Trail Run


It was early morning. The sun had just turned a darkened sky to a pale silvery gray. A heavy fog blanketed the forest-floor while a mist continued to float down on everything beneath the canopy. I doubted very much that there was another soul near me, for miles. That was good. That was exactly the way I wished it to be. Becoming lost in thought, I ran harder, faster.

The sound of the leaves and sticks crunching under my weight brought comfort in their familiarity. Keeping my breathing regular, I detected the subtle scent of ozone in the air. It would rain soon. And yet, even the threat of the approaching rain, had not given me reason to stop my run. I needed this run more than I needed to be warm and dry. Leaping over a fallen log, I tried to push past my lousy week, wanting to forget my job, my complicated family, my every worry.

I felt a gust of wind kick up along the trail. I ignored it, pushing on with even greater determination. A few strands of my long brown hair clung to the nape of my neck despite the fact that I had pulled it back into a ponytail. I was a blur of pale blue to anything that might have seen me as I veered to the left and the more challenging path.

A wince touched my brown eyes with the feel of a branch scratching at my arm but, I continued upward, feeling the arrival of the burning within my lungs. If I could take a moment to appreciate the scene that was slowly unfolding before me, I might be able to admit that the never- ending sea of greenery and forestry was truly awe-inspiring. There was no time for that.

Reaching the summit of the massive hilltop, I took no time to rest. Instead, I braced myself for the long trek down the terrain which if I was not careful could prove to be more dangerous. I jumped down, feeling the loose earth beneath my feet slide. Hopping from the sliding ground to another section further down and then to another when that part also began to loosen beneath the weight of my body, I maneuvered my way down the treacherous path. This was actually my favorite part of the run. Whether I was skiing or running, the fast-paced aspect, of the downhill challenge, always sent my heart racing.

I knew that when my feet touched down on an already sliding bit of earth that I was in trouble. I struggled to keep my balance but, it was too late. The wind was knocked out of me, when I impacted mercilessly against forest-floor. I rolled down the hill, bumping and brushing obstacles while struggling to grasp hold of something, anything before I fell any more down this tricky path. My right arm reached out to a large root which had grown up from beneath the soil. I gripped it tightly, feeling my body grind to a halt at the edge of a steep drop-off. Defying my better judgement, I rolled my head slowly to the left, peeking over the edge to see just how far the drop might have been.

“Oh, God!” I groaned as I stared down into the sudden valley created by the old riverbed. Rolling back onto my back, I stared up at the sky above me. “What the hell am I doing?”

I sighed while trying to catch my breath. I was hurt. There was no question about that. My left ankle was throbbing. I knew that I would not be able to walk on it. There was no one around for miles. That was exactly the reason that I had come. I needed to feel that I was here alone. I needed this place in all its solitude to rejuvenate me.

“This is just perfect,” I said in frustration. I hit the earth with my fist. “The perfect end to a God-awful week!”

The large droplet rolling down my cheek caused me to sniffle and wipe it away. Another, larger droplet landing directly in the center of my forehead. “Great! Just great! It’s going rain, soon. What else could go wrong?!”

A loud clap of thunder causing several birds within the trees above to scatter with fright seemed to answer me. I felt a stinging at my brown eyes. Wearily, I closed my eyes. The sound of something coming made me tense. It was not long before a fast panting and the sound of an animal drawing closer sent my heart racing.

Slowly, I opened my eyes to see a wolf staring me directly in the face. I was about to scream, when I felt the animal lightly lick my cheek in a show of affection. I looked closer, seeing that it was not a wolf at all but, a large German Shepard. In my entire life, I had never seen such a beautiful animal.

The dog was a pale white with the bluest eyes I had ever seen. It would have been all too easy to believe that this was its wilder cousin.

I watched the dog nuzzle my cheek just before she started to leave barking loudly. “Hey, wait,” I said, trying to sit up. I stopped with a hissed intake of breath, when the pain caused me to rest on my side.

“Rosie!” I heard a woman call. “Where are you, girl?”

The excited barking of the dog made me smile. “So your name is Rosie, huh?”

Sheets of rain pierced, through the canopy, falling onto me without mercy. I pulled myself upward, clawing at the ground and sliding to find some shelter under the nearest tree. All the while, Rosie stood vigil at my side. Closing görükle escort my eyes, I rested for a moment. A hand caressing my cheek roused me.

