A walk by the sea

Adding this chapter here, just in case. I wish to keep the entire story thread on the message board, and I am not risking its life because of this- this- thudalicious little chappie. Not too harmful, but who knows. With this story, I like to play it safe…


Chapter 31

She awoke in the night, disturbed by strange dreams of longing and solitude. She was chased, or she was screaming without a sound in the middle of an endless desert, or sitting on the seaside all alone. Each time, she felt her heart drum in her ears and her lungs contract in panic, and each time, she turned to see him asleep by her side.

He was sleeping very soundly, and every time she watched his closed eyelids, she died a little. Remembering his kisses, his embraces, his loving words. Was he real? Would she wake up to her after-dream world in the morning? Each time, she went back to her fitful sleep with the terror nesting inside her. He would be gone by dawn.

But he was still there when the sun was already chasing the last stars off the sky, a sky clear and pale blue and fresh from the hearty storm of the previous night. Mary took deep breaths of the wonderful morning air, then carefully turned to look at him.

Joshua. Could she say it…? Her Joshua. The one who cared enough for her to look beyond the wrinkles and the age and the fears that were still poisoning her everyday existence. He was so perfect in the light of the morning sun… his curls strikingly dark against the pale, rosy hue of his sunrise-cheeks. His lips were dark, too, plump and peaceful, the colour of almost ripe apples. She was longing to wake him up with a soft kiss and see those eyes fixed on her again, but he seemed so peaceful, so calm that she didn’t have the heart to do it. Instead, she slowly got out of bed and after making herself coffee and a toast, she went into her bathroom to indulge in a bubble bath.

She thought of him while she opened the tap, and when she brushed her teeth before stepping into the tub, and when she sipped her coffee, and when she leaned against the cool white surface to wait for the tub to fill. Breathing in the scent of rose and hibiscus, she thought of him, of Joshua. Everything was different, because he was there, asleep in her bed. Someone cared for her. Someone held her gently, gracefully, and kissed her, like she had been a young, dainty princess. And it wasn’t just an average someone: it was Joshua, her muse, her apparition, her dream come true. Her companion by the sea, her private redeemer. He was the most perfect thing she could ever have imagined, and he was hers, if only on loan.

His hands, his lips, his hips, his bottom, his muscles, his stubble, everything he was, was to be hers for a while. They would talk, they would kiss, they would walk, eat, hold each other, smile, together. Her imagination soared, picturing them together in the sunset, strolling by the seashore, sitting on a cliff, listening to the waves. She wanted to visit all her favourite places with him. She wanted to talk about Jeff to him, about her long dead twin-sister, about her views on life, about her dreams. She was not sure he would listen, but she pictured him, patient and understanding- then, perhaps angry, hateful, jealous. She saw herself die the moment he would as much as talk to someone else. She closed her eyes, desperate to stop the negative thoughts coming. She did not own him, she never did, she never would. She would have to be grateful for every moment he was with her. And God knows she was… sinking into the water almost up to her chin, she let herself float in the warmth, of the reassurance that for now, that moment, there, he was hers.

She remembered she would have to call her bank and arrange an appointment; then, calling Joseph, then… visiting Sara… she would know, for sure. Mary smiled inwardly as she pictured Sara’s wide eyes and her withheld happiness. Yes, she would be happy for her friend. Mary was certain of it, and was thankful in advance.

The door opened and he was there, her reality that looked more tempting than any dream she could have had.

-Good morning –he said with a slow smile, looking into her eyes, then letting his glance sweep across her underwater body.

She had no power to reply, so she only nodded, trying to smile.

-Can I use your toothbrush? –he asked, stepping to the sink.

-There’s a spare one in the shaving kit above the sink –she replied, shifting in the tub. She couldn’t see him any more, as the sink was behind her, but she knew he was watching her, and the thought made her terribly nervous. She was not young, her body was ugly, she was- ugly. Not worthy for his eyes. She wished she could disappear, sink to the bottom, dissolve.

-Do you… do you mind if I… use the toilet? –she heard his voice. –I’m bursting, I’m really sorry.

