May 5, 2015

Tessa's Story: The Final Chapter

by Zahra Barnes

My gaze bounced between Finn and Grant as my brain short-circuited, scrambling for the right way to handle the situation. On the one hand, there was the man who had spent years with me, getting to know me intimately, inside and out. On the other, there was the man who wanted to. Finally, my eyes settled on Grant.

What are you doing here? Of all the questions that were racing through my mind, I decided to start with the most rational one.

I saw you tweeting that youd be here, he said, as if I shouldnt have been shocked to find him stateside even though he was supposed to be half a world away. He looked around, his hair dangling into his frame of vision until he pushed it back. That one motion was all it took to remind me of how much I loved it when he grasped my waist in between his two hands, cradling me like I was the most precious, fragile, one-touch-and-you-break-her thing hed ever come across.

No, I mean, what are you doing here? Like, in the United States of America, I clarified, both frustrated and flustered. I commanded myself to take a few deep breaths. No way was I about to ruin my dress with boy-induced sweat.

I came back, he said simply. He finished his visual tour of the room and looked into my eyes. I need to talk to you.

Time slowed while I considered my response. Grant had attributed so much of his cheating with Sophie to my devotion to my job, my constant absence from his arms in favor of my desk, my certainty that all that hard work would pay off someday. And yes, Id apologized for hurting him. Id meant it. But I couldnt pretend I was sorry for where my time at Grey & Boehm had eventually led me. I wasnt about to seize this chance at a romantic do-over to leave my post and make things all better with anyone, whether it be Grant, Finn, or Chris Hemsworth.

I cant right now. Im working. I waved a hand around the room.

You did all this?

I nodded.

Im impressed. The corners of his lips turned up so slowly that I knew his pride had to be real. Making a name for yourself, huh?

I shrugged even though I hoped, no, knew I was. Listen, I said, finally stepping forward to give him a hug and trying not to settle into our warm, heavy past as I did. Its incredible to see you. But I need to handle all of this. I set my jaw, Olivia Pope-style. Maybe we can talk after?

Disappointment made a home on his face. Sure. My place is full of subletters, so Im staying at the Four Seasons.

My eyes darted past him to look at Finn, who was frozen with a pained expression, like he was a rubbernecker at a car wreck. Which I guess, in some sense, he was.

OK. Ill let you know when Im done here. I tried to ignore the slight change in Finns posture, which anyone who hadnt known him for years might have missed. But I couldnt mistake the rounded shoulders and limp hand, still holding my flowers, for anything except what it was.

Grant nodded, satisfied. See you soon, he said. His eyes flicked over Finn, hardening in a way that told me everything I needed to know: he was privy to what had been going on between me and Finn, and he didnt like it one bit.

After Grant left, I turned back to Finn. Im so sorry. I had no idea hed be here, I said.

He shook his head, smiling in a way that stabbed my insides. Its OK. Listen, it seems like you have a lot to figure out. I probably do, too.

I opened my mouth to protest, but really, what was I going to say? He was right.

Here. He held the flowers out to me. I dont want to pressure you, or be weird about it. Im just going to head out.

I could imagine him retreating to the basement of the furniture shop, whittling away at a slab of wood, all sawdust and rough hands, looking for all the world like a Harlequin romance novels wet dream.

Im sorry, I said helplessly, taking the bouquet in my hands. I didnt plan this.

I know. He reached out to smooth my hair, which, if it reflected my thought process, was probably standing up like Id clamped both hands to a heavy-duty power line. Then he was gone. I watched him disappear through the crowd and brought the flowers up to my face, only getting to inhale their curious scent for a second before a crash made me jump, then wince. I turned around to find Nicole, the bumbling intern, red-faced and stammering in front of a pile of ruined appetizers. I stood on my tiptoes to hand the flowers to Johnny, who understood immediately and stashed them behind the bar without a word. They stayed there while I put out fires for the rest of the night.

The next morning, I showed up at the Four Seasons. Grant was standing outside, even though I hadnt told him to expect me.

Hi, I said.

Hi. He grinned and jerked his head toward the packed sidewalk. Wanna walk?

We fell into a disjointed step, me stretching to make my short-legged stride match his.

