It's not the way she dances. It's not even the way that dress looks on her, basically second skin. It's the way she laughs that gets me: wholeheartedly, carefree, with the only question needing an answer is what song is going to be next. It's a side of her that I have not seen in a long time, even when we disregard the losing of our child. Before that it was the fight between me and Gabriel, or me being gone all the time, or some creepy Portuguese man coming to interrupt what should have been a perfect night, or some other kind of wrench that got thrown into our paths. Looking back, the moments we were truly carefree have been few and far between. 
It is, without a sliver of doubt, my favourite side of her. A thousand thoughts dance through my head, none of them comprehensive but a single one. I beckon Brie over, who at first looks mildly annoyed that I dare pull him out of his flow, but then he must see something on my face because that annoyance gets abruptly dropped, making place for intrigue. 
"There is something I need to do," I say in a hushed tone, heart hammering in my chest. "and I'm going to need your help for a lot of it."

We stumble into the car, Mark arriving exactly when he needs to. This, too, reminds me of our first official date, when Mark drove us because I wanted to show off, and it worked out exceptionally well because it gave Emma and me opportunity to drive each other mad by trying not to touch each other. The same energy hangs between us now, Emma hyped up from the last dance with her friends and me from the decision I just made. It is very different this time, because Emma has been holding back for my sake for weeks now. She is further in this than I am, but tonight more than ever I desperately want us to be on the same page - wherever that page may be. But under Mark's watchful eye I know better than to initiate anything that I might not be able - or want - to stop. He catches my eye more than once through the rearview mirror, and while I can only see his eyes I know that he's grinning. 
Besides me, Emma is buzzing. I see how her hand hovers, anxious to do something, just uncertain of what. A pang of guilt cuts through me. How was I ever able to feel a bitter sense of righteousness, that she now also knew how it felt?
I'm staring. I notice only when Emma's voice jolts me awake. "You're staring."
"I know." I breathe, grinning. I am not drunk, and neither is she, but neither of us is sober. Maybe that's what we need; a blurring of the lines, just long enough to make us realise those lines are bullshit anyway.
"Why?" 
"Because I want to."

There is tension between us when we finally get inside our apartment. Blurred lines, just long enough. I want to grab her wrist and kiss her, for however long my brain allows me to, but before I can even start reaching I nearly trip over that damn monster of a cat. 
"Jesus fucking Christ, Frank." I hiss, grabbing at the wall to maintain balance. Emma unsuccessfully smothers her laugh behind her hands. Frank just screams. 
"He's hungry." Emma notes. 
"You'd think?" 
I feed him. Emma watches me from a small distance, her eyes on me at all times. Something has shifted when I tripped over the cat. There is still tension, but it's… different now. I can't explain it exactly. It's not as frantic as it was in the car, less urgent. But it's very much still there, and gets rekindled when I catch Emma's eye after filling Frank's bowl. They hold that same kind of love I saw in them after I'd finished playing. A fierce, burning love that could fuel me for a lifetime if she'd let me have it. She doesn't move when I approach her, just looks up at me as I close the last distance between us. Her cheeks are flushed from alcohol and excitement, her carefully styled hair slightly frizzled and out of place. Her makeup has run after being in a hot room for hours on end, and her lipstick has mostly faded except for the corners of her mouth. 
She is still the most exquisite thing I have ever seen. 
"Hold still." I whisper, reaching up to wrap my hands around her face. She obeys. When my face comes closer to hers, her eyes flutter close. Her breath against my skin makes me shiver. 
The kiss is careful at first, lips barely touching. Against many parallels from the start of our relationship on this night, this resembles nothing of our first kiss. 
At least, that's what I think at first. 
But the kiss quickly deepens and I feel Emma twitch, trying to hold true to her promise of staying still. Giving me space to move away, to say no. But I don't want to.
In actions, it does not resemble our first kiss. But there is a need, a desperation in both of us that matched that night flawlessly. 
When I gently push Emma's mouth open with my own, testing waters still despite my patience stretching so very thin, she finally caves: she flings her arms around my neck and pulls me down to her, the kiss immediately more urgent than a second before. My hands grab her waist, pulling her flush against me where she fits so perfectly. A moan that I'm not sure is hers or mine, a stumble when we nearly topple over because we are no longer used to the balance of us together. 
All questions are asked and answered in that kiss, lines blurred until they have disappeared entirely. Her hands knot in my hair, clutching it with sheer desperation as if I might be stupid enough to move away from her. I don't. I move as closely to her as possible, clinging to her like letting go now would cause everything that we build tonight to shatter. 
A nervous laugh when we finally find the bed, her hand that runs down my chest and nearly causes me to come undone. Our eyes meet, and for a brief moment the whole thing gets paused.
"Are you…?" She asks. 
I answer and press play by kissing her again.

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