The Torment of Stan

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“Stan? Honey. I need you to come down.”

Dustan Mactore sat still on the stone ledge on the roof of his thirteen story apartment building watching the traffic pass by below.

Everything looked so small from so high up, and his flat green eyes surveyed the tiny cars without really seeing them.

“Please, baby. You’re scaring me. Please come down.”

He hadn’t made the conscious decision to do it. His feet had carried him up the staircase as he’d walked in from work, and when he’d reached his floor, he’d just kept on going.

He’d followed them all the way up until he reached the roof, and then he’d pushed the heavy metal door open.

His feet had carried him to the edge, and peering down, he had stared at the concrete sidewalk that lie two hundred and forty feet below for what seemed like an endless amount of time before he had silently crawled onto the ledge, and taken a seat.

His hands pressed flat on the granite beside him, and he had leaned forward as his eyes focused on a single spot below him. The spot he would land if he decided to jump.

He stayed in that position for a good ten minutes before his wife found him, and began pleading with him to come down from his precarious spot atop the stone.

There were tears in her eyes as she sobbed his name again. “Please don’t do this. It will get better. You just have to give it time.”

The wind sifted lightly through his dark hair as a pedestrian passed below, and a small smile lifted his lips as he watched them cross past his landing area.

“I can’t do this anymore,” he said softly. Closing his eyes, he grimaced as pain shot through him. “Just let me do it,” he whispered. “Let me do it, Em.”

Her voice broke as another sob escaped her. “You can’t, Stan. I need you here. I need you to live.”

His green eyes were tortured as they gazed up at the darkening sky. “I don’t want to be here anymore. It hurts too much. I’m dead inside,” he choked.

Taking a cautious step forward, Emily reached out her hand to touch her husband’s back, but dropped it at the last moment in fear. “Do it for me,” she begged in a whisper. “Do it because you love me.”

Dustan turned his head to look at her with red rimmed eyes. The anguish upon his face was apparent. Digging his fingers into the stone, his knuckles whitened as he tried to control the trembling of his mouth.

“Nothing helps,” he gasped in a barely audible tone. “Everyday just gets worse and worse. Let me do this,” he pleaded.

His wife’s blue eyes widened as her thoughts raced, and scrambled for a life line. Anything she could possibly think of to sway him. When she looked back at him her eyes were fierce.

“You’re stronger than you think. You are. You don’t have to do this if you’re willing to fight. You have to fight, Stan. You did it for me when we met. Now, I need you to do it for yourself.”

“I can’t,” he whispered. “Not anymore. I can’t do it.”

“Please,” she begged. “If you love me, you’ll come down from that ledge.”

*****

It was the beginning of the second semester in his first year as a teacher’s aide. He had been astonished that the university had hired him so quickly, but deep down he knew that his uncle’s influence as the director of the board had been a large contributing factor in acquiring the heavily coveted position.

It wasn’t exactly how he had wished to begin his chosen profession, but he wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He was right where he wanted to be, and if his uncle had nudged him along in the process, he was perfectly fine with it.

This was his calling in life. More than anything else in the world, he wanted to teach.

His day began with three classes in the afternoon, a study hall in the university library, and then a final class before his day ended. He was working with his long time mentor, Professor Hollenbeck, and was beyond thrilled to have this opportunity.

It was during the second to last period of the day that his mentor took his dinner break, so Dustan had been assigned to the library to watch over the students in his absence.

His time there over the past week had been quiet, and uneventful, with little to do other than to direct the few students who approached him to a particular row of shelves to find the research they were looking for.

Beyond those few interruptions, he spent the majority of his time sitting at a desk, and had taken to bringing books of his own to keep himself occupied.

He was in the middle of reading The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins, and had become completely engrossed in the plot when he saw her for the very first time.

He just happened to glance up the moment she stepped into the library, and Dustan’s world fell away as he watched her cross the room.

As if she had stepped from the pages of his book, she was a vision in white. She was petite, and slender with large blue eyes, and a halo of golden hair that reached her shoulders.

Her white summer dress had little golden güvenilir bahis flowers etched into it, and the matching white cardigan she wore over it was slightly too large for her small frame. It made her hands practically disappear inside of the sleeves as she hiked her books in her arms to grasp a firmer hold on them.

