My day too long with waiting, Gale's with working, but we're back together at night.
"I just want to hold you, okay?" He says, falling on his knees by the side of my, and taking me in his arms, and burying his face in my lap. I wrap my legs and arms around him, running my fingers through his hair, swirling them slightly, and pulling, as if I could also touch his thoughts. He lets out a deep sigh, draining exhaustion and frustration from the day, but as my hands slide across his shoulders, I can tell it didn't work. He's still tense.
"I just want to hold you…" he says again, pulling me closer, and kissing my thigh. The way he holds me, I think this might be a need more than a want.
"That's all you want to do?" I ask playfully, tugging at his hair a little bit. I hear him laugh, and he kisses my stomach as he brings his head up to look at me. "Are you okay?" I take his face in my hands and force him to look at me.
"I am now," he says, taking one of my hands in his and kissing it.
But I can feel all the mess of emotions catching in him, I can see him struggle to keep it down. I wrap my legs around him and pull him close to me, as if I could somehow wrap my whole body around him and keep him safe. But I know I can't really do that. And even if I could, Gale doesn't need me to. In another moment, he seems to have subdued whatever was fighting at him.
"I missed you," he says through kisses that have progressed from my hand up my arm. His lips are warm, though a bit rough, and gentle. By the time he's reached up my arm, he moves to pull my shirt off and out of the way, quickly and desperately, like it were an obstacle in a race. My bra comes off in one fluid flash, and he moves to recline me on my bed, bending down to kiss my stomach and then my breasts, his hands swim up my sides. "Oh, Katniss," he says again.
I let my hands run over him, over his shoulders which are strong but tense, and I try to rub them as he keeps kissing me. His lips move fervently, like he's begging for something, like he's praying, and he's churning up a storm with in me. I think to ask him if he's alright, but the question gets lost within me as I quiver with desire and feel the lightning break across my skin, the clouds gathering within me.
I pull at his shirt, which gets caught on his arms, and we both laugh as I struggle to pull it off of him. I have to pull myself up to get it off him.
"There, that's better," I say, victoriously now that I've defeated his shirt. He wraps me into a hug and holds me. I grab him and kiss his shoulder and run my hands across his back; I'm reminded of his tension and my question. But it feels good to have his strong arms around me, and safe. And I like feeling my breasts pushed up against him, I like feeling my skin against his skin, touching his muscles, feeling them flex and stretch. I wonder if he feels as good as I do. "Do you like this?"
He laughs and mumbles a yes into my hair as his hands explore the curve of my waist.
"Why?" I say without thinking.
He pulls himself aways and holds my face and kisses me on the forehead. "Why do I like this?"
"Yeah," I ask, letting my finger slide down the crease in his chest made by his strong muscles. My eyes follow it down to his belly button and I hook it in the top of his pants.
"Don't you like it?"
"Yes, but that isn't any answer," I tug at the top of his pants now, playfully, as if demanding an answer.
"Okay," he says, grabbing me and lying me down on my back and climbing over me. He holds both my breasts in his hands and kisses each one sweetly. "Well, for starters, boobs are great."
I have to catch my own laughter and stop myself from laughing too loudly. I don't know why, but something about Gale saying boobs is funny. As is they effect they seem to have on him. "You're boobs especially," he says, laying more kisses on them.
"Well," he places his hands on them like he's actually trying to figure it out. I watch him grin ecstatically as he jiggles one, like it brings him the great joy in the world, and holds them both like he's measuring, calculating. He then pokes one and pulls my skin, making them move. I bite my lip as I watch him. "You know, I can't quite put it into words, but they're great. They're soft, they jiggle, they're yous." He looks up at me and smiles, quickly darting up to kiss my lips. He rests his palm on the curve of my cheek, "why do you ask?"
"I don't know," I say honestly, "I'm just curious, I guess." I take a moment and try to figure out what I want to know, "how did you know you'd like this?" He looks at me strangely. "Like, how did you know you liked boobs?" He laughs softly.
I entwine one of my hands in his and pull him towards me. He squeezes me tightly and rubs my head. I listen to his heart pound as he thinks. "I don't know, I guess, one day I remember noticing them, and then I couldn't stop noticing them. They were everywhere."
"Do you remember whose you noticed first?"
Gale doesn't even need a moment to think. "Miss Smithy."
"The fifth grade teacher?"
"Yep," Gale's lips pop as he says this, and to me it sounds like sweet remembrance. "In the spring, one day she was where a white blouse, and the light was hitting her just right, and I remember realizing she had boobs under that shirt. My whole world changed."
I nod my head against his chest. "Hmm, okay," I say as I take it all in.
Gale and I never talked about romantic things before, never kissing or crushes. I knew what all the girls at school said about him, but I never knew what the thought about any of them, or what he did with any of them. Suddenly, I'm curious who he's kissed before. Whose breasts he's kissed before...
"What about you?" he says, perhaps trying to stave off my silence, perhaps knowing where my mind is going.
I look up at him, shrug, and say offhandedly, "I never thought about it before. But then, when they made me kiss Peeta in the arena, I thought of you."
I see something move in Gale's eyes, like both a light and a shadow flashing past a window. It's gone before I can make it out. Was that the look of love? Guilt? Regret?
He pulls me close to him and kisses me both more deeply and more softly than he's ever kissed me before. "God, I love you," he says, holding my face and kissing me again. I get the feeling I've said something incredibly meaningful, though I'm not sure why.
"That matters to you, doesn't it?" I ask.
"More than you know."
His kisses are wet and warm and perfect, and suddenly, I'm only curious about how he'll kiss me, and where, and when, and I want him to move his mouth all over me at once. I twist my legs tightly with his, pulling him close to me, running my hands across his shoulders and back and down. I let them flit under the waist of his pants, and I find myself wondering how far down I should let him go, and what squeezing his butt would feel like, how soft the skin would be, how tight the muscles there.
I trail kissed along his jaw and up to his ear, remembering how he moaned the night before when I did this, and to my delight, and probably his, he moans again as I slide my tongue across his lobe and softly suck it in and flick it once or twice before I let it go.
Not that I ever doubted it, but in that moment, I know-Gale's mine, and I am his. Everything else is unthinkable.
I smile as I feel his body tense and quiver over me, reaching up to nip his ear once more before burying my face in his neck and letting my lips wander all the way down to his chest.
He moans my name again, his hot breath and hands all over my body, and I can almost feel my skin rising to meet him, my nerves jumping like they feel somehow too much and not enough. I begin to frantically move my lips across him, wanting to take him all in at once, loving his touch, his taste, his feel. My lips cross the curve of his shoulder, the crease that carves out his pecs, and I stop to stuck on him, momentarily, wondering if it draws the same pleasure in him as it did in me.
Gale's hands hold me, and I feel like they're the only things keeping me together. They brush gently against my sides, causing flickers of sensation to flash across my skin and spread to the small fires started by this lips. As he moves me more and more, I lose track of my thoughts as words slip away from me and I slip into him.
I wrap my legs more tightly around him, bringing him down closer to me, pressing to me, tighter, more completely, as if any space between us were somehow harmful, hurtful.
No longer taking the time to think, I let my hands slide down to his ass now, I let them squeeze it and love it how it feels, perhaps the way he first felt with my breasts.
He moans again a sound that's made all of tongue and teeth and I love it.
I find my hands constantly catching at the waist of his pants, and I wish he could slide out of them as easily as my breath is sliding out of me, quick and uncaught. And as I play with the edge of his hip bones, I know we're playing with the edge of something else.
"Katniss..." he purrs again, and I think he must like my playing with his hip bone too, I reach back tracing its line, "oh, Katniss, careful…" He pulls himself away.
"Did I hurt you?" I ask, afraid.
He must see the look of concern cross my face because quickly cups my face and says, "No," he almost laughs, "it's alright, I just need a moment." He moves again and takes a deep breath.
My eyes search him trying to understand and only vaguely doing so because I don't want this to stop. Luckily, it doesn't.
After a moment, Gale pulls himself up a bit, and leans down, so he can kiss my breasts and my ribs and my stomach, he keeps going lower and lower and I don't want him to stop.
He apparently find himself in the same predicament I did, as he stops at the top of my pants.
"Take them off," I both think and say, and I'm so desperate, my hands collide with his as I move them down to help him. I hear him laugh softly over my heavy breaths, and I lift my hips up to help him throw them off.
Gale's sitting on his knees and he slides his hands over the smooth skin of my legs. His fingers almost feel cold compared to the heat that I know much be rising off of me. He touch is careful and delicate, but as his finger run up me, it's is almost like the strike of a match, and I can feel the rush.
I bite my lip and turn my head and he leans down and kissed me. First my knees and then the tops of my thighs and then the insides of my thighs, and I'm both excited by and afraid of how close he is to me. When I feel his lips rise and his hands slide up to my hips ,playing with the edges of my underwear, I look up at him.
He's still staring at me, eyes running up and down my body, taking me all in, I guess, the way he takes in the horizon, the way he's somehow able to always see every bit of everything. Most people can't do that. They can only handle little pieces, tiny parts, either the bits that are good or the bits that are bad, and they wall themselves up in those small worlds. But not Gale. His eyes are always open, swallowing the whole world, and I think he's doing the same to me now.
"Gale," I call his name, but I'm not sure he's listening. "Gale?" he looks at me now, but I realize I don't know what to say. I don't know what I want or what I thinking. "Where'd you go?" I ask.
He blinks as if calming himself. "Nowhere," he says softly, hands caressing me, "I'm right here."
"Then what are you thinking about?"
"You're so beautiful," he tells me, bring his face back down and laying it on my stomach.
"That sounds like a lie," I laugh, not meaning it harshly.
"Okay," he smiles, "I was thinking your body is beautiful." I tug at his hair playfully, knowing that's not the full answer. He chuckles, "and what I want to do to it," he finally admits, flicking one of my nipples.
"Katniss," he says a bit more seriously, looking up at me again with eyes as wide as an ocean.
"What?" I'm worried, not sure what he's about to say.
He touches me sweetly and kisses me even more sweetly. "I just want to hold you."
And I remember that's the first thing he said when he saw me this night.
"Is that all?" I try and echo the playful tone I used earlier.
He entwines his fingers with mine and kisses my hand. "I want you to be happy," he says, and I don't doubt for a second that he's sincere. And I also don't doubt for a second that he knows as well as I do how nearly impossible that is.
I start to wonder if giving myself to him will make this better or worse. I start to wonder if giving myself to him is something I'm doing for his sake or mine, and I know he's following my thoughts as I search them. He hold me tighter and kisses me sweetly, kisses me wholly, trying to contain me, as if he could make me whole and healthy and his.
I think, can he? can he?
For his sake, I hope he can. But I don't know. I don't know.
. . .
I fall asleep in his arms, feeling his hot breath on me, his warmth holding me, keeping me together, his body against mine, but every other part of him mine, supporting mine.
And I don't know if I can handle that, if I can be worth that, if I can earn that...
. . . .