Sam: here's hoping that this realism isn't as heartbreaking as the earlier sort.
She smiles sweetly between kisses. I know this, of course, because I peek. I’m a peeker. And were I not by my nature a peeker, a kiss like that is liable to make me one. Strands of her dark hair have jumped ship from the ponytail she had earlier established and they now fall over her shoulders and jitter like puppet strings, leading my lips from her mouth to her porcelain neck. I drop small kisses along her collarbone like a breadcrumb trail and her sighs tell me more than any words that either of us could possibly summon.
The lights are still on. This makes peeking easier. It’s hard to get lost in those ridiculous brown eyes unless I can see them, so mission accomplished. But I stare too long and I get confused. I forget what’s around me. I don’t know where I am or who this beautiful creature is or what I did to instigate warmth like this. But it all comes back to me when she puts her hand on my face and pulls me back in.
She’s substantially shorter than I am, so I’m grateful that a horizontal surface like this twin bed is at our disposal. I brush my fingers against a sliver of exposed skin on her lower back and she draws a sharp intake of air, followed by a deep exhalation directly into my ear. Her breath raises my temperature to an extent with which I may not be entirely comfortable.
But self-actualization is a rare commodity in the proverbial heat of the moment, and my resources are concentrated elsewhere. One hand holds her chin up for easier access and the other tickles her stomach, fingers making occasional dalliances into her perfectly round belly button. These infrequent dips give her a Cheshire grin and make me kiss her teeth, something I never thought I’d be okay with. But they’re white like piano keys and I find myself at their mercy.
She pulls herself away and gets up to turn off the lights. Even in the dark, she glows. The cracks of streetlight leaping through the closed blinds show those teeth again and I can’t help but match and raise her smile. The light exposes a slight purple tint in her hair and I am destroyed.
“Goddamn, you’re pretty,” I whisper as she crawls back into the bed. Even in this strange dark, her cheeks light up with a bright red that I can barely make out. She’s radiating like a space heater and she wraps her arms around my neck and kisses my cheek with more force than I expect.
And then we’re back. Our faces reintroduce themselves and rejoin the conversation.
Hours pass and we temporarily exhaust our vocabulary. She nuzzles her nose into the crink of my neck and begins to breathe regularly, her 9 PM coffee buzz fading. The steady breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out is a metronome on my skin and lulls me as close as you can get to sleep when you’re being rocked to sleep by a night that could, literally, not have gone better.
But I don’t sleep. I peek. Again. And again and again. She’s drifting in and out of Dreamland herself and occasionally peeks herself, only to find me looking at her nose.
“You’re looking at me,” she says, her words drifting between barely parted lips. I kiss her nose and smile.
“Yeah,” I sigh. “I like your nose.” Her grin reappears and she takes a deep breath. I notice that her feet aren’t covered by the blanket. I sit up to rectify the situation, but her hand shoots up and grabs my arm.
“Are you leaving?” she asks.
“Of course not.” I wrap the ends of the blanket around her feet and lay back down. She resumes nuzzling and falls back into sleep.
Or a kind of sleep, anyway. It’s a strange variation, one with which I’m unfamiliar: while ostensibly asleep, every twenty minutes or so, she removes her hands from around my sides, puts them on my face, and kisses me once, hard. Half of the time, she opens her eyes for a moment and smiles before going back to sleep, and the other half, she doesn’t even open her eyes. Is sleep-kissing a documented phenomenon? During the six hours we’re in that bed, trying (or pretending to) sleep, I don’t think I get a solid hour. And every twenty minutes, I realize that I don’t much care.