First Rain of Summer

His nails are raking circles across her back. They are in the slender darkness of twilight. The summer heat is so thick it flows into the room in dense waves. The air inside her room is stirred by the lazy arms of the ceiling fan, and she feels a pressure on her chest like she can't breathe. They are lying on her twin bed, the sheets sticking to them like glue. Her naked skin feels like it has expanded in this incredible heat.

His mouth begins to kiss the circles his nails traced across her back. She pulls away, impatient with his overtures to desire.

"Quit it, Sam, it's too hot for that."

Hurt, he turns over on his side, as far from her as he can get on this small bed. She knows she should not have been so short with him but pride keeps her from apologizing.

So instead she gets out of bed, peeling the sticky sheets away from her body. She walks towards the one huge window in her studio apartment, stands there like some defiant statue, her figure flanked against the dark sky. Clouds are gathering in the distance. She reaches out to touch the pane of glass. It is surprisingly cold to her hand. In a sudden impulse, she pulls the window open. Just to feel the growing wind cool her skin. The clouds are beginning to turn darker, more ominous. It is going to rain.

"Darling, come away from there. Someone might see you."

She laughs a triumphant laugh as the first drop of rain hits her forehead. Now she is hanging out the window, oblivious to the passing of people and cars below on this busy New York intersection. They look like ants from this height anyway. Insignificant. The rain is starting to come down hard, in sheets. She opens her arms wide as if to embrace it.

"Susannah," he says. His tone is urgent. She hears her name but not his tone.

As she turns to face him, he sees a side of her that he had not been shown all these six months he has known her. Her beauty shining like a lamplight in this darkness. Lightning flashes, a brilliant zigzag across the sky. Her features are lit up in that instant, and then the darkness drowns her face again.

He gets out of bed, pulled by something he cannot explain. Why has she chosen to unveil this side of her, why now? He wants to touch her, but she feels infinitely far away now. Her skin and her eyes are glowing with a beauty that is ethereal, like the faeries in the books he read as a child. The rain making her black hair hang heavy down her back. His desire is washed away, replaced with... with what? The word filling his head and his limbs with a dull ache, pushing up inside of him like a well. The word touching him as her small hands reach out to grasp his, the rain making their handclasp slippery. He wants to say the word to hear it resound within his own ears, to know it.

"Isn't this incredible?" she exclaims, her voice tiny against the roar of wind and rain.

"Yes," he replies. His eyes fasten on hers as his hand brushes a wet lock off her forehead. "Incredible," he echoes back just as another burst of lightning fills the room. And then it is dark again.

The End

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