Francés and Espagnol

By: 1000th Ghost

*This story is dedicated to Trisha for running around the house saying, "Pe-teet-o!" And, again, to my subconscious for dreaming parts of this up (and for even randomly dreaming of "Madeline" in the first place, since I definitely haven't thought about it at all since I was maybe nine-years-old).*

In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines

Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

The smallest one was Madeline.

In another old house that stood next door

Lived Pepito, the son of the Spanish Ambassador.

"I'm not afraid."

It was what she said when her appendix was removed, when presented with both a tiger and a mouse, when he stole her sketchbook in the dark museum, when they were stranded together atop the Ferris wheel, the Eiffel tower, on a boat in the middle of the sea, in the kidnappers' truck.

And she said it again as he waved the book in front of her face, although she still steadfastly refused to touch it.

"You must be afraid, or else you would read it," he counterattacked, and she glared at him.

"Well, why haven't you read it, Pepito?"

He rolled his eyes and sat down next to her on the ground (or rather, on the thin patch of grass and dirt that was between a row of bushes and the fence which separated their houses).

"Porque you're my best friend, and this is my greatest pilfering yet! You have no idea how much trouble my mamá went through to hide this book from me."

"If your mother did not want you looking at this book, there is évidemment a good reason for it," Madeline said sharply. She started to stand up, but he caught her wrist and pulled her back. "And it's too cramped in here." She exaggerated failing to attempt to stretch her legs out by placing them in his lap. "See?"

He smacked her legs playfully with the book, but she did not make a sound and kept them firmly in place. "Madeline, do you know how much I'll be punished if I am caught? It doesn't matter if it's cramped, it's secreto, and she will not come looking for us here."

"For you, you mean," Madeline corrected. "She won't come looking for you. Because you are the one who stole the book, and you are the one who dragged me here, and you are the one who wants to read it."

"Well…" He paused. "Don't you want to read it?"

The redhead reread the title.

Seducción:

Black Lace y Roses

It was one of those books, adult books, books about men and women and…and whatever it was that Miss Clavel was not allowed to do. The thought of Miss Clavel made her face burn; what would she say if she knew Madeline was even considering peeking inside the forbidden, scarlet cover?

On the other hand, it must be terriblement interesting if adults went to such lengths to keep it shrouded.

"We-we are only ten," she faltered.

"A-ha! You are afraid!" he chided accusingly.

The frustrated girl opened her mouth as if to retaliate but instead snatched the book out of his hand, opened forcefully to a page somewhere in the middle, and began to read aloud.

"His left hand deftly grazed her heaving breast, and she cried out, '¡Roberto, por favor!'"

She read the words hastily, regarding them as syllables on a page rather than absorbing any meaning. Then she slammed the book shut and proclaimed, "There. I read it."

Pepito laughed. "No, you didn't, little girl. Do you even know what it said?"

She repeated the sentence back to him verbatim, but this time her cheeks turned as red as her hair as she understood what she had said.

"You should see your face!" He pointed to her blush, but she knocked his finger out of the way with her fist.

"You should see your face after I'm through with it!"

"Okay, okay." Pepito held up his hands in mock surrender. "I probably shouldn't have brought this book to you anyway. You are demasiado infantil – too childish."

Madeline raised a leg to lightly kick his chest then brought it back to his lap. "I'm not childish. I actually read it. That's plus que I've seen you do."

"Oh, I have no problem reading it." He picked up the book yet again and flipped to a random page. "I just don't want to corrupt your innocent, little mind."

"My mind is not innocent, Pepito!"

"Oh?"

She blushed again when she realized what it sounded like she meant, but Pepito just chuckled and started to read.

"They were in each others' arms before another word was spoken, but she held back, still hesitant.

'Why do you deny yourself?' he asked, his voice velvet and dark in her ear. His handed traveled to her chin and tipped her head back. Her hair cascaded over her bare shoulders as he moved towards her parted lips, breathing heavily with anticipation. 'You are not going to deny yourself any longer, mi amor. I will not let you.'"

When he looked up, Pepito found Madeline staring at him intently, apparently oblivious to everything but the words coming out of his mouth.

So, naturally, to vex her, he shut the book.

She blinked as if coming out of a trance. "Now we won't know what happens," she said simply.

"What do you mean? Anybody can tell what happens next: they kiss." He leaned back on his hands and sighed. "But, of course, I could not actually bring it upon myself to read something like that to una niñita like you."

"I'm not too little to know about kissing."

