Original fic: (The Story) Monkey Bar Memories
Monkey Bar Memories
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Sarah Logan has wandered back into Tucker’s life after fifteen years. He has lots of regrets and lots to make up for and he plans to do.
Tucker was twelve years old again, holding the chain-link up so Sarah Logan could slip under. He was sitting at the top of the monkey bars in the Speed Street Drive-In playground. He had kissed Sarah that night, the screen blazing behind them. He hadn’t planned it. He just looked over and the way the movie danced in her eyes, her cheeks red from the cold, the stars a fitting backdrop for her celestial presence had been too much.
Tucker glanced over at the woman walking beside him. The crisp fall air pinked up her cheeks and caused her to pull her knit cap over her ears. They walked under a massive oak all resplendent with changing colors. The leaves framed her face, sparkling in her eyes, accenting her easy smile. Sarah Logan never looked more beautiful. Tucker still couldn’t believe she was here.
They came to the book store as the last rays of the Autumn sun tickled the horizon. Around the back, Sarah unlocked the gate, letting them into the small garden behind the building.
“I had a good night,” Sarah told him as she leaned against the railing on the porch. She pushed a loose strand of hair over her ear then pulled her cap back down. Tucker tracked the movement, his pulse quickening. Fifteen years and she still had that effect on him. “We should do this more often.”
Tucker grinned. “Sounds great.” He was having a hard time breathing, a hard time thinking. She still tied his insides into knots and sent his head spinning. Tucker stared up at her on the porch. The moon played peek-a-boo with the clouds and the waning light cast a warm glow to her head. She had this wistful kind of look on her face that caused his heart to skip a beat.
Without considering the ramifications he covered the distance between them. He cupped her face in his hands—she was a lot warmer than she looked—and their eyes met. A spark of unimaginable heat seared Tucker from the inside out. Beneath his hands, Sarah trembled and she bit her lip to keep her jaw from quaking. He could feel her fighting to keep her breathing even.
And then he kissed her.
Just like that time at the drive-in. And just like before she kissed him back. Every nerve fired, tingling his limbs, his skin. His heart hammered in his chest and for a moment he forget where he was—totally lost in the feel of her lips, the taste of her tongue.
He wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that—it felt like an eternity. It ended too soon. Tucker pulled away, fighting for control. Sarah seemed to be having similar problems. She swallowed hard as her hands slowly unclenched from his shirt. When did she grab him? He entire face was flushed. Tucker let his hands fall to his side. Sarah ducked her head, hiding a smile.
Tucker took a step back, down the stairs, and gave her a sheepish grin. She giggled. God, he loved that sound. He’d spend so many years making her cry he’d forgotten how good it felt when she laughed. That thought sobered him some. This was happening too fast, too soon. She’d only been back in town—back in his life—for sixteen months. He had six years of being a jerk to make up for. He realized that kiss at twelve had been the last time they’d done something as friends. A week later he’d screwed everything up. Sarah was the best thing that ever happened to him. He had known that at twelve but had been to immature to understand the significance.
And now… Now he was getting a second chance and it was way too soon to tell her that he was still in love with her.
Instead he murmured something that sounded like, “I’ll come by tomorrow,” then nearly tripped over his own feet as he backed out of the gate. He leaned his forehead against the fence and breathed. Just breathed. In and out until his heart stopped racing. Sarah went inside after a moment.
He didn’t know why she was giving him another chance. He knew he didn’t deserve it. But he wasn’t too stupid to not take it. He’d make things up to her and maybe someday he’d actually have the courage to tell her the thing that escaped him on top of the monkey bars.