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He never thought it would be like this.

He’s spent so long loving her – forever, it feels - shaping and reshaping his love around what she needed from him; he’s been her friend, her journalist, her admirer, her consigliere, her understanding ear. He’s been a constant presence, encouraging her when she ventured out into the world of affairs and married men, smiling when she looked back to make sure he would be waiting for her to come back, ready to console her.

Even during Camille, his attempt at life without Bel only lasted as long as it took for him to step back into the office; no matter how much he tried, he always knew he would make it back to her in the end.  

And yet, he never imagined he could be this to her.

He thought – on the rare occasions when he let himself think about this, about translating their love in physical terms – that they would be gentle and tender, or maybe playful and teasing; a reflection of their relationship. He thought they were too many things to each other already to be just bodies anymore. He was content – one part bitterness, three parts resignation – to let others give her this part, the crude pleasures of the flesh, since it meant he got to keep all the other parts of her to himself.

He never thought they would have this mad rush, this whirlwind of need and flesh and noises, demanding and urgent and primal.

They’ve kissed before, on the cheek or the mouth, but it was nothing like the hungry way they are kissing now, groaning into each other’s open mouths and chasing each other’s tongues. He’s laid on her couch before, but never with her straddling him, naked and heavy, spreading wetness where she’s rocking against his thigh. They’ve had their hands on each other before, but her hands have never scratched across his chest or stroked him to hardness; his never palmed her bottom, breasts, thighs the way he’s doing now.

It’s like they finally realized they have bodies that want and need and clamour and neither of them can slow down until they are satisfied. Not this time.

When she breaks the savage kiss he opens his eyes and almost has to close them again because the image of her above him, hair plastered to her face, mouth open, chest heaving, is so unlike anything he knows about her that it short-circuits his brain.

Her hand is on his prick, holding him firmly. Her eyes are on him like she’s taking in his responses, the way he draws in breath or twitches when she strokes or twists or rubs, no hesitation about it at all.

On many an occasion he’s reflected about the odd pair they must appear to the outside world, a gorgeous woman and her funny-looking little friend, but this is not one of those. He knows he is thinner and more scarred than he has ever been, and she more beautiful, but in this instant he can barely recognize them; they are both reduced to their most basic components. All that matters is that their hungers match.

They don’t stop looking at each other, not when she shuffles forward to guide him into her, not even when she sinks down onto him, taking him in with a gasp. He holds her gaze and reaches a hand up to her breasts, cupping one in his palm, pinching her nipple to make her moan and throw back her head. She’s starting to move on top of him, wet and warm and tight around him like he never, ever thought she could be for him.

He tries to help, wants to turn them over and rut into her but in spite of his desperation, he is weak still. She knows it, because there is nothing about him she doesn’t know right now, even though it’s the first time and Freddie never thought -

She’s moving faster now, her breath hitching with each roll of their hips, each slap of their flesh together. He has to struggle against the urge to close his eyes and throw himself over. Instead, he keeps his eyes on her as she takes his hand from her breast and brings it to her mouth, scraping her teeth against his thumb, sucking and coating it with saliva. She pushes it back down her body until he’s pressing where she’s hot and swollen; another moan is pushed out of her when he starts rubbing and circling, running his nail over the nub while she shakes.

He can feel it around his prick, how tight she’s become, how she squeezes him with each pass of his finger; he can feel her jerk under his finger and hear her and smell her.

He never knew she would be like this, confident and powerful. He lets himself be overwhelmed, lets her take the reins, take what she needs from him until she brings him with her, like she’s always brought him along wherever she’s gone.

He never in a million years could have pictured this moment, her smell and skin and noises, the way she slumps forward suddenly, gripping his shoulder with one hand, burying the other in his hair; the way she shakes and squeezes him inside her, letting herself go, her low gasp of “God, Freddie!” abruptly turning into a cry like she surrendered halfway through.  

It’s all he can do to cradle her against him before he’s gone, too, trembling, jerking up where she’s soaking wet and still twitching, burying his yell in her hair as he empties himself inside her so she finally has everything, everything, everything.

**

He feels oddly shaken now. Well, he’s actually shaking, newly-healed bones throbbing inside him and overtaxed muscles protesting, but it’s not only physical. He feels raw, open, exposed in a way he never did with a woman before, like he needs time to close the floodgates that got opened by what they did, to rebuild himself into the Freddie she knows after she so thoroughly wrecked him.

He doesn’t know if it will always be like this between them or if this was an anomaly, the result of so many years of a need he ignored so totally he didn’t even know it was there. Maybe next time there will be the small kisses and teasing touches he imagined and he will be able to stop and savour them; maybe it will resemble the relationship he has with Bel when they’re not lying naked together.

He extricates himself from the tangle of limbs to find his cigarettes and lights two, offering one to her before he settles back down on the couch.

Her hand trembles when she takes it. He catches it in his own, surprised; watches as she takes a deep drag before turning to him, biting her lower lip.  

“Did you know it would be like this?” she asks. Freddie feels bright laughter work its way up his throat and soon they’re both laughing, laughing and kissing, kissing and caressing.

Freddie can’t imagine what it will be like this time, but he can’t wait to find out.