by Katrina McDonnell

They follow the steps laid out the first time.

He's still not certain how they ended up in this hotel room that humid June night. The scar on her head had faded, but his hand was still a mess.

No touching until their clothes are on the floor. Only the streetlight. Conversation not required.

She lies back on the threadbare sheets as he straddles her. She pushes his head away as he tries to kiss her.

He palms her breasts, his right hand a little weaker than his left.

Her nipples bead against his skin. She arches, begging for more pressure.

He denies her.

A year later a note on his desk. 'Same place? - C.'

The first rasp on her inner thigh makes her moan, no matter how hard she tries to keep quiet. He teases with lips and tongue and facial hair until she bites her own lip.

He slips his hands under her ass, tilting her hips up and slipping his tongue in deep. His moustache flicks across her folds.

At the start of May he'd thought it was over. After New York, he booked the room, just in case, and waited. She came for the third time.

The fingers on his left hand fill her. Her head tilts back, eyes closed, her own fingers tugging at her nipples in time with the swirl of his tongue over her clit.

She reminds herself to call the right name. He'd winced the last time.

They'd nearly had a good year. Maybe it would've been better if the scandal had destroyed them. Perhaps another of his people would be alive.

He's already above her when she forces her eyes open.

She places her hand on the shadowed side of his face. He leans into her touch.

Her other hand reaches between their bodies, guiding his erection. He pushes into her and she wraps her legs around his hips.

Only then does she let him kiss her.

His job is to notice the smallest details. She's been with someone else since their last time.

Her breasts rub against his chest as he slowly strokes within her. She feels his focus on the task at hand in the tightness of his shoulders. He never makes a sound, never calls her name.

She nips his lip, digs her nails into his back, trying to draw a response, wanting him to know it's her.

He doesn't falter.

If this isn't enough, if she wants more, she only has to ask. But that would require talking.

He pushes deeper and faster and his mouth slides over her cheek and down into the crook of her neck. She tightens her thighs and grips his shoulders as they shatter together.

Tears pool in the hollow above her collarbone. She leans her cheek against his head, her arms encircling his neck.

They always end with at least one of them in mourning.

Is this anything more than an anniversary wake?

What happens if they have a good year?


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