Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Rachel lies back on the pillows, her hair spread out like a halo around her head. I lean on my elbow above her and bring my other hand down to caress her breast.

Her breasts are a constant source of wonder to me, how they are so full and rounded against the slimness of the rest of her, their graduation from creamy whiteness to the deep rose pink of the nipple, and the way the nipple itself crinkles and hardens to my touch.

"Bel..." she murmurs.

But I don't want to talk. I drop my head and kiss and lick the nipple that I've been teasing into my mouth. She arches, strokes my head, gives a little mewling sound, and words cease.

She has a whole range of sounds when we make love, all incoherent and wordless, and now, after four weeks, I think I know them all; from the tiny whimpering she makes at the first sign of arousal, through sharp gasps, and shuddering sighs, to her keening cry of ecstasy and release.

As my hand slides smoothly over her skin, tracing the tapering of her waist and the flare of her hip, her legs part slightly and she shifts a little, lifting her hips from the bed. It's obvious what she wants, and I am only too happy to oblige, slipping my fingers easily into the moist heat of her.

She has shown me where and how to touch her, and my fingers unerringly find the spot, flickering over it, gently at first, but soon I press and rub harder, loving the way she moves under my hands, first just squirming but eventually thrashing around wildly, and I love the way the sounds she make build to the same crescendo as her movements. I keep her at a peak a few moments longer than I should, just to watch her and listen to her, just because I can, before letting her down gently.

As I say, she has been here for four weeks.

Sometimes we go out, walk on the beach, watch the sunset, eat at a quiet restaurant or drink at a bar. But mostly we stay in and fuck.

This is partly just the euphoria of a new relationship, partly because we don't seem able to get enough of each other yet, but it's more than that.

Rachel is demonstrative. She likes to touch me. Most of the time, she isn';t even aware she is doing it -- reaching out for me, brushing a stray lock of hair back behind my ear, running a finger along my arm, or laying her hand on mine. At home, I like it -- more than like it. The tender touches that were so lacking in my marriage delight me. But, when we are out, I suffer agonies of embarrassment.

We will be in a bar, perhaps, and she will catch my hand, stroking over the back of the fingers with her thumb. Some guy will be there with his mates, nudge one of them, point and whisper a comment. There will be a laugh, a buzz of chat, and I know they are picturing us naked and writhing. Occasionally, if we have to pass them on the way out, there will be a low sexual groan, or a salacious comment, and it's as if what we have together has stopped being beautiful and become porn. I blush, every time, but Rachel doesn't. Maybe she is used to it.

I never take her anywhere I might see someone I know. I'm not ready to be 'out'. When she touches me in public, it is all I can do not to flinch or snatch my hand away. I don't do it, but she senses the impulse. She makes a real effort to stifle her affection. It makes both of us slightly tense.

So generally, we just stay in like this.

I gather her against me and kiss her, holding her close. She lies with her head nestled into my shoulder, one arm and one leg across my body, and kisses my collar-bone.

"Bel" she says again, her voice hesitant.

"Uh-huh?" I stroke her face.

"I'm taking the day off tomorrow. I really have to find somewhere permanent to live."

I stiffen.

"Why? Is there a problem being here? What's the rush?" Don't you want to be with me? I think.

"I've been here for a month, love. You barely see your friends. When they call, you say you 'have a friend staying' and can't go out."

"I don't want to go out with them. I'd much rather be here with you."

"I know, but you can't put your life on hold forever. I think it would be better if I found a place of my own."

My hands tighten on her. I want to cry.

"Rachel, I don't want you to leave. I don't want to go back to living alone. Knowing you're here is what gets me through the day sometimes. Please, don't go." Don't leave me. Please, don't leave me.

"Then let me stop being a guest. Let me unpack my stuff, pay rent and bills. I haven't bought anything since I got here, other than a few groceries, and I'm pretty sure I get paid more than you do."

I'm ready to do almost anything to keep her with me. I nod emphatically. "I don't care what you pay, or what you don't," I say, "but if it will make you happier, we’ll sort out a split."

"We can say you are my roommate," I go on, without thinking.

So stupid. That isn't what she wants at all, I know. I've hurt her. I wish I could unsay it, but I can't, and anyway, it's the explanation I'll give to people, I just shouldn't have said it so quite so baldly, and I certainly shouldn't have said it right now. It didn't need to be said.

She'll say no, she'll go.

But she doesn't.

She sags, defeated, against me. "If that's what you want."

I turn up her head, my hand under her chin and kiss her as deeply and passionately as I can. I want her to know how much she means to me.

Her eyes are bright with unshed tears. She blinks them away.

"I love you Bel, you know that, don't you?" she says, "I'm not sure I could leave, not really."

Thank all the gods!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

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