He slowly lowered himself to the mattress beside her, the tension in his muscles unspooling in a pleasant but lesser copy of its arrival. Still breathing in bursts, he rolled to his back, using the arm that had been wrapped behind her shoulder to pull her against his side. He could feel the twitching in her body, still echoing along her skin where they were pressed together. Time slowed. His pulse leveled out. The world faded from vermillion red to a soft, muted yellow.

He turned to find her watching him, her eyes huge with something akin to apprehension.

"Hey" he spoke softly.

"Lee, I …" she sounded unsure of her voice, and let whatever she was going to say trail off, dropping her gaze and rubbing her cheek against his clavicle.

Oh, so that was it. She was shy. How very like Amanda, to be fearless in the moment, but nervous afterwards. He wanted to grin, but knew it would only make matters worse. His fingers made lazy trips down her spine.

"Wanna talk about what's bothering you all of a sudden? No regrets, I hope."

"No! No. I could never regret loving you, Lee. And I've wanted this for so long …"

He let out a long breath, releasing any momentary doubts that had crept in behind the shadow of her uncustomary silence.

"So, was it worth the wait?" he asked, eyes dancing, confident in her answer. It wasn't arrogance that made him so, at least not entirely. He simply knew enough to know when he'd pleasured his partner, and Amanda had been ardently, toe-curlingly well pleased. Several times, by his count. Just thinking about it made his groin tighten perceptibly, but he had other matters to attend to.

"Oh, Lee. Yes. For me it was …" He could hear the unspoken question in her reply.

"But you're not sure if I feel the same way. Oh, Amanda. Of course it was. How could you ever doubt that? I've wanted to be with you, imagined being with you for as long as I can remember. And the reality … well …. you know I don't have your gift for words …"

"Maybe that's part of it. I guess I couldn't really tell if you were, you know, enjoying yourself. I mean, other than the obvious part." She was blushing now, and he could see the colour creeping down her chest, distracting him before he forced his attention back to what she had said.

"We can't all be as vocal as you, Amanda." he teased, grinning as her chest flushed an even deeper red.

"You didn't seem to mind at the time." she reminded him, trying to regain her composure.

"No. No, I most certainly did not mind. Feel free to deify me anytime the mood strikes." She slapped weakly at his chest, noticing that his breath was quickening as they verbally relived their recent intercourse.

"But you were sort of, I dunno, reserved. Not in what you did, but in how you reacted to me. I never expected that. I guess I always imagined you'd be more … expressive."

"Always imagined, huh? We're going to have to have a long chat about all these things we've imagined about each other. As for being expressive, I never really thought about it before. Maybe it comes from so many years keeping my feelings to myself, not just about you, but about everything. I don't have a lot of practice laying my emotions out for anyone to see."

"I know. I know that, Lee. But this is me. You know I'd never hurt you. I keep all your secrets safe in my heart."

He pulled her towards him then, tangling his fingers in her hair and kissing her slow and deep. He knew she was right. He had nothing to fear with her, and nothing left to hide now either. Maybe it was time to let his body know what his mind had understood for years. That she was the only safe harbour he would ever need to find.

Still kissing him, she pushed herself over his long body, knees coming to rest against his flanks, hands on his shoulders. Her mouth pulled back from his, sucking first on his tongue, then feasting on his indecently lush bottom lip. She felt his strong fingers massaging her hips, tipping her pelvis so she made solid contact with his growing erection. She was sticky from their recent sex, and growing wetter by the moment. Without realizing it, she began to rock against him, letting out a breathy moan.

"Yesssss" he whispered, and she leaned back to watch him as their bodies moved together. His eyes were shut and his lips were parted and she thought she had never seen anything more beautiful until his eyelids fluttered open and she looked into his loden eyes. He lifted a hand to caress her cheek.

"You're so beautiful. So beautiful, Amanda." and she turned to kiss his palm. His thumb outlined her swollen lips, and she worried it between her teeth before sucking it slowly into her mouth. His hips rolled beneath her, making them both gasp.

He removed his thumb, dragging it against her lip, over her jawbone, down her elegant neck, into the depression at the base of her throat, and finally to the edge of her areola, circling the dampness from her mouth around and around her darkened skin, maddeningly close to where she wanted it. He watched in satisfaction as her nipples hardened, first the one he was tormenting, then the other. His mouth flooded with moisture in response.

Pushing himself to seated with his free arm, both hands slid behind her back, cupping her delicate shoulder blades like twin chalices and arching her towards his waiting mouth. Fingers tunneled through his hair. Her rapid breathing took on sound, a high pitched descant of pleasure as he sucked the rigid tip of each breast in turn between his teeth, cheeks hollowing with the pressure. He could hardly believe how turned on he was, and broke contact with her flesh long enough to tell her so.

"I need you. Inside me. Now." each phrase punctuated by a pulse of her body against his.

"Lift up for a second." he instructed gruffly, pulling her weight upwards long enough to pivot his feet beneath him until he was kneeling as though to pray. Holding his length in one hand, he encouraged her hips downward until he could rub his glans against her folds as she groaned near his ear, the sensation so intense that he ground his teeth and his whole body shook with restraint.

She released her shaking quads and dropped slowly onto him, a long slick ache that she wished would never end. As he bottomed out inside her, their eyes met in mutual awe.

"Sweet Christ. Don't move, Amanda. Just let me … God. So good."

She recognized his struggle for control, and stilled in his lap. She could swear she could feel the beating of his heart against her inner walls. Her muscles contracted around him, and his groan had a tortured quality that filled her with pride.

Regaining some measure of control, he used his hands to manoeuvre her body in slow waves. Freed of responsibility for anything other than their mutual pleasure, she cradled his face in her hands and bent to rub the bridge of her nose along his forehead, his eyebrows, the shell of his ear, feeling the humid wash of his breath on the sensitive skin of her neck. Her nipples rubbed against his chest and she grasped the ropy muscles of his shoulders, finally starting to lift and lower herself more forcefully than his hands allowed, needing the sharp bolts of pleasure that skittered over her as she rubbed along his skin.

"Mmm, Manda, slow down. That feels so good, but I don't want to come yet."

If anything, his words only incited her to move faster, needing to make him let go of any restraint. He tried one last time to still her movements with his hands, but she shook her head and tightened around him until all thought of protest vanished from his mind, replaced by the encroaching frenzy for completion. Reaching between their bodies, he found her clit and manipulated it roughly in circles, feeling her muscles seize tight and then spasm and she cried out her pleasure against his neck, hands clasping and then slipping on his sweaty skin.

Finesse completely abandoned, he toppled them forward until she was on her back with her head at the foot of the mattress, her quivering thighs still high on his hips as he stretched out over her. There was nothing but the collision of their bodies, the hungry damp glide of their sex. A red haze of lust, silver needles of passion and a billowing white cloud of nothingness. Release started as the eerie calm before the cataclysm, awareness re-establishing at the point where they were joined and then rippling outwards like a thunderclap until every sinew shook with it. He let go of everything, then, trusting her to guide him back to safety.