I cant believe youre here, I said. We made small talk and intuitively wound our way through the crowd in the direction of Central Park. I gripped the strap of my cross-body bag, then realizing how sweaty my hand was thanks to my nerves and the spring humidity, shoved it into my pocket. Dresses with sneaky pockets: the savior of women everywhere.

I cant either. Im all jet-lagged and culture-shocked, he said, laughing.

I asked him tons of questions about life in Abu Dhabi, all the while avoiding my main one: what about it had made him leave and come back?

We hit the greenery of Central Park. Its resilience always surprised me. Year after year, it managed to thaw from underneath the harsh, unforgiving ice and bounce back with more life than I remembered. Excited, shrieking children swirled around us trailed by exasperated parents.

Probably not the best time to come to Central Park, I admitted.

Probably not, he agreed. Still, the Alice in Wonderland statue had just come into view. Miraculously, there were only a few kids nearby the sculptural homage to Lewis Carrolls story. I broke out running, trusting Grant to know I was silently challenging him to a race rather than abandoning him. I heard a surprised laugh, then footsteps pounding behind me. When I reached the statue, I thrust my hands forward to keep from colliding into it, then used the momentum to haul myself up on top of the mushroom with Alice.

So, I started, emboldened with my back to him. Why did you really come back?

He was silent for long enough that I had time to swivel around and look down at his face.

I missed you, he finally responded.

What about Tori? I said, remembering the name of the girl hed told me he was seeing during our iChat a few months back. And what about work?

Things are a little slow right now. Call it a vacation. And Toris fine. Shes good, I mean. Shes nice, a great girl. But shes not you.

Poor Tori. I knew how easy it was to fall for Grant. Even though I didnt know her, I felt for her. She probably thought she had him all to herself. He made it easy to believe.

Grant interrupted my train of thought. Tessa, listen. I fucked up. I fucked up big-time. It was hard to deal with the Grey & Boehm thing, and Marian, but now I look back and cant believe I gave you up. Toris great, but shes happy to kind of wander around learning about random things, he said.

I wouldnt call a Fulbright wandering around and learning about random things, I replied.

All that tells me is that you havent seen Tori do a Fulbright. He smiled ruefully. Last night everything just clicked. I want to go along for the ride with you.

My stomach dropped, and it wasnt just because my hand slipped a little on the statue. He was saying all the right things.

I wish you had fought me, he blurted out. Begged me to stay. Told me you needed me here. I wouldnt have gone.

I slid back to Earth from my spot next to Alice, slightly dizzy, swaying a bit on the way down. Grant reached his hands out to steady me. I rested my own on his arms.

Im sorry, I just need a little time to think, I said.

Grant looked at me knowingly. About Finn?

About a lot of things.

I spent the next few hours at my place, running over every possible scenario in my head. I picked up the flowers Finn had given me, which had been sitting on my dining table since the night before. I peeled the paper back to get a better look and a card fell onto the ground. I picked it up, read it, and glanced over the words a few more times for good measure. Then I went to my underwear drawer and dug around until I found what I was looking for. I stroked the creased edge of the subway card Id used to board the train on the day I met Grant. Then, it hit me. There was only one right choice here. I knew, down to my bones, what I had to do.

I raced out of my apartment, stopping to grab my keys and some cash along the way. I had no idea where my phone was, and I didnt want to stop to find it. I hurtled down the stairs, one hand on the cracked wall of my buildings old staircase, the other skimming over the banister so quickly it barely made contact.

Luckily, an elderly woman was disembarking from a cab that had pulled up right outside my door. I slid inside and gave the driver the cross streets, then watched the signs as they raced past. With each one that went by, I was even more confident in what I was doing. I rolled down the window and welcomed the breeze on my face. Finally, we arrived at my destination. I spilled out of the cab, offering cash and thanks to the driver. I bounded toward the the entrance, then leaned on the buzzer hard. It bleated acceptance, and I took the stairs two by two.

He opened the door, and I stood still for a moment, triple-checking with myself even though I knew, deep down, that I was sure. Without a word, I wrapped my arms around his neck. He hoisted me up, digging his hands into my hair and held me tight.

