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Drowning to Breathe(118)

By:A.L. Jackson

It was the polished song that’d seeped from us on our wedding night. Like it’d always been hidden somewhere inside the two of us, waiting for the right moment to be cut free.

The one she and I had mastered then sat down with the rest of the guys and recorded it months ago, before we made the permanent move back here to Savannah.

You would be on our album releasing in two months.

Sunder featuring Shea Stone.


Not Delaney Rhoads.

Just like she’d told Martin.

Delaney Rhoads had died a long time ago.

This song was nothing like what Sunder normally put out. There was no anger or hate. No screaming lyrics or smashing beat.

It was slow reverence.

Creeping awe.


Pure, unadulterated love.

From my phone, my voice wove with the chords. Deep. Naked. Exposed.


Came like a storm.

In the distance.

Coming closer.


Took me whole.

Broken pieces.

Mended perfectly.

Leaning in closer to my girl, I began to quietly sing along with the elevating chorus that played from my phone, my raspy voice a low, pleading rumble.

Our breaths mixed on ragged pants as we got lost in the promise of the words.

Don’t want to look back.

Don’t want to move forward.

Just want to stay.

Right here with you.


Just want to stay.

Right here with you.


My nerves pinged like lightning bolts, a zing of ecstasy striking me through when her siren’s voice slowly lifted into the recording, low and sultry, Shea singing With you forever three times over. A layered, honeyed harmony, her voice braided through mine.

Redness rushed up Shea’s neck when her melody infiltrated the space. Delicious color paintin’ her cheeks in innocence and modesty dabbled with awe. Ever so subtly, she began to move her mouth, tipping her face up toward mine as I sang down to her and she sang up to me.

Didn’t matter how many times I’d heard it. I still felt my axis shift when the chorus drifted out and into the delicate frame of her verse.


Like standing in quicksand.

Slowly sinking.

Deeper and deeper.


All I was missing.

Lonely hollows.

Completed flawlessly.

I wound Shea’s hair up in my fist, tugging her head back as I hovered over her, nose-to-nose, breath-to-breath. Intensity that would never dull blistered between us. Voices deepened in the same moment they gained power, twisting and twining as the momentum escalated, the roll of the drums and the beat of the bass, a pounding furor that trembled in the air and vibrated from our tongues.

Don’t want to look back.

Don’t want to move forward.

Just want to stay.

Right here with you.


Just want to stay.

Right here with you.


When the song hit the bridge, Shea’s voice rose above mine. Her time to shine. Bold. Glorious. Gushing beauty. A river of serenity. A voice unlike anything any of us had ever heard.

Be still, right here with me, for eternity.

Be still, right here with me, for eternity.

A shining star always so content to hide.

But no.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not when the world got a real taste of this amazing girl.

What would it bring?

I didn’t know.

It was like I could feel the clock ticking down on my days with Sunder.

So much had changed in the last year. All of our lives were going down paths none of us had anticipated. Karl Fitzpatrick had warned me settling down with Shea would be the downfall of Sunder.

Maybe it had, because none of Sunder really knew were we stood, each of our lives taking paths none of us had anticipated.

Truth was?

I’d rather be right here.

Making beautiful music with my wife.

Reveling in the truth of our words.

Savoring in the tenor of our kisses.

Relishing in the crescendo of our bodies.

I’d rather be right here.

Writing the lyrics to an everlasting song.

The End