"Have you ever been kissed?"

"No."

"See?"

"Have you?"

"Yes."

"When?"

"When I gave you that parasol for your birthday, you kissed me on the cheek."

"That doesn't count. Have you ever really been kissed?"

"…no."

"Then we're even." She grinned.

"Do you…want to be kissed?" He looked at her curiously.

"Par qui – by who? You?"

"Well, by – no sé – just by…do you want to be kissed?"

Madeline blinked. "Why do you ask?"

"I just figured you might be curious is all," he explained, shrugging. "I mean, don't you want to know what it's like?"

She glanced at the book and then back to him. "Je suppose, a little bit," she admitted. "Or rather I'd like to know what makes it so important." She shifted until she was fully sitting in his lap, her legs straddling his waist. "Why is it that this-" She leaned forward and touched his forehead with her own. "-or this-" Now noses. "-does not mean anything, but if it was lips-mmph!"

After the fraction of a second that it took her to realize that Pepito was kissing her, she jerked her head back in alarm and stared at him with wide eyes.

"I wasn't actually going to do it!" she exclaimed in indignation.

His eyebrows scrunched together, perturbed. "How was I supposed to know that?"

She opened her mouth to answer, discovered that she had nothing to say, and instead picked up a twig and tossed it at his face. He blinked briefly as it harmlessly made contact with his forehead and then fell down to the skirt of her blue uniform.

"Do it again?"

It was either a command in the form of a question or a question in the form of a command, but either way, he knew perfectly well that he could not command her, and what kind of a question was that anyway?

"If you want to know about kissing so badly, then you should kiss Vicki. She'd be more than willing to help you out."

"Well, I don't want to kiss Vicki," he said matter-of-factly. "I want to kiss you."

A large part of her – maybe a small part of her – wanted to interrogate him further, but a nagging small part of her – maybe a large part of her – wanted to just agree.

"Would you still want to kiss if I kissed you?" she compromised.

He considered this for a moment. "Sí, pero I do not think that is how it works. Boys usually kiss girls. Besides, you are…" Madeline stiffened apprehensively as he brought his hand to the cloth of her skirt in between her spread legs, but he simply picked up the twig that had settled there. "…you are a little twig."

"I'm not some little twig!"

"That was a compliment," he insisted. "I like that you're tiny. It means that I'm bigger and stronger and can…you know-"

"Kiss me?" She moved her face a few inches closer to his as if to test him. "We could kiss each other. At the same time."

Pepito nodded. "Alright."

This time she was expecting it and partially initiating it, which somehow made it acceptable. They kept their eyes open until their lips actually touched to ensure they mutually kissed at exactly the same moment.

When her eyes had closed, Madeline discovered that with nothing but her dark eyelids to occupy her thoughts, the feel of his lips on hers was almost overly emphasized. It was just skin on skin, she told herself, but "We're kissing, we're kissing, Pepito and I are kissing" kept bouncing around her skull with the dark of closed eyes and the strange and yet not altogether unpleasant feel of his full, soft lips against her own rosebud mouth.

Lost in her thoughts or lack thereof and therefore remaining completely motionless, she was caught off guard when his mouth opened slightly and again when his tongue parted her lips and slipped in between them.

"Mmm!" She broke the kiss with a cry. "What are-what are you doing?"

"Just let me try this, Madeline." He paused. "I think you'll like it."

"How do you know? And how do you even know how to kiss?"

He smirked. "Maybe I already read a chapter of the book before I came to show you."

With that, he leaned forward and, tilting his head, forced their lips together once more.

She was vaguely irritated for a moment that he had kissed her, but then his tongue was in her mouth again, and he somehow coaxed hers into his, and she wasn't entirely sure that she minded being kissed. His right hand was on the back of her head, bringing her closer, and her small, gloved hands clutched onto his shoulders to help him in this effort.

Sometimes he would let her dominate, but for the most part, he was in control. There were one or two times that she suddenly felt lost and uncertain of what she was doing – what they were doing – but his presence and his assuredness comforted her, and she found herself wishing that she could stay in the security of his embrace forever.

But she couldn't, of course, and soon enough they parted, and she hopped off his lap and stood up. He stood up as well, towering over her, as usual. The sun was annoyingly situated behind him, and she had to squint to stare up at him.

When her eyes started to water from the sunlight, she dropped her gaze to the ground between them.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, bending down and picking up the forgotten book they had left there. She handed it to him with both hands as if it were something much more significant that covers, a spine, and pages.