For the rest of the night, we rediscovered each other, delightfully stumbling upon all the things wed missed before. He had a freckle here, I had a hysterically ticklish spot there. He thumbed the ridge of my cheekbone, I ran my fingers down his neck, watching the goosebumps dutifully spring up behind them. We paused to laugh in disbelief. He breathed in, I breathed out, and we exploded into gold dust together.

In the end, we only managed about an hour of sleep. At dawn I opened my eyes and watched his face in the twilit silence, knowing my decision was right. A few seconds after I woke, Finn opened his own eyes, squinting in the morning light. I stared into his eyes hazel depths, still marveling at the honey starbursts that surrounded his pupils. I traced a finger over his tattoo and his eyes focused on me, then he grinned.

I could get used to this, he said, pulling me closer.

You might have to, I replied, burrowing into the space between his chin and his chest.

The thing was, I really had felt torn. Although it would have been easier if Id been 100 percent convinced I should be with either Finn or Grant from the get-go, life was messier than that. I would always have a soft spot for Grant, and the temptation to go back to what was safe felt insurmountable at times. But I wanted someone who had encouraged me from the start, who knew he could love every bit of me, even the insecure mess that I tried to hide. I was certain my heart, brain, and body were finally all in agreement.

The day before, when I saw the card Finn had tucked into my bouquet, I knew he was it. These say it better than I ever could, hed written. That was when I took a good look at the flowers for the first time, their meaning stamping out all my breath in an instant. Aster for patience. Daffodil for new beginnings. Ranunculus, which made me blush thanks to their implied flattery that I was irresistible. Fern for magic and dahlia for a touch of wild beauty.

My past boyfriends wouldnt have understood the messages they were sending with their flowers, but that didnt change the fact that I could interpret them all the same. I thought back to the sweet pea and snapdragon Jack had once given me, which mixed an acknowledgment of pleasure with a warning of deception. And the peonies Grant loved to greet me with, which, as lovely as they were, carried anger in their petals. Finn had seen me grow and he wasnt running from it. Instead, he was throwing himself into my world with abandon.

My stomach rumbled, bringing me back to the present. Id worked up an appetite. Another wave coursed through me, although this time, it was one of excitement. Finn and I had spent the entire night kissing, silently agreeing that we had all the time in the world to explore each other. Flashes of the future of us ran through my mind: Finn peeling off my clothes, kissing me all over, burying himself inside me. There was so much to look forward to.

What are you thinking about? He pulled his head back and studied my face.

Food, I answered.

Of course.

Half an hour later, we squeezed into the same side of a booth at a 24/7 pizza parlor. There were a few hours left before I had to be at work. I ordered mushroom and sausage, fully intending to at least try a bite of Finns vegetable slice. My hair floated around my face in a post-makeout halo, kind of dreamy, but definitely unsanitary. I dug through my pockets for a hair tie, corralled my curls in a haphazard bun, and leaned my head against Finns shoulder. That was when I looked up.

There, across from us, was our reflection in the stores window. Confused, I was struck with deja vu until I figured out where I had seen the image before. I couldnt help but smile. We looked just like that couple Id spotted months ago in Wilfie and Nell, the man and woman who seemed completely wrapped up in each other and deliriously happy to be in their own little world. In that moment, I had new love, the promise of stellar sex, and a delicious slice of pizza on its way. I couldnt wait to see what was going to happen next.


50 comments:

  1. Oh my god that was the perfect ending and exactly what I was hoping for! The manner in which you ended it was amazing. Thank you for the story it's been a great journey with you and Tessa and good luck in your future endeavors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Latest Hindi Sex Story From Bhauja.com
      भाभी की चूत चोद कर शिकवा दूर किया ( Bhabi ki Chut Chod Kar Sikawa Dur Kia)

      भाभी की खट्टी मीठी चूत ( Bhabhi Ki Mithi Chut)

      पत्नी बन कर चुदी भाभी और मैं बना पापा (Patni Ban Kar Chudi Bhabhi Aur Men Bana Papa)

