“The other night, I was so exhausted,” she said, pulling off her long socks.
He was looking in the mirror, gauging the length of his stubble, rubbing his hand across his cheek.
“I peeled off my clothes and dropped them on the floor, and then you scolded me and made me pick them up,” she said, a crooked smile.
He chuckled, taking off his tie and hanging it on his little rack.
“No one ever did that to me before. No one ever scolded me. I mean, not since I was a little kid,” she said a little quieter.
He looked over to her and smiled knowingly.
“Well, everything has its place, I’ve told you that,” he said, taking off his watch and his cufflinks, laying them neatly in his little box of affectations.
“I was pretty worked up that night. I would have given you more than just a scolding, but you looked so tired. I begrudgingly let you sleep,” he said, unbuttoning his shirt, taking it off, and putting it on a hanger.
“No one ever did that to me either,” she said, in a whisper, looking down.
“What, begrudgingly let you sleep?” he said with a laugh, coming over to her in his dark trousers and his very white a-shirt.
“Yes,” she said.
He came up to her, standing next to the bed she sat on. He lifted her chin.
“Boys are dumb,” he said, apologetically.
“Yes. Boys are dumb,” she agreed.
He stepped back, taking off his socks and his shoes, placing the former in a hamper and the latter on a neat little shelf with a dozen other pairs. She liked the way he looked in a little undershirt and his expensive-looking slacks. She liked his strong, somewhat hairy arms. She liked the lingering smell of aftershave.
“I’m not exhausted tonight,” she said with a slight smile.
“No,” she said, unbuttoning her pretty summer dress.
She opened it to her belly, slipping her arms out, and took off her bra. She held it in front of her, dangling between her fingers, and then let the soft pink lace drop, falling on the floor like a crumpled flower.
His eyes narrowed.
“Pick that up,” he said slowly.
Each word was cold and powerful.
Her whole demeanor changed then, like a switch was flipped. She sat back, leaning on her elbows, and stuck out her tongue.
“What if I don’t? You and all your dumb rules,” she said with a smirk that she was obviously trying hard to keep on, though she was scared.
His face grew dark, and he reached down and undid his belt.
There was a flicker there, though—an exchange. Across a dimly lit bedroom, she asked for what she wanted, and he asked for reassurances. The communication was imperfect, but in that moment, it said more than their lips could.