Prolouge

He tip toed into the bed as to not disturb the sleeping Ariel. She was curled into a little ball on the bed and was in the middle of a gentle slumber. David climbed on top the bed as gingerly as he possibly could and lowered his arm around the woman he cared so deeply about. He stroked the heavy strands of chocolate brown hair away from her peaceful face and caressed the bare spot with the warm tips of his fingers. He loved how soft her skin felt in contrast to his own worked, rugged texture. He then leaned in and kissed that very spot faintly...she stirred barely as he reached under her waist to cradle all of her into his strong self. He brought her even closer till she was almost molded into him and he followed each of her breathing patterns...

Top of the First

one.

Ariel was sick. She was sick of the back and forth, back and forth mundanity of everyday life--this make up to breakup repetative shit.

"Dammit!" she cursed as her 5:32 bus took off.

She glanced down at her phone and saw that she had one missed call, it was from Cynthiah. Cynthiah was Ariel's sole friend, who just also happened to live on the other side of the country in Las Vegas with her sauve Italian boyfriend.

"What's up?" Ariel asked as Cynthiah came to the phone

"Are you out of work?"

"Yeah, I just got out--as you can tell I still haven't reached my goal of actually leaving on time," Ariel says with a long sigh

"Well that sucks, me and Serg just got out of the pool he's sleep now."

"Ugh, I really don't have the patience to tolerate tales of your perfect west coast life, with your perfect model boyfriend, with I'm trapped in New York waiting for the bus."

"Oops, my bad. When you get home take a long soak in the tub and say 'fuck it'." Cynthiah says with a giggle

"Naw you're right...I'm just so tired," Ariel confessed feeling the urgent need to topple over and sleep suddenly

"Well, you do that and I'll call you later on."

"Alright, bye."

****************

'Home sweet home' Ariel thought with her first inkling of a smile that day. She kicked off her shoes and clumisly laid her purse on the ground as she made her way over to the bathroom. She began stripping off her clothes layer by layer as if breaking free from some bonds, and she let the hot water fill up in the tub. She didn't spare a moment before sticking her whole body in the water and slipping beneath till it enveloped her.

"Yesssss...." Ariel moaned deeply, she felt every ounce of stress melting off her body. It felt so soothing and relaxing, it was times like this where she realized why she and Cynthia remained such great friends. It almost seemed unfair how starkly different their lives were. Cynthiah was certainly no spring chicken, she was a self admitted cougar and her 22-year-old Italian 'stallion' lover was a testament to that fact. But Cynthiah always kept a great knowledge that came with her age, Ariel considered 'Cyn' her mentor she was always giving her some great advice. Ariel could never find it in her heart to be spiteful of Cynthiah and her 'rags to riches' lifestyle. She wasn't a gold digger--and up to meeting Sergio she had worked over 25 years in the same industry while pushing her two kids to finish school.

Ariel on the other hand could only dream of an Italian model just walking up to her and moving her into his villa and loving her just right. She couldn't help feeling like she had to fight tooth and nail for every little thing she had. Her dead-end nine to fiver was barely helping her make ends meet; she was paying top dollar for a studio in Hells kitchen that didn't have running water in it for the first three months. Life was knocking Ariel all sorts of around and the scary thing about it is she's only 23. She dreaded to think about the many more spills her life would endure as time went by. Cynthiah was constantly pleading and begging her to move out to Las Vegas with her and Serg, but Ariel didn't like the thought of being a burden.

Love...that word has crossed her mind undoubetbly at one time or another, but what good is it? What purpose could it ever serve her? Between work, stress, a sick grandmother in the hospita, nagging parents in Westchester and the risk to her sanity she could never squeeze it in. She gave up on the concept altogether after her last 'boyfriend' promised her everything under the stars only to send her ass packing two weeks later...he didn't even have the decency to return her calls.

'Never again,' Ariel thought to herself as the steam from the bath water began to penetrate into her pores. She couldn't help but wince in recollection of her former 'loves', how silly it all now seems in the light of day. All the dumb 'take me back' nonsensical tactics she went through hoping for a second chance when Cynthiah was telling her all along 'a dog never chances his ways'. Ariel laughed softly, it is what it is...

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Ariel was snuggled up on her old tattered couch and wholly devourering her 'lean cuisine' pasta meal and watching the 'bad' news. Same story everynight: drunk drivers killing mother's crossing the street with kids; corrupt politicians; who's fucking who in Hollywood and how fruits now cause cancer...same ole, same ole. Ariel reached over for the remote when her phone began ringing, she knew it was Cyn.

