Tears of the Silent Crow
Stacy ran. Her t-shirt was wet with sweat and clung to her body, showing off her muscular and yet very feminine build. She saw Gary on the side of the road and changed her path to intercept him.
When Gary heard the footsteps, he looked up and smiled; but his smile quickly faded into a scowl as he watched Stacy approach. He had no idea that the expression on his face mirrored the expression worn by his fiancé.
Stacy’s hair, normally a golden blonde, was dark with sweat and stray strands stuck to her face. She stopped just short of running through Gary, bent over and placed her hands on her thighs. She gasped for breath and then stood straight, looking Gary in the eye. Between breaths she managed to say, “Gary, you’ve got to help me.”
Gary wasn’t certain what to do. He wasn’t sure what she needed. He ran his fingers through his short, dark hair and then reached for the woman of his dreams.
“Don’t touch me!” she snapped, taking a step back. “I’m all sweaty.”
“What do you need me to do?” Gary asked, concerned.
“Come stand next to me. They’re calling the race a tie between me and Linda Collinsworth,” she said, rolling her neck and shaking her hands. “Can you believe that? They’re looking at the video now to see who actually won, as if there should be any doubt.”
Gary smiled and placed his hands on Stacy’s shoulders. “I’m sure you did really well,” he said.
“I did better than really well,” Stacy said, shrugging her shoulders from under Gary’s hands, “I won. I know I did. C’mon. Let’s get over to the judges’ stand.”
Stacy grabbed Gary’s hand and started off at a slow sprint toward the other side of the field. Gary struggled to keep up.
Gary had never been much of an athlete except on certain occasions, in his living room, in front of the TV. Stacy, on the other hand, loved to be a sport participant. She would play for local basketball, soccer and softball teams whenever she had the chance. As a bartender at Fill’s Bar, she had ample opportunity to find out about various events in which she could participate, including things like the 5k run that she had just finished. The fact that she was so highly competitive was one of the things that attracted Gary to her from the start. Even back in third grade, when they first met, Stacy was competitive not only in sports, but with grades, art, music and anything else where awards or high praise might be given. As Gary recalled, it was her Uncle that pushed her to be the best at everything, and as Gary had grown up with her, it was a trait that he grew to admire in her.
Stacy grumbled about how slow Gary was and half whispered an order to hurry up, but she realized that it was more directed toward her own sense of wanting to know the outcome of the race, than it was for her lover to run faster, so she slowed her pace slightly and offered Gary the opportunity to feel a little better about being able to jog, successfully, next to her. She loved this man intensely and would do anything for him, and she knew he felt the same way about her.
After a few moments, they arrived at the judges’ stand. An out of breath Gary stood proudly by Stacy. Although he tried hard to not show his increased need for oxygen, Stacy could tell that the long, slow breaths weren’t quite enough to keep Gary conscious, and not wanting him to collapse, she feigned a yawn, causing Gary to unconsciously do the same and keep him from collapsing to the ground.
A young, thin woman in running shorts and sweatshirt with cut off sleeves walked over to the judges’ stand and stood by Stacy, close enough to be noticed, but far enough away to not be intrusive.
Stacy looked over at the woman. “Linda,” she said cordially.
“Stacy,” Linda returned the acknowledgement.
The head judge stood and walked to the microphone. He tapped on it to see if it was on, creating an instant wave of feedback, which grew in intensity briefly, and then faded away as the judge stepped back with a surprised look. He smiled at the crowd, embarrassed at drawing so much attention, and then carefully re-approached the microphone.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the judge began, “after reviewing the video of the contestants crossing the finish line, numerous times, we have come to the decision that both runners crossed the finish line at the exact same time. We therefore declare two winners of today’s race. Congratulations, ladies.”
Gary was a little afraid. He didn’t know whether to tell Stacy congratulations or give condolences. He waited to get a cue from her behavior. He was still holding her hand, but received no indication of her mood from that. Then he felt her shrug. She turned toward Linda and said, “Good job. I’ll just have to start working a little harder for our next race together.”
Linda stuck out her hand. “Good job Stacy. It’s going to be hard for me to keep up with you next time, but at least I have someone that keeps me on my toes. Will you be at the Cancer Run in two weeks?”
“Already signed up!” Stacy said excitedly.
“Me too! I’ll see you there. Maybe we could run as a team?”
“Great idea!” Stacy said. She let go of Gary’s hand and gave Linda a hug. “See you in two weeks!”
Gary watched Linda walk off. He never understood how Stacy’s mind worked. The impression that he had, only moments ago, was that of a fierce competitor who wanted to crush the life out of her opponent. Now, he saw her and that so-called opponent, as best friends.
Stacy took Gary’s hand again and said, “Come help me stretch, then let’s head home. I need a shower and might need someone to scrub my back.”
Gary loved how Stacy would bite the right side of her lower lip whenever she was trying to be suggestive. It made him tingly inside and he loved how that felt. With the wedding two weeks away, he wondered if this would always last, although deep inside, he felt it always would.
He followed Stacy to the warm-up area where he held certain parts of her body while she stretched her legs, back and arms. He loved watching her stretch and enjoyed seeing every curve of her strong body, every flex of her muscles and every bit of increased definition of each of her feminine parts.
Stacy knew what he loved and how much he loved it, and she would sometimes stretch a little bit longer in certain positions to make sure that he loved it a little bit longer. She never thought about whether the thrill would end after the wedding. She had every intention of seeing that not only would it never end, but that it would just become more intense with each passing day. She knew they were soul mates and knew that there would be no end to what they would accomplish and enjoy throughout their lives together.
After Stacy felt that she had stretched sufficiently for her muscles to not cramp up, and teased Gary sufficiently to assure that her man was happy, Stacy stood up and motioned toward the car. She and Gary walked hand in hand in preparation for the trip home.
It was only a twenty-minute drive from the race to home. The first few minutes of the drive were filled with conversation about the race. Gary had to satisfy his curiosity.
“Stace, explain something to me. You ran up to me earlier and seemed really upset about being tied for first place. When we left, it was like you and Linda were best friends again. I don’t understand how that works.”
Stacy smiled. “Gary, you know that Linda and I have always been best friends, thus the reason that she’ll be my Bridesmaid at the wedding. I’ve been in sports a long time, and one thing I’ve come to learn is that when the game is on, it’s personal. My best friend becomes my greatest competitor and I’ll fight for first place. When the game is over, she’s no longer my competition, but she’s my friend again. I don’t have those macho, butt hurt feelings that men get sometimes after a game. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a woman.” Stacy bit her lower lip.
Gary felt that tickle inside his stomach. He became like jelly.
“Gary, sweetheart,” Stacy purred.
“Don’t forget that you’re driving,” she said and smiled.
Gary’s attention jerked back to the road.
“Don’t ever change, my sweet prince,” Stacy said.
Gary smiled to himself.