I stared into concerned green eyes although, I could barely make out the woman’s face with the red sports jacket that she had draped over our heads in the hopes that it might protect us just a bit from the elements.

“What happened?” I heard a lyrical voice ask softly.

“Well,” I said, “I woke up this morning and thought, ‘It might be kind of nice to slide down the side of a mountain. Then, I might sit out in the rain.’ What about you?”

I witnessed the woman withdrawing a bit from me. I winced. This woman was trying to help me. There was no reason to take my frustrations out on her.

The woman moved her jacket from overhead, revealing herself to curious eyes. Long white-blonde hair hung down around her face as she searched my eyes. The attire that tightly garbed her body was so similar to my own in all but, the color. She was wearing what by all accounts should be a sports bra and not a shirt but, nevertheless, it was her shirt. The black running pants that fitted to her long legs might have been made just to fit her alone because I sincerely doubted that anyone else would be able to wear them the way this woman was.

“I’m sorry. I just— I’ve had a rotten week and I shouldn’t take things out on you.”

She clasped her hands together, as she spoke in a voice dripping with sarcasm. “You mean, you didn’t mean that?! And here I was thinking, ‘Wow, this goes perfectly, with the desire which woke ME up this morning.’ I kept thinking, that it would be simply wonderful to go for a nice trail-run and then help some hurt stranger that I might happen upon. Maybe if I am really lucky, I can get bitched at for my trouble!”

I laughed under my breath as this woman batted her long lashes melodramatically. “Ok, I guess I had that coming.”

“Uh-huh. You did, love.”

“I slipped on some loose terrain then fell,” I said. “I think I’ve twisted my ankle.”

“Of course, you did. We’re girls.”

I frowned in confusion.

“By the way, my name is Lee,” the blonde said. “Well, actually my name is Lesley but, you can call me, Lee or Les or whatever you want. I’m rambling. Aren’t I?” When I nodded, she laughed.

“My name is Logan. Why did you say that about us being girls?”

“You ever noticed that whenever a woman is running and hurts herself, it is always her ankle which is injured. It’s like the classic cliche. The woman runs away from some terrible monster. Then, boom! She’s on the ground. She just twisted her ankle.”

Green eyes fell heavily on me as I squirmed.

“I suppose, the only question left to ask is, ‘What was this Monster, that you were running away from, Logan?’”

I tensed. “Are we gonna sit here and gossip in the rain all day or did you have, some plan, for helping me out of here?”

Lesley smiled knowingly. “Ah, avoidance. Must be pretty bad, then.”

“Look, are we going to get out of here or— ”

Shrugging, Lesley rose to her feet. “If you don’t want to talk about it— ”

“I don’t want to talk about it!”

Lesley smiled while nodding. “You may say that you don’t want to talk about it but, you really do, Logan.”

“That’s funny,” I said in sarcasm. “I thought I just said that I DIDN’T want to talk about!”

“Okay, love.” Lesley held up her hands in a show of surrender. “You don’t want to talk about it. I get it.”

I noticed the mischievous look glinting within her beautiful green eyes. “I’m going to have trouble with you. I just know it.” The smile which she favored me with, only furthered my belief in that theory. I laughed as Rosie barked in agreement. “See, Rosie agrees with me!”

Lesley smiled warmly at her companion before patting her side. “Traitor,” she joked as her dog panted happily.

As she wrapped her arm around my waist and helped me to stand, I caught the scent of the rain in her long blonde hair. I couldn’t help but, think that it was mixing well with the scent of her shampoo which smelt of peaches. Once I was standing upright, or at least, leaning against her for support, she helped me rest against the rough tree. I stared at her curiously, wondering what she was about to do.

Turning her back to me, Lesley bent her long legs at the knees then motioned for me to climb on. “Come on.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. “You can’t walk the rest of the way out of here with ME on your back.”

Lesley looked over my petite body. “You either ride on my back or I’ll carry you some other way. Perhaps, over my shoulder. Either way, your call.”

The idea of being toted around over her shoulder like some lumpy bag of potatoes did not appeal to me at all. I reached out with my hands, climbing onto her back with her help. It didn’t seem to phase her that I was there at all, I noticed as she made her way through the trail with me riding atop her back.

