His smile was like the first beams of sunrise peering over the horizon, promising a day of perfect temperatures.
I want to stay here and bask in his warmth.
Elsie focused on his exposed neck and the bathrobe’s teasing V of exposed chest.
I want to do so much more than that.
She imagined herself grabbing the collars of his robe and pulling it open.
Bare shoulders…So much bare skin…
Untying his sash. The front separating. The robe falling off him.
All of his skin…bared…
“Oooo!” Hildreth said. “You’re getting that lovely, lovely gleam in your eyes. You must be thinking some pretty amazing smut about me.”
“You’d be surprised.” Elsie said.
“What? At the level of wheeeeee-hooooooo! you’re coming up with? Nah. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. I know you can’t resist me and my hmm hmm hmm charms.” He swished his hips and sing-songed, “You think I’m a gorgeous guy. You like to see me without clothes on. You like gettin’ all naked with me.”
“This is all very true, but I need to go get your clothes.”
“And I’ll be stuck here. How sad.” He stopped swishing and tucked his thumbs into the bathrobe’s tied up sash. “Oh, but you know? There is a surprisingly simple solution.”
“And that would be?”
“I come with you, of course.”
Elsie choked out a surprised laugh. “In your bathrobe?”
“Technically speaking, no.”
She stared at him. “Technically speaking no? What does that even mean? If you’re talking about going without anything on…”
He laughed. “Oh, that would be so wonderfully appalling, but nope! I just meant that this isn’t my bathrobe. It’s yours. Even though, I must say. This thing is surprisingly roomy. Good length too. Covers my manly tushie and my awesomely muscular legs.”
She shrugged. “I like oversized bathrobes, but the women ones are too silky, too fussy, too warm, or too whimsical for my liking. So, I buy men’s bathrobes which suit me just fine.”
“That’s too bad. I’d love to see you in a deluxe, plush bathrobe with pink and purple fairy cats all over it.”
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. “You wouldn’t want to see me in a mini-robe made out of lace and silk?”
He tapped his index finger against his lips as he presumably thought about it. “Oh, that is a very appealing mental image. But if it’s that short and sheer, is it still a robe? I don’t know. Seems to go against the whole aesthetic. So, yeah. Plush, whimsical bathrobe for the 100% victory! Wooo-hoooo!”
Elsie laughed. “Your mind is a most mysterious place.”
“I know!” he said with a lot of enthusiasm.
Elsie hugged him. “Such an idiot.” She pressed the side of her head against his chest. He smelled like her shampoo and like her soap. Clean. A little like coconut. A little like shea butter. It was a scent she’d always liked, but she’d never considered how it would smell on someone else….on how it would smell on Hildreth.
She inhaled it deeply.
He sighed. “Els.” His voice was a gentle vibration inside his chest. “Do you have to leave me?”
“I’ll be back, Hildreth.” She hugged him tighter. “I will always come back to you.”
He kissed her head. “I know.”
We could stay here. I could just keep holding on to her. But I am still hungry and woefully underdressed. At some point, I will need to put real clothes on.
Hildreth kissed her head. “I don’t want to push you away, Elsie baby, but yeah. You should get going.”
She raised her head and looked up at him.
And he nearly turned into a poorly constructed science fair project. He cleared his throat. “Or, uhh, you know you could just stay. Staying is a good choice. I’m all for it. I like it. I think it’s a great idea. It’s really neat. I think I’m babbling now like a drunken rooster.”
She let him go. “You are babbling. Come on. Walk me to the front door.”