"Whaddup," Ariel greeted while putting the tray of food on the table

"Nothing me and Serg were gonna go out for dinner but these Italian Vogue fuckers just showed their asses up at the front door and decided to do a spread." Cynthiah said with a sigh

"Oh, it's just so hard being you call me when you got real problems." Ariel said with a laugh and wiping the tomato sauce from her mouth with her old t shirt

"I was worried about you earlier, your ass sounded like you was about to jump off some bridges," Cynthiah said with an evil laugh

"No, and even if I were suicidal I wouldn't be so 'show-offy' the last thing I need is for my body to float over onto some beach--seagulls scare me," Ariel said jokingly

"Yeah, well...how are you?"

"Shitty...but besides that, I took your advice on the hot bath thing so 'less' shitty techincally speaking."

"That's cause all you do is work it's like that scary movie, 'all work and no play'," Cynthiah said giggling

"You're an ass," Ariel said cracking up "I just don't have any money to do much else...this is New York and I don't have an Italian sugarbaby to front the bill."

"Leave my dude out of this, come on now you're young, sexy it don't take but ten bucks to go to the movies or to the club..."

"Yeah, I'm really not into going to movies by myself, I'm still scarred from all those lunch periods in high school where I pretty much did the same thing, only with slightly more utter humiliation."

"How come you don't try those dating websites then?" Cynthiah asked

"Because not only do those things cost money, they don't work."

"You have to open yourself up for something like that--yes, getting your heart broken sucks and you know I've been there too many times but you can't give up."

"Blah, blah, blah. Why does it feel like we have the same fucking conversation everynight 'match maker match maker find me a gun to shoot myself'," Ariel mocks

"Ordinarily I'd hang the phone up on you but I'mma let that slide cause I have some good news--

"The sky is falling?" Ariel interjects

"Hush you morbid fuck. The good news is, I'm gonna be coming over for a week--

"Uh oh, please Cyn it's ok really--

"Girl, you need some human contact in your life and plus don't you miss me?"

"Of course I do...I miss our sleepovers, I miss our shopping sprees with your man's credit card-- I wish you still lived out here." Ariel laments

"Well, I'm coming next Thursday Serg is going over to Mexico for some Mexican MTV awards shit,"

"Oooh, I wanna go!" Ariel says laughing

"Well, look forward to seeing my big ass next week," Cynthiah says laughing

"Did you gain weight!?" Ariel asked shocked

"Girl, I'm so big I had to go to the damn lingerie store for my first girdle...thank the Lord that you're still young cause getting old is certainly no fun."

"At least you have someone who loves you no matter how big you are," Ariel said with a shrug

"That's why you gotta get out there and find someone who will do the same for you. You will never know if you don't search, everything in this life has pros and cons remember that."

*********'

Ariel could feel her emotions doing a total 360 as she waited in the airport that Thursday afternoon for Cyn's arrival. It had been almost a year since Cyn last came to back to visit, despite the fact that all her family is on the East Coast. Ariel's only only guess for that would be that it's just another part of being a model's girlfriend.

"CYN!!" Ariel screamed seeing Cynthiah way in the back of the throngs of people exiting from that flight. Cynthiah still looked exactly the same as Ariel could remember--her black hair still had the same blunt short layer cut that bounced on the back of her neck and she still wore low cut tops no matter what her age--her boobs were still great.

"Girl come here!" Cynthia wailed her arms flung open and Ariel hugged her hard

"Aunty Cyn!"

"Girl I aint your damn aunt!" Cynthiah snapped with a smile and hugged her even harder

"I'm so happy you're here...really."

"And I'm just happy that you're happy,"

"How was your flight?"

"Long and annoying--these airlines don't even fucking feed us anymore I had to smuggle some sunflower seeds onto the flight like a damn dieting terrorist!" Cynthiah exclaimed

"You're a trip," Ariel noted while bright red from laughing

"Welp, this is the only bag I have." Cynthiah referred to the duffle bag hanging off her shoulder

"That's all!?"

"Yep, and one of the few things in here is a gift I picked up for you."

"Ohhh, see, that was our agreement no damn gifts!" Ariel insisted

"Well, I don't give a damn I bought it for you so you're gonna take it--you can hoot and holler all the hell you want," Cyn quipped never missing a beat

"Fine, but it better not have been over $100 dollars," Ariel warned

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that."

*****

"WHAT THE FUCK!?" Ariel shreiked with a grimace "ewww...I remember when the word 'bunny rabbit' used to refer to just cartoon characters and Easter, but this?" Ariel said perplexed while sitting on the floor in her living room with Cynthia

"And it comes with an anal part as well--

"Oh, well of course...what vibrating 'bunny' toy wouldn't be complete without one of those." Ariel said sarcastically while curiously still looking at the device

"Girl you act like you don't own a vibrator--

"No--no, I own several in fact but excuse me for being a little taken aback, the fucking thing has rabbit ears!"

