Atlantis

Atlantis

They say good stories start with music just like in the movies, there’s music in the beginning as the opening credits roll and you see those little things as the story unfolds.

He watched the houseboat burn. He sat on the dock as it started to rain. He opened one of the only things he even bothered to take with him. His bottle of Glenn. He slowly began to drink as he watched it burn. There was an odd smile on his face. Olivia had broken his heart; it was another break in a long line of heartbreaks. He had money but he never really used it. And she hated that, she hooked up with him for all the wrong reasons. Said she loved him, never did. Wanted him to do things, be this successful man, be this person he wasn’t, would never be.

He’d been with a lot of women. And yet here he was. Watching his houseboat burn down to the waterline.

Some were great people and good girls they just didn’t click.

Others were like Liv, they wanted something from him. They wanted him to be different at the same time. These women and a lot of others had this vision in their minds of what they thought that what they thought love and the perfect guy was.

That wasn’t the way that Michael could live. Liv had left him after a big fight; she said he was going nowhere. He liked exactly were he was. That she wanted more out of life that what he was giving her. Doesn’t it say something about you when you’re loved and yet you want more…Liv had left him for some rich guy.

He heard her car pull up and her run down the dock. She started screaming at him.
“Michael! What the hell happened? My boat! What the fuck!”
“You’re boat?”
“Yeah I lived there with you over a year. I helped pay the bills, I own part of it!”
“I said you were welcome to stay, you didn’t have to pay anything.”
“That doesn’t fucking matter you loser, I own part of that boat!”
“Fine, you can have the part below the water line.”
“I’m going to sue your ass off.”
“Can’t.”
“What do you mean I can’t?”
“It’s simple Liv, there’s nothing left. Nothing, I emptied all of my accounts and got it all in cash and left it there.” He gesture with the bottle of twenty year old scotch.
“But. But…”
“Yeah, I don’t care Liv. We had a great life. I loved you and you told me it wasn’t enough. Wasn’t enough? If it wasn’t enough then you didn’t really love me in the first place.”
“I’ve got a right to want more Michael! I’ve got a right to have my dreams.”
“Yeah, you do. But when you left me you should have just taken what was yours and left or just asked me for it. But no, you cleaned out our accounts before you left me. You took out credit cards in my name while we were together and ran them through the roof. Then you came at me with a lawyer for half of everything I own. Well you got your wish. I had the insurance lapse on the houseboat when you left; I denied the credit cards since I didn’t sign for them. So all that’s going to get repossessed or something. It’s all gone.”

“I’ll call the cops! You can’t do this! They’ll arrest your ass!”
“Nope, it was an engine short if they bother to look, if they find anything. She’s sitting out in the current and the tides going to shift in a while.”
“You’ll never get away with this Michael!”

He got up and walked down the dock in the rain his hand out and pouring the rest of the scotch into the water before setting the very expensive bottle on the hood of her boyfriends car. Olivia was still standing where he had left her screaming at him and swearing in an absolute rage.

“Aloha dude, have fun.”

He walked on down the street in the rain, heading out to his friends place out at Kona.

***
Two years later saw Michael packing up his things from the trailer he’d been living in just off the beach outside of Christchurch. It had been a good time, a break from everything fishing and diving and part timing as a ranch hand and in the vineyard. He wanted out. He wanted something, he wanted someone.

He got a job on a freighter heading for the USA by way of Los Angeles. He’d make landfall there and then go cross country and maybe make his way home. He hadn’t been home in twenty years.

He was thirty six and he still hadn’t found her.

He knew she was out there somewhere. He had known it all of his life. He knew, there would be nights he’d hug one of his pillows in his sleep and he would almost wake from that feeling meshing with dreaming of her.

There was night’s he’d look ay the sky and he knew they were watching the same things.