After some time of walking in silence, I had to say something. The silence was driving bursa escort bayan me crazy. “What would you like to talk about?”

She looked at me over her shoulder with a smirk. “I thought that you didn’t want to talk, Logan.”

“Well, say something. This silence is maddening.”

Lesley laughed. “Listen to the rain hitting the trees or the water trickling down the creek.” She squeezed my leg affectionately. “We’re in the middle of a beautiful forest, love. It’s never really silent.”

With a sigh, I rested my chin on her shoulder, catching the sounds of birds nearby. She was right. It was peaceful here which I suppose deep down was why I had come here, in the first place.

“Things were really stressful this week,” I found myself saying. “I suppose that is the monster I was running from, when I fell.”

“I thought you didn’t want to talk about that.” Lesley grunted with exertion as we descended a particularly tricky part of the trail.

I sighed. “I’m really sorry that I bit your head off back there. I’m really not like that at all. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of me. You must think I’m awful.”

Lesley kissed the forearm around her neck. “I don’t think you are awful,” she assured me. “Would I be carrying you through the woods, if I did?”

Laughing, I felt myself starting to feel a bit better. “I guess not.”

“If anything, I thought that you were someone in more pain than your twisted ankle. I meant what I said. You did seem as though you genuinely needed to talk about what was on your mind, even if you didn’t necessarily WANT to talk about it.”

Lesley didn’t know how right she was with that one. I did need to talk about things. I had been keeping things so bottled up lately, that my only release seemed to be, these trail-runs but, with my ankle like it was, that form of release was going to have to wait a bit.

“From now on,” Lesley said in a soft voice. “If you need to talk… about anything… you talk to me. I will always listen, okay.” She laughed, adding, “And no more trail-running alone!”

Rosie barked in agreement.

I smiled against Lesley’s shoulder. “But, who would I run with?”

Lesley shook her head with a giggled response. “Honestly, why I even bother trying to do a good deed for a smartass like you, is beyond me.”

“I’m not sure,” I laughed. “Maybe you’re some sort of sadomasochist at heart.”

“I must be to put up with this sort of abuse.”

We each fell silent for a moment before I hugged her shoulders gently.

“Les,” I whispered.

“Yes, babe?”

“Thank you.”

We made it safely off the trail that day. In months to come, there were many trail-runs together. She became a very key part of my life. Just as she had asked, whenever I felt the need to talk with someone, I would call her to suggest a run. She was always up for it which meant so much to me as we grew closer.

Today, was another such day. I had called her the night before asking if she would meet me for an early morning run.

Lesley had become very good at reading my moods and gaged this as a bit of an emergency. She immediately agreed to meet me.

My brown eyes watched Lesley closely as we steeped out of her Wrangler. For a moment, I was briefly distracted by the fact that Rosie hurried off without any warning to set out on some adventure without us. The fact was, that I had so much on my mind other than Rosie’s whereabouts.

In this time in which we stretched, we might have usually taken the opportunity to talk. However, I could not bring myself to do that on this morning. It bothered me so much that the one person, who I had come to rely upon so much was the one person that I could not talk with this about.

As she bent down to stretch her hamstrings, I took in the beauty of her shape. She grasped hold of her ankles tormenting me to no end.

I wanted her. I wanted her so much. My hands ached to caress those long legs being hugged so tightly in within her running pants. My mouth wanted desperately to kiss over her full breasts, to suckle at the erected nipples which immediately stood on end with the cool morning air, pressing out defiantly against the stretchy fabric of her sports bra. I felt my excitement growing and knew that I must leave for my run or she would feel my lustful gaze on her.

I briefly took another moment to stretch. I could hear her calling to me over my shoulder, warning me against this act and then asking me to wait but, I wouldn’t wait. I didn’t listen. I had a lot of things on my mind and needed to think. Here in this place, these woods, I found a bit of peace and needed that now.

It was not too long before I heard the footsteps of the talented athlete behind me catching up to me. Lesley seemed to know every inch of this mountain-side. The hills, the forest’s floor, none of this proved too much for her.

My peripheral vision saw her. She was stunning in all black with her long white-blonde hair swept back into a ponytail.

“What’s the matter, baby?” bursa escort Lesley asked in a voice that sounded more like the concerned lover than a worried friend. It was true. She and I had become so much closer in recent months. I had thought that we might be evolving past friendship but, that seemed to come to a grinding halt when I called her a few days before in the hopes that we might discuss our growing feelings for one, another.

