "We're going to need to get that fire going if you wanna keep warm tonight. There might be electricity, but the heater shit the bed years ago."

Cassidy piled three large pieces of wood on her arms and against her chest. Her white tank top was smudged with dirt, and the weight of the logs had pulled it lower, accentuating the fullness of her breasts. Jake watched her as she picked up one smaller branch off the ground and placed it on top, balancing herself just enough to make it work. Cassidy smiled, then squinted her eyes.

"Ah!" Jake screamed, throwing his wood on the ground and brushing himself off.

"What? What? What happened?" Cassidy asked.

"Oh...nothing. I, uh. I thought I felt something move."

Cassidy laughed, walking towards the front. "Come on!" she called back.

Cassidy placed her pile in the box next to the fireplace and Jake followed, taking her lead.

"Sorry about that," Jake mumbled "I just dont like spiders." he paused and looked at Cassidy, standing there with her hand on her hip. "One time, when I was driving to the garage, a spider dropped straight down from the ceiling of my car. I freaked out a little and flung it to the other side of the car. But then another one dropped. And another one. They were coming from everywhere. So I pulled over the car and got out as fast as I could. I don't know what happened. It must have been a nest that hatched or something. It was like the Twilight Zone or somethin'."

"Man, that sucks. I mean, I wouldn't want to deal with that either. But they aren't so bad, you know? They eat mosquitos, and those are a real bitch. In fact, I've never been bitten by a spider, but mosquitos-- they'll get you twenty times in a row!"

"I guess that's true." Jake nodded.

"Don't worry. I'll save you from the spiders," Cassidy said, flexing her arms like Wonder Woman.

"What's that?" Jake asked, looking towards the kitchen.

There was a faint buzzing sounds coming from under the table.

"Oh, must be my phone. It must have fallen off the table," she said, leaving the room.

Cassidy flipped open the phone revealing four missed calls. It buzzed again, lighting up, flashing Aarons huge smiling face across the screen. Cassidy looked at the phone and then to Jake. She looked at the phone again and groaned as she clicked and placed the phone against her head.

"Hi, honey. How are things?" Aaron said causciously.

"Everything is great." she said.

"Listen, I'm so sorry. I know it's your birthday weekend, and I totally ruined everything but," Aaron hands were making big circle gestures in the air, and Cassidy knew it.

"But, what? But, you just don't give a shit?" Cassidy retorted. "Because it seems that way to me. Listen, this isn't the first time this has happened. Maybe you're forgetting, but Christmas? Valentines Day? Oh, our four-year-anniversary?"

"Listen, sweetie,"Aaron pleaded

"No, Aaron," Cassidy paused. "This. This is it. I'm done. I'm tired of it all. Really. I'm done."

"Baby, you're not thinking clearly, you're mad. You're just mad. I told you I would make it all up to you, and I will."

"Oh yeah? When? Next year? In ten years? In our next life? I'm tired of waiting around for you. Please don't bother coming up this weekend. I don't even feel like staying here anymore. I'm going home tomorrow," she decided.

The other end of the line was silent. Aaron was wrong and he knew Cassidy wasn't going to budge this time. He had left her there, at The Red Rooster Restaurant downtown, with a bottle of wine and an empty seat on their anniversary, just the month before, and with his knees on the ground, begged Cassidy for just one more change. Promised that work wouldn't get in the way any more. He broke the promise.

"I'm sorry, Cassidy" he muttered as Cassidy closed her phone, pressing her palms against her forehead, trying to rub the disapointment out of her brain.

Jake tip-toed into the kitchen and popped the bottle of wine open, pouring an extra large glass.

"Sounds like you need this," Jake said, extending his arm.

Cassidy took a large gulp, locking here eyes on Jakes.

"Good?" Jake asked

"Couldn't be better," she took another swig.

