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postcards from the road

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Sometimes she catches him when he's still, which isn't often. Michael is the most restless person that she has ever known. But sometimes she catches him, in between moments, his fingers brushing his face as he thinks about something. She'll capture him then, with a soft click, and he looks up and smiles at her. Then he slips back into shape, the way that he slips into costume, without even thinking about it. Her fingers stretch out and touch his waist to pull him back again, into her orbit.

If he reaches for her then, she pulls away and snaps another photo, with the cheap disposable camera that she bought in the hotel lobby. She loves these old European hotels, that smell so certain and real, like time drifting through spaces. She loves being here with him, and she takes another picture.

These photographs will come out printed in sharp flat colour, blue eyes and tanned skin, the rough palms of Michael's hands turned towards her as he tries to shield himself from the intruding lens. His face is framed by the hotel window, left open as the spring air floats in.

"Put it down," he says. She can hear where he's tired, his voice deep and ragged in the back of his throat. He wishes they were at home.

She shakes her head, with a smile, her hair sweeping the nape of her neck. Click again, while he's making faces at her, with the dark, clumsy lines of his mouth.

He reaches forward and tries to capture her one more time, and she feints neatly to the right. Michael follows, but he has always been better on defense than he is on offense, and she slips by on the tips of his fingers.

He doesn't give up, but tries again. She laughs as she escapes, twisting and ducking to the left. This photograph will come out blurry, Michael just a sweet dash of movement as he creeps up behind her.

She kicks him lightly in the shin, but he doesn't seem to notice. He simply scoops her up inside his arms, and drops her easily onto the soft king-size bed. With large hands, he takes the camera away from her.

"Offside," he murmurs gently in her hair. She giggles, as his fingers rotate the film in the camera, ready to snap another picture. She knows how these pictures will come out, a pale sweep of colour, and her face pink and blushing, creased with lines from laughing. Her skin is flushed all over, where the sleeves of her blouse slip down, and Michael's fingers trace the outline of her collarbone. His body is heavy on top of her, strong and yielding no sliver of escape.

"I warned you," he whispers, and only because she knows him so well can she tell that he's smiling.

She makes a face at him, squinting dark eyes, and he takes a picture of that too, as his mouth curls rudely in response. The he tosses the camera into the pillows.

She is breathless, her heart beating too fast and too loud, blood rushing like a fountain underneath her skin. "Foul," she protests, between giggles, as she struggles to push him away.

"Uh huh," he agrees, as his fingers slide underneath the hem of her shirt, tickling lightly. "I'm expecting some time in the penalty box."

"Michael," she scolds him, too late before he kisses her.

He kisses her slowly, warm and languid, as his hands pull at the buttons of her jeans. "Lots of time," he adds.

His mouth brushes her shoulder blade, and the hollow of her neck where she smells like Chanel No. 5. She smiles gently, as his lips stroke her skin, and her mouth opens for him, in a wordless invitation.

She lets out a low moan, as warm hands slip like ghosts over her body. She rises up to meet his touch, pressing urgently against him. His arms lift up as she pulls off his shirt, and runs her hands roughly against his chest. When he kisses her again the heat is building, straining on them both.

They are tangled and defenseless, skin too-hot everywhere that they touch. His hands strip down denim and lace, his knees roughly pushing her own apart.

She arches up, with a moan escaping helplessly through parted lips. She gasps when he pushes inside her, his hands holding hers, holding on.

Then his arms move around her, sweeping her with the scent of want and salt clean sweat. His hands press tightly in the small of her back as he rolls, taking her with him as he moves onto his back.

She laughs, exhaling a gentle hiss of air. Her hips move gently against his, as with the pressure of his hands he forces her to slow down. Her fingers press into his chest, nails scratching his skin, as they breathe and move together. He absorbs every thrust, as they rock together and then become still.

Release washes over her first, as she closes her eyes, head thrown back with a low moan. He follows quickly, his fingers pressing deep into her hips, and she can feel the vibrations that carry him down.

She takes a picture of him afterwards, Michael mostly undressed and curled into a heap on top of the sheets. He is too relaxed to protest, smiling at her through sleepy eyes.

She sits kneeling on the bed, as his hand strokes her bare knee. "I love you," he murmurs, so softly that she can barely hear him.

Her response is a smile, sweet and real, as she takes his photograph.