Hasil was already laid out on his side on the futon waiting for Sally Ann to come join him. He usually liked to watch her do her nightly routine, his eyes following the smooth movements of her hands against her skin while she spread on that cocoa butter cream- the stuff that Hasil said “made her skin glow like the moonlight on a summer’s night against the springs.” He loved it. The sweet scent tickled his nose, and made him want to bury his nose in the softness of her neck as soon as she was finished, and not let go.
Tonight though, he’d stayed out to let her be. His eyes had caught one of the notebooks she’d gotten from the store earlier in the week. Suddenly he was all too fascinated with the swirled letters she’d written on one of the covers.
He’d seen some of those same letters in the picture book tonight. Recognized ‘em and almost said as such-but something made him wait. Now he knew why. Tracing the notebook’s indented strokes with his finger, a slight smile worked its way on his face. He remembered those letters. Her name. Traced in a pile of sugar by his cousin, Asa. Just because he’d asked, and Asa felt enough kindness to oblige. He’d not told her he knew it on sight. Remembered that day like it was yesterday. She’d been so tickled watching him as she talked about the letters “T” in that book. Her sweet laughs were like music to his ears since they were just for him. He was sure she’d giggle some more at this. Just the thought made his chest get warm. It was decided, he’d tell her tonight.
“What are you doing?’
Hasil looked up away from the notebook he’d gotten caught up staring at. Eyes softening immediately at Sally Ann while she made her way to their bed, clad in a pink tank top and shorts- with a headwrap to match.
“Come lay with me, I wanna show you somethin’.”
Sally Ann gave him a confused look, but still made her way over. Snuggling in right in front of Hasil, laying her head just shy of her notebook he’d placed on her pillow beside him. Reaching up to grab it, she glanced back at him with the question in her eyes once more.
Hasil moved his hips closer against her behind. Gloved hand instinctively moving to caress her belly. Fighting the need to nuzzle her as soon as the smell of cocoa butter surrounded him, he cleared his throat.
“I saw your new books, and I wanted to tell you- I know what this one says. I’d asked Asa- member him? Well, he showed me how to spell your name one time. I ain’t forgot.”
Hasil’s resting hand reached out and he ran a finger in a straight line over the letters again as she held the notebook up.
She gasped at the realization of what he was saying, and seeing him stroke the letters. His voice was so sure, and he sounded so proud. She was proud of him too. She covered her mouth for a moment before her voice came out in a whisper.
“Hasil, I can’t believe you- “
Sally Ann’s heart grew fuller by the second at the thought of the gesture. Rolling over to face him, she felt tears sting her eyes at the joy he held in his.
“That’s perfect, babe. Just perfect.” Face blossoming with the biggest smile, Sally Ann’s laughs soon followed.
Hasil was pleased. That was just the sound he hoped to hear. Eyes crinkled at the edges, his own smile grew so wide, he was positive this was the first time he’d felt his cheeks tingle with one for sure.
Leaning in, Sally Ann kissed him soft- once, then twice. Stopping only briefly to look at him with so much care, Hasil felt the blush rush all the way to his ears. Coming forward to meet her once more, he pulled her in close. He needed to feel her softness against his chest. Sally Ann’s laugh filled the space around them, and Hasil realized just how much he also loved the taste of those giggles on her lips.