"That's for your cl-

"Ok, exnay on the body parts-nay that gets stimulated-nay!" Ariel insisted

"Prude. Well, on those long work days when you get home feeling all sad it'll be there for you," Cyn teased

"Prude? You know I have one of the dirtiest minds in the damn city--

"Yeah, but not no more, lately you've just been like an old lady."

"Oh, the irony..." Ariel quipped

"Hush child. My point is you're not acting like yourself lately,"

"It's called stress and working sun up till sun down at a job that barely pays the rent."

"You know if you're ever having any finanical trouble all you have to do is call me!"

"It's not always that simple, come on you know that!" Ariel argued

"Girl you're like my damn family--you can't ask your family to help you out when you need it?"

"It's not that...it's just why should I? Why do I always have to rely on people bailing me out. I'm a big girl I went to college, got a degree I have my own place...I don't know what else people expect from me." Ariel said slapping her wrist against her forehead in utter angst

"Need to stop being so damn hard on yourself, if you can't see that you're beautiful and that you deserve happiness in any form then that's a problem."

"I don't think down about myself, I just don't know why whole world seems too." Ariel sighed

"That's what happens when you spend all this time all alone and shut out from the world, you start beating up on yourself for comfort."

"Dr. Cynthia Rowen" Ariel says laughing

"No, fuck a doctor this is wisdom with age speaking young padawan."

"Oh, well my bad. I guess you have a point but lately I've been even too exhausted to lash out on myself or anyone else. Trust me if I wanted to I could easily write a list, number it and write out each and every time I've been wronged and by who, but I'm not gonna."

"Nor am I asking you to, let the past stay there and work towards the future. Don't stay stuck on stupid keep it moving."

"Ok, no more lectures tonight ok? Let's just watch some lifetime movies and get all weepy...deal?"

"Deal." Cynthiah agreed

They got up from the floor and moved up over to the couch.

"Your phone's ringing," Cynthiah said picking it up from the table and handing it to Ariel

"It's my parents," Ariel said and answered it "Hey what's up?"

"What are you doing tonight?" Ariel's mother Evelyn asked

"Cynthiah's here--

"Ohhhh, how nice when did she get in?"

"A few hours ago, we're about to watch some movies and then call it a night--

"Now, are you sure she's not a lesbian?"

"Mom!" Ariel whined

"What, I just was making sure-- it's not everyday that a fourty something year old befriends a young girl,"

"Your mom still thinks I'm molesting you?" Cynthiah asks laughing

"Mom stop saying stupid things." Ariels says exhaling

"You know Ariel if you would've just attempted to make friends while you were in high school you wouldn't have to befriend strange old women--

"You're really afuckingnnoying me right now so is there a point to your calling or are you just gonna bitch?"

"Young lady I suggest you watch your tone." Evelyn said sternly

"What do you want?" Ariel says bluntly

"Well I wanted to ask you if you wanted to come over this Sunday we're having a barbeque, and if you wanted to take Cynthiah along side that would be nice too."

"I'll think about it and call you back ok?"

"Alright make sure you do cause we're also trying to get tickets to one of the baseball games up here, it's just a minor league thing but it's gonna be a sellout."

"Why?"

"The kid who was drafted from around here is making a debut with the team."

"Fascinating..." Ariel said sarcastically " Ok, so I'll call you back soon. Good night."

"Night."

"What did she want besides to bad mouth me?" Cynthiah asked

"She wanted to know if we wanted to go up in Westchester for a barbeque."

"That sounds like fun you wanna go?"

"I just don't wanna hear my folks' mouth, you see how hard I get on you when you try to give me money--they're ten times worse." Ariel lamented

"Well, that's what parents are supposed to do; wouldn't you rather them bug you about helping your butt out than not caring at all?"

"Yeah...I guess," Ariel said softly

"That's why I will never understand your generation call me old school but I like it when folks go out of their way to help me out." Cynthiah continued

"Alright, now I'm feeling all guilty and like a bad child--I wanna go see them I can't remember the last time I took a trip back home." Ariel said reminiscently

"That's not good."

"Yeah...tell me about it, it just feels like time goes by so fast and everytime I stop to realize it I notice all the things I haven't even accomplished and it makes me stress out even more--time speeds up and the vicious cycle continues..."

Ariel's eyes turned to look down at the ground hopelessly, she felt cold and lonely...she hated that feeling. Then seemingly out of nowhere that coldness went away and she felt a surge of warmth on her shoulder, Cynthiah had her right around stretched around her in a hug.

"Thanks," Ariel said feeling flushed

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A/N: 'Bottom of the First' coming soon