"If you want to talk about it, you know..." Jake bit his lip

"What's there to talk about? I saw it coming. I'm sure you did too. You know how he is. Ever since that promotion he's just no where to be found. I mean, he even stopped playing with you and the guys."

"Yeah, those were good times." Jake said, walking over and pouring a glass for himself. "He's one hell of a drummer."

"And a Hell of a boyfriend too." Cassidy moved her bangs to the side. Her eyes were wide and the color of bourbon. They seemed to catch everything inside them and never let it go. "It's cool, in all honesty," she continued, "things just havent been the same lately...well, for a long time, actually. I just felt like I kept making excuses, you know? The fire was just gone."

Jake sipped his wine and sat at the table across from Cassidy. "You know what, Cass?" he paddled on the table and then got up, walking over to the bedroom where he found his backpack and the beds already made.

Jake came back with a CD and a fresh pack of playing cards.

"It's still your birthday." he smiled. "Look, Aaron doesnt know what he's got..." he paused, "had. He doesnt know what he had. You just gotta forget about him and have yourself a birthday."

Cassidy pulled her hair into a ponytail. It was barely shoulder length, and was the color of fresh maple syrup. She sighed and put her hand on her cheek, feeling the warmth of her own frustration.

Jake smirked and looked down at the table.

"What?" Cassidy snapped.

"Oh, uh, nothing." Jake muttered "Its just... did Aaron ever tell you how hot you look when you're pissed?"

Cassidy laughed. "You're such an asshole."

Cassidy looked down at the floor and answered the question in her head. No. Aaron had never told her she looked hot before in any way. Cute-- yeah, sure. But hot? It just wasnt how he thought of her.

Jakes eyes burnt into hers just long enough for Cassidy to feel the sensation seep through her veins and leave goosebumps on her forearms. It lasted an hour, or maybe just thirty seconds before Jake broke his stare and got up to face the sink.

"Hey--what are all of these pots and pans for anyway?"

They were strewn across the countertops, homeless, stained, and warped. Cassidy remembered calling her father the week before the trip, and going down the list.

"Pillows, towels, dish soap... what about pots and pans?"

"You're going to want to bring your own, honey. We had an incident last month." Cassidy's father explained

"Incident? What do you mean incident?"

"Well, the last group that was up there, thought it would be a good idea to build a fire and cook the food in the pans right over it. Most of the pans melted. I guess they took the rest home or dumped them. We only found a few of the warped ones out behind the wood pile." he finished

"What idiots. Okay, I guess I can bring my own. I have a big tuperware container I can throw them in."

"Are you going to make your famous chili? Your mom was going to make it for you for your birthday, but since you're going up there for the week..." he trailed off. "Maybe your friends will make it for you."

Cassidy remembered hearing his attempted smile through the receiver.

Cassidy realized she was zoning out when Jake turned around.

"Oh- the pots and pans. I was thinking we could make some chili, or soup or something. I brought stuff for grilled cheese too. What do you think?"

"I could go for that," Jake said. "Moving all that wood built up an appitite." Jake strethed his arms back in the air revealing a tattoo on his lower ribs. Cassidy squinted to try and discern the image, but his shirt dropped down and she looked away instead.

"Yeah, grilled cheese sounds good to me. I don't feel much like cooking anyway." Cassidy said as she got up and walked towards the fridge. "Chedder okay?"

"My fav." Jake announced. "Mind if I start some music?"

Cassidy nodded as she grabbed the loaf of bread. "Go for it."

As Jake pushed the CD into the ancient player and pressed "play," he thought back to the first time he'd seen Cassidy. He was leading a cover of "Break on Through" by The Doors on his keyboard, as she walked into Castle Iron. It was a Wednesday and the show was pushed back to ten and the crowd was slim but full of regulars. Old Ted, with his tattered beanie and a double of whiskey was sitting on the bar stool close to the stage, and Avery, the bartender had her boobs pushed up to her neck and those daisy-dukes on, even though it was October. The whole place smelt like stain remover and Guinness.