“I don’t know how to win you.” He said, the lines in his brow straining against the pull of the rain. The eyes that looked back at him were equally intense, equally determined.
But why? Why was this such a struggle? Didn’t she understand? He pulled his hand down his face, callouses brushing against evening whiskers that had begun to sprout beneath the brutality of the day. Dampness, not only from the rain but from the sweat of his exertion made his shirt cling to his chest, arms, and back.
He needed to quit this, he needed to quit her, he needed-
“Didn’t you hear the bell?” A voice cut through the patter of rain against wet earth. A finger of lightning traced the sky and pointed towards the house a little ways off. It was as if the finger of God was telling him, “Go home, Jesse. That is enough.”
Jesse ground his teeth, walking toward the edge of the fence. He met the woman’s gaze as she shielded her eyes against the falling rain with the kitchen towel she held above her head.
Why is she out here?
She asked again, “Didn’t you hear the bell? I rang it several times.”
“I heard it.” His voice was clipped. She paused, as was her way as of late, and traced his face as if it were a page of a novel she was reading. She was reading him.
“Alright then,” she finally said. Her hands dropped down, pulling the kitchen towel from over her head. She twisted it between her hands before glancing once over his shoulder and then back at the house.
She had only gotten a few steps before Jesse forced himself out of the corral. He took hold of her arm and turned her around to face him, another generic apology ready upon his lips.
“Hannah,” He said her name but paused, the expression on her face striking him to silence. Even beneath the wetness of the falling rain he could tell there were tears upon her face.
He had never given a care for her tears, never given a care for her. He didn’t know how to win her either. He didn’t know how to bring peace from an unwanted union, or love from two lonely hearts made stone. Nothing he had tried to do had done any good with Hannah, the same way nothing he had been trying to do with the blasted horse was working either.
He felt defeated, he could tell that Hannah did as well, the dip at the corners of her mouth said so. He touched the side of her mouth with his fingertip and felt a jolt of electricity that was not unlike the lightning.
Before he could make heads or tails of why he had touched her mouth with his hand, he touched her lips with his, something he had not done since the day they said “I do,” and even that was short lived and almost painful.
But it wasn’t so with this kiss, not with how the rain blanketed them, not with how Hannah’s unsure hands found their way up his chest, or how his arms found their way around her curved waist.
It was peace. It wasn’t winning, it wasn’t losing. It was just the sweetest surrender; giving into the wanting and being met with the same determination.
*Originally published April 9, 2015.
~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!