Instalment 25: pages 102-104 [Elliot and Danielle drop Danielle's car off]
We didn’t make it to the bar. Danielle’s house was dark, her flatmates out dancing until daybreak. We had decided to go in to finish the wine, but something happened at the doorway. The front step was narrow. As she put the key in the lock, despite my earlier misgivings, I had slid an arm about her waist, kissing her behind her ear once more. With my face in her hair, I caught again the smell of her: not perfume or soap, but the spicy, slightly acidic tang of her. A stirring memory whispered, This is how good a woman can smell.
She fell through the door giggling, and pulled me into the lounge room and down onto the collapsing sofa. As my kisses wandered down her neck, her hand slid a few of my buttons open and strayed inside my shirt. Slowly, we twisted into each other in a parting of clothes, tasting and inhaling what could be learned from hair and cheek, ribs and stomach, shoulder and arms. Our fingers and skin joined hot and insistent, like her strange half-open kisses. She made a light snorting snigger at my clumsy effort at the hooks and eyelets of her bra, and slid from it lithely. Her calves locked about mine, and she brushed my hand away from her belt buckle.
“Not yet,” she chided, smiling as she fell upon me once more. “I’m not ready.”
I winced and laughed as the metal ground into my stomach.
“I just wanted to be comfortable,” I managed.
I felt a fumbling, and something whispered around my waist as it hit the floor. It was my belt. My pants followed.
“That’s not really fair,” I said piteously, now all but naked as she straddled me in her jeans.
“Why don’t you just keep quiet and enjoy it for a while. You never know what might happen if you’re good …”
I awoke, too happily surprised to move. Danielle was nestled into me, holding my arm about her. Cautiously, I propped myself up to watch her sleeping. Every curve of her face poured effortless into the rest of her body. She was beautiful. Still and quiet and vulnerable. She felt terribly warm against my skin, and I settled back down to enjoy that feeling. I lay back and looked at her roof and walls. Every surface was absolutely plastered in movie promotional flyers – everything she’d seen in the last six or seven years by the look of it. The back of her door held ANU film group poster – key events marked with gold stars. Drifting back to sleep, a confetti of Hollywood images glistening against my closed eyelids, I wondered What have I done to deserve this?
The rest of the morning brought a number of things: sheepish introductions to flatmates (crashed out in front of the television, too pupil dilated and serotonin deprived to properly register my presence), cereal and footsies in the kitchen, and the wish that I had a toothbrush. Danielle insisted it didn’t matter if I used hers. It’s a weird point of etiquette, borrowing the toothbrush of someone you’ve woken up with for the first time.
After I’d showered, cleaned my teeth and crawled back into last night’s clothing Danielle called Jenny’s to confirm that she still wanted a lift to brunch.
“Can’t get through to her,” she said, stumbling back to find me and draping her arms about my neck. She brushed at the side of my face, then planted a small kiss on it. “I like you with a little stubble,” she added. “Tingly.”
“Hmm. Doesn’t solve us being late for brunch, though. Eva’s going to be insufferable enough when we show up together, let alone if we don’t find Jenny,” I said.
“Not a problem, we’ll drop round to her place and wake her up.”
“Maybe we should split up and save time. If you drop me off at her place, you can zip into the bakery and grab us some pastries.”