      दैया यह मैं कहाँ आ फंसी

      भाभी ने गिफ्ट में मेरा लौड़ा लिया

      भाभी का नंगा गोरा बदन

      फुद्दी चुदाने को राजी भाभी

      बेस्ट गर्ल-फ्रेण्ड भाभी की चुदास-2

      बेस्ट गर्ल-फ्रेण्ड भाभी की चुदास-1

      चुपके चुपके चुदाई

      चुदाई एक प्यारा अहसास

      दिल्ली का यादगार ट्रेन सफ़र

      एक घर की ब्लू फिल्म

      Antarvasna जिन्नात का साया

      Antarvasna पायल आंटी के गर्म दूध

      डॉक्टर नीलम की कहानी उसी की जुबानी

      Antarvasna बेटा अब जवान हो गया

      Didi ki Chudai Bahat Khusi Mili

      अनाड़ी बना खिलाड़ी आंटी की चुत का हुआ दी

      Antarvasna बेटा अब जवान हो गया 3

      Dosta Ke Pariwar Ke Sath Liye Sex

      Masti Priya Ke Sath (मस्ती प्रिया के साथ)



      Delete
  2. Sooo happy she ended up with Finn!!!!! I don't think she would ever be able to fully trust Grant again

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a perfect ending! Sad that it's come to an end, but thank you for an awesome ride :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. i loved this ending so much! can't wait to read your book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aww, that was amazing. Loved the whole story, start to finish.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for the gift of your writing and best of luck to Tessa and Finn!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bravo, Zahra! Absolutely perfect way to go out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Perfect perfect perfect. Thank you for a great story! I've loved following it

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow, that was amazing. I'm getting teary-eyed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I loved it! I'm going to miss Tessa! 😩😩😩 I feel like she's a friend moving away

    ReplyDelete
  11. I read in disbelief thinking she was with Grant until I saw the name Finn. Specifically because it said they "rediscovered" each other. Did they have an intimate past? If so, I totally don't remember that. mum

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took the "rediscover" as going from friends to lovers...

      Delete
    2. I took "rediscovering" as taking a closer look at someone you know and getting to know them on a deeper lever v. just friends.

      Delete
  12. This was the perfect ending! Im glad she picked Finn and for a moment there you had me saying "wait, no she better not be running towards Grant! Is she?! Nooo.Yesss!! Finn!" Thank you for sharing Tessa's story with us I genuinely enjoyed reading every week.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am so sad this is over! But what a perfect ending.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an amazing ending! So much love.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chris - @nylonlover69 on IG/TwitterMay 5, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    Pass the tissues dammit!

    Thank you, Zahra!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Absolutely beautiful ending to Tessa's story! I'm so glad she chose Finn! Not gonna lie, I teared up a little at the part with his understanding and use of the meanings of different flowers lol.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wish I could say I was in love with this ending, as it appears everyone else is. It was just so predictable, and I feel like there were still some serious loose ends that needed to get tied up.

    Anyways, I did truly enjoy reading Tessa's story right from the beginning. You are a talented writer and although I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending of Tessa's story I do look forward to reading your writing in the future, Zahra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. And I must say disappointed and I wish it had been Grant she went with. I would rather he never came back at all and said what he did if she was going to end up with Finn. I never felt the relationship with Finn was developed enough beyond friendship to support the ending. Still, it is what it is and just my opinion. Well written and good luck with your future writing.

      Delete
    2. I like that Grant came back and offered Tessa clarity of her feeling towards him and closure so she could truly move on. I think we all have that person we keep going back to, and it's very freeing when those feelings get resolved and you can move forward. I always felt like Finn understood her on a deeper level.

      Delete
    3. I liked the ending however I slightly agree with second anon that her and Finn development past friendship wasn't quite developed enough to get the choose one over the other. But otherwise it was good. I always liked grant though so slightly wish he never came back

      Delete
  18. I wish it wasn't over but I love the way it ended!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well done sad to see that its over but glad it was Finn :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. So happy it was Finn and the ending was so amazing. I was scared I'd be left with some sort of cliff hanger since this was so short of a story but even though I want more, it ended just so perfectly.