He had started writing a journal to her. When he was twenty one. In it he had written to her like he was a soldier away at war. Like they were already married and in it was all the wonderful things he’d seen, all the hellish times he had gone through and there were places where there were tear stains and sketches, pictures and post cards even presents taped inside of it in little plastic bags. A pair of pearl earrings he had made from when he had gone pearl diving, it had taken his a week to find two they let him keep. Maori bracelets made of wood and decorated with abalone. A golden nugget pendant he had found while on a vacation dig in Australia. A little bit of coral from the Great Barrier Reef that had washed ashore. Hundreds of little things went into these books. He bought the ones with the locks on them. And there was no woman he had ever found, or had been with or had lived with had ever been the girl to have seen them.

In the very first page of the very first book he has wrote.

“Hey Beautiful; I’m starting this because I want you to know. I want you to know that I knew, I felt you out there and I knew it was you. I’m going to write to you every time I think of you and yes, I know this is crazy, completely bonkers writing to somebody I know I’m going to be in love with before I even met you.”

“The thing is I have to; I have to because right now If I don’t have you. Even if it’s just having you like this. Because I have no one, and it’s cold in my heart and it’s lonely and I need you. I need the hope.”

“If I’ve given you this journal it’s because I’ve finally found you. I want you to read this and know I loved you even before I found you….the other half of my soul.”

***
The thing was she really didn’t know what exactly she wanted to do with her life.

It’s cliché but she had won the lottery. We won’t say where or which one but she had gone from hand to mouth to being well off.

Rags to riches and being Cinderella in a way. She spent a lot of money setting up her family. Giving them some funds but buying them homes or paying them off and their outstanding loans. There was a lot from just her brother and her sister and she had enough debt herself that it was still quite a drain on the winnings.

She had set up her mother in a nice assisted living home with other people her age and available nurses. She even gave her a decent account set up as a stipend. She feared the funds she gave her siblings would be spent far too soon and they’d hit their mother up for money if she had so too much.

She paid off her own home and was going to have it renovated while she was away.

Jo really needed to get away. She hadn’t had a moment to herself in so long. She had been struggling for so long. She bought a house in Point Reyes in California, She had always loved the beach and there was a lighthouse there. She didn’t know why it was so important but it was.

She went there all the time.

Her place was a nice place a bit of a ranch house and it was near the park just aways from town. She didn’t really hand many neighbors which was a blessing. She played guitar, she played a Stratocaster and loved to play outside at night without anyone bothering her or her bothering them.

Most importantly she was here trying to fix herself, to be the girl she knew she was in every breath she took. She had come out to her family before leaving for here and the reactions were mixed. They were a lot more accepting with the money being there. She kind of felt it was buying their love but if they would be tolerant just for that she figured it’d just become a habit with them eventually and she’d just eventually be herself with them.

She thought it was a shitty thing that it was mostly like this but after a life of pain and bullshit living this lie she’d take what she could get.

So she came out here to get away, to get some minor surgeries done, to get cleared and start her real life test and to finally start her life. She’d been seeing a therapist; she’d had a lot of laser work and electrolysis and a bit of this and that before the hormones. Her doctor did give her hormone blockers well before she had started her HRT. She had started to run a little but mostly hiked and she started biking and taking Tae Bo classes in town to work off some energy and get back into shape.

It was remarkable what just 5 months could do for you. She had bloomed fairly quickly and had been considering getting herself the implants but nature had taken care of that for her.

Her anxiety was becoming a thing of the past. She slept better, more than just a few hours a night. And slowly little by little she was becoming herself. Going out in public as herself and not the male disguise she had been born into.

She passed quite well nothing like those trans-models in the news no, she was in fact more of a real girl than them. Dark brunette hair that she had cut down to her shoulders now that she was looking more and more herself, a nice 32B cup bust line and a nice 26 inch waist and 36 in the hips. The hormones had made some things settle and yet she still was very passable just over five and a half feet and a hundred and sixty one pounds she looked really nice for a woman of thirty three.

She had a few issues that she was still dealing with like getting finished, or comparing herself to GG’s from time to time but she was Jo here, it wasn’t her full name but it was what she had gotten here as a nick name.

She had few friends but had started to get to know a few people. Most importantly to her was she was they only way that they had known her.

