A Breath Away
Thom looked at Debtra. “Really? A girl as beautiful as you never lost her virginity in five lifetimes?”
She shrugged. “It’s hard to lose when you die young, I guess. A couple of times, I was just a kid.”
“You have an incredible story.” He still stroked her hair. It soothed her, and she closed her eyes and leaned back into his touch. He sat on the arm of her chair and put his arm across her chest, his hand on her shoulder, holding her close. She liked the feeling of resting against him, how she felt safe and loved.
She remembered that she’d had love, but they had died, too, or had become lost before they could consummate their relationship. She’d been engaged when her first life as a Celtic princess had ended at the tusk of a boar. She and her fiancé had been hunting it when it surprised her and gored her in the leg, hitting the femoral artery. She had bled out in her love Eric’s arms before he could truly become her lover. Now, when she looked at Thom, she could see Eric’s face. They had the same jaw structure and nose. Thom’s brow was a little less strong, and his hair definitely shorter, but he held her just like Eric had.
Instead of leading to a romantic moment, the revelation made her cry harder.
“Maybe I should go?” Thom asked, but he rested his chin on the top of her head.
“No,” she sniffled. “I was just remembering someone.”
“Someone you loved?”
“Yes.” She told him about Eric and the boar, and then about the rest of her lives. Number two had been short – she’d died of the plague in Medieval Europe, only a peasant girl. Number three, not much longer. She’d been burned as a witch in the Colonies after her empathic talents led her to know more than she should about some of the town elders. During her fourth life, she’d sacrificed personal happiness for the noble cause of rescuing people from the French Revolution, helping to smuggle them across the Channel to safety in England. Madame Guillotine had put an end to that. And then the fifth life as a suffragette.
“You’re just trouble.”
She and Thom had moved to the bed, and they lay there with their shoes off. He still held her, but she didn’t mind.
“I hate to see injustice. That’s why monumenting is so horrendous! It’s a death penalty without having to step up and admit it’s that. And those poor souls… Did you know that Thurston – Professor Homily – can hear them?”
She rolled over, and they lay with a mere inch between their bodies. She could feel his physical and emotional warmth, and it drew her in.
“But that’s another subject for another time,” she said. “You know all about me. Tell me about you.”
“I definitely can’t top your story,” he said. “Not that I’d want to.”
“And you believe it?” she asked, leaning in so that their noses almost touched.
“Every word. No one could make that sort of thing up!”
And that’s when she kissed him. It was a simple thing, closing the space of a breath to touch her lips to his, and yet she was not prepared for how it would feel. Her body pressed against his almost of its own accord, and she wrapped her arms around him. Her tongue explored his mouth – he had all his teeth! – and his gentle teasing of hers made her dig her nails into his back to bring him closer even though he was as close as he’d get with clothes on.
“Debtra,” he said after a few minutes of “making out,” as the books called it. Or had it been “snogging?” She didn’t care.
“Hmmm?” She didn’t want to open her eyes, just to feel him there.
“Is this really what you want?”
“I can tell it’s what you want.” She pressed her pelvis into his.
He traced the line of her jaw with his thumb. “Of course it is. I’m a guy. You’re a very attractive woman, and I’ve never met anyone like you. But this is your virginity! You’ve never lost it in five lifetimes. How can I possibly take that from you after knowing you for less than a day?”
He moved away from her, and she opened her eyes. He’d propped himself up on his elbow and watched her with a half-smile.
She stuck her lower lip out. “I’m not worried about going to hell, if that’s what you mean.”
He shook his head. “It’s not. I just want to make sure that this is really what you want, that you weren’t wanting this to be with anyone else.”
Debtra took a deep breath and remembered the sparks that had flown between her and the Professor earlier that day. But he was so much older than she, both in manifested and real lifetime! Did she love him? No, she realized, she didn’t. She just had a crush on him. As for Thom… Damnit, why did he have to be so honorable? He had potential, but she realized she was also expecting him to be Eric, whom she hadn’t thought about in, well, she didn’t want to think about how long it had been.
“I don’t, but you’re probably right. I barely know you.” She scooted back and leaned against the pillows.
“I should go.” He took her hand and kissed her palm.
“Bye, Thom. I guess I’ll try to find some porn or something.”
He raised his eyebrows. “What did they teach you in those classes?”
Before she could answer, someone pounded on her door.
“Debtra! It’s Thurston. Come on, we have to call Thom – he needs to drive us to the widow’s house now!”
Author’s Note: The first week of seeing patients in my new office went well. I’m now interviewing adminions because I need all the help I can get. In case you hadn’t realized by now, I’m not the most organized person in the world.
Thom and Debtra’s encounter feels like it needs a sweet ending, so how about some banana pudding with coconut vanilla wafers?