There's something so romantic and chillingly sentimental about candlelight on a dark night in the city, the quiet din of glasses clinking and couples sharing secrets while the rain slides down the glass outside in rivers. It's inviting.
I waited for him under the restaurant canopy, my umbrella dripping water around me in a circle as the rain poured down upon the midnight city lights, leaving them to exude a steam laden with dust and grit from a long hot summer, now turned to icy fall days. My red raincoat was the color of blood in the darkness, the rich hue contrasting with my pale wet skin. My hair was damp, pressed against my head like golden parchment. My shoes were flimsy in this weather, my feet soaked. I heard the distant rumbling beyond the traffic noise, beyond the ebb and flow of the crowds. I checked my watch for the fifteenth time, the hands illuminated in the dim glow of the window. His meeting ran over. He was late.
Just then a yellow taxicab pulled up to the curb and he emerged from the back, unfolding into his recognizable form. His hair was tousled, his face relieved. He called out and quickly crossed the sidewalk to where I stood. He picked me up in his arms, umbrella and all, causing the water to arc out all around us in the air. He kissed me as if we hadn't just parted that morning, his damp beard brushing against my lips.
Did you wait long?
Of course not. You're right on time.
He smiled seductively, honestly.
Are you ready?
Yes, let's go inside.
We retreated in through the wide glass and mahogany doors. He put his hand on the small of my back and we stopped at the lobby to leave our wet things, and then he replaced his hand as we were led to a quiet table in a private corner of the restaurant. He pulled my chair out and waited for me to be seated and then he took a chair across from me and ordered a bottle of Masi soave, a favorite, to be brought while we perused the menu. And bread, he always likes bread with wine.
The wine was delivered, tasted and approved of, and then he took over pouring duties and smiled as I covered my glass with my hand. He chuckled and asked for water to be brought as well.
As we talked and enjoyed our dinner the rain traveled in sheets down the glass, the navy blue sky divided every now and then by a fork of white lightning. The rain made caustics dance on my skin and his too, shadows of nature at play. He reached for me once our dishes had been discreetly removed. He turned my hand over in his larger one, running the tips of his fingers around my wedding band and over the face of my watch, as if he could sense time and intent.
His eyes met mine across the table.
Would you like cake tonight?
No, I think I can do without.
What next? Jazz club? Dancing? Brandy in a smoky bar?
He smiled. You sure?
He gestured for the bill and we paid and left quickly. He hailed a cab easily and we bundled into the back and gave our address. The ride home was quiet and close, the smell of wet pavement and dried leaves all around us coupled with the aura of smoky air and fresh rain. His arm around me, keeping me warm, keeping me close.
By the time we pulled up to the house, the rain had stopped. The lights were burning in the front windows and we hurried inside, anxious to get out of our wet clothes and into each other's skin. We tore our coats off and and met in a blur of warm lips and frantic hands.
He smiled and blocked me into the corner. I returned his smile and put my arms around his neck. His hands traveled from my waist up to my shoulders and then to my ears, holding my face as he kissed me gently, breathing lightly, hesitantly, as if he was waiting for my response.
I tightened my arms around his neck and kissed him hard, forcing his head back, making him laugh. He wasn't going to let me control the events, and so he kissed back and I was pinned against the wall, in his arms, in his heart. His hands dropped to my hips as he gathered the hem of my dress up in his fists, raising it high, and I wrapped my legs around his waist as he lifted me up and carried me upstairs to our bedroom, where the curtains billowed violently, the windows open as the remnants of the night's storm slid off the edge of the wind in the early morning sky.
The lights flickered and he smashed his hand on the switch to kill the interruption and the room plunged into blackness punctuated by the lightning strikes. He fell onto the bed with me underneath him, safe from his weight, supported by his muscled arms.
He ripped his shirt off with one hand, his tattoos visible in the electric dimness. He slid his hand up my thigh, raising my dress once more, bending his head to kiss my thigh, trailing his lips up to my hip. I sighed softly, he frowned and flipped me over onto my belly. He slid the dress up and over my head, kissing up my spine and then turned me back around to face him. We made our own stars to match the ones already beginning to show their hiding places in the sky as the clouds cleared away. We made millions of stars, our gifts to each other to remember this moment in time.
We passed the rest of the clear cold night in a warm flush of arms and legs and hair in our eyes and breath caught in our throats, need bringing out a lust that canceled everything else out. The sun rose on our bodies, now spent, exhausted, renewed and refreshed all at once. He smiled sleepily and wrapped his arms around me once more, wanting me to stay in bed longer, willing the night to return for one last round of lovemaking, for one last touch before the distractions of a new day crowded around us.
He said he was beginning to love the rain.