In the Dark

by Firerose

You tangle your fingers in the curls at the back of his neck, pull him closer. In the dark he can pretend you’re anyone, you think -- his wife, one of his mistresses (you’ve gone through his files, there are several listed under ‘Security risks, potential’). He smells not of money (no, that stale smell you know well), nor even of expensive aftershave (he doesn’t shave), but of brand-new linen, that indefinable but unforgettable aroma. Nothing like the other man you’ve held like this today (rougher cotton and a lingering scent of washing powder). That crisp shirt that’s tickling your cheek must have come out of a packet that morning, you think. Strange what passes through your mind as his hands close round the small of your back and the decision to be this near is no longer yours but his.

You know I’d never do anything to hurt you, he says, and you know that his words are as worthless as that ridiculous Rolex he gave you last week -- in pieces now, like your trust in him.

In the dark he can pretend you’re anyone, you think, as those fingers that played Chopin Nocturnes for you one afternoon in the office untuck your blouse (soft from many washes). Or perhaps he can pretend that he’s anyone -- you can see the attraction for this man who can have anything save the things he most craves.

The trouble is---you left the light on.

To Martha, with deep affection, L.L.

Engraving on watch, Insurgence


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