It's halfway back to their flat that Ben's kind words start to slip away and his feet grow heavy with each step closer her gets. He thinks about Alisha's words to him before- how they'd be talking when he got back. What will she want to talk about? What if she's going to split up with him for being a shit lover?
"Stop it," he mumbles aloud, willing away the thought. There might have been a time once when Alisha would have done such a thing to some bloke, but she's not like that anymore. And as far as he's been able to see, he's not just any bloke. After all, he'd risked his own life to come back in time and- his upper lip curls on its own accord.
He'd come back in time once, made Alisha fall in love with him. He'd fucked her... died for her, and he got left behind to pick up the pieces of that. And what has he done so far besides fall and get beat up all the time trying to learn Parkour, and be a shit lover? All these things he's supposed to be good at- accomplish- and he can't do a single one right.
Even if he never mastered the Parkour, he and Alisha are supposed to be destined to be, shouldn't things like talking... like sex, come much easier? So why does he constantly feel like he's being crushed under the weight of all the things he can't do?
He sighs and flits his gaze from the ground to see he's mere steps from he and Alisha's flat. As he draws closer, he spots a box just outside the door. With a slight shake of his head, he walks over to it and bends down, pulling it open. Another sigh escapes him as he sees what's inside- the superhoodie suit.
This isn't the first time she's done this. In fact, it's happened quite a few times. Any time he's ever had an insecurity as far as his future self goes, she's always packed up the suit and dropped it outside. Her way of saying, 'You're what's important This doesn't matter anymore.' She hated the outfit, anyway, so things like this gave her incentive.
He wishes it were as simple as tossing the suit away.
Picking the box up, he opens to the door to the lift, cursing why their flat couldn't have stairs. He doesn't want her to know he's back, just yet. He silently hopes she won't as he rides up, the entire time feeling like it takes an eternity. He finds himself breathing a sigh of relief as he opens the door and hears the shower running. It's the perfect mask for the noise. Quickly he shuffles inside and drops the box on the floor, making his way over to the table to sit down. A moment later, the shower turns off. The timing couldn't have been better, really.
A few minutes later, Alisha emerges, towel wrapped around her body with the ringlets of her hair still dripping wet. His skin flushes and his heart skips. He likes her like this, likes her any way, really, but especially when she's at her most natural. He's the only one who gets to see this side of her.
He watches as she slowly moves to the small dresser beside the bed and pulls out some clothes. She stands there for a second, staring down at them with a curious look on her face before smirking and tossing them on the floor. His fingers twitch at his side with the urge to walk over and pick them up, but that thought goes out the window as the towel drops from her body and she crawls onto the bed.
He stares at her lying there, naked and quiet as can be with a raging curiosity at what she's doing. Then the air is catching in his throat as she carefully reaches up and places her hand on her chest, and runs it down the length of her torso. She stops at her hip and lets her fingers linger there for a brief pause before trailing them back up. She closes her eyes and lets out a soft hum. That's all it takes for him to be straining against his trousers.
She does that a few more times before raising her knees up and letting them fall open so he has full view of everything. He has to remind himself to breathe as her fingers dip between her thighs and she starts touching herself, a whimper escaping her lips.
His heart is now slamming against his rib cage, and he's suddenly so hot- when did the air get so hot? He's quick to undo the top buttons of his shirt that were feeling so suffocating. This isn't the first time she's touched herself in front of him, but it's the first time he's seen her do it alone... him being invisible to her. It's private- the most private thing he's ever seen her do.
Until he hears her voice, soft and quiet. "I know you're there," she tells him, and he nearly chokes on his own tongue. How? Almost as if she's read his mind again, she says, "The box that I left outside. It's back inside. S' okay." She moans and raises her hips from the bed. "I don't mind you watching. Or... you can always join in. One way or another I'll be getting off."
Her hand stills for a moment as she appears to what for what his decision will be, but his feet are as heavy as wet sand, so he doesn't move.
"All right, then," she says, releasing a sigh, as she goes back to touching herself.
And he watches, head cocked to the side, eyes wide, and lips as dry as the desert, he watches. Every fiber of his being says to go to her, yet his stubborn legs keep him glued to where he sits. He doesn't want to ruin this moment. Wants to commit it to memory. Pause, rewind, replay.
"Are you still upset?" she asks, slipping her finger inside herself while her thumb works at her clit.
"No," he whispers.
She starts to moves her hips in rhythm with her hand. "It was only you," she tells him. "When we were fucking. I was only with you... but he was you, and you're going to be him, and, fuck, why is this even an issue? Oh-" Her legs tense. He watches as they shake, tremble, knees knocking into one another as her back arches.
"I'm close," she pants.
And he could be, too, he thinks, if he wasn't so focused on what's happening in front of him. Because, God, he's hard, so damn hard, and he knows all it would take is one touch- one stroke.
"Are you touching yourself, too?" she asks, breathlessly.
