‘You do bad things,’ she murmured.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I do.’
‘But here,’ she told him, ‘you’re a good man.’
They spoke in whispers.
‘I know you are,’ she told him.
He ran a fingertip along the course of her spine, watching the goose-bumps rise, and when she shivered he nuzzled the nape of her neck, his tongue brushing the raised downy hairs. He kissed her shoulder and she sighed, released a slow deep shudder and pushed her back against him.
‘I couldn’t do this with anyone else but you,’ she said.
‘What we’ve done,’ she said, ‘I’ve never done with anyone else.’
He nodded, breathed slowly, brushed the loose hair back from her cheek
‘Is this a bad thing we do?’ she asked.
His lips had reached her ear-lobe; he paused, ‘You belong to someone else.’
‘But here,’ she said, ‘here there’s just this. Just us. A portal.’
She rolled over to face him, ‘Here is somewhere I don’t belong to someone else; here is somewhere you don’t do bad things,’ and she smiled, brighter now, establishing a truth, and kissed his lips, ‘Here is just here’ she glanced around, ‘just this.’
He kissed her in return; kissed her lips, took her face in the spread of his fingertips, kissed her jaw, her throat.
He slid the black spaghetti-silken straps back up onto her shoulder, just so that he could watch them slip back off again. They lay face to face, mouth to mouth, breathing in unison. Her eyes opened, and then closed. ‘Just this,’ she murmured.
‘Just this,’ he repeated, and he kissed her eyelids, in turn.
Sighing, she whispered to herself, ‘And we can’t use the word love.’