There are some things which cannot be paralleled.
The feeling of hot, clean hands. The line where Morgan Lamb's soft, white jumper ended and her soft, white skin began. Warm tea on a cold day.
These are all things which cannot be matched.
These are also all things which can be enhanced.
There are many things which work as enhancements, and Joseph Chandler is too familiar with most of them. There is cramp in his left knee. There is a headache pushing its way up through his spine. It is dark, but not a companionable dark. The streetlight hurts him and he cannot see. These feelings are all old friends.
There is another old friend.
It is half past one in the morning.
As the mattress weight shifts and Joe feels himself pressed into it by the weight of his own exhaustion, this other old friend shifts, neither awake nor asleep and in the hypnagogic state between the two. There are many people like this tonight, and many people who will strain their minds willing sleep to come. Emerson is not one of them. (Joseph won't be, either).
Joe feels blindly for a waist that he knows is there, somewhere. It's warm to the touch. He draws it closer. He pulls himself closer than he'd ever allowed Emerson to get to him before. When he was awake. He closed his eyes to breathe in.
Because even when you ache all over and and your mind won't quiet, it can all be washed away by the fact that there's a patch just behind Emerson's left ear that smells of ever so slightly of caramel.