"Gracias." He accepted the book and tucked it under his arm.

"No, je vous remercie – thank you, Pepito," she contradicted. "For…" For kissing her? No, no, she couldn't say that. "I never would have thought to do that."

Pepito arched an eyebrow. "¿Me amas?"

Madeline looked up at him again, cautiously, shielding her eyes with her hand.

"You told me before – back when we were trapped in the kidnappers' truck – that I've got charisma," he explained.

"Boys usually tell girls that they love them," she retorted, using his own words against him. "I couldn't tell you what I meant when I said you've got charisma. I'm just a little twig."

He chuckled at her aggravation and knocked her hat askew. "Well, little twig, can you come over tomorrow to work on our clubhouse?"

"Oh, oui, oui!" she exclaimed, her face immediately brightening. "If it is alright with Miss Clavel, of course."

He waved his hand dismissively, as if to say "How typical of you", although she was not sure if it referred to her excitement for their play date the next day or her insistence on asking for her guardian's permission. Then he walked away, calling, "Adiós, little girl!" over his shoulder.

That night, Madeline hesitantly asked her friend, Aggie, if kissing with tongues was a common practice.

"How have you not heard of that?" Aggie asked incredulously. "It's called French kissing!"

Madeline couldn't help but wonder what a Spanish kiss was.


They left the house at half past nine

In two straight lines in rain or shine.

But today, they had left behind Madeline. She was grateful when she woke at half past nine that the girls and Miss Clavel had let her sleep in. They knew she had stayed up past midnight with Pepito (her friends giggled and speculated, but all the two had done was ride to the park on his motorcycle to skip rocks on the pond). Miss Clavel was not sure what to think, but she was certainly not encouraging her students to become nuns, if that was not what they wished. It was not at all surprising that the smallest one and the bad hat would grow closer.

Observers would not believe it if they had known, but in the five years that they had known each other, Madeline's and Pepito's relationship had stayed very much the same. They had been archrivals and then best friends, and friends – very, very good friends but friends just the same – was what they remained.

Hardly a day passed that they were not together, and when they were apart, they would complain to anyone who would listen that they could not wait to see each other again.

They played bullfighter (occasionally, he would acquiesce and let her be the matador) and left treasures and notes for one another in their secret hole in a tree and then climbed the tree. They sat in their fully equipped clubhouse and discussed every topic under the sun. When they were fourteen, his parents gave him a real motorcycle, which opened up an entire new spectrum of activities. Going to the park, the theater, the café, or simply riding aimlessly throughout Paris, her arms clasped tightly around his waist.

Occasionally, they kissed.

After the first time, two weeks went by before he kissed her in the clubhouse. And for the years that followed, one or the other or both would initiate impromptu intimacy. Sometimes as often as twice a week, sometimes as far apart as two months.

But it was treated with the same weight as climbing trees or riding motorcycles: just an activity the two best friends did together. Neither had ever mentioned anything vaguely related to amorous feelings to each other nor to themselves.

Such things were not important. The "I love yous" of fairytales and soap operas could not possibly begin to compare with their sometimes brother and sister, sometimes friends with benefits, sometimes sworn enemies, but always – always – best friends attachment.

Once, his father was called away to London, taking his family with him. Pepito was so distressed that he hardly ate anything for weeks. Only when his parents begged Madeline and the other girls to come visit so their son would not starve to death did his appetite return. Two months later, the Spanish Ambassador was allowed to return to the old house and had remained ever since. The instance had made one thing abundantly clear: they literally could not tolerate being separated.

They were thirteen when he first attempted to move his hand from her waist to her breast. She pinched the affronting hand until he screamed and made him swear to never do it again. When he tried again two minutes later, she let him.

Anything sensual that happened between them (which was never more than caressing pets) was, for the most part, not referred to while it was not occurring. There was an element of secrecy to it, for if they had openly discussed it, it would imply that they had a formal, romantic relationship. Which was not the case.

As the years went on, Madeline saw several of her friends find beaus. Danielle was even engaged. But the thought of having another boy in her life seemed ridiculous; who could even come close to sharing what she and Pepito had? And if Pepito ever began to fancy some mademoiselle, she would most likely pulverize him (and possibly the girl too).

But there was hardly any chance of this because they were Madeline and Pepito, the smallest one and the bad hat, French and Spanish, inescapably intertwined.

