His pupils are dilated. He’s speaking very softly. He is telling a story. I watch his lips move and I watch his eyes dance. I watch his mouth curve into that half smile that is his trademark. He stops talking and I see that he’s expecting some sort of reaction from me. I smile at him sweetly and I give a little laugh without taking my gaze away from his. He smiles in approval and continues telling his story earnestly. I watch his jaw with its barely there stubble. I watch his neck and the curve of it that becomes his shoulders.
I want to tell him to stop talking. There is no need, his words are redundant. I am content to just sit and stare into his eyes. I want to tell him that a lion does not have to entice a deer that it has already captured.
He finishes his story with a laugh and I share it. I rest my elbows on the table and I place my hands beside his. I watch as he takes my hands in his. I also watch as he slowly traces the length of my fingers, one after the other. I think absently that my pupils must be just as dilated as his.
He asks if I think we should leave and I say yes. I’m sorry for a moment when he leaves my hands to find his wallet. He folds some money and tucks it into the bill for our dinner. He gets up and I hold on to his outstretched hand as I stand up. He doesn’t let my hand go as we walk out. We continue to hold hands even in his car. I explore the gradient of his fingernails with my thumb. I study his profile. The curve of his eyelashes, the slope of his nose. When his hand returns from steering my hand welcomes it back like a lost lover.
He turns to look at me and he asks where I want to go. I give him a little smile but I am silent.
We arrive at his house and I know that he’s heard me clearly. My hand is glad to be joined again with his as we go up to his apartment. It is a beautiful apartment and I tell him this as he turns on some music. He asks me what I would like to do. I do not smile this time. I look at him. I tell him he has exhausted his quota of questions for the night. He looks at me and he does not say anything.
We stand silently and our bodies and minds soak in the music. His hair is fuller than the last time I saw him. I’m surprised to realise it’s barely been two weeks. It feels more like months. His shirt is a dull grey and seems to be tailored exactly for his build. His black trousers also look like they were made just for him. His sleeves are folded and the brown leather band of his wristwatch accents his skin very nicely.
We are silent but somehow we are surrounded by words, questions. A lot of the voices are not ours but those of others. I’ve made my choice already, he’s going to have to do the same. I wonder what the science behind it is, the way you want something more when you know you’re not supposed to have it.
I move away from him after a while. I walk around his living room touching things as I pass them. Depending on how tonight goes, I may never see them again. The music changes, it’s a dance track. I sense him move towards the player. The track is at odds with the mood in the living room. I walk over to a window while he fiddles with the player. The window is bigger than I’m used to and the view from it is amazing. I put my hands on the glass. If I cleared my mind I could probably convince myself that there is nothing between me and the world below.
He finally finds a different song. The sad notes are familiar and my soul is filled with such an overwhelming yearning that tears gather behind my eyelids. I take a deep breath and the window glass fogs over when I exhale. I will count to ten, or twenty. I will count to twenty then I will leave.
I drop my hands away from the window and I drag in a breath to start. I feel his hands on my waist as I breathe out one. I suddenly feel very weak and I collapse against him as he tightens his embrace. We remain like this for a while, his breath warm against my temple. If I cleared my mind completely I could probably convince myself that there is nothing between us and the world below.
I finally turn around and I look up into his face. I was waiting for you, I tell him. He smiles that half smile of his and he pulls me so that air cannot pass between our bodies. I know, he tells me, but I’m here now.