Dawn is a pale dirty light, daybreak in only the most technical sense. Rain hasn’t stopped. Spitting in half hearted drops. Gentle arhythmic patter on the windows, and Taylor’s breathing in my ear, are the only sounds in the room. I have lived my life still and quiet. The past day has been anything but. The last time I pulled the shotgun in the bar involved bikers too. Maybe it’s fate.
Even in violence, Taylor wastes no movements. I had seen plenty of fights before. You can’t work at a place like that without seeing violence. Never really saw the beauty in it before. The grace. Looking at him, I think it would make him angry if someone ever referred to him as beautiful, or graceful. Fortunately, it’s just an observation, and one I don’t intend to put voice to, and not something he’d ever ask.
I would have gladly lain like that with him all morning, observing quiet things about him. Serene, in sleep. The hard stare, the intimidating demeanor, the mask, is set aside for a moment. First time I’d seen him without a shirt. He’d been shot. Recently. It was healing well. Large tattoo on his arm. Star of David, in blackwork. Tracery of other scars, on his arms. Knuckles heavily scarred. He’d earned his grace with experience.
Slip out of bed without waking him. Have to take a cooler shower than I’m used to. Even then, the burning ache between my legs is a distraction. Not that I mind overly much. It’s been a while. Check to make sure I’m not torn. Linger slowly, remembering, before shaking my head clear.
She’s in the shower. On my way to join her, when it catches my eye. If it had been seen in bright light, it would never have been the same thing. I hadn’t paid her paintings much mind, when I came in last night. Two feet by three feet, tucked by the side of an overflowing bookcase.
Streetscene. At night. I remember being a kid, walking home with the old man, late at night. Rain. No cars. The old streetlights, not the new yellow ones. White light, like moonlight, in pools on the wet street. Everything in dark velvet shades of black, brown, blue. Still. Quiet. A life before I had to watch my back, when being out walking at night was still something I could enjoy for the thing it was, before it meant coming back from beating someone bloody, or worse.
I hadn’t really thought about her painting. I’d seen paint under her nails, at work. Never thought much about what she did, when she wasn’t tending bar. I think of that first night, her face turned up to the rain when she thought I wasn’t looking. That smile. Her green eyes glowing gold under the street lights. That stillness, that quiet. Like night, and darkness, and alone, was something she had taken into herself and made real.
“Do you like it?”
I hadn’t even heard her. I was lost, in another time. “It’s beautiful.”
He puts his head down awkwardly, like it wasn’t a word he was used to using, or had even wanted to use, but one that had slipped out unbidden. “It’s yours.”
The moment was awkward, in a way that could not be solely explained away by us standing naked, so close to each other. His cell phone rings. He makes no move to get it, lets it ring once, twice, before sighing, and searching for his jeans, and answering it, sitting on the edge of the bed.
The conversation is quiet, tense, his hand rubbing over his stubble, before settling between his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Half an hour, Matty.”
I move past him, getting dressed. He circles my waist, bringing me forward, making room for me between his knees. His face turned up to me. Slip my hands along his jaw, under his ears. He’s fighting with himself, wanting to say something, and wondering if he should. I kiss him before he says anything. We don’t need to say anything. Some days it’s good enough just to be.
I pull back. His beautiful brown eyes holding mine for a moment longer, before dropping his head to my breasts and letting out a sigh.
“We have to be at the bar in half an hour.”
Kiss the top of his head. Step back, his arms reluctantly letting me go, and go about finding clothes. We go by way of back alleys to the bar, his hand on my hip. We say nothing.
Copyright © 4 Jan 2006 xxxevilgrinxxx