He'd fallen asleep alone. He'd come home from work hot from the air thick with an oncoming storm throughout the night. He'd opened up the house, showered, and collapsed on the bed hoping the weather would break soon so he wouldn't feel as though he needed a second shower almost as soon as he was done toweling off from the first one.
He woke up no longer alone. And she wasn't being subtle about the fact she'd joined him. Or the fact that she didn't want him to be asleep anymore.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed. The only indication that he'd slept a while was the fact that the room was cooler, so he took that to mean the downpour that had been threatening most of the night had finally come and gone.
His attention wasn't on that for long, though, as agile fingers and hands stroked his body to attention, evoking the response sought by the woman who possessed those fingers and hands. Very capable hands and fingers, he mused with a soft groan as she stroked a nipple just the way he liked.
Lower she went, along his abdomen. Teasingly, she stayed there, stroking a hip and higher now along his side. He groaned, this time out of frustration that she was not moving in the direction he wanted her to go.
She nipped at his neck, hard enough for there to be a mark as her hands slid along his arms and shoulders, lower to his chest, and back on the path he hadn't wanted her to stop to begin with.
Her mouth followed her hands, urgent and needy as she slid down the length of his body, making riddance of his shorts as she went lower still. Her hair, now dyed black but still worn long, slid along his chest as she kissed his skin.
He groaned as she nipped at his skin along the way. No marks here, but he liked it just the same.
A not so brief interlude involving her mouth taking him left him hard and wanting so much more. She climbed on top of him, shedding her shirt as she went. He hadn't noticed her remove her shorts and panties, but there was no barrier as she rubbed her slick opening against him.
"Caro," he whispered huskily as she teased him.
Mouth at his neck again he knew he could take control easily. Strong hands placed at her hips, he could be inside of her in no time. That was, evidently, not what she wanted right now so he let her be in control.
Not that being under her control was a hardship. Nails dug into his shoulders as she gripped him, sliding her mouth to his chest again.
Eventually, she did as he prayed she would, took him inside of her. Slowly. Far too slowly for his liking, but as she lifted her body away from his at that precise moment he was privy to watching her take him into her inch by inch. And that was arousing as hell, which she knew about him.
She cried out when she finally took him all of the way inside of her, hands at his chest she stayed that way for a while. Just sitting, keeping still on top of him.
He knew it was times like this, when they were together intimately, emotions heightened that she had to fight the personalities off to let her simply be Echo. There were so many that knew how to do things to him he didn't want to even think about, but she always made him feel like he was the only one.
And in a way, he was. There would be no one else for Echo.
"Ever," he murmured as he moved underneath her, thrusting into her just a little.
As if knowing he was at the breaking point, no longer able to let her keep this leisurely pace, she started to move against him. Her eyes never strayed from his face, watching him, focusing on him as if he was her lifeline. And perhaps he was, just as she was his.
They had no one else but one another in this life they now led. He, owner of a beachfront bar and she, calling upon two of the personalities the Dollhouse had given her, a midwife who spoke fluent Spanish, offering her services to the women in their small village who otherwise would get no medical treatment while pregnant.
While he could tell by her earlier urgency that there was something on her mind, something prompting this joining between them tonight, the actual lovemaking went at a nice, almost leisurely, pace. Slow, neither in a hurry to reach that pinnacle moment of completion sought when together like this. Neither wanting the closeness of being joined so intimately to end any sooner than it had to.
For both of them, these moments were the closest they got to reality in this life of fake names and treading carefully when revealing details to those who might become friends.
Boyd was certain Paul Ballard hadn't told him to take Echo from the power station and run with this end in mind. Ironically, he himself had been overcome with an unprecedented moment of jealousy at the idea of Paul rescuing her. How she'd managed to ensnare both Paul and Alpha he wasn't quite sure, considering neither of them had spent any time with her before becoming fixated on her.
He liked to think he was different, their affection mutual not one-sided and steeped in something as sinister as what Alpha had in mind. Or unrealistic as Paul's ideas likely had been.
She frightened him at times with her intelligence. All of those personalities sliding around inside of her gave her an edge over any normal person in just about any topic of conversation they could choose with her.
Eventually she moved beside him in the bed. Both sated she rested her head against his chest, running a finger along his abdomen. There was nothing suggestive about it this time, merely the desire to touch him. To be close to him.
