Part I is here
“Mmmm.” Words were too much effort.
After he had stepped gingerly around and over me I began to feel a little silly. Unwilling to make the effort to be less silly I rolled sloppily over and crawled to the top of the stairs. By the time I had achieved standing I was at the open bathroom door. Shirtless, towel slung over his shoulder he stood at the sink, slightly bent, head hanging down, water running full on. It made me sad and also scared.
For a moment I thought he might be angry with me. But when his head rolled to the side he was smiling over his bicep at me. Smiling was good, it was sheepish and forlorn and maybe a little scared, but it was a start. I tilted until my shoulder hit the doorjamb and I smiled back. He ran his hands under the water, soaped them, leaned down to splash water on his face and these simple movements, things I never watched him do when he lived here drew me to him. I could feel tears in my throat and I wanted to somehow pin him down in this place even though I knew that was impossible.
I settled for kissing his shoulder with my open mouth and leaning into him. He leaned back a little without setting me off balance while he dried his face. Then he looked at me again.
“Come here” manipulating me gently he pulled the bottom drawer of the vanity open with his toe. He’d taken his boots off; they were jumbled together next to the toilet. Then he adjusted the water, reached back to the shower curtain rod and took the washcloth down. Gently tapping my thigh he got me to put my foot up on the edge of the drawer. He knelt while the cloth soaked in the sink. Ringing it out he draped it over his hand and swabbed the insides of my thighs, moving upward and cleaning me.
He’d never done this before. We were never people to shower together, I never had the urge to shave him, he never painted my toenails in bed. When we were naked we were single minded. It felt strange and not altogether bad and it was definitely not helping me to swallow those tears. Also, predictably it’s a fairly arousing thing, sort of defeating the purpose.
I took the cloth from him, dropped it into the sink and led him through the door and into the bedroom. I had my back to him but I thought I could feel him looking around the room suspiciously.
When we got to the huge California King bed I turned and sat. I was eye to eye with a belt I grabbed off a rack in a December 24th present buying panic two years ago. It was worn but still sturdy and the snap of the leather was music to my ears as I flipped it open. I was getting that view again of him twitching and leaping under the denim. I smoothed both hands over it on my way to the buttons. I wanted to wipe the sad off his face and this was the only way I knew how. I flipped the buttons open and slid his jeans down his legs. He still goes commando. I love that. While he negotiated his feet I pulled off my shirt and stood to shimmy out of my wrinkled skirt. This put me inches from his chest. He’s lickable, so I did.
For some reason the man who had been so take charge up to now seemed undone. His hands were waving slightly at his sides. So I pulled him down with me as I fell to the bed, forcing him to put his hands out to keep from crushing me. And that seemed to do it. Our lips mashed against each other, our hands were everywhere, it was like meeting a friend for the first time in months. There are so many things to say and you don’t know where to start and so you just keep starting a subject and remembering another and veering off to another and then thinking of a third thing. We rolled, we bucked until I grabbed his hair, hard and pulled his head back so I could look him in the eye. Two bodies, one mind.
He lunged for his pants at the bottom of the bed while I stretched to the bedside table. We met back in the middle, each holding a condom, and the moment was awkward. I’ve never been rocketed back into reality so fast. We didn’t use condoms together. We use them now. We keep them handy. That moment exposed all the little lies of omission we’d been conveniently letting slide in the quest for our new, healthy post-love friendship. Questions and demands crowded my brain and I was suddenly intensely angry.
I grabbed the package out of his hand and gave him a not completely pleasant shove onto his back. Straddling him I ripped the foil open with my teeth and in a flash I’d rolled the condom onto him. I was showing off my expertise. I pumped him twice, firmly and watched his eyes squint shut. The memory of him doing that the first time we were in this bed was so strong and so painful that it fueled my anger. I raised myself high on my knees, rubbed the head of his cock up and down my lips and plunged slowly down onto him. He drew in air through clenched teeth and his hands reflexively moved to my hips. I moved up and down slowly then quickly a few times and his head was banging back and forth on the quilt before he could focus his eyes on me. I pinched my nipples and roughly rubbed my hands down my body to my clit. He was quick on the draw, moving to replace my fingers with his. I pushed his hand away and he tried again. I slapped it back fiercely and glared at him. I put three fingers on his lips, “Wet” I demanded. And he obliged, quickly coating them with saliva. I used them back on my clit. Savagely pulling and rubbing it. He couldn’t seem to decide whether to watch my hands or my face, he wasn’t completely comfortable. But he was excited. I could feel his prick pulsing inside me. I leaned back, one hand on his calf to support me, and inside me he pressed forward and it felt so good. Two more seconds and I crashed into orgasm.
