Welcome Home

by Viviana

I close the door behind me, drop my suitcase in the hall. I've already buzzed up our signal from downstairs so, no surprises, but I sing out anyway—'It's just me!'. No answer, but that's not surprising. It's after 3 a.m. and he can sleep through any signal.

I lock up, resetting the alarm, and perform my habitual routine check of the apartment. No need to get sloppy after years of self-reliance. The light from the tall, undraped windows bathes everything in faint neon. There are newspapers in three languages and coded briefing notes scattered over the coffee table, and empty take-out cartons on the kitchen counter. Once satisfied everything is secure, I consider pouring myself a glass of scotch but decide I'd rather be in bed than drink alone.

As I enter to make a sweep of the bedroom in the half-light, he stirs under a small mountain of sheets. He has cocooned the bedclothes around himself—it's a little chilly tonight—and I hear him muttering darkly, something about a 'parade of elephants'. I sit down stiffly on the bed.

'Cosy?' I enquire, thwacking left-handed somewhere, I guess, in the region of his ass, provoking a grunt.

Articulate speech emerges, after a pause, muffled and heavy with sleep.

'How was the flight from Cairo?'

'Very dry.' I unknot and discard my tie, divest my cufflinks to the nightstand.

'Hmmrrph. I'm sure there were... other diversions.'

'I'm sure you're sure.'

I kick off my shoes—the relief—and slide them under the bed with my toes, for once, too tired to put them in the closet.

'There's leftover Chinese in the fridge.'

'No thank you. The camel stew was just fine.'

I rise, remove my jacket carefully and hang it over the back of a chair, draping my shoulder holster over the arm. I drop my pants and step out of them, laying them on the seat.

'Working late for any particular reason?' I ask over my shoulder.

'Mmm. Geneva. But it'll keep till morning.'

'Hey, I just thought you might be missing me'. I turn and pantomime my hand over my heart although his head is under the covers.

'Keep dreaming.'

He's here, meaning I can leave my gun so I head into the bathroom, squinting at the fierceness of the light, and turning the shower on full. In a minute more, I've stripped off shirt, socks and underwear and thrown them into the basket. I step gratefully under the steaming hot blast of the shower, opening my mouth and screwing up my eyes under the blessed, massaging needles of water. I rotate slowly, letting the pressure ease my aching neck and shoulder muscles. Opening my eyes, I survey with interest the technicolor explosion of bruises blossoming around my right side, delivered at rifle-point by a couple of over-enthusiastic security guards. Incautious movement induces shooting currents of pain in my ribs and kidneys. No need for him to know, at least until morning. Or I'll be up another hour being doctored and lectured when all I want to do is sleep.

I feel the langour of exhaustion set in and rouse myself. I switch off the shower, step out, and towel myself mostly dry, one-handed. I run the fawcet hard while I swallow a couple of pills and brush my teeth, then switch off the light before opening the door.

I retrieve my gun from its holster. There's a seismic heaving in the bedclothes as I approach. One pale gold arm sweeps up, tenting the sheets and making a heavenly space for me inside. I slip my gun under the pillow, then sit and slide one leg after the other into the cocoon, lowering myself gingerly onto my left side, feeling his warm silken body spoon comfortably around me. I sigh in thankfulness as he enfolds the sheets around us both.

Even though I've given him no reason to be suspicious, he performs his habitual check, stroking his hand slowly up my back and over my chest and arms, rubbing his legs around and between mine. As his arm crosses the battered places, the breath hitches in my throat—he probably thinks it's arousal—but he's resting his arm mainly on my hip and I can bear it.

His hand plays around my thighs, sleepily stroking, then wanders up to rest between my navel and groin. His thumb strokes repeatedly across my navel. That's all, but it's enough, and soon my penis is trapping the backs of his fingers. His breath is warm and ticklish on my nape. He raises his head from the pillow and uses his left hand on my skull to tip my head around, trying to read my shadowed face.

'Were you?' he whispers, his breath stirring against my cheek.

He means faithful and, yes, I was. But he expects me to lie to him and for this reason I feel petulant about confessing the truth. Yet he still asks. I don't know why.

'Spiritually, sure,' I murmur from the back of my throat, then have to swallow, as the fingers of his right hand are trapped tighter still.

I imagine his scowl of disapproval in the darkness.

'Whatever am I going to do with you?' he admonishes, sighing.

Nothing very dramatic tonight unfortunately, lover mine.

Then he lowers his lips to my own in the softest and tenderest of kisses. We match perfectly, lip to lip, as though our mouths were carved to fit. The heat is incredible, like the wave of a drug before it pulls you under. I breathe in the soft, sensuous aroma of his hair and skin, feeling his eyelashes brush against my face. Our mouths move over and into one another in a voluptuous caress.

He would never believe it. I can't, quite. But this is what I most look forward to when I come home to him. For all the heady joys he brings me, for all the the exotic and incredible sex, this moment, this soft seal of welcome is what I dream about when we're apart and the real hunger that brings me home, faithful, to his side.

DISCLAIMER: Not for profit. All characters are the property of their rightful owners.

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