The phone had been answered by a sultry voice, belonging to someone named, Denise, who playfully told me that Lesley was, “busy.” A heartbeat in which my own heart felt like crumbling, passed before I heard Lesley in the background. Lesley sounded so happy with this woman.

I hadn’t left a message I had simply mumbled a quick response and hung up the phone as quickly as possible. Since that had happened, I had not been able to think of much else.

How could I have allowed my chance with Lesley slip through my fingers that way, I wondered. Did I lose her?

“Faster,” I said breathlessly as together we leapt over a fallen tree.

Together, we sprinted through the forest dodging obstacle after obstacle in a heated race.

“Logan, what’s wrong?” Lesley saw that up ahead there was a sudden drop off. She narrowed her eyes on it, trying to judge how wide the opening was but, in the early morning light it was too hard to tell. “We have to stop!”

“No!” I pushed harder despite her protests. I hurdled across the wound in the earth, hearing her crying out to me as I did. I landed safely on the other side although, not by much, I realized as I looked over my shoulder to the trench behind me. It was then that I finally stopped. I took a few steps away from the drop-off then, bent over resting my hands wearily on my knees.

“What the hell has gotten into you?”

I shook my head, avoiding her eyes. I knew that I couldn’t look into her gorgeous green eyes or she would know everything.

Lesley paced along the other side of the drop-off like a caged animal. There was a seductive manner in the way that she held her eyes on me, studying me, my every move. She was looking at me from behind long blonde lashes. Her mouth remained opened as she tried to catch her breath.

What was she looking for? I tensed knowing that if anyone could read me, it was, her.

“Are you going to tell me what is bothering you or do I have to come over there and make you?” I heard her say in such a luring voice that I might have told her anything that she wished to know from the moment that I could first remember.

I glanced up at her. She was still pacing, still beautiful.

“This isn’t work related,” she said knowingly. “If it were, you would have told me by now. And I know that you aren’t seeing anyone right now, so this can’t be a relationship problem.” Lesley stopped narrowing her green eyes on me. “That means that it has something to do with me. That’s the only thing that makes any sense. That’s why you won’t talk to me. That’s why you won’t tell me what it bothering you.” When I hurried to look away, she said, “That’s why you won’t even LOOK at me!”

“You know, Lesley,” I started weakly. “My entire world does not revolve around you!” Although, I might like, for it to, I admitted inwardly.

Lesley back away several feet before sprinting to the edge and making the jump across the drop-off look incredibly easy. She walked over to me, studying me too much for my own comfort.

I was shocked when she knelt down in front of me, looking up at me with those mesmerizing green eyes. Her hands on my hips felt amazing. A soft little moan left my lips as a result of her touch.

“You’ve hardly spoken to me in the last few days, my friend,” Lesley whispered.

“Your friend,” I found myself repeating. “Is that what we are? Friends?”

She looked at me with confusion in her eyes. “Yes, of course, we are.”

“Is that all?”

“Is that what this is about, Logan? Is that why you jumped over that ledge? You could’ve been hurt! You know that, don’t you?”

“I was trail-running,” I countered. “That’s what you do, when you are out here. You avoid obstacles.”

I was surprised to see tears forming in her eyes. “What?”

“Why are you looking at me that way?”

“What way?” I tried to pull away from her but, she would not let me go.

“Like you are angry with me, like I’ve hurt you,” Lesley answered with a wavering voice.

It was then that I finally did manage to pull away from the taller woman. “We should hurry and finish the trail. You will probably want to get back. I know that you don’t want to keep Denise waiting.”

Lesley’s jaw dropped with my words. “How do you know about her?”

“Does it matter?” I shrugged, resigned to believe that if I detached myself from this entire situation it might not hurt nearly as much.

“It isn’t what you think it is.”

I huffed a laugh. “That has got to be the lamest excuse in the book, Les.” I waved her words off. “It doesn’t matter. It’s not as if you and I are an item or anything.”

When I glanced over at her, I saw her face blanch terribly. My stomach knotted with the sight of the tears which I had inspired. I thought back to the first day that we had met. Why was I always saying such awful things to her in these woods, when I did not mean them at all?

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