She went home to visit at Christmas and it had been extremely awkward. Her mother wasn’t sure of what to make of her new daughter. Her brother had might have said something snide but he didn’t but drank a bit too much over the holidays and had only said. “I guess we really weren’t all that alike.” It could’ve been worse. Her sister was the one most pissed about it and went on and on with no real reasons why it was wrong. It was their mom that had shut her up by blurting out. “Oh just put a sock in it the only reason your that pissed is she’s prettier than you are now.” That had started a fight but as it was apparently there was a little truth to the comment. It wasn’t a bad Christmas but not the best one either. There actually wasn’t any trouble from the kids. Kids are a lot more informed and open minded these days. They highlight of it was the dinner because she had missed cooking for everyone.

She was sad and feeling extra lonely and homesick by the time February had rolled around. It didn’t help that it was right around Valentines Day. Going home for x-mas had been okay but it had just really reinforced to her how alone she really was. Her eyes full of tears making it hard to see and the driving February rain made this perfect storm and she didn’t see the beat up old VW hippy van until she hit it…hard. Her air bag saved her life but stunned her and she screamed as she realized they were both going over the guard rail and down the bank into the water.

***
Michael saw the car coming but he figured she would actually stop at the stop sign and not go right through it. It was raining very hard though and he had heard the scream of her and her brakes. She wasn’t crazy or suicidal it was just an accident. He knew he’d never move the van out of her way in time so he threw himself out of the seat as she hit. He hung on for dear life as the world became a washing machine as they went down a forty foot bank and crashed at the beach at the bottom.

The water came rushing in as it was a high tide and storm driven at that. There was about five feet of water all around him. He grabbed his one important duffle and then kicked out the front window. He moved through the water to find her. She was pinned and under the water.

Cursing he threw the duffle onto the rocks and he dove. The water was murky, and cold. It’s something most people don’t think of about the pacific and that the waters are colder than you’d expect. Add in a storm and it being February…He had to get her out of there. He tried the door but doors are hard to open under water. She blearily looked at him before he saw her eyes roll back in her head.

Desperate he punched out the glass of her car door. It took him seven hits and he felt his hand break. But it didn’t matter. He had to cut her out with his surf knife and he swam with her to shore. Then carried her up to the flattest place he could find. She wasn’t breathing so he started mouth to mouth.

Pump, pump, pump, “Breathe”
Pump, pump, pump, “Breathe”
Pump, pump …he sort of flashbacked on her eyes. They were brown but they were so beautiful...like if somebody had made a potion, a color of the finest buckskin or suede and mixed its tones with the silkiest chocolate and old fine whiskey…He had to see those eyes again…pump. “Breathe…Please…”

She coughed and those eyes snapped open and stared right into his soul. He pulled her up into a hug and held her and kind of lightly held her while patting her back to help her get some of the water out of her lungs. Her wet breasts poking into his chest was quickly becoming a problem as he found himself really aroused at really the wrong time. The both blushed when looking at each other.

***
The air bag had knocked her silly and then rolling over and over in the fall over the steep bank bashed her around the inside of the car. Jo’s head hit the steering wheel several times.

Then she was under water it was so cold it took her breath away and made her shiver until she was submerged….it was murky and the waves were moving her Saturn. Sooner or later the undertow would pull the car out deeper with her corpse.

Part of her screamed and fought trying desperately to get free. She…she was running out of air. Then she saw something dark move through the water. She thought it might have been an animal. The irrational part of her brain screamed shark!

Five feet away even through the stormy murky sea water she saw his eyes. She had always loved and wanted hazel eyes, or even green but his eyes wear like that but different. They were green, this beautiful green that might have been hazel but instead of there being those hints of brown hiding I there, there was blue…she had never seen such beautiful eyes in her life. And they were so full of power and purpose and strength as he swam to where she was defeating the storm boosted undertow.

His hair was long and dark coming to maybe just past his shoulders it flowed around him like the corona of this dark angel. His body looked like he worked, not worked out but like he actually worked and worked hard at what ever he did. Broad shoulders muscled…lean… then things went dark.

Jo raged at the darkness, No! No.1 this wasn’t fair she was just starting to be the person she was supposed to be. She was alive for the first time in too long and now it was going to be taken away from her!