    Will you be writing elsewhere for is to follow?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I see what you did there...love, sex, and pizza. ;) Loved Tessa's story, and so sad to see it end. Good luck, and let us know what you'll be up to!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great ending to a great story - loved it and thank you! I hope you will blog another story in the future!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you so much!! This was wonderful and I am sad to see it end. All the best to you and Tessa

    ReplyDelete
  24. Aw, thank you all so much for these super sweet comments! Including you, Grant fans :) I appreciate your input just as much.

    I'm not writing another blog in the near future, although who knows how that may change. I'm going to take the hours I spent on Tessa each week and devote them to another fictional story that I'll write on my own, then see where that takes me.

    Again, thank you for coming along for the ride! It's been a blast.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm so conflicted! I would love to see her and Grant end up together. They have such passionate history. The thought of him leaving his great job to fly half way round the world to say Tessa I fucked up...well it shows passion. Sometimes guys have to leave to find who they really are before they can one hundred percent commit. The both needed he distance to grow and then eventually find their way back to each other. An awesome proposal woulda been great!! Oh but alas Finn won her heart. Great writing dear and let us know when your story comes out.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love the way this ended! Yes, Tessa and Grant have chemistry but there is a reason things ended not once, but twice.

    ReplyDelete
  27. So sad my favorite blog is over! But loved loved loved the ending! Will miss reading this every Tuesday so much!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Zahra, this was amazing amazing.You are so talented. Thank you so much for such a lovely blog. I will miss it so much!When I heard the ending was near I was so shocked and I didn't know how it could end so fast...but the ending was perfect. I'm so happy she is with Finn.I wish you all the best with your future. Pleaaaaaaaaase bring back Tessa or start another blog one day.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Loved the ending, Zahra - I've been following Jessica's blog from the start and when she announced that there would be another story featured every week by another writer I was so excited since I knew the bar would be set high. You didn't disappoint and your writing style caught me into the story quickly. Please keep us updated on your future writing - I would love to keep reading more of your work!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I really enjoyed the ending! And I also loved being a part of your story and watching Tessa become the person she wanted to be, while also watching your writing style improve tremendously since your first post. You also handled all the haters throughout this story way better than a lot of the other bloggers I follow. It was super impressive! I hope you decide to start writing publicly again, because we will all miss you and Tessa!

    Charli
    Dating-and-commitment.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Zahra how can we keep up with your writing since LSP is no more?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Adult dünyasında yani porno dünyasında birbirinden güzel Porno videolar bulunur.
    Bir çok kişi kısa Pornolardan sıkılmış Porno film izlemek için arayışa girdikleri bellidir. Tüm bu Porno zevklerinin sebeplerinden bir
    de pornosikis-izle.com adında bir porno sitesinin açılmasıyla başlayan çok çeşitli Porno videolarıdır. Biz yine her zaman ki gibi
    Türk Pornoları ve buna benzer durumda olan sex videolarını izliyoruz.
    Kullanıcıların tamamı olmasa da arada bir kaç kullanıcı türkçe porno diye arama yapıp bu tarz Porno izlemek istediklerini söyledi.
    Adult videolar tamamen kişisel zevke göre yayılmıştır özellikler hd porno filmler son zamanlarda daha fazla rağbet görmüş ve
    türk pornolarının da bu özelliklere sahip olması beklenmiştir. Tabi birde ateşli fanteziye sahip olan sex filmleri var
    onları esgeçmeyelim. Her kullanıcı mutlaka kaliteli sex filmi izlemek istiyor. Donmadan hızlı açılan sex videoları
    tatmin edebilecek düzeyde olması beklentisi var herkezde. Bir kısım kullanıcı da türk türbanlı pornolar olsun liseli pornolar olsun
    bunların yanında liseli amcık resimleride arıyorlar. Porno izle ve Porno sikiş kelimeleride çok aranan kelimelerden Porno dünyasında zevkler sınır tanımıyor özellikle türkçe porno film izleyicileri
    götten sikiş pornoları arıyor. E o kadar Porno zevkine sikişenler sizce nasıl bir fanteziye bürünsün ki.
    Tüm kullanıcılar bunlardan ziyade bilinmeyen pornoları yani x porno arayışında. Bilinen videoların sanki hepsini izledik tükettik bunlar kaldı birde değil mi.

    ReplyDelete

  33. قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح


    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح


    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح

    ReplyDelete