It had started to rain again he noticed as he kissed the top of her head, smoothing down her hair with his hand.
"Want to talk about it," he asked finally when it was clear she wasn't going to start the conversation.
"How was your night?" she asked. He knew that wasn't what she wanted to talk about, but eventually they'd get to it.
"All right. Some regulars. Some tourists. A couple here on their honeymoon stopped for a drink."
"Here?" she asked, no doubt the same thought going through her mind as had through his earlier.
"They met not far from here on vacation and wanted to come back, just stay somewhere less commercial."
"And you believed them."
"I'm still here, so yes."
She was quiet for too long.
"Caro, it's fine."
"You said this place was safe because it wasn't one people would stumble upon."
"It's as safe as we're going to get. There's always a chance, it's the risk we're taking living anywhere. It exists on a map, people do enjoy going to out of the way places on their honeymoon sometimes."
"I have no recollection of honeymoons," she said after another lengthy pause.
He sighed softly.
"I've been married, I know that, but I don't remember the wedding or honeymoon."
More silence as she ran a fingertip along his side. She thinking on what those weddings and honeymoons had been like, no doubt. He was thinking much the same thing, though not liking the pictures his mind came up with at all.
He welcomed her touch, this closeness they shared that even in silence they were okay with one another.
"Rosie's baby did not survive," she whispered.
"It was Rosie you were with all this time?"
He knew Rosie. She was a girl he'd sort of befriended one day at the market. She was sixteen, if that, and pregnant. She had no home as her father wouldn't let her stay under his roof, expecting the baby's father to do the right thing. She didn't want to get married. Boyd had given her a job at his bar. She washed dishes, cleaned off tables, and helped him communicate a little easier since his Spanish was not that great.
"But she wasn't due for months."
"I know," she said.
"How is she?"
"Does it sound bad that I think she was somewhat relieved?"
"To some it may, but to someone knowing her situation, no."
"She was so scared. And it was a boy."
"And the father?"
"She was at home."
He was relieved to hear that. He liked Rosie; despite her circumstances she had a good outlook on life. A fact that made her name fitting her personality, a very rosy one.
"Well, that's something at least," he said. He worried about her, but they weren't in a position to take strangers into their home. It was dicey enough letting her get to know them at all really.
He understood her urgency now, her need to be with him and be in control. She felt as though she'd somehow lost a life that day. Boyd had no doubt that whatever caused the baby to perish in the womb it was not Echo's fault. Unfortunately there were things in life one couldn't control and she had difficulty grasping that at times.
Rosie's wasn't the first baby that didn't make it and wouldn't be the last, but Echo gave them a better chance than what they had without her.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he asked.
"I think you already did it."
He chuckled softly, glad she felt that way.
"I meant are you hungry? Or do you want to talk? Or watch TV?"
"I am fine."
"All right," he said. "And Caro?"
"Rosie knows it's not your fault."
"Just making sure."
That was all that she needed. She had enough going on in her head not to add guilt over something she more than likely had no control over.
She drew the top sheet over them, sliding one of her long legs between his as she settled herself in for sleeping. Outside it continued to rain. He suspected it would rain much of the night. The wind alone sounded wicked. Hopefully, the damage to their home would be minimal. At least he had the money to fix it unlike so many of their neighbors.
He was just glad that he didn't have to worry about her being damaged any longer. She still had her moments, but they were few and far between anymore. There'd been a time or two at the beginning he'd gone to the nearest payphone and started dialing Paul Ballard's number. Always, he stopped, though, knowing that just like Boyd, Paul Ballard didn't want Echo living that life any longer.
He couldn't remember the last time the temptation to call Paul presented itself. It was well before this last move, one Boyd hoped was a permanent one. They had a good life here if not a rather simplistic one. That didn't matter to him and she didn't seem to mind either. It had taken them a while to get it right, to blend in without appearing to try too hard.
He could tell when she drifted off to sleep, her breathing evening out, the arm around his middle slackening just a little from the tight grip she'd had on him a few minutes ago. There were times he wondered which was keeping the other one safe. And then he'd realize in a way they both were. No doubt if they were caught both would be in for a world of hurt.
He had to change his train of thought. She always picked up on it when his thoughts turned dark and she'd had a hard day. So he didn't want to be responsible for keeping her awake or making her frightened for no reason but his own thoughts getting away from him.
"Sleep well, Caro," he whispered, kissing the top of her head.