The look in his eyes told her something had changed. She was balled up, arms crossed, hair in her mouth, legs cycling in mock protest. The involuntary half-gasping laugh faded but made its presence known in the slight ache in her abdomen and the scratchiness of her throat from their play. He had stopped. Her heart fluttered and he could see it through the thin cotton of her summer t-shirt. She saw his eyes lingering there, on her chest, rising and falling in quick cadence in all of its ten year old innocence. He smelled the saltiness of her skin. His hands, where they had been tickling mercilessly began to stroke, slowly, hesitantly, up, over her stomach, tracing to her throat. He never looked into her eyes, he looked only at the depression between her collarbones and the line of her jaw as he loosed the hair from the corner of her mouth. His hand dropped to the curve of her arm inside her elbow, across her palm, dipping to the inside of her thigh and downy leg as he trailed his finger along them. She lay there, uncurling to the simplicity of his touch, studying the amber stubble of his chin and the sparkles in the bumps of the blown ceiling, wondering, waiting. And then, just as abruptly as it had begun, it stopped, as he grabbed her feet and set off strumming his fingers as she shreiked and writhed in laughter.

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