-I don’t mind –she heard her voice. She should have been shocked, but she wasn’t. The fact that he was with her, in the same room, was a miracle in itself. Little did she care what he was doing, as long as he was where she could see or hear him. In fact, the sound of his urine touching the white ceramics made her think of a crystalline brooklet with its destination in a tiny pond, surrounded by ancient granite. She loved the sound of it, she loved the feel of it, the emotions it evoked in her. She was probably close to insanity, but she didn’t mind: it was the most delicious dementia anyone had ever had to endure. She was ready to lose her mind completely, if that was the price of being with him.

After he flushed the toilet, she heard him wash his hands, and then, silence. She listened, carefully, wishing she could turn her head, but she was frozen under the warmth of the water, wondering what he was doing.

-Can I stay? –he asked suddenly, making her jump a little. –Oh, sorry I startled you –he added quickly, stepping to the tub, crouching, his face level with hers.

She turned her head sideways to see him. When after any amount of sleep, her skin would have sagged and the bags under her eyes would have shown even more, the wrinkles deep as ocean grooves, his face looked perfect.

-You’re so beautiful –she said, unable to contain herself. Daring to smile at him, finally.

-You’re beautiful too –he said, perhaps out of duty, perhaps out of kindness, or perhaps he meant it. She could have analysed his words forever, but her time was so short.

-You can stay if you want –she smiled, longing to touch him, to feel his arms around herself again. Would he be shocked if she asked him to-

Before her mind could have played the thought over, trying to discover whether she actually spoke her wish, he stood up and got rid of his clothes. Her face turned away automatically, but he gave her no time to even start thinking. He gently made her slide forward in the tub and stepping inside, he slowly sat down behind her.

Despite his slow moves, everything seemed to happen so fast- her mind was numbed by his closeness, and by the fact that she felt his hands on her back, and on her shoulders. His palms were travelling across her back, like those of an expert masseuse, warming her skin, making it tingle, sending waves of insane desire shooting across her body. When his hands gently grabbed her shoulders and pulled her towards him, she felt so tense she thought her muscles would never let go, but when she felt his chest, his stomach, and his cheek all pressed to her naked flesh, her fears melted away.

And his arms were encircling her once again- she was home. His steady breathing pushed his body closer to her, making tiny ripples in the water that was covering them almost completely. She grabbed his arms, stroking them, leaning against him, closing her eyes- she was in heaven. He shifted a little to let her head fall on his shoulder and he started to kiss her, first on her closed eyelids, then on her cheek, then next to her mouth, and when his lips pressed down on hers, he lifted her tiny frame with a light gesture of his hips, and his hand found her breast. She gasped, froze, but the way he was kissing her she soon let go of yet another ghost of fear. His legs were on both sides of her, his knees pulled up: he was the sea, and she was a flower that he gently rocked with his wave-hands.

Her hands were pulling him closer, grabbing his hair, letting his lips ravish hers. He was holding her with one hand, while the other-

Flashes of Rodin’s lovers ran in front of her eyes, frames following each other in an urgency of desire and abandon. How many times she had watched the marble bodies entangled into one another, smooth, potent, melting into each other, movement only imagined, but existent nonetheless. She always felt a tingling sensation looking at their kisses, at their hands on one another, at their faces half-hidden, contorted by love. And now, she was Psyche, and the seated woman under the eternal kiss, and Juliet, while he was Amor, the one tenderly possessing her, and Romeo. His hand was slowly stroking the inside of her thighs, forcing them to open-

He was touching her where no one has touched her for such a long time that the sensation made her whole body freeze, but he dissolved the tension in her with a slow kiss, his hand never leaving her cradle of life. His every touch of lips and breath and hands and chest awoke new feelings in her, each one stronger than the previous one, until she couldn’t keep them inside and her desire escaped her lips in the form of a moan, followed by another, and another, fuelling his gestures, prompting him to rub her faster-

An explosion of sound in her head made her body arch into him, causing her ears to block, her lips to open in mute ecstasy, her heart to stop, preferably to end her life. The waves of warmth travelling from her head to her toes did not want to end their course, and the throbbing between her legs seemed to last forever. He kept stroking her slowly and her legs closed on his hand, careful not to hurt him.

When the trembling subsided, she eased into his arms, those
perfect arms that hugged her chest, feeling him everywhere, around her, under her, in her mouth, between her thighs, claiming her. Her, who was not the same she used to be.

The sea murmured in their ears from the distance, while they lay in the silence of endlessness in their own sea, that of emotions new and old, forgotten and ressurrected.

(To be continued- yes, it goes on! God help us all…)

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