Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Bath Time
I find her, of all places, in the bathroom. It is an odd room and, forgive me, but architecture and decor have never been my forte to describe. Suffice to say that there is a plush white armchair and small table set into the corner and a plethora of cushions are placed on the five-by-five marble ledge that fills the gap between the far wall and the pool-sized tub, both of which are set against a wall of windows. A bubble bath has been drawn and several candles have been lit, but she sits on the window seat, curled in the corner where two walls of windows met, still clothed.
Like a man approaching a wild animal, I keep my distance, remaining near the door in case she asks for solitude. Or I require a swift exit. "What are you doing, lumina mea?"
She does not stir, but answers quietly, her voice barely more than a whisper. "In theory or actuality?"
"I was going to take a bath," she tells me, "but I couldn't."
I take a step closer, and then another and another until I am at the edge of her ledge. So close, yet still so far. "Why, lumina mea?"
She hears me, I know she does, but it is a long while before she answers and when she does, it is not exactly what I sought to learn. "I thought...I thought that maybe if I drew it myself, if I saw the water pouring and the bubbles foaming, if I smelled the roses and the lavender, if I felt the warmth and the dampness, that I could do it."
"But why did you even think to try?" I ask. I have been her mate for decades but her companion for more than a century. I know everything about her and nothing at all. I understand her completely and yet she is a complete mystery. She is predictable and utterly surprising. What she is - WHO she is - it defies explanation and expectation. But it never stops me from trying.
She turns to me finally and there are diamond-like tears glistening in her eyes. "I can't shower because the stall...it's too tight, too small; it makes me want to scream just to think of it. Remember Cancun? And baths are almost as bad for totally different reasons but I thought...well, of the two...but I can't."
"Savannah. You are not answering me. I would like to know why you would try this to begin with, what motivates this...experiment?" She is Fae; washing for her is a choice, done for enjoyment, rather than a necessity. To be clean, she need only think it and it is done, so I do not understand why she would attempt this experiment of hers; there was no need.
She winces, then blushes and turns her face away. "Oh. I was online earlier and I was just...browsing and I ended up reading this forum about some book with an amnesiac vampire and a human telepath and there was all this...excitement and awe and talk about this shower scene and, um, well, it got me thinking..."
I feel an eyebrow rise of its own accord. "Thinking of what?"
"Of you and everything you must put up with on my behalf. I...I know I'm far from easy to love. I have issues. Lots of issues. More issues than any man should have to deal with in his partner, his mate, his l-l-love. I wanted...I wanted to conquer at least one and give you that. At least."
Just like that, I understand.
Swiftly, I dip down and pull the plug from the drain. I climb onto her ledge and take her in my arms. She snuggles close, weeping softly in spite of her efforts to remain strong. Silly girl.
"Lumina mea, are we or are we not immortal? We have time for issues, more than enough time for issues. Perhaps today there will be no bath, but tomorrow? Next year? A thousand years from now? Yes, perhaps then there will be baths. And if not, bah, what do I care? I love you, lumina mea, just as you are, issues and all, and nothing so silly as a tub of water is going to change that. You are mine, Savannah, forever."
She sniffles and raises her head to stare meet my gaze. A weak smile trembles on her lips as she swipes half heartedly at her tear-streaked cheeks. "You're sure?"
"And beyond. Besides, do you forget, lumina mea, that there is something you give me that is far more...enjoyable than any bath?"
"And what's that?"
"This." I kiss her, slowly, softly, then harder, with all the passion and emotion and ferocity of a love meant to last the width of eternity and then some.
She stops her weeping, ceases her talking, and puts her mouth to better use.
And how I love her for it.
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