He watched as she walked towards a table not far from the desk he sat at, and set them down before taking a seat so that she was facing him. Pulling the top book from the stack before her, she set it on the wooden table top, and opened the cover to flip through the first few pages.

He was still thoroughly gawking at her when she happened to lift her head, and caught his eyes upon her.

Dropping his gaze quickly, Dustan peered down at his book as his heart accelerated rapidly. After a moment, he chanced another look at her, and sighed in relief when he saw that she had returned to her reading. It gave him ample opportunity to study her.

She was so delicate that she almost appeared fragile. Her skin was pale, and smooth, and her coloring gave her the look of an angel. For a moment he wondered to himself if she was even real, but then she lifted her head once more, and he looked into her large, blue eyes.

It caused his breath to halt in his chest as he was struck by the beauty of them. They were like two giant, clear pools that dominated her small face, and he was completely entranced by them as she looked at him questioningly. Turning her head to glance about the room, her gaze met his once more as he continued to stare.

Once he finally realized what it was that he was doing, he lowered his eyes to the desk top, and lifted his book as he made every effort not to blush.

When she left her seat, and approached him, Dustan swallowed hard before raising his head to meet her gaze.

Her brows knitted as she looked at him making his apprehension increase. “Are you a teacher here?” she asked softly.

Dustan had to clear his throat before he was able to speak. “Yes. Is there something I can do for you?”

Her frown increased as she looked him over. “You seem awfully young to be a teacher,” she told him.

Dustan faltered as he lowered his book to the table. “I’m a teaching assistant,” he admitted. “I’m working towards my certification.”

“Do you know anything about philosophy?” she asked curiously.

His green eyes widened in surprise before he nodded. “Some. Did you need help with something?”

Her blue eyes became hesitant as she bit her lip. “I’m supposed to write an essay that explores my favorite philosopher’s ideas, but I don’t really have one, and have never taken an interest before. I’m not entirely sure where to start.”

Dustan’s face lit up with a smile. “There’s a lot to choose from. You could go back as far as Aristotle and Plato, or you could stick to more modern philologists such as Friedrich Nietzsche. I guess it all depends on who’s viewpoints you can relate to.”

She seemed at a complete loss. “Most of them seem to talk circles around themselves without ever really getting to a point. It seems like most of philosophy is just throwing out ideas that aren’t really ideas. They’re questions to things that people have trouble accepting the answers to.”

Dustan nodded in agreement, before frowning. “Maybe in order to find the right one, you should think about what your own philosophy in life is, and then try to find one that is like minded in their position.”

His response made her smile as she tilted her head. “That’s actually not that bad of an idea,” she answered. “I’m going to do that.”

Dustan was stunned as he looked up at her. When she smiled it lit up her face so that she became absolutely radiant. He had never seen anything so beautiful in his life.

He felt like he was in a daze as he responded. “I’m glad I could help. Anything that you need you can feel free to come to me. I’m here everyday.”

“I really appreciate that,” she said softly. “What’s your name?”

“It’s Dustan.” Closing his eyes, he shook his head. “I mean, Mr. Mactore.” Sighing, a self deprecating smile passed over his lips. Then he looked up at her sheepishly. “Dustan Mactore,” he finally settled on.

She seemed amused by his indecision. “My name is Emily Woodsen. Thank you for your help, Dustan Mactore.” With another small smile, she turned way from him, and headed back towards her table.

Once she was seated again, Dustan exhaled slowly. The encounter had filled him with so much nervous energy, and elation that he felt like his entire frame was vibrating with it. He found that he was having trouble looking away from her now that their interaction had come to an end.

He had to keep pretending that he was reading the book in front of him, but after twenty minutes he realized that he hadn’t absorbed a single word, and that he was still on the same page he had been on when he started.

When that thought sunk in, he lowered the book to the table once more, and closed it. His türkçe bahis eyes were immediately drawn back to the girl. Her arm was bent, and her elbow rested upon the table as she leaned her head on the top of her hand.

Her eyes were downcast on the book in front of her, and she was completely unaware that he had returned to the rude crime of pointedly staring.

