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They barely make sure the kids are clear before shutting the door, spinning into an urgent cha-cha that's all lips and arms and sweat and skin. He hair is down, and he breathes deep-so deep-as they neatly dodge the coffee table, coming to rest against the counter. Like floatsam. The kitchen and her hair still smell like the cookies she baked for the kids to take to Grandma.

She tastes like gingerbread, too.

Her hand winds itself into his hair, and she laughs, she laughs, and he's reminded why he loves her. The lines on their faces don't matter, the fights don't matter, the kids-well, they matter, but not as much as this.

A macaroni chicken is swept to the floor.

On her part, it occured to her later that she had no idea how to express the intensity of her sheer want at that moment, how much she needed this man to be with her. If asked, she figures, she probably would've thought for a moment, and stated that she wants to eat him.

The girls would've scoffed, of course, unless they were there, in that kitchen, a fly on the wall, watching the way they delved-was that the word-delved into each other, seeing the amount of self-control it takes for her pull herself away from his lips, his tongue.

"Wait," she says. "Wait, wait, wait!" And miracle of miracles, he stops, like a cowboy hauls back on a stallion's reins. They're both panting, and neither remembers it being this hard when they started.

"Not here," she says.

He cocks his head to the left. Upstairs. They've gotten good at that, over the years. It drives the kids crazy.

Their clothes fall like leaves as they climb the stairs. He leads, clasping her hand, giving her a giddy feeling like she imagines an eloper feels. They had run like this before, out of the church, laughing.

They take the corner too fast and she stumbles into him and nearly falls down. She pulls herself to him-or is it him to her?-for a quick kiss, and they both nearly give in, right there in the corridor.

"No," he says, after a few seconds panting. "You know how much carpet cleaning costs these days?"

She laughs, and tucks a strand back behind her ear before getting up and helping him to his feet. She's always been faster, so much faster, that he felt their entire relationship has just been him trying to catch up.

They stumble through the doorway, downshifting for an instant before climbing their hill. He figures out some way to work a spin, an honest-Injun ballroom spin into their gropings. She twirls through the dim light, shadows flickering across her mostly-exposed skin, and ends up on the bed, chest heaving. As is his; he's getting to old for all this.

He hadn't been sure if the kids had realized what was going to happen. The eldest had looked pointedly at his father's sweatpants, and given him one of his usual wide grins. Now he rips those same sweatpants off as she coils slightly, like some kind of exotic creature that he just discovered. All his.

"In," she says in her Tense Voice, the one she normally uses just before someone gets grounded. Her hands coil into the covers, like claws.

He pauses, poised, and remembers something very important.

"Happy Anniversary, Honey."

She grins. "Happy Anniversary."

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