Elsie felt like daylight in his hands, in his arms. She felt beautiful and brilliant, like something that wasn’t meant to be touched, something that was impossible to hold.
But he touched her and held her sunlight in his embrace.
Don’t let me go, Hildreth. Hold on to me. Keep me. Stay with me.
But he let her go.
And he was gone.
Elsie opened her eyes. She glanced around, momentarily disoriented.
I’m in my room.
I’m alone in my bed.
She quickly sat up and glanced around in a panic. “HILDRETH?”
The bedroom door opened.
She quickly got out of bed.
Hildreth entered the room. He stopped when he saw that she was awake. “Ah, Els. Sorry about that. I–”
She ran to him.
I want to punch him. I want to clobber him. I want to shove him against the nearest wall. I want to. I want.
I want to…
She grabbed him by the shoulders and went to shove him against the door, but the door was still open.
He stumbled back and fell out into the hallway. She landed on top of him.
He grinned at her. “Well. Hello there.”
“Where were you? You left me alone. Where—”
“Elsie. Elsie Mayhew. You were worried about me.” He stroked the side of her legs. “I just went to the bathroom. Did you really think I’d leave you, my Elsie? After everything we’ve both gone through, would I really leave you?”
“I…” Elsie sat back. “I don’t know. I just woke up. And you weren’t here.”
“Elsie baby.” He sat up as best as he could. “I won’t abandon you.”
“I know.” she said softly.
“I’m here.” He swept her hair over her bare shoulders. Some strands did their own thing and pointed towards the ceiling. He smiled lovingly and tried to smooth them down. “I’m right here. Baby, I’m yours until I croak.”
Elsie couldn’t resist touching him.
I’m naked too, but I don’t care.
She raised her gaze to his face, only to find him smirking at her. “What?”
“Look at you. Elsie Mayhew sizing me up. Mm. mm. mm. Thinking I’m the hottest thing on Earth. Mm. Mm. Mm. Oh, but the question is whatever will she do? Will she continue to sit on top of me, getting all touchy-happy-feely with my chest and shoulders and hair? Or is she gonna aim lower? Oh, Elsie baby. Are you gonna go lower?”
“Is that even a real question?”
He laughed. “It could be. But! Before you go tackling me into the nice carpet, let’s take our nakedness fun time over to the bed.” His gaze traveled down her front and slowly returned to her face. “I’d like to see what it’s like on a soft, fluffy surface instead of a carpet. Besides, you know, we could get wood lice and millipedes in our hair if we stay on the flo—”
She grabbed the hair on the sides of his head and pulled him in for a kiss.
He laughed, a deliriously happy laugh.
“Shut up shut up just kiss me and shut up. Just just just…”
And, just like that, his mouth touched down on hers. His arms were around her. His hands on her back.
All over her back.
Going far below her back.
She broke off and sat there. Wordless. Panting. Wanting.
He smiled, a soft and easy smile. “Els. My Elsie.”
She got off of him and pulled him up to his feet.
He stood there, baffled but expectant.
She grinned. “Last one in bed is a rotten egg.”
He laughed and chased after her.