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In the Late Morning

I said there'd be at least one more short story this month, and I was right.  Though this isn't the one I planned on.  This one just sort of came out over coffee this morning.

Be sure to check out all of the stories on the site by clicking on the complete list.  I'm still waiting on final approval to post my Chain Story as well. 

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            She smiled and added a deep love and care to her voice, "I love you."
            I smiled back and laughed.  "I love you, too."
            "What's so funny?"
            "I'm not laughing because of anything funny."
            "What then?"
            "It's just been a while, is all."
            I ran my hand across her cheek and down her neck, pulling the sheet down to her waist and pressing her bare chest up against mine.  Then, I kissed her quickly, trying to catch her before she clenched her lips together in an effort to keep her morning breath in.
            She shooed me away.  "I haven't brushed my teeth yet."
            "I don't care.  Love isn't just blind, it doesn't have a sense of smell or taste, either.  Doubly so before it's gotten out of bed."
            She giggled and covered her face over with the sheet.  "Don't look at me.  I'm not cute in the mornings."
            "Says who?"
            "Says me.  I'm not showered, I'm exhausted, I've got bags under my eyes, I'm just...ugh."
            "You are a beautiful, shimmering angel."
            "You're really laying it on thick today, aren't you?"
            "Isn't it my right as a doting boyfriend?"
            She smiled again, this time unconsciously flashing her teeth and brightening her almond colored eyes with love.
            "I love how smiley you are this morning."
            "Aren't I always this full of sunshine?"
            "Only when we sleep in."
            "Ha."  She laughed. "Maybe."
            The cool gray of a clouded morning slowly gave way to the orange and yellow of the sun peeking out from the clouds, bright and fresh as though the clouds had let the sun sleep in, too.
            We both laid there, considering each other deeply.  I wondered what this morning would have been like without her at my side and decided I didn't like any of the options my imagination came up with.
            "What did you mean before?"
            "What did I mean before about what?"
            "About it being a while. What was that supposed to mean?"
            "Oh, I don't know.  Nothing?"
            "Don't do that."
            "I don't know..."  I knew.  I just didn't have the right words.  As people often do, I knew exactly what I meant and how I felt, but felt too embarrassed and foolish to say it out loud.  Somehow, the feeling had crystallized in my brain and it was beyond words, and now that I tried forming words to describe it, I was failing miserable.  It's virtually impossible to describe a feeling that complex.  Maybe things would be easier if we could just touch each other and share the exact sentiment we're trying to get across.  Maybe one day humans will find it necessary for survival, but I didn't have that luxury. 
            "Well, you know.  Things haven't been rainbows and lollypops all the time.  And we've both been working ourselves stupid.  And...  you know...  I can be an insensitive, insufferable son of a bitch..."
            "I know.  You've been better lately, though."
            "It's because for a while it didn't feel like you meant it when you said, 'I love you.'"
            "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it."
            "Deep down I suppose I knew you meant it, but it was like the scattered embers of a once raging fire."
            "Were you writing bad poetry in your dreams?"
            "Always."
            I forced a smile and carried on.  "I felt like I was losing you.  And I've been trying.  I've been trying to be sweeter, to make less of a big deal of things, trying to recapture that newness of our love.  I'm trying to fix, at least in small ways, the things I know bug you the most."
            She grew serious, laying there, watching me talk with a measure of solemnity carefully added to her features.
            "When you said it this morning, you had that warmth, that fire back in your voice.  I could feel it, in my heart, as a thrill up my spine, and it all shook out as a smile on my face.  It felt like the first time in a long time that you meant it like you used to, and it was the best thing I could ask for."
            She took a moment to think over what she was going to say, then she leaned in close, whispering into my ear, adding to those excited chills of love, "Of course I love you.  And sure, things were rough, but I love and care deeply about you.  And I'm not going anywhere."
            My excitement turned elsewhere.  She noticed and bit her lip coyly.
            "You are so effing adorable."
            She cocked an eyebrow and grinned crookedly, "You better believe it."

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