It wasn’t right!
It wasn’t fair!
Her soul screamed its anguish into the darkness and the cosmos….until the sound died and she was there being ripped apart by her grief she barely heard the first one.
She quieted to hear the second one…… “Breathe.” It was so faint, but it was there.
Then she did hear it…she had never heard such naked longing directed toward herself before…. “Breathe…Please…”

***
Both of them stared at each other soaked to the skin. Michael looked at this shivering beauty. To her he looked so…even now those jade and blue eyes of his seemed to glow in the gloom. She felt dizzy. Michael could see her pupils swimming from large to small and back again. He had no phone, she had nothing either.
“What’s your name?” he half shouted over the wind.
“Jo.”
“Hi Jo, I’m Michael.”
“Okay…” her eyes and head kind of looked and wobbled around like she wasn’t quite there.
“Jo, look at me. C’mon focus on me.” She stared at him, locked into those eyes.
“Good girl.” She giggled almost a little hysterically.
“Jo, You got to stay with me, You’re going to have to stay alert, I think you’ve got a concussion.” He picked her up. She felt like a dainty little girl in his arms.

It was a long walk back to Point Reyes about 11 miles through the driving chill February rains. He tried to use himself to shield her from the worst of it. He tried to keep her awake and alert as possible.

After about three miles he came on a house and a driveway that lead away from the road. The signs said private property and there were no lights or cars in the driveway but it looked like somebody’s beach place. She needed to get out of the cold and wet, so did he for that matter. It didn’t take him too much to kick the door down and break into the place.

It was cold but there was a gas stove and he set her down on the sofa and got the blanket off the foot of the sofa and wrapped her up in it. “Jo, Jo!” he lightly shook her. “Come on now stay awake.” He kissed here and her eyes snapped open. He looked ay her with those eyes and then lowered his gaze. “Sorry, I didn’t want to pinch you and I needed you to wake up.” She shivered and chill stuttered. “Yyyeah, I’mmm awake nn now.” She might have had a nice blush if she wasn’t so pale from the cold.
“I’m going to get some help, I’m not leaving I’m just going to see if I can hotwire the phone. But you have to stay awake.”

He debated turning on the stove for a minute then found some matches and lit bot the burners and the oven before running out in the rain. The old phone boxes you could jury rig switch a couple of wired here and there and done. No suck luck he had no clue about how to do this. Now they make the connection via the phone company. He went around the place and found it had a padlock over this plywood box that would most likely have been the fuse box. The place had the look of an old surf shack that had been turned into a cottage. The fuse box on the outside meant the owner could turn on the power when they wanted to and had power added to the place. He would have put it on the inside of the place but…people could just be stupid.

Speaking of stupid. He grabbed a rock and beat off the padlock, that didn’t make hit busted hand feel any better but he wasn’t confident he could hit the lock with his off hand. The box looked okay but who knew with the salty sea air. He opened the box and hit the big push switch to turn the power on. He was expecting a jolt and sparks and had closed his eyes and braced himself hoping it wouldn’t kill him.

