She stood in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, her hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee. It was morning and the sunlight was streaming in the window, filling the room with a warm, clean light. He sat at the counter, staring into the cup of coffee she had just set in front of him. His hair was a just-woke-up mess. He looked so serious, so quiet. He wouldn't look at her. She knew why. She didn't care. She stood, just memorizing every shadow, every line of him. She loved him. So much. The silence stretched. She waited.
He had woken up in a bed that was not his; bright morning sunlight filling the bedroom that was not his. He’d lay there, tangled in the sheets, sorting it all out. He knew where he was. He remembered. He had called her yesterday afternoon, asked if she was up for company. She had been. This had not been part of the plan. This waking up in her bed, this was definitely not part of the plan. Not even a glimmer or hint. He had just needed to talk and he knew she would listen. She always listened.
So they’d talked. For hours. At some point she’d broken out the whiskey and they’d relaxed into the evening. Talking and listening. And then…he’d kissed her. And she’d let him. That was the most astounding part. She let him. Not only let him, but she matched his need with a want and desire beyond anything he could imagine.
He pulled his mind back to the present. It was morning. She wasn't next to him. He could hear footsteps and smelled coffee, so he knew where she was. Not wanting this to end, he sighed and pulled on his shorts.
Shirtless and barefoot, he walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. She stood with her back to him, wearing only her t-shirt. She’d pulled her hair up messily, exposing her neck. Instantly he wanted to slide up behind her and kiss that spot on her neck, and run his hands along her skin. He didn't. He didn't move at all.
Good gods, what had he been thinking. She wasn't his. And he, he was in the middle of a messy, messy split. He couldn't even blame the whiskey. They hadn't drank that much. She had even asked, twice, if this was really what he wanted.
“Morning,” she said, still not facing him. After a moment she turned, carrying a steaming cup of coffee, which she placed at the counter.
“Sit,” she said. Silently he obeyed. Sitting and staring into his coffee. She padded back to the coffee pot, poured her own cup and brought it over. He didn't know what to say or where to start. There was no regret, he just didn't know where to start.
She felt like letting him sit there, confusedly trying to find a place to start. It was amusing to see him so out of his element. But, she couldn't do that, he was one of her dearest friends. For almost eight years now, they’d been there for each other. They’d been that one friend to call when the world isn't going right.
“Nothing changes,” she said softly, watching him for his reactions to her words. He finally looked at her, searching her face for understanding.
“When you leave here, everything goes back to the way it was. Last night was….was what we both needed. That doesn't mean things change. I’ll still be here, when you need me. But this, this was not a beginning of something.”
He watched her for any sign of untruth. She never could lie to him. So, she didn't bother trying. Everything she said was the truth. And he knew that. He relaxed.
“Last night was...more than I ever imagined,” he started. She laughed, eyes dancing with merriment. “Did you actually imagine that happening?”
Sheepishly, he ducked his head, “Maybe I thought about it a couple times…” Still smiling, she set her mug down, and walked around the counter.
“Come” she said. She led him out onto the porch, where they settled on the swinging bench, watching the morning unfold. She curled up next to him tucking her feet under her, safe and warm. He absently pressed a kiss on the top of her head.
She felt the kiss and her heart hurt a little. She didn't want this morning to end. It would, and life would go on, but she wanted this little bit of happiness to last.
“So, nothing changes.” He said, much more relaxed and sounding like the man she knew.
“No, nothing changes,” she said. “It’s only been threatening to happen since we met. The timing just hadn't been right.”
He thought about her words. They’d been instantly drawn to each other, meeting at a mutual friend’s house. They’d become fast friends, but nothing more. He sighed. This felt so right. She was soft and warm against his side, his arm around her. Sitting here in the early morning sunlight, silently enjoying each other’s company he could almost forget the outside world. He made the mistake of looking down at her. In the sunlight her t-shirt was almost see-through. She looked up at him, eyes twinkling mischievously.
“You’re not gone yet,” she whispered. That was all the invitation he needed. He pulled her into his lap, Her mouth met his and the world fell away. There was only her. Her skin, her taste, her smell. He needed her and she wanted him. There was nothing but her and he was lost.
Hours later, she watched him back his truck out of her driveway. He had a long drive ahead of him. They lived almost two hours apart. She would miss him. She always did, after they spent any time at all together. As his truck disappeared down the road she turned and went back to her life.
He watched her in the rear view mirror as he drove away. She was truly an amazing woman. She lived in her own little world, paying no mind to anything the world said. As he drove he thought back through the years. She hadn't had a serious relationship in years. Not since…not since the last one. That one had ended even messier than what he was driving towards. He sighed and turned his thoughts to his own life.
It was hailing. Or was it sleet? Freezing rain? Whatever it was, it was colder than cold, wet and gloomy. She was not going to get anymore work done. Giving up, she stood up, walking away from the computer. She’d been in a foul mood for a while now. It was probably time to go out and be social. Maybe her friends could clear out some of this gloominess. She picked up her phone to find someone to go do something with but stopped when she heard the crunch of tires on gravel.
She looked up in surprise. She’d not been expecting anyone. She stood still, listening to the sounds over the rain. She heard the engine stop, a door open and then colorful cursing as her visitor stepped into the freezing rain. She knew that voice. She ran down the stairs to open the door before he had a chance to knock. Pulling the door open, she grinned at him.
“You better have brought whiskey. “
He grinned right back. “Scotch. Got it on my last trip over.”
He came in, dropped his bag, and scooped her up into a bear hug, spinning her around. She laughed. The sound of it filled his heart with joy. It had been too long. He set her down and looked at her. She never seemed to change. He loved her. So much.
“Ohhh, right. You did promise me some good scotch.” She almost skipped into the kitchen, so excited to try this new treat. He shook his head at her silliness, hung up his coat, and pulled the bottle out of his bag. She came back to the room holding two glasses and eyed the bag.
“A day or two. Have to be back at the end of the week.”
The scotch truly was wonderful. She’d been delighted to find that he’d not only brought this bottle to share, but another, just for her. They talked. Caught up. Laughed. She could see the weariness. He’d had a tough go of it recently. She caught him yawning and laughed.
“We can talk more in the morning,” she said. “Where are you sleeping tonight, my friend? With me or in the spare room?”
He’d stayed over many times since that first time. Sometimes she offered to share, sometimes she didn't. Sometimes he took her up on her offer, sometimes he didn't. He didn't realize how much he wanted her until she asked.
“With you, if that’s alright”
“Wouldn't have offered if it wasn't,” she said. She pulled him to his feet, her eyes searching his. After a moment her smile changed from friendly to something he hadn't seen a long time.