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NB: Not fitting the 200 words or less pattern, but a one off because it is thematically identical to the rest.
He came down to see me one evening. The summer chill of approaching rain was welcome in my too hot bedroom. I sat cross-legged and waited. He looked around my room, taking in the drawings and the yellowed hue of the walls. He had helped me colour it with cigarette smoke. Eventually he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“I dreamt of you last night,” he said with a small smile.
“Was I naked?”
“When are you not? It was a good dream.”
“I’m not naked now,” I offered.
“You’re briefly naked.”
I was rather half clothed, indeed. My long hair fell down to cover the low cut of my top. It was particularly hot. He lunged for my wrist, held it and stared for a second. Then he kissed the inside, where my veins were too blue under the thin skin. In years to come, getting a tattoo there hurt spectacularly. His eyes never left mine; the brief protection of my glasses was suddenly not enough.
It started raining, complete with the rolling of thunder.
“I know what you like the most,” he said, licking the side of my wrist.
“Well, you are my established boyfriend,” I told him kindly.
“Such a strong term. Are you sure?”
“I have to be, you’re in my bed and we’re about to have sex.”
“Oh, you’ve decided. I came for dinner, actually.”
“I’m about to come for dinner,” I joked.
“And don’t give me that shit about being in your bed. How many others have been in your bed before?”
I had no answer. No specific one, anyway. “Do you remember all the girls’ special spots?”
“Only the ones I love. And the one I had last night, but she was vile. My ears are still ringing. She had this thing about her ribs, said it made her tickle in a good way.”
I laughed, got up and cooked for him. We had our food on the kitchen balcony, where the storm would occasionally get to us. I sneezed four times – hay fever was a bitch that year.
He later said he loved me again, and this time, when I stopped crying, I said it back.
I went to see him one Sunday. His great grandma was in church. She was partly deaf and fairly blind. Old as fuck as well. We used to call her ‘grand-maman’; the pronunciation was getting progressively worse as we got drunker. She never picked us up on it, bless her. Odds are, she didn’t hear.
He opened the door with sleepy eyes, dressed in jeans and beautifully shirtless. I blinked, then hung my head.
“What’s up?” he asked leaning on the frame. His hand shot out to touch me, but ran through his hair instead. We were still upset or something.
“I can’t find my pencil. The ochre one, you know?”
He sighed and opened his arms to invite me in. They wrapped around me like a cage of sorts. In the entrance to the unexpectedly modern house, he engulfed me in the whole that was his being. If he could let me crawl inside his soul and sit there, waiting for the world to end, he would have.
He was taller than me, with a flair for making me feel safe. It was a home I found myself craving too often for comfort. It scared me the way darkness did, because it left me uncertain of what I would be capable of doing once I realised the gravity of things.
“I’m sorry,’ I told him, my whisper muffled by the skin I was pressed on.
“I know. So am I.”
The door shut quietly behind me while he guided me to the bed. We stood next to it, drinking in each other. When we were finally a tangle of limbs and skin, my chin rested on his chest. He looked down and stroked my cheek,
“Sometimes you look at me with such adoration, it scares me,” he said.
“Shh.” I smiled wider. “That’s because I do adore you,” I replied.
He pretended to get out a notepad. “Can I quote you on that?”
He did; to all our friends. I don’t think I ever lived it down.