It was good, it made the emotion rush out of me and the tears were at the back of my throat again. So I leaned forward and kissed him while I grabbed his shoulders and rolled him. I held him with my arms, my legs and began to whisper in his ear. If I whispered I could keep control of my voice, because the tears were all the way up in my eyes. I told him how big he was in me, that I wanted him, that he could go harder. I squeezed his cock with my velvet vice. Finally I swore over and over and rubbed his ass, one finger sliding down the crack and he pounded me quickly before he came.
That was familiar. He was collapsed on top of me, his breath warm on my neck. After a few moments the breath was replaced by gentle pecking kisses as he extracted himself from me, politely holding the condom and disappearing to dispose of it.
I took the opportunity to get under the covers and roll over onto my side, keeping my back to the bathroom door because the tears had spilled out of my eyes and I couldn’t stop them. I wasn’t sobbing. I didn’t feel the need but the crying part, it was a thing of its own, all the pain and the memory had to come out of me somewhere. I’m glad that we hadn’t turned on the bedroom lights. Just the streetlight seeping in through the half closed curtains. He padded quietly back in and I stayed very still. He slid in next to me, molded his warm, smooth body to mine and I had to swallow back a sob. It was the arm he snaked under my neck that did it. He felt the dampness on the pillow and used a thumb to check my cheek. I tried to move away but he held me close and simply murmured my name. What could I do? I turned and looked him in the eye. Tears still running down my face. Leaning in he licked my cheek clean. It was too much, my breath turned ragged then and I couldn’t keep silent anymore. Bless him, he didn’t look away, but I saw the tears coming to him too. Finally I couldn’t watch any more, I wrapped myself in his arms, curled up into the fetal position with him spooned around me and just concentrated on breathing. The last thing I felt before I drifted off was his kiss on the nape of my neck.
A few hours later I woke up to sunlight and a breeze from the open window. It was early but not very. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep again, tried to enjoy the feel of waking up next to someone again. It was no use. I was stuffy from the crying and I had to pee and I couldn’t stop wondering what my hair looked like. So I extricated myself from a tangle of blankets and limbs and pillows. I’d forgotten what a messy sleeper he was.
Once I got myself vaguely put together - tank top, underwear, hair clip – I found myself downstairs. I hadn’t finished washing the wine glasses the night before. Figuring I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything more difficult I give them a go.
I have a photograph above the splashguard behind the sink. It’s an ocean view and we took it from the balcony of our hotel room on our trip to California. I put the photo there after he left. I needed to remind myself that there were good times. That I hadn’t wasted the years with him. First it made me angry, then I just started to ignore it. Today it reminds me of the trip. Novel that.
We had frequent flier miles. We were sick of winter and our friends and our jobs and I saw a sale in the paper. 24 hours later we were ensconced in the cheapest hotel room on the beach. At sunset we took that picture. It was the only time we ever did anything that spontaneous. And it was one of only three vacations that we took that didn’t involve a national holiday and/or a family visit. Other than that it was thoroughly unremarkable.
Still, I remembered it fondly for that first night. As the sun set we curled up in the lounge chair on the balcony drinking beer and talking. Not about all the things we’d left that we hated but about dreams and thoughts and memories. When we went inside the pattern of the plastic was deeply imprinted on my ass and he teased me mercilessly while kissing and massaging it away.
While I was remembering that he snuck up behind me and hugged me, kissing the side of my neck. I leaned into it automatically. I felt him start to peel away and then he was back. I twisted back a bit and saw that he was staring at the picture. I was about to make some excuse when he palmed my chin and kissed me firmly as though he were trying to write something on my lips. With a moment to press our foreheads together he headed off to the kitchen table to put on his boots.
My hands never made it out of the dishwater. I forgot to wash glasses while I cast about for something to say. There was so much to say and none of it was coming to the forefront.
Then he was back, one hand on my neck he kissed the part in my hair and whispered in my ear, “Morning.”
The door latched shut behind him and my breath gasped out of my body. I couldn’t seem to breath in again.
Ticking clock, refrigerator humming, the dog next door.
The door didn’t open again.
And my fingers were turning to prunes.