This morning, the sun shone brightly, and Madeline hummed to herself as she groomed in the deserted bathroom. The doors to the balcony were wide open, and the warm, summer breeze wafted through the room. She stood at her mirror nearest to the door in a pale-yellow bra and panties, enjoying the luxury of having the bathroom to herself.

Just as she turned off her sink, she heard an unmistakable voice call, "¡Hola, señorita!"

"Pepito!" she exclaimed excitedly, hurrying onto the balcony.

He stood on his bathroom's adjacent balcony, a towel around his waist, his hair still wet from his shower. When she realized he was essentially unclothed and then consequently quickly realized that she was in nothing but her underclothes, she stepped back into the bathroom, still in his view but slightly hidden by the doorframe.

He immediately looked confused at her departure and instructed, "Come back!"

"Non!" She attempted to close the doors slightly while still remaining partially concealed. "I'm not dressed!"

"Yes, I can still see that," he informed her, snickering. "And neither am I, so come back out."

Well, really, how was it any different than a bathing suit? She had certainly never been demure. And he did not seem to mind, so why should she?

That being decided, she pranced back outside defiantly and rested her arms on the balcony's railing.

"You are still a naughty boy," she accused him jokingly.

"Ah, , but I am no longer a bad hat," he countered. "And I do not think you would appreciate it if I was not at least half naughty."

"Oh, I don't know," she mused. "I might get into less trouble."

At this he laughed loudly, amused by the ridiculousness of her statement.

"Or maybe trouble would find me regardless," she agreed.

"Come over here."

She glanced around. "Right now?"

"The others have left already, muchacha. And my parents aren't home. So, yes, right now."

"I'm not dressed!"

"I believe we have already established this," he teased. "Just come through the side door; no one will see you."

"But-"

"I'll be waiting," he informed her, and then he retreated and was gone.

"He has some nerve," she thought, running back inside and then to the bedroom.

She most definitely would not be crossing over to his house with no clothes on; oh, what would Miss Clavel say! But she was anxious to get there and so grabbed the first uniform of hers she saw and simultaneously pulled it over her head while dashing down the stairs. She was almost at the bottom when she realized that the dress was from at least three years ago and was much too small. She flipped it backwards so the buttons were in the front and managed to get a few of them buttoned. She had not bothered to put on a shirt underneath, nor tie, nor hat, nor even shoes and socks. The blue skirt only just covered her hips, and her bare arms felt terribly exposed with no sleeves covering them.

But she ventured forth nonetheless, flying across the dewy grass barefoot, hoping nobody on the street would see her. She entered through the side door as he had instructed and, after two wrong turns, found her way to his bedroom. She almost felt as if she should knock before entering but knew he would make fun of the gesture so instead threw the door open with a bang and walked right in.

He was standing at a mirror with his back to her, still only wearing a white towel, combing his already dry hair.

Madeline giggled.

"What's so funny?" he asked, turning around.

"It's true, what the girls say. You do look 'positively Elvis'!" She paused and observed him. "Except you are more muscular."

He grinned. "I can think of far worse things you could say to me, so I'll take that as a compliment. As for you-" He paused. "-I'm afraid there is absolutely no compliment I can give you. What are you wearing?"

"Oh, well…" She tugged at the hem of the dress self-consciously, hoping to make it appear longer. "I grabbed the wrong size."

"Evidentemente." He turned back to his mirror and began working on his thick, black hair again. "I told you I didn't mind you coming as you were."

Madeline scoffed. "Of course, you didn't mind. Excuse-moi, but I have better taste than to come to a boy's room wearing no clothes."

"You might as well have. That dress isn't much better." He caught her eyes in the mirror's reflection, and she knew from his unmistakably wicked expression that whatever he said next was meant to anger her. "Although, I suppose if it is too small, it means that you have grown some..."

It took a few seconds for her infuriated brain to try to come up with a suitable reaction, and before she really had, she squealed, "Oooh!" darted to his side, and (on tiptoe) reached up and knocked the comb from his hand. He looked down at her, clearly amused.

"You meant to mess up my hair, didn't you? Lo siento, my deepest apologies for your height deficiency."

It was the one thing she could never really think of a witty comeback for, and he therefore irked her about it incessantly. She was fifteen-years-old and still looked in many was as she had when she was ten. She stayed permanently at four feet eleven inches and had given up on ever acquiring that last, precious inch. He, on the other hand, was five feet eleven inches and was quite certain he would reach six feet and beyond.

He could tease her about animal rights, obedience to Miss Clavel, and even her current, accidentally risqué attire, but her height – her oh-so-well-earned place as "the smallest one" – was, for her, simply devastating.

