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pray, pray, pray

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John lies her down against his poor blue coat spread out on the grass, and his inky hands find the shape of her breasts. Nothing could be more welcome to her than his proximity, his touch. Fanny knows every stitch of this dress, she knows the cloth from which it's cut as well as John knows his poems; she knows exactly how insubstantial it is, how thin it is held up to the light. How little separates them. His thumb rests against the crease beneath her bosom, but just as soon as he's begun he wavers.

She catches him in kisses and stills his trembling. It's a mild summer's day and still she's pebbled with gooseflesh; her breasts have begun stirring to harden at their peaks, faintly pressing through the cloth with a blushworthy lack of modesty. She can't find it in herself to regret a moment of this, leaning against John's shoulder; he's growing warm against her and there's comfort in that.

She kisses his sweet hands and brings them to her bosom again.

The loosing of a ribbon, more cloth falling away, unbuttoning her spencer and untying her ruff; it's a complicated undoing that John watches with quiet curiosity, not entirely without comment. perhaps he perceives some lack of Classical qualities in the homely details of peeling away layer upon English layer, but it's not long before words cease and they are thinking of nothing besides each other. Finally she leans back with both breasts nearly bared; John's cheek rests against her shoulder, prickling against her skin, and he spends a long moment just in admiring her, shy and uncertain. At any moment this thread between them might break, she might cry out, she might sit up sharply and hug her coat close over herself, or he might be struck with a qualm too much to bear. They might be discovered any moment now. But nothing breaks and neither of them bolts. There's a kind of unlucky energy in him when he's at rest, something at work inside of John of which he's only the feverish engine; the heat in him stirs when they are as close as this and she doesn't know what to do with it.

He lowers his mouth to her breast, kissing the upmost white slope of it where it swells, marked by the blue shadows of veins light and soft as pencil smudges. She moves under him as gently as she can and he moves his tousled head to kiss a track between her breasts, down the white valley of her achingly sensitive skin; he moves to adore the other, lifting her breast from the confines of her bodice and palming at the heavy rich flesh.

Fanny can feel his breath against her, his parted lips against her nipple thinly painted in pink, the pearly hardness of his teeth and the soft tip of his tongue like a promise. She arches close against him and doesn't sigh. She only breathes. John's eyelashes cast spidery shadows against his cheeks, like the leaves dappling the light on the grass.

She sinks under his dizzying kisses, and commits to memory the touches of his small hands, and his mouth making words.

No other person could be as gentle as this, as capable of delicacy and diligence both; her whole body is alight with this same strange flame that lives in him, and she wants nothing else, could desire nothing else besides the nearness of his small frame and his whispers. This is something impossibly voluptuous; she could have lay there for hours and let him play with her, if something as intent and measured as this or as fond can be characterized as play. A ribbon has fallen from her hair, and brushes against his collar. Her fingers creep in the opening of his shirt, feeling the sweat against his throat and the hollow spot in the middle of his collarbone.

They lie there face to face, pressed flush to one another's chests and tangled up in one another's arms, legs twining together; they're made to match and to fit closely. Together perhaps they'd make one complete person, stronger than both of them separately, if nature could graft them together in one flesh. Perhaps together they'd be hardy enough to endure. When autumn comes he'll hold her like this and kiss her until she remembers how warm summer was.