Ben had a fever and had gone to sleep directly after supper. I didn't think I would see him up again last night but I did.
He came into Lochlan's room where I lay sleeping lightly in the lamplight and collected me to take me back to our bed. Sometimes I head straight to Lochlan's room, dropping onto the quilts fully clothed, sometimes with my coat still on after walking the dog. I'm tired. Did I tell you that? Well, I am.
Ben took my hand and led me back down the hall and through four doors until we were back in our own sacred world. He unbuttoned my coat and slid it off my shoulders. So slowly. I am breathing evenly, watching his face. He is half serious, all business, feverish work, superheated fingers and a flush to his cheeks that I rarely see, the other half is bemused, still with the enthusiasm of a child discovering something that never gets old.
Bridget will get old, but perhaps not in his eyes.
He is not old. I see the same lines in his face that have always been there and yet they're barely visible. His hair sticks up in the front and he hasn't shaved in weeks. He's in his threadbare plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a t-shirt that's one size too small, stretched across his broad chest tightly, one deep breath away from becoming Bruce Banner. One breath away from glorious Benjamin-naked. One breath away from life.
Apparently I'm going to be naked first, as my shirt is lifted over my head gently, a stark reminder of being dressed by Ben so gingerly after Cole threw me into the wall. I still remember screaming against Ben's shoulder afterward and he felt so awful and yet none of it was his fault. He is still that gentle and that slow with taking off my clothes now and that touches me.
I am cold. Goosebumps appear on my flesh and he traces my shivering skin, smiling. I'm keyed. I'm wide awake now. I press my forehead against his chest as his arms go around me, leading me back to the bed. He sits down and reaches over his head with both arms to his back, pulling his t-shirt over his head. He pulls me down over him and I am falling onto warm rock. I am about to ask him if he feels well enough for this but I am silenced with a kiss before one word. We turn, he is on me, reaching down just enough to free himself and then he's inside me, fingers dug into my hip bones and I'm fighting him because it's too much, too fast. He just holds me tighter. I am willing myself to let go and get to that place to be with him only the white hot blinding pain is keeping me frozen in place.
He continues to kiss my ear gently, urgently and soon enough I am there. I change into someone else, I am clawing at him and biting his skin and crying out for more and he obliges with an appetite that makes my heart soar. I am crazed, sweat-soaked and pinned so hard underneath him I start to slide away and he begins to laugh and then as quickly as it comes it is gone again as he resumes a slow grind against me. Kissing my face, my lips, the hollow in my throat, biting my chin, earlobes. I am scratched and burning. He finds new ways to send me over the edge, held fast in his hands, writhing, pushing him away and then wanting him back. Regret feeds the crave. Bridget needs her Benjamin. Bridget needs to be thrust out painfully over the edge of her senses and then buried under a tidal wave of elation. Hell, Bridget needs to be licked all over.
Enough. Can't. Help. All of my eventual protests after hours of euphoria go unheeded, ignored. My knees ache. My wrists are still locked in his hand. He isn't ready to sleep yet and so this will continue for much of the darkness. Tears of exhaustion and sweat soon soak the bed. The mattress is dislodged from the frame, the sheets are torn off and at last Ben lets go of me. I am shaking, ruined and blessed.
I am whole.
His fever does not break until morning. He's feeling better now.