Part 1 by by Marylou, Parts 2 and 3 by Cousin Shelley
The word was whispered so softly it resembled a breeze. He would not have heard it, if he had not been waiting for it.
His heart skipped.
It sounded closer this time, it hovered above his bed. He dared not to move. It had been long since he had lost faith in his defenses.
His stomach clenched.
"Carl, I know you're awake."
The words were not alone this time. A touch accompanied them, a fleeting caress on his shoulder blades. He did not like how this was turning out.
His breath hitched.
"Open your eyes."
The bed moved. Warmth spread out near him in the cold of the night. His body stiffened.
He did not open his eyes.
A word had him undone.
"You are not supposed to be here. We cannot. You know this."
The knowledge pained him. The words killed him.
"I have nothing, Carl. Let me have this."
His eyes opened. Because he too, had nothing.
He breathed the word more than spoke it, assent and pleading all at once, permission and prayer in one short, soft sound. A held breath was let go, warm against his neck.
He shuddered as weight shifted behind him, over him.
With shaking hands, he reached for the warmth that covered him. He must not feel this way, yet he did. This must not happen. Yet could not be stopped.
It was an invocation, a chant, let this be true, and right. Let this just be.
He spoke the word against dark hair, the hollow above a collarbone, lips, the palm of a hand that held his face while a trembling breath asked unspoken questions--what can I give you, what can I take?
He whispered an answer: "Anything."
Calloused hands softly learned the curvature of his shoulder, the small of his back, his calf, the sole of his foot, the hands exploring and at the same time easily familiar, like a traveler returning to a place he'd almost forgotten.
Good, evil, everything outside the curl of their bodies ceased to exist as they touched; warmth, breath, sweat and skin became the only things they understood. Their names echoed like a lost cry. Here I am. Find me. Save me.
Legs and fingers twined together as they moved. Thigh, chest, neck, chin, every curve and hollow nested as if two separate bodies had first been part of a whole.
"God. . . ."
They froze in that split second before tumbling over the edge, parted lips pressed to the other's, sharing breath. As their eyes met, they said each other's name like a surprise; you've found your way, welcome home.
And each knew, at that moment, he had everything.