Nothing…anti-climatic. Feeling relieved if a little foolish he closed the box and headed back inside. Jo was listing again drifting in and out of being conscious. He went over and this time he pinched her.
“Ow!”
“Sorry you were flagging.”
“I’m good at that, did it all summer one year.”
“What? Huh?”
“Flagging, you know at construction sites with the sign on the pole.”
“Oh, they must not have gotten any work done.”
“Why?”
“A pretty girl like you hanging onto a pole…” He smiled just a bit then blushed. She couldn’t help but stare into those eyes. It helped with the shivering. Okay no it didn’t she was freezing and so cold it was starting to hurt. His eyes changed to looks of concern, he touched her even though he was dripping wet and a bit pale himself. “You’re getting hypothermic and I’m…I’m borderline.” She looked at him as he looked through the place for more blankets and put the kettle on the stove. “Are you okay?”
“No, all the adrenaline I’ve been running on has started wearing off.”
He gathered a few more blankets and made them a large cup of tea in a big plastic mug and sat with her on the sofa.
They wrapped up as best they could and shivered and shook as they tried to keep warm and to keep Jo awake. They just had to get the soaked clothes. Huddling together for warmth.
He couldn’t help but touch her accidental secret. Jo started crying as soon as she felt that and tried to crawl away just mortified, humiliated crying…”Jo? Jo wait..”
“No!, Get away from me!, I’m just a freak right!, just some fucked up fag!, right?!”
“Dammit Jo, would you listen to me!”
“No!, fuck you Michael I’ve heard it before!, All those reasons why I’m wrong!”
“Bloody fucking hell.”
Michael went after her, trying to catch her as she fought to get free of the blankets and fell onto the floor. He went down too and he struggled to get a hold of her.
Jo threw the hot tea in his face.
He hauled her back acrossed the floor by her ankles with her kicking and screaming.
“Please, please, please no……I don’t want to die.”
Just frustrated, he didn’t know what to do or to say to calm her down or to stop her from freaking out and losing it.
He pulled her in and kissed her.
She hit, hit, and hit one after another, his returning blows never came. The violent storm was staying outside.
He…he…knew and was kissing her.
Slowly she stopped fighting.
Scared to death and tentatively, very timidly she returned the kiss.
It got better.
And better.

***

Jo was the last person Michael thought he’d be kissing. He never ever thought he’d…He wasn’t a prejudiced guy. He tended to get along with the few people that he did open up to. He kissed her and she kissed him back and it wasn’t like any other time he had ever, kissed anyone.

It wasn’t like anyone kissed…their eyes met. He didn’t even know he had been crying until his tears were falling onto her face. He shivered and it wasn’t just from the cold.
***
He found out…
Her concussion had lowered her defenses and they had began to undress and to cuddle together for warmth.
A man and a woman if even never intentionally they began to touch one and other.
Then he touched her crotch.
She saw the recognition in his eyes of what he had touched in his eyes.
She had never felt like this ever before.
He had struck this cord in her she never knew had been plucked.
There was this wash of all the old hurts and shames and all those hurts of not being accepted or being real…Michael with eyes like the sea had made her fall in love with him for real, and so fast, at first sight and she felt her recognize it even as she lost it.
She ran or tried to.
He tried to stop her.
She freaked because with what they were doing…getting found out and there wasn’t acceptance and much too often there was violence.
She fought…she fought for her life.
She wasn’t expecting the kiss.

***

He kissed her and kissed her and he saw in her eyes.
~Please, please don’t hurt me…don’t break my heart.~

She kissed him and kissed him and she saw in his eyes.
~Please, please don’t hurt me…don’t break my heart.~

***
The rain came down harder and the kissing had gotten more intense, deeper, frantic, needy, then passionate.

Her hands reveled in the warming hard muscles of this man over her, a lean yet powerful build with great shoulders and very muscled arms and a torso that…she needed to touch. His underwear, briefs she pulled down and caught with her toes and pushed them off of his legs. Her hand touched his sex, hotter than the rest of him. Velvety soft skin over rock hard flesh…her first time really…her…the boy she used to be was never like this…not in length or width…nothing had felt so right to her now…

He unhooked her front fastening bra releasing two pert and lovely breasts, she wasn’t large by any means but they were beautiful.

She was beautiful, she was wanton and scared and concerned for him…wanting him and actually seeing that she gave a shit about him and barely knowing him. It nearly broke him. It did heal something.
This girl who wasn’t like any of those other girls…
Those entitled ones who thought they deserved everything just because they thought they were entitled to it.
Those people hurt him, ruined him again and again.
Liv…Brett…Anna…Laurel…

They wanted what they wanted, they wanted it no matter what it cost others. They had said they loved him. They never thought that he was good enough as is. When he wouldn’t change, when they thought they reached that point they could get something better, or take from him as much as they could or both.

They had no souls…they nearly took his…each one took a piece though.
He had met them after recovering from the last, still recovering from the shit beating they’d given his heart.

~God…god…~ he thought. ~She is so different…than them, so much more different than any woman he had known or even met…~She’s fought tooth and nail with everything she has just to be who she really is…I…~

***
Neither one of them had thought this would happen. The kisses, led to touching, the touching had led to this timid foreplay that in turn led to braver loving touches and caresses until they gave into their desires and the need to stem off the loneliness they both had felt but never voiced.