Her expression was so desolate (as it always was) that his heart repented (as it always did).

"Oh, you can mess up my hair if you really want to," he conceded. "Here, I'll help you." Before she had time to protest, he had reached around her, placed his hands on her backside, and hoisted her up. Her legs instinctively wrapped around his waist to keep from falling, but her hands purposefully went to his head.

"You want me to mess up your hair?" She took two handfuls of it, perhaps harder than was necessary. "C'est bon. Très bon." Her fists of hair yanked his head forward until their foreheads were touching. "Put me down this instant."

Pepito shrugged. "As you wish." Then, as she glared into his eyes, he took a few steps and dropped her unceremoniously onto his bed.

She immediately scooted back and positioned herself so she was lying in the middle of the bed. She spread her arms and legs as far as she could, trying to take up as much of the mattress as possible, closed her eyes, and proclaimed, "Just for that, I'm not talking to you any more today. And I'm not leaving your bed. So you'll have to just stand there and be tortured by my silence."

He didn't respond, but she kept her eyes stubbornly closed, telling herself that she did not care what he was doing. As a few minutes ticked by, she found herself almost falling asleep. His bed was so comfortable…especially after the small cot she had slept in practically her entire life.

His bed was enormous – it could probably easily fit four people side by side. Once, she and all eleven other girls had climbed into bed with him when he had caught the chicken pox from them and was upset about missing the costume party his parents were hosting.

On that note, she pondered, she had only been on his bed a scarce few times, most memorably when he had first informed her that he was no longer a bad hat. She almost laughed thinking of how pitiful he had looked wrapped up in bandages and feeling miserable. But she didn't laugh. She was not talking to him.

They had slept tied together in the kidnappers' truck, and they had slept together for weeks in a pile of luggage on top of a moving wagon and then in a small bed when they joined the gypsies' caravan. But, in reality, even for how good friends they were, she could hardly remember visiting his room. Miss Clavel would certainly never allow a boy in the girls' bedroom, and being in his room always felt somehow scandalous. So, for the most part, they met in their yards, or at the fence, or drove around the streets of Paris.

But here she was, on his bed, and growing increasingly bored.

"Madeline, you're so stupid."

Apparently, he was also growing bored.

She felt the mattress shift as he lay next to her but still said nothing.

Madeline had no way of knowing, but a similar train of thought was going through her friend's head. He had never seen her on his bed before, not like this, lying with her short, red hair splayed over the pillow behind her and her chest rising and falling as she took on an image of sleep. His bed was expansive and ornate, carved of dark-brown wood and equipped with a canopy and multitudes of luxurious comforters and pillows. But somehow the thought of seeing his bed without her on it seemed barren. She looked strikingly pretty spread across his sheets.

"You look good on my bed."

Was that what he meant to say? It had sounded much more eloquent in his head. The statement that had actually come out of his mouth could be interpreted a thousand different ways. Not that it mattered; she wasn't responding to him regardless.

The light from the open balcony door danced haphazardly around the room, and a particular beam landed nearly exactly across her chest, which was straining against the buttons of the too-snug dress, and he grinned shamelessly. Perhaps he could make her talk…

"It's almost painful watching you," he started. One finger began to run up and down her row of buttons. "These buttons are squeezing you in." He hesitated for a moment then undid the first button. "Claro, not being female, I wouldn't know, but-" When the next button was unfastened, the one following it popped open from the tension, and his eyes devoured the peek of cleavage he was given. "-if one is as amply gifted in this area as you are, I should think it would be horribly uncomfortable." The last two buttons were undone, and still she did not move a muscle. "Strange, you will not come to my room undressed, and yet you do not mind this. Well, if you are not going to stop me…"

Deciding he had given her significant warning, he moved her limp arms to her sides and began to slide the material of the blue dress away. He had removed it down to her waist before realizing that even if he took the entire thing off, she was not going to move and that he might be taking advantage of her by proceeding.

"Madeline," he complained, "I know you want to talk too."

She did, there was no arguing with that. And she had almost entirely forgotten why she was supposed to be mad at him in the first place.

"Oui, I do want to talk," she finally spoke, opening her eyes.

"¡Por fin!" he crowed, throwing an arm around her (and consequently "accidentally" placing a hand over her breast, a move she had discovered he had attempted when they were still ten-years-old and had eventually perfected).

She arched an eyebrow questioningly, but he only remarked, "What? I deserve it after what you just put me through."

