A/N: This story is set after Lacuna, post-love scene with Shane and Carmen. This is what I imagine the morning after would be. Please enjoy 3. And review if you get around to it!
My hands drift over the smooth, pale skin of her back. It stretches over her ribs and vertebrate like a piece of plastic wrap, leaving barely anything to the imagination. I wonder if she knows her ribs are countable or if she realizes just how frail and vulnerable she looks while she's sleeping. She sighs once and moves in response to the touch of my palm. I worry it's too callused for her or perhaps I'm being too rough. I stop this and continue to stare at her.
The back of her head is a mess of choppy locks the color of warm melted chocolate. It's terribly hard to miss the shock of peroxide-white-blonde that streaks down a particularly unruly tuft of hair and I grin. She's an artist; Van Gogh, Pollock, Chagall. She is all of them rolled into one and better, in my humble opinion. From my view and perspective she looks small, hollow, like her bones are made of blown glass and constructed together in a way that only she can maneuver. I'm torn on whether or not to touch her.
I glance at my own hands, smaller, broader, and worked; the tips of my fingers are cardboard or sandpaper, dry and rough. Subconsciously I ball my hands into fists, hoping to hide them but then realizing that no one can see me. I'm foolish, but oh so glad to be. I feel my confidant rouse from the position on her side. One long, gangly arm rises in the air and extends at the elbow. Her fingers uncurl and I wonder if she's trying to touch the ceiling. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past her. She likes ambition, or so she told me. I can't help but wonder what goes on in her mind. How she thinks and reasons and why she does the things she does. When she gets nervous, she swallows and when she's happy her smile brightens up a room. I relish her, I cherish her.
Her hand returns to the spot on the pillow, where it was previously settled, and then swiftly falls down to the sheet rounding her angular hips. She brings the thin cotton up to rest beneath her underarm and I wonder if she's cold, or if she's even awake, I still can't see her face. I bite my lower lip and grin, contemplating turning her over and finding out for myself. We had a long night though, I won't wake her. I wonder if she remembers she told me she missed the way I smelled, or remembers my eyes tearing in fear. I poured my heart and soul into this girl, this wingless bird with hollow bones, and she bruised me a little. She pushed me into a dark place in her heart and shut the door, making sure no light got in. She did a fantastic job, I almost believed her.
She's moving again and this time she swivels from her side, onto her back. Both arms come up now and bend. I watch her small woven bracelets slip down her arm while her hands move to rub at her eyes. I watch her blink and turn her head once more, she mumbles the time, but I could have told her that. I've barely slept the entire night. Does she know I'm here? I'm nervous; a hot feeling is spreading from my sternum to my cheekbones and I fight the urge to clear my throat. Her big hazel eyes close once more before she turns to me in one fluid motion. I sigh.
I'm greeted with those hazels once more, slightly smudged with eyeliner and mascara that had been so artfully applied the night before. She's still beautiful, absolutely beautiful in such a way I'm not even sure I can describe. My vocabulary is limited when it comes to this girl, and I damn sure will be the first to admit it. I smile at her and she smiles back and her fragile bones move toward me, one hand sliding beneath my side pressed against the mattress while the other circles around my waist and rubs at the jagged points of my tattoo. She surely does love that tattoo.
I feel warm and safe when I look down and notice the contrasting colors of our skin. Mine is sort of like melted butterscotch where hers is the color of pale vanilla ice cream. I'm irrational with my thoughts of butterscotch sundaes, but that's about the only way I can describe us. They are my favorite, after all. She must notice that the wheels in my head are turning because she leans foreword to plant a small kiss on my forehead. Something must have seriously switched with her. She is not the girl I once knew.
"Carmen." She says my name as if to make sure I won't disappear, but nope, I am here, and I'm certainly not moving.
"Shane." I repeat, knowing that she is there, knowing that this is tickling every nerve ending in my body, giving me that tingly feeling I thought I could quench. I was wrong about that. Come to think of it, I was wrong about a lot of things.
We bent and swayed and melted like molten lava last night; liquid fire burning without stopping. She said things I don't even think she was aware of and I could barely respond. But after each time we rode out waves of bliss she held me close, nurturing me, keeping me near, and reaffirming that she loved me. She said it more than I've ever heard it, and I knew she was making up for the times she wanted to say it, when those pesky little voices in her head and heart, were holding her back. The first few times I was silent, unsure if I was willing to open myself up for her again, but soon I was following suit, sputtering out my feelings freely.
Shane rarely speaks, I noticed this; everyone around her noticed this. She is more observant than a chemist and much more precise too. It's almost like she formulates what she's going to say before saying it, something I certainly do not posses. The thinking before speaking aspect is still premature in my brain. Sometimes this comes to my advantage, supposedly living up to my Latina reputation as brassy and loud, but most of the time it just hurts me, and hurts the ones around me.
