Stalemate

M

This was war. Requiring precision steps. Timing couldn’t be botched or slightly off the mark.

Counter with right step after the predictable twirl to the left.

Diplomacy couldn’t fix the tension, or release the building pressure. The answer was hard physical combat. Body on body. Amid fire and smoke, sweat and blood, and the rattling and shaking of such intense engagement.

Tingled fingertips. Buoyed stride. It terrified and exhilarated to the nucleus. Intoxicated. A chemical reaction down to the smallest molecule. Within the smallest atom of everything. Everything a hundred and twenty miles an hour. Bursting. Exploding. Messy. Like fireworks carving thin shimmering streams into the soil of the witching hour.

And the confidence, oh the endless, endless, endless confidence. Not that he had any problem with it outside of this warzone. But it was very different in here, among the decorated walls. A soft, spritely scent of spicy flower petals, and fine white powder. Crystal handles on the drawers that flickered in any light. Fibers that embraced him, draped and cloaked him with sanctuary. He didn’t have to explain, did he? No. It was self-explanatory.

And very different.

Besides, he had absolutely no desire to walk into his bedroom some night and find one of his generals in his bed without a stitch of clothing. And sure, there was a country full of women who would gratefully drop to their knees before him, ready to service, ready to please. But that’s all they could be: grateful. Great for the ego boost. Not so great for everything else.

No one could look at him the way she did. In war. In love. Because no one knew him the way she did.

–    –    –

This was war. Requiring precision steps. Absolute accuracy of all strikes in all locations.

Counter with immediate strike to the south after suffering unexpected strike in the north-east.

A scene of war unfolds chaotically, lawlessly. A body thrown to a flowered, feathered battlefield. Attacker follows, sheen and force of confidence. The enemy is immobilized: hands to wrists, fingers wrap around tight; hips on hips, sternum on sternum. The enemy is silenced: mouth to mouth, room enough for hard gasps but no words. The enemy is invaded and annexed: panties torn away, trousers undone, and fuck away the lines between whose spit and sweat and carnal fluids are whose.

But on this stage, odds of retaliation are a hundred percent. The air hot, heavy and hazy; the smell of intimacy clinging to the moisture splashed across his skin; and navigating through misted, love-stained eyes, he was easy to take down. He was easy to press into the mattress, hips easy to strangle beneath hers. He was easy to kiss, easy to mark, easy to bite with her palms pressing her weight into his shoulders. He was easy to ride, easy to push and pull with, her genitals sliding snugly against his. It was easy for her to lift a woozy sigh of surrender out of him and let it collapse from his kiss-swollen lips, no matter how sober his blood.

Fallen. Captured. No longer the hunter. Fixed beneath rapacious blue eyes dressed in a lust he wasn’t going to run away from

He normally didn’t hold a taste for capitulation. But he was among the decorated walls and perfumed air. Sometimes the differences were quite interesting. Tastes were oddly slippery, fluctuating and shifting on a whim. There were less rules here. Few strings to keep the arrow on the gauge in one place.

But everything a hundred and twenty miles an hour.

It’s how she made his insides feel so messy. Everytime. And it never failed to unnerve him. Exhilarating, sure, but terrifying nonetheless. He’d become hot and squishy between the ribs, and that was strange. Wrong. Out of place. She made his temperature rise and that couldn’t be a good sign in any capacity. Could it?

The way they marked one another up like two inexperienced horny teenagers when they made love was concerning too. He was too old for this kind of behavior. He was too old to be hiding hickeys on his neck and bite marks on his shoulders and nail tracks on his back. He was too old to be worrying during his morning shave that she refrain from swimming that day because dammit he’d just gotten too excited with her the night before. He tried not to do that during the summer months when it wasn’t as convenient to cover up those sorts of things but sometimes, well he just didn’t care about self-control.

Sometimes he just didn’t care he was supposed to be too old for this kind of behavior.

Then he’d see her in her filmy lingerie, nipples looking as soft and savory as the tips of strawberries through the flimsy, transparent silk. All right. Most of the time he didn’t care he was supposed to be too old.

–    –    –

This was war. Requiring precision steps. Requiring precision words. Diplomacy couldn’t fix the tension, but it could still be utilized.

Counter with ******** ***** ***** *** after *** ******* ***** ****** ** *****.

