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Separated by Skin

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I rest my hands on the hips of the woman standing in front me, stroking my thumbs just under the crisp fabric of her gray button-down shirt.  She's facing away from me, forearms braced against the wall.  Her head drops down between her arms, the line of her back an elegant arch.

I brush pale hair from her slender neck and touch the tattoo that's hidden there.  Her skin is ever so slightly raised at the jagged edge of the black vortex, faint scars that lift the mark from the surrounding skin.  I remember the buzz of the tattoo gun, the burn of the needle on the back on my neck, the twin of the image on Frank's back.  It's fitting, I think, that the mark is gone from my skin like Frank is gone from my life, lost along with everything else I thought was immutable, like the universe itself.

Not completely lost, though, not really.  I lean forward and touch my tongue to the character at the center of the black whorl, then whisper against her skin, "This makes you mine."

The blonde head in front of me nods, hair slipping back to cover the tattoo.  I wonder if anyone else knows how this part of us was interchanged, if they understand how intertwined my double and I are.  I nuzzle through hair to skin, kissing her neck.  She twitches slightly — she's as ticklish as I am — when I run my hands up her sides, cupping the familiar weight of her breasts.  I can almost imagine that I'm touching myself, closing my fingers over her nipple through the layers of shirt and bra, teasing my own body.  She sighs and leans back into my arms, pressing against me until there's no space between us.

Her voice vibrates against my ribs, low and ragged when she says, "Yours," and I nod.  We understand each other.  We need each other.  They made her into a weapon with no thought or foresight, and free of their interference I made myself the hand that guides her, wields her.

She makes a hungry little sound and rubs against me, a slow grind of her hips.  I reward her by nipping my teeth into her neck, sucking a bruise into her soft skin.  She drops one arm to her side and tilts her head, giving me better access.  I can feel the beat of her pulse under my fingers when I lift my hand to her throat, holding her to me.

I run my tongue over the mark before I turn her and push her against the wall.  Her hazel eyes are heavy-lidded and dark, and I like the way her blond hair tangles around her face, loose from its usual ponytail.  I lower my mouth to the mark on her neck, a searing bite tempered by soothing strokes of my tongue.  The shudder that runs through her is delicious, spills over to me and I clench my hands in the fabric of her shirt.

"I know what you need, don't I?"

She nods again, breathes out, barely louder than a whisper, "Yes."

I press my lips to hers in a hard kiss, all pressure and teeth, and her mouth opens under mine, gasping a little, sucking on my tongue.  Her hands don't shake when she lifts them to tangle in my hair.  I like that about her, how steady she is — how willing.  I curl my fingers around the back of her neck, under the heated weight of her hair, and anchor myself as the world falls apart around us.