I remember the first time we met in person, the door swinging open and him standing behind it, my heart skipping a beat. My heart skips even now, writing these words as I scan the recesses of my mind for fleeting memories of him. I remember him welcoming me inside and showing me to the kitchen, a bottle of whiskey burning a hole in my purse. I pulled out the dark, maple-flavored liquor and gave it to him as an offering, a precursor to what would happen later in the night. I remember watching him make an Old Fashioned in a clear glass, studying his hands carefully as he moved about the kitchen getting ice, cherries, and sugar. I remember the dark, sticky, sweet taste of the cherries in the bottom of the glass, soaked in whiskey and their own juices.
I remember that first sip. Whiskey, sugar, ice, cherry, bitter, sweet. I can still feel the mild burn in the back of my throat if I close my eyes, screw up my face and swallow hard. I can smell the maple and the candied cherries at the tip of my nose, drawing me in and pulling me over the edge into another drink. That first night, I drank half the bottle on my own.
I remember the sound of his laughter, husky and softly tinged with a southern twang. I remember the sound of the spoon clinking in the whiskey class as he stirred his drink with one hand and held the glass in the other. I remember the feeling of his fingers on my skin, the worn, callused pads of his hand dragging over my arm as he stepped around me in close quarters. We kept a careful distance between us; he, on one side of the kitchen island and I on the other. The bottle passed between us as the ice began to melt.
I remember the way his eyes would light up at a joke, brilliant blue orbs flashing like sapphires as he hid his laughter behind a tight-lipped smirk. He’d bring his glass to his lips in a practiced movement, eyes never leaving mine as he tipped his head back. The long, elegant lines of this throat stretched out before me like a road map, taking me to places I’d only ever dreamed of, and my fingers inched closer to his, daring him to touch. Eventually, he led me to the couch and told me to sit.
I remember the way it felt curling up next to him, my legs draping over his as I tucked my head into his shoulder. His heartbeat echoed in my ears while I watched his pulse pound in his throat. I remember the way he would wet his lips from the glass on the table beside the couch, taking polite sips of the amber liquid. I watched from the corner of my eye as he would lick his lips, set the glass down, and run his hand back through his hair. I remember his pale eyelashes, framing deep azure eyes and dragging over his cheeks with feather lightness.
I remember the hush that overtook the room, the only sound filling the space between us a soft sigh, and the rustle of jeans on the couch as he shifted in his seat. I leaned across him, dragging my chest over his as I set my drink beside his empty one.
I remember the look in his eyes the first time we kissed; the excitement, the fear, the lust. If I live to be one hundred and a day, I’ll never forget that look as long as I live. The crystal clear sapphire of his eyes suddenly shaded over, changing from cobalt to steel in a breath. It shook me to my core, and in a moment of bravery, I brought my lips to his once again.
I remember the second time we kissed and the desire in his voice. Desire so strong it was palpable in the air, coating everything around us like a thick blanket of fog. Two kisses became three became thirty. Hands roamed, teeth crashed, and tongues explored unknown territories. His exhales became my inhales, breath saccharine from cherries and heady from whiskey. He looked me in the eyes, my lower lip caught painlessly between his teeth and issued the command. It rolled off his lips like thunder in the summer, echoing in my skull the way a window rattles in a storm.
I remember how he led me up the two sets of stairs into a darkened room and shut the door. I remember the soft white sheets on the bed, and the room lit with the glow from a TV hung on the wall. He fumbled with the remote as I sat on the edge of the bed. I can still feel the cool of the sheets beneath my palms as I pressed them into the bed. Cool, crisp, snow-colored sheets lit up blue and red as he turned on a movie, dropping the remote to the sideboard and rounding on me. He took off his shirt, threw it on the floor, and closed in on me. I held my breath as our lips met, relaxing onto the mattress as he pressed into me.
I remember taking off my shirt and offering myself to him, putting my life in his hands. My heart pounded through my chest as he worked his palms over each breast, nipples erect and catching on calluses. He let out a low, deep sigh as he played with them, gazing at them longingly.
“You can be rough with me. I can take it.”
I remember the feel of his fingers sinking into flesh, carefully trimmed fingernails digging into soft, supple skin as his mouth came down on mine. He pawed and mouthed at my flesh until I bruised like a fruit in the supermarket, pale skin lit up dark purple. I loved it, I craved it, I needed it. I took each sharp nip and nibble greedily and asked for more.
I remember that night like a dream I’ve just woken from. At times, it’s fresh in my mind and in vivid technicolor. Other times, it’s in greyscale as I fast forward through the highlight reel, pausing at key points - his mouth on my breast, his hand gripping my thigh. I pause and rewind that night over and over, knowing that each time I risk ruining the tape, I risk corrupting the disk.
I remember what was supposed to be a one-night affair becoming more.