Chapter Thirty-One: Fragile:
Sometimes, for no reason at all, I find myself going over things in my head. Wish I understood why. Constant worrying plagues me - but I can't exactly explain the compulsion. Somewhere deep inside I'm afraid this light-hearted contentment I'm feeling won't last very long. I mean, I don't know… Does anything last forever? Certainly Summer, with it's warm beautiful days, long sultry nights, and fleeting beauty doesn't last. Is peace of mind any different.
Asato-kun has noticed my change in mood, and thoughtfully inquires about it on our way home from our evening stroll. I usually enjoy our evening ambles. But tonight my heart is heavy, and I walk with my eyes cast to the ground.
"Is something the matter, Anna-chan?"
I lift my head slightly before responding.
"Oh, um...nothing's wrong. It's nothing. I'm fine." I smile for extra measure, but he knows that I'm lying.
II: Don't Let Me Go
It's raining tonight. I sit on the couch in a ball. This is stupid, I should be happy. I have a mother, good friends, and happily married, but still this dreaded feeling won't leave.
My husband turned to me and asks "Yes?"
I lean my head on his shoulder. "Let me stay like this," I whisper.
He puts his arms around me. I don't have to tell him what's wrong, which makes me glad inside. I love his silent strength.
I close my eyes and start to speak, but say nothing. I want to say "I love you," but no words are needed right now.
The rain consumes my silence.
III: Touch Me
He takes me to our room. I'm feeling a bit needy. Can't explain it, but I'm craving something more tonight.
I stop for a beat in the middle of the hallway.
"What's wrong?" Asato-kun wonders.
I press my lips together and I shake my head.
He presses his forehead against mine. "It's alright," he whispers. "I'm here for you."
My brain feels so disconnected, that I don't know how to respond.
"Come with me," Asato-kun pulls me into our room as I look up at him.
"I want to help you," Asato-kun says. "I really do. But I can't do that if you won't talk to me."
His words make me freeze in my tracks. Why is this happening? He's said this before, but this time it doesn't feel right.
He grabs my shoulders. "Please, my love… don't shut me out!" He leans in and kisses my neck. My body goes weak at his touch.
"Kiss me again. Harder." I whisper. "I need your hands on me."
IV: Love Me
Asato-kun kisses my neck again. I can feel the heat rush to the apples of my cheeks. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. When they open again, they're met with his as he deftly slides off my dress. I lean into and kiss him passionately. Our tongues twirl and seek the warmth of the other's mouth. We hum into the kiss, and suddenly - I'm finding that I can't think straight anymore
Asato-kun pins me against the wall with his tongue in my mouth, but tonight I don't feel the usual fireworks and lust between us. Somehow, it's needier, softer, more poignant than that. Yes, I need him. I push him onto our futon while unbuttoning his shirt. I break the kiss, to sit up and look him in the eye.
"I love you!" I confess, with a low strained choked voice. I want to cry after admitting that out loud.
He cups my face in his hands, and kisses my eyes.
The rest of our clothes join my dress on the floor.
The bride stood over her pond looking at her reflection in deep thought. Six years later and she still wasn't used to all of this marriage business. Her husband was a good man. He provided for her, remained steadfastly loyal, treated her like an equal, and loved her dearly. Still, she wasn't happy with her lot in life. The bride just couldn't seem to understand why.
She heard footsteps approaching, and paused to greet her unseen caller. The footsteps stopped inches away from her.
"Oh, you're awake," she said without turning around.
"You couldn't sleep either?" her husband asked.
The Bride turned to address her husband, thoughtfully shaking her head before speaking.
"Not really," she said. "Will you hold me, my darling?"
"Of course," her husband replied, with a gentle smile. The dark lord closed the distance between them, and circled his arms around her; embracing her with the entire length of his body. His blue robe enveloped her. Giving her an instant feeling of warmth and calm.
"Better?" he asked, as he softly kisses the shell of her ear.
"Mmm," she murmured. "Yes, thank you, my love. Much better…"
As he swayed them gently the dark lord happened to look down at his wife's robe. It had opened slightly as he held her.
The ageless demon's cheeks flushed from uncharacteristic shyness at the sight of her beautiful skin and the luscious curves of her buxom breasts. Though she still looked as beautiful as she did on their wedding day, he hardly remembers her becoming the statuesque woman before him. He still remembers the white Shiromuku she'd worn during their nuptial ceremony. He was taken aback by the intensity of his reaction to a woman he'd seen every day for many years.
The dark lord struggled with his lusty thoughts, but not for long. He lifted his wife's hair away from her neck, and began kissing her. Tenderly, passionately and deliberately. She removed the sash from his robe, and allowed her hands to explore him all over. He knelt before her, reverently, gracefully slid her robe from shoulders, and smiled as it fluttered to the ground. She stood before him utterly exposed. He drank her in. The dark lord studied every inch of his bride before pulling her down to meet him.
They closed their eyes, took a cleansing breath, and began to make love. The dark lord gave in to every carnal whim he had. He gave himself over completely to the singular notion of pleasuring his woman, indulging and delighting all five senses. Only when he was sure that she was as sated as he did he relent - leaving her absolutely breathless.
They lie together speechless, peacefully and blissfully entwined. Sharing the warmth of their afterglow.
[narrative gap? Did they make love?]
"Can we stay like this for a while?" The Bride asked. The lord returned to reality long enough to look at his bride as she spoke. She laid her head on his chest, and found herself drifting off into a joyous tranquil sleep.
He smiled as he patted her bare shoulder. "Of course we can," he whispered. "Goodnight, my love."
He enticed her into repose, as the crystal love angel watched over them.
"Sleep now, my beloveds. I promise… you'll be okay," the angel whispered, as her pixies floated above the slumbering couple.
Why does Asato-kun love me? I quite often think him mad for continuing on with me as he has. Maybe he sees me as an angel he can't help but adore, or a damsel in need of rescue. I'm not sure which. Or maybe it's neither. But - when doubt seeps into my brain, almost nothing makes sense. I don't like these dark moods and overwhelming bouts of dread and near panic that overtake me from time to time. Asato-kun deserves a better wife than I've been. Good thing he has no idea what goes on in my head most days.
I take a deep breath and try to bring myself back to reality. My husband is real. And his love for me is real. And here he lies, blissfully unaware of my inner turmoil. All things being equal, that's probably a good thing.
I smile to myself and kiss him on the forehead as he sleeps next to me.
"Good night," I whisper. He pulls me close, and smiles.
Enough! Need to still my thoughts, quiet my brain, and try to sleep. Time to stop worrying.