He just couldn’t help himself. She was too lovely for him to look away, and his green eyes feasted on her as if he were starving, and she was his sustenance.

When she lifted her head, and caught him at it again, he physically blanched before forcing his eyes to peer elsewhere in the room. He did it covertly, but when he looked back her eyes were still upon him. He finally blushed as he met her large, blue eyes.

They gazed at one another for a long moment before Dustan finally forced himself to look down. Tapping the edge of the desk with his finger, his mind raced with the impropriety of where his thoughts had taken him. When she left her table to approach his desk once more, Dustan had to struggle to keep breathing normally.

“I think I’ve figured out what my philosophy is,” she told him.

Glancing up at her, he lifted his brows in surprise. “Oh yeah?”

She nodded. Her blue eyes traveled about the room for a moment before returning to him. “I don’t think that people should automatically accept everything that they are told. Just because society says something should be a certain way, or that people have to think a certain way, that they should. I don’t agree with that at all,” she said quietly.

Dustan’s mouth parted slightly as he looked at her. It took him a moment to clear his head enough to respond. “Non conformity would be an interesting topic,” he said in encouragement. “You might like Ayn Rand. She fought the basic principle that art is not art simply because an artist claims it to be. She was also against conformity in her own way.”

Emily’s smile made another appearance as she beamed at him. “I’m an art major. That’s kind of perfect,” she replied.

Dustan nodded quickly as he ran his shaky hands down the front of his thighs. “We might have a few things in the philosophy section of the library. Why don’t we go check it out?” he offered.

Rising from his chair, he stepped around his desk, and turned to walk the length of the room. As she trailed behind him, he passed more than a dozen shelves before he finally reached the one he was looking for, and turned down it’s aisle until he reached the middle of it.

As his eyes trailed over the titles that were placed there, Emily joined him in the small confines of the stacks, and stood patiently waiting as he perused the many different books that were before them.

When he finally found what he was looking for, he reached out to pluck at the binding of a thick, hardcover book, and pulled it from it’s resting spot. Turning to her with it in his hand, he met her eyes.

For a moment he couldn’t help himself, and stared. He felt trapped in the deep blue of her eyes. They made him feel as if he were standing in quick sand, and that he was slowly sinking.

He couldn’t break away. He was still holding the book aloft when he finally spoke. “This should be good,” he said in a daze.

She didn’t respond, or attempt to reach for the book. She stayed still where she was in front of him, and held eye contact as he looked down at her.

He knew that what he was doing was inappropriate, and the thought rushed into his fevered mind as he finally looked away. Focusing on a spot behind her shoulder, he frowned, and cleared his throat.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly. Holding the book out to her, he waited for her to take it.

“What are you sorry for?” she whispered.

Dustan’s green eyes darted back and forth furiously as he wracked his mind for a response. When nothing came to him, he lifted his panicked gaze to hers. “I’m just sorry,” he said thickly.

Dropping the book, it fell to the floor with a thud. In the same moment, he reached out quickly to cup her face in his hands as he leaned down to press his mouth to hers.

His eyes closed as he pushed against her lips feverishly with his own. Just as quickly as he had lunged towards her, he pulled away.

His eyes were wide as he looked down at her, and his breath escaped him raggedly as he waited for her to say something. The harsh words of protest he was expecting never left her lips.

She only looked back at him as stunned as he himself felt. When another ten seconds of silence passed between them, he reached for her again.

When their lips met this time, Dustan pressed his open until hers parted beneath his. When his tongue came out to lightly touch against hers, he felt her hands reach up to splay against his back, and a soft sound of pleasure escaped his throat as she pulled him closer to her.

He lost all sense of decency in that moment as he pushed her up against the shelf, and pressed his body into hers. It made the entire güvenilir bahis siteleri stack wobble on it’s feet, and Dustan broke away to look up at it as his eyes widened.

When it slowed it’s swaying, and stilled once more, he gazed down at her as a soft laugh escaped him. Returning his smile, she closed her eyes when his head descended again.

