Come back often and take hold of me, sensation that I love, come back and take hold of me -- when the body's memory revives and an old longing again passes through the blood, when lips and skin remember and hands feel as though they touch again. Come back often, take hold of me in the night when lips and skin remember...

-Constantine Kavafy

It was in the night she missed him the most.

She was a strong, independent woman. She knew what she wanted. She didn't want him. He was no good for her. The lies. The booze. The girls. She was through with him, and glad to be so.

But some nights, long stifling nights, the nights when the clock moves slow and thoughts race, on those nights, her body betrayed her. She missed him on those nights. Missed him something fierce.

She missed the way he would reach for her in the dark. The way he would possess her, make her his own. She was a strong independent woman, and she could make her own way. But sometimes, in the night, she yearned for his touch. Yearned for knowing fingers and hot breath on her neck.

Her body ached for the feel of him. Ached to be obliterated into his presence. It was not something a strong independent woman talked about, but it was there all the same.

Her body remembered being taken in his arms, so sure and rock solid. In his embrace the fights, the problems melted away. The entire world was in that bed, in his arms.

He would run his lips lightly up her neck to her ear, and then down past the hollow of her throat to her waiting breasts. Her nipples would harden in anticipation, her skin flashed lightning at his touch.

He would continue, probing her, caressing her, expertly, up and down her body. She would shiver and squirm in the darkness, responding to his every move. After a time he would move over her, and she would feel him swell against her belly. Her muscles would tighten, her hips clench as they rose to meet him.

She never felt complete unless he was inside her.

There, they made a symphony together, coordinated movements, perfect, even in the dark. Neither talked, but the quiet sounds of love escaped them both. She would match his thrusts in body and spirit.

It wouldn't take long. She could feel her body tighten even more, and his body would then tighten as well, as if waiting for her signal. Fiercely and furiously they would crash into those final few inevitable moments, until the beautiful agony pierced them both. She would cry out in the dark, unable to keep the quiet mood. Sometimes he would too.

For a few more seconds their bodies thrust together, as if unable and unwilling to believe the climax signaled closure. Finally, he would collapse on her, breathing heavily, his sweat falling (not unpleasantly) on her cooling body, his heartbeat pronounced against her breast. That was her favorite time. Even more than the rapture of their mutual release, it was after he finished, when he sagged against her. It was like she was holding him up, the only thing keeping him anchored to this world. No matter what problems they had outside their bed, it all washed away in that moment, and she felt incredible tenderness towards him.

Her body missed all of those things. She could tell herself how much better she was now—and she truly was—but her body remembered. Her body remembered touches in the dark, hot breath and delicious pain, impaled on the point of his world. Most of all, her body remembered how he would cling to her after, and even more than the sweetness of their love, it was that tenderness that made her soul ache.

It was in the night she missed him the most.
After Dark Tales                     Hyperion Empire