"What I put you through?" She gestured to her stripped torso. "You undressed me!"

"It looked agonizing. You should say 'thank you', don't you think?"

Madeline proceeded to kick the dress the rest of the way off and then toss it over the side of the bed. "I can undress myself, thank you very much. See?"

He could think of a few choice, provocative replies to her statement but decided that he had provoked her enough for one day.

They lay in the sun, he in his towel, she in her underclothes, his one hand refusing to move from the pale-yellow cup, his other occasionally shifting through strands of her hair. They ensued discussing the upcoming parade on the Pont Neuf bridge over the Seine and whether or not using his father's hat for a makeshift football had been a good idea and if people turned into beautiful angels or were just themselves when they went to heaven and the origin of toothpaste. Somewhere during their conversation, her hand had unintentionally brushed against his abdomen, right above the border of the towel, but neither found it terribly alarming, so she kept her hand there.

They talked for almost an hour about everything and nothing. About half an hour into it, his thumb had almost unconsciously started stroking her nipple through the fabric of her bra. It was nothing new, and she did not rebuke him. But as the repetitive motion went on and on and on, she found herself paying less and less attention to the words coming out of their mouths and more on the urgent throbbing between her legs.

Which was ludicrous; she had thought of him sexually before, of course, but never seriously. Kissing and being wrapped in each other's arms and experimental touches seemed natural and safe and wonderful, but this was too much.

He asked something about the car that had been parked outside her house the previous day, and she mumbled, "Peter. Danielle's fiancé."

"Dios mío. That's all my parents can talk about any more," he was saying. "'Who is going to be the lucky girl?' and 'You must continue the family lineage.' and 'Start thinking about it now, hijo, the time for marriage will come before you know it.' Don't they know the only girl I could ever marry is you?"

She was hardly paying any attention to him at all anymore. His words came to her in jumbled phrases. "Yes, you'll have to marry me," she blindly agreed, gasping.

"Are you okay?" Pepito inquired, suddenly taking note of her flushed face and labored breathing.

"Non! I am not okay!" she snapped. "Your hand is driving me crazy!"

He immediately ceased his ministrations, concern written on his features, and she responded, "Well, don't stop!" in exacerbation.

He began again, and she moaned in pleasured frustration. "I want…I want…" She wanted to say something along the lines of "I want you. Right now." but knew if she said such a shocking thing he would either leap off the bed and declare her insane or, even worse, actually comply.

But he seemed to sense her vexation anyway, for his other hand dropped to the crotch of her soaked panties.

"Ay, caramba," he muttered in amazement, "did I do that?"

"Pepito…" she pleaded, although she was not quite sure what for.

He removed both of his hands from her and instead lowered his head and traced his tongue along her infamous appendix scar.

"Oh, Madeline," he sighed, his breath cool against her wet skin. He came back up to her level and placed a clumsy, heated kiss on her mouth. His dark bangs were in her eyes, and she could feel his erection pressing against her entrance through the towel. "Let me satisfy you…"

The words were spoken and hung in the space between them, and it took her last ounce of lucidity to nod "yes".

In a flash, the towel and underclothes were removed, and their lips attached each other ravenously. He eased into her as cautiously as he could, for her sake, only stopping for a moment when she cried, "Mon dieu! You are too big."

"No, little girl, you are too small," he chided, sliding the rest of the way in, and somehow the familiar insult sounded like a dazzling term of endearment.

He knew he was supposed to wait for her to adjust to his size, but he could not stand stalling, and when had she been afraid of anything? He knew her well, as he always did, and she did not mind at all that he started fast. They moved together frantically, attempting to slake five years of repressed craving. He was everywhere, all over her, oh, why had they waited so long?

When they climaxed simultaneously, she shuddered in his arms, and he muttered a string of Spanish she didn't understand. Then he pulled out and crushed her to his chest as though she needed comforting.

She did not think that she did, but he was so warm, and his scent filled her senses, and she found that she loved the comfort his sturdy embrace provided.

"Je t'aime," he whispered. It was so obvious suddenly, and he supposed he had loved her from the very beginning.

"Te amo." The foreign words felt exotic and yet stable on her tongue. She sighed contentedly then opened her eyes and practically flew from the bed in shock. "Mon dieu! The door is still open!"

He laughed at her panic teasingly. "I told you, no one is home. But take care of it if you must, little girl. And then…come back to bed."

And she turned out the light-

and closed the door-

and that's all there is-

there isn't any more.

The End