His fingers slipped into her hair while his thumb brushed along her cheek. Her soft lips parted beneath his again, and Dustan deepened the kiss so that he was stroking into her mouth in a slow, leisurely exploration.

It was hot, wet, and turned him on more than anything else ever had. He had to fight the desire to take it further as she eagerly reciprocated by kissing him back.

When he finally pulled back he looked deeply into her blue eyes as he held her face in his hands. “I don’t want to stop, but we can’t do this here,” he whispered.

Belying his own words, he leaned in to take her mouth again. His self control was barely existent, and after another thirty seconds he forced himself to pull away. His forehead dropped to hers as he exhaled harshly. “There has to be another place that I can see you.”

“Won’t you get into trouble?” she asked breathlessly.

He shook his head. “I don’t care.” Pressing his lips to hers again, he groaned as she opened to him. He couldn’t get enough of her, and he wanted more.

“Tell me where,” he gasped as he pulled back. “I don’t want this to end.”

*****

“How can you say something like that? You know I love you, Emily. I’ve always loved you. It didn’t stop you from leaving me though, did it?” he growled.

Emily bit her lip as she choked back tears. “I didn’t do it to hurt you,” she cried. “Are you doing this to hurt me?”

Turning his head, he looked at her in astonishment. “Of course not,” he snapped.

“I’m just done. There’s nothing left for me here. Every single God damn day of my life I wake up, and wish that I hadn’t. I go through the motions in every single thing that I do, and I can’t find a single moment of joy. It physically fucking hurts to be alive. I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.”

His eyes swelled as tears trickled down his face. Pressing his lips together hard, he fought the desire to break completely apart.

“Do you have any idea what this is like? You’re never here. You have no idea what I’ve been going through. You have no idea how hard this is!”

Emily gasped at the pain that shot through her as she witnessed her husband finally giving up. She knew that she was responsible for his suffering, and she had no idea what she could possibly do to ease it.

“Stan. The police are here,” she said as she wiped her face. “I can hear the sirens. I want you to talk to them when they come up here.”

“There’s no point,” he said stonily. “I’ve made up my mind.”

“Promise me that you’ll talk to them,” she pleaded.

Turning his head, he looked into her beautiful blue eyes. “Why are you doing this to me?” he whispered.

“I’m doing this because I love you,” she gasped.

“No!” Dustan yelled. “You left! You fucking left me! You wouldn’t have fucking left me if you loved me!” Dropping his face into his hands, Dustan let out a strangled sob as his entire body shook. He rocked back, and forth as he fell apart.

“I’m sorry!” Emily cried. “I never should have left! Don’t punish me for it by doing this now. I couldn’t bear it.”

Stepping towards him, she willed him to look at her. When he continued to rock in place her voice became stern. “I’m here now, and I’m begging you not to do this. I’m begging you because I love you, and I don’t want you to die. If you do this, I’ll never be able to live with myself for the rest of my existence.”

When he still wouldn’t look at her, she gentled her tone. “Please. Just talk to the police. They can get you the help you need. Promise me you’ll talk to them.”

Dustan kept his head low as he wiped one of his eyes. Finally, he nodded without turning to look at her. “If that’s what you want,” he said flatly.

“It is,” she said adamantly. “Just wait. They’ll be here soon.”

*****

“We can’t do this anymore.”

Dustan’s eyes widened as he looked at her. He had just dismissed his third class of the day. Emily had left her seat in the fourth row balcony, and had slowly descended the steps to approach him.

He was watching the doorway to ensure that the last student had departed so that he could turn to kiss her when she had spoken the words.

His brows furrowed as he looked at her. “What are you talking about?” he inquired apprehensively.

“This. Us. We can’t do this anymore,” she repeated.

Shaking his head, he reached down to place his hands on her hips before steering her over to his desk. Pushing her back so that she was perched on the end of it, he placed his palms on the desk top beside her thighs, and gazed into her stricken blue eyes.

“Talk to me. What’s going on?” he demanded.

Emily clasped her hands on top of her lap, and fidgeted slightly as she lowered her gaze. She had trouble meeting his eyes as she spoke. “You’re not a teacher’s assistant anymore, Stan,” she said quietly.

He nodded in agreement. “What does that have to do with anything?”

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