Wild words of sentiment and sex and salacity slipped through the darkness like desperate paper airplanes. Thrown by desperate pilots. Hopeful they’d finally reach secure destinations, and never be sent back or destroyed again.

She’d taught him to make so many. Maybe too many. He was standing knee-deep in a sea of her planes. Planes crafted entirely from her words. And if he looked over to where she stood, he could see her standing in her own sea of planes. Crafted entirely from his words. It kept rising. And rising. And rising.

At the outset, it had been, don’t let her in too much. But then the world felt a little too lonely. Too lonely than his situation should be granting him. He kept looking to his side and he kept seeing her standing there, her presence always fuller than it was in that last glance. But she couldn’t say anything. She was mute. Tape across the lips. All she could do was stare up at him with the bright fairy eyes of a young girl trapped in the fetters of love.

Yes. He’d done that. Set tight his chains around her wrists and ankles. On purpose or not, he wasn’t sure. But he liked it, her captivity of commitment to him, that he knew. So perhaps he’d loosen that tape over her mouth and exchange some honest words with her. Honest whispers.

Just a little.

Then a little more.

Then a little more.

Then… then he’d seen he now carried his own set of chains. A slightly different set, to be sure; but they were definitely there, and impossible to ignore. Part of him wanted to get angry. She’d slipped them on when he was looking, a terrible abuse against his rules. But more of him simply didn’t care because he liked her too much. He liked having someone he could talk to. Someone he could have hot and lazy sex with. Someone he could make fun of as they held hands. Someone he could passively fight over the blankets with through the thick fog of sleep and darkness. Someone he didn’t have to be entirely faultless around all the fucking time… someone he could say I’m tired to and instead of seeing weakness she’d tell him he was working too hard.

He liked having one person. He could do all these with the same girl.

He liked having someone he could trust. Who would never thrust a knife into his back.

It came with the territory. Marriage brought with it close quarters and that meant very few secrets. Fewer closets to hide skeletons. He had to choose wisely the ones he wanted to keep from her sight. Hygiene habits, upkeep rituals, and other various lifestyle quirks that came from years of living on his own (he knew it wasn’t “normal” to stay up until four in the morning but whatever), there wasn’t a whole lot left unseen. She’d seen much of it coming in. The transition had affected them in distinct ways and he’d been able to tell.

Living with a girl. It had been strange. She had so much stuff in her bathroom, and he didn’t think it necessary…. She did forty different things to her hair every morning and it astounded him. He cared quite a bit about his hair but this was something else entirely. And there were so many tools simply for sculpting her nails. Brushes, scissors, others that looked something like thin dull scalpels; all secured in their own case. Why so many? Oh, and all the colors… lipsticks, nail polishes, pale powders he saw her layering onto her eyelids. He’d once asked her to describe the feeling of mascara to him. She’d told him women also had to curl the lashes and had shown him that horrifying contraption. He’d never felt so relieved to have a dick.

Close quarters and very few secrets. Few corners to duck around, few walls to hide behind. It came with the territory. She knew his baseline, and she knew it very well. She lived on it alongside him. Any deviation she noticed. It was harder for him to lie; it was harder for her to omit. She recognized when he was frustrated and didn’t want to be touched; he recognized when she was upset and needed to be touched. She could discern between the I’m busy and cannot be bothered and the I’m busy but wouldn’t mind being distracted moments. He knew when he was and wasn’t allowed to play with her hair; and most of the time, he did it anyway. He liked the distressed expression she always gave him. Like he’d just killed her dog.

Sometimes he’d ask her, was she really so confident those shoes went with that dress? Simply for the daggers she’d hurl at him. Because who was he to question her style expertise? He who wore no flair or glamour, was more concerned with his clothing feeling comfortable than it fitting “correctly,” and spent only five minutes on his hair.

They’d been together for a decade. He wasn’t worried.

They weren’t married, of course. Not correctly. Rings, papers, signatures, rice in the air. But God be damned if it didn’t feel like it. And if he looked now, he could see her standing in that sea of planes, planes crafted entirely from his words. A sea so close to reaching her knees.


© 2017 Elizabeth Klarke

Bet you’re happy to see all that colorful, fluffy, marshmallow-vomit writing again.