I cannot resist her anymore, and I have no reason to. I lean forward and kiss her, feel her arms tighten their hold around me. I scoot closer to her and she sighs, pulling away to nuzzle the skin beneath my jaw bone. I once could recall its proper name, but now only Shane is registering in my mind. I trace my hand over the spot on her bare chest where there is that bleak, slightly puffy scar. It's fitting of her, and I look to her again. She clears her throat. I'm probably making her uncomfortable, but I feel I need an explanation. I'm not a pushy girl, but I like to be informed, and I like to be totally aware of what's going on.
"I was a teenager, around seventeen I guess. I was running away from someone." She stops and swallows and she licks her lips. This is vague, but it's a start. "I was climbing down a fence, you know the normal, chainware kind, and I thought I was home free until I caught my shirt on one of the points."
As she was telling this, I notice Shane doesn't talk with her hands, she's straight to the point. It's one more thing I love about her.
"And instead of taking the time to pull it loose you just free-fell?"
"Pretty much," Shane grins and I slide my hand up the back of her neck, feeling blindly for that blonde spot on her hair.
She reaches for me again with her mouth and we kiss a kiss buttery soft and just as sweet. I'm infatuated with this girl, but telling her that now would be like playing poker with a handful of duds; much too risky. Instead I watch her take the sheet that was clamped beneath my elbow and slide it down my skin. She comes to the spot on my left thigh where the skin puckers somewhat to form a jagged line running almost all of the way to my knee. I hate that scar.
"I was in a car accident when I was twelve. My brother, Angelo, was driving…I was lucky, he was not."
"Mm. We were in an old school Camino, there were no airbags. We were lucky for seatbelts."
"I'm…sorry." Shane looks blankly at me and blinks, swallowing in that nervous way of hers.
"It's okay…we know he's in a better place. Angelo is our angel. Someday you'll have to come over and have my mom tell you stories of him. He was a great kid." I stop myself and bite down hard on my bottom teeth, feeling them grind some. I think I'm overstepping here.
"I'd like that." Shane replies softly and sincerely and I relax, feeling my jaw unclench.
We sit there for a moment, still and silent, watching each other with eyes wide and fingers trailing gently over smooth and somewhat glowing skin, basking in such an intense afterglow, I'm surprised we aren't generating light for the room. I touch her again, just against her shoulder and bring the tip of my nimble index finger around it, finally stopping to draw a heart with invisible ink and kiss it when I'm finished. This action makes Shane smile and she leans forward to do the same. This time, however, it's on the exposed skin of my stomach and before I know it I'm rolled onto my back and I'm staring up at my sweet catastrophe.
She studies me a bit more, brows furrowing like a sculptor, molding her lump of mushy and unappealing clay into something spectacular. She draws her thumbs up to my face and traces over my brow, sliding along the natural and soft groove of my eyebrow. I hold my breath while she traces over my nose and then down over my lips. I feel them part and she continues, rounding over my chin and down my neck.
"You're beautiful." She says hoarsely and tears sting my eyes, she's so genuine, but I won't cry in front of her. Not again.
"You're magnificent." I reply, hands moving up to her shoulders, pulling her down on top of me.
I want to melt with her like we did last night, but instead I just kiss her hard, realizing I quite possibly could be bruising her lips. I stop, collect myself and grin wryly up at her. She smirks in response before finding that spot on my neck, the one just under my earlobe that makes my toes curl. She's lavishing attention to it and it's all I can do to keep from screaming. Her hands are in my hair and she's bunching them, like she's trying to devour me. It's desperately sexy and I'm desperately in tune to her, arching my back up unconsciously.
I know this road and where it's heading and I brace myself for the ride ahead. My hands slip down to her bony hips and I grip them while she straddles my stomach, enveloping me in such warmth I can't help but shudder at the drastic change in temperature. Her fingers ignite me and I'm fighting for breath, gasping her name out again and again. I wonder then what we look like right now, colliding in the way that we are. I can imagine it's extremely sexy; anything is with Shane in the mix. My head tips back and my raw throat pushes her name out before my body collapses in a heap of stinging lungs and sweating limbs.
When I finally get the chance to breathe normally again I notice Shane is still curled on top of me, her head resting on my shoulder. I sift my fingers through her hair, gently tugging with my actions. She gives a low rumbling sound from somewhere deep in her diaphragm and I crane my neck to hear what she's saying.
"Hmm?" I ask quietly, contentedly.
"I love you." She says, just like the first time, and once again, we're molten rock, melting through each other's hearts with breakneck speed.
"Shane?" I whisper through a giggle.
"I love you, too."
And I've never said a truer thing in my entire twenty-four years of life.