With Her

A Flash Fiction by Seth Sage


Her thin lips curled into a smile as I slowly traced her slender form with my index finger. She was awake, and yet she kept her eyes shut, feeling every bit of her body awaken to my gentle touch. A ‘good morning’ would be nice, but the silence felt better that morning.

She shifted, moving her head closer to my chest. Not sooner did our bodies interlock, limbs forming an intricate puzzle of flesh and love. Right then and there, she was mine, and so was I hers.

“I love you,” these words slipped past my tongue. It quite stung, but it tasted sweeter than before. I knew from the change in her breathing that she smiled after that and that she mouthed her reply, “I love you, too.”

We remained still for a few minutes, savoring every second with each other. However, every part of me began to melt. My stretched arm with which she rested her neck upon felt terribly sore. My shoulders ached in stagnancy. I was dripping wet with sweat. I had to move away — solve this puzzle that we purposely made — but she musn’t wake. She needs to rest.

Suddenly, the alarm clock rang, and in an instant, we were apart. I took all my stuff on the bedside table and checked the time. “I must go to work.”

“Can’t you stay a little bit longer?” she asked while caressing my shoulders and back.

I didn’t reply, nor did I turn to look at her. She had those eyes I can’t resist — the same eyes I fell in love with. Nevertheless, I set off for work, shrugging off her pleas as well as the chill that began to creep down my spine.

Every night, we had a drill. Hearing three loud knocks on the door, she would reveal a miserable drunkard at the doorstep. She’d catch me from falling forward, and with her free hand, forcefully close the door. Her push would require the entirety of her body, so she’d subsequently slam my back against the door. With our bodies in contact, we’d be damped in sweat all throughout.

It would all commence with a kiss — a torrid one. Drunk as I may be, my hands would have a wild mind of its own, fumbling at her dress and feeling and unlocking the prizes. To reciprocate, she takes off my shirt, unbuckles my belt, and unzips my zipper with her nimble fingers.

“Leila,” I’d whisper her name after every kiss. However, no reply nor acknowledgements from her were to be had. She just professionally does her own business. Still, I wanted more from her. I want her to want me as much as I want her.

On the contrary, that night was entirely different. I decided not to come home drunk. Thus, it was I who opened the door, revealing a lady in her nightclothes posed to reach for the doorknob. We stared at each other, puzzled for a second.

“Hey. How’s um… work?” Leila asked, tapping a finger on the doorknob. She looked at me with curious eyes that for a second looked foreign to me.

My eyes lit up at the sudden break of silence. “It was fine,” I replied. We stared for another second or so, and finally I continued, “I missed you.”

She smiled. (That’s something I don’t see every day.) With that, she went back inside, leaving the door open for me to enter.

“Is he asleep?” I asked as I put my things down on the coffee table.

“Yeah. Got tired of waiting for you since morning.”

I immediately went to David’s room, part of me wishing that he’d wake up and embrace me. Unsurprisingly, he was sleeping soundly, and so I whispered, “Next time. I promise.”

From the kitchen, Leila opened the fridge and stared at its contents. “Hungry? He told me to leave you some cake.”

“It’s fine,” I replied as soon as I heard David’s bedroom door click close. “Just leave it on the table. I’ll take bites later.”

“Suit yourself.”

I strode to the dining area and began to eat what was left of David’s birthday cake while Leila went straight to our room. The cake would taste better with David strolling around the house and him playing with friends — and with Leila by my side — but I was way too late. Nothing’s going to be the same again.

“I’m sorry,” I blurted out before I drifted into unconsciousness. We were both lying on the bed with neither of us facing each other. She felt distant even at that same bed. (Or was it I who was moving farther away?)

For a few seconds, all I could hear was the humming of the air conditioner. The night felt colder then, and I guess it’ll always be. I thought she was already fast asleep until she replied, “You had work. There’s nothing to apologize for.”

“Just know that I love you and that I always think of you.” Those words went off smoothly from my mouth. I had to say it. I had to let her know. I then turned to her and wrapped my arms around her. For once in a few months, I’ve felt the warmth that I had been missing.

“I love you, too,” she replied, curling up in my embrace. Her hands found and interlocked perfectly with mine. Those nights I spent with her did not match this simple gesture of love as it came with a realization I should’ve already believed in since. It is that she is mine, and so was I hers.

Trust me. You are and will always be in my mind, Leila.

(Click on asterisk for the story’s original ending statement/short scene.)

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