“Wow,” she said.
“What?” he asked from the bed.
“Dawn already. We made it.”
He yawned and rubbed at his eyes.
“We’re too old for this crap,” he said.
“Speak for yourself,” she said, watching the sun crisp the red of a robin’s breast. “I feel great.”
“I’m so heavy,” he said. “And yet the room spins.”
She turned from the window, sizing him up.
“Well, there’s your problem,” she said.
“What, the alcohol? Blame the Lockharts.”
“No. It’s not that,” she said, approaching the bed. “You’re wearing too many clothes.”
“Mm hmm. Big problem,” she said. “It’s a new year, darling. Cast off the old burdens.”
He chewed on a fuzzy lip.
“Not too sure what can be done,” he said. “With me being incapacitated.”
From the bedside, she grabbed the cuff of his blazer, and rolled him free of it.
“Better?” she said.
“Better,” he agreed. “But still pretty heavy.”
She hiked the skirt of her dress and dimpled the mattress with her knees. Straddling his waist, she loosened a knot under his Adam’s apple. His neck burned as the trident tie was whipped away.
“Thanks,” he said. “I can finally breathe.”
Her knees slid to the sides. A hot weight pressing in.
“On second thought . . . ”
“Still feeling heavy?” she said. Her nail tapped at the first button on his collar.
He just watched her in reply. With eyes still drunk on night.
Her fingers sharpened their fever. She finished off the rest of his clothes with the speed of silence. Pulling her dress off, she tossed it over the headboard. It dropped to the floor as she unwound her hair and let it spill over his chest. The static electricity crackled.
His ribs leaped at their flesh.
She reached with her mouth for all of his tired places. To swallow his weight. The soft secret under his earlobe. The crescent of his throat. That hard screw buried beneath his shoulder. Her lips melted into the palm of his hand (she loved his hands), before lifting lower. The scent of that skin rubbing deeper than memory, broader than lust. Massaging its fury.
He pulled her roughly to his mouth. Finding their center.
But old words were not enough as they drank from something new.