Here’s a fix for your Valentine’s sweet tooth. This is an excerpt from skinless Part III, after Luca finds out what Ankh’s been hiding from him. Hope it hits the spot.
Ankh’s laying on the bed next to me, sleep. Every time she breathes, the mattress rises and falls like the Earth’s shifting beneath me and it for all intents and purposes it is. How she’s sleeping so peacefully after everything that’s happened today, I’ll never know. What I do know is that the likelihood that I will be getting any sleep tonight is slim to none.
I turn to look at her and I’m so aware and so careful because though I don’t know how she’s sleeping but I know it’s rest she’s earned. And I don’t, really I don’t, want to wake her though every cell in my body is screaming that I’m nuts to have her so close and not reach out and touch the three square inches of heaven that is her bare copper shoulder.
Cool it, Luca. I have about three brain cells left that manage to resist the near complete obsession with Ankh’s shoulder and they’re doing everything they can to stop the rest of my body from acting on this madness. They’re telling my fingers that they can’t reach out and trace the soft curve from her neck to her collarbone. They’re telling my lips they can’t press against the warm soft skin that’s sending off a scent that’s something sweet, something fresh, something I’ve never smelled before, and something that is driving me slowly insane, all at the same time. They tell me that it would be absolutely out of bounds to scoot the few inches that separate us and pull her into my arms, even though whatever the risk, I know that’s the only cure for this ache that’s spreading through my entire body.
Sometimes I hate my brain cells.
But they win and I’m still. I don’t reach out to touch her; I don’t close the distance between us. I just stare at her back, at the strands of hair that float on the draft from the heater, at the lashes that quiver on her cheeks like she’s having a bad dream; at the girl that I’ve loved with all of my heart for what seems like forever now. The alien girl.
I think I need another shower, cold this time.
I reach a foot behind me and find the floor. Moving a millimeter a minute, I start to push myself off the bed, freezing every time Ankh’s lashes flutter. I raise myself on my elbow and Ankh shifts in front of me. I wait for her to settle, but she doesn’t. She rolls over and hits me with those molten metal eyes.
“Luca.” I don’t think I can actually call it speaking, it’s more like she breathes my name and I lose another brain cell.
“I’m here,” I say, surprised that I can still form words. This faint little half smile curves on her lips and she closes her eyes and slides across the bed laying her head in the crook of my arm.
I don’t care what anybody says, there is a God.