The Embrace

He holds her close, and she nestles her head against his shoulder. Her warm body presses into his. Her soft, sweet scent wafts over him.

He has missed this, the way she embraces him like she wants to protect, him, comfort him, like she doesn't want to hurt him, like she needs him desperately, clinging to him with all her might, like he's her entire world. He's missed the way she fits so perfectly in his arms, how their bodies mold together into a single whole greater than either of them could ever be.

She shifts in his arms and he tightens his grip. It feels like a dream to have her again at last, to watch the way she drifts off to sleep snuggled up against his chest. He doesn't want to give in to sleep, doesn't want it to end, but at last, he does.

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

An errant sunbeam slides in through the lacy white curtains falling over the balcony doors and flits across her face in the morning. She blinks a few times, then realizes. She holds her breath, afraid to move, for fear this will all melt away into nothingness.

Strong arms hold her. Warm breath ruffles the hair at her temple. She can smell the scent of cigarettes and spices and something distinctly masculine, distinctly Remy, and it smells like something she's been missing and wanting for so long that she's imagined it into her dreams and the air around her when nothing is actually there.

If she was weaker than she is, she would cry. Instead she carefully leans her arms against his chest and studies the way the light plays across his face. His is a strong face, a beautiful and intelligent one. She hesitates to touch him, but finally lifts up her gloved fingers to brush against the sharp planes, the shadow of stubble, the contours she used to know so well. A sharp pain aches at the pit of her stomach. She wants to touch him, really touch him, but she is relegated to these halfway brushes, achingly close to touch, but never touch.

Her gaze moves upward to the messy strands of auburn falling across his eyes, and she feels startled to realize he's awake. Dark eyes, burning with the red, study her with quiet intentness.

"Morning, sugar," she says softly, then draws her hand away.

She's trembling suddenly. All of this, the dance, their hearts whispered quietly in the darkness, it all feels unreal, like the dawn will show it up for a fleeting dream, and she turns her face away toward the light, considers sliding out from the tousled sheets.


The word stops her. She catches her breath. His hand is sliding up her arm, caressing her gently. He sits up, never quite letting go.

"Come here."

She's never been able to resist him and she cannot now as he draws her up and over to the balcony doors.

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

He holds her close before the open doors, the sunrise spilling over them with tender sweetness. She has stiffened in his arms, so uncertain—always uncertain—until finally, she begins to relax against him and nestles her head against his shoulder. Her soft, sweet scent wafts over him and he drops a gentle kiss against her hair.

She sighs.

He holds her tighter. He won't let her go. Not now. Not again.

"Je t'aime, mon amour," he breathes against her ear.

He catches the flutter of her lashes as her eyelids close. She leans her weight fully against him, her hands pressing tightly against his encircling arms.

She answers him, her voice as soft as the whispered promise of the morning sun, "I love you, too."