Hot Wax

God help me, I thought, but I love you. Its moments like these that kill me, when you are so close, but I, knowing my weakness, hold back. I don't reach out, and neither do you. For different reasons, we look away. You, because you don't see, and me, because it hurts too much to hope. The night arcs above us, beneath us, a glorious spread of sky. I lie on one side of the bed, you on the other, with a candle between us. I think you are talking. I half listen, half watch you.

You hate the way you look, avoiding mirrors, pictures, reflections of any sort. You are blind, my love. Blind and beautiful. Or perhaps it's the firelight. Except I've seen you by too many other lights to believe this, memorized your face too many times to be deceived. I answer, and you laugh.

It would be so easy, to take your hand, pull you to me, brush the hair from your face and kiss you. Just once. Softly, asking nothing in return. Kissing you would be easy. The price would be nigh impossible. Such an act would end everything. So, we talk, and I dream. You trace my hand with your finger, idly drawing on the forces you are so blissfully unaware of. I take your hand in mine, gently turning it over to read your palm.

"You shall be happy…married to a fisherman…with 14 children."

She laughs, amused.

"I think I'll pass on that one."

"I'm hurt," I reply, keeping my voice light.

"Give me your hand," she commands, moving closer. The candle wobbles precariously, and I right it.

"You will…sell carpets…" I raise my eyebrows and she grins, looking up at me. "…In Albania. There you will meet a goat, and fall madly in love."

"Thank you." Sarcasm disguises the emotion trembling behind my carefully measured words. Yawning, she takes the candle, and stares dreamily into it.

"Don't move."

I obey, and she curls up against me, her hair falling across my arm. Flickering quietly to itself, the candle rests contentedly in her hand. Her small body is pressed into mine, and something indescribable has constricted my throat, and wrapped itself around my heart. I can see the shadow of her eyelashes upon her cheek, the curve of her jaw. Her lips are lit with the fragile light, making my breath catch. Sliding her eyes to mine, she turns slightly, shifting so that she is facing me, head on the arm that is propping up my elbow. For a moment, I wonder how I look to her. But what she sees is irrelevant. What I see is more than enough. I meet her eyes for several, long minutes then glance at the wax dripping onto her delicate hand, pooling in her palm.

"'Night," she murmurs, letting her eyes fall closed.

"'Night," I whisper back, and tenderly press my finger into the hot wax, putting out the candle. Laying my head down next to hers, I breathe in the smell of her hair.

I wake cold, and alone. She is on the other side of the bed again, still asleep. I can't help it. I stare at her, my heart breaking. Breaking, because she rolled over, and I am stiff from holding one position all night. The candle lies again between us, the wax scattered in droplets across the bedspread. Some still clings to her fingers. I fight the tide of emptiness threatening to drown me, and tear my gaze away.

But god, she's beautiful


A/N Cough. I wrote this while staring into a candle.