They started to make love.

It was Jo’s very first time with a man.

Michael could tell…even though she wasn’t some young thing, she had this innocence, this inexperience.

Jo cried at his touch, at the feel of him inside of her, of this being what a first time was supposed to be like. Michael was so strong; and powerful as they made love he held her, touched her, caressed her with a broken hand and he was so gentle with her. It was soul string in it’s power…it was like he just didn’t notice the pain anymore when touching her. He was loving. She had never thought she’d feel someone loving her. She had always felt even if she became complete that she would be alone.

He had never had a partner like this…no he had partners before…Jo…Jo was the first woman who was giving back to him as much as he did. There was this light in her eyes that cried no shone in those chocolate depths…gratitude?, relief, release? Completion…
Love…
Love…
He looked in her eyes and there was love there.
As hurt and as desperate as his own.

It was the most loving and caring and yes even a bit painful experience of Jo’s life. Michael had made sweet love to her for what felt like hours. They barely talked, they kissed, moaned, whispered sweet nothings. She had her first orgasm in years and though it came about the same way…it felt unlike any she had ever had before. He filled her with himself and then filled her with his essence three times…the third time he cried out her name…then he lowered his head onto her breastbone and he began to cry…his body shaking like a leaf as he cried he said to her like he wasn’t just begging her but begging god or the universe.

“Please, please be real.”
“Please, please be real.’
“Please, please be real.”

She kept her legs wrapped around him. Then she held him gently but tightly in her arms just…”I’m not the…I’m…I’m trying to be the real me inside Michael, I am fake, I’ve been forced to be something I’m not all of my life…I…I..need to be the real me.”

“Jo…””
“Yeah…?”
“You’re the most real person I’ve ever met.”
“But I’m…”
“Jo, most people never just try to be who they really are.”
“Oh…”

He kissed her again. He held her as tightly as he could like he was afraid he’d lose her. Like she might evaporate from him like somekind of a mirage.

They held each other quietly and basked in each others presence until they hear a knock on the door. “Hello? Hello? This is the California highway patrol is there anyone in there?” Michael got up wrapping a blanket around himself as Jo scrambled for her clothes having to stop from the dizziness brought on by her sudden movements.
Michael answered the door. “Yes there’s two of us here, we took shelter because of an accident we had.” The trooper said. “Yes we saw the accident scene while on patrol and saw lights here when there usually isn’t any. Is everyone all right?”
“No we went over the edge of the bank and into the water. We’re kind of banged up. I’ve got a broken hand and Jo’s got a concussion I think.”
“You two should get dressed and come with us and we’ll take you both in town to the hospital.”

***
Jo was finally allowed to sleep after several x-rays and a cat-scan by the doctors to make sure she was alright. She got to stay in x-ray with Michael as he got his x-rays done but had to answer questions about the accident and what happened as best she could for the police and the highway patrol officer’s reports.

Michael was there sleeping in a chair when she woke up.
“Hey.” You she smiled at him.
“Hey back, you look better.”
“So do you.” Actually he looked amazing even if all he was wearing was scrubs. Or because he was wearing scrubs. They didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.
“The police said both the car and my van were written off.”
“Did you get anything out of there?”
“Only the most important thing” he said pointing to a strange gym bag at his feet.
“So what are you going to do now?”
“I’m not sure, I was kind of living in my van.”
“Oh…you uhm.”
“Yeah kind of perpetually homeless just traveling from one place to the next.”
“Homeless…”
“No, not like that. I just really seldom put down any roots.”
“If you don’t mind me asking why?”
“I’ve…been… was looking for something.”
“Was?”
“I hoping it might have been past tense now.”
“Oh…”
“They did get our vehicles towed up and stuff so I’m thinking I’m going to maybe stay around and work some odd jobs then restore it. It is a classic.”
“What was it, I mean I hit it but it all happed so fast.”
“It’s a 1963 Volkswagen van.”
“Like what the hippies used to drive?”
“It’s a roomy, van that was cheap at the time and a great surfers van.”
“You surf?”
“As often as I can, I love the ocean.”
“Hey…uhm…I’ve got extra room why don’t you stay with me?”
“You sure?”
“Yes, it’s the least I can do seeing as you lost everything and broke your hand because of me.”
“Okay…but we really don’t know each other.”
“I’m Jonelle, Jonelle Wylder but most folks around here just call me Jo.”
“Okay, lovely name. I’m Michael, Michael Swift. I don’t usually go by Mike though.”
“So…you’ll stay?”
“Actually I was kind of hoping to see more of you.”
“You were?”
“Yeah…really hoping.”

