The man had been laying there for several minutes, gazing with dreamy fascination at the woman beside him. He could not recall exactly when he had fallen in love with her, but then, that wasn’t really important. What matters was that he had, and that the woman had done the same with him. While the woman’s eyes were closed in the dim, early morning twilight, the man’s were savoring every square inch of the woman’s peaceful face, capturing every detail of the afterglow for as long as his memory would hold it. The man was mildly disappointed that the rest of the shapely luxury he had recently experienced was concealed beneath the amorphous crests of the thick comforter of her bed.
His slender hand slowly swept over the woman’s warm caramel curves as he snuggled closer to her beneath the bed sheet. He thought she was asleep, but he felt a shudder and heard her low voice as his hand settled on a soft spot in the center of her belly.
“Don’t… please,” she said slowly. Then, with a whisper of disgust, “It’s so ugly.”
The very small area of skin – no larger than the man’s palm – surrounding her belly button was the softest part of the woman’s body. But this skin was spongy, and crinkled like crepe – its elasticity lost from having been stretched just a little too much. The woman’s great revulsion at this tiny imperfection started to tear at the man’s heart.
The man slipped deeper under the sheet, causing the heavy comforter atop it to slide off of the bed. He barely felt the cool air of the room as he moved his lips to her very warm belly. “How can you call this ugly?” he asked. “It’s beautiful. It’s from carrying Isamu.”
The woman allowed a faint smile at the name of her handsome son who was (hopefully) sleeping in the nursery down the hall. Her thoughts about the look of her belly had remained relatively unchanged, but she at least expressed some comfort from the man’s words. “How do you always know the right thing to say?” she asked.
“I don’t,” the man replied. “I’m just being honest.” And he was.
The man bent down to kiss the spot again, and while he thought his second kiss was the same as the first, it wasn’t. Somehow it unintentionally tickled her.
“Stop that!” she giggled, tearing the bed sheet away. “Get up here!”
The man propped his head on an elbow as he laid beside the woman, who edged closer so she could whisper in his ear. “While we are being honest, I should let you know that this wasn’t my… first time,” she teased.
The man bristled a little at the remark, even though he knew the underlying jibe about his just-lost virginity was good-natured. “That’s okay,” he chuckled. “I’m glad one of us knew what they were doing.”
She smiled at the man’s quick-witted retort. “You seemed to know what you were doing last night,” she sighed truthfully.
“You are too kind,” he replied, bringing her mouth to meet his. As he tasted her spicy skin, the man’s mind spun back to the previous evening with the woman. To their “early-Valentine’s” candlelight dinner at the French restaurant. To their more-flirty-than-usual conversations despite the company of the one-year-old seated in the high chair between them. To their return to the woman’s house for tea and settling the little boy down to sleep. And to the woman’s silent reveal on why she insisted they do not exchange Valentine’s gifts. Her ravenous kisses informed him that, instead of unwrapping presents, she would rather they unwrap each other.
The man didn’t plan for that, and while both his love and passion for the woman flared in his heart, physically he wasn’t sure of himself in that particular way. But he most certainly was not unwilling, though he secretly wished he had some experience like his very eager companion. At least he felt that he started off fairly well, using initial moves that mirrored much of what he had remembered from watching love scenes in movies (the ones from an earlier time which emphasized foreplay). But the man knew he would come to a point where he would have to go further, and those “later steps” of the actors’ lovemaking usually transpired off-screen as the scene would abruptly cut to the following morning. Fortunately, the woman’s warm touch and soft voice helped suppress his wariness, allowing the man to boldly let his lips and fingers slowly explore, taking cues from the woman’s breath and body on which direction to go. It took them what seemed to be a long time, but eventually all of the man’s insecurities fell away as he and the woman formed a mutual rhythm. Throughout the night they both lost themselves, and found each other.
The man returned to the present as he felt the warmth of the woman’s hand run over his right shoulder and down his back. Her hand hesitated as it brushed over a rough dimple midway down his ribcage. While the nickel-sized scar had long-since healed, it held the woman’s concerned attention as she sat up and lightly examined it with her fingertips. “What is that?” she asked softly. She had never seen a bullet wound before.
The man winced at the slight twinge of numbness that surrounded the woman’s touch. “It’s nothing,” he began, then corrected himself. “Well, not ‘nothing.’ I’ll tell you later. I don’t want to spoil the mood…”
Her hand moved to the man’s temple and stroked his greying hair gently. “Mmm… wanna experience your second time, do you?”
As he let the woman push him down, a question crossed the man’s mind. “What did I ever do to deserve a woman like this?”
The man couldn’t answer it.
He still can't.
He still can't.