"No," he answers, even knowing she can't hear him, wonders how she would react if she could. "I used to," he finds himself saying as he thinks of all those times he was alone in his room, the empty nights, and the ache that would settle over him. When he would palm himself roughly, almost too rough, because sometimes pain and pleasure held hands and guided him to the places he wanted to be. Let him know he was real. Took him away. He was oh so different, then. Someone outside of himself.
He'd try not to think of her, really he would. But something would always find it's way in, the extra moment her eyes might linger on him, and how he'd always wondered what she was thinking. He knows now. But then? It drove him mad. So many times he wanted to know why there was such a sadness in her eyes, and wanted so badly to tell her how that had called to him, though she wouldn't have understood it back then. She would have been more apt to spit venom at him, and he probably would have taken it like he always did, because something from her was better than nothing. She had a power over him and he liked it. It was nice- and only a little frightening- being under her gaze. How his heart would race.
Her voice would slip into his head, all high and almost musical, with only a slight grit to it. And he would imagine the things she might say if he were touching her, fucking her- pictured the way his name would sound on her lips.
"Simon," she all but whines.
It sounds like that. If only she knew the way that makes him feel. Like his twisted up insides are slowly unraveling, like she's finally found the answers- the way to make him feel not so alone. Maybe he should have said it to her earlier, that first moment he'd pushed inside her. God, how that felt. And she'd sighed his name like she was finally home. And maybe he was, too. There was that thrum under his skin, the slight throb at the back of his head, her hands... everywhere. It had never been like that before. He existed there with her.
His body seems to finally get the message, the weight in his legs lightens and he stands from the table on shaking legs, moving towards the bed.
"I can almost feel you," she says, her voice barely a whisper as her fingers work faster between her legs. "Your hands, your mouth, God- your tongue. I can hear your voice in my ear, feel your breath on my skin. I remember, I remember... fuck!" Her eyes fly open, landing on the spot where he stands at the foot of the bed, and he swears for a moment she's looking right at him instead of through him. As if she can see him there.
Knowing she can't makes it more intimate. More private. More voyeuristic. This is the side of himself he still recognizes. The urge to see while not being seen. That's one thing that hasn't yet faded. The only thing he's missing is the camera in his hand. Once, in a time before, he might have even filmed what he was seeing here now, just to pause, rewind, replay it later on. He wonders for a moment what it would be like to have Curtis' power- to be able to relive certain moments.
It's a fleeting thought, though, as he watches her come undone in front of him, her head falling back against the pillow as her hips and back rise from the mattress, her legs closing tightly around her hands. His name falls from her lips over and over. It echoes inside the flat and rings inside his ears, pulsing at the back of his head, and she's so beautiful like this.
The only thing after that is the sound of her breathing in the quiet of their flat. He closes his eyes and counts the seconds between each in take of air until-
"Hey," she says.
He slowly opens his eyes and finds her looking at him, really looking at him. He's quick to glance around until he finds something that will show his reflection. It's there in a small mirror on the wall... himself. He's back. He swallows heavily and looks back at her. "Hi."
She sits up, pulling the covers up over her and bunching them around her body like she's grown somewhat shy all the sudden. Much like his invisibility, Alisha's confidence has always been in her sexuality, and right now neither of them have anything to hide behind. And he'd never admit it, but he sort of likes it when she's unsure of herself. As someone who knows all too well what that's like, it's nice to know he's not always alone in it.
"So... you been there the whole time?" she asks.
"I started out... at the table," he replies, pointing to it.
She smirks. "Enjoy the show, then."
He looks down at the ground. "You did that because you knew I was here."
"Woulda done it, either way."
He flushes and fidgets where he stands, unsure of what to say or do next.
He peeks up at her from under his lashes.
"Come get in bed, yeah?"
He stares at her for a long moment, and then looks down at the very apparent bulge in his pants. A blush spreads across his cheeks. "Could I have a moment."
She glaces down and back up at him, smirking slightly. "Sure."
He nearly trip over his feet rushing to the loo.
A few minutes later he emerges, button his trousers. Alisha giggles from the bed. "Feel better?"
He swallows nervously, but still manages a smile and a nod.
"Come on," she says, patting the empty spot beside her on the bed.
With a deep breath, he shuffles over and sinks down on the edge of the bed, facing away from her as he begins taking his shoes off. His back tenses when he feels the mattress shift under his weight as Alisha moves over to where he sits. He has to remind himself to breath as her hands slip around to the front of his shirt and her mouth presses against his ear. "Missed you," she whispers, and he shivers as her warm breath hits the back of his neck.
"I'm sorry I left like that," he tells her, giving her a look over his shoulder.
She shrugs. "Where'd you go?"
"D-down on the estate, by the water."
"Oh. What did you do there?"
He opens his mouth, intending to tell her about meeting Ben but stops himself. If he tells her, she'll ask a ton of questions, and then he'll have to tell her that he talked to a complete stranger about their relationship problems because he was too scared to talk to her. She won't like that. And he's just so tired, then, like he could lie down and fall asleep... not wake up for ages. Disappearing is as exhausting as it is painful.
"I just sat there," he tells her instead. "Thought about stuff."
"What kinda stuff?" she asks, her fingers beginning to work at undoing the buttons of his shirt.
"Alisha." He reaches up, stopping her.
She lets out a huff. "Relax. I don't have my power anymore. I can't make you do anything you don't want." There's a sharpness to her tone as she says it, something that makes him feel bad, and he doesn't try to stop her again as she goes back to what she was doing. She slowly pulls his shirt off his shoulders and down his arms until it's off and she's tossing it away from them. When her lips touch the bare skin of his back, he involuntarily flinches.
He's quick to tell her he's sorry. He's still not used to this, not having her power working on him. He's spent so long avoiding the contact of her skin on his- for the fear of what might come out of his mouth- that this is still a new adjustment. He keeps forgetting they can touch. This will take some getting used to.
"S' okay," she replies. "I'm not so used to it myself, yet."
"What you said... it's not that I don't want to do anything. I do. Want to do things. I just-"
"It's fine," she cuts in. "I kind of sprung it on you and you weren't ready. I get it. Do you... ya know, wanna talk about it?"
"Do you," he quickly fires back.
"Not really. But if you do-"
"I don't," he answers, and then she slowly coaxes him back on the bed so he's lying down. He watches as she lays down beside him, her eyes going to the ceiling. He does the same. It's quiet for a long time, neither of them knowing what to say. The silence eventually becomes too suffocating for even him and he's the first to say something.
"When you were touching yourself..." He feels her eyes land on him. "Were you thinking of him?"
"I was thinking about you, Simon."
"You know what I mean."
"I actually don't. You're the same person-"
"I'm not him," he interjects. "You keep saying that, but we're not. He was better than me! He knew how to be with you, how to touch you... fuck you. He knew everything, and I don't. So how can we be the same person?"
She sighs. "Okay, maybe... maybe you're not exactly the same. But someday you're going to be him. You'll see."
This is getting nowhere. It's the same discussion they've had a hundred times with only a slight difference thrown in. The end result will be the same. Eventually she'll get mad and won't want to talk about it anymore. He swallows heavily. "When you were... the stuff you said," he licks his lips, "about me. What you remember. Was it like that... with me?"
"Do I make you feel like he did? During sex, I mean. I- I know I was shit-"
"Stop. Just stop that." Alisha sits up, not bothering with keeping herself covered so the only thing Simon can do at first is stare at her chest. "Simon!" He blushes and looks up to find her looking down at him. "It was different. You were from the future, for fucks sake. You were with me in the future. I'm sure sex wasn't perfect for the other versions of us at first."
"You're saying it wasn't good."
She laughs softly. "No. Simon, it's good for me because it's with you. The you I was with in this bed a few hours ago is the one I want. Maybe the sex isn't perfect right now, but it will be someday. Just takes time. But you need to stop comparing yourself to him."
Simon's gaze goes back to the ceiling. "You must think I'm an annoying twat."
"You can be." He looks at her and she smiles. "I'm joking. You're not annoying, just... a bit stubborn. Difficult to talk to. Mostly stubborn."
For the first time that evening, he cracks a small smile.
"Tired?" she asks a moment later.
"Turn off the light, yeah? We can talk more in the morning if you're up for it."
He nods, leaning over to flip the switch on the lamp, shrouding the flat in darkness. She lays down beside him and only then does he remove his trousers, slipping under the covers with her.
He jumps a little at her voice. "Yeah?"
"Next time we shag, doesn't matter how it goes, no turning invisible. Kay?"
He smiles a little. "Okay."
He feels her fumbling around and holds his hand out until hers finds his, and she entwines their fingers together. This is the first time they've been able to hold hands without some sort of barrier between them, he thinks.
"Goodnight, Simon," she says with a sigh.
He gives her hand a squeeze. "Goodnight, Alisha."
It's very quiet in their flat after that. On his back, eyes still open and staring at the ceiling, Simon listens to Alisha's breathing until it evens out and he's sure she's fallen asleep. Then he lets his mind wander. He thinks of Ben a little more, and that leads to him thinking about Alisha, of course. He replays what he saw, her hands on her body, the things she said during, and the things she said after. He repeats her own words back to him in his head, that it was good for her because it's with him. The words had sounded sincere, like she really meant them, so why does he not feel entirely okay, yet?
He tenses for the briefest of moments when Alisha curls her naked body around his, her hand coming to rest on his chest with her nose skimming his arm. They're skin to skin, and it makes him think of all the things he'd like to do with her again. But he won't. Not tonight. Instead, he carefully reaches out and gently places his hand on her bare hip and this is enough for now.
He closes his eyes, tomorrow's plan of who to talk to already in his mind and as he starts to drift off to sleep... he pauses, rewinds, replays.