Julia rolled over and reached across the bed. Gabriel was gone. With the sun high in the sky and shining in through the balcony windows she was not surprised by his absence, or by the coolness of the sheets on his side. Clutching his pillow, which still retained the scent of Aramis, she found a handwritten note.
Julia smiled. It was a simple note, not unlike countless others he’d written for her. But in the bottom corner, almost as an afterthought, he’d sketched her. It was her profile with her hair flowing over the pillow while she slept, transposed into a small pencil drawing. Underneath it he’d written My Beatrice.
She hadn’t known that he had skill with a pencil, although his dexterity in other respects suggested a multiplicity of manual talents. The sketch was quite good. She wanted to keep it.
Still smiling, she swung her naked feet to the cold floor and walked gingerly to the closet. She didn’t feel like wearing clothes. For the first time perhaps ever, she felt comfortable in her own skin. So she took one of Gabriel’s dress shirts and put it on, buttoning only a few of the buttons before searching one of the dresser drawers for some socks.
From downstairs, she heard Gabriel’s voice calling. He had returned from his trip to the village. Enthusiastically, she sped down the stairs and toward the kitchen.
“Hello, Miss Mitchell.” He kissed her forehead as he set the groceries on the counter. “You look pretty.”
Hands free, he pecked first one cheek then the other before trapping her in his arms against the counter.
“Did you sleep well?” His lips moved against her hair.
“Very well.” She pressed her mouth to his Adam’s apple and he recoiled slightly as if she’d tickled him. “Thank you for the drawing.”
“I didn’t know you could draw.”
“Darling, I’d paint you if I could. With my fingers.”
Julia’s mouth hung open and Gabriel chuckled before gently closing her mouth.
“We’ll try finger-painting later. I like your socks.” He released her from his arms, smiling slyly.
She looked down at her feet and flexed them.
“Argyle is sexy.”
“I’ve always thought so. Let me turn the heat up. I don’t want you to catch cold.” He disappeared into the other room and returned a moment later. “I’ll build a fire when we sit down for lunch.”
He began unpacking the groceries, watching her from the corner of his eye. “You seem happy today.”
She hoisted herself up onto the counter and began to swing her legs back and forth. “I am happy. I’m in love with a wonderful man and I get to share this fantastic house with him. I’m the luckiest girl in the universe.”
Gabriel’s eyebrows shot up. “In the universe? Hmmm. I’m sure the inhabitants of the galaxy next door will be sorry to hear that.”
She playfully poked him with her argyle-covered foot. “You’re a nerd.”
He turned on her and grabbed her foot, pulling it upwards until her leg was extended to the height of his shoulder. She reclined on her elbows to maintain her balance.
“What did you just call me?” He feigned anger but his blue eyes twinkled with amusement.
“Um, I called you a nerd.”
He raised a single eyebrow.
“Oh, really? Would a nerd do this?” Expertly, Gabriel used his fingers to stroke the contours of Julia’s instep, over her sock.
When she sighed at the pleasant sensation, he peeled off her socks before tossing them over his shoulder.
“I think it’s hot enough in here now, don’t you agree?” His voice was low and provocative and it made Julia quiver.
He slid his hand over her leg, toying with the back of her knee until she closed her eyes and groaned.
“Julianne,” he growled, his eyes dancing.
“You aren’t wearing any panties.”
A brilliant red flushed her cheeks and she tried to withdraw her foot, realizing how exposed she was.
“Not so fast.” With a single finger, he travelled the length of her inner thigh and back again, stroking up and down in a patient rhythm.
She began to breathe rather rapidly as his fingers approached where she was exposed.
“Nerds are not known for their skills in lovemaking.” Gabriel withdrew his hand and placed his index finger against her lower lip.
She opened her mouth and he pressed his finger inside. He peered down at her expectantly and she closed in around him, sucking his finger slightly before releasing it.
He winked at her before using his now moistened finger to stroke the inside of her upper thigh.
“Would a nerd know to do this?” He leaned over and began to blow across the trail of wetness he’d left with his finger.
When Julia shivered and squirmed, he smiled wickedly and nuzzled the same trail with his nose.
Standing up again, he kissed her hungrily and then abruptly retreated. Before she had the time to protest, he dropped to his knees in front of her.
“Hmmmm,” he said, moving her legs so that they rested on his shoulders again. “This counter seems to be the perfect height. I guess you really are the luckiest girl in the universe.”
Everybody still alive?!? Breathing?!? Ok good.
Thanks SR! From the bottom of my heart to the top!