She'd been unfair to Neal, she knew. But sometimes he just needed prodding. He'd had such talent when they'd met. His words would lull her to sleep or bring her to rapt attention, even, sometimes, to the verge of orgasm without ever even touching her. His eyes had enticed her, claimed her, drove her to distraction. And his touch--oh his touch. She'd burned under his confident caresses. He'd told her once that he drew ancient sigils on her flesh, delicate kanji to direct the energies where he wanted them... And that, with each iteration, she would unfold before him like a flower.
But once he'd moved in, things had cooled off. He'd been fired up for the chase, but once he'd felt he'd got her, he'd seemed increasingly uninterested. And Kaida became more and more frustrated.
The first night alone again in almost a year, the apartment felt too big for Kaida. The ancient oil furnace creaked and ticked away, but none of the heat filtered into her rooms. Kaida skipped barefoot across the hardwood floors to close the doors and windows. Then she'd poured herself the hottest bath she could, added two kettles full of boiling water, and scented it with one of the bath-balms she'd purchased after the doctors' appointment.
Her feet left a trail of condensation on the white tile of the washroom. She sipped her wine and eased the strap of her dress over one shoulder, letting it whisper over her hips to fall to a heap on the floor. Then, slowly, to savor every moment, she eased herself into the deep of the claw-foot tub. The water was a benediction, a searing solace to the aches and bruises of her day. She let out a low moan as she felt the tension drain from her shoulders. She hadn't even realized how tense she'd become.
Another sip of wine, and Kaida laid back and closed her eyes, letting the steam surround her, envelope her, embrace her. She released the anxiety of the day to the steam. The scent of the ocean pulled it from her, as persistent as a lovers' touch. She fantasized that she could almost feel it, those strong, calloused hands, as they traced the line of her jaw, the small of her neck, the flare of her clavicle and the swell of her breast. Kaida murmurred something unintelligible and sank lower into the water.
She imagined the touch moving across her breasts, rested momentarily on her nipple. Under the water, the touches were just barely noticeable. Kaida held herself perfectly still as she imagined the hands sliding down slowly across her belly and between her legs with languorous confidence. Kaida sighed contentedly and arched her back ever so gently, trying to increase the whisper of pressure.
"...Memories seep from my veins
And make me empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight
In the arms of the angel..."
A dissonant clunk.
A buzzing sound.
Dead silence as everything went dark.
Kaida jerked upright, wide-eyed. She sloshed noisily around in the tub, a subtle descant to the whir of the ancient furnace. Somewhere above her, a man cursed in Spanish. How long had she been asleep? The water was tepid and the air cool. A light oily film lay across Kaida's arms and chest, and the tips of her hair were still wet.
With elaborate care, Kaida stepped from the bathtub and reached for the towel. She dried herself off efficiently, each stroke sending an involuntary shiver of reaction through her. Each brisk stroke reminded her of the strong, rough hands that she'd fantasized about touching her. Calloused hands. Sailor's hands...
"Still too tense." Kaida muttered as she moved to the bedroom. She'd get underneath the covers as quickly as possible to preserve what warmth she still had. In the morning, she'd call the landlord...