***
It had started just like that. Michael had moved into the spare room and in a short time even with his broken arm he had done a lot of handiwork around the house.

He had fixed up the old shed on her back lawn and made it into a wood shop.

Jo, loved having him there and she loved and missed having somebody around to cook for. He took out the garbage, she found out he was a recycler and he even had bought the house a composter. He mowed lawns, he did dishes…she sewed clothes that needed fixing, she did laundry.

He loved to listen to her play her guitar.

She loved playing her guitar for him.

He bought her sheet music.

She bought him tools.

He started working, building dishes from smoothed beach glass, he carved and built amazing things from drift wood. He built her a deck swing.

She loved to read on it in the sun. She loved to play her guitar on it at night.

It took five days before they slept with each other again.

It took two months before it was every night and he moved the few things he had into her bedroom.

Jo had never thought how sleeping with someone and loving someone would make her feel. She never really though just hoe priceless it was to have someone to hold. And have someone to hold you back

It wasn’t perfect, there were fights. He’d get busy in his shop and lose track of time, making them late or he’d miss meals she had cooked. He hated being interrupted in the shop. He rarely yelled but he was broody instead.

He hated when she cut her long hair.

None of it was big stuff, and she’d cut loose on him too. Bad hormonal days, her family…nothing could get her upset like they could. Her brother went spastic after finding out about the two of them. Her sister seemed unhappy with how he looked rather than the fact she found someone and was always talking about how Michael wasn’t successful, that she was with some artist loser, a surf bum.

Michael didn’t like her much, she reminded him of ‘Liv. The best that could be said was her mother liked him but she kind of acted like they were a gay couple.

On her birthday He made her a cake that she could use as a brick, it was horrible. Michael was a limited cook. He cooked good scrambled eggs, grilled an okay steak, made great fried fish and fries of any kind and was good at brewing beer and homemade wine.

He had also made her this garden…it was her front yard, but he built a four foot fence of driftwood wired together and in between the gaps in the drift wood logs he planted her roses, well transplanted them for her…

To Jo it was beautiful…

For Michael those others just wouldn’t have gotten it. The wouldn’t have cared much less than love it.

They grew closer and closer.

Long walks on the beach, lying there just being each other a small picnic by the lighthouse.

A year went by so fast…Her SRS date came, and they both went to Trinidad, Colorado. Jo had to spent the night to get herself prepped for her surgery. Michael kissed her when it was time for visiting hours to go. “I love you Jo.”
“I love you too.”
“I’ve got something for you.”
“What is it?”

Michael took out the books his journals he set the keys in her hands… “These are me. They’re everything I have done, though, dreamt of in my life Jo…I love you please read them…” He kissed her and left. He looked as scared as when they first met…

Scared, confused and intrigued she open the first book and read those words and then the rest….He wrote everything down to this girl, this person he believed he would know, he’d meet and he’d love. He wrote things he did, places he’d been to, his thoughts and feelings even the times he had though he had fallen in love before…she had never seen anything like this. Her hands shook turning pages, touching tearstains.

The books went all the way from fifteen years ago right up until now…the last book was the newest. It talked about them and how they met, about how important she was to him.

The last page of the book read.

“Jonelle, no one has ever read these before, ever…I saved these for the woman who was the other half of my soul. Before you my life was dark. Sunken beneath the waves…You became my beacon, my light when there was none…you’re my Atlantis…”

There was an envelope there folded into that last page. On it was a simple.

“Please?”
It was a diamond engagement ring.



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