Ambiguous noise and movement from the other side of the bed awoke him. Rolling, he squinted blearily in the darkness that was punctuated by one crisp rectangle of window. The light outside was orange, other-worldly. A dim cacophony of traffic and street sounds floated up from the depths of this city that never slept. He glanced at his wrist but it was bare, his watch long gone, lost somewhere in the Hansel-and-Gretel trail of clothing and items that led from the door to the bed. She had taken him to pieces, he remembered, undressing like some sublime act of deconstruction, down to his collar stays, which were God-knows-where.
His eyes picked out her long silhouette, crouched low like a prowling cat, trawling the floor, finally picking up something and coming back to bed. Up on one elbow, he moved the covers aside for her, watched as she shook out his crumpled dress shirt and put it on. She buttoned it slowly and rolled up the cuffs, methodical as a child at finger paints.
“You only wanted me for my shirt,” he mumbled around a smile of helpless joy.
She sank one knee on the bed, finished the last button, then slid in beside him again. “I’ve wanted to do this for years,” she whispered wickedly. “Naked inside your clothes.”
“I knew you were many lovely things. I never dreamed you were a shameless mercenary.”
“I know.” She put her hand on his face, snugging his jaw in her palm, running her thumb along his cheekbone. “I may keep it.”
“You can have it,” he said, although it was terribly impractical, not to mention his best and favorite blue shirt, but in the dark of night, in a room such as this, with a woman like that, all things were possible.
He careened gently face-down on the mattress, utterly spent. “Lie on my back,” he asked softly.
Barely disturbing the covers she slithered closer and her weight settled up and along the full length of him, her arms around his arms, her head on his head. His fingers reached to weave with hers, pulling her embrace closer, feeling her exhale on his neck and her body warm beneath the fabric of his own shirt.
“Is this comfortable?” she whispered.
He sighed assent. “I’ve wanted to do this for years.”
“Is it how you thought it would be?”
“Yes,” he said wistfully. “I may not give you back.”