Carol's hair slips through his fingers, fine as wind. They tangle round each other, legs interleaved, her weight in his lap to remind him where some of his edges are (deep-pressure stimulation is a natural desire, frequently inhibited by the perception of physical contact as threatening or overwhelming --) and her hands firm and cold and callused sliding under his shirt. Too close, too interconnected, for him to be aware of her in more than flashes; pixels, pointillist, halftone dots, get near enough and the image breaks down, and she's too much to take in all at once. Her foot flexing into his ankle --
Teeth in his neck, not hard, not as hard as he'd like. Just a reminder: here, and she wants him, and she doesn't trust -- him-them-herself -- quite well enough to take the gloves off. Or she doesn't know; it's not easy, remembering what he's told her and what she's seen and what he can't reasonably expect her to have noticed. For all she surprises him.
He clears his throat. Communication is, was, has been, is going to be an issue. The English language, all those verb tenses and never quite the one you're looking for. "If I pretend I'm not, is there a chance you'll do that again?"
She laughs, and recedes far enough that he can get her whole face into view. Her eyes the vivid grey of stones under running water. "You could try asking first."
"Could I?" Her eyebrows flicker; he can't quite read the resulting microexpression before it's smoothed away, into amusement. "Would you mind terribly?"
The shift of her hips is enough to overwrite large portions of his brain. It's nothing but imagination that he can feel her, hot and wet, through multiple layers of clothing, but it's vivid nonetheless. He hasn't quite learned to manage the conjunction between minds and bodies and Carol, of all people, not when he'd put so much effort into not thinking of her in those terms.
"I could lower myself to it." She nips him again, not much harder, and the pain flaring out from it dies before she draws away and kisses the mark. "How's that?"
"Only nice?" She's teasing. There are things he hasn't told her yet. The ends of her hair are tickling his neck and making it very difficult to think at all linearly, or in fact at all. And her face changes like clouds scudding over the sun, all light diffused -- too near, too much Carol to read with any more precision than that. "Oh. Tony?"
"I'm still here."
Her fingertips describe the outline of the mark -- it won't bruise, not enough force, but the indentations of the teeth can linger. He wishes he could see. "Is this something we're going to have to talk about?"
"Another time?" he hazards, and kisses her; her lips are dry, full overload, every neuron firing. If he tried to stand up he'd fall. People take drugs, he's more or less aware, in the pursuit of comparable although far less controlled experiences, which at least breathes life back into a number of fairly dried-out metaphors --
Her fingernails are ragged, scraping fire down his sides -- enough he hopes to catch evidence, epithelials, he likes that, he wants as much proof as possible that they've been in contact -- and he gasps. Arches beneath her, a bridge, a landed fish.
"Tell me," she says.