Freshly laundered white cotton sheets. They weren’t high thread count. They weren’t Egyptian cotton. They were just clean and cool. My naked skin delighted in how soft they felt. It was around 10 pm and the room was dark. The fan above gently whirred circulating cold air. It was humid and muggy outside – A summer night. A sole bedside lamp shone on the book I was reading. Some silly child in it called Sophie kept checking her mailbox filled with inane philosophical questions. Yep, This would make me fall asleep very quickly. I lay on my side ensconced in much softness waiting for slumber to claim me. The pages crackled as I flipped them. Rather quickly, because this book was getting irksome. Precocious fictional 14 year olds should be watching television. Not pondering the meaning of life. I don’t actually believe I was reading the book at all. It was the fibery toastiness of the paper that my fingers secretly enjoyed.
Just as I eyerolled at another inanity in the pages I read…The bed dipped. A warm body crept closer… and closer. Clean cotton sheets were overwhelmed by warm feminine curves. My back tickled by soft breasts. A gentle kiss was bestowed on my neck. I murmured my welcome. Mmm…mmm. I think she was saying hello. Or murmuring her appreciation. I couldn’t tell. But the nerve endings on my nape weren’t going to complain. Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous naked woman pressing butterfly kisses to your body? I reached around and gently stroked her hip. She sighed and snuggled in closer to me. If that was possible. I giggled.
“You are going to push me off the bed!”
“Good, you take up so much space anyway!”
“Only because you don’t need any… grumpy.”
She started poking my ribs in earnest.
“Ow! Ow! That hurts”
I nearly fell off the bed trying to escape the ribbing. Ditching the book in favour of saving myself from physical harm, I quickly turned over and got on top of her. The cotton sheets creasing with our movement.
“You just did that to get me on top of you”, I grinned.
She giggled and shook her head. “What if I did?”
“Well, this position has its advantages” I dipped my head to kiss her. Softly and lazily, I tasted her… and her mint toothpaste. Oh well. Better than chocolate, they say. Her hands wandered over my bare torso, When she playfully tweaked a nipple, I broke the kiss and gasped.
“By god miss, you are randy this evening”, I teased.
Her just nibbled lips broke out into a big smile. “Is that a dwarf I never knew about?”
I chuckled. “Didn’t you know ? Its my favourite one”
She didn’t respond. Her brow furrowed. I lowered myself to her side and cupped her neck, making her look at me. Hers wasn’t a tragically pretty face. It was highly congruent one. Looking at her, one felt the this faint stirring of wanting to get to know her better. Indeed, that was how we had started. I wanted to get to know her better. Her fingers played with my lips. She stared into my eyes. Hers filled with uncertainty. Moving my face closer, I nuzzled her nose urging her to talk to me. Her mouth opened and I felt her sweet wisps’ of breath.
“I’ll miss you”, She finally let out in a rush. Almost as if by saying it, she thought she was going to hurt me.
You know those times you wish you could go back and change and had reacted differently ? This was one of them. I was ready to hear a lot of things. But being missed? Nope, I wasn’t ready for that and it showed. I blinked at her stunned. Suddenly the bed dipped again, the white cotton sheets creased viciously and a large expanse of air rushed into take the void she left beside me as she hurriedly got out of bed. She yanked her robe from the chair on the side of the bed and walked out of the room, shrugging it over her shoulders. Covering her body from my eyes. I think some part of randy me wept when the delicious line of her back flaring at her hips was hidden. Bereft, The sheets and I watched her leave.
All of 2 seconds later, my brain cells kicked in. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Why the heck had I not said anything? It wasn’t like she had said “I love you” ! She had said “I’ll miss you” ! Why hadn’t I said “I’ll miss you too” ? I would! I knew I would! Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Even Sophie wasn’t this stupid. I got up from the bed and woefully shrugged on a shorts and t-shirt for my chase. This would need tact. Not goosebumps. Or peeking nipples.
I walked into the living room. She was sitting on the plump green couch clicking away on her laptop placed on the tiny oak stained coffee table in front. She didn’t look up as I approached her. I tried to read her face but it remained expressionless. I mentally kicked myself. I knew she was trying to keep it deliberately expressionless. Sitting beside her, I looked at her laptop screen. She was watching a YouTube video. Beyond, I glanced at the wide window that overlooked the street. The lights in the room and our reflections shone back at me. We didn’t look all that congruent.
“I sent you that yesterday”, I offered, nervously tucking my hair behind my ear.
“Yeah, I didn’t get around to checking it till now”
Ok. She was open to dialogue. Baby Steps.
“Funny, isn’t it ?” Lame. Lame. Lame. She didn’t respond.
I gently nudged her shoulder.
My eyebrows shot up. Why on earth was she apologizing? Was it a trick ? Was I to immediately shoot back with “Noooo, Nooooo, Nooo…I’m sorry” ?
She looked at me, her eyes pools of black and …just a wee bit of hurt. And there. Then. In that instant, I knew what she was going to say. To my frustration, She started to say it…
“I know we aren’t in a relationship… actually, I don’t know what the heck we are in but I know you don’t owe me anything and … ”
“Shhhhhhh…Don’t”, I shook my head. She didn’t look like she was going to listen to me. Giving voice to a truth that was hard to hear. So I turned my body towards her and pulled her into me. She didn’t resist. Easily enfolded in each others arms, I softly spoke into her ear what I truly meant.
“I’ll miss you too. A lot…”
“Back there”, I continued “I was just overwhelmed that you would miss me at all and …well, I guess I should’ve said something but decided to be an oaf about it and stare at you like a blubbering idiot…I’m sorry. Truly”
I felt her smile against my shoulder. Gently extracting herself from our embrace, she kissed my cheek. She giggled, glanced at my lips and said “They don’t make them like you these days” I laughed. I hadn’t a clue what she meant, But she was smiling again. It was a good thing.
Suddenly, her laptop started belting out a pop track. Apparently, she had been buffering a radio station to play. I groaned disdainfully, “Top 40? Really?” She arched an eyebrow. My randy head registered one word. “Sexy”. Getting up, she pulled me onto my feet. I grinned widely. This was exactly like the first time we met. Moving her hips to the beat, she led us away from the green couch onto our hardwood dance floor. Dropping my hand, she threw hers up in the air and bopped exaggeratedly to the beat. Guffawing out loud, I shuffled over to her side and mimicked her silly movements. We were both laughing hard. I spun her around and brought her against me. We started moving together. In sync. Just like the very first night we danced. And I wanted to get to know her better. As we swayed, I saw ourselves in the mirrored pane. Our shimmying bodies merging with the twinkling city lights. We